Caring for your breasts
Approximately 55 Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer every day, and 2997 females died from the disease in 2020. That’s 8 women a day. While treatment methods and survival rates have significantly improved over the years, early detection and prevention are the best ways to save more women.
Women’s Health expert Dr Sandra Cabot says that younger women in particular need to understand the risk factors and make sure they check their breasts regularly.
“Too many young women are diagnosed with breast cancer,” she says. “We talk a lot about treatment and diagnosis, but what we need to talk about is prevention.”
Dr Cabot says making healthier lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of breast and other types of cancer. Her main advice is to watch how much we drink. She recommends no more than one standard drink a day, or seven per week.
“I see a lot of women have half a bottle of wine a day. Which is about three and a half standard drinks. That increases your risk big time. Don't drink every day or don't have more than one drink a day,” she says.
Staying close to nature
Dr Cabot also says to try and avoid toxic chemicals entering the body and clogging up your lymphatic system. Small lumps of tissue in your body called lymph nodes fight infection and filter out toxins. Your body has a number of these nodes, including some near your breasts.
“Fat tissue accumulates and stores some toxic chemicals – petrochemicals, solvents, insecticides and pesticides, for example. Because breasts are fatty, it’s important that we don't use any toxic chemicals near our lymph nodes and not too many in the home. Use organic natural ingredients as much as you can, especially in things like deodorant,” she says.
“Never heat food in a microwave in plastic because you'll be eating plastic. Try and reduce your exposure because plastic and petrochemicals act in your body like artificial estrogens and can build up in your lymph nodes,” Dr Cabot adds.
Dr Cabot says another way to reduce your risk of breast cancer is to take supplements, as many women are deficient in vitamins that are good for breast health.
“For healthy breast tissue you need vitamin D, selenium and iodine. There's a lot of studies to show that they protect us against breast cancer,” she says.
All this information and more is included in Dr Cabot’s book, The Breast Cancer Prevention Guide, which you can get for free from her website.
Keep your breasts in check
Prevention goes hand in hand with early detection - the earlier you find a lump in your breast, the more effective treatment tends to be. Dr Cabot says women should be checking their breasts at least once a month, looking for any abnormalities in look or feel.
“You can do it in the shower or lying down. Have a look at your breasts in the mirror as well. Get to know them because any changes are significant, from swelling or tenderness to thicker tissue or little lumps. But if you feel something solid, that is more serious, particularly if the lump doesn't move,” she says.
One way to make checking your breasts easier is to use a breast oil. endota’s certified organic Breast Oil has been formulated to support breast health and aims to make breast care a part of your regular rituals. Breast massage can also promote lymphatic drainage and promote circulation.