Breast Cancer and Obesity

My grandmother would have been 82 years old this week, but sadly in 1985 she passed away due to breast cancer and I honestly don’t remember her, I wish I did (everyone talks so nice about her) I was a toddler when she passed away, but for what I see in pictures she was a little overweight. Not everyone of course, but it seems that people that are obese have higher risk of developing some types of cancer.

Nowadays we have more testing, awareness, treatments that have been utilize to fight and/or prevent cancer overall. However cancer still growing in the population at an alarming rate. According to the US Breast Cancer Statitstics, “About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2020, an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 48,530 new cases of non-invasive.” When I was a kid I thought cancer was like an “adult disease “, we all know that is not the case. In the last couple of years, I have seen more and more young women (and men) been diagnosed with it. The toxins we are exposed everyday, hormones in food, lifestyle, genes among others can contribute to breast cancer. There are some factor we can’t control but others we can. It is not a 100% guarantee but one thing we can do is trying to have a healthier diet. Eating more organic foods, avoid processed, GMO, added hormones and preservatives. Have variety of nutrient dense food. Vegetables, good quality meats, fruits, nuts, less sugar (cancer cells love sugar!).

Studies have shown that overweight women have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who’ve been diagnosed with the disease. Scientists from a recent research from Australia recently found that “extra fat cells can trigger long-term, low-grade inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence; the proteins secreted by the immune system seem to stimulate breast cancer cells to grow, especially estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.”

Again eating a healthy diet, avoiding inflammatory food like: sugar, gluten, dairy, soy. Can help reduce the risk. Yes, it takes time and preparation, is harder to do a home made meal that just put a hot pocket in the microwave. Visit Framers Market, or at least when doing groceries go to the produce area and avoid the middle aisles with box mac and cheese, frozen pizza, sugary cereals, high sodium can soups… Your body needs nutrients, a variety of them so another thing is to eat different types of veggies, fruits, meats. Not just chicken and broccoli.

For example (tiny list there are more foods in each category etc):

Vitamin A: carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, apricot, papaya…

Vitamin B: eggs, legumes, seeds, nuts, red meats…

Vitamin C: kiwin, orange, cantaloupe, broccoli, peppers…

Vitamin D: it’s really a hormone, but besides sunlight: egg yolks, fatty fish…

Vitamin E: nuts, avocado, swiss chard, spinach…

Vitamin K: asparagus, collard greens, brussel sprouts…

Calcium: seafood, leafy greens, dried fruits…

Iron: mushrooms, meat, poultry, dark green leafy greens…

Potassium: kiwi, banana, dates, grapefruit…

Magnesium: legumes, nuts, seafood…

Zinc: eggs, shellfish, seeds…

Phosphorus: poultry, beans, fish…

Fiber: avocado, berries, apples…

The list of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and the food that contain them is way more extensive, but this should give you a basic idea of food high in nutrients that we can incorporate in our diets. Of course lots of water and always check with your primary care physician. If you have any sensitivity or allergy do not eat it.

Another thing to take in consideration is that nearly 80% of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer will experience weight gain. Many factors can contribute to that or aggravate it, like: already been overweight, fatigue (so of course the patient won’t have energy or desire to exercise), medications (steroids for example) and their side effects, emotional distress and stress overall, inflammation, coping mechanism (some of us are emotional eaters).

Please try making these smalls changes, they can help prevent or at least decrease the effects of any disease. Other factors come in with a healthier lifestyle like exercising, less stress, balance life. I can eat super healthy but then just sit watch TV and be angry at everything, that won’t help much. Balance is key. Stay safe and healthy!

Pic: My great grandmother (middle with me) my aunt is in the left and my grandma is the one on the right.

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