Dear Mom, 7 Steps to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

by Steven Wright

An open letter to all moms from us kids… 

Mom – I don’t appreciate you enough and this past Mother’s day was wonderful. We bought you cards and gave you the flowers you deserve. But the gift I wanted to give you is undeliverable, not for sale and out of my hands. I wanted to give you a box of fool-proof, anti-cancer pills. Sadly, they don’t exist and never will.

The Latest cancer statistics are 1 in 2. And that means one of us is headed for an awful battle and shorter lifespan. Breast cancer isn’t nearly as bad at 1 in 8 women. Gross! These stats make me first sick to my stomach and then they make me mad as heck.

I hate it, I’ve seen what it’s done to our loved ones and family members. No one deserves it.

You and I both know prevention is the key… the treatments are toxic and painful. I want you to know that your fate isn’t predetermined, genetics don’t matter as much as you think and God wouldn’t wish it upon you.

You have a choice in this matter! Everyone does.

This isn’t about SCD or Paleo, or about digestive health… this is about breast cancer, and from the research I’ve been reading lately it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 7 simple steps that just might prevent you from getting breast cancer…

Swap the Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate

I know you love your chocolate, especially those milk chocolate M&Ms. But many times sugar feeds the cancer. There’s no way around it. Taking away the number one food source for cancer seems like a no-brainer for me. If it can’t grow, it can’t kill you and what we feed it matters.

Beyond the sugar, there’s industrial seed oils, dyes, and other chemicals in that bowl of bright little happy pills. In general, milk chocolate is likely missing most of the good things and filled with plenty of cancer-promoting stuff.

I know you love your chocolate, so that’s why I just want you to upgrade. Start eating real dark chocolate, the kind that’s at least 70% chocolate.

Here’s why:

Watch this when you get a chance – it’s an awesome TED talk on the Power of Real Chocolate from nutritionist, Sean Stevenson. The point of this is real chocolate can be a health tonic supporting you in many ways, whereas cheap, low-quality chocolate could really hurt you.

My favorite is Hachez 88%.

Supplement with Iodine or Eat More Seafood

As Iodine consumption has gone down, breast cancer has gone up. That doesn’t prove anything, but there are plenty of strong associations.  Research now associates breast cancer and low iodine levels. There is also research correlating breast cancer and thyroid problems. Iodine is very important for proper thyroid function, balanced estrogen levels, and protecting us from chemicals like bromide and fluoride.

It’s thought that most soil is low in iodine these days. That makes it even more important to get plenty of iodine from other sources. Eating a lot of sea vegetables and seafood is one way, and you could still protect yourself using Iodine supplementation. There’s really no downside of iodine supplementation that I can find, except that you should do it in conjunction with selenium.

Let’s keep this simple, I think you should start supplementing with iodine regularly, or start eating 2-3 servings of sea vegetables (seaweed for example) or shrimp each week.

There are plenty of success stories to support it’s use in supporting breast health.

Stop Using Parabens in Your Personal Care Products

Parabans are now a ubiquitous ingredient in female lotions, shampoos, makeup and other personal care products. If it doesn’t say Paraban-Free on the package, it’s likely in your stuff. Why should you care? Well, it turns out these chemicals aren’t healthy for us… especially when they start bouncing around inside of us.

The State of Evidence 2008 report on breast cancer says the following:

“State of the Evidence 2008 demonstrates that a significant body of scientific evidence links exposures to radiation and synthetic chemicals to an increased risk of breast cancer.”

Parabens mimic estrogen, and as I linked to above excessive estrogen is a huge factor in breast cancer. And there are likely many other currently unknown reasons to not put parabens on your face everyday. A recent study showed 99% of patients with breast cancer sampled in the study tested positive for at least one type of paraben.

Use Paraben-free from now on, k?

Don’t Eat or Drink Out of Cans (Avoid BPA)

The sum of all the findings…

“strongly suggest that BPA is a breast carcinogen in humans and human exposure to BPA should be curtailed”

…the SFgate reporting on a new study from the National Academy of Sciences.

BPA, bisphenol-A, is a chemical that made its first appearance in consumer goods in the 1950’s. Since then, it’s been used in all kinds of plastics, including drink containers, DVDs, cell phones, cash register receipts and almost all of the lining of cans that contain baby formula, soups, and vegetables.

Lucky for us, we live in the United States. Unlucky for us, our government doesn’t seem to care as much for us as say the European Union or Canada. Both countries banned BPA in either all or some products. Do they know something our FDA doesn’t? Not sure, but the evidence is stacking up that BPA isn’t good for us. Here’s what health researcher Chris Kresser has to say about it:

“We’ve known for decades that BPA has estrogenic activity. In vivo animal studies and in vitro cell-culture research has linked low-level estrogenic activity associated with BPA exposure to all kinds of fun stuff, like diabetes, ADHD, heart disease, infertility and cancer.”

Even small, low doses are now thought to be toxic. It’s not a huge change, but can you stop using canned goods? Thanks.

Here are a few that are okay, but everything else is off limits.

Dump the Vegetable and Seed Oils

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that if you want to be cancer free, then a strong immune system is a must? Well then, it’s time to stop buying and eating vegetable or industrial seed oils. This includes canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, soybean oil and generic vegetable oil. 

The common factor in all these oils… they are very high in Omega-6 fat. Higher amounts of Omega-6 fats are straight up toxic to our health. It’s not that you won’t get some Omega-6 each day in your diet, it’s that it should be in balance with Omega-3 and these oils throw the balance way off.

