Today kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is the time when organizations, foundations, and individuals promote breast health. From now through October 31st women will be encouraged to take preventative measures to reduce their chances of getting breast cancer. So, in recognition of this month, I will happily join the bandwagon. After all, Plant Food ROCKS was created to promote the benefits of following a plant based diet to Reduce the Onset of Cancer and Kill Sickness.
I have two recommendations. My first recommendation is to “Eat Green” – in particular, cruciferous green vegetables. Green vegetables such as kale, cabbage, collards and broccoli are called cruciferous vegetables. In his book, Super Immunity, Dr. Joel Furhman explains the benefits of cruciferous vegetables. He say, “all vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition: they have sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent or bitter flavors. When their cell walls are broken by blending or chopping, a chemical reaction occurs that converts these sulfur containing compounds into isothiocyanates (ITCs) – an array of compounds with proven and powerful immune boosting effects and anticancer activity.”
My second recommendation is to “Think Pink”. To promote breast health, there is a simple thing that ALL women can do – perform regular Breast Self Exams. Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states,“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. If you’re not sure of how to properly perform a self exam, here’s a link. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam.
Now, speaking of mammograms, there has been a lot of controversy in recent years about what age women should begin having mammograms. Depending on your health history, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer, the initial age may vary. Here are some basic guidelines as recommended by the National Cancer Institute:
Women age 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years.
Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer (for example, because of a family history of the disease or because they carry a known mutation in either the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 gene) should talk with their healthcare providers about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them.
These are the first of several recommendations I will make this month to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of prevention. In the meantime, remember, “Eat Green, Think Pink!
Question: What are you doing to promote breast health this month and why?