Are You at Risk? How to Identify Your Major Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

In this 3-minute clinic we discuss the two major risk factors that contribute to breast cancer, from a Preventive & Integrative Medicine perspective, and what you can do about it.

Be sure to check out 3 Foods to Eat to Prevent Breast Cancer and The Role of Emotional Stress & Breast Cancer for more breast cancer prevention tips.

You can also join us for a FREE WEBINAR and learn the top strategies for building your body’s natural breast-cancer fighting capacity and decreasing your risk for breast cancer.

“Welcome to the 3-minute clinic where we review tools and strategies to be well and stay well for the rest of your life. Today’s subject is breast cancer and breast cancer awareness. As a matter of fact, we just passed breast cancer awareness month, so my question is, what did you discover? What did you learn about breast cancer? Can you identify the risk factors that lead to breast cancer? Can you identify what your risk factors are that might lead to breast cancer? Do you know what causes breast cancer? Because here’s what you need to know. What causes it—what puts you at risk for breast cancer; how to prevent it; what early detection is all about; and how to treat it. That’s really what I need you to know. So let’s talk today about the cause of it, because breast lumps are very common and breast cancer is common. Approximately 1 in 8 women in our society today will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, nearly one third of all female cancers are breast cancers, and some 75-80% of women have a breast lump at one point or another in their life, which could eventually deteriorate or degenerate into breast cancer. This is a very common subject, so let’s review what could be causing it. Now what are the risk factors? What causes it? So let’s review four possible causes. Is it due to genetics or inheritance, number 1? Is it something you catch like the cold or the flu, you go to the nursery, and you catch it? Number 3, is it just a matter of being a victim or being at the wrong place at the wrong time—in other words, is it bad luck—or number four, is it due to your lifestyle choices? Well, in my experience, when I say lifestyle choices, I mean your thinking patterns, your nutritional patterns, your activity patterns, your exercise patterns, and your emotional patterns. Now I strongly believe that lifestyle factors are the key factors that contribute to breast cancer. And when we talk about risk factors, we’re really going to talk about the things that put you at risk. I don’t believe that genetics is that big of a risk factor. In my experience, 3-7% of breast cancers may be linked to genetic predispositions, but I don’t believe a person is born and they are programmed forty years later to have breast cancer–that they’re genetically programmed to have it. I think that people have a predisposition and depending on their environment and depending on their lifestyle it can either express itself or not express itself. What’s even more interesting to me is this: the majority of women that get diagnosed with invasive breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer. So I cannot put a big factor on inheritance. What I can put a big factor on is the immune system–your immune system–and your Immune Power. So what puts you at risk for breast cancer? What are the two greatest risks? Well, I put them into two categories. To me breast cancer is a hormonal imbalance–it is a disorder of a hormonal imbalance. And the things that put you at risk are in your metabolic area and in your stress area. So what do I mean by metabolic risk? What I mean by metabolic risk is this. Unless you have the right foods—that is, having nutritional stress or nutritional imbalances, put you at risk for breast cancer. In other words, a diet that is too high in fat and too low in fiber puts you at risk for breast cancer. Being overweight puts you at risk for breast cancer. Drinking alcohol or drinking too much alcohol, puts you at risk for breast cancer. And then there’s the emotional stress factors. The buried emotional stress, the buried anger, the suppressed emotions, high levels of emotional stress put you out of balance emotionally. You see, nutritional imbalances and emotional imbalances, in my experience, are your risk factors that you want to identify. But keep in mind, you have the power, you have the ability–by developing your immune system, by developing metabolic balance, by developing nutritional balance, by creating emotional balance–you have the power to prevent breast cancer.”

  • By Lauren Meadows, August 31, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    The good news is breast cancer has a high survival rate. Let’s keep working on staying healthy and spreading the word…

  • By Joseph Jacobs, August 31, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

    Looking forward to your next post about this topic!

  • By Aggie, August 31, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    There is so much breast cancer awareness today, so it is good to have some other information on how to ward off this disease.

  • By nighttrainrex, August 31, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    Thanks for spreading the word. Now I am anxious about the other topics you mentioned, like detection.

  • By meltzer, August 31, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    thanks for all your comments and thoughts! We’ll have a full series of videos coming out on Breast Cancer Awareness over the next couple months so stay tuned!

  • By Melissa Ingram, August 31, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

    although I agree with you that the risk factors are predominantly external, I do think that some have more of a predisposition for it.

  • By Connie Sellers, August 31, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

    here are risk factors you cannot control: being a woman (100 times more common than in men), age (higher the older you get), and race (white women are more likely to get breast cancer).

  • By Theresa Hammond, August 31, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    I too am more interested in the prevention and detection of breast cancer. Please speak more about this.

  • By Debbie Gibson, August 31, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

    Breastfeeding lowers your chances of developing breast cancer. Another great reason to do the natural thing!

  • By Kathy Pollard, August 31, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    Once again we see that stress and our diet have a tremendous impact. When will people start to listen??

  • By Luis Scott, August 31, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

    Although I applaud you for placing focus on other risk factors, as a breast cancer survivor I feel a bit angered that you place so much of the blame on factors we can control.

  • By Sharon Cooper, August 31, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

    how about talking about prevention??

  • By meltzer, August 31, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    Hi Luis…thanks for your thoughts and let me commend you for everything you’ve been through as a breast cancer survivor. I’m sorry that you were upset by this post, but let me see if I can elaborate on it to help clarify where we are coming from. The purpose of the post was not to create shame or blame. By no means does anybody deserve breast cancer, or any degenerative illness for that matter. The focus of the post, however, is to create self-awareness that our lifestyle factors have the biggest influence on our long-term risk for breast cancer, and that there is a lot we can do, regardless of our age or genetic predisposition, to prevent breast cancer. this is a point that doesn’t get communicated clear enough through the media, despite the growing body of evidence based research that suggests it. Through the process of self-awareness, we can create self-empowerment, and empower individuals with the education and resources they need to prevent breast cancer. Thanks for the opportunity to let us explain and help clarify our message.

  • By anna, August 31, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

    I found this very informative, thank-you for all of the information.

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