five ladies Diet and Exercise are Cancers’ Adversaries

Excluding cancer of the skin, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.  According to the American Cancer Society’s Surveillance and Health Policy Research, an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the US during 2009; about 1,910 new cases are expected among men. 
In addition to invasive breast cancer, 62,280 new cases of
in situ breast cancer are expected to occur among women
in 2009. Of these, approximately 85% will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In situ breast cancer incidence rates
have stabilized since 2000, and invasive breast cancer rates have decreased 2.2% per year between 1999 – 2005.   African American women have a 10% lower risk of developing breast cancer than white women yet are 37% more likelyto die from the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least one-third of all cancers are preventable.  Screening can detect cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages but what can you do to reduce your risk of ever getting the disease?
In general, reducing modifiable risk factors that are associated with increased oxidative stress can help.  Eliminating things such as tobacco use, eating an unhealthy diet, carrying excess body fat, being sedentary or inactive, drinking excessive alcohol, being exposed to environmental toxins and having hormonal imbalances should be your goal.
Smoking is associated with at least 15 different cancers, including breast cancer.  Nearly 30% of all cancer deaths are attributed to tobacco use.
Excess body weight, particularly abdominal (visceral) fat increases the risk of breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, prostate, stomsch and uterine cancers.
Although consuming alcohol in moderation, particularly red wine, has been associated with health benefits, there is a strong link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer.  In my May 2009 newsletter, I reported on the “Million Women Study” that suggested low to moderate alcohol consumption among women is associated with a statistically significant increase in cancer risk.  Women should limit alcohol to one drink per day or avoid it altogether.
Following a Mediterranean diet has consistently been associated with reduced risk for chronic degenerative disease, including cancers.  A study in the British Medical Journal in 2008 found a 12% reduced cancer risk in individuals that closely follwed a Mediterranean style diet compared to controls.  Soluble fiber was also found to be inversely associated with breast cancer risk; “As soluble fiber increases, the risk of breast cancer decreases” according to a 2009 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Vitamin D and antioxidants are crucial in reducing your risk of breast cancer.  The role of vitamin D is discussed spearately.  A study reported in April 2009 in the International Journal of Cancer found a moderate increase in breast cancer risk in women with low dietary intake of antioxidants and antioxidant supplements.  In early laboratory research, resveratrol  was found to suppress the abnormal cell formation leading to most types of breast cancer and in mice, curcumin inhibited growth of metastatic breast cancer cells.
Exercise is probably the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth.  It has been consistently associated with health inprovement, better body composition, lower rates of cardiovascualr disease, dementia and cancer.  According to a joint study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and AARP n 2008, “women who engaged in more than 7 hours per week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise for the {previous} ten years were 16% lesslikely to develop breast cancer than those who were inactive…”  Multiple studies in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute since 2005 have shown up to a 20% reduced risk of developing breast cancer in women who increased their lifetim physical activity level, with the greatest benefit realized by starting before age 20.
Getting adequate sleep is important for overall health and cognitive function, but a study from Japan’s Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine last year found that sleeping less than 7 hours was associated with a 62% increase in breast cancer risk.
Hormone balance is a controversial topic in women’s health.  There is little dispute, however, that the proliferative effects of estrogen need to be balanced by the antiproliferative effects of natural progesterone.  This is best accomplished in the peri-menopausal or post menopausal woman with bioidentical hormones.  Ensuring that estrogen is metabolized in a benefical manner is also essential.  There are two main estrogen metabolites; 2-hydroxyestrogen and 16 alpha-hydroxyestrogen.  The 2-OH estrogen is considered the “good type because it does not cause breast cell proliferation.  the 16 alpha-OH has a strong affinity for the estrogen receptor and strongly stimulates cell proliferation in estrogen sensitive tissues.  It has been shown to play a role in the preservation of bone tissue, therefore an optimal ratio of the two is important.  A third metabolite, 4 hydroxy (4OH) estrogen promotes cancerous changes but does not bind to the estrogen receptor; rather it directly damages cellular DNA.  Synthetic estrogens, like Premarin, reduce the formation of 2OH estrogens and are typically metabolized to the 4OH estrogen; good reasons to avoid them.
So, making a few lifestyle modifications can help you look better, feel more vital and reduce your risk of many chronic degenerative diseases including breast cancer.