|Animal-based|| CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
| ||For breast cancer prevention and treatment, it is suggested that 6 to 10 750mg capsules of CLA be taken daily. When taking CLA, the breast cancer patient also must take soy.|
Turmeric Extract, Curcumin
| ||In a study on human breast cancer cells, curcumin reversed growth caused by 17b-estradiol by 98%. DDT's growth-enhancing effects on breast cancer were blocked about 75% by curcumin. Other chemicals which encourage breast cancer such as, chlordane and endosulfane, are blocked and the growth rate greatly slowed by curcumin. [Environ Health Perspect 1998, 106: pp.807-812]|
| ||The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology research team presented two studies at an international conference in June, 2001 indicating that pomegranate seed oil triggers apoptosis - a self-destruct mechanism in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, pomegranate juice can be toxic to most estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells, while leaving normal breast cells largely unaffected. Estrogen is a hormone often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis.|
In the first study, laboratory-grown breast cancer cells were treated for three days with pomegranate seed oil. The researchers observed apoptosis in 37% to 56% of the cancer cells, depending upon the dose of oil applied.
In the second study, both normal and cancerous breast cells were exposed to fermented pomegranate juice (pomegranate wine) and pomegranate peel extracts, which contain polyphenols (powerful antioxidants). The vast majority of the normal cells remained unaffected by the two pomegranate derivatives. But more than 75% of the estrogen-dependent cancer cells, and approximately half of the non-estrogen dependent cancer cells were destroyed by exposure to these same pomegranate products.
"Pomegranates are unique in that the hormonal combinations inherent in the fruit seem to be helpful both for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer," explains Dr. Ephraim Lansky, who headed the studies. "Pomegranates seem to replace needed estrogen often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis, while selectively destroying estrogen-dependent cancer cells."
Dr. Martin Goldman, a New York-based board certified internist and life medicine specialist, notes, "This is apparently a safe substance that could be helpful to many people, especially women at high-risk for developing breast cancer."
Dr. Lajos Pusztai, an assistant professor who studies breast cancer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, says Dr. Lansky's study "provides a potential new avenue to develop anti-cancer drugs from a natural compound."
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
| ||Women with a history or increased risk of breast cancer should avoid this herb because of possible negative hormonal influences.|
Cabbage Family Vegetables
| ||(2008) Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain have discovered two chemicals found in extra-virgin olive oil-lignans and secoiridoids-block the HER2 protein that causes breast cancer tumors to grow more rapidly than other forms of the disease. |
"Our findings reveal for the first time that all the major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil drastically suppress over-expression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells," wrote study authors Javier Menéndez from the Catalan Institute of Oncology and Antonio Segura-Carretero from the University of Granada.
According to a report in Newsmax, the researchers believe their study may lead to the development of drugs based on the cancer-fighting chemicals.
"These findings, together with the fact that humans have safely been ingesting significant amounts of lignans and secoiridoids as long as they have been consuming olives and extra-virgin oil, strongly suggest that these polyphenols might provide an excellent and safe platform for the design of new anti breast-cancer drugs," wrote Menéndez and Segura-Carretero.
Low Fat Diet
| ||Please see reference found in the link between Increased Risk of Breast Cancer and Aerobic Exercise.|
High/Increased Fiber Diet
| ||See reference found in the link between Increased Risk of Breast Cancer and Aerobic Exercise.|
| ||In the Nurses' Health Study, beta carotene proved protective against breast cancer for more than 87,000 women. Beta carotene both in supplement form and in foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables should be included in your diet if you are interested in breast cancer prevention.|
Regarding children, plant-based diets may encourage a later menarche (beginning of the menstrual function), which has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer in epidemiologic studies.[1, 2]
If an American woman consumes one-and-a-half servings of red meat each day, her risk of developing breast cancer is double that of a woman who consumes three servings per week or less, say researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, USA. You can read about this new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, November 14, 2006
- de Ridder CM, Thijssen JHH, Vant Veer P, et al. Dietary habits, sexual maturation, and plasma hormones in pubertal girls: a longitudinal study. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54:805-13
- Beaton GH, Bengoa JM. WHO monograph. 1976;62:500-19
Dairy Products Avoidance
| ||A new study suggests the growth hormones used to increase cows' milk production can increase the risk of breast cancer for milk-drinkers. Samuel Epstein, a U.S. researcher, presented a report on growth hormones and milk to the World Conference on Breast Cancer in Ottawa. He explained insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) stimulates breast-cell growth, and uncontrolled cell growth can lead to cancer. Epstein says blood tests from breast-cancer patients show high levels of IGF-1.|
Change In Clothing Habits
| ||Highly regarded studies, including one at Harvard, have shown that women who wear bras for extended periods are at much higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not. There is strong evidence that this is as a result of impaired lymphatic flow. Wearing a bra, especially a constricting one with underwires and/or tight straps, and especially to bed, prevents normal lymphatic flow and would likely lead to anoxia (lower than normal oxygen content), which has been related to fibrosis, which has been linked to increased cancer risk.|
The logical conclusion is that bras should be used as little as possible, if at all. Breast movement should not be restricted. Scientific literature about lymphatic flow indicates that this may be as important as the constriction factor. Every subtle bounce of the breast while moving, walking, running, etc. gently massages the breast and increases lymphatic flow and thus cleans the breast of toxins and wastes that arise from cellular metabolism.
