Practical Lifestyle Changes That Can Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Up to one-third of breast cancer cases in Western countries could be avoided if women make simple lifestyle changes according to recent research. Experts estimate that approximately 30 per cent of all breast cancers in Western countries are linked to diet and lifestyle habits, renewing a sensitive debate about how lifestyle factors affect the disease.

The following are practical and common-sense lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of breast cancer

1. Avoid Pesticides

Pesticides, along with PCBs, dioxin and other environmental contaminants may act as endocrine disrupters– interfering with hormonal action and body functions. This makes them possible risk factors for hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer.

Recent studies by the National Cancer Institute in Hawaii suggest that repeated exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals, chlordane/heptachlor and 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane, may play a role in the development of breast cancer.

Many pesticides are estrogen or androgen mimicking chemicals that can interrupt your natural hormone production. The correct balance of all hormones is necessary for good health. Both too little and too much of any one hormone can create health problems.

The molecular structure of some pesticides closely resembles that of estrogen. This means they may attach to estrogen receptor sites in your body. Although studies haven’t found a definite link between most pesticides and breast cancer, researchers have learned that women with elevated levels of pesticides in their breast tissue have a greater breast cancer risk.

2. Avoid chlorinated water

Studies show that there is a high correlation between chlorine and breast cancer, said Tim Hickey, co-founder of

The rise in patients with Breast Cancer among women in North America has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, found that; “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines in their breast tissue than those without breast cancer.”

One of the most shocking revelations common to all of these studies is that up to 2/3s of our harmful exposure to chlorine is due to inhalation of steam and skin absorption while showering. A warm shower opens up the pores of the skin and allows rapid penetration of chlorine and other chemicals in water.

Chlorine can easily be removed from water by using a good quality water filter.

3. Reduce Bra Wearing

In a study by Singer and Grismaijer in 1995, 3 out of 4 women studied who wore a bra for 24 hours a day developed breast cancer compared to 1 out of 168 who wore a bra rarely or never.

In the early 1990s, medical anthropologists, Sydney Singer and Soma Grismaijer, studied 4,500 women in 5 cities across the U.S. about their habits in purchasing and wearing bras, and later published their findings in the book, Dressed to Kill. Though the study did not take into account other lifestyle factors, the results are too striking to be denied:

That is a huge difference, and the implication is clear.  Your first line of defense in preventing breast cancer is to severely limit how many hours a day you wear a bra.

Bras do NOT cause the cancer initially but they restrict the flow of lymph within breast tissue, thereby hindering the normal cleansing process of the breast tissue.  Many environmental toxins and pesticides that cause and promote cancer are “fat-loving” and so tend to reside in the breast tissue.  Lymph fluid carries away waste products, dead cells, and toxins.


  • Avoid wearing a bra.
  • Consider substituting a tank top, or camisole.
  • Check the lingerie section of department stores for bra alternatives which are becoming more popular.
  • If you do wear a bra, try to shorten the hours that you wear it.

4. Avoid antiperspirants and deodorants

Commercial deodorants and antiperspirants may block the protective detox mechanism of the armpit. Although breast cancer has never been linked directly to deodorants, parabens have been found in surgically removed breast tissue. Try health food brands and avoid aluminum, parabens, and propylene glycol (antifreeze) ingredients. Talc also been associated with ovarian cancer but has not yet been studied for breast cancer.

5. Stop smoking!

Researchers have found that smoking may be an important risk factor for breast cancer among Caucasian women who are post-menopausal, and have a weakened form of an enzyme important in detoxifying carcinogens. The report, appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is a collaboration between The State University of New York in Buffalo, N.Y. and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md.


“This study shows that a link between smoking and breast cancer exists, and may have important implications for certain populations,” said Peter G. Shields, M.D., one of the authors of the study from NCI’s Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis. For most scientists, smoking has not been among the list of breast cancer risk factors.

