I’m pretty sure you’re sick of hearing my frustration about how little attention on prevention of chronic disease is spent by our national organizations.  Oftentimes, you have to dig through much of the website to get to very “soft” recommendations that suggest that lifestyle “may” lower your risk.

One of the largest fund raising organizations, according to their website, allocates a paltry 7% of the millions upon millions of dollars to prevention.  Their formula to help a reader determine their risk looks at 7 factors:

  • Age
  • Age at first period
  • Age at first birth
  • Family history of breast cancer (mother, sister or daughter)
  • Number of past breast biopsies
  • Number of breast biopsies that showed atypical cells  
  • Race/ethnicity

We will never, NEVER lower rates of breast cancer if the national organizations allocate prevention to a sideshow.  Notice that ALL of these risk factors are in the past and you cannot control them.  Sickeningly consistent with the external locus of control (it’s not your fault–there’s nothing you can do, so make sure you get your screenings early) so typical in society today.  To not even list known risk factors like sedentary lifestyles, low intake of fruits and veggies (specifically cruciferous vegetables), no intake of processed foods, increased intake of unprocessed, non-GMO soy products and increased intake of whole grains, which segues into this article.

This particular article, as is consistent with hundreds of other studies looking at lifestyle and the risk of breast cancer, finds pretty strong reductions in the risk of breast cancer with higher intakes of fiber.

For each 10g / day of dietary fiber, the risk was lowered by 7%.  A good quality diet may contain 30-40 g/ day, so you do the math.

So how do we get more fiber?  Keep in mind that there are two types–insoluble (roughage, as we used to call it, that passes through the GI tract intact) and soluble (fibers that our body cannot digest, but the bacteria in our gut can).  Both have their benefits, so increasing your intake of both is good.

Good sources of insoluble fiber include whole grains (steer clear of cereals and breads with added bran–it’s cheating) and vegetables.  Soluble fiber sources include artichokes, beans, fruits, whole grains.  The list is actually much longer, but you get the idea.

So, the bottom line is that, despite the national organizations dropping the ball on prevention, the data is very strong that the choices we make increase or decrease our risk of breast cancer.  Begin to increase your intake of dietary fiber any chance you get.  Not only will your GI tract thank you, but so will the rest of your body.

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James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.