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Breastfeeding Reduces The Risk Of Having Breast Cancer, Study Finds

Breastfeeding Reduces The Risk Of Having Breast Cancer, Study Finds

Science Daily recently published an article during Breast Cancer Awareness Month regarding the association between breastfeeding and a reduced risk of aggressive breast cancer that was sourced by the American Cancer Society. The results indicate that breastfeeding is becoming a scientifically supported way to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Studies have been finding that breastfeeding your child can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 20%. That’s a major breakthrough in cancer prevention!

HRN and what it means

Scientists have found that breastfeeding can specifically reduce the development of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, hormone-receptor-negative or HRN. This form of breast cancer is very likely to be life-threatening and makes up 20% of all breast cancer diagnoses. There are many factors that contribute to the development of HRN including BRACA1 gene mutation, obesity, and multiple early pregnancies, among others. Unfortunately, it is women with these multiple risk factors that are least likely to breastfeed.

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What makes these cancers so dangerous?

HRN breast cancer lacks receptors for estrogen or progesterone, and about 2/3 of those diagnosed also lack receptors for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). When the cancer lacks receptors for all three it is considered a Triple Negative (TN). Both HRN and TN are considered deadly for several reasons. These types of breast cancer are more likely to be diagnosed in their later stages, do not respond to as many treatments, and have fewer treatment options to cure them. Because HRN and TN lack several hormone receptors, medications that target these receptors are not effective.

How can breastfeeding help?

Luckily, there is a safe, accessible, and fairly low-cost way to create long-lasting protection against HRN. In the article published on Science Daily, the American Cancer Society says “This work highlights the need for more public health strategies that directly inform women and girls about the maternal (and fetal) benefits of breastfeeding before and during a woman’s child-bearing years. It’s also important for these women to have the message reinforced by their healthcare professionals.”

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It’s wonderful to discover that such a beautiful mother-child bond can also help keep mommy healthy and possibly save her life. But what is it about breastfeeding that can help save lives? Breastcancer.org cites several ways that breastfeeding can help. Producing milk 24/7 helps to limit the cells’ ability to “misbehave,” fewer menstrual cycles while mommy is breastfeeding causes lower estrogen levels, and mommies who are breastfeeding tend to eat healthier and live healthier as well. However, Breastcancer.org says something very interesting about the length of time needed to lower the risk of cancer: “Breastfeeding can lower breast cancer risk, especially if a woman breastfeeds for longer than 1 year. There is less benefit for women who breastfeed for less than a year, which is more typical for women living in countries such as the United States.”

Pregnant women and younger mothers are very receptive to making healthy choices for themselves and their babies. If women are encouraged to breastfeed, it might lead to better health for both the baby and mommy. If the stigma of breastfeeding in places such as work or school is also removed, it might make breastfeeding more comfortable for new mothers while out in public.

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More research still needs to be conducted, but so far the results have been very encouraging. With such a safe and easy way to reduce the risk of breast cancer, women who are able to breastfeed should try and do so. “All approaches will be necessary in order to protect the most women against the devastation of breast cancer over their lifetimes,” says Farhad Islami, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Interventions, Surveillance and Health Services Research, American Cancer Society.

Featured photo credit: Chris Alban Hansen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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