As we have discussed for about a year and a half now, many diet and lifestyle choices have a substantial impact on breast cancer, whether it be the risk of developing breast cancer, the chances of breast cancer recurrence, or breast cancer outcomes. However, few studies have attempted to develop a 'healthy lifestyle index' that incorporates many of the individual lifestyle choices we have discussed and then examined the impact of an overall healthy lifestyle index on breast cancer risk.
A new study published online in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention has done just that. For this study, 1,000 breast cancer patients and 1,074 healthy control subjects in Mexico were enrolled from 2004 - 2007. A healthy lifestyle index was developed by examining eating habits, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, and tobacco smoking. The breast cancer researchers defined a healthy lifestyle index as a combination of moderate to vigorous exercise, low consumption of fat, low consumption of processed foods, low intake of refined cereals, low consumption of complex sugars, and avoidance of alcohol and tobacco. Analysis of the link between breast cancer incidence and the healthy lifestyle index showed that leading a healthy lifestyle had a rather dramatic breast cancer protective effect. Compared to women leading the least healthy lifestyle, premenopausal women leading the healthiest lifestyle had a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk. Similarly, postmenopausal women in the group with the greatest healthy lifestyle index had an 80% reduction in breast cancer risk compared to postmenopausal women with the least healthy lifestyle index.
While these results might be what we would expect, it is good to see additional confirmation that an overall healthy lifestyle has a breast cancer protective effect. Many of the studies we have discussed in the past have examined individual lifestyle choices. These studies have shown that individual choices like maintaining a healthy body weight, reducing or avoiding alcohol consumption, not smoking, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and more each helps in our fight against breast cancer. This current study demonstrates that a lifestyle that includes most or all of these choices can substantially reduce one's risk of ever developing breast cancer. Developing an overall healthier lifestyle will almost certainly be more difficult than it sounds. That is why I developed my 7-Day Prescription for Healthier Breasts . Making the necessary changes towards developing a healthy lifestyle is easier when done one day at a time.