If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer or if you are concerned about the chances of being diagnosed, it can be a scary thing. Although it is often said that there is no way to prevent breast cancer, even the medical community will agree that there are numerous, natural lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk. At BeBalanced, we strongly believe that if you learn how to properly feed your body, manage your stress levels and balance your hormones naturally, you will increase your chances of preventing this deadly disease.
Let’s take a look at the shocking breast cancer statistics
There are many different types of breast cancer, but the most common type is estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer meaning, the cancer cells grow in response to the hormone estrogen. In fact, about 80% of all breast cancer is ER+.
According to breastcancer.org:
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
- The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
What could be the cause of ER+ breast cancer?
In addressing ER+ breast cancer, we have seen, through research, that although the specific cause may not be able to be pinpointed, a link between breast cancer and hormones is clear. Researchers think that the greater a woman’s exposure to the hormone estrogen, the more susceptible she is to breast cancer. Estrogen tells cells to divide; the more the cells divide, the more likely they are to be abnormal in some way, possibly becoming cancerous. Having too much estrogen, and not enough progesterone, known as estrogen dominance, is not only linked to a long list of frustrating symptoms; it also puts you at risk for a variety of chronic issues. By far the greatest risk associated with estrogen dominance is hormone-dependent cancers such as ER+ breast cancer in women.
Chronic stress is one of the main reasons women become estrogen dominant. When women are under high levels of stress, the body can’t keep up with the demand for cortisol so it begins to steal the bodies valuable progesterone to make more cortisol in order to keep the body alive. When progesterone levels drop, it causes an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen. Because estrogen is stimulatory in nature (causing the breasts to grow, etc.), this imbalance of low progesterone and high levels of estrogen will over stimulate the breast cells and cause them to divide more rapidly. This, combined with other factors such as toxins or other genetic factors, can cause tumors, or ER+ tumors, or ER+ breast cancer. Other causes of estrogen dominance include; being overweight, man-made products containing xenoestrogens–industrial chemicals that mimic the behavior of estrogens and disrupt your hormone balance, birth control pills and traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT). According to WebMD, women who have taken birth control pills or HRT have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
What can I do naturally that can lower my chances of breast cancer?
At BeBalanced, we aim to educate our clients on ways to lower the risk of getting or having a re-occurrence of breast cancer. Knowing the facts will empower you to make adjustment that could greatly impact, not only our chances of breast cancer, but your overall health and vitality.
1. Reduce stress.
Stress is one of the main reasons your body becomes imbalanced and left uncontrolled, stress can threaten your physical health as well as your mental well-being. Daily relaxation therapy, as little as 20 minutes, will decrease stress hormones. At BeBalanced, we incorporate sound-wave therapy into our program, to help you relax daily. For more ways to reduce and manage stress in healthy ways, read this article, A Moms Guide to Finding Balance.
2. Lose excess weight.
Losing excess weight is universally known to lower your risk of breast cancer. When a woman loses weight, she actually lowers her incident rate of excess estrogen being produced from the fat cells. The BeBalanced weight loss program is specifically designed to help women shed excess fat and weight even if they have been unsuccessful on traditional diet and exercise plans. This is because our revolutionary program addresses the root cause, imbalanced hormones.
A study, published in The Journal Cancer, found that women who lost weight after menopause were less likely to develop invasive breast cancer than those who maintained or gained weight. “The women [in the study] who lost 5 percent of body weight over just a three-year period ended up having a 12 percent statistically significant reduction in breast cancer incidence,” says author Dr. Rowan Chlebowski from City of Hope National Medical Center. The study included more than 60,000 women.
3. Lower your insulin levels.
Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, allows cells to absorb glucose so that it can be used as energy. When insulin levels get to high, over time your body can become insulin resistant which has been shown to increase your risk of breast cancer. 2 The cells of individuals with insulin resistance are unable to use insulin effectively. Insulin resistance increases the risk for, not only breast cancer but, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and a host of other serious health problems, including heart attacks, and strokes. The BeBalanced program works with your body to balance blood sugar as well as insulin levels.
A study published by breastcancer.org stated, “Women who were insulin-resistant were more likely to have the cancer grow than women who were not insulin-resistant. This difference was statistically significant.” 3
While genetics, aging and ethnicity play roles in developing insulin sensitivity, the driving forces behind insulin resistance include excess body weight, too much belly fat, and a diet filled with too much sugar and processed foods. Since diet is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers, your diet should consist of real, unprocessed, unmodified natural foods. Think fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, fish, legumes, and other lean protein.
