More and more women are being diagnosed with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer.
If you are a cancer survivor, you most certainly do not want to have a cancer recurrence. If you have never had cancer, I am certain that you know someone who has and that you deeply hope and pray that you will not become a cancer patient yourself.
Most women do not realize that there are dangerous factors in their everyday modern lives that increase cancer risk.
Knowledge is power. Put a stop to some common choices and habits and you could save your own life. Instead of getting chemotherapy, surgery, radiation for breast cancer, you could be out hiking in nature or taking a nice long nap.
Some of the simple, yet powerful ways you can have a chance at a cancer-free life:
1. Too Much Stress/Not Enough Sleep
The demands of our lives with increased stress, little time to relax and not enough sleep leads to increased levels of stress hormones which lower our immune response and raise our blood sugar. High cortisol and high blood sugar increases cancer risk.
2. Too much body fat
More and more teens and women are overweight and overfat. Fat cells produce hormones and also produce high levels of inflammation. Both elevated hormone levels and high inflammation increase risk of cancer.
3. Hormone prescription drugs
We are manipulating our normal physiology with birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, often increasing our exposure to cancer stimulating, proliferative hormones.
4. Chemicals in our food
Many pesticides and herbicides as well growth stimulating feed additives end up in our food and in our bodies, increasing hormone stimulation and setting the stage for increased cancer risk. Wash your produce well and consider buying only organic, GMO-free foods.
5. Chemicals in our body care products and cosmetics
Most commercial body care products and cosmetics are preserved with chemicals called parabens. Many of the colorings and lathering agents are also potentially carcinogenic. Over the course of women’s lives, there is daily exposure to these chemicals which are absorbed into the body through the skin increasing cancer risk. In Europe, many of these chemicals are banned from use.
6. Fewer and later pregnancies
Women now delay pregnancy until later in life and have fewer children. This means more lifetime exposure to estrogen and increased risk of cancer. In modern life many women choose not to have children at all, removing the natural break from estrogen exposure that has been part of women’s health history for centuries.
7. Less breastfeeding
Similarly, many women choose not to breastfeed at all or breastfeed for only a short period of time, rather than the typical 18-24 months. And of course women who never have children, also never breastfeed. This means there is no break from menstruation and hormone stimulation which increases cancer risk.
8. Not enough physical activity and exercise
Modern life is sedentary. Sitting in our cars, sitting at our jobs, sitting in school, sitting in front of a computer or a television, surfing the web, texting. Regular exercise stimulates regulation of hormones and blood sugar, helps us detoxify and eliminate environmental toxins, keeps us lean and reduces our food cravings, and helps us get a good night’s sleep, all of which lowers cancer risk.
9. Exposure to Pollutants
Many chemicals found in the modern industrial world are potential carcinogens and/or hormone modifiers. Depending upon where you live or work and the choices you make in daily life, you may have significant exposures to cancer causing chemicals over a long period of time. While a small one time exposure may not be high risk, small exposures over long periods of time increase risk of cancer for some women.
It is hard to believe, but women still smoke. Exposure to tobacco smoke increases risk of not only lung cancer, but also breast cancer. Women who smoke also have a higher risk of bone fracture and osteoporosis.
What can you do? Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Go through your home, one room at a time. The bathroom is a good place to start. Read labels. You will realize how many chemicals you are being exposed to. Then, decide you will buy only safe products, made with natural ingredients that won’t harm you or your children. Here is one of my blog posts on that subject: Cancer Causing Chemicals: Poisons in Your Bathroom.
The next room is the kitchen. Look at cleaning supplies. Look at packaged food. Read those labels. Now make a commitment to replace those products that introduce chemicals into your home environment and your body and alter your health in negative ways.
Make a commitment to buy organic, chemical free, fresh unprocessed foods whenever possible so that you are not eating herbicides and pesticides and food waxes with antibiotics or hormone disrupters on a regular basis.
Relax, meditate, take a nap, get a massage, stop, take some deep breaths. When you relax deeply your body increases the production of Natural Killer Cells. Their name says it all, these are immune cells that can kill cancer cells.
When you don’t get enough rest and relaxation, you have fewer NK cells and are more vulnerable to cancer and infections. Make a window of what I call “Sacred Time” every day. Start with 5-10 minutes each day. Every one can hide in the bathroom for that long!
Start by just sitting quietly, closing your eyes and taking long deep breaths or stopping to watch the sunset. Feel your system switch gears. As you build this habit and this skill you will find that you are also building a robust immune system.
You can begin today to take steps to change your risk factors for cancer.