Health & Wellness

Let’s focus on prevention during breast cancer awareness

Each year in October we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most of the fundraisers and events are focused on the forever search for cures to this disease which affects so many. As a nutritional therapist/writer I have spent my career focusing on prevention and supporting my clients/readers towards their goal of optimum health.
We all have a choice: to go down the hallway of life towards illness and disease, or in the other direction toward a long and healthy life. As a cancer survivor myself, I chose the latter, and always search for resources to support this goal. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an organization that I often refer to and is dedicated to finding potential toxins in our environment and bringing our awareness to them.
EWG recently published the following Cancer Prevention Tips:
According to a past report from the President’s Cancer Panel, environmental toxins play a significant and under-recognized role in cancer, causing “grievous harm” to untold numbers of people. EWG’s own research has found that children are born “pre-polluted” with nearly 300 industrial chemicals, pesticides and contaminants that have been found to cause cancer in lab studies or in people.
Four of every 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and two of every 10 will die from it. Beyond talking to your doctor about lifestyle changes that are known to make a difference – stopping smoking, reducing drinking, losing weight, exercising and eating right – there are additional things you can do to reduce your risk.
Here are simple ways we can reduce exposure to potentially cancer-causing chemicals:
Filter your tap water. Common carcinogens in tap water include arsenic, chromium and chemical byproducts that form when water is disinfected. A simple carbon tap-mounted filter or pitcher can help reduce the levels of some of these contaminants. If your water is polluted with arsenic or chromium, a reverse osmosis filter will help. Learn about your tap water and home water filters at EWG’s National Tap Water Database.
Seal outdoor wooden decks and play sets. Those built before 2005 are likely coated with an arsenic pesticide that can stick to hands and clothing. Learn more from EWG.
Cut down on stain- and grease-proofing chemicals. “Fluorochemicals” related to Teflon and Scotchgard are used in stain repellents on carpets and couches and in greaseproof coatings for packaged and fast foods. To avoid them, avoid greasy packaged foods and say no to optional stain treatments in the home.
Stay safe in the sun. More than one million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. To protect your skin from the sun’s cancer-causing ultraviolet (UV) radiation, seek shade, wear protective clothing and use a safe and effective mineral sunscreen from EWG’s sunscreen database.
Cut down on fatty meat and high-fat dairy products. Long-lasting cancer-causing pollutants like dioxins and PCBs accumulate in the food chain and concentrate in animal fat. Please note: this is a reason to purchase raw and/or organic dairy products and meat from pasture-raised animals.
Eat EWG’s “Clean 15.” Many pesticides have been linked to cancer. Eating from EWG’s Clean 15 list of the least-contaminated fruits and vegetables will help cut your pesticide exposures. (And for EWG’s Dirty Dozen, always choose organic.) Learn more at EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.
Cut your exposures to BPA. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic estrogen found in some hard plastic water bottles, canned infant formula, and canned foods. Some of these chemicals cause cancer in lab studies. To avoid them, eat fewer canned foods, breastfeed your baby or use powdered formula, and choose water bottles free of BPA. Get EWG’s tips to avoid it.
Avoid carcinogens in cosmetics. Use EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetic database to find products free of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer. When you’re shopping, don’t buy products that list ingredients with “PEG” or “-eth” in their name (these chemicals are often tainted with contaminants linked to cancer).
Read the warnings. Some products list warnings of cancer risks – read the label before you buy. Californians will see a “Proposition 65” warning label on products that contain chemicals the state has identified as cancer-causing.
These are carefully researched suggestions toward avoiding exposure to cancer causing environmental toxins.
We have many choices to make in our lives; let’s all celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by choosing to walk down the hallway of life towards optimal health! To learn more about EWG and use their databases find them on the web at Salud!



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