Balancing your hormone levels naturally has been shown to help lower your risk of breast cancer, where as traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been shown to increase your risk. Our natural hormone balancing protocols work to naturally restore balance to your hormones by supplementing with natural, plant-based progesterone. This gives your body the necessary building blocks to make its own cortisol, allowing estrogen and testosterone to balance naturally without negative side effects.
In an article recently published online by thetruthaboutcancer.com, they state: “While estrogen can fuel a tumor’s growth, progesterone puts the brakes on that growth. Progesterone is a key physiologic hormone of women. But while natural progesterone has an anticancer effect, synthetic progesterone (found in birth control pills and hormone replacement supplements) does not. For example, research shows that the synthetic version progestin (medroxyprogesterone) is not only linked to breast cancer, but that those cancers tend to be more aggressive and deadlier.” This article also points out, “The late John Lee, MD, author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer, was on to this years ago. He maintained that when activated by progesterone, the progesterone receptors attach themselves to the estrogen receptors. Once this happens, the estrogen receptors stop turning on genes that promote the growth of the cancer cells. Instead, they turn on genes that promote the death of cancer cells (known as apoptosis) and the growth of healthy, normal cells. Yet few seem to have been paying attention to his advice. Therefore, many doctors continue to villainize progesterone and progesterone status.” 4
5. Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and arugula enhance liver function and help to break down excess estrogens. Cruciferous vegetables also help stop the cell division of damaged or cancerous cells. 5
6. Cut out alcohol.
Research consistently shows that drinking alcoholic beverages – beer, wine, and liquor — increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol also may increase breast cancer risk by damaging DNA in cells. 6
7. Quit smoking and steer clear of second-hand smoke.
Smoking causes a number of diseases and is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. Research also has shown that there may be link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. 7
Smoking also can increase complications from breast cancer treatment, including:
- damage to the lungs from radiation therapy
- difficulty healing after surgery and breast reconstruction
- higher risk of blood clots when taking hormonal therapy medicines
8. Get moving!
Let’s face it, our bodies were not designed to sit behind a desk all day or to lay on the couch all night watching TV. Our bodies were designed to move. Engaging in regular, low to moderately intense exercise is good for you for many reasons, and one of them is to lower your risk of getting breast cancer. Many studies conducted over the past 20 years have shown consistently that an increase in physical activity is linked to a lower breast cancer risk.
Building lean muscle mass helps burn fat and sustain your weight loss. Adding resistance training will benefit your heart as well as your muscles, while adding shape and firmness. Any activity that raises heart rate helps your mood, brain health, and more. We emphasize resistance training because it has the added benefit of keeping your body strong and flexible as you age. Working out, and ensuring you’ve added some sort of resistance, a minimum of thirty minutes, three times a week, is key to keeping your body fit and healthy as you age. Other examples of moderate intensity activities include; brisk walking, dancing, leisurely bicycling, yoga, golfing, softball, doubles tennis, and general yard and garden maintenance.
How does the BeBalanced approach differ from treatment with the synthetic drug Tamoxifen?
Tamoxifen is the oldest and most-prescribed selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). Since its approval in 1998, tamoxifen has been used to treat millions of women and men diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. But is Tamoxifen your best choice when it comes to cancer treatment? Maybe not.
Listed on breastcancer.org are the long list of side effects Tamoxifen can cause. It states, “Tamoxifen’s selective estrogen activation effects can cause some serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, and endometrial cancer.”
The most common side effects of tamoxifen are:
- increased tumor or bone pain
- hot flashes
- mood swings
- hair thinning
- dry skin
- loss of libido
This is because, unlike natural hormone balancing which increases progesterone levels to balance out estrogen, it only lowers estrogen levels. Estrogen is an important hormone that is helpful for numerous functions in the female body. It is only when it becomes out of balance that PMS and menopausal symptoms occur. This is precisely why the side effects of Tamoxifen mimic that of a hormone imbalance. 8,9
If you think you might be suffering from a hormone imbalance or want more information about hormone balancing and its relation to breast cancer, contact us today to book a free consultation at one of our centers nation-wide. We offer both in-person and virtual appointments.
1 Study finds new link between breast cancer risk and weight
2 Insulin resistance and breast cancer
3 Higher insulin levels linked to worse prognosis in metastatic breast cancer
4 The truth about progesterone and breast cancer
5 Jellinck, P.H., J. J. Michnovicz, and H. L. Bradlow. “Influence of Indole-3-carbinol on the Hepatic Microsomal Formation of Catechol Estrogens.” Steriods 56(8) (1991): 446-450.
6 Drinking alcohol
8 Bergman, E. “Risk and Prognosis of Endometrial Cancer after Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer.” The Lancet 356 (2000): 881.
10 Breast Cancer risk factors