You go for your regular breast screening and the doctor tells you that you have increased breast density which is a strong known risk for breast cancer.
So, what does it mean? Breast tissue is composed of fat, glandular and connective tissue. Fat is less dense while glandular and connective tissues are denser. When scans show the presence of more glandular and connective tissue, breast density is greater. Unfortunately, the breast cancer risk is four to five times greater in women who have increased density in more than 75% of their breast tissue, than in women with little or no density in the breast. And one-third of all breast cancers are found in women who have increased breast density in over 50% of their breast tissue.
What can cause increased breast density?
Among the more prominent reasons is estrogen dominance which means estrogen levels are too high in relation to progesterone. It can occur at any time during life — during reproductive years, peri-menopause, or menopause.
The causes of estrogen dominance are wide and varied. Some factors include:
⦁ Being overweight: The more body fat, the more the body tips towards have more estrogen.
⦁ Overburdening the liver: The liver is responsible for clearing the body of estrogen among its many other functions. If the liver is overburdened with a high calorie and fat laden diet, lots of sugar and alcohol, or with high volumes of processing chemicals, it becomes sluggish in its ability to process everything. When the liver slows down, estrogen ends up becoming back-logged.
⦁ Stress: actually, decreases progesterone and increases estrogen production.
⦁ Exposure to phyto and xenon estrogens
Phytoestrogens like soy, flax and legumes can interfere with natural estrogen production, and increase the rate of testosterone and other hormones being converted into estrogen. Xenoestrogens are from chemicals in the environment, such as BPA. Plastics and aluminums typically have BPA and can interfere with estrogen balance.
⦁ Eating a low fiber diet
Research shows that low fiber diets are associated with estrogen dominance. The general idea is that with poor gut flora and slow intestinal motility, estrogen can sit too long in the gut and gets reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.