4 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make for Better Breast Health, According to a Breast Cancer Surgeon

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Playing A Breast Cancer Surgeon's Top 4 Lifestyle Tips for Better Breast Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is why we thought it was an especially perfect time to invite our good friend + author of "Breasts: The Owner's Manual," Dr. Kristi Funk, back on the show.

And we're so glad we did, because she shared crucial information: the top four things she believes we can and should be doing to optimize our breast health.

(After all, don't we all want our girls living their "breast" lives? 🙏)

Read on for her top tips! And, if it's time, make sure to GET THAT MAMMOGRAM. Speaking of…

1. Ask For a 3D Mammogram

There are two different kinds of mammograms — 2D and 3D. Dr. Kristi says, from the patient's perspective, it feels exactly the same (squishing and radiation, sigh!). But it's much different from the doctor's perspective. "Imagine your breast as a loaf of raisin bread," says Dr. Kristi. "So you squish it between two plates and ask me to find the raisins — that's 2D. 3D [has the] same squish, but now I'm seeing 30 to 50 or more slices of that loaf, and a-ha! Now, it's easier to find the raisins."

The issue, Dr. Kristi says, is breast density. If you have dense breasts, implants, or are at elevated risk, ask your doctor for 3D instead of 2D mammograms. But, she notes, if your insurance won't cover a 3D mammogram, or if 2D is your only option, don't worry! Just add whole breast screening ultrasound to your 2D mammogram and the cancer detection rate is actually slightly better than 3D detection alone.

2. Eat Organic and Locally Grown When You Can

Especially when it comes to fruit! As Dr. Kristi notes, herbicides and pesticides largely collect in the skin. So if you plan to eat the skin—as you would with grapes and berries—that's when you splurge for organic. If you're definitely going to peel it—as you would with, say, bananas or watermelon—"not as important," she says.

3. Examine Your Household Products

Dr. Kristi says to look at your lotions, cosmetics, etc., and if you see ingredients like phthalates or parabens, you want to switch to something more natural. Always filter your water, she says, and while you're at it, make sure to filter your air, too, which you can do with a HEPA mechanical air filter. "It removes 99.97% of all of the allergens and particles in the air, so you don't breathe them in your lungs," she notes. Pretty amazing if you ask us!

4. Try to Avoid Plastics as Much as Possible

Last, but not least, Dr. Kristi asks that whenever you prepare, serve, or store food, try to go for glass or ceramics. "Why? There's BPA in plastic," she says, "and it can literally leach into your food and then into you, where it exerts an estrogen-like effect. And 80% of breast cancers are fueled by estrogen."

MORE: Gretta Monahan Shares a Personal Look Inside Her Breast Cancer Journey

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