From the health desk: Tips from MU Health Services in promotion of Breast Health

Kathryn Treaster RN, BSN
Grad Asst, MU Health Services

For those of you that had the privilege of meeting and attending Florence Williams Lecture regarding her new book Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, I think we will all agree it was an enlightening and educational experience. Her message promoted breast health awareness and tips for breast cancer prevention. While doing research for her new book, her goal was to uncover the latest scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine. Her research include the life cycle of the breast from puberty to pregnancy to menopause, the exploration of where breasts came from, where they have ended up, and finally, what we can do to save them.
During the lecture she provided us with some food for thought when thinking about breast health and breast cancer awareness. The take away message was the importance of prevention; proper diet, exercise, limiting alcohol, and not smoking are some of the things everyone can do to help prevent the risk of breast cancer. Another topic of discussion was environmental toxins and some tips for reducing your exposure to them. Environmental toxins is defined as the act or process of polluting or the state of being polluted, especially the contamination of soil, water, or the atmosphere by the discharge of harmful substances. When trying to limit exposure to these substances, Florence gave a few tips such as eating organic fruits and vegetables, avoid storing food in plastic containers, avoid drinking bottled water and using a reverse osmosis water filter at home to filter some of the toxins from the water. Since toxins are stored in body fat, exercise and using a sauna are great ways to lower your body burden. It’s impossible to avoid all environmental toxins as they are in our air, food, and water, but living a healthy lifestyle and limiting exposure to these toxins can help reduce your risk of cancer in the future.
Breast cancer is an important topic to all women and men. Yes, men too! The American Cancer Society estimates that in the United States, 2,240 new cases of invasive breast cancer, a more advanced cancer, will be diagnosed among men and of those diagnosed; about 410 men will die this year. Women have a higher risk of breast cancer and in comparison, about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer and about 64,640 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), the earliest form of breast cancer. Of these women, it is estimated that about 39,620 women will die this year. Visit the Diana and Marsha Breast Cancer Awareness room located in Health Services, 2nd floor, Room 205 to get more information and complete the risk assessment survey to find out your personal risk of getting breast cancer. This risk assessment looks at family history, lifestyle (smoking, alcohol use, diet and exercise), race, and age. Any questions will be answered by the staff. For more information call Heath Services at 717-872-3250. For more information on Breast Cancer and Environmental toxins you can read Florence Williams book “Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History”, visit the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org , and read the following article on environmental toxins at http://www.smart-publications.com/articles…onmental-toxins.