Younger women generally face more aggressive cancers and lower survival rates compared to older women.
It shocks me every time I hear of young women below the age of 40 being diagnosed with breast cancer. The statistics seems to indicate that cancer among younger women is on the increase.
Research tells us that breast cancer before age 40 differs biologically from the cancer faced by older women.(1)
Statistics of Breast Cancer for Women below 40
- Each year, approximately 70,000 men and women age 15 to 39 are diagnosed with cancer in the US. (2)
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in this age group. (3)
- In 2015, the American Cancer Society projected 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer among U.S. women annually, as well as an estimated 60,290 additional cases of in situ breast cancer. (4)
- It is estimated that 12,150 cases of breast cancer will be in women under age 40 and approximately 26,393 women will be under 45 years of age.(5)
- Every year, more than 1,000 women under age 40 die from breast cancer in USA. (6)
- The incidence of metastatic breast cancer at the time of initial diagnosis is apparently rising in women under the age of 40. (7)
Mothers can Help their Daughters to Prevent Breast Cancer:
1. Better Nutrition from Whole Foods .
The types of foods we ate as a child and young adult could affect our risk for breast cancer.
I believe that my poor diet during my late teens and twenties contributed to the breast cancer I was diagnosed with at age 50.
Homemade meals including fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, and high quality organic or free-range animal foods offer the best nutrition.
It is critical to teach our children to avoid packaged processed foods laden with sugar.
A study, which was conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that consuming a diet laden with foods that promote inflammation may raise a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer prior to menopause. The researchers considered a diet to be inflammatory if it consisted of a low intake of vegetables and a high intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates, red meats, processed meats, sugar sweetened or diet sodas, and margarine.
Our bodies were designed to operate optimally on a whole food diet and processed foods should be minimized.
Beth Levine MD, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute wrote:
“Did you have great eating habits as a teenager? For most of us, the answer to that is a resounding ‘no’. Even if your parents provided you with a foundation of nutritious meals, chances are good that you didn’t follow the same rules once you were out of the house. Fast food lunches, donuts or ice cream after school, late night pizza etc. When you’re young, you don’t give much of a thought to all these empty calories unless you are overweight. But unfortunately, it might come back to haunt you now that you’re a little older”.
2. Avoid Toxic Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
Toxic chemicals are now present in just about everything from dish washing liquid to eye shadow.
These chemicals, about 70,000 of them, are called “xenoestrogens” which can cause health problems, including breast cancer. (8)
What goes on your skin gets into your bloodstream which add to the toxic load of chemicals in the body. Your skin is your largest organ and is highly absorbent. I would therefore recommend the use of non-toxic or organic personal care products and cosmetics.
Personally, I scrutinize every single thing I put on my body and I suggest you do as well. Watch out for nail polish ( don’t use it, it prevents your nails from breathing ) to hair spray to mascara.
A good source of information to determine the relative safety of ingredients in care products and cosmetics is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. (9)
3. Physical Activity
Teach your daughter the importance of an active lifestyle.
Encourage her to participate in sports, gymnastics, ballet, dance or other physical activities, and, to continue this throughout her life.
Take her hiking, running, skating and mountain climbing.
The American Cancer Society estimates that half of all cancer deaths could be avoided by practicing healthy lifestyle habits such as simple exercise. Recent research tells us that obesity, especially in the middle-adult years, increases the risk of breast cancer.
4. Keep Your Cell Phone Away from Your Body.
Studies have determined that heavy use of cell phones increases the chance for brain tumors.
Children are more vulnerable to electromagnetic frequencies because they have thinner skull bones and smaller heads. Their brain tissue also has a higher conductivity and this puts them at a higher risk.
A doctor at an alternative cancer clinic stated that three women under his care for breast cancer had very often placed their cell phones either under the bra strap or in their bra and developed a tumor in that exact location. (8)
5. Don’t Smoke and Don’t Drink Alcohol
Smoking is linked with increased cancer risk, especially if someone smokes regularly before their first child.
