Can Diet And Lifestyle Reduce The Risk Of Recurrence
You may have heard that diet and lifestyle can affect the risk of breast cancer coming back, also known as recurrence.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that women who have had breast cancer follow advice to reduce their risk of cancer coming back. This includes eating a healthy diet that is high in fibre and low in saturated fats, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol .
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What Are The Best Tips For Maintaining A Balanced Diet While Having Cancer
If you are tired from breast cancer treatment, then accept any offers of help, and ask friends and family to make you healthy meals and snacks. They often feel helpless, so making you something nice to eat will probably be welcomed. For example, a lovely homemade fruit salad is perfect for when you are going through chemotherapy and your taste buds have changed.
Take advantage of online shopping to pick healthy foods when you are short of time or do not want to leave the house. If you have a local deli or restaurant which offers a delivery service, then treat yourself with something which is both delicious and healthy.
Food does not have to be fresh to be healthy, and frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables are ideal to have on standby. Batch cook some healthy meals while you are feeling well and then freeze them for when you cannot face cooking.
Soups can be frozen too and are ideal for getting fiber into your diet. They can include lentils, beans, and vegetables, which all help to prevent constipation.
If you are not feeling well, then try and have four or five small meals rather than three big ones. These will maintain energy levels and help reduce fatigue.If you are suffering from mouth ulcers during chemotherapy, then avoid citrus foods as they can sting! Soft foods are usually the easiest to eat, such as soups or drink a nutritious smoothie through a straw.
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What Foods To Avoid If You Have Estrogen
Research shows that among breast cancer cases,
- only 5-10% were because of genetic defects.
- 90-95% were attributable to environmental and lifestyle factors such as diet. Out of these,
- Diet contributed to approximately 30-35%.
- Obesity contributed to 10-20%.
Any food that increases your risk of obesity or makes you prone to inflammation triggers breast cancer, be it of any type. These include:
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Research Into Dietary Supplements And Cancer
There is no reliable evidence that any dietary supplement can help to prevent cancer. Some research has found that taking certain supplements could increase the risk of some cancers developing.
There is evidence that a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables can reduce your cancer risk.
Research has looked at whether certain vitamins and supplements can help to prevent cancer in certain groups of people.
A study looked at vitamin D supplements in preventing cancer and heart disease. The researchers found that vitamin D supplements did not lower the incidence of cancer or heart disease.
An organisation called The Cochrane Collaboration carries out systematic reviews. These are overviews of all the research into a specific issue. The reviews look at the published results of all the trials that have investigated a certain treatment in a particular situation. They pull all that information together and draw conclusions.
A Cochrane review published in 2018 looked at an essential mineral called selenium. They wanted to see if selenium supplements could reduce cancer risk. After looking at all the information they found that selenium did not reduce cancer risk. Some of the trials reported a higher incidence of high grade prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes in people who took selenium supplements.
Signs Of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen can be metabolized in your body in different ways. Some pathways lead to estrogen metabolites that can compromise your health. This can be a particular problem if your liver is not functioning well. Then your liver doesnt process estrogen metabolites and help remove them from your body, and you end up with more estrogen circulating, causing havoc and estrogen excess.
ED can mean one of two things: you either have too much estradiol in relation to progesterone, or an imbalance in your estrogen metabolites .
This can lead to the following symptoms:
- Lumpy, painful or swollen breasts
- Weight gain, particularly around the hips
Whats The Best Diet For Weight Loss
Research shows that limiting the number of calories you eat is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. To lose weight or stay at a healthy weight, you may need to make lifestyle changes, and dieting alone may not work. Cutting out whole food groups, such as fats or carbohydrates, also isnt likely to work and is hard to keep doing for long periods of time.
If you exercise often, you can increase your lean muscle tissue. This will increase the rate at which your body burns calories. Exercise regularly to keep or increase your lean muscle mass and decrease your fat mass.
Interactions With Specific Drugs
Several supplements and botanicals can interact with specific chemotherapy drugs to increase resistance to them or decrease their effectiveness . Some of the interactions have been proven, but many of them are theoretical.
Table 2. Supplement Interactions with Specific Chemotherapy Drugs
|Reduce conversion to active form,Decrease effectiveness of chemotherapy agent
|Reduce conversion to active form, Decrease effectiveness of chemotherapy agent,Decrease effectiveness of chemotherapy agent
|Increase toxicity of chemotherapy agent
|Reduce conversion to active form, Decrease effectiveness of chemotherapy agent
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I’ve Recently Added B12 Liquid Vitamins Daily To My Medicine Intake In Hopes Of Helping My Metabolism Will This Hurt Or Help My Estrogen Blockers Are Wrecking My Weight
Vitamin B12 is considered safe, even when taken at doses of up to 10 times the recommended dietary allowance . But if you are not deficient in vitamin B12, taking extra will not improve your metabolism. There arent any vitamins or minerals that will help speed up metabolism, unless you have a nutrient deficiency. For most of us, nutrient deficiencies arent all that common.
