Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fourteen Simple Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer

1. Increase your consumption of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.

2. Avoid using any pesticides or chemical sprays in your home. Try to avoid new carpet.

3. Avoid drinking tap water.

4. Decrease alcohol consumption.

5. Start an exercise program.

6. Increase consumption of organic whole grains and fiber.

7. Decrease meat, poultry and fish consumption.

8. Stop smoking.

9. Increase consumption of phytoestrogens from organic sources.

10. Decrease or stop consumption of processed foods.

11. Avoid trans-fatty acids found in margarine and some vegetable shortenings.

12. Take two capsules of organic flaxseed oil daily or just add a teaspoon of flaxseed oil to your daily organic salad.

13. If you are pregnant definitely breast feed.

14. Gets lots of sunshine as breast cancer is less prevalent in areas where there is ample sunlight unobscured by fog or smog.


As a retired diagnostic radiologist who read way too many mammograms I am excited because I finally have a path to try to connect to so many women who are having and have had mammograms.I was always chagrined since we would really torture and radiate many breasts but it was as if these breasts were not connected to a human type person. It bothered me that so many mammography programs make no effort at all to educate their clientele about what "they can do" to reduce their risks of breast cancer. I would suggest to the directors of these programs that we try to educate the patients and their response was 100% predictable. They would always first deny the relationship between diet and breast cancer and then add that their patients would not listen anyway.

Increasing your consumption of fresh organic fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk for breast cancer.

"There is strong evidence from epidemiologic studies that eating more fruits and vegetables decreases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. This conclusion is strengthened by the similar results obtained from animal studies and experiments using isolated breast cells." Quoted from the Cornell University Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors. They go on to recommend uncooked fruits and vegetables. The reason for this is the heating damages some of the beneficial nutrients in the fruits and vegetables. Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli and spinach top the list for being most protective. The Cornell study however does not stress the fact that these need to be "organic." Non-organic commercial fruits and vegetables besides being largely nutritionally bereft are also heavily sprayed with a wide variety of toxins.

The relationship between pesticides and other toxic chemicals such as benzene and toluene and cancer has long been established. There are better ways to rid your house of undesired guests than using chemical sprays. It sounds difficult but even if you can't get rid of all your pests you will live a longer and healthier life if you refrain from spraying. New carpet is another source of extremely toxic chemicals that "off gas" for at least a year or so after it is installed. Try to avoid new carpet especially in children's rooms.

Avoid tap water unless you live either in Lake Tahoe or Ithaca, New York. The tap water here in Tucson is CAP water that travels in an open trough from the Colorado River. It is loaded with fungicides / herbicides not to mention all the chlorine added once it gets here. While bottled or filtered water may not be perfect,you will considerably reduce your risk for any cancer by avoiding most tap water.

There is a little debate about the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. However, the consumption of any simple sugars such as occur in most alcoholic beverages is associated with decreased T-cell mobility and thus some immune compromise. I still have an occasional beer but that is the only sugar I ingest. The general consensus however, is that it is best to reduce alcoholic beverage consumption as much as possible.

Exercise has been proven in multiple studies to enhance the immune system. In order to be beneficial I would recommend thirty minutes at least three times a week. This should be exercise that elevates the heart rate and keeps it there for the thirty minutes. Running is good if you are not biomechanically impaired. Cycling and swimming are also good alternative and or exercise machines.

Increased consumption of organic grains and fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Decrease your meat, fish, poultry and dairy consumption. Animal protein has been linked to all the big three killers in this country as well as osteoporosis. For more on this see the "China Study" by T. Colin Campbell and "Diet for a New America" by John Robbins. Stop smoking is really a "no brainer" here. Smoking is associatedwith a variety of cancers and there is now strong evidence that cancer of the breast is one of them.

Consume more phytoestrogens from soy products like tofu. "Women with diets rich in phytoestrogens also excrete more estrogens into their urine, and have lower blood estrogen levels. Some studies have shown that women with a diet rich in phytoestrogens have longer, and hence fewer, menstrual cycles. All of these factors may contribute to reduced breast cancer risk. " This quote from the Cornell University Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors. Please be sure that any soy products you consume are organic.

In conclusion there are many ways to reduce your chances of breast cancer. I have presented the above from a more subtle point of view. When my wife (now ex-wife) developed a lesion in her left breast back in 1995 we put her on an organic vegan diet. Soon we cut out all sugar and increased her running mileage. She still has her left breast although there is still some skin retraction. My good friend and world class flamenco dancer Carmen Heredia died in her early forties from breast cancer and its treatment. Best not to get breast cancer at all.

For more information on the relationship between diet, health and exercise please go to:

For more information on cooking and food preparation without animal products please go to:

Copyright J. Mericle M.D. 2004 All Rights Reserved is devoted to achieving optimal health and peak performance through diet and lifestyle change. Dr. Mericle brings together a unique blend of formal medical education, 29 marathons, 3 Hawaii Ironman competitions and a lot of practical real life experience.

1 comment:

Dr. C. A. Passey said...

Dear Dr. John Mericle, M.D.

Thanks for publishing concise information of immense usefulness how link between cancer and the un-organic food & water which are loaded with health compromising herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, unnecessary hormones (e.g., growth and stress hormones in meat animals and somatotropin in milk) which are also upsetting the normal hormonal balance in consumers).
"Truly Really Organic" (not just so-called "certified organic" because many certifications are not truly deserved by operators) foods and beverages can indeed help protect and enhance the health of consumers.

Dr. C. A. Passey
Food Scientist