Studies on alcohol have shown that compared with non-drinkers, people that have one alcoholic drink per day have a small increase in risk.
However those who have two to five drinks daily increase their breast cancer risk by one-and-a-half times over those who do not drink alcohol. (8)
6. Avoid Birth Control Pills
Oral contraceptives increase a woman’s risk of cancers of the breast, cervix, and liver, says the National Cancer Institute’s own website.
A recent study revealed that oral contraceptive use increased the risk of estrogen-receptor positive, estrogen-receptor negative, and triple negative breast cancers.
The risk declined after a woman stopped using oral contraceptives, but was still a causative factor for estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer for up to 15-19 years after stopping.
7. Minimize Stress and Anxiety
Nearly all cancer patients were under an extraordinary load of stress in the lead-up to their breast cancer diagnosis. Science is starting to understand how cortisol, the main hormone that is released during periods of stress, can lead to disease such as breast cancer.
One of the most valuable things you can teach your daughter is how to relax and deal more effectively with stress. Teach her how to live in the moment, to identify the source of the stress and anxiety and how to create peace in her life and mind.
Leading by example is of vital importance. It could be a wonderful bonding experience if you and your daughter use a technique together like “The Healing Codes “ to undo stress and anxiety. My son and I use the affirmations from ” The Healing Codes ” to undo the unhealthy believes that can lead to stress and anxiety.
Prayer is also a powerful weapon to restore peace. God is able to restore peace and remove stress and anxiety. God, the Father wants us to live in peace and without worry and anxiety
8. Get at least 8 Hours quality Sleep
“Sleep the new cancer weapon”.
Professor David Spiegel, from Stanford University Medical Centre in California pointed out that how people sleep can seriously alter the balance of hormones in their bodies, which in turn may influence cancer progression.
Cortisol rhythm thrown off by troubled sleep could make a person more cancer-prone. Cortisol is a hormone which normally reaches peak levels at dawn and then declines during the day.It is one of many hormones that help regulate the immune system, and help the body fight cancer. One study found that women at high risk of breast cancer had a shifted cortisol cycle.(10)
“Although having cancer might be something to lose sleep over, we’d rather help people regain the sleep and lose the cancer.” said Prof Spiegel of the University of Louisville.
A 2012 study suggests that women may develop more aggressive breast cancer if they chronically lack sleep.
- Researchers asked 101 recently diagnosed breast cancer patients about the average amount of sleep they got two years before diagnosis.
- They found that women who slept fewer hours had a higher likelihood of cancer recurrence.
- The study was the first to suggest more aggressive breast cancers are associated with inadequate sleep.
9.How to Sleep Well
- Get up and go to bed the same time every day
- Don’t take naps
- Only use your bed for sleep
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed
- Don’t exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime
- Sleep only when sleepy
- Develop sleep rituals, such as listening to relaxing music, reading something soothing for 15 minutes while having a cup of chamomile tea
- Have a light snack before bed: Good options include yogurt, bananas, oats, a teaspoon of honey or cherry juice.
- If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy.
Lack of quality and quantity of sleep definitely played a factor in me developing breast cancer.
1. Ann H. Partridge et al., “Breast Cancer in Younger Women,” Diseases of the Breast (4th ed.,), In J. Harris (Ed.) (2010): 1073-1083
2. National Cancer Institute. A Snapshot of Adolescent and Young Adult Cancers.
3. Archie Bleyer et al., “The distinctive biology of cancer in adolescents and young adults,” Nature Reviews Cancer 8, no. 4 (2008): 288-298.
4. American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015- 2016.
5. National Cancer Institute. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results. SEER Stat Fact Sheets 2013: Breast.”
6. American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015- 2016.
7. Rebecca H. Johnson, et al. “Incidence of breast cancer with distant involvement among women in the United States, 1976 to 2009.” JAMA. 2013; 309(8):800-805.
10. TheAge.com.au Oct 2003, by John von Radowitz http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/10/01/1064819970839.html