In accordance with data found by Time magazine, “Breast cancer is on the rise. Big countries have the most cases…and rates in the developing world may be even higher than the spotty data suggest.” With an increase in breast cancer rates worldwide, it is important to be aware of the ways in which you can decrease your risk. In the article “Cancer Loves Sugar: Myths and Facts”, Pam Stephan utilizes research from several universities to explore the relationship between cancer cells and sugar. She notes, “In laboratory research at Duke University, cancer cells appear to use a combination of sugar and specific proteins to keep growing when they should die.” Although sugar in your diet does not cause cancer to develop, keeping a balance of nutritious foods and natural sugars will help maintain a healthy body weight and normal insulin levels which will in turn lower your risk of cancer. More about elevated insulin levels and breast cancer here.
Further reason for maintaining normal insulin levels through a healthy diet is presented in an article by Dr. Keith I. Block: “In recent years, researchers found that women with early stage breast cancer who had the highest insulin levels were twice as likely to have their tumor metastasize, and three times as likely to die of breast cancer as women with the lowest insulin levels. For this reason, I believe any patient combating breast cancer or trying to avoid a recurrence would be wise to have their doctor routinely monitor their insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as their insulin growth factor (IGF-1).” I consider this study to be at the forefront of research and breast cancer prevention.
Another way to decrease your risk of breast cancer? Minimize alcohol consumption. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women “who routinely have even small amounts of alcohol, as few as three drinks a week, have an elevated risk of breast cancer.” Your diet, overall, should be very low or devoid of sugars–including naturally occurring sugar like fruit. I advise a 1 or 2 serving maximum of seasonal fruit, and no added sugars (yes, that also means agave).
Although we can all do our best to minimize our risk, it is still incredibly important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
What Are Signs of Breast Cancer
As we’ve all been told from a young age, the primary sign of cancer is breast lumps; however it is just as important to be on the alert for these other five signs, as presented by MSN Health: itchy, sore, or reddened breasts; upper back pain; nipple changes; a change in the shape or size of one breast; pain, swelling, or a lump in your armpit. While these signs might seem surprising and unusual, each represents a different type or stage of breast cancer and is something that must be looked out for in addition to having a typical breast exam that checks for lumps.
In addition to looking out for these breast cancer signs, it is equally important to be aware of its symptoms. The Mayo Clinic staff describes some symptoms of breast cancer: a breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue; bloody discharge from the nipple; change in the size or shape of the breast; changes to the skin over the breast; inverted nipple; peeling, scaling, or flaking of the nipple or breast skin; redness or pitting of the skin over your breast. Although most changes in your breast are not related to cancer, it is still important to make an appointment with your doctor in the case of a change. As the Mayo Clinic finds, “Even if you’ve just had a mammogram with normal results, it’s still important to have your doctor evaluate any changes.”
Yours in Health,
Stella Metsovas B.S., CCN
Staff Write: Katie Husa