We each have a unique set of genes and family history that might make us more susceptible to certain diseases such as cancer, but diet and lifestyle changes can reduce our risk of getting these diseases. 

We tend to think of our genetic make-up and family history being in the hands of fate and then thinking “oh well, if it is all pre-determined there’s nothing I can do”.  But this is far from true.   

Prevention of cancer through change in diet

According to the World Cancer Research Fund in 2009, 40% of all cancers, including breast cancer, could be prevented by changes in diet and lifestyle and only 5% are actually due to a genetic disposition.  Many studies have shown that taking regular exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer.  In fact, walking for just half an hour a day has been shown to halve the risk of developing breast cancer.  And one large study of over 200,000 women followed for 6.5 years showed that all types of exercise cut the risk of breast cancer.

The thinking is that regular exercise modifies a woman’s hormonal activity in a beneficial way. We know that extremes of exercise alter the menstrual cycle dramatically and may even stop the periods.  So it is thought that moderate routine exercise suppresses the production (or overproduction) of hormones, reducing a woman’s exposure during her lifetime. Some breast cancers are oestrogen-sensitive so it makes sense that if the hormone levels are more balanced then the risk of developing breast cancer will be reduced.

So we may have been dealt a hand of cards from our family history but it how we play those cards that is the important part.

For more information on general health read  ‘The Natural Health Bible for Women’.  A practical, easy-to-use, one-stop reference book for women of all ages. Containing everything you need to know to make informed choices about your body, how it works, and how to keep it in the best of health. READ MORE