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Wellness with Natalie: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

No doubt anyone who reads this column has been touched by cancer in one way or another. Personally, a loved one, or just someone you know. The prevalence is high, approximately 4 in 10 people will be diagnosed with cancer and only ½ of that number is related directly to genetics.

This means lifestyle-related cancer incidence is 2 in 10. And as we enter Breast Cancer Awareness month, we want to dedicate this column to raising Breast Cancer Awareness. We will give you real tips that you can implement in your life to help you in avoiding this disease.

I lost my best friend - a lovely spirited woman, a wife and mother of a kindergarten aged boy - to this dreaded disease, so if this column can help one of you prevent or detect early it will be mission accomplished.

Top 3 well known causes:

  • Obesity – get on track with a sustainable, healthy weight loss program

  • Poor diet – Make gradual shifts towards less processed foods, less fast food, less sugar, more vegetables and fruits.

  • Chronic Inflammation – Avoid sources of inflammation such as wheat (gluten), dairy (casein) saturated fats, trans fats, omega 6 fatty acids, artificial sweeteners, soy, and corn.

Top 5 not so well known causes:

  • Scented candles and air fresheners – the volatile organic compounds released into the air from artificially scented cleaning products mix with air to cause harmful compounds that we inhale. To name a few, we should be weary of limonene, fragrance, parfum, phthalates, DEP, DBP, and DEHP. Suggestion: According to Breast Cancer Prevention partners (, avoid synthetic scents.

  • Alcohol – A 2016 study published in the British Journal of Medicine linked increased alcohol consumption and breast cancer. Suggestion: Reduce alcohol consumption and take extra folate the day after you do.

  • Food packaging – Fast food packaging (wrappers and boxes), microwave popcorn bags and paper plates contain grease proof chemicals called perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs and PFASs). These chemicals seep into the food. Solution: Eat fresh meals at home or at restaurants that do not wrap foods or package them.

  • Burnt or fried foods – When starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures (like deep frying potatoes), a chemical called acrylamide is released which damages DNA and is a probable carcinogen. When meats are grilled at high temperatures, the amino acids and sugars in the meat produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs) - another known carcinogen. Suggestion: Do not fry, bake instead. Pre-soak potatoes for 2 hours before frying them and marinade meats overnight in a thin, vinegar-based sauce without sugar, including things like turmeric, garlic and herbs like rosemary.

  • Sedentary lifestyle – A 2014 study published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute shows that increases in “sitting time” increase your risk of cancer, despite an otherwise active lifestyle. Suggestion: Stand up and stretch, walk around often, reduce TV time, simply incorporate movement into your daily activities.

Originally published by Loop

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