What can I do to increase my chances of survival from breast cancer? 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis and the second most frequent cause of cancer mortality among women. In 2016, an estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. About 1% of those diagnosed with breast cancer are men. During the month of October we celebrate prevention and survival.  It’s also a time to address new strategies and research that increase both survival rate and foster increased prevention. I feel more research is always needed to get closer to finding a cure, but at the same time I realize the dire need to understand the cause. Though the exact cause has not yet been determined there has been a lot of research on ways to both decrease our risk of both developing breast cancer and of breast cancer recurrence. Research has directly linked excessive body weight, unhealthy lifestyle and physical inactivity to certain types of cancer.

Recommendations may seem simple, but reinforce important day-to-day advice:

  1. Maintain a healthful body weight – According to a wide scope of research, those who carry excess body weight, particularly in their midsection, are at greater risk for cancer and recurrence. Obesity-related diseases are linked to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers like breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy body weight can significantly reduce cancer risk and chance of recurrence.
  2. Maintain a healthful diet – A poor diet, one high in refined grains, saturated fat, fast food and low in fruits/vegetables and whole grains can increase your risk of developing cancer.
  3. Be physically active – According to scientific literature, exercise promotes decreased cancer risk and decreased risk of recurrence, not to mention overall well-being. The good news is, it doesn’t take hours of running uphill to reap the benefits. Simply standing instead of sitting, walking, gardening, stretching, or practicing yoga and meditation are ways to restore health.

The well-known cancer organization, The American Institute for Cancer Research, http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/ offers solid recommendations for cancer prevention and their web-site offers a wealth of information on the most current research in the field of cancer.