Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Nicolle D. Surratte
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the
impact of breast cancer. There are few people who have not been impacted by the serious
consequences of this disease and we want to share a few insights with our readers.
1 in 8 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. As the second leading cause
of death in women, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2022, approximately 43,000
women will lose their fight against this deadly disease.
Breast cancer is a chronic disease that can only be controlled, not cured. There are risk factors
for breast cancer of which we have no control such as age, gender and genetics. However,
there are action steps that can lower the risk of receiving a diagnosis. What can be done to
reduce the risk of breast cancer in women?
A – Alcohol
Studies show a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. The risk increases in
proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed. One reason may be that alcohol increases levels
of estrogen, a hormone often linked to breast cancer.
B – Breastfeed
Breastfeeeding is beneficial to both Mom and baby. In addition to breast milk providing the ideal
nutrition for babies, Mom’s who breastfeed exclusively for at least six months reduce their risk
for breast cancer. The longer Mom breastfeeds, the more protection there is against breast
C – Chronic stress
Chronic stress is constant and leaves you feeling stressed out, overworked and overwhelmed. It
keeps your body operating in high gear for days, even weeks and weakens the immune system
so that it doesn’t operate at optimum levels. Stress management begins with an awareness of
your stress triggers and how your body responds (i.e. headaches, concentration issues,
sleeplessness). Create a stress toolkit with
strategies such as diaphragmatic (deep) breathing, journaling and movement.
D – Diet
The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is literally just that – sad! It is extremely high in sugar with
the average woman consuming 3 ½ times the amount recommended by the American Health
Association. The diet is high in processed foods as well as trans fats making it pro-inflammatory
too. Eating a diet consisting of more fruits and vegetables is recommended. Focus on eating
“the rainbow” and eating to live, instead of living eat. Eat as if your life depended on it because it
E – Exercise
It’s easy to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise does not necessarily mean joining a gym or
purchasing pricey equipment and/or clothing. It simply means moving your body. This can
include activities such as gardening, dancing, yoga, swimming, and walking. However, before
you start a new exercise routine, chat with your physician.
S – Start today
It’s important that women put themselves on their “to do” list. Daily self-care is the best way to
be proactive, instead of reactive, about your health. Little changes over time can amount to big
results. Do something today that your future will thank you for tomorrow!
Nicolle D. Surratte is a friend and supporter of The Birth Center. She is a breast cancer “thriver,”
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of A Health Coach for Me. She wrote this piece
to raise awareness among our patients and other readers of the newsletter. Nicolle, uses a
holistic approach to health to help women decrease stress, increase self-care and embrace
Want to chat about the health goals that matter most to you? Contact Nicolle for a 30-minute
complimentary call (www.ahealthcoachforme.com).