Breast cancer

Cancer Awareness Series – Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer awareness month – Get in the Know!

Breast cancer has become a very high profile and talked about disease. In many ways this has improved detection because more women are talking about their experiences and encouraging their friends and family members to do breast self-exams and have imaging done. However even with the increased awareness and management the statistics are startling. It is estimated that about 1 in 8 Canadian women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 31 will die from it.

  • Risks for developing Breast cancer include:
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Family history of breast and other cancers
  • BRCA and other gene mutations
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (higher incidence of BRCA mutations)
  • Dense breasts
  • Reproductive history – when a woman started and stopped menstruation, the number of children she has, if she breastfed, etc
  • Exposure to ionizing radiation – although there is no concrete evidence for mammograms contributing to this exposure
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Atypical hyperplasia
  • Alcohol
  • Being obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • There is additional likely risks associated with smoking and night shift work, as well as exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals called xenoestrogens, such as those found in some pesticides and skin care products


Ways that you can reduce your risk:

Exercise! Getting your body moving every day provides so many health benefits, and it doesn’t have to be boring. I encourage my patients to choose forms of exercise that engage their body and mind and have a healthy dose of fun! Research shows us that exercise modifies and reduces almost every risk factor for breast cancer. An article by Adraskela et. al. published in October 2017 in the journal Clinical Breast Cancer states “A large body of evidence indicates that physical activity has positive effects on every aspect of breast cancer evolution, including prevention, medical treatment, and aftercare clinical settings.” They include the following graphic that nicely summarizes some of the effects of physical activity.

Breast Cancer Physical Activity

Breast Cancer Physical Activity

Adraskela, E. Veisaki, M. Koutsilieris, A. Philippou. Physical Exercise Positively Influences Breast Cancer Evolution. Clinical Breast Cancer. Elsevier. October 2017

Additionally for risk management:

  • Reduce and limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking
  • Have a healthy body weight
  • Consume less sugar and more vegetables – especially the broccoli family (they contain sulfur compounds that naturally reduce estrogens!)
  • Be aware of your xenoestrogen exposures and choose foods and products that do not contain these harmful chemicals

The doctors of Integrated Health Clinic are experienced in the management of cancer risk factors and can help you to navigate your individual needs to reduce the risk of cancer.

If you or a friend or loved one want more information on the prevention or treatment of Breast Cancer please contact the clinic at 604-888-8325, or through our website at

Related Reference Links:

What is Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Society Canada

IHC Cancer Care Centre

Lindsay Adrian, ND

Naturopathic Doctor at the Integrated Health Clinic

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