Breast Cancer on the Rise in Young Women
Despite our efforts in screening and prevention, the average incidence of cancer worldwide is increasing. In the past 30 years, in every region of the world other than North America, breast cancer levels are rising, especially in <50 age group. For women under 50, the rise is 1.55%, compared to a more moderate 1.28% increase in women over 50. So why are young women getting breast cancer?
(Source: Breast Cancer Statistics: Recent Trends | SpringerLink)
One of the possible reasons for this could be because we live in an ever polluted world.
- Our fish and shellfish is contaminated with heavy metals such as mercury…
- Our fruits and vegetables are sprayed with poisons such as Pesticides and Herbicides…
- Our meats are injected with hormones to make them fatter…
- Our food and water is contaminated with…
- Plastics leaching from our packaging like plastics from processed packaging, water bottles, hot water disposable paper cups etc.
- Polystyrene from take-away food containers and cups
- Industrial waste
- And much more!
Many of these organic pollutants have hormone-like effects that are 100 times stronger than our own natural hormones. Due to this, they are sometimes known as “environmental hormones” or “hormone mimics”. These harmful chemical substances enter the body, latch on to hormone receptors on our cells, and stimulate them. Breast tissue is particularly sensitive to these estrogen mimics (called “xeno-estrogens”) and have been linked to cellular changes that can lead to cancer.
Removing Carcinogens through Detox
Our bodies are trying to remove these toxins from our body all the time. Keep in mind that the liver is also responsible for breaking down and excreting hormones, making environmental hormones exponentially more straining on our detoxification system. When the toxic load becomes greater than the body’s ability to remove them, disease can occur.
Detoxification, or detox for short, involves neutralising and removing chemicals and harmful substances from the body, by a process called “biotransformation”. Detoxification is occurring all the time. You are doing it right now! If you are breathing, sweating, or get up to the toilet, you are neutralising or removing harmful substances from the body.
The key organs of detoxification are the kidneys, liver, lungs, skin and gut. It is important to support and optimise these organs to remove these potential hormone disruptors and carcinogens from the body.
Here are 7 Powerful Ways to Optimise your Detox organs:
1. Eat clean
Avoid adding any more toxic pollutants to your body. Eat organic, rainbow-coloured vegetables to provide the vital antioxidants your liver needs to neutralise these chemicals. If you eat meat and fish, eat free-range and wild as much as possible. They are cleaner and less adulterated with antibiotics and hormones than farmed animals. Avoid processed foods and snacks, and anything that can sit on a shelf for months or even years! They are almost always high in calories, low in nutrients and full of harmful sugars and transfats. Eat real food like our grandparents did! It may take that extra effort to prepare and cook, but it will avoid a lot of health issues later in life.
2. Do a 10-day Juice Detox
Having a period of 10 days of juicing allows your liver a chance to rest from the vital role of digestion and catch up with detoxifying some of the backlog of harmful substances in the body. When they accumulate, they can make us tired, groggy or achy all the time! Juice with organic vegetables (like celery, carrots and beetroots) and if needed, low sugar fruits (like apples) to make up the volume (you may not get much fluid from spinach and broccoli as healthy as they are!). Add in a light salad or organic chicken and brown rice from Day 3 and build up the meals in the last two days of your Juice detox. You may feel a little tired on day 2 or 3 (which can be avoided by adding in a good plant-based protein powder to your juices), but you will feel like a whole new person by the end of it, and may have lost a few pounds too!
3. Sweat regularly
The skin is the biggest organ in the body. When we consciously heat up the body through vigorous exercise or sauna, we mobilise harmful pollutants like PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and heavy metals trapped in the fat, and release it in the sweat. Exercise or sauna regularly to build up a good sweat. Infra-red sauna, particularly, is useful as it heats deeper into the body and is more comfortable than your traditional sauna. Remember to replenish your electrolytes with either a sports drink or electrolyte tablets taken before and after your sweating session!
