Every time I hear about another young woman who has succumbed to breast cancer, I am deeply saddened and wonder “what if”. What if she didn’t use commercial skin care, cleaning fluids, perfumes and dry cleaning, would she still have died of breast cancer?
When new patients make appointments to see me in my Chicago area office, we like to email or send them home with paperwork regarding personal care items including fragrances. Occasionally cleaning fluids and dry cleaning comes up. Certainly for my cancer patients, I try to encourage them to omit the known carcinogens from their daily lives.
Often, just talking about diet and exercise takes up much of our time, it is impossible to go into all the details of what to avoid.
Here is a link to my breast cancer prevention blog written a few years ago and here is a list of 10 simple things to do to avoid known breast cancer triggers.
1. Stop commercial dry cleaning of your clothes and air out any clothes that have been commercially dry cleaned-take it out of the plastic!
2. Never microwave food in plastic containers-even if they say microwave safe!
3. Grilled chicken on your salad is not healthy, it contains very high levels of heterocyclic amines which are known carcinogens. While it might be “low in fat” “low calories” it is carcinogenic.
4. Avoid grilled and BBQ meats as much as possible, chicken and hot dogs are the worst offenders.
5. Avoid parabens. While a small amount is fine, they add up. Breast cancer tissues have been shown to contain parabens (this doesn’t prove they are causing them but it shows the affinity for the tissue).
6. Avoid all synthetic fragrances. This is huge, synthetic fragrances are in almost all commercially available personal care items including soaps. This requires vigilance and means not shopping for these things at the CVS or Jewel. However, there are many brands available on line and at whole foods, Trader Joes and at Health Food Stores. Beware of brands that use some natural material but then add synthetic fragrances to their products.
7. Use microfiber cleaning cloths and water for cleaning. Avoid chemical cleaning fluid, especially all the chlorine containing ones. Use a bath or water filter in order to filter out all the chlorine as it is absorbed more via the skin than by drinking and is a known carcinogen.
8. Eat cruciferous vegetables every single day! Kale chips (dehydrated, over high temperature cooked, is preferable in order to avoid acrylamide formation), brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, raw cabbage salads, broccolini or broccoli rabe. You can not eat too much of this family of plants. The cruciferae contain high amounts of indole 3 carbinol or I3C, which helps metabolize hormones in to healthy metabolites.
9. Avoid crispy, crunchy baked or fried carbohydrates as they contain high amounts of acrylamides, a known breast carcinogen. Instead, opt for crispy, crunchy dehydrated crackers and chips. Easy to buy, easy to make.
10. Eat less carbs than you need and make up the calories in healthy fats such as avocado, raw nuts, raw seeds, even coconut butter. Cancers need very high amounts of glucose to survive and grow. A low glycemic/anti-inflammatory diet discourages cancer growths. And remember, alcohol is metabolized as glucose and unbinds hormones, rendering higher blood levels.
While the above list can not cover everything, it is a great start. Tests, looking at hormone metabolism are available. Also, avoiding frequent use of antibiotics as well as synthetic hormones such as the BCP and hormone laden IUD’s. The copper 7 is a time tested IUD that does not contain additional hormones. Antibiotics can alter the intestinal-liver metabolism of hormones and high use has been shown to be associated with increased risks.
It is unfortunate that many of my breast cancer patients, have a history of using birth control pills and frequent antibiotics wither for sinus issues or for acne. This is what I would consider “iatrogenic” or doctor induced, illness.
For a more in depth information regarding breasts, breast cancer and the affinity of toxins to breast tissue, I recommend the new, incredibly well researched book by Florence Williams, “Breasts, a Natural and Unnatural History.