October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and according to the Maurer Foundation (https://www.maurerfoundation.org/high-long-island-breast-cancer-rates-fact-or-fiction/), Long Island sees a 13%-18% increase in cases statewide. The reasons behind this upsurge is a constant area of speculation, although external environmental factors do not seem to play a big part. While there are many groups and organizations currently studying this anomaly, we as individuals living on Long Island can take certain pro-active and preventative actions.
Start with speaking with your trusted health care provider about your concerns and overall health. Together, you will decide the best way to move forward with your health care. You will discuss lifestyle changes and medical testing that best suit your needs.
The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org) offers some articles on Breast Cancer Prevention. Some suggestions include limiting hormone therapy, avoiding exposure to radiation and controlling your weight. While I cannot speak specifically to cancer, I can offer some lifestyle changes that are proven to keep your immune system strong, which helps fight off foreign invaders in your body.
First, try to steer clear of preservatives and artificial ingredients in your foods. The cleaner you eat, the better your body absorbs the nutrients in the food. Add in foods rich in anti-oxidants daily, such as spinach, blueberries, pecans and even organic dark chocolate. Anti-oxidants help protect your cells from free radicals (atoms that cause illness/aging by damaging healthy cells).
Exercise is another habit you should add into your day. Simply walking for an hour is enough to help boost the immune system, releasing antibodies and white blood cells responsible for assisting in destroying viruses and such. If you take it a step further and add weight training into your routine, you will build more lean muscle mass, which combats obesity. Obesity is linked to many diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancers. Weight training also helps strengthen ligaments, tendons and bones, reducing your risk of injuries, which is a nice bonus.
Avoid toxic skincare. Yes, it is an extra, time consuming step to check out the ingredients in your lotions and shampoos, but it just may be worth it. Toxic ingredients have been linked to certain cancers, including breast cancer, in many studies. You have probably already heard to avoid aluminum in your deodorant, but what about your other toiletries? Phthalates, formaldehyde, BHT and parabens have been getting a bad rep and for good reason. Read more about your skincare, check ingredients and safety at www.ewg.org .
Do your own research, speak with your doctor, ask questions, read medical journals and studies that are essential to your specific needs and most importantly, spread awareness. The more people know, the more they can make the necessary changes for their optimal health.
And one more thing, do not fear monger or judge. Both of those are detrimental to mental and emotional health, both which are just as important as our physical health. Be well.