A Balanced Approach to Breast Cancer

By: Dawn Cutillo

pink cancer ribbon on a wood surface While reflecting on a topic for my October blog, I am reminded that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This cancer has probably affected people that you love or maybe yourself. Over the past 28 years, I have been working in the hormone balancing and holistic field, working with thousands of women to help them lose weight and reduce their hormone imbalance symptoms. Through my learnings, I have published research on preventing breast cancer by taking a holistic approach.

I began researching holistic treatment or preventative options because many breast cancer survivors were reaching out to me for alternative approaches to balancing their hormones. Some women are told any hormone, even progesterone, shouldn’t be used if they have a history of breast cancer or are a breast cancer survivor. What I found to be true is that by lowering stress, body fat, and toxic overload from preservatives and chemicals in our foods, balance in the body can be achieved, and this balance can help keep hormones in check. In the sections below, I am going to share some of the simple things you can do to balance the body and your hormones. This may help reduce female-related cancers.

I feel education is the foundation for taking control over our health, so let’s start laying the groundwork with some basic hormone education. The good news is that there is an increase in the accepted research by both the medical and holistic/alternative community. This is refreshing that there is common ground to help women feel confident in their quest to understand their bodies better.

Basic Hormone Balancing

The main focus in my work with women is preventing the most prominent form of female cancer called ER+ breast cancer. This means the tumor is estrogen sensitive. The basic premise for ER+ breast cancer is that these women are all severely “estrogen dominant.” This means their estrogen levels are average or low, if they are post-menopausal, and they have very low levels of progesterone. Our philosophy at BeBalanced is that increased chronic stress that is inevitable in women’s lives causes increased production of the hormone cortisol. The body then cannot keep up with the demand for cortisol, and it converts the precious female hormone progesterone to cortisol so you can survive. The main problem with converting progesterone to cortisol is that progesterone is needed for weight management, craving control, mood balancing, and deep sleep. Progesterone also can prevent female conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, heavy periods, and growth of cancerous tumors.

Let’s now touch on what is generally accepted as good lifestyle choices to aid in the prevention of female cancers.

Lose Weight, Lower Body Fat

There are numerous medical studies that show that being overweight increases your risk for many types of cancers. One of the leading causes of weight gain is consuming too much sugar. Consuming too much sugar results in excess insulin in the blood, and this causes a condition called insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of breast cancer. At BeBalanced, we recommend a low-glycemic or low-sugar diet, low in carbohydrates and sugars, to maintain a healthy weight. Lowering insulin can allow the body to burn fat efficiently. This is important because elevated insulin levels are known to increase estrogen in the body, which then can fuel breast cancer. Lowering insulin levels can also aid the immune system in helping fight cancer.

Eat More Veggies!

Increasing your consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussel sprouts, and collard greens, in your daily diet can help reduce your risk of cancer. There are several recent studies that show the main nutrients in cruciferous vegetables have a positive effect on reducing human breast cancer cells. Green vegetables are always a healthy choice, but the vegetables I have mentioned will make more of a positive impact on cancer cells. Raw or steamed vegetable can be integrated into your diet daily, or at least 3 times per week for this effect.

Detoxify the liver and the body.

Detoxifying the liver can allow the body to process hormones more efficiently. It is important to note that estrogen is broken down in the liver and is influenced by the presence of certain chemicals. Therefore, if the liver is overrun with toxins like chemicals and preservatives, the extra estrogen doesn’t get eliminated as it should on a daily basis and could cause estrogen dominance. Substances in cruciferous vegetables and flax seeds/oils create more of a good kind of estrogen that can easily be eliminated from the body. Environmental toxins that are not being efficiently cleared out of the body due to a congested liver create more of the bad kind of estrogen that is not easily eliminated from the body. To aid this overall goal, avoid using plastics to eat and drink out of, as these release toxic chemicals called xenoestrogens into the body that add to the overall estrogen in the body and the overall toxic load.

Add Omega Oils

Oils that are not made by the body are called essential oils and can be taken in pill form or used in fish oil or flaxseed oil on a salad. New studies show these nutrient-rich oils can aid the body in helping prevent breast cancer. Other benefits of the oils are that they can aid thinning hair and many perimenopausal symptoms while lowering cholesterol and making insulin work more effectively.

