You might be able to find help fighting breast cancer and other types of cancers at your local grocery store and fitness centers, according to the research findings of Dr. Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D, RD.
Dr. Neuhouser is a nutritional epidemiologist with a background in nutritional sciences. She is an investigator at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Her research is focused on lifestyle factors such as nutrition and physical activity. Some factors may prevent breast and prostate cancer and improve survivorship in those diagnosed with cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, more than 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 American women will die from breast cancer.
Dr. Neuhouser’s research has found that for postmenopausal women in particular, being overweight or obese may increase the risk for breast cancer.
Dr. Neuhouser explains, “After menopause, estrogens are synthesized by adipose tissue—the more adipose a woman has, the more estrogen she will make. Adipose cells also synthesize inflammatory factors, which have been linked to breast cancer.”
One of the most important things a woman at risk for breast cancer can do, says Dr. Neuhouser, is to “maintain a healthy weight."
Given what the research indicates, Dr. Neuhouser says, “One of the most important things is that if a woman is overweight or obese, she should be advised to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Daily physical activity and following healthy eating habits with plentiful fruits and vegetables and minimal empty calories and fried foods will help achieve these goals.”
Dr. Neuhouser says while it can be challenging to lose weight, “Small changes can add up and make a big difference."
When it comes to getting active, Dr. Neuhouser says, "If someone is not used to physical activity, try a five to ten minute walk and gradually increase the time. Having physical activity partners or walking partners always helps. I know my soccer team will be waiting for me on the field, so even if I am tired or busy, I still show up."
For a calm walk or jog in the area, the Henry Hudson Trail offers a paved path that travels for several miles throughout Monmouth County. Just park your car at the lot near the intersection of Lloyd Road and Gerard Avenue in Aberdeen or at McMahon Park in North Middletown and start your stroll. Holmdel and Hazlet are also home to several parks that offer trails, tennis courts, and basketball courts, including Holmdel Park, Robert Labbe Memorial Park, and Ramanessen Greenway Nature Trail. Holmdel Park also offers Stroller Strides, a mom and baby fitness class in the park.
If you would prefer a more structured and individualized program, you may want to try a personal trainer. Charlene Russo, a local mother of three, runs Mom Into Living Fit. Russo focuses on creating new workouts and helping women reach their fitness goals by making healthier lifestyle choices. Or, sign up for a memberships at Xtreme Fitness Zone, Cross Farm Park, LA Fitness, or Meridian Fitness and Wellness.
Don't forget that you can also swing your hips during Sunday morning Zumba classes with Temple Shalom.
When it comes to food, Dr. Neuhouser says, "Start with making one new food change each week. Instead of eating two cookies, eat just one.”
If you are concerned about your weight, Dr. Neuhouser suggests getting the support you need by asking your doctor for “ a referral to a reputable weight loss program.” For nutrition advice, Dr. Neuhouser recommends asking for a referral to a registered dietitian, such as Timolyne Skinner, NP or Suzanne Mogavero, NP.