4. Support your Liver
The liver is the main detoxification powerhouse in our body, and has to neutralise a wide range of harmful substances from alcohol, medications, supplements and yes, environmental pollutants. The liver also helps breakdown and remove hormones from the body, such as estrogens, to stop them building up in the body. Women who are not able to do this efficiently, can develop symptoms of “estrogen dominance” such as breast cysts, heavy periods and fibroids. Ultimately, too much of either naturally-produced estrogens or artificial hormone mimickers like xeno-oestrogens, can be a cancer risk. Supporting the liver to keep these hormones from accumulating is essential for protecting the breast, ovaries and womb from too much of this hormone. To do this, the liver needs a plentiful supply of B vitamins (B2, B3, B6 and B12), folate, anti-oxidants (such as Vitamins A, C, E and flavonoids) and amino acids. The most important antioxidant for the liver is Glutathione. It not only helps to neutralise free radicals produced by the breaking down of these toxins, but also binds to them and safely escorts them out of the body through the bile and then the stool. Glutathione production can be increased by sulphurophone found in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and kale, taking precursor supplements like NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) or by direct IV infusion. Coffee enema’s is also an effective home-remedy to not only stimulate glutathione production in the liver, but also to open up the bile ducts to facilitate the release of toxins into the bowel.
5. Clean up your Gut
Once the toxic chemicals and hormones are broken down and released into the intestine, they have to be efficiently moved out of the body. Daily healthy bowel movements are essential for this process. Irregular bowel movements, constipation or an imbalance of the good bacteria in the gut, can lead to reabsorption of the toxin or hormone back in the circulation. Maintain a diet high in fibre such as oatmeal, vegetables, legumes, nuts and wholegrains (unless they make you bloat or you are gluten sensitive), drink at least 8 cups of water a day, and take a good probiotic supplement to keep the good bacteria strong. If you can not go without taking a laxative, try doing colonic therapy instead. It will not only help to loosen some of the waste build-up that has accumulated on the intestinal walls for years, but will also make way for it to be recolonised with good bacteria and function normally again.
6. Power your kidneys
The kidneys are the main filtering system in the body, and help us to remove waste and toxic substances from the body. All of our circulation flows through this filter system, so make sure you drink 2-3L of water a day. Adding a little apple cider vinegar can help flush out the kidneys or a little lemon juice in the morning to help prevent calcium oxalate (the most common type of) kidney stones. If you have high blood pressure, apart from avoiding salt, add in some potassium rich fruits and vegetables like pomegranate or coconut water. The kidney will keep this, and throw out sodium (salt) in its place, helping to lower your blood pressure.
7. BREATHE to reduce stress!
Chronic stress or constant worrying, leads to chronically high cortisol (one of the main stress hormones in the body), which can cause more free radicals, inflammation and a state of weakened immunity in the body….all conditions that make it easier for Cancer cells to develop and grow! If your work is non-stop, schedule in some regular exercise or leisure time for yourself, to “switch off”. It sounds simple….but you will be amazed how many people DON’T do it, and make some time for themselves to rest and recharge. If you are a chronic worrier, learn to direct that energy into positive action steps, rather than allowing the negative thoughts to go round in circles in your head. Work with a therapist or counsellor to learn skills to do this if you do not know how. Lastly, doing daily breathing meditation is an effective way to instantly calm down those stress hormones, and keep your immune system strong.
No one knows exactly why in most countries in the world, breast cancer is on the rise, and is being seen now in much younger women than ever before. Part of the reason may be because we live in an ever-polluted world, and these toxic chemicals have a powerful hormone-mimicking effect on our cells. The breast tissue is very sensitive to these hormones, but so are the cells of the uterus (womb) and ovaries. Eat clean, avoid processed foods, and support your main liver, gut, kidneys and skin to remove the toxins before they get a chance to build up and cause disease. Consider doing a 10-day detox once or twice a year, and if you have any chronic health condition like fatigue, brain fog, aches and pains or skin problems, ask your doctor or functional medicine practitioner to check your environmental pollutant and heavy metal levels on your urine. You may just have accumulated more than your body can handle!
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