Mon | Jun 26, 2017

Prevention is the cure for breast cancer

Published:Tuesday | August 26, 2014 | 8:00 AM

BREAST CANCER month approaches and as in previous years, more women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year than last year despite all the money contributed to cancer research.

Over 95 cents of every dollar collected is directed at early detection and then the treatment of breast cancer. By comparison, very little money or attention is aimed at prevention. After all, diagnosing and treating cancer is a huge and profitable business.

Ladies, the health of your breasts is really your concern. You must take the responsibility for your own cancer-prevention programme. Prevention is infinitely better than cure. Prevention is the ultimate cure for breast cancer. Here are some breast cancer prevention tips.

Eat right

A diet low in fat and high in fibre is essential. The major part of your diet should come from plant-based foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, whole grain cereals, beans, legumes, ground provisions, vegetable soups, and fresh juices. Research shows that the fibre in these foods actually helps the body eliminate excess cancer-causing oestrogen from the body.

Minimise your intake of meats and dairy products as they are the major dietary sources of cancer causing chemicals and oestrogen-like hormones. The fatty parts of meats are particularly dangerous as those harmful chemicals are usually fat-soluble and are concentrated in the fatty tissues. Tinned and preserved meats, e.g. bacon and sausage contain the preservative sodium nitrite, which is also cancer causing.

Eat soy-based foods. They contain natural substances called isoflavones that protect the breast from cancer. These substances act like very weak hormones and protect the cells in the breast from the powerful chemical hormones.

Despite consistent propaganda, there is no medical evidence that soy causes cancer. On the contrary, the research suggests that increased soy consumption decreases the risk of many cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. There may be some concerns about the quality of some soy products. I have found a high-quality soy-based protein shake taken daily is a convenient way to ensure regular soy supplementation. Fermented soy foods like tofu, miso, tempeh and natto are also good. Roasted soy nuts or boiled soy-beans (edammame) are excellent anti-cancer snacks.

Drink green tea. Tons of research point to the cancer-prevention benefits of regular consumption of green tea. Japanese research indicates that women who drink two or more cups of green tea daily reduce their risk of breast cancer by 50 per cent.

Regularly eat cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts. These cruciferous vegetables, particularly broccoli, contain substances that remove carcinogens from the body. Other vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots also contain powerful anti-cancer agents. Emphasise variety and colour in your choice of vegetables

Minimise your intake of sugar as sugar promotes the growth of cancer cells. Focus on more natural foods with less added sugar and preservatives.

Use supplements

I recommend a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement tablet that are taken with each meal on a daily basis. The antioxidants, Vitamins A, C, E and selenium (the ACES), as well as the antioxidant herbs schizandra, rosemary, and garlic are helpful. Anti-inflammatory agents like the omega 3 fatty acids and turmeric have anti-cancer properties.

Herbs like Tang Quei and Black Cohosh promote a healthy hormonal balance in women and red clover like soy contain beneficial isoflavones. A holistic practitioner can advise you on their use.

Change your lifestyle

Get vitamin D. Sunshine creates vitamin D on contact with skin, but the darker your skin, the more sunshine you need. Optimal levels of vitamin D protects from many cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. The lower your levels of vitamin D, the higher your risk of breast cancer. If you cannot get enough sunshine, take a vitamin D3 supplement.

Correct and avoid obesity

Obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer as fat cells create additional oestrogen that can promote breast cancer. Also, fat women discover their breast cancer later than slim women do. Fat loss along with exercise will decrease your cancer risk and provide several other health benefits.

Avoid toxins. Stay away from tobacco smoke and avoid, or at least minimise, your alcohol intake as drinking alcohol increases the levels of oestrogen in your blood. Be extremely careful with hair and skin-care products. Many hair dyes contain carcinogens. Use safer, natural alternatives.

Avoid environmental pollution and unnecessary drug use and household chemicals. Do a regular detoxification programme.

Detect and manage stress

This is very important. Chronic stress causes raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels may impair the body's immune system and weaken your resistance to cancer and other diseases.

Check your breasts

While on your prevention programme, it is wise to check for any pre-existent breast lumps. Learn proper breast self-examination. Women themselves doing self-examinations discover 90 per cent of all breast cancers.

Use mammograms cautiously, especially before the menopause. The pre-menopausal breast is extremely sensitive to radiation, and mammograms expose the breast to significant amounts of radiation. Some research shows a higher incidence of breast cancer deaths among women who had mammograms before they reached the menopause.

You may email Dr. Vendryes at tonyvendryes@gmail.com or listen to An Ounce of Prevention on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 pm. His new book An Ounce of Prevention - Mainly for Men, is now available at local bookstores and on the Internet.