I would like to preface my suggestions on breast cancer with some of the research available concerning the risks.....
Studies show that mammograms expose breasts to low level radiation. It has also been found that approximately 75% of breast cancers could be prevented by minimizing or avoiding exposure to the ionizing radiation of mammograms, Xrays, and other medical sources. No safe threshold of ionizing radiation has been found. In addition to that, the considerable pressure used in mammograms has been found to spread existing masses of cancer cells which could cause existing cancer cells to metastacize to other parts of the body. Studies have shown that the pressure can also rupture in-situ cysts. Ductal carcinoma in-situ has increased 200% since 1983 due to use of mammograms.
Studies at NCI have shown that breast cancer patients with estrogen receptor positive tumors may have an altered melatonin release curve (decreased, overall, especially at night). Melatonin has been found to alter the growth of human breast cancer cells in vitro. Melatonin release may be dependent on stimulation of pineal gland by norepinephrine. Norepinephrine levels in the brain are depleted in response to helplessness in the face of stress.
Overall and central adiposity is associated with increases in insulin, androgens and triglycerides, decreased sex hormone binding globulin, and increase in total and free estradiol. A number of these hormonal changes increase the bioavailability of estradiol and may promote tumor growth. The bioavailability of estrogen is modulated by menopausal changes in estrogen and progesterone. Heavier women have been found to experience poorer survival and the increased likelihood of recurrence in studies. Women with hormone receptor positive tumors who were obese had a risk of death 3 times that of thin women. Women with hormone receptor negative tumors who were thin had a risk of death 6 times that of obese women. Weight gain has been reported in the majority of women undergoing adjuvant therapy for breast cancer associated with treatment. Weight gain is lowest among women not receiving systemic therapy, intermediate among women receiving combination therapy, and more pronounced in women receiving prednisone and ovarian ablation in addition to chemo. Women who gained more than 10-15 pounds were found to be 1.5 times as likely to relapse and 1.6 times more likely to die than women who gained less or none.
Insulin and IGF may promote hormone dependent tumors, both through direct effects on tumor cells and indirect effects on estrogen plus possible interactions with estrogen at the estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells. Health habits which may increase insulin include: weight gain, physical inactivity, gestational diabetes mellitus, and subsequent impaired glucose intolerance later in life caused by high intake of carbohydrates, menopause, and aging. Estrogen levels decline with menopause and decline more with age in the post menopausal period. Insulin levels rise with age and hormone receptor function declines with age. Therefore, the relative importance of estrogen and other sex hormones compared to insulin and other hormones on breast cancer cell growth may change with age.
Studies have shown that women having early menarch, late menopause, or no child-bearing are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer due to increased lifetime exposure to estrogen. HRT also increases those risks. Women with low serum cholesterol and body weight may double the 5 year disease-free survival rate. Tamoxifen is often used if the disease is not advanced and the tumor is estrogen receptor positive. Tamoxifen is often more effective in post menopausal women and less in premenopausal women. Chemo has been found to be more effective in premenopausal women. It has been found to always be best to avoid agents that increase estrogen bioavailability and concentrate on agents that DECREASE bioavailability. Phytoestrogens decrease the bioavailability of the strong environmental estrogens by blocking receptors. By reducing dietary fat, estrogen production is decreased and metabolism is increased. There are many estrogen receptors in fat cells. By decreasing fat cells, estrogen receptors are decreased. Soy increases the production of sex-hormone binding globulin. The genestein in soy has been found to inhibit platelet aggregation ( which promotes metastasis), induce apoptosis ( cell death), inhibit angiogenesis (tumors ability to create it's own blood supply), reduce bioavailabiltiy of sex hormones and induce differentiation in cancer cells (programmed cell maturation). When using soy, it is always BEST TO USE IN SMALL AMOUNTS and only fermented (miso,or Jarrow fermented soy powder are both good). Soy appears to have anti-estrogenic effects on premenopausal women and estrogenic effects on post-menopausal women. Genestein is also found in red clover. Other research discoveries have found that too much soy causes a deficiency of zinc, thereby lowering immunity.
Estrogen dominance is known to play large part in acne breakouts in women, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and fibrocystic breast disease. It has also been found to increase the expression of the BCL2 gene (known as the proto-oncogene, which means it promotes cancer if the expression goes unchecked). The herb, myrrh has been found to block the expression of BCL2. This increased expression can result in the increased growth of estrogen sensitive tissue in the breasts, ovaries, and uterus; hence, increased cancer risk in these organs. Progesterone decreases the expression of BCL2 and increases the expression of the P53 gene which leads to programmed cell death and a decreased risk of cancer in estrogen receptor sensitive tissue.
