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.
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, more than 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 American women will die from breast cancer each year.
Neuhouser has found that for postmenopausal women in particular, being overweight or obese may increase the risk for breast cancer.
“After menopause, estrogens are synthesized by adipose tissue—the more adipose a woman has, the more estrogen she will make," Neuhouser explains. 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 Neuhouser, is to “maintain a healthy weight."
Given what the research indicates, 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.”
Neuhouser says while it can be challenging to lose weight, “Small changes can add up and make a big difference."
"If someone is not used to physical activity, try a five to ten minute walk and gradually increase the time," Neuhouser said. "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."
Here are some South Bay resources to check out:
• - Series aimed at preventing conditions that impact mobility. Redondo Orthopedic Physical Therapy, 520 N Prospect Ave. Free
• Beginners Conditioning Hike - Sponsored by Palos Verdes-South Bay chapter of the Sierra Club, a weekly Monday night conditioning hike. Free
• Beginners Conditioning Hike - Sponsored by the local chapter of the Sierra Club, a weekly Tuesday night conditioning hike. Free
• Zumba at the Beach - Wednesday nights at the Anthology, 200 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free
• Sierra Club Hike - First Sunday of the month, get in shape on an easy, two-hour, four to five-mile hike in Manhattan Beach sponsored by the Sierra Club local chapter. Meet at 9 a.m. at Live Oak Park by the police memorial, 1901 Valley Drive under giant oak tree by tennis courts.
• Manhattan Beach-Redondo Beach Running Meetup Group - Regular runs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Fridays and Saturday for all runners. Meets at 1100 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, near the bathrooms outside of Scotty's.
• Senior Fitness - Dance and fitness instructor Josie Sterling leads the fitness class Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5721 Crestridge Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes. Cost is $5 per session.
• Sierra Club Conditioning Hike - A vigorous two-hour hike up and down the streets and trails of Palos Verdes. Not for beginners. Meet at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday at the parking lot near Rite Aid Drugs, Hawthorne Boulevard and Silver Spur in Rolling Hills Estates. Free
When it comes to food, Neuhouser suggests, "start with making one new food change each week. Instead of eating two cookies, eat just one.”
If you are concerned about your weight, Neuhouser suggests getting the support you need by asking your doctor for “ a referral to a reputable weight loss program.” For nutrition advice, Neuhouser recommends asking for a referral to a registered dietitian.
Locally, you can find support managing your weight through weight loss programs and registered dietitians. Here are some resources:
• Weight Watchers - Meetings in Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Torrance.
• Jenny Craig - Centers in Manhattan Beach, Torrance and Rolling Hills Estates.
• Registered dietitians - Find dietitians in the South Bay on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.