Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Arizona, and Yavapai County has the third highest rate of breast cancer among all counties in the state. While we have no control over some of the risks for breast cancer, including family history and genetics, maintaining a healthy weight, enjoying a plant-based diet, being physically active, and scheduling regular mammograms are all steps that women can take to both prevent and detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. Dr. Michael Macon, Medical Director of the Breast Care Center at YRMC joined us recently on the set of YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen to share news about the excellent diagnostic tools, cutting edge treatment plans, caring staff and patient support available at the Breast Care Center. He also helped us prepare a delicious roasted cauliflower soup filled with cancer-fighting nutrients and lots of warm, satisfying flavor!
The Breast Care Center at YRMC offers a number of excellent screening and diagnostic tools that can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages and help determine which treatment might be best if cancer is found. Dr. Macon describes the Breast Care Center as “a basecamp for cancer diagnosis and treatment, where first and foremost, women can get mammograms with expert mammographers using the latest equipment. Also, if someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is a place that provides excellent treatment, plus ongoing care that includes a support group for women who have cancer”. Check out the video to learn more about the great care provided at the Breast Care Center, and see how easy it is to make our delicious soup!
Good research suggests that a plant-based diet (one filled with lots of vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruit, nuts and seeds, and smaller portions of animal-based foods) helps to prevent the onset and recurrence of breast cancer. In fact, a recent study led by researchers an the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that women who ate 5 ½ servings of fruits and vegetables or more each day (one serving equals 1 cup of raw leafy greens or ½ cup cooked or raw non-leafy vegetables and fruits) had an 11% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to women who ate approximately half that amount or less each day. Cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and yellow and orange vegetables may confer the most protection, especially against the most aggressive types of tumors.
The cancer-preventing effects of a diet filled with plants may be due to multiple factors, including high levels of fiber, which can reduce harmful estrogen levels in the body, and phytochemicals, which may act to stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and even directly fight cancer growth. Eating meals that are filled with nourishing plants (especially vegetables) can also help women maintain a healthy weight. After all, if you replace some of the higher calorie foods on your plate, like meats and starches, with low calorie vegetables, you’ll be eating fewer calories, but will likely still feel comfortably full because of the fiber and volume that vegetables add to meals.
Adequate physical activity, of at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, may also reduce breast cancer risk by helping women to maintain a healthy weight. Other benefits of exercise likely include a reduction of harmful estrogen levels and improved immune function. Moving more throughout the day also means you are sitting less, which offers benefits that extend to increased longevity and reduced risk of a number of chronic diseases.
There’s no doubt that lifestyle changes help reduce the risk of breast cancer, but remember, getting regular mammograms is equally important, whether you are at increased risk of breast cancer because of family or personal history or not. Call now, 928-442-8900, to schedule your mammogram, and remind your friends and loved ones to do the same. The Breast Care Center is located at Yavapai Regional Medical Center East, 7700 Florentine Road, in Prescott Valley.