Reducing your risk for Breast Cancer

In support of breast cancer awareness month(October), we wanted to look at factors that can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. More women are affected with breast cancer than any other cancer.


One of the primary risk factors is increased levels of estrogen. Factors which increase lifetime exposure to estrogen include early menarche, late menopause, and nulliparity.

A diet high in animal foods and refined carbohydrates lowers the age of menarche. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, page 160. Milk which is high in estrogen and other hormones is especially linked to early menarche.

Moreover, women on a typical western diet replete with animal products have higher levels of estrogen throughout their lives than women who are on a predominantly plant based diet.


In 2007,  World Cancer Research Fund(WCRF) and American Institute of Cancer Research Research(AICR) released 8 recommendations to lower the risk of cancer. From this list, women who practiced 5 of these recommendations reduced their risk of breast cancer by 60% compared to women who did not follow any of the recommendations. Women with lower body fat, increased physical activity, low meat intake, high plant diet, and low/no alcohol had the greatest reduction in their risk for developing breast cancer.


Besides the above healthful traits, consuming soy products in particular reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Unlike milk which contains estrogen, soy contains phytoestrogens which block the harmful effects of estrogen on breast cancers.

Soy not only lowers the risk of developing breast cancer, it reduces the risk of recurrence of breast cancer and has been shown to reduce mortality.


Often times women are distraught that they will develop breast cancer because it “runs” in their families. But, more and more research is showing that genes are not our destiny. The field of epigenetics clearly shows that lifestyle  plays a much greater role in development of cancer.

More and more research is showing that to reduce your risk of all cancers not just breast cancer, a healthy lifestyle which is centered around whole plant foods, but also includes regular exercise, stress management techniques(yoga and meditation) and community is far more important than genes or any other factor.

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