If you have followed my articles over the last couple of weeks, you have successfully enhanced your breast cancer awareness. This is an important accomplishment during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now it’s time to take what we have learned so far and turn our newfound knowledge into actions. Are you ready to start reducing your breast cancer risk in only 7 days?

I’ve designed my intense 7-Day Prescription for Healthier Breasts to help you accelerate your proactive fight against breast cancer. Want to feel much better about your breast health? Just follow my 7-day plan. Over the next seven days, we’ll devote one day to each day of my 7-day plan. Let’s get started!


Day 1 is the day dedicated to scheduling an appointment with your doctor, and reviewing your family history. Here’s what you need to schedule:

A Vitamin D3 blood test
Specifically, ask for a “25-hydroxyvitamin D” blood level test. Don’t start taking Vitamin D3 until you get your test results back. Your doctor may want to put you on a 50,000 IU weekly prescription dose to quickly restore your levels.

A mammogram if you are over 40 (or over 35 if you have a family history of breast cancer)
Mammograms detect breast cancer in the earliest, most treatable stage, and find cancer an average of 1 to 4 years before you can even feel a lump. Ask your doctor about digital mammograms, and the newer “3T MRI” diagnostic test that is much more powerful than a mammogram for detecting early breast cancer.

A discussion about stopping estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Unless your doctor can give you a life-threatening reason that you should remain on HRT (combined estrogen plus progestin), it should probably be stopped. Hormone replacement is often prescribed for women entering menopause to stop uncomfortable hot flashes and night sweats. Overwhelming scientific evidence documents that HRT increases your risk of invasive breast cancer by 24% [1]. In fact, the government halted the main research study early because HRT’s health risks were so dangerous. More recently, a group of Sloan-Kettering doctors reported a 400% increase in breast cancer risk after just 3 years of HRT use [2]. HRT also increases your risk of heart disease [3], stroke [4], blood clots [5], dementia [6], and urinary incontinence [7]. Menopausal discomforts can be handled naturally. A recent study at The Johns Hopkins Hospital showed that soy protein rich in soy antioxidants can effectively reduce the discomforts of menopause including hot flashes and night sweats [8]. Studies show that flax lignans can also reduce menopausal discomforts.

A discussion about anti-breast cancer drugs
If you are at high-risk for breast cancer, or breast cancer recurrence, you should discuss anti-breast cancer drugs with your doctor. Several classes of drugs, including drugs that block estrogen from binding to estrogen receptors and drugs that lower production of estrogen, could help lower your risk.

A discussion about genetic testing
If you have a family history of breast cancer, then I recommend that you consider a genetic test to see if you are at increased risk. If you have genes that make you more likely to get breast cancer, you can become super proactive and vigilant. Researchers, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have recently found genes that play a key role in the spread of breast cancer to the brain [9]. The more you know now about your inherited risk now, the better you can fight breast cancer now.

A lesson on breast self-exams
Have your doctor teach you a proper breast self-exam so you can perform it monthly regardless of your age. You are the best person to monitor changes in lumps and bumps in your breasts.

Explore your family history
Finally, call or email your blood-related family members (including distant ones) to inquire if anyone in the family has/had cancer. Knowing “what runs in your family” is important. Ask your mom if she took DES (diethylstilbestrol) during pregnancy. Let your doctor know what you discover. Day 1 is a busy day, but well worth the effort to reduce your risk.

Tomorrow… Day 2!


1. Chlebowski RT, Hendrix SL, Langer RD, Stefanick ML, Gass M, Lane D, Rodabough RJ, Gilligan MA, Cyr MG, Thomson CA, Khandekar J, Petrovitch H, McTiernan A for the WHI Investigators. Influence of estrogen plus progestin on breast cancer and mammography in healthy postmenopausal women. JAMA 2003; 289:3243-3253

2. Li CI, Malone KE, Porter PL, Lawton TJ, Voigt LF, Cushing-Haugen KL, Lin MG, Yuan X, Daling JR. Relationship between menopausal hormone therapy and risk of ductal, lobular, and ductal-lobular breast carcinomas. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 2008; 17:43-50.

3. Manson JE, Hsia J, Johnson KC, Rossouw JE, Assaf AR, Lasser NL, Trevisan M, Black HR, Heckbert SR, Detrano R, Strickland OL, Wong ND, Crouse JR, Stein E, Cushman M for the Women’s Health Initiative Investigators. Estrogen plus progestin and the risk of coronary heart disease. New England Journal of Medicine 2003; 349:523-534.

4. Wassertheil-Smoller S, Hendrix S, Limacher M, Heiss G, Kooperberg C, Baird A, Kotchen T, Curb D, Black H, Rossouw JE, Aragaki A, Safford M, Stein E, Laowattana S, Mysiw WJ for the WHI Investigators. Effect of estrogen plus progestin on stroke in postmenopausal women. The Women’s Health Initiative: a randomized trial. JAMA 2003; 289:2673-2684.

5. Cushman M, Kuller LH, Prentice R, Rodabough RJ, Psaty BM, Stafford RS, Sidney S, Rosendaal FR for the Women’s Health Initiative Investigators. Estrogen plus progestin and risk of venous thrombosis. JAMA 2004; 292:1573-1580.

6. Shumaker SA, Legault C, Rapp SR, Thal L, Wallace RB, Ockene JK, Hendrix SL, Jones III BN, Assaf AR, Jackson RD, Kotchen JM, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Wactawski-Wende J for the WHIMS Investigators. Estrogen plus progestin and the incidence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment in postmenopausal women. The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2003; 289:2651-2662.

7. Hendrix SL, Cochrane BB, Nygaard IE, Handa VL, Barnabie VM, Iglesia C, Aragaki A, Naughton MJ, Wallace RB, McNeeley G. Effects of estrogen with and without progestin on urinary incontinence. JAMA 2005; 293:935-948.

8. Basaria S, Wisniewski A, Dupree K, Bruno T, Sony MY, Yao F, Ojumu A, John M, Dobs AS. Effect of high-dose isoflavones on cognition, quality of life, androgens, and lipoproteins in post-menopausal women. Journal of Endocrinological Investigation 2009; 32:150-155.

9. Bos PD, Zhang XHF, Nadal C, Shu W, Gomis RR, Nguyen DX, Minn AJ, van de Vijver M, Gerald WL, Foekens JA, Massague J. Genes that mediate breast cancer metastasis to the brain. Nature 2009; 459:1005-1009.

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