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3 Surprising Ways to Lower Risk of a Breast Cancer Recurrence Naturally

Over 2.9 million women in the U.S. have a history of breast cancer.  Health challenges can continue for some women who have conquered their breast cancer treatment and are now living cancer free.  And there is still the risk of a breast cancer recurrence or the development of a new cancer at a different body site.

However, science now shows that helpful lifestyle changes can lower the risk of a breast cancer recurrence.  The good news is that these same changes can also lower the risk of any type of new cancer developing as well. So to all the breast cancer survivors out there, here are 3 surprising facts on lowering your risk of a breast cancer recurrence…

#1 – Cut The Fat

Eating less fat helps lower risk of recurrence. A study in women with breast cancer who were taking your standard chemotherapy and radiation found that those women who ate a low-calorie and low-fat diet had a significant reduction in recurrence. (Reference: Kiechle et al. Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 2016;2:74)

An easy, no fuss way to lose weight is by adding greens to your breakfast. Women who drank a spinach drink for breakfast for 3 months straight lost 11 pounds. The really good news is that they didn’t do any extra exercise during these 3 months.  And the really, really good news is that they did not have to go on any fad diets during the 3 months.  They also had the extra benefit of lowering their levels of “bad” cholesterol AND they reported fewer cravings for processed foods (Reference: Montelius C, et al. Appetite. 2014;81:295)

An easy way to lower fat, help reduce food cravings AND get more greens (and cruciferous vegetables) in your diet is with our…

4 Easy Vegan Recipes for Summer guide right here

#2 – Exercise

Surprisingly some breast cancer survivors have lowered their risk of death from this disease by 95%. A recent study suggests that by jogging 2.25 miles every day resulted in this positive effect in women (Reference: Williams P, et al. Int J Cancer. 2014).

Not quite up to this physical challenge just yet?  Well, we all start somewhere, so you can work your way up to that level of intensity (with your doctor’s permission of course) by doing some sort of regular physical activity (e.g. 30 min of brisk walking 5 times a week). Even regular physical activity can reduce your risk of a recurrence by 50%. PLUS, breast cancers survivors also noticed they had improved memory with regular exercise (Reference: Phillips SM, et al. Psycho Oncology. 2016)

#3 – Lower Inflammation

Sometimes we become inflamed (like when you stub your pinky toe against the coffee table and it swells).  This temporary inflammation is helpful because it speeds up healing. However, persistently high levels of inflammation can cause certain cancers to form and promote its spread in the body. An easy way to test if you have high levels of inflammation is by having your healthcare provider measure for a substance called “C-reactive protein.”  It’s produced by the liver when there is inflammation (such as an injury), infection or tissue damage.

In a recent study, breast cancer survivors who had high levels of C-reactive protein, more than 10 mg/L, had a 2 fold increase in death compared to women who had low levels (less than 1 mg/L).  The women in the high group had a 67% higher risk of a breast cancer recurrence as well.

The good news is that you can lower your levels of inflammation with mushroom extracts, turmeric, green leafy vegetables, and exercise.  Stress reduction can also assist in lowering levels of inflammation as well. (Reference: Villasenor A, et al. Cancer Epidemiol Bio. 2014. 23;189).

4 Easy Vegan Summer Recipes right here

You’ll get an inflammation-busting tea recipe in our 4 easy vegan summer recipe guide that includes mushrooms and turmeric.

Dr. Dee Grace, PhD

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