Of course, there may be other mechanisms for the damage that bras apparently cause. One such mechanism could be temperature. Breasts are external organs and have a naturally lower temperature, but this rises when a bra is worn. Cancers can be temperature-dependent; breast cancer is hormone-dependent; temperature can alter hormone function.
All these facts are well-established in medical literature. By whatever mechanism, someone will eventually explain why Singer and Grismaijer found a 125-fold difference in cancer rates between bra-free breasts and those constricted by 24-hour-per-day bra-wearing. They have written a book that is well worth reading, Dressed to Kill, Avery Press, 1995.
Singer and Grismajer suggest that you simply stop wearing one for two weeks and see how you feel. "Don't sleep in your bra!", pleads Singer. "Women who want to avoid breast cancer should wear a bra for the shortest period of time possible - certainly for less than 12 hours daily."
Push-up and sports bras are much worse than loose-fitting cotton bras. You should be able to slip two fingers under the shoulder-straps and side-panels. The higher the side-panels, the more severe the restriction of major lymph nodes. Take your bra off at home. Massage your breasts every time you remove your bra.
To view more detail, please go to the Breast Disease Time Line article.
| ||A 1999 study showed the risk of breast cancer was approximately doubled through use of termite or louse control products, a professional lawn service, or playing golf (possible herbicide exposure).|
Many sunscreens contain chemicals which are estrogenic and regular use may contribute to breast cancer risk and growth.
Store food items in glass instead of plastic due to the bisphenol A (BPA) content. BPA exposure has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
Exposing estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells to extracts of channel catfish caught in areas with heavy sewer and industrial waste causes the cells to multiply, according to a University of Pittsburgh study presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. (2007) The abstract, number 159141, was presented at a special session on "Contaminants in Freshwater Fish: Toxicity, Sources and Risk Communication."
The study, which tested extracts from channel catfish caught in the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers near Pittsburgh, suggests that the fish, caught in areas of dense sewer overflows, contain substances that mimic the actions of estrogen, the female hormone. Since fish are sentinels of water quality, as the canary in the coal mine is a sentinel of air pollution, and can concentrate fat soluble chemicals from their habitats within their bodies, these results suggest that pharmaceutical estrogens and xeno-estrogenic chemicals, those that mimic estrogens in the body, may be making their way into the region's waterways.
Diindolylmethane DIM / Indole 3 Carbinol IC3
| ||Phytochemicals such as indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and sulforaphane are components of cruciferous vegetables which exhibit antitumorigenic activity associated with altered carcinogen metabolism and detoxification. Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a major metabolite of I3C formed in the gut and represents a new class of antiestrogens that inhibit breast cancer growth. It also encourages cells that are abnormally multiplying to stop reproducing and die.|
We all know that eating fruits, vegetables and soy products provides essential nutrition for a healthy lifestyle, while obesity leads to the opposite. Yet proving the effect of nutrition, or obesity, on cancer is an experimental challenge and a focus for scientists. According to emerging evidence being presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, eating well might still be one of the more pleasurable ways to prevent cancer and promote good health.
Eating such foods as broccoli and soy are believed to offer some protection against cancer, but how this occurs is not well-understood. Now, in laboratory experiments, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered a biological mechanism whereby two compounds in these foods might lower the invasive and metastatic potential of breast and ovarian cancer cells.