Unfortunately, one of the side effects of medications that block receptors or inhibit estrogen production in the body is weight gain. No one is exactly sure why this happens, but the effect is real. Some researchers who study this issue have found that loss of lean body can worsen weight gain during and after breast cancer treatment.
The main place you find lean body mass is skeletal muscle, which includes the large muscles in your body, such as the muscles in your abdomen, thighs, back and chest. Muscle responds to resistance training, so if you add this into your regular fitness routine, you can rebuild some of that lost strength.
The reason this works to help prevent weight gain and even spur modest weight loss for some women is because muscle tissue burns more calories than almost any other tissue in the body . When you build muscle, you automatically increase your metabolism. More muscle means more calories burned, even when sitting at rest.
Getting To A Healthy Weight
If you have had breast cancer, getting to and staying at a healthy weight might help lower your risk. A lot of research suggests that being overweight or obese raises the risk of breast cancer coming back. It has also been linked with a higher risk of getting lymphedema, as well as a higher risk of dying from breast cancer.
However, there is less research to show whether losing weight during or after treatment can actually lower the risk of breast cancer coming back. Large studies are now looking at this issue. This is complicated by the fact that many women gain weight during breast cancer treatment, which itself might increase risk.
Of course, for women who are overweight, getting to a healthy weight can also have other health benefits. For example, weight loss has been shown to improve quality of life and physical functioning among overweight breast cancer survivors. Getting to a healthy weight might also lower your risk of getting some other cancers , as well as some other chronic diseases.
Because of the possible health benefits of losing weight, many health care providers now encourage women who are overweight to get to and stay at a healthy weight. Still, its important to discuss this with your doctor before trying to lose weight, especially if you are still getting treatment or have just finished it. Your health care team can help you create a plan to lose weight safely.
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What Are Natural Estrogen Blockers
Natural estrogen blockers
Wild nettle root: Nettle root or nettle leaves are often used to make prostate medication. Nettles contain compounds that act as natural estrogen blockers. Taking supplements can regulate production of the hormone. Chrysin: This flavonoid is found in passionflower, honey, and bee propolis.
Vitamins Diet Supplements And Cancer
Vitamins, minerals, essential fats and amino acids are important nutrients for our bodies. Eating a varied amount of these nutrients gives us energy and helps our bodies to grow and repair.
- Try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Low levels of nutrients can make you feel ill.
- Use supplements under the supervision of your medical team and a dietitian.
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What About The Pill And Breast Cancer Risk
Youre probably wondering, if increased exposure to estrogen can raise your risk for breast cancer, what about the pill? Is it a risk factor for breast cancer?
Studies are a bit mixed and therefore inconclusive, but not surprisingly, there does seem to be somewhat of an increased risk for breast cancer in women who use the pill. An early study that examined more than 50 studies on the pill found that women who were currently taking the pill, or even those that took the pill in the past ten years, had a slightly higher risk of breast cancer diagnosis. This risk returned to normal ten years after stopping oral contraceptives.
It may also be that once again, the balance of estrogen with other hormones like progesterone and testosterone is the real reason oral contraceptives might increase the risk.
The bottom line is this: while we don’t have a high-quality smoking gun study showing conclusively that birth control will increase your risk of breast cancer, the mixed results are still reason for caution.
Taking a synthetic hormone pill disrupts your bodys ability to regulate levels on its own, so it stands to reason that at least some of the time, for some women, using hormonal birth control could contribute to breast cancer risk.
Cytochrome P450 Enzyme Activators And Inhibitors
Just like pharmaceutical drugs, certain botanicals and supplements activate or inhibit the CYP450 liver enzyme. The major phase I liver CYP450 enzyme is CYP3A4, which is responsible for metabolizing more than 35% of chemotherapy drugs. CYP3A4 enzyme activation during chemotherapy will reduce the half-life of the drug, thereby decreasing effectiveness. Enzyme activation increases drug half-life and may lead to more side effects or contribute to increased toxicity.
Table 1. Supplements that Induce, Inhibit, or Have No Effect on CYP3A4
|St. Johns wort
Adopted from Abrams
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Alcohol And Breast Cancer Recurrence
Studies have shown drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting breast cancer. Its less clear if drinking alcohol affects the prognosis of breast cancer.
NICE recommends people whove had breast cancer limit their alcohol intake to below 5 units a week.
