So many environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to our overall physical and mental health, everything from the bread we toast for breakfast to the sportswear brands we wear plays a role in our overall well-being. Nowadays, there are so many options and decisions that we make throughout our day that accumulate to create a high or low risk for cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of seventy-five. Even though we don’t have complete control over our exposure to cancer-causing chemicals or situations that may increase our risk of developing cancer, knowledge is power! Below, we provide the in-depth information necessary to make educated decisions regarding women’s holistic health in general, and more specifically, your holistic breast health.

You’re more powerful than you think€¦

Your purchasing decisions have an awfully big impact on your holistic health! Staying informed on whether or not the products you buy contain Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS), also known as €˜forever chemicals’, can have an incredible impact on your risk for developing breast cancer. PFAS can be found in everything from the waterproofing on our rainboots and rainjackets to long-stay lipsticks; even the liquid-resistant material of some period underwear contains PFAS. In one study that followed PFDoA exposure, one kind of PFAS, found that €œelevated levels of these chemicals increased breast cancer risk by 13 times with 95% certainty that breast cancer risk was 3-94 times higher compared to those with lower PFDoA levels.” 

It’s crucial that we check products for any mention of PFAS, or Teflon, by avoiding products made of an ingredient that contains €œfluoro” in the name. Click here to take advantage of EWG’s helpful search engine to check your favorite cosmetics and products for these dangerous chemicals. Risk reduction is accomplished by simply staying informed and reading product labels.

Hand massages arm pit as the other arm is lifted into the air to massage lymph nodes around breast tissue to drain toxins and practice holistic healthExercise, movement, and massage!

Yes, you read that right – massage! Breasts are made up of complex lymphatic systems and fatty tissues that retain excess hormones and chemicals if we don’t move enough. Performing lymphatic massages on yourself, or having a friend or partner do it for you, can encourage proper drainage and flush out anything that’s remained there for too long and has become stagnant. Take a look at the proper technique for lymphatic massages here.

As everyone knows, another great way to improve lymphatic drainage and breast health is exercise – get your heart rate up and your body moving by jogging, skipping rope, or even bouncing on a small trampoline to improve blood and lymphatic flow. If you’re someone who prefers slower movement, yoga is a fabulous option, too! Stretching, folding, and extending your arms and legs is another effective way to drain your lymphatic systems and incorporate beneficial movement into your daily life. 

Speaking of moving, holistic health, and breast cancer€¦ Consider signing up for a breast cancer walk here.

€˜Support bras’ aren’t always supportive€¦

Many women wear underwire bras, or even compression sports bras, every day. We totally get it – they’re comfortable! Maybe it’s a hassle taking it on and off when you’re on your way out the door, or you’re simply uncomfortable with the unpredictability of unharnessed movement. But at some point, it’s crucial to either wear a bra with less support or take it off altogether for a while during your day – otherwise, those same toxins and hormones we mentioned above are more likely to build up and stick around longer than is healthy. Free the nipple!

Bowl filled with raw flax seeds used for holistic health, aside small shovel with some flax seeds littered above a wooden tableEat breast health superfoods

There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate healthy add-ons into your diet. More and more, scientists and dieticians are finding that the foods we choose to consume and the time of the month they are consumed, in correlation to our hormonal changes throughout menstruation cycles, has a notable impact on our physical and emotional health. 

One food that has some serious breast health potential is flaxseed, as it’s a source of omega-3 fatty acids which in some studies has been found to be correlated with a lower risk of breast cancer. So flaxseed may help block cancer cell growth! Both flaxseed and flax oil are natural anti-inflammatories, making it easier for tissues to filter out the natural or consumed toxins that we are exposed to. For this reason, using olive oil instead of vegetable oil is also highly encouraged, as it’s another natural and highly effective anti-inflammatory. 

Another way to eat a healthier diet is by minimizing our consumption of meats and animal products, as animals are higher up on the food chain and therefore contain higher concentrations of toxins such as heavy metals like mercury in fish or even PFAS, which are found in all animal products, even eggs. To decrease the likelihood of encountering these chemicals, turn instead to less processed grains, and organic or well-washed fruits and vegetables. Especially beneficial are leafy greens like kale and spinach because of their rich levels of antioxidants that destroy the free radicals that cause cancer! Here is a resource to explore more risk-reduction foods.

In addition to risk-reducing foods, there’s one drink that majorly increases your risk of developing breast cancer: alcohol. As alcohol raises estrogen levels in the body, it may also increase our chances of developing breast cancer, so it’s crucial to take a step back and consider the impact that alcohol consumption may be having on our health. 

Holistic health practitioner administers acupuncture by placing fine needles beneath the skin of their patientHolistic breast cancer treatments 

We’re all aware of traditional breast cancer treatments: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are some of the most effective ways of ridding our bodies of cancer. These methods leave lasting marks and represent a very difficult and time-consuming journey. Although they are incredibly effective at treating cancer, they often leave patients dealing with exhaustion, pain and discomfort, and depression. In some cases, however, scientists are finding that chemotherapy isn’t necessary for specific types of breast cancer. When exploring holistic breast cancer treatments, we search for treatments that take care of not only the body, but the mental and spiritual aspects of overcoming the disease as well.

A few holistic options for pain management and risk reduction are acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicines, as well as antioxidants and detoxification diets. Most popular after its recent legalization in many states, medicinal marijuana has made a big impact on cancer patients’ lives, as it helps reduce the physical and mental stress patients often experience by alleviating pain and relaxing the mind. It’s also recommended for patients who have trouble sleeping! If you’re ready to start searching for €œholistic women’s health near me” or €œholistic women’s health doctor near me“, make sure you avoid making these common mistakes on your holistic health journey. 

It’s crucial to be aware that recent research has shown that patients who seek more contemporary care or alternative breast cancer treatments often delay or reject types of conventional treatment and in turn worsen their cancer outcomes. Please promptly speak with a medical professional or holistic health practitioner when considering cancer treatments. Read more here.

Illustrated photo shows one half of the page covered in black swirling chaotic lines, with one single line breaching the other side of the page. Atop the line, as if it was a rope, balances the figure of a person, making their way from the chaotic side to the other side on the rope, perhaps a metaphor for the individual's holistic health journeyRemember: taking action reduces fear!

Becoming informed and making changes in our own lives is empowering in itself. Within each of us is the will and strength to make the small yet impactful decisions that have the potential to guide our lives down a different path; hopefully one without breast cancer. When we take these small steps, we empower ourselves with the knowledge and the healthy bodies that each one of us deserves. 

Find more information on holistic breast health on the holistic health blog. And remember, you are never alone in your fight against breast cancer! There are so many breast cancer organizations that provide peer support and guidance.

We stand by your side. Pawsitively 4 Pink provides direct financial assistance to our neighbors, mothers, and daughters fighting breast cancer. Our grant recipients are always free to make their own choices about what medical and holistic care options feel best to them. If you or someone you know would benefit from our services, please contact us here. If our mission moves you and you want to know more, check out ways you can make a difference.