They found that diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound resulting from digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, a major isoflavone in soy, reduce production of two proteins whose chemotactic attraction to each other is necessary for the spread of breast and ovarian cancers.
When applying purified versions of DIM and genistein to motile cancer cells, the researchers could literally watch these cells come to a near halt. When either compound was applied, migration and invasion were substantially reduced.
"We think these compounds might slow or prevent the metastasis of breast and ovarian cancer, which would greatly increase the effectiveness of current treatments," said Erin Hsu, a graduate student in molecular toxicology. "But we need to test that notion in animals before we can be more definitive."
Both DIM and genistein are already being developed for use as a preventive and a chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, although more extensive toxicological studies are necessary, the researchers say.
The stronger form of estrogen, estradiol, can be converted into the weaker form, estriol, in the body without using drugs. Estriol is considered to be a more desirable form of estrogen. It is less active than estradiol, so when it occupies the estrogen receptor, it blocks estradiol's strong "growth" signals. Using a natural substance the conversion of estradiol to estriol increased by 50% in 12 healthy people (Michnovicz et al. 1991). Furthermore, in female mice prone to developing breast cancer the natural substance reduced the incidence of cancer and the number of tumors significantly. The natural substance was indole-3-carbinol (I3C).
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is a phytochemical isolated from cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnips, kale, green cabbage, mustard seed, etc.). I3C given to 17 men and women for 2 months reduced the levels of strong estrogen, and increased the levels of weak estrogen. But more importantly, the level of an estrogen metabolite associated with breast and endometrial cancer, 16--a-hydroxyestrone, was reduced by I3C (Bradlow et al. 1991).
When I3C changes "strong" estrogen to "weak" estrogen, the growth of human cancer cells is inhibited by 54-61% (Telang et al. 1997). Moreover, I3C provoked cancer cells to self-destruct (kill themselves via apoptosis). Induction of cell death is an approach to suppress carcinogenesis and is the prime goal of cytotoxic chemotherapy. The increase in apoptosis induced by I3C before initiation of new tumor development may contribute to suppression of tumor progression. Nontoxic I3C can reliably facilitate apoptosis (12 week treatment in rats); thus, this phytonutrient may become a standard adjunct in the treatment of breast cancer (Zhang et al. 2003)
I3C inhibits human breast cancer cells (MCF7) from growing by as much as 90% in culture; growth arrest does not depend on estrogen receptors (Cover et al. 1998). Furthermore, I3C induces apoptosis in tumorigenic (cancerous) but not in nontumorigenic (non-cancerous) breast epithelial cells (Rahman et al. 2003).
I3C does more than just turn strong estrogen to weak estrogen. 16-a-Hydroxyestrone (16-OHE) and 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE) are metabolites of estrogen in addition to estriol and estradiol. 2-OHE is biologically inactive, while 16-OHE is biologically active; that is, like estradiol, it can send "growth" signals. In breast cancer, the dangerous 16-OHE is often elevated, while the protective 2-OHE is decreased. Cancer-causing chemicals change the metabolism of estrogen so that 16-OHE is elevated. Studies show that people who take I3C have beneficial increases in the "weak" estriol form of estrogen and also increases in protective 2-OHE.
African-American women who consumed I3C, 400 mg for 5 days, experienced an increase in the "good" 2-OHE and a decrease of the "bad" 16-OHE. However, it was found that the minority of women who did not demonstrate an increase in 2-OHE, had a mutation in a gene that helps metabolize estrogen to the 2-OHE version. Those women had an eight times higher risk of breast cancer (Telang et al. 1997). From a Life Extension article..
Breast Self Examination
| ||Exercising at least four hours per week for 12 years can reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer in half, according to a study of breast cancer patients performed at the University of Southern California. The study revealed that exercise is especially important during the adolescent and child-bearing years. In addition, the 12 years of exercise do not need to be performed consecutively. This study complements one performed at the Alberta Cancer Board in Alberta, Canada, which showed that exercising throughout life can cut a woman's risk of breast cancer by 20%.|
Women who reported the highest levels of physical activity in the year before they were diagnosed with breast cancer may have higher survival, according to a new study. Published in the October 15, 2006 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study found that obese and overweight women who had higher levels of moderate or vigorous recreational physical activity within one year before diagnosis tended to have better five-year survival patterns compared to other groups. Women of ideal body weight did not experience survival benefits from exercise; more remote histories of physical activity also had no impact on survival.