You can find out how many units are in your drinks by using an online unit calculator. As a general guide:
- Half a pint of average-strength beer = 1 unit
- A 175ml glass of wine = 2 units
- A single 25ml measure of spirits = 1 unit
Its worth bearing in mind that alcohol is also high in calories.
Dos And Donts For Estrogen
Breast cancer is not just one disease it comes in many variations.
One of the primary factors in determining the type of breast cancer is the sensitivity of the tumor cells to estrogen. If a breast tumor is hormone-sensitive or estrogen receptor-positive, it means there are specific estrogen receptors on the tumor cells, and when estrogen binds with these receptors, it transfers a message to the cancer cells. Like a lock and key effect, the breast tumor cells are stimulated by estrogen to grow and reproduce. Therefore, one of the main goals of therapy or intervention with hormone-positive cancer is to reduce hormonal stimulation as much as possible.
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Does Estrogen Cause Cancer
Estrogen plays a role in causing certain cancers.
Cells in your body have hormone receptors. The hormone receptors are a type of protein. Estrogen in your bloodstream can attach to the receptors. This hormone-receptor process is part of typical body function. In healthy cells, estrogen aids normal cell function and growth.
Today, experts know that several different factors play a role in turning healthy cells cancerous. When these factors are present, estrogen can act as a spark. The hormone causes cancer cells to multiply and spread.
After Treatment Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obese women have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women who are in their ideal body weight range.
Many studies including a study conducted by researchers from the Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research in Tehran, Iran, have demonstrated an association between body mass size and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
If youre overweight, Taylor recommends losing weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise once youve finished treatment. Weight loss during treatment isnt typically encouraged, as this is often associated with undesired muscle loss, leading to fatigue, a suppressed immune system and a slower healing process.
Allow your body the nutrients it needs to fight cancer, she says. Once your treatment is done, consider meeting with a dietitian for individualized recommendations to decrease recurrence risk and support a healthy weight.
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What Is The Link Between Estrogen And Breast Cancer
About 8 out of 10 breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive. These cancers need estrogen, progesterone or both hormones to grow. Excess exposure to estrogen raises cancer risk. Excess exposure can occur because of:
- Hormone replacement therapies for menopause.
- Naturally high estrogen levels.
- Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic condition affecting men.
Is All Breast Cancer Related To Estrogen
Not all breast cancer is linked to estrogen, but estrogen receptor positive cancers are the most common type of breast cancer. And out of ER positive breast cancers, studies also show that around 65% of those cases also respond to progesterone.
Estrogen receptor positive breast cancer means that estrogen encourages the growth of the cancer cells . Part of the treatment plan for these types of cancers usually involves medications that lower estrogen levels in the body or help block the estrogen receptors .
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The Bristol Whole Life Approach To Healthy Eating
The Bristol Whole Life Approach to healthy eating is a set of dietary guidelines for people living with and beyond cancer. The guidelines mainly focus on eating foods that have not been altered. For example, they suggest:
- Eating brown rice instead of white rice
- Including a range of different colour vegetables and fruit in your diet
- Animal products permitted only in small amounts
The Bristol Whole Life Approach to healthy eating aims to help people eat healthily and cope better with the physical and emotional impact of cancer. However, there is no evidence that following these recommendations will reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
The recommendations were developed by Penny Brohn UK.
What Is The Link Between Estrogen And Uterine Cancer
Uterine, or endometrial, cancer forms in the lining of your uterus. Women are more likely to develop this cancer after menopause.
Your estrogen-related risk may go up with:
- Estrogen replacement therapy: Estrogen eases menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. But taking estrogen alone increases the risk of uterine cancer. Combination hormone therapy is less likely to cause uterine cancer. If youve had a hysterectomy, you dont have a uterus and cant get uterine cancer.
- Tamoxifen: Tamoxifen is a breast cancer drug that lowers the risk of breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence. Its a selective estrogen receptor modulator that blocks estrogens effects on breast tissue. But in menopausal women, tamoxifen acts like estrogen in your uterus. It stimulates the growth of your uterine lining, increasing endometrial cancer risk. Still, the chances of developing endometrial cancer from tamoxifen are less than 1% per year. Theres also a slightly higher risk of uterine sarcoma, a cancer that forms in uterine muscles or tissues.
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Estrogen Balance For Reduced Breast Cancer Risk
Theres a strong association between estrogen and breast cancer. While there are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, keeping your estrogen balanced through smart lifestyle changes like those Ive listed above can reduce your risk and benefit your overall hormone health.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive approach that can help you achieve optimal hormonal balance, my free Hormone Starter Kit includes a 7 day meal plan, recipes, and other helpful info to get you on the right track.