“This study shows that genetic susceptibility to carcinogens in cigarette smoke is a risk factor for breast cancer and may help to resolve the inconsistencies in previous studies,” he continued. “It also implies that an important number of the world’s women are susceptible to breast cancer if they are exposed to tobacco smoke.”

6. Avoid second hand smoke

Scientists at an influential California agency have concluded that secondhand smoke causes breast cancer, a finding that could have broad impact on cancer research and lead to even tougher anti-smoking regulations.

Breathing secondhand smoke increases breast cancer risk by 70% in younger, primarily pre-menopausal women. The California Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that passive smoking causes breast cancer and the US Surgeon General has concluded that the evidence is “suggestive,” one step below causal. There is some evidence that exposure to tobacco smoke is most problematic between puberty and first childbirth. The reason that breast tissue appears most sensitive to chemical carcinogens in this phase is that breast cells are not fully differentiated until lactation.

Overall, women exposed to secondhand smoke have up to a 90% greater risk of breast cancer, the report says. It says secondhand smoke kills as many as 73,400 a year in the United States Alone.

7. Avoid Alcohol

A recent study found that even modest drinking (an average of half a serving to one serving of alcohol a day) ups breast cancer risk by 16% in pre-menopausal women and 18% in post-menopausal women. Alcohol causes a spike in production of estrogen and prolactin (a hormone that, at elevated levels, increases breast cancer risk). And alcohol kills liver enzymes, which help eliminate toxins and excess estrogen, Horner says.

8. Avoid BPA In Plastics

Don’t put your coffee, tea or other such hot beverages in plastic – Use ceramic mugs and glasses instead.

BPA is an estrogen-like compound found in plastic bottles and plastic containers.

BPA mimics estrogen, plugging into hormone receptors; causing endocrine disruption. In pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and young and prepubescent children, it can have critical impacts, rewiring our developmental profiles and opening up our risks for cancers and physical and behavioral abnormalities. Lab tests suggest that chronic, low-dose exposure to bisphenol-A — like drinking out of a coated cup or polycarbonate bottle daily — may cause women to have greater chances of breast cancer and polycystic ovary syndrome, a leading cause of infertility, and men to have increased odds of prostate cancer and reduced sperm counts.

BPA mimics the sex hormone estradiol (estrogen), which can trigger major changes in your body. Of 115 published animal studies, 81 percent found significant effects from even low-level exposure to BPA.

The amount of dangerous bisphenol A (BPA) that leaches from plastic bottles into the drinks they contain is most dependent on the liquid’s temperature, according to new research. When both new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles were exposed to boiling hot water, BPA was released 55 times more rapidly.

9. Avoid Antibiotics

In the first U.S. study of its kind, researchers found that “increased use of antibiotics was linked with increased risk of breast cancer.” The study, reported in the February 2004 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showed a strikingly higher rate of breast cancer among women who took antibiotics than among those who did not. However, researchers aren’t sure how to explain the link and say that additional research is necessary before any hard conclusions can be drawn from the study.

A study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute found that, antibiotic use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The more antibiotics the women in the study had used, the higher their risk of breast cancer.

According to current understanding, there are a couple of possible explanations for why antibiotics might lead to breast cancer. One theory is that antibiotics can affect bacteria in the intestine, which may impact the way certain foods that protect against cancer are broken down in the body. Another possibility is that antibiotics can affect the body’s immune response and response to inflammation, both of which could be related to the development of cancer.

10. Detoxify

The body eliminates toxins naturally all the time through the kidneys and the colon. But many toxins imitate nutritional minerals and hormones and get into the cell walls, bones and ligaments. Some toxins can even fit into hormone receptor sites on cell surfaces. When this happens, normal elimination doesn’t work efficiently and the healthy functions of these tissues are damaged.

A excellent detoxification method is Juice Fasting.

Juice fasting is a safe and easy way to detoxify the body. Fasts have been recorded in ancient history, and have been a part of many religions since time immortal. Many people with various medical conditions have discovered, that going on a short-term juice fast is an excellent method of eliminating accumulated bodily toxins.



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