Research from the US (2008) suggests that vigorous exercise cuts the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women and is particularly effective for women who are not overweight.
This study was the work of researchers at the National Cancer Institute and is published in the 31 October issue of the journal Breast Cancer Research.
For the study the investigators examined data on over 32,000 women enrolled in the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project Follow-up Study. This included responses to a questionnaire about their physical activity (including everyday tasks like housework, work related activity and leisure activity) over 12 months before baseline, after which incidence of post-menopausal breast cancer and deaths were monitored. The investigators then performed statistical tests to estimate the relative risk of post-menopausal breast cancer linked to physical activity.
The results showed that:
The researchers concluded that for this sample, only vigorous activity appeared to reduce breast cancer risk. The result was significant for lean but not overweight and obese women and it was independent of cancer type (the hormone receptor status).
- There was a weak inverse relationship between total physical activity and postmenopausal breast cancer (after adjusting for other possible breast cancer risk factors). Vigorous activity accounted for practically all of this trend.
- The inverse link to vigorous activity was limited to lean women (BMI less than 25 kg/m2).
- In contrast, no link to vigorous activity was found for overweight and obese women (BMI of 25 kg/m2 and over).
- Non-vigorous activity was not linked to breast cancer at all.
- These results were independent of hormone receptor subtype.
"Our findings suggest that physical activity acts through underlying biological mechanisms that are independent of body weight control," wrote the researchers. Thus it was the exercise itself that was beneficial, regardless of whether it resulted in weight loss, they argued.
The researchers rated the following activities as "vigorous": heavy housework like scrubbing floors and washing windows (vacuuming was rated as non-vigorous); garden digging (as opposed to general gardening); chopping wood; strenuous sports and exercise, including running, fast jogging and aerobics (as opposed to walking, golf or light jogging); cycling on hills (as opposed to on the flat); and fast dancing.
| ||Exposure to HRT was associated with an increased risk of invasive breast cancer. [JAMA Vol. 281 No. 22, June 9, 1999]|
ScienceDaily (May 30, 2008) — If hormone replacement therapy is taken over a period of more than five years, the risk of breast cancer will increase. While this risk is considerably elevated during use of hormone medication, it drops back to the original level within about five years after a woman has stopped taking hormones. These new findings from Germany fit with earlier findings in the U.S.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2004) — A Swedish study established to assess the effect of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women with a history of breast cancer has been stopped early after preliminary results show 'unacceptably high' risks of breast cancer recurrence for HRT users. The results are published online by THE LANCET (3 February 2004) and appeared in the February 7 print edition.
HOWEVER, the use of estriol, one of the forms of estrogen, is thought to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, and should be considered as part of a treatment package to prevent recurrence.
Test / Monitor Hormone levels
| ||Testing for estrogen, progesterone and testosterone may help to properly evaluate breast and ovarian cancer risk. Some estrogens, as well as testosterone, may aggravate the risk whereas progesterone has a protective effect.|
There are additional estrogenic tests that can be done to evaluate breast cancer risk. There is considerable and increasing research concerning the 2/16-alpha hydroxyestrone ratio. A very recent human study states: "2-hydroxyestrone levels and 2/16-alpha hydroxyestrone ratios were significantly lower, while 16-alpha hydroxyestrone levels were higher in breast cancer patients." The 2/16-alpha hydroxyestrone ratio appears to be a very significant predictive factor of breast cancer. Many laboratories are offering these tests now.
Test for DHEA
| ||Of 5,000 women followed in one study, 27 developed cancer. Most of the 27 had abnormally low levels of DHEA.|
Test AMAS (AntiMalignin Antibody Screen)
Essential Fatty Acids
| ||French researchers examined the fat composition of almost 250 patients with invasive, nonmetastatic breast carcinoma and compared the content to 88 patients with benign breast disease. Women who had the most omega-3 and least omega-6 had a 70% reduction in breast cancer. In other words, the lower the omega 6:3 ratio the lower the risk of breast cancer. [Anticancer Research 2002 March/April;22(2A): pp.537-43] |
Also, lignans are particularly abundant in raw ground flax seed and are also found in whole grains and legumes. Diets that are rich in these foods seem to be a factor in preventing the development of breast cancer in women.
