Preventing Breast Cancer

Don’t wait for a cure. Preventing breast cancer starts today with food and life choices

A full page ad in my hometown paper read, “You Can’t Prevent Breast Cancer.” I knew that preventing breast cancer was possible (click here to find out exactly how), so I was upset, even angry, when I saw that ad from a local hospital. It went on to explain in reassuring terms that even though this very scary situation was not preventable, it was treatable, and that this particular health system in fact had the best treatment options available. So while the best treatment is important to promote, my fear was that the ad reinforced the unspoken fears of countless women who read it that day: “I am helpless, I am afraid, and all I can do is wait and hope for the best.”

This message is reinforced in subtle ways repeatedly in our medically dependent society. In grocery stores, public service announcements printed on shopping bags and at checkouts say “Early Detection: your Best Protection.” Of all places, a grocery store would be a great place to say, “Great Food Choices Available in the Produce Section, Scientifically Supported Real Prevention.” Please understand: there is no magical diet that can 100% guarantee prevention. But risk reduction is possible (see the paragraph on the main Cancer Prevention page), and the biggest achievable piece of that reduction is in your choices of foods. The other good news: eating to reduce breast cancer risk is also really good prevention for heart disease (the leading killer of women), and similarly reduces the risk of prostate cancer (men), and other cancers. This is another great example of the holistic medicine approach, using one natural approach to health (in this case a cancer prevention diet) that benefits multiple outcomes at the same time.

So let me give you right now the steps I consider most important inpreventing breast cancer. These include: keep a high daily intake of a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits; maintain normal body weight and stay physically active throughout life; choose the oils and fats you eat carefully; enjoy a low glycemic index diet by choosing whole grains instead of refined flours and sugars; avoid environmental toxins (including alcohol and charred meats); choose to breast feed your baby, and supplement your healthy diet with antioxidants such as green tea.

Monthly breast self-exams are also an important strategy in preventing breast cancer, and I recommend this to all women from the teen years onward, but not because this reduces risk of breast cancer. Self exams are important because they have the potential for discovering tumors at a smaller earlier stage at which treatment outcomes and survival can be better. Mammograms are routinely recommended for the same reason, and the best current evidence supports the use of regular screening mammograms for detection of early, potentially treatable, disease. 

Continued on the Breast Cancer Prevention Diet page 

Continued on the Breast Cancer Exercise Page 

Continued on the Environment and Cancer Page


Preventing breast cancer is a worthwhile aim of women of all ages. I hope this short introduction has given you enough good information to begin to take action today to reduce your risk. My goal is to empower you to take charge of your own health, instead of passively hoping for good luck. This is the approach of holistic medicine, giving you the power to stay well.

For even more vital information on preventing breast cancer, you can now order a copy of my book, Breast Cancer: Reduce Your Risk with Foods You Love. You may call our office at 803-426-1421 to place your order.

Easy ordering and payment with Pay-Pal, and details on the pre-publication special pricing are at the Breast Health Plan website. 

To your health and wellness,


Robert Pendergrast, M.D. 

Preventing Breast Cancer

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