New This Month

Cut Breast Cancer Risk

The Martha Stewart Show, October 2007

How can we reduce our risk of getting breast cancer? We need to look at the world around us and the world within us. According to the National Cancer Institute, about two-thirds of all cancers have an environmental cause.

The World Around Us
1. The Workplace
Higher-risk candidates are those regularly exposed to chemicals: housepainters, artists (ethylene chloride), nurses, doctors, cosmeticians, electronics producers (they come in contact with formaldehyde, drug chemicals, and radiation exposure -- without using hoods).

2. Dry Cleaning
Chemical agents in dry cleaning aren't good for you; use wet cleaning instead. There is a high incidence of breast cancer in women who dry clean a lot.

3. Home-Cleaning Agents
Avoid skull-and-crossbones items. Many of these have xenoestrogens, synthetic substances that act like estrogen and can disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system. Choose greener alternatives.

4. Personal-Care Products
The fewer ingredients the better.

5. Pesticides
Ban pesticides to kill roaches, mice, fleas, and ants in schools; for ants you can use pepper.

The World Within Us
1. Exercise
Get three to four hours of moderate exercise per week. Do weight training; it builds muscle mass.

2. Weight Control
Weight gain increases the risk of breast cancer as you age and may also increase the likelihood of cancer returning if you have already had it. Don't yo-yo diet.

3. Alcohol Intake
Alcohol acts as an estrogenic. Limit consumption to three drinks a week: hard liquor, beer, wine -- it doesn't matter. Alcohol can trigger hot flashes in women who are going through menopause.

Learn more about how to Support Breast Cancer Research; the proceeds support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation during October.

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