| ||A study published in 1992 by the State University of New York compared 310 women having breast cancer to 316 women without the disease. The study found that the cancer-free group ate many more beta carotene-containing fruits and vegetables than he women with breast cancer. In addition, the National Cancer Institute studied 83 women with breast cancer and found that they had lower blood levels of beta carotene.|
| ||While preliminary evidence links dietary lycopene with protection from breast cancer [Cancer Causes Control 1998;9: pp.89-97], another study did not find this link. [Cancer Lett 1997;114: pp.251-3]|
| ||The breast cancer study, published online in the current issue of the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Article Date: 07 Feb 2007), pooled dose-response data from two earlier studies - the Harvard Nurses Health Study and the St. George's Hospital Study - and found that individuals with the highest blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, had the lowest risk of breast cancer. |
"The data were very clear, showing that individuals in the group with the lowest blood levels had the highest rates of breast cancer, and the breast cancer rates dropped as the blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased," said study co-author Cedric Garland, Dr.P.H. "The serum level associated with a 50 percent reduction in risk could be maintained by taking 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 daily plus, when the weather permits, spending 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sun."
And, in 2007, if vitamin D3 levels among populations worldwide were increased, 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year, according to researchers from the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). This includes nearly 150,000 cases of cancer that could be prevented in the United States alone.
The researchers estimate that 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D3, particularly in countries north of the equator.
The study examines the dose-response relationship between vitamin D and cancer, and is the first to use satellite measurements of sun and cloud cover in countries where blood serum levels of vitamin D3 were also taken.
Serum vitamin D levels during the winter from 15 countries were combined, then applied to 177 countries to estimate the average serum level of a vitamin D metabolite among the population.
An inverse association between serum vitamin D and the risk of colorectal and breast cancers was found.
Protective effects began when 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (the main indicator of vitamin D status) ranged from 24 to 32 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). In the United States, late winter 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ranged from 15 to 18 ng/ml.
Previous research has suggested that raising levels to 55 ng/ml was actually optimal to prevent cancer, the researchers said.
To increase your vitamin D3 levels, the researchers recommended a combination of dietary methods, supplements and sunlight exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes a day, with at least 40 percent of your skin exposed. [The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology March 2007; 103(3-5):708-11]
| ||It appears that the most common form of vitamin E, alpha tocopherol, does not help prevent or treat breast cancer. It may also actually increase the dose of Tamoxifen required to inhibit growth of estrogen receptor negative cancer cell lines. However, gamma tocopherol has demonstrated some cancer prevention effects compared to alpha tocopherol.|
Vitamin E succinate is a derivative of vitamin E and has been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth. In one study, vitamin E succinate inhibited growth and induced apoptic cell death in estrogen-receptor-negative human breast cancer cell lines. Vitamin E succinate may be of clinical use in the treatment of aggressive human breast cancers, particularly those that are resistant to anti-estrogen therapy. Those with estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancers should consider taking 1200 IU of vitamin E succinate each day.
However, the best vitamin E to take for both prevention and treatment is in the form of tocotrienols. Tocotrienols induce breast cancer cell death (apoptosis). Although apoptosis could be achieved, the dose of tocotrienol needed to induce 50% apoptosis was up to 4 times higher than the dose of tocotrienol required to induce 50% growth inhibition.
Tocotrienols inhibit human breast cancer cells irrespective of estrogen receptor status. Although delta tocotrienol was found to be the most effective tocotrienol in inducing apoptosis (cell death) in estrogen-responsive and estrogen-nonresponsive human breast cancer cells, alpha and gamma-tocotrienol have shown anticancer effects also. Gamma-tocotrienol may be more potent in inhibiting growth of human breast cancer cultured cells than Tamoxifen.
A daily dose of 30-50mg mixed tocotrienols may be adequate for reducing breast cancer risk, if elevated, and higher doses as part of a treatment plan for breast cancer. It is especially important to take the tocotrienols with some form of oil or fat-containing food. One study showed that when tocotrienols are taken on an empty stomach, absorption was reduced by an average of 64%.
Vitamin Folic Acid
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
| ||In a 1991 review of 46 studies of the protective effect of vitamin C against cancer, 33 of those studies showed that vitamin C helped safeguard against the development of many cancers. This included non-hormone-dependent breast cancer. Vitamin C did not appear to confer any protection against hormone-dependent (including estrogen-dependent) breast cancers.|| |