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Breast cancer screening debate – are we looking in the right place?

Posted Nov 07 2009 12:00am

The recent news that the US Preventative Services Task Force recommends changing the age and frequency  for mammogram screenings has many women confused and angry. After all, breast cancer is still a top killer of women in the US.ss_womenshealth

The American Cancer Society reports breast cancer rates have risen about 30% in the past 25 years in western countries, due in part to increased screening. In the United States, though, breast cancer rates decreased by 10% between 2000-2004, largely due to a reduction in hormone replacement therapy.

Perhaps we should be putting more effort into publicizing the ways in which women can take an active role in preventing breast and other cancers NOW:

1. Follow a plant-based diet: Avoiding animal foods like meat and dairy greatly reduces cancer risks for many types of cancer, including breast cancer.

2. Maintain a healthy weight: Weight gain in midlife has been shown to significantly increase breast cancer risk.

3. Starting now, exercise regularly – for the rest of your life: Regular exercise provides amazing protection against breast cancer. Get 30 minutes or more of moderate aerobic activity daily.

4. Minimize or avoid alcohol: Alcohol use is the most well established dietary risk factor for breast cancer.

5. Go WHOLE grain: Cut out white foods: white flour, rice, potatoes, sugar and products containing them. These foods trigger hormonal changes that promote cellular growth in breast tissue. Instead, eat whole grains and beans and legumes. (For a great bread replacement, try Food For Life’s Ezekiel Bread )

6. Eat MORE fruits and vegetables: At least 7 servings a day. The best foods for breast cancer protection are lightly cooked or raw cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) ; dark leafy greens (collards, kale, spinach) ; carrots and tomatoes. The best fruits are citrus, berries and cherries.

7. Eat organic: Avoiding carcinogenic pesticides and herbicides is the best way to eat. Organic foods are also higher in vitamins and minerals.

Be well,

Alexandra

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