Spotlight on Women's Health: Optimizing Breast Health
By Dr. Elisheva Neffinger
Many of us know someone whose life has been affected by breast cancer. And many women wonder: how can I protect my breasts?
In the U.S., approximately 1 in 8 women (13%) will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, besides skin cancers. In 2022, it's estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
While genetic factors can often contribute, environment and lifestyle also influence our risk of susceptibility. Read below for some tips that can promote prevention and help us stay healthy.
Wear the Right Bra
The fit of your bra can impact breast health. Your bra should be comfortable and supportive, without gapping, feeling tight, or obstructing circulation. Many lingerie stores offer complimentary fittings to help you identify the right size (some even do virtual fittings).
CT and Online Specialty Shops
Soma (South Windsor)
The Bra Ladies Boutique (Somers)
Princess Corset & Lingerie Shop (Middlebury)
Lady Olga’s Lingerie (Hamden)
In the Mood Intimates (Fairfield)
CUUP (virtual fittings)
ThirdLove (virtual fitting quiz; half sizes)
Lively (additional sizes)
Breastfeeding nurtures the bond between mother and baby, and provides essential antibodies and nutrients to your growing little one.
Though not all women are able to breastfeed, if possible, breast is best, providing health benefits for both you and your infant. Breastfeeding is proven to lower the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancers.
Use Natural Deodorant
While the jury is still out on a causal link between conventional deodorants (containing aluminum) and breast cancer, with so many great natural deodorants on the market, why not air on the side of caution? There can be an adjustment period when swapping out your old deodorant, but persistence leads to less perspiration.
I recommend Native deodorant, available here. Native also offers a line of natural soaps, hair products, and toothpaste.
Get Regular Screenings
The most effective form of breast cancer prevention and early detection is to have regular mammograms and screenings, and to consult your doctors with any concerns. Regular breast self-exams are also an integral part of maintaining breast health. Check out my previous post “Spotlight on Women’s Health: Breast Self-Exams” for screening guidelines and useful tips on self-exams. Contact your healthcare professional if you experience any breast changes.
Invest in a Healthy Lifestyle
What’s one daily way you can promote prevention? You guessed it! Regular exercise and a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet, are a great way to protect against breast cancer and other diseases.
In addition to all of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, including improved mood, greater energy, and more restful sleep, consistent exercise and a balanced, whole foods diet help to ward off illness and support overall wellness.
Your Bloom doctor can recommend individualized supplements and diet to improve and maintain your health.
Avoid the Risks
Certain behaviors and exposures can increase the risk of breast cancer. Some risk factors may include: obesity, high alcohol intake, tobacco use, exposure to radiation, and a history of hormonal birth control or estrogen (consult your physician for proper use).
Empowering yourself with a knowledge of family history can also help with prevention.
Breast Cancer Resources
If you have concerns or need more information about breast cancer prevention, contact your Bloom Natural Health doctor.
We hope that these resources and tips will help you to live your breast life!
Spotlight on Women's Health with Dr. Neffinger
In this ongoing series, Dr. Elisheva Neffinger highlights women's health, addressing issues, sharing naturopathic insights, and reflecting on ways to promote overall wellness.
Past installments include:
Spotlight on Women's Health: Easing Morning Sickness