Studies have shown that women with breast cancer benefit from using bio-identical progesterone cream to balance estrogen in their bodies. Progesterone has been found to reduce estrogen receptor production on breast cells. Bio-identical progesterone (not progestin) helps protect breasts against over stimulation from estrogen by reducing estrogen-receptor production on breast cells and also decreasing the production of estrogen within breast cells. Breast tumors that test positive for progesterone receptors are also estrogen-receptor positive. However, the opposite is found as far as growth stimulation; estrogen stimulates the growth of cancer cells. Progesterone-receptor positive indicates that the cells are receptive to the balancing, anti-cancer effects of progesterone. Progesterone signals the cell to stop multiplying. It has been found that progesterone is beneficial to women with progesterone receptor positive cancer. Women with estrogen-receptor positive and progesterone-receptor positive tumors are shown to have a good prognosis. It shows that the tumor is well differentiated and slower growing. Continuing studies have found that progesterone cream ( 2% bio-identical) used 1-2 weeks before breast biopsy or surgery had a decreased risk for recurrence. Progesterone is also shown to enhance the immune response and make any tumor cells released during surgery less apt to attach to other sites and grow.
Tamoxifen has been shown to put women at an increased risk for dementia, memory loss, or depression due to the anti-estrogenic effects on the brain. It also puts women at an increased risk of uterine cancer due to the fact that it causes changes in the endometrial lining ( it is necessary to have regular uterine scans). After 5 years of use, it has been found to flip-flop and start to act like an estrogen, increasing the risk of recurrent breast cancer AND uterine cancer, blood clots in the legs and lungs, stroke, cataracts, hot flashes, vaginal discharge. A healthy lifestyle is better prevention for breast cancer.
Estrogen receptor negative breast cancer cell lines have shown over-all poorer survival rates; however, this only means that these particular cancers need more systemic and local therapies. Studies have been done on the mammary myoepithelial cells and it has been found that the myoepithelial cell and it's condition medium could block estrogen-receptor negative breast carcinoma cell line MDA-MD-231 cell invasion. The myoepithelial cells may have an antitumor effect in regulation of breast cancer development and progression. Transforming growth factor-1beta (TGF-1beta) stimulates BC cell growth, increasing risk of BC. Estrogen receptor negative cell lines are found to contain high amounts of this. This is another reason to stay away from any colostrum supplements.
--- Plant based estrogens contain high levels of estriol which is weak and has been found to lower the chances of developing breast cancer.
--- Quercetin is a very strong antioxidant, combined with vitamin C for synergy. It is found to be hundreds of times stronger that vitamin antioxidants, and is known to be very good for cancer prevention; inhibiting the activity of the EGF receptor.
---Studies have shown that the soy bean agglutinin selectively identifies mutated cells producing A antigen. Only a small amount is needed for this agglutination. It agglutinates breast cancer cells, specifically, and has been used to remove cancerous cells from harvested bone marrow.
---Soy is also known to lower thyroid function. Therefore,it is best to use it in small amounts, since only a small amount is needed for agglutination. It has always been found to be best to eat the whole food as opposed to isolated soy components such as isoflavones. Other components of the soy plant besides the isoflavones have been found to be responsible for the anti- cancer effect.
---Peanuts have been found to agglutinate medullary breast cancer cells, to a lesser degree, intraductal, lobular, and scirrhous. The peanut agglutinin inhibits the growth of breast cancer cell lines and allows for destruction. It most likely agglutinates other A-like cancers, in addition. Research has shown that it is best to eat fresh peanuts with red skins. Lima beans and lentils are shown to have similar effects.
---The type of dietary fat eaten is important. Fat has a large impact on epidermal growth factor. The epidermal growth factor receptor plays an important role in human cancer. Epidermal growth factor is known to have effects on the growth of prostate, colon, and breast cancer. These cancers show an excessively high concentration of EGF receptors on the cancer cell surface. Since the EGF has all those receptors to bind to, excessive EGF is critical to tumor growth . It has been found that breast cancer growth is regulated by growth factor receptors � specifically EGF-R. Because of this, the best recommendations for fat intake is to eat olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Fish oil is also very good. Dietary fats have been found to promote carcinogenesis by increasing the bio-availability of sex hormones. For example - a high intake of fat (bad fats) may increase the risk or incidence of estrogen- responsive cancers, such as breast and endometrial, and androgen-responsive cancers such as prostate. Fatty tissue is a major source of estrogen production in post- menopausal women. A high intake of dietary fat leads to increased fatty tissue.
--- Studies show that wheat germ lectin activates the EGF receptor which, as stated above, has been found to regulate breast cancer growth. Therefore it is not advisable for breast or prostate cancer patients. More beneficial would be the mannose- binding lectins of onions, garlic, and aloe. The wheat grem agglutinin has other possibilities in other malignancies.
