Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Primary Prevention of Breast Cancer

Primary prevention of cancers is a serious challenge but there are numerous studies that provide a reason for optimism.  Although factors outside our control like genetics can play a role as a breast cancer risk, women as well as men can actively engage in behaviors that have been demonstrated to be extremely important in preventing breast and other cancers.

The following is not an exhaustive list but it does represent the conclusions and expert opinions from this year (2010) that provide compelling evidence for the primary prevention of breast cancer.  Most of this same research supports conservative strategies to improve survival rates of individuals who have had breast cancer.  Chiropractors who engage in a true “wellness” practice should be well versed and educate their patients to prevent breast cancer.  The following are presented in no particular order or strength of evidence.
Exercise:  “There is strong and consistent evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of several of the major cancer sites, and that between 9% and 19% of cancer cases could be attributed to lack of sufficient physical activity in Europe. Public health recommendations for physical activity and cancer prevention generally suggest 30-60 min of moderate or vigorous-intensity activity done at least 5d per week.”

Vitamin D:  “Colorectal cancer risk reduction with adequate vitamin D status is well documented. Protection has also been observed for cancer at all sites, skin, prostate, and breast.”

Saturated Fats & Alcohol:  “So far, the only well established nutrition-related risk factors for BC are obesity and alcohol consumption.”

Obesity:  “Weight, weight gain, and obesity account for approximately 20% of all cancer cases. Evidence on the relation of each to cancer is summarized, including esophageal, thyroid, colon, renal, liver, melanoma, multiple myeloma, rectum, gallbladder, leukemia, lymphoma, and prostate in men; and postmenopausal breast and endometrium in women.”

Diet:  “Our findings support the hypothesis that a diet characterized by vegetables, fruit, and soy has an early-acting protective effect on breast carcinogenesis.”  Another study contrasting Asian and Western diets concluded that “A recent meta-analysis showed that soy intake was inversely associated with breast cancer risk in Asian but not Western populations, which indicates that protection against breast cancer may require that women consume levels of soy typical in Asian diets”.

Salt:  “Reducing salt intake, especially during pregnancy, also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer and many other diseases, as well as obesity.”

Low Level Radiation:  Previous studies have not found a strong association between smoking and breast cancer but this recent research concluded that “Exposure to genotoxic stresses such as radiation and tobacco smoke can cause increased cancer incidence rate as reflected in an in depth meta-analysis of data for women and breast cancer incidence.” 


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