Manage the Risk of Breast Cancer by Adopting Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Most Primary Care Physicians recommend a breast exam and screening mammogram for their prevention strategies of breast cancer. Although these are options for screening, cancer is a chronic disease where many body systems are out of balance, there is a lot more that can be done to promote good health. I encourage women to become proactive and adopt healthy lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. The following information consists of recommendations based on a study of 800 articles that looked at successful lifestyle modifications that influenced the prevention of breast cancer.

In 2009, the AICR (American Institute of Cancer Research) issued an updated report suggesting that lifestyle changes could prevent an estimated 38% of all breast cancer cases, about 70,000 cases each year. New data collected since the report’s publication shows that modifications in diet and exercise can indeed decrease breast cancer risk by more than one third. In addition, the report outlines how a variety of dietary constituents impact the risk for many types of cancer. Some specific recommendations from the report are summarized below:

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Physical activity should be a part of your daily routine. Exercising 3 to 5 times a week has proven to have beneficial effects on almost all chronic diseases. Find an activity that you enjoy, this should help you stick with the regimen.

BODY FAT: Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight. Your total fat should be between 20 and 25%. The Body Composition Analysis (BCA) is a great tool to help manage the ratio of fat, fluids, and solids. This test takes a few minutes and can be done at Preventive Medicine.

FOOD and DRINK THAT PROMOTE WEIGHT GAIN: Limit consumption of high glycemic foods: starchy foods, breads, white pasta, pastries, donuts, cakes, etc. Avoid sugary drinks: juice with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving, soda, kool-aid, etc. The information provided in the report recommends eating at least 5 servings of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruits daily. Eat relatively unprocessed cereals and/or legumes with every meal.

PLANT FOODS It is best to consume a plant based diet. This diet should include a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables that have a variety of colors. I advise eating locally grown or organic food whenever possible. Legumes such as peas, beans and lentils are plant based and provide a good amount of dietary fiber and protein to meet your daily needs. I further recommend consuming grains in their whole form rather than products made from their flour.

ANIMAL FOODS: Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat. If you eat meat, it is better to get them from sources that allow animals to roam in a free-range pasture, not given hormones, antibiotics, or kept in a feed lot. Remember the data from The China Study: humans need to limit their consumption of animal protein to less than 10 percent of their total protein for the day. For example, if a person needs 60 gm of protein per day, then 10 percent is a mere 6 grams. One egg provides 6 grams- that would satisfy your protein needs for the day! Most of us need 0.5 to1.0 gram of protein per kg of body weight. To convert from pounds to kilograms simply divide weight in lbs by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs (140/2.2=63) you should try to consume less than 6 grams of animal protein per day.

ALCOHOLIC DRINKS: Limit alcoholic drinks. Women are allowed two to four drinks a week, if tolerated or desired.

PRESERVATION, PROCESSING, PREPARATION Limit consumption of: salt preserved, salty, or salted foods.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS: Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet, with targeted supplementation based on your specific needs. This is determined through gene or nutritional testing. At Preventive Medicine we offer Estrogenomics which checks genetic potential for detoxification, bone health, inflammation, and clotting potential. We also offer several options for nutritional testing.

BREASTFEEDING: When considering pregnancy plan on breastfeeding exclusively for six months and continue with complementary breastfeeding thereafter. Breastfeeding is protective for both the mother and child.

CANCER SURVIVORS: Follow the same recommendations for cancer prevention.

TOXICITY: In addition to the above stated recommendations, at Preventive Medicine we address toxicity on many levels. Toxicity can be the root cause of many chronic illnesses. I recommend eliminating all commercial household cleaning products and toxic garden pesticides. Replace them with safe, organic and biodegradable brands. Drink pure filtered water and reduce stress.

We have several tools to assist the body with detoxification, such as Foot Detoxification, nutritional changes, and supplements such as Chlorella. These resources can be found here on our website. Every individual has specific needs and Health Plans are developed based on your consultation and lab results. You may consider doing one of our detoxification lab panels and building a customized detox plan suited to meet your personal needs. Ask a staff member for more information or to schedule a consultation.


* Citation: World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research.

* The Second Expert Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. Washington, DC: AICR; 2009.

* The China Study by T.Colin Campbell, PhD & Thomas M. Campbell II

* Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.

* UltraPrevention by Mark Hyman, M.D. & Mark Liponis, M.D.

SPECIALTY TESTING: Preventive Medicine offers two specialized tests: Estronex and Estrogenomics. These tests measure risks associated with estrogen-sensitive cancer. Schedule a visit with Dr. Rathod to determine whether these assessments are beneficial for you.

Dr. Varsha Rathod is a board certified Rheumatologist and Internist at Preventive Medicine in the Westport Plaza Area of St. Louis, MO. The practice has focused on a combination of traditional and holistic medicine since 1967. For more articles and information about integrative solutions please visit or call Preventive Medicine at 314-997-5403.

The information presented in this publication is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used for the diagnoses of any illness. It should not serve as a substitute for being evaluated by a certified healthcare provider. If you suffer from any of these conditions you should consult a physician or an appropriate health care provider.

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