--- Indole 3 Carbinol has been shown to work synergistically with tamoxifen in protecting against breast cancer; however, due to recent studies showing that it has promoted liver cancer, it is not recommended to use this. An alternative might be to use DIM or calcium d-glucarate as estrogen blockers.
--- Flax seeds are known to be very high in lignans which are found to have an anti-estrogenic effect (structurally similar to estrogen, and compete for estrogen binding sites). It is always best to use fresh ground flax seeds.
--- Studies have shown that a high fiber diet may bind estrogen in human feces and facilitates estrogen metabolism. Phyllium husks have been found to be beneficial for this.
--- Coleus Forskolii is known to increase cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) which regulates the cellular growth and differentiation by intracellular stimulation of various nonsteroidal hormones. cAMP has been found to inhibit tumor growth. Studies have shown that tumors are inhibited regardless of the hormone responsiveness. Intracellular levels of cAMP are lower in tumor cells than normal cells.
--- Studies show that melatonin may have direct inhibitory effects on MCF-7 estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells. It is known to render tamoxifen up to 100 times more effective in inhibiting the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Melatonin is also known to inhibit human melanoma cells in vitro.
--- Calcium D- Glucarate has anti-estrogenic properties. It has been found to be an estrogen blocker and a very effective detoxifier. Calcium d-glucarate has shown that it inhibits the action of beta-glucuronidase which is known to break the bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid in the liver, which then allows the hormone to be reabsorbed back into the body rather than be excreted. The recommended dose has been found to be 200-400mg. preventatively, or 400-1200mg. with existing breast cancer.
--- Lavender oil is known to contain perillyl alcohol which is a derivative of limonene (citrus oils also contain this). Limonene is found to inhibit more than 80% of all chemically induced breast cancers. It is thought that the compound blocks tumor growth by inhibiting the p21RAS oncogene.
--- Wobenzyme (proteolytic enzymes brand name)is shown to be effective in treating patients with breast cancer. Research shows that it increases the secretion of IL-1b,IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha; is known to inhibit metastasis, and dissolves the protective covering on the plasma membrane of the tumor, exposing the tumor or cancer cells to the body's immune system. The therapeutic dosage is 2-4 grams (12-24 tabs) a day, divided, on an empty stomach. Long term therapy has been found to be the most beneficial. Wobenzyme has also been found to be very beneficial when taken with tamoxifen. It is shown to prevent the flip-flop activity of long-term tamoxifen use.
--- Studies have found that it is best to avoid citrus fruits and juices and the citrus bioflavanoid tangretin if taking tamoxifen. They are known to interfere with the action of this chemical.
--- Pysllium, astragalus, and marshmallow herb are all found to stimulate T and B cell activity, IL-1, and interferon production.
--- Resveratrol (Japanese knotweed) has been found to induce apoptosis in human leukemia cell lines and breast cancer cells. It is shown to be anti-estrogenic, playing a role in inhibiting human breast cancer cells. Resveratrol is believed to be an estrogen- receptor agonist in the presence of estrogen, therefore inhibiting breast cancer. It is recommended to use the above mentioned source of resveratrol, not red wine.
--- According to a study found in the American Journal of Epidemiology, March 17,2007, drinking as little as 2 alcoholic drinks a day may increase breast cancer risk 30% in women. It mentions that the same risk wasn't noted with red wine; however, it also mentioned that red wine wasn't proven safe, either. Keep in mind, before you decide to switch to red wine from some other kind of alcohol that, in menopausal or post-menopausal women, it has been found that drinking wine greatly increases hot flashes. The common thread in all of this is estrogen. It is very important to monitor your exposure to this potentially toxic hormone. This includes xenoestrogens such as pesticides and other toxic chemicals, hormone replacement, and, of course, soy.
--- Siberian ginseng has been associated with improved immune function in women with breast cancer treated with chemo and radiation.
--- Continued research has shown that it may be best to avoid colostrum supplements until more is known about the relationship between the high concentrations of growth hormones found in it and the responsiveness of breast and prostate cancers to growth hormones. High levels of IGF-1 have been associated with increased risk of several cancers - especially breast and prostate.
--- IP-6 has been found to have chemopreventative activity and inhibit epithelial cancers, specifically colon and breast cancer. It is known to inhibit DNA syntheisis and cell growth and the induction of differentiation of breast cancer cell lines independent of the estrogen receptor status. This needs to be taken on an empty stomach.
--- It may be best to avoid fennel, anise and licorice with hormone responsive cancers. They have been found to stimulate estrogen production.
--- The herb celandine is found to be useful with taxol. It synergistically supports liver function.
