Breast cancer is something that a lot of women are worried about. And that’s for good reason – over 20,000 will be diagnosed with it this year. Over a lifetime, that means that one in 7 women will develop breast cancer.

But the good news? We also know that around 1 in 4 breast cancers could be preventable. So the choices that we make can either increase the risk of developing breast cancer, or reduce the risk!

Let’s take a closer look at how you can reduce your breast cancer risk naturally.

How to reduce your breast cancer risk naturally

Reduce your alcohol intake

If there’s one that you take away from this, make it this one! Alcohol consumption is the biggest factor when it comes to breast cancer risk. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 6% of breast cancer cases each year are due to alcohol consumption (eek!)

Women over 40 will often increase their alcohol intake due to elevated stress, perimenopausal symptoms, and a host of other reasons. So we’re adding that to other factors such as age, which we can’t control!

Women who drink a standard glass of alcohol daily have a 7% higher risk than those who never drink alcohol. And the more standard glasses, the higher the risk. So it’s best to reduce your intake and have at least a couple of alcohol-free days per week.

Aim for a healthy body mass

The research around body weight and breast cancer risk is frankly a little confusing for many! But what I want to highlight for you is that once you’ve reached menopause, your risk can soar based on your body composition – particularly your waist circumference.

For each 10cm increase in waist circumference, your risk of developing breast cancer goes up by around 6%. When it comes to women, our aim for a healthy waist circumference is less than 80cm. This is not just for your breasts’ sake, but it’s also associated with lower risk of many chronic diseases.

Check your breasts – regularly!

Technically this isn’t prevention – but it will prevent it from progressing if you can catch it in the early stages. Every woman should be aware of what is normal for their breasts and what isn’t. And we should all be feeling our breasts, checking for any changes or abnormalities.

The good news is that most of the time, changes aren’t breast cancer. But if they are, we want to find out ASAP. So take any concerning change straight to your doctor. In fact, one of my upcoming podcast guests, Angelica-Hazel Tjoutjoni, was able to detect her breast cancer because of her awareness of what was not quite right! Make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast to listen when it goes live.

Not sure what you’re looking for when examining your breasts? This guide will help you.

Review your MHT/HRT use

Using hormone therapies that contain both oestrogen and a progestogen? You need to know that it increases your breast cancer risk. And the longer you take it, the more the risk grows.

If you are using menopausal hormone therapy (MHT)? Review your needs regularly with your doctor. For some, MHT is the right choice, but for others, we can use food as medicine to reduce your symptoms instead! And if you are using hormone therapy, food isn’t a mutually exclusive option – you can use it alongside MHT to minimise those pesky symptoms!

Eat a protective diet

What we put into our bodies can fuel the natural protective processes, or it can add to the inflammation. That’s why eating a diet that is rich in protective nutrients is an easy way to keep your risk on the lower side.

We’re looking for a diet that is rich in antioxidants, vegetables and nutrient-dense foods. Add in plenty of brightly coloured plant foods for a spectrum of antioxidant protection.

We also want to minimise the foods that you’re intolerant to. Why? Because it adds to your inflammatory load, which is not a good thing when it comes to cancer risk.

And by the way – you don’t have to eliminate dairy completely! Many of my clients find switching to goat or sheep dairy is a better option as it’s less inflammatory and easier to digest.

There is also the role of phytoestrogens – you can learn more about this in my podcast episode with Dr Chandrika Gibson when it goes live over at Chaos To Calm Podcast.

Look at stress management options

The relationship between stress and breast cancer risk is highly debated in the research world. Some claim there is a link, and others say there’s not.

But as a naturopath, I look at chronic stress and its effects including:

  • Suppressing immunity
  • Increasing inflammation
  • Reducing absorption of some nutrients & depleting others
  • Increasing the desire for relief through factors such as drinking alcohol, smoking and eating junk food

Worsening symptoms of perimenopause (meaning you may turn to MHT/HRT for relief)

And just from that list, we can see where stress might not instantly equal breast cancer. But it sure isn’t an innocent bystander either! Stress plays a role in every chronic disease out there, whether it’s direct or indirect. So we need to make sure we’re addressing the stress as well.

Want to learn more about how stress is affecting your body? Give this article a read.

Looking to stay healthier and happier for longer?

If you want to put your health first – not to mention feeling calm, less stressed and able to cope with what life throws your way? Book in for a free discovery call today. Together, we can explore how I can help you to support and nourish yourself – mind, body and spirit.