Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society (lung cancer kills more women each year). Every October brings an annual awareness campaign, stressing the importance of regular self-exams and getting screened for breast cancer. While early detection can led to a more favorable prognosis, cancer treatments, and even surgery, are often needed.
Studies on the breast cancer recovery process have indicated that exercise and dietary choices may play a role in improving the quality of life and lowering the risk of reoccurrence for survivors. These studies point survivors toward diets that are:
- Packed with carotenoids (orange-colored fruits or vegetables, spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, tomatoes, and salmon)
- Low in starchy carbohydrates
- Limited in saturated fats and alcohol
- Rich in whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Include the spice Turmeric to your diet (you may need a supplement to get enough curcumin)
Aerobic exercise is also recommended to help maintain an ideal weight, improve cardiovascular fitness, increase energy levels and help alter the activity of your body’s enzymes. As offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this can include 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly such as walking briskly, jogging, biking, tennis, or any continuous activity that raises the heart rate and causes you to break a sweat. Strength training is also recommended at least two times per week.
Breast cancer prevention starts with healthy lifestyle habits and changes. It’s important to understand what you can do to lower your risk.