--- Selenium has been found to be protective against cancers associated with high fat and low fiber (breast, colon, prostate). It is known to be a strong antioxidant which may also act as immune stimulant. A serum level of selenium in the range of 1.00 to 1.2 umol/L provided significant preventative effect in breast cancer in women over 50. (200mcg/day)
--- Research has found that sleeping with a night light on on days 5-28 of the menstrual cycle may stimulate the production of progesterone and lower estrogen. As long as you go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day, this shouldn't alter the circadian rhythms.
--- Weight control, decreased dietary fat intake, decreased carbohydrate intake, and increased exercise have been found to decrease breast cancer risk. Studies have found that physical activity may decrease the risk of breast cancer possibly due to a hormonal explanation. This explanation relates a decreased adrenal androgen conversion to estrone in active/ less obese women. Another factor in the decreased risk in health conscious women is a greater intake of fiber, which may reduce the intestinal re-absorption of estrogen.
--- COQ10 has been found to benefit women with breast cancer. Studies show that women with breast cancer may have deficiencies in COQ10. The recommended doses of 90-350 mg/day have been associated with partial or complete remission of breast cancer. Statin drugs decrease COQ10 in the body and affect liver function. All women on statin drugs to lower cholesterol should take COQ10. A better plan may be to NOT take statin drugs in the first place and focus on nutrition, supplements, and supporting a sluggish thyroid.
--- A diet high in carbohydrates (especially wheat based products) and dairy have been shown to slow down metabolism and affect insulin receptors, causing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance creates a situation where the body puts out more and more insulin. Excess insulin increases risks of cardio-vascular disease, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and drives the kidneys to retain fluid, similar to the over load seen in coronary artery disease and congestive heart disease.
--- Studies have shown that a higher intake of protein and lesser intake of carbohydrates may decrease the risk of estrogen sensitive cancer, in addition to many other conditions. Estrogen is metabolized by the liver, body fat, and ovaries using an enzyme system known as cytochrome P450. Diets high in protein increases the activity of the entire P450 system, helping to protect the body from over-stimulation by estrogen.
--- HELIX POMATIA (snails, escargot) have been used and studied for over 400 years. The helix pomatia agglutinin is a lectin that agglutinates cancer cells, thus enabling the immune system to destroy them. The lectin accomplishes this without damaging normal cells. It is known that malignant cancer cells are up to 100 times more sensitive to the agglutination of lectins than normal cells. The worse the cancer, the more effective the helix pomatia is. It has been found to be particularly beneficial with breast and prostate cancer and lymphomas, and is very specific for type A cancers. Tumors have antigens, or markers on their surfaces allowing them to metastasize and spread. These markers elaborate a chemical called LLC which allows the cancer cells to slide through the lymph nodes. Helix pomatia agglutinin attaches to the LLC which then does not allow the cancer cells to pass through the lymph nodes. The more LLC the cancer cells have and the more metastatic the cancer, the more destructive the helix pomatia agglutinin is. In most cases, these tumor markers have A-like qualities, which allows them easy access to A and AB systems. They are somewhat recognized as "self".
--- Bioflavanoids and tocotrienols (especially palm kernal tocotrienols) have been found to synergistically inhibit the proliferation of both ER positive and ER negative cancer cell lines.
--- Curcumin is shown to have anti inflammatory, anitproliferative and anti tumor effects on BC.
Please email me if you have any questions.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer - Lee,
Woman's Herbal- McIntyre
Wisdom of Menopause - Northrup
Nutritional Healing- Balch
Controlling Hormones Naturally - Bonk
Disease Prevention and Treatment - Life Extension Foundation
Hormone Deception - Berkman
Miracle of Natural Hormones - Brownstein
Eat Right 4 Your Type and Live Right 4 Your Type - D'Adamo
Cancer Therapy - Gerson
Nutrition and Cancer - Kennedy-Salaman
Nutritional Oncology - Heber
Definitive Guide to Cancer - Diamond
Herbal Medicine, Healing, and Cancer - Yance
How to Fight Cancer and Win - Fischer
What to Eat if You Have Cancer - Keane
OPTIONS-The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book - Walters
The Cancer Industry - Moss
Herbs Against Cancer - Moss
Beating Cancer With Nutrition - Quillan
No-Grain Diet - Mercola
Living Well With Hypothyroidism - Shoman
Enzymes, The Fountain of Life - Lopez
Enzyme Therapy - Cichoke
The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book - Lieberman
Know Your Fats - Enig
New Holistic Herbal - Hoffman
PDR for Nutritional Supplements
PDR for Herbal Medicine
German Commission E Monograph
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine - Pizzorno
Herbal Medicine - Mills
The Thyroid Solution - Arem
Natural Hormone Replacement - Wright
Health Science Institute
Real Health Newsletter
Nutrition and Health Newsletter
Herb Research Foundation