Healthy Living Can Prevent Breast Cancer: West St. Louis County Resources
Research shows good nutrition and exercise can help prevent breast cancer.
Help with fighting breast cancer and other types of cancers might be at your local grocery store and fitness centers, according to the research findings of Dr. Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D, RD.
Neuhouser is a nutritional epidemiologist with a background in nutritional sciences. She is an investigator at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Her research is focused on lifestyle factors, such as nutrition and physical activity. Some factors may prevent breast and prostate cancer, and improve survivorship in those diagnosed with cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, more than 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 American women will die from breast cancer.
Neuhouser’s research has found that for postmenopausal women in particular, being overweight or obese may increase the risk for breast cancer.
Neuhouser explains, “After menopause, estrogens are synthesized by adipose tissue—the more adipose a woman has, the more estrogen she will make. Adipose cells also synthesize inflammatory factors, which have been linked to breast cancer.”
One of the most important things a woman at risk for breast cancer can do, said Neuhouser, is to “maintain a healthy weight."
Given what the research indicates, Neuhouser said, “One of the most important things is that if a woman is overweight or obese, she should be advised to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Daily physical activity and following healthy eating habits with plentiful fruits and vegetables and minimal empty calories and fried foods will help achieve these goals.”
Neuhouser said while it can be challenging to lose weight, “Small changes can add up and make a big difference."
When it comes to getting active, Neuhouser said, "If someone is not used to physical activity, try a five to 10-minute walk and gradually increase the time. Having physical activity partners or walking partners always helps. I know my soccer team will be waiting for me on the field, so even if I am tired or busy, I still show up."
There are plenty of places to run, lift weights or even practice the latest Korean dance moves in West County, so look for a gym or program that fits your needs and activity level. Many also over personalized training services if you need that extra motivational bump.
For a complete list, visit the sports and fitness section of the Eureka-Wildwood Patch Directory. You can also search by the kind of business, such as personal trainers, martial arts or sports leagues.
When it comes to food, Neuhouser said, "Start with making one new food change each week. Instead of eating two cookies, eat just one.”
If you are concerned about your weight, Neuhouser suggests getting the support you need by asking your doctor for “a referral to a reputable weight loss program.” For nutrition advice, Neuhouser recommends asking for a referral to a registered dietitian.