The National Cancer Institute’s most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are that we will have 207,090 new cases of breast cancer this year with approximately 39,840 deaths [1]. That is over 500 new cases, and 100 deaths, per day.

New medical research emphatically shows us that food and lifestyle choices can make an incredible difference in lowering risk of breast cancer. We can make specific food and lifestyle choices to lower the risk of getting breast cancer, risk of recurrence, and risk of dying from breast cancer. Every doctor, myself included, agrees that preventing a disease is much better than trying to treat or cure one. There is hope to change the future.

It’s an easy choice to live a proactive life against breast cancer, but it is an important choice that you have to consciously make each day. Right now, there are nearly two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone. That’s a bright ray of hope because most breast cancer patients survive the disease. However, some experts warn that we may not have enough breast cancer surgeons to manage all of the new cases in the coming years. Because 1 out of 8 women will get breast cancer [2], millions will be diagnosed in the next decade. It is a troubling number.

Fortunately, we are entering into a wonderful new era of actually preventing breast cancer before it happens compared with current medical efforts targeted at detecting breast cancer early or curing it after diagnosis. During the past 100 years, doctors focused primarily on drugs, tests, and medical procedures to fight disease. This has undoubtedly extended the average life span; however, we have lost sight of the overall picture that should have included vigorous research into the power of foods and plants to prevent and cure disease in addition to medicines. Luckily, doctors are finally opening their eyes to the power of food, and vigorous research on many crucial nutrition and lifestyle factors are now underway.

Widespread medical consensus exists today that eating healthy lowers the risk for many deadly diseases including breast cancer. We may not understand all of the details yet, but it isn’t an excuse to delay. Let us renew our efforts to do everything within our control to promote healing and prevention.

The purpose of my medical research is to empower you to become proactive against breast cancer now with specific food and lifestyle choices. Throughout the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I will give you concise, critical information that you can start using today. The eating and lifestyle information I will share with you should be integrated into your current medical care with your doctor.

Don’t wait around to become a breast cancer victim.


1. Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Krapcho M, Neyman N, Aminou R, Waldron W, Ruhl J, Howlader N, Tatalovich Z, Cho H, Mariotto A, Eisner MP, Lewis DR, Cronin K, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Stinchcomb DG, Edwards BK (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2007/, based on November 2009 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, 2010.

2. Ries LAG, Harkins D, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2003. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute, 2006.

Doctors often can’t explain why one woman develops breast cancer and another woman does not. However, research has shown that women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. There are many factors that can increase breast cancer risk. Some of them are briefly outlined below. Living proactively against breast cancer is easier if we understand these known risk factors.


Gender—The biggest risk factor for getting breast cancer is being female. Males do get breast cancer, but it is a very rare disease in men.

Age—The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as you get older. Most cases of breast cancer occur in women over 60, but cases in younger women seem more and more common.

Personal or family history of breast cancer—If you had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of getting cancer in your other breast, or recurrence. Additionally, your risk of breast cancer is higher if a member of your family has had breast cancer.

Reproductive and menstrual history:

· The older you are when you have your first child, the greater your chance of breast cancer.

· If you had your first menstrual period before age 12, you are at an increased risk of breast cancer.

· If you went through menopause after age 55, you are at an increased risk of breast cancer.

· If you never have children, you are at an increased risk of breast cancer.

· If you take menopausal hormone therapy (“HRT” or “HT) with estrogen plus progestin, you have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Exposure to cosmetic and environmental carcinogens—Carcinogens are chemicals that cause cancer. Certain chemicals are known to increase risk. Heavy use of certain cleansers, cosmetics, soaps, hair care products, and deodorants are being investigated.

Being overweight or obese—The chance of getting breast cancer after menopause is dramatically higher in women who are overweight or obese. Some studies suggest that being overweight before menopause also increases your risk of breast cancer.

Too much dietary sugar—Studies suggest that diets high in sugar promote cancer growth. Why? Eating excessive sugar causes excessive spikes of insulin hormone that may stimulate tumors to grow.

Drinking alcohol—Studies suggest that the more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of breast cancer.

Lack of antioxidants—As you get older, your internal antioxidant systems shut down leaving your breast tissues exposed to increased damage from free radicals. It becomes very important to shield your body with antioxidants from your diet. Getting enough of the right antioxidants is the key.

Vitamin deficiencies—Lack of a specific anti-breast cancer vitamin (Vitamin D) in your body is believed to greatly increase your risk of breast cancer (and many other diseases).

Lack of physical activity—If you are physically inactive throughout your life, you have an increased risk of breast cancer. Being active may help reduce risk by preventing weight gain and obesity, and stimulating your immune system to fight cancer.

Certain breast changes—Some women have cells in the breast that look abnormal under a microscope. Having certain types of abnormal cells (called “atypical hyperplasia” and “lobular carcinoma in situ [LCIS]) increases the risk of breast cancer.

Gene changes—Genes are blueprints that tell your body how to build things. Changes in certain genes increase the risk of breast cancer. These genes include “BRCA1”, “BRCA2”, and others.

Heritage—Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women than Latina, Asian, or African American women. New research data shows that breast cancer, although less frequent, is more aggressive and deadly in African Americans.

Radiation therapy to the chest—Women who have radiation therapy to the chest (including breasts) before age 30 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.

Breast density—Breast tissue may be dense or fatty. Older women whose mammograms (breast x-rays) show more dense tissue are at increased risk of breast cancer. Prescription hormones increase breast density.

Taking DES (diethylstilbestrol)—DES was given to some pregnant women in the United States between about 1940 and 1971. Women who took DES during pregnancy may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

Mammograms and self-exams—Early detection of breast cancer is critical to stop spread of cancer to other parts of your body. Failure to perform monthly breast self-exams, and to get regular mammograms is a deadly mistake.

Get your FREE copy of FIGHT NOW by Aaron Tabor, MD and Lillie Shockney, RN with life-saving breast cancer risk reduction information. Choose to fight now against breast cancer. Beliefnet's goal is to give away 1,000,000 free breast cancer books during the month of October, so please share with your loved ones.

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