The good news is that breast cancer rates have been decreasing since the year 2000. Between 2003 and 2004, they dropped by seven percent.
Death rates from breast cancer have also been declining since 1989. Yet breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women (behind lung cancer), and estimates are that over 230,000 women will be diagnosed in 2015. Over 40,000 will die from it.
We can do better than that. Here at Cinco Vidas/CV Skinlabs we know how much chemicals in the environment can increase our risk. In a 2008 study, for instance, researchers stated that only 5-10 percent of all cancer cases could be attributed to genetics, while the remaining 90-95 percent “have their roots in the environment and lifestyle.”
Risk factors include cigarette smoking, diet, alcohol, sun exposure, environmental pollutants, stress, obesity, and physical activity.
In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel released a report in which they stated that the burden of environmentally induced cancer “has been grossly underestimated.” They went on to state:
“With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are…understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”
The panel noted that the American people, many before they are born, are bombarded with combinations of dangerous exposures, and urged the president to do more to remove carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air.
Considering all this, we can see that there are definitely things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer. With that in mind, we want to start off breast cancer month by giving you 31 reminders-one for each day of the month-of how you can take action in your life right now to protect your health.
These are simple, easy tips that you can implement each day that can help you reduce your exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals, reduce your stress, improve your diet, clean up your environment, and increase your odds of staying healthy and happy for years to come.
If you’re fighting cancer now or are a cancer survivor, these tips can help you reduce your risk of recurrence, and may also give you some insights into how you can ease the stress and side effects of treatment.
Either way, we just want you to take good care of yourselves!
31 Days of Breast Cancer Prevention and Care
Day 1: Heart yourself first.
Give yourself permission to put yourself first. A loving relationship with yourself is the prerequisite to maintaining healthy relationships with others. Today, give yourself what you wish someone else would give you.
Day 2: Give yourself permission to relax.
Today, choose one of the following and commit to it:
- No email or social media after work hours
- Take a bath and read in the tub
- Take 10 minutes just for you
- Go to bed by 9:30 p.m.
Day 3: Ditch processed foods.
Processed foods can be as addictive as drugs. Today, choose one of the below to eliminate this week:
- White sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Table salt (replace with sea salt)
- Packaged foods
Day 4: Reduce the toxic load in your cosmetics.
A study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found 61 percent of lipsticks tested contained lead. Today, swap one of your lipsticks, lip glosses, or lip balms for a natural, organic one without potentially harmful chemicals.
Day 5: Forgiveness = Freedom.
Who is someone you’ve been meaning to forgive? Today, forgive them. Forgive them now. Not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace (even if the person who needs forgiveness is you).
Day 6: Avoid BPA.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a potentially toxic compound used in plastics that can mimic estrogen hormones and has been tied to health problems like diabetes, asthma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and childhood developmental problems. Choose one of the following and commit to it:
- Avoid all canned foods and replace with non-canned variations
- Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers-use ceramic or glass
- Request “no receipt” (BPA on receipts can transfer to your fingers)
- Purchase a BPA-free stainless steel water bottle and use it
Day 7: Choose the right fats and oils to improve health.
- Coconut & olive oils
- Nuts & seeds
- Vegetable oils (canola, corn)
- Hydrogenated oils
Day 8: What does your heart and soul need today?
Choose what you need today and make it your mantra:
Day 9: Do what makes your heart sing.
Choose a day this week where you do the following:
- Do what makes you happy (not what you “should” be doing)
- Be with those that make you smile
- Laugh as much as you breathe (go to a comedy show, watch a movie)
Day 10: Use more cancer-fighting spices.
Choose one of the following and make it part of your daily diet:
- Cayenne pepper
Day 11: Believe in yourself.
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not in the branch but in her own wings. Today, believe in yourself 100 percent.
Day 12: Trust the timing of your life, breathe, and let go.
When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test.
Day 13: Incorporate cacao in your daily diet and skin care routine.
Cacao is a powerful antioxidant and superfood, best in its raw form sans sugar and dairy. Here are a few ways to incorporate this superfood into your daily diet and skin care routine:
- Add 1 teaspoon to smoothies
- Prepare Chocolate Chili
- Eat a few pieces of dark chocolate that’s 70 percent or higher in cacao
- Try a luxurious cacao mask (like May Lindstrom The Problem Solver)
Day 14: Clean up indoor air with plants.
Studies have shown that indoor pollution can be worse than outdoor pollution. The plants below help to clean the air from toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and TCE. This week, commit to getting an indoor plant to reduce the toxic load in your home:
- Bamboo palm
- Peace lily
- Pot mum
- Red ivy
Day 15: Remove inflammatory foods from your diet.
For a healthier body, choose one of the metabolic blockers below to remove from your diet for 30 days and see how much better you feel:
Day 16: Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
We’ve all felt it-that moment of being frozen, paralyzed, and scared. Our anxiety and fear are normal responses and it’s usually because we’re stepping out of our comfort zones.
Today, choose one thing that scares you, feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Day 17: Ditch toxic candles and air fresheners.
While you may like having your home smell of lavender and roses, be aware of the toxicity of air fresheners and candles. Studies have linked smoke from scented candles to asthma and eczema, and the EPA warns against the use of air fresheners.
