Pesticides such as Atrazine (most common pesticide sprayed on lawns) are xenoestrogenic (mimic estrogen), as are pthalates (in plastics, most fragranced products, medical devices)-95% of us have detectable levels in our urine- BPA (plastics, canned foods including baby formula), and parabens (cosmetics, soaps), air fresheners and insect repellants. It is estimated that the average American consumes over 1 pound of pesticides per year.
Conventionally raised animal products store estrogen in their fatty tissue, as do humans. In fact, fatty tissue is our main reservoir for toxins.
Milk from cows given growth hormone which elevates Insulin Growth Factor-1, a potent stimulator of breast and prostate cancers.
Early menstruation/ late menopause. If a girl starts to menstruate at 10, her risk for breast cancer increases 50%.
Heavy metals such as cadmium (found in cigarette smoke) are hormone disruptors.
Sedentary lifestyle: Thirty minutes of exercise 5x/week can lower risk 30-50%! This is especially important in our teen years.
Metabolic Syndrome Criteria: Obesity, Elevated Cholesterol, Hypertension, High Triglycerides, High Blood Sugar: Each of these is an independent risk factor.
For those diagnosed with breast cancer, risk of recurrence within 5 years was 3-fold greater in those with Metabolic Syndrome. For those diagnosed who were able to achieve a healthy body composition, the risk of metastasis was over 40% reduced over the next 5 years.
Fats play a key role as well. The quality of fats we consume has a huge bearing on the level of inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is the hallmark of angiogenesis, which is the process by which tumor cells sprout blood vessels that allow them to spread. Studies have found that women who develop breast cancer have a lower ratio of omega 3 (fish, flax, walnuts, green leafy vegetables) compared to omega 6 (most vegetable oils) levels in their breast tissue. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition: Examined 3000 women followed for over 7 years and found that women with higher intakes of EPA/DHA omega 3 fish oils had an approximate 25% reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Vitamin D is very protective. It can block angiogenesis, and even improve the effectiveness of certain chemotherapies. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, it was found that metastatic disease was significantly worse with vitamin D deficiency.
CoQ10 is a vitamin that is depleted by cholesterol lowering medication. It supports our immune function and heart health. Deficient levels are associated with a poorer prognosis in breast cancer.
Probiotics not only support gastrointestinal health, they have direct anti-tumor properties. After chemotherapy they can help shift many of the resulting imbalances back to normal. They even assist the body in detoxification of harmful toxins as well as estrogens.