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October Breast Cancer Awareness–What Can You Do to Protect Yourself

 By Dawna Matthews:

We’re a little late with this article since technically October was breast cancer awareness month however, everyday should be breast cancer awareness day.

October is one of my favorite months of the entire year. For me, it always symbolizes a time to reflect on the year, as well as a time to harvest all the beautiful bounty in my life. One amazing crop I have been blessed with is a friend and dear soul sister who is just incredible. This past breast-cancer-awareness-ribbonspring I planted some seeds of sisterhood and visited her after a long journey through breast cancer. This visit healed me on so many levels and really brought a profound awareness of how precious life is, how dear each moment is, and how we can truly heal and transform our lives.

October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer and other cancers, many forget to take steps to detect the disease in its early stages. Many people think it’s not something they have to worry about, but as humans it can affect all of us because it strikes women.

All women are at risk for breast cancer — 100% of women, no matter how young or old, rich or poor, how educated or not, regardless of sexual orientation, ethnic background, or the color of their skin. While we may not be able to stop cancer completely at this time, we can at least take giant steps toward preventing it. Here are some steps to prevention and overall wellness. If you can do even one of these, it will make an enormous change in your overall health and constitution. It may just save a life too!

Let Food Be Your Medicine: I have written several pieces about the importance of whole, real, organic foods. Eating a healthful diet seems to account for our basic overall health and well-being and prevention of diseases including cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Eat a diet with a wide variety of mostly plant based organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, whole grains, and organic lean proteins. Be sure to include omega-3 rich fats while reducing refined, processed, fast foods, and limiting your alcohol to no more than one drink a day. By engaging in this type of nutrient-rich eating, you will help prevent breast cancer and other diseases. Plus, eating fresh whole foods just tastes good! A healthful diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight — a key factor in breast cancer prevention.

Be Mindful of Your Weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause. Please be gentle with yourself and start slowly, maybe incorporating a few new habits at a time. Changes can be as simple as less salt or no sugar. Build on these new habits one week at a time. Additionally, physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight which, in turn, helps prevents breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week. Simple and relaxing exercise such as a walk around in your environment, yoga, or anything which interests you (maybe roller skating orBreast cancer awareness -1354546 swimming) can feel amazing as well as reduce stress and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Detoxify your Life: Many scientific studies have indicated that exposures to common chemicals and radiation including those with food, alone and in combination, may contribute to the unacceptably high incidence of breast cancer. In our modern life, we are constantly exposed to so many toxins from exhaust, chemicals, radiation, metals, and other harmful elements. Some ways to reduce your exposure include using nontoxic, chemical-free everyday products such as cleaners, and beauty and hygiene products. Also, use only BPA-free plastics and microwave safe containers (limiting use of microwaves is recommended). Also important is limiting medical testing which requires x-rays or other medical-imaging methods that use high doses of radiation and have been linked with breast cancer risk. Limiting exposure from an early age is crucial — especially in our young females, as breast tissue is developing and breast structures that have not fully developed are particularly sensitive to the detrimental effects of environmental toxins.

Prevention goes so far, and I like to think it’s better to be proactive and prevent rather than be reactive and try to cure. Eat healthfully, reduce your toxicity exposure, exercise, and stress less.Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention is something we can all do every day by using the tips above. October is a beautiful time to reflect on the year as well as on those who make our lives a little brighter and fill out hearts with joy. I am so grateful for my beautiful friend and how she taught me to love life and empower myself to prevent disease.

For more information:

http://www.breastcancer.org/

For reading on nutrition and environment and cancer:

http://caring4cancer.com

http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf

A great resource on products, human health, and the environment:

http://www.ewg.org/

About Dawna Matthews

Dawna is a yoga teacher, writer, domestic goddess, and lover of life. She tries to celebrate all the joys given to us in this world by dancing, singing, cooking, and gazing up at the sky. Dawna believes green living is a way of coming back to the self- a simple yet deeply satisfying dance of gratitude to mother earth and each one of us. She lives in Colorado where the mountains are a perfect backdrop to each day. She twirls daily.

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