We are now over half-way through our 7 Days to Healthier Breasts Challenge and if you have been following the plan, you have visited your physician, dedicated yourself to a diet plan, started going to bed on time, and started reducing your alcohol consumption. Or at least started making those steps you weren’t already doing. Let’s continue our journey with Day 5…
DAY 5 TO HEALTHIER BREASTS
Day 5 is the day to eliminate all smoke from your life.
Cigarette and cigar smoke, including first- and second-hand “passive” smoke, increase your risk of breast cancer . Smoking’s influence on breast cancer has been debated in the past, with some doctors saying it didn’t cause breast cancer. The science is now clear—smoke harms your breasts.
A scientific panel recently concluded, based on new medical evidence, that smoking increases the risk of breast cancer, and that young women and girls face special risks from exposure to smoke . The panel noted that even second-hand smoke exposure during adolescence could increase the risk of breast cancer occurring later in life. Doctors recently reported that survivors who smoke have a 120% increased risk of recurrence .
Both first-hand smoke and second-hand smoke contain deadly chemicals that cause breast cancer, likely by harming your DNA which turns good normal cells into bad cancer cells. The same chemicals also destroy your collagen and elastin by inducing enzymes that chop your connective tissue in pieces causing sagging skin and breasts. Smokers look an average of 10 years older than non-smokers. These same smoke-induced enzymes help cancer in your breast clear a pathway to spread (i.e., “metastasize”). The breast cancer can then migrate to your brain, liver, bones, colon, and other tissues. Smokers even have the deadly chemicals in their breast milk, potentially poisoning their breastfed babies.
If you are a smoker, make an all out effort to quit, involving your family, doctor, prescription medication, over-the-counter alternatives, and behavioral counseling. You can’t quit smoking if you are constantly around smokers, so you will have to decide if your breasts are more important than your social group. Second-hand smoke is just as deadly. If your workplace allows smoking on the job, spearhead an effort to change the policy, or change jobs. You can get free help from www.SmokeFree.gov or the American Cancer Society’s Quitline® at 1-800-ACS-2345.
Cut smoke off at the source. Doing so could save your breasts and your life.
Sadri G, Mahjub H. Passive or active smoking, which is more relevant to breast cancer. Saudi Medical Journal 2007; 28:254-258.
Collishaw NE (Chair), Boyd NF, Cantor KP, Hammond SK, Johnson KC, Millar J, Miller AB, Miller M, Palmer JR, Salmon AG, Turcotte F. Canadian Expert Panel on Tobacco Smoke and Breast Cancer Risk. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, OTRU Special Report Series, April 2009.
Li CI, Daling JR, Porter PL, Tang MT, Malone KE. Relationship between potentially modifiable lifestyle factors and risk of second primary contralateral breast cancer among women diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive invasive breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2009; 27:5312-5318.