In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, North York Medical Center is doing a 4-part series on actionable things that everyone can do to take care of themselves and those around them.
According to Health Canada, breast cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in Canada. It is also the #1 cancer affecting women across the country. This is the third installment of North York Medical Center’s 4-part series on Breast Cancer.
We know you’ve heard this one before… lifestyle changes
You probably know the usual suspects of lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of breast cancer:
- No smoking
- Drinking less alcohol (and less frequently)
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy BMI
This post talks about a few more habits that you can easily incorporate to lower your risk of breast cancer. These also benefit overall health, as well as those who are already diagnosed with cancer.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure at Night
In a study that involved over 1200 people with breast cancer and spanned over 5 years in Spain, researchers found that more exposure to blue light at night is correlated with higher rates of breast cancer diagnosis.
Previous studies have found that blue light before sleep could reduce melatonin production while you sleep which, in turn, is associated with higher risk of breast cancer.
We recommend that you spend the last 1-2 hours before bed away from the screen. Replace your e-book or those last episodes of The Real Housewives with an audiobook or a physical book. The Toronto Public Library has an amazing selection of physical and audio books available to borrow.
Some of our favourite titles these days include:
- How Long ‘Till Black Future Month? By N. K. Jemisin
- Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
- Post Office by Charles Bukowski
Eat an Early Dinner
A related study in Spain found that people who waited 2 or more hours after dinner to sleep had a 20% reduction in breast cancer risk.
We recommend moving your mealtime up a bit earlier, if possible. Pack in healthy proteins and fibres to prevent late-night snacking!
Go Find Some Green!
The presence of urban green areas has been associated with reduced risk of break cancer. Luckily, Toronto is the “City within a Park.” There are dozens of trails, parks and forest areas that you can enjoy throughout the city.
Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, or at least a few times a week, we recommend that you take some time to breathe in some fresh air (and stretch out those legs, if you’re working from home).
Visit the City of Toronto’s website to find the nearest trail to you. If you’re going to a busy trail, remember to bring a mask!
In our next and final post, we’ll talk about how to support a loved one who has cancer. Stay tuned for this important post.