Within the last year, five friends in my own social circle either lost their loved ones or lost the battle to breast cancer themselves. All five were below the age of 40. Breast cancer is among the top 10 causes of death in Singapore. It’s not just a statistic. It’s very REAL. I knew immediately that in October, I had to invite everyone, both men and women, to Think Pink! and raise breast cancer awareness.

While up to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, the majority of breast cancer patients don’t have a family history. There are many other factors at play but one that stands out is oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen is a perfectly normal, health-promoting hormone that is important for bone growth, blood clotting and reproduction in men and women. The body regulates the amount needed through intricate biochemical pathways. However, with the introduction of 85,000 synthetic chemicals into our environment, a large and growing body of research indicates that these toxic compounds may have a role to play in developing breast cancer.

A particularly dangerous subgroup known as xenoestrogens mimic the action of oestrogen by having a similar structure. They latch on to oestrogen receptor sites on cells triggering abnormal signaling and disrupting normal hormonal function. This is especially harmful to hormone sensitive organs like the uterus and the breast, the immune and nervous systems. An excess of oestrogen in the body has been linked to increased risk for several cancers, infertility and miscarriages.

For our male readers, if you think this article has nothing to do with you, think again. Studies have linked oestrogen-dominance not just with female cancers like breast cancer and ovarian cancer, but with male cancers like prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Read on to find out what dietary and lifestyle changes we can immediately make to reduce our risk of these cancers.

> Xenoestrogens in our Food

We are frequently exposed to a multitude of toxic chemicals through a variety of sources. One way that we may readily consume xenoestrogens is through pesticides. Pesticides are fat-soluble and tend to remain in the fatty tissue of humans, other mammals, birds, and fish. Studies have shown a higher level of pesticides in women with breast cancer than in women with benign breast disease.

Perhaps the most famous link between xenoestrogens and cancer was the discovery of extremely high rates of breast cancer in Israel in the seventies, which was directly linked to three organochloride pesticides, DDT, Lindane and BHC. In the 10 years that followed the 1976 ban of these pesticides, the incidence of breast cancer in Israel declined 20%.

Refrain from eating foods that have been treated with pesticides and herbicides and avoid using them in your home. As for animal produce, if you are not buying organic meats, you are most likely also indirectly consuming xenoestrogens through animal fats (meat and milk), which are more likely to accumulate hormone-disrupting chemicals.

> Xenoestrogens in our Water

Another way that we may unknowingly take in large amounts of xenoestrogens is through the water we drink. Xenoestrogens are commonly found in pharmaceuticals like birth control and HRT. Through female urine, these synthetic oestrogenic products enter our water systems and in contaminated rivers, where the wildlife is affected. For instance, male fish have been feminized and have eggs in their testes. Research has shown that ethinyl estradiol has contributed to causing these effects, often in combination with other hormone mimicking substances.

These xenoestrogens also make their way into our homes through the use of recycled water in cities and the inability of filtration systems to keep up with the latest drug developments. We may be drinking them in what are deemed “safe” levels on a daily basis, but research has concluded that they are stored in our fats and are cumulative. Xenoestrogens add up in the body and can far exceed any Government safety limit. Do not take any chances with tap water. Ensure you have a water filtration system that filters out trace pharmaceuticals.

When you are out and about, don’t buy cheap disposable plastic bottled water that eventually ends up in landfills. These are likely to contain organochlorines like Bisphenol-A (BPA). Due to its structural similarity to the hormone estradiol, BPA can activate certain oestrogen receptors. Opt instead to carry your own filtered water bottle. Filtered water not only allows you to play your part in preserving the earth, but also saves you more money per year while providing you with clean, healthy water.

> Xenoestrogens in the Home

Unfortunately, even if we became shrewd food detectives and turned all-organic, we don’t just eat and drink xenoestrogens. They could also be entering our bodies through contact with our skin and our lungs. We breathe them in and also apply them on our skin. Our skin is a carrier not a barrier. If it were otherwise, nicotine and hormone patches would not work.

Xenoestrogens are all around us in the house. They are found in products like household detergents, insecticides, nail polish, cosmetics, lotions, deodorants and sunscreen. Try minimizing your exposure to endocrine disruptors by checking labels on these products just like you do food. A bigger challenge is that they can also be found in phthalates (plasticizers) and building supplies such as wood preservatives, electrical oils and adhesives.

Guidelines to Minimize Your Personal Exposure to Xenoestrogens


  • Buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible
  • If you’re on a budget, spend wisely by referring to the Environmental Working Group’s annual Dirty Dozen™ list which singles out produce with the highest pesticide loads
  • If you’re buying non-organic fruits and vegetables, wash produce thoroughly with a food-grade vegetable cleanser like ETL No. 9 – All Purposes Green Formula, available at the Balanced Living Shop
  • Buy hormone-free meats and dairy products to avoid hormones and pesticides


  • Invest in a filtration system that removes trace pharmaceuticals
  • Do not buy disposable plastic bottled water
  • Drink from your own filtered water bottle throughout the day
  • Do not buy plastic kettles, invest in stainless steel kettles

Home Care

  • Use chemical free, biodegradable household cleaning products
  • Choose chlorine-free products and unbleached paper products (i.e. tampons, menstrual pads, toilet paper, paper towel, coffee filters)
  • Do not microwave food in plastic containers
  • Avoid the use of plastic wrap to cover food for storing or microwaving
  • Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food

Personal Care

  • Avoid creams and cosmetics that have toxic chemicals and estrogenic ingredients like parabens
  • Buy chemical-free nail polish
  • Swop out artificial fragrances for an essential oil roll-on
  • Use chemical-free toiletries


So far, we have focused on what to avoid to reduce our exposure to xenoestrogens. On 25 October, Tuesday join me in our “Go Green and Prevent Breast Cancer” workshop to learn why the following increases your risk of developing breast cancer and what you can do about it:

  • Drinking fluoridated and chlorinated water
  • Lack of sleep
  • Being overweight
  • Insufficient intake of green vegetables

I will also be sharing nutritional strategies and dietary supplements to prevent breast cancer, while Tina Escano will show you how you can support breast health with pure essential oil therapy. All participants will leave with a roll-on featuring Young Living oils. Register now.


tiffany-wee_profile-picture_nov-2016-2Tiffany Wee

Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist, Mindful Eating, Reiki

Born in Singapore and trained in Australia, Tiffany has consulted in world-renowned health establishments like Chiva Som, ESPA and Balanced Living. She is recognised by her clients for her warmth, efficiency and expertise in helping them achieve their individual health potential. Tiffany is also the first in Asia to offer UCSD’s Mindful Eating course.

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