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Breast Health Care Guide

By Dan H.  Thursday 1st October, 2015
Breast Health Care Guide

Breast Health Care Guide

According to statistics, 1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer at some point in their lives. Early care and attention can therefore save lives. But what should you be doing to keep yourself in the best of health? Read on for our breast health guide…

Watch Your Alcohol

Drink less than 14 units of alcohol per week. The risk of breast cancer increases by between 11% and 17% when more than 4 units of alcohol are consumed per day. 

Get Active

Participating in 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily has been shown to reduce estrogen levels, which is thought to lower the risk of breast cancer. Exercise has a plethora of other health benefits from improving cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal health to combatting inflammation and regulating psychological wellbeing. The key is to find methods of exercise that you enjoy and can sustain over the long term to reap the wide range of health benefits. 

Check Family History

1 in 5 women who develop breast cancer have a significant genetic history of the disease. If a close relative developed it before the age of 40 it is wise to discuss your concerns with your GP.

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Being overweight or obese increases the chance of cancer in all age groups. Aside from increasing your risk of various cancers, being overweight also increases the risk of a myriad of health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and osteoarthritis. 

A healthy weight is classed as a body mass index (BMI) of between 18.5-24.9, with overweight being classed as 25-25.9 and obese being 30+. You can calculate your BMI here: https://www.simplysupplements.co.uk/healthylife/bmi.php

Examine

Be aware of the look and feel of your breasts and armpits. If you experience a change in the shape, texture, colour or experience a strange pain or rash, seek advice from your GP as soon as possible. 

Screening

Ensure that you receive a screening, especially for women aged 50-70 years of age who should attend every 3 years. Early detection can save lives (you are also still entitled to screening when you are over 70 years of age by appointment with your GP).

Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods

Paying more attention to what we put on our plates could go a long way towards preventing cancer as well as many other chronic diseases. The government have recently updated the eat well guide which shows that we should mostly focus on eating wholegrains, fruits and vegetables with also an appreciable amount of lean protein and dairy. Red meat, oils & spreads and ‘junk’ food should only be eaten in small amounts and many have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer. By achieving these recommendations, individuals will obtain rich quantities of vitamins, minerals and fibre to maintain good health and regulate body weight. 

Manage Stress

Chronic stress negatively affects our bodies on numerous fronts due to the elevated levels of stress hormones. Over time this can impair cardiac function, psychological health and the immune system alongside many others. Stress can also disturb sleep which will only exacerbate the problem. Stress and depression have also been linked to a vulnerability to breast cancer.

To combat the problem, it is crucial that stressors are dealt with directly. For helping to improve sleep quality, ensure that your bedroom is dark and cool, caffeine has been limited after 5pm and that blue light from televisions, laptops, tablets and smartphones has been curtailed an hour before bedtime. 

Supplements have also become a popular way to help get a better night’s sleep. Supplements such as 5HTP, tryptophan and tart cherry extract have been shown in scientific investigations to stimulate the production of melatonin, which in turn improves sleep quality.

Beware of Parabens

Parabens are chemicals used in many products from food to deodorants and makeup. Since 1998 studies have raised concerns about their link with cancer. They seem to possess estrogenic properties that have been linked with the growth and development of breast cancer. 

Take Fish Oils

Fish oil is known to reduce inflammation, which has in turn been linked to the development of breast cancer. A study of over 35,000 women revealed that 30% were less likely to develop breast cancer when taking fish oils regularly. Fish oils provide the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which are essential nutrients. Aside from reducing inflammation, these fatty acids aid heart, cognitive and visual function. A fish oil supplement could be beneficial for millions as it is thought that only a third of us are meeting the government recommendation of two portions of fish per week, with at least one of these being oily. 

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