Look for organic varieties made with essential oils and with natural waxes like vegetable, soybean or beeswax. For air fresheners, replace with oil diffusers.
Day 18: Detox your personal care products.
This does not need to be overwhelming. Start by:
- Making a change, one product at a time
- Replacing toxic products as you run out with natural ones (like CV Skinlabs! All our products are screened by a toxicologist for harmful ingredients)
- Start with products that stay on the body longer, like lotions, sunscreens, creams, deodorants, and balms) as opposed to rinse-off products
Day 19: Collect moments, not things.
Studies have shown that our happiness and well-being has declined over the years while our consumption of “things” has risen. Over-consumption has got us so busy that we are forgetting what’s most important in our daily lives.
Today’s mantra is simple: think before you buy. Is this good for your body, mind, and spirit? Or would visiting with a friend nourish your heart at a deeper level?
Day 20: Focus on your blessings, not your problems.
Gratitude for the abundance you have received in your life is the best insurance that the abundance will continue-keep the flow going!
What are three things you’re grateful for right now?
Day 21: Make coconut oil a part of your life.
This miracle elixir can help with issues from dry skin to digestive problems. Don’t miss out on all its benefits. Include it in your life in the following ways:
- Cook with coconut oil
- Use it as a great moisturizer
- Massage it into the scalp to combat dandruff
- Add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie for great taste and healthy fat
Day 22: Ditch your toxic cologne or perfume.
Did you know that your cologne or perfume may disrupt hormonal balance? Unfortunately, most colognes and perfumes on the market today are filled with potentially toxic ingredients. Since fragrance formulas are considered “trade secrets,” they can have over 200 chemicals in them without listing any on the product labels.
Studies have shown that 76 percent of fragrances contain allergens, and 16 percent contain carcinogens.
Day 23: Reduce your toxic load in the fridge.
As you work to reduce your exposure to dangerous toxins all around you, you may have neglected to think about your refrigerator. There are two types of potential toxins to be aware of: your containers, and your food.
Here are a few tips to detox your fridge:
- Replace plastic storage containers with glass or ones labeled as “BPA-free”
- Ditch processed meats
- Check your apple juice (may contain small levels of arsenic)
- Ditch the sugar and preservative-laden sauces
Day 24: Ditch liquid hand soaps with triclosan.
Triclosan can create carcinogenic by-products and is accumulating in our soils. The FDA has stated that there is no evidence antibacterial products protected people any better than regular soap and water.
Choose options that are triclosan-free and do not bring this ingredient into your home.
Day 25: How can you help or lift others up today?
Today, choose two people in your life that you know can use your love and support and send them a handwritten note to let them know that you’re thinking of them.
At the end of the day, people will always remember how you made them feel.
Day 26: Tips for a non-toxic Halloween.
Halloween is only four days away and we have some great ways to make it safer and less toxic.
- Choose lead-free face paints
- Consider a costume-swap to save resources
- Use wigs instead of hairsprays
- Instead of plastic masks, find paper ones
- Give away good-for-you treats (like dark chocolate, organic granola bars, or popcorn)
Day 27: Don’t forget-dry cleaning can be toxic too.
Unfortunately, 85 percent of dry cleaners use a chemical called “perchloroethylene (perc)” as the primary cleaning solvent. (Perc is a probable carcinogen.)
Here are two ways to keep the toxic load down while dry-cleaning your clothes:
- Ask if the cleaners offer a wet-cleaning option (this is a system that uses biodegradable soap and water, computer-controlled dryers, and stretching machines).
- Take plastic bags off as soon as possible, and air out your dry cleaning outside or in your garage for a least a day before wearing the item or bringing it into your bedroom.
Day 28: Wear safe, chemical-free sunscreen daily.
Even if it’s raining, cloudy, or you’re working inside, get into the habit of using sunscreen daily to help prevent skin cancer. Mineral options like zinc oxide are the safest. Read labels for other possible toxins and avoid products full of chemicals.
Today, make a commitment to wear sunscreen daily no matter what!
Day 29: Ditch the toxic house cleaners and stock up on vinegar.
Vinegar has so many purposes. You can rub it full-strength on clothing stains, mix it with water to clean up carpet stains and vinyl and tile floors, or mix just a little with water to clean windows and glass.
Another plus: it also gets rid of odors on cutting boards and it’s great for discouraging ants from entering around baseboards and doorways.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure to stock up on the vinegar.
Day 30: Move more!
Sitting is considered the new smoking. Sit for hours a day and you increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Studies have even found that sitting for more than six hours a day can increase your risk of premature death.
Commit today to moving your body more. Try these tips:
- Set an alarm and get up every 30 minutes to walk around.
- Commit to a daily walk that’s at least 30 minutes long.
- Get a dog and walk it!
- Get a new jump rope and keep it where you work. Jump 30-50 times every hour.
- Plan weekly exercise outings with a friend. Go walking, biking, or play an active game together.
Day 31: Tame your stress.
We all know that stress isn’t good for us, but most of us don’t schedule stress-relieving activities into our daily lives. Stress is one of the main risk factors for cancer, so it’s time to change that.
Today, commit to learning and incorporating one of the following stress-banishing activities into your life:
- Tai chi
- Art therapy
- Deep breathing
How do you increase your odds of preventing breast cancer, or of preventing a recurrence? Please share any tips you have.