Add Natural Progesterone

Did you know that if you have PMS or menopausal symptoms you are probably low in progesterone? I recommend using a professional natural sourced USP (standardized) progesterone cream to naturally increase the hormone in the body. These can be safely used long term to slow the aging process, aid in weight management, and decrease the chances of high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

Dr. Uzzi Reiss states in his book, The Natural Superwoman, “Progesterone provides significant protection from breast cancer. No study that has created concern about the link between hormone therapy and breast cancer used bioidentical progesterone…( in studies cited), the women who used bioidentical progesterone enjoyed a lower incidence of breast cancer than the women who chose to take no hormones.”

Practice Daily Relaxation Therapy

Research shows that stress hormones, such as cortisol, are connected to many diseases, including cancers. To keep stress down, schedule daily quiet time, meditative practice, or yoga. This time can help strengthen the immune system. Dr. Herbert Benson, who wrote The Relaxation Response, states “Twenty minutes is all it takes to rebalance the body from being in a state of “fight or flight.” He says that destressing daily can help us move back to this relaxed state, which can aid all systems of the body!

It is refreshing to know that there are things that can be done to prevent female-related cancers. The examples referenced above are agreed upon by many professionals in the medical and holistic industries. Those who practice these steps are exposed to the best of both worlds without strong medication.

Remember we cannot always go by genetics (BRCA gene), as many women who do not have this gene still are diagnosed with breast cancer. Prevention is within our reach, and being balanced is the key!

Regardless of the recommendations in this blog, please make sure to check in with your doctor to see if you should schedule a mammogram. Also, remember to perform ongoing breast self-exams and reach out to a doctor if you feel anything abnormal.

For more information on any of the topics mentioned here, you can contact your local BeBalanced Center, or email us at info@bebalancedcenters.com. You can also take our free hormone assessment to start your journey to getting back to your best self! Be Slimmer, Be Happier, Be Energized, BeBalanced!

Dawn Cutillo is the author of “The Hormone Shift: Using Natural Hormone Balancing for Your…Mood, Weight, Sleep & Female Health” and has been in the health field for over 25 years. She is also the founder and hormone health consultant of BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers and is degreed and certified in health and nutrition. In addition to overseeing the operation of the BeBalanced flagship center in Lancaster, PA, Dawn owns Infinity Health LLC, a national consulting company that advises healthcare practitioners on how to aid patients in balancing their hormones for weight, mood, sleep, and health issues.

References:

Gottfried, Sara, M.D. (2013).The Hormone Cure. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Horner, Christine, M.D., F.A.C.S. (2005) Waking the Warrior Goddess: Harnessing the Power of Nature & Natural Medicines to Achieve Extraordinary Health. Laguna Beach CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc.
Lee, John R., M.D., and David Zava, PH.D. and Virginia Hopkins (2002) What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer. New York: Warner Books.
Lee, John R., M.D. Jesse Hanley, and Virginia Hopkins. (1999). What Your Doctor
May Not Tell You about Pre-menopause
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Northrup, Christine, M.D. (2012). The Wisdom of Menopause. New York: Random House (Bantam Books).
Randolph, C.W., Jr., M.D. & James, Genie, M.M.Sc. (2009). From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well: Straight Talk Women (and Men) Need to Know to Save Their Sanity, Health, and-Quite Possibly-Their Lives. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.
Reiss, Uzzi, M.D. (2001). Natural Hormone Balance for Women. New York: Pocket Books.
Reiss, Uzzi, M.D. (2008). The Natural Superwoman. New York: Penguin Group.
Schwartz, Erika, M.D. (2002). The Hormone Solution: Naturally Alleviate
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance from Adolescence through Menopause
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Smith, Pamela Wartain M.D., (2010) What You Must Know About Women’s Hormones.
Square One Publishers Garden City Park, New York.
Stanton, Alicia, M.D. and Tweed, Vera. (2009). Hormone Harmony. Los Angeles,
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Turner, Natasha N.D. (2009). The Hormone Diet.  Canada: Random House.
Wiley, T.S. and Bent Formby. (2000). Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival.
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To see if you have a hormone imbalance, take our free hormone assessment.  At BeBalanced, our healthy weight loss program has helped over 5,000 women reach their goals by balancing hormones and helping affect wellness in all areas of life! You could be next. Don’t lose hope, find BeBalanced!