So, other than being healthy, in general, what do these toxic fats have to do with Cancer? Most of them are associated with prostate cancer, except this recent paper that associated high consumption of Omega-6 fats to breast cancer. They concluded, based on their research

“[that a diet] very high in omega-6 PUFA may promote breast cancer development”

I think Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D. said it best:

“There’s a large body of evidence implicating excess omega-6 fat in a number of cancer models. Reducing omega-6 to below 4% of calories has a dramatic effect on cancer incidence and progression”

There are many other oils, like olive oil and coconut oil that are healthy alternatives to these. Here’s my favorite brand of coconut oil, called Nutiva. And while we’re on the subject, butter is just fine but try to get the grass-fed kind.

Reduce Plastic Usage… Especially in Food Storage

The word xenoestrogens is derived from Greek words that literally means “foreign estrogen.” I talked about two above in BPA and Parabans, both of which have estrogenic activity in the body. Chemicals that have estrogenic activity either mimic or antagonize the actions of naturally occurring estrogens. I think our friend, Chris Kresser, said it very well:

“The best way to think of chemicals with EA is as a counterfeit key fitting into a loose lock. When these chemicals activate the estrogen receptor, they produce an increase in circulating estrogen, which in turn can cause problems such as early puberty in females, reduced sperm counts, altered function of the reproductive organs, obesity, increased rates of certain cancers and problems with infant and childhood development.”

It used to be that only BPA and other really toxic plastics were thought to be harmful but that’s all changing now. Unfortunately, new research of over 500 plastic products, like plastic wrap, plastic bags, Tupperware, and other food containers found that:

over 90 percent of the products leached estrogenic chemicals before they were even stressed, and after being stressed essentially all of the products showed estrogenic activity.”

Estrogen receptors are little docking stations in cells that estrogen or FAKE estrogen bind to. The breasts contain many of these stations and about 75% of breast cancers test positive for estrogen receptor activity. When this is found, a very common treatment will be a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). These pills block the estrogen docking stations in the breasts but not other areas of the body. 

In other words, one of the most common treatments for breast cancer is to reduce the amount of estrogen activity in the breasts. So, any excess estrogen, especially fake estrogens, are likely to end up in your breasts.

There are lots of alternatives and I know you’re trying to use less plastic, so this is really just a reminder to invest more in non-plastic alternatives and stop trying to reuse all the plastic stuff lying around.

Please Relax, Everyone Will Be Okay

I know you care deeply about all of us, you wouldn’t hurt a fly, but you’re also slowly killing yourself if you keep all this worrying up. Stress spikes hormones and lowers immune system function. In general, my health professionals have told me that stress management can make or break any disease treatment. Even breast cancer…

At the University of Chicago, they’re studying the stress-breast connection. Dr. Suzanne Conzen said:

“There is some evidence that, in fact, the response to stress and unrelenting stress produces a hormone that does increase the size of tumors”

They found 989 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous three months and asked them a lot of questions to assess their level of stress. It turned out that there was an association between stress and the disease – the women who scored highest for stress were more likely to have a more aggressive form of breast cancer.

I appreciate the fact that you have a right to worry about me, or anyone else for that matter, but it makes me really sad and mad to see you tired, frazzled and forgetful more and more these days.

I can tell you need more sleep, more laughter and more peacefulness in your life. I know this because I’ve observed you for 26 years. I really hope you start to value yourself as much as we value you. Because it breaks my heart to see you worry about all of us and run yourself into the ground.

I know this is a fine line and that the worry for your children will never completely leave. But then again it’s time for me to put my foot down and give you the tough love you deserve… stop doing so much, stop cleaning, baking, cooking, caring, volunteering, working, talking, watching and take some time for you.

On a daily basis, unplug and remove some of the stress in your life. Even if it’s only for a few minutes. You know I’m no saint here and I deal with plenty of stress.

It’s Not All or Nothing – Let’s Work Together

This isn’t supposed to be overwhelming and it’s not supposed to be “do” or “die.” I know this is life, change is hard and things happen. But I also know that if you make an effort in each of the areas above (and improve just a little) your chances of breast cancer drop! And when they do you’ll be around longer and in better health. We are all works in progress, but with a little effort we can make dramatic changes in our health. Yes, if you’re wondering this is also selfish, I’m going to need some help with my kids someday. 🙂

Has cancer affected your life? Tell me below.

Love,

Steve

P.S. – Please share this and pass it on to women in your life. Prevention is the key, help your loved ones take steps to reduce their risks.

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About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy May 18, 2012 at 8:22 am

Yes Steve, cancer has affected my life. Three of my grandparents died from cancer. Both of my parents are cancer survivors.

Reply

Steven Wright May 18, 2012 at 8:35 am

@ Cathy – Thanks for sharing, it touches way to many of us.

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maria diabetes-nurse May 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

no cancer- but lots of thyroid, autoimmune diseases

Reply

Robin June 26, 2012 at 6:52 am

Truth about breast cancer? Read Dr. John Lee’s book -What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer.

Reply

Kay November 23, 2013 at 7:58 am

Steve, thank you for this, from a mom of two bright young professionals such as yourself. I have always been very interested in preventing this disease, and took many of the precautions mentioned in your fine article. So when it did affect my life, the news was surprising but not devastating, as I had also gathered much knowledge ahead of time. Perhaps your other mom-readers who believe that prevention is critical and knowledge is power will gain from my story. Grace and Peace, K
http://dcisnorads.blogspot.com/2013/07/packing-for-journey-im-kay.html

Reply

Sonji July 17, 2016 at 10:19 am

Double Breast Cancer Conquer. Hallelujah to God!!!! Just finished series of chemo, radiaction, herceptin.. I AM CANCER FREE PRAISE GOD AND THANK YOU DR. STEVE FOR sharing your HEARTFELT Expertise on steps to fight bc!!! I will share your article and apply the 7 steps to my NEW lifestyle!!! GOD BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY!!!

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