When we are educated about breast cancer prevention, what is most often talked about is going to your check ups. However, this is not preventive at all, it is early detection.
So what can you do to prevent breast cancer? I assume you never smoked, you do not drink alcohol, you work out and eat your veggies. You already have cleaned up your personal environment (for example cleaning agents, furniture and food) but you also want to something actively that goes beyond these standard recommendations.
It was only a couple of weeks ago when stumbled across a you tube video from this woman who decided to induce lactation to prevent breast cancer. This really blew my mind. Of course I know that doctors recommend breastfeeding for mothers to reduce risks of breast and ovarian cancer but this just seemed like another way to pressure us out of our physical autonomy and into having babies. Simply inducing lactation for the health benefits had never crossed my mind before watching this video and it is just far enough out there to be compelling to me. While I have already breastfed, never took the birth control pill and live healthy (breast cancer risk next to 0) I have been feeling a bit concerned about my breast health. After I stopped breast feeding my breasts were very soft and felt like the tissue was perfectly supplied (free of any knots and bumps). However, for about a year they have been slowly developing back into their pre-pregnancy state, which means lumpy and knotty especially during PMS (I have „dense” breast tissue). I know that this is due to me having naturally high prolactin and estrogen, not cancer, but I also know that breasts with this type of tissue develop breast cancer more frequently.
Who should do lactation induction?
If you do not know when you are going to have children or do not want to have children or if you do not want or did not breast feed your children or if cancer runs in your family or you have “dense” breast tissue. The younger you are the better. If your daughter is 15, tell her about this. As soon as the physical development is completed and fertility achieved, lactation may be induced. Even after menopause this is an option for you. If you are already older, you maybe want to have a breast exam before doing this, even though I do not recommend a mammogram right before lactation, but an ultrasound is a good replacement and in fact more accurate.
If you try this and are on any type of medication (included herbal and birth control) or have health risks, it would probably be wise to get as informed as possible about how this might influence the lactation and how the lactation might influence your illness. By this I mean ask three doctors, the internet, two books, a pharmacist, a nurse, a healer, others who have the same problem, listen to your own intuition and then use your intelligence.
So today I decided to give it a try. And here is how I am going to do this:
First I will order my supplies:
Breast pump holder
I already have some soft bras (not under wired, this is very important as underwired bras during lactation can give you mastitis)
Nursing bra pads
Fenugreek and milk thistle supplements
I decided to do the following procedure:
On the first day of my period I will start with the supplements, breast pumping and nipple stimulation in the morning, after work and before bed. This way I can use the natural hormonal changes during my menstrual cycle to support lactation induction. On the weekends I might add sessions when it feels promising (twinging and tingling breasts).
I will avoid peppermint and sage tea as I have successfully used These herbs for weaning.(When I stop the experiment I will replace my supplements with a strong sage tea each night after pumping and mornings and drink peppermint tea throughout the day whenever I feel thirsty)
There are medications to support lactation induction, but I have decided against using them as they are a strain on the liver and kidneys and I do not believe in preventing one disease while giving myself another.
I decided to use a one sided electric breast pump to manually stimulate the other side while one side pumps. While I do this I will look at baby pictures or nursing babies and listen to crying babies (when I was still nursing, hearing a baby cry at the doctor gave me a wet shirt once, so I know that my body responds to this trigger).
I will try this for three months and see if I can stimulate breast milk. If it works, I will keep it up for about one year. I find that the breast really changes very positively between 6 months and one year of breast feeding, so I will try to replicate this. I will donate the milk to a local hospital and have the chance to help others and myself at the same time.
Or I might want to try a cappuccino while staying officially “vegan”…