Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Breast Cancer

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After a friend died from breast cancer, my interest to know the background of this dreaded disease increases. So in this section, let's talk about the causes, symptoms and risks of breast cancer, the foods to take as preventions and the foods to avoid in order not to trigger cancer cell growth.

What is Breast Cancer?

It's a cancer that form in the cell of the breasts and usually begin in the milk ducts. According to a research, only 5 to 10% of breast cancers are caused by genetic factors, so 95 or 90% remain unknown, but many experts believe that chemicals with hormonal properties play a big role.

What are its causes?

Causes of breast cancer remain unknown, though doctors know that it occurs when breast cells begin growing abnormally, its real causes remain a big mystery. It's likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic make up and the environment.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of Breast cancer include:
  • A breast lump of thickening
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Changes to the skin over the breast
  • Inverted nipple
  • Peeling, scaling, or flaking of the nipple or breast skin
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast, like the skin of an orange
Risk Factors:
  • Being Female - women are more likely to develop breast cancer than men
  • Age - Risk of breast cancer increases as you age.
  • Family history - your risk increases if you have a mother, a sister or an aunt with breast cancer
  • Radiation exposure - if you received radiation treatment in the past, you're more likely to develop breast cancer later in life
  • Obesity - Being obese or overweight increases your chance of acquiring breast cancer
  • Having a period before the age of 12 - women who begin their menstrual period before the age of 12 will more likely to be diagnosed of breast cancer
  • Beginning menopause at an older age - Older age of menopausal means 55 years above
  • Drinking alcohol - alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer
  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy - women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat signs of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer 
Chemicals like BPA and Paraben

San Francisco researchers from California Pacific Medical Center have discovered that chemicals Bisphenol-A (BPA) and methylparaben which are commonly used in hard plastics and in the line of metal foods, drink cans, cosmetics and even sales receipts, are said to be some of the culprits of breast cancer. In the study, researchers took noncancerous breast cells from high risk patients and once the cells were exposed to BPA and methylparaben they started behaving like cancer cells because the two chemicals activated protein that promotes cell growth. The most disturbing fact is that BPA blocks or prevents powerful breast cancer drugs' effect on the cells. 

"But not every cell exposed to BPA and methylparaben will become cancer, any chemical exposure that causes health cells to act like cancer is cause of concern", said Dr. William Goodson, Senior Clinical Research Scientist at CPMC Research Institute. 

How to Protect yourself from BPA?
  • Never microwave foods in plastic or eat anything hot from plastic containers
  • Avoid drinking from Aluminum drinking cans. Drink water, soda or any beverages on bottles and not on cans
  • Drink water from stainless bottles. Aluminum water bottles are lined with a substance that may contain BPA
  • Avoid canned foods. Most cans used in canned foods are lined with BPA
  • Say no to Receipts - most receipts are coated in BPA
How about Estrogen?

Estrogen dominance is strongly associated with breast cancer. There is a family of compounds called estrogens, some create babies other create cancer. People are exposed to all sorts of estrogens in the environment, for example, there are Petrochemicals that act like estrogens, so drinking from a plastic bottle or a can might be a source. Hormones in meat and dairy products are estrogenic, birth control pills and hormonal replacement therapy are also estrogenic. When the body fails to extract them out from the system it triggers cancer. Breast, Ovarian and Uterine Cancers are fuelled by estrogen.

What causes estrogen dominance?

There are several factors of why the body has excessive estrogens and one of these causes is iodine deficiency. Preventing of too much estrogen storage is iodine and the human body needs three kinds of iodine. But iodized salt contains only one type of iodine so people should consume natural sea salts (rock salt) as it contains three types of iodine.

How to get rid of excess estrogen in the body?

EXERCISE!...oh yes, according to a study, the exercise component of preventing cancer is so huge!there are oncologists who really advise cancer patients to go extra mile in body stretching and exercise, in fact women are advise to undergo a lymphatic massage at least four times a year.

Foods that may prevent Breast Cancer

Although causes of cancers in general remain unknown, experts say that there are foods that may help prevent or control breast cancer. There are growing evidences (based on scientific research) that eating healthy foods help protect people from acquiring cancers.

  • Yellow and Orange vegetables - consuming foods in high in beta-carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A, has been linked to avoid breast cancer. Best foods to take: Carrots, Squash, Oranges, Cantaloupe, Yellow peppers
  • Green and leafy vegetables - like spinach, asparagus, malunggay, pechay among others
  • Cruciferous vegetables - These types of vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphanes which help lower women's level of estrogen that promote breast cancer and which consider to be more powerful than chemotherapy and help detoxify the body. Best foods of these kinds: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, Brussel sprouts
  • Organic hormone free milk (Alta Dena) - warm a mug 1% to 2% of this mixture adds 1 tablespoon ground almonds, pumpkin seed or walnuts or 1/4 tablespoon natural almond extract. 
  • Tomatoes - it contains lycopene, a power antioxidant that linked to lower rates of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
  • Grapes - It has cancer-fighting components
  • Cold water fish - It has omega 3, which has the ability to switch off growth mechanism of cells and prevent them from dividing that lead to cancerous tumors. Foods of this kind includes Tuna, Anchovies, Crab, Swordfish, Sardines, Mackerel. Recommended dose: three fresh oily fish each week.
  • Vitamin D foods - usually found in milk, fish and vegetables. A morning sunshine is also an excellent source of vitamin D.
  • Dark Cherries - It contains a compound that may inhibit mammary cancer.
  • Green Tea - It is rich in EGCC and Catechins,  powerful antioxidants that may help prevent breast cancer.
  • Tea with orange lemon peel - because it contains limonoids, compounds that lower the rates of cancer
  • Whole grain Foods - Brown rice, whole wheat bread, cereals, barley. Fiber content of these foods help excrete aggessive estrogen out of the bodies.
  • Foods rich in Vitamins A, C and E - foods of these kinds are found to have powerful components in preventing all forms of cancers particularly breast and colon cancers. Foods include Carrots, Avocado, Kiwi, Strawberry, Green leafy vegetables among others. 
  • Extra virgin Olive, flaxseed and Canola oils - rich in EFA and antioxidants which fight breast cancer cells
  • Garlic - many research studies already showed that compounds found in garlic kills cancer cells.
  • Foods rich in isoflavonoids like soy -It helps block more powerful and aggressive estrogens from stimulating estrogen sensitive cancer cells.
  • Phyto Herbs - fight aggressive estrogens. Herbs of these kinds include fennel, black cohosh, don quai.
Foods to avoid or at least minimize your intake of these foods that may trigger breast cancer or other forms of cancer and chronic illnesses like heart disease and hypertension that may lead to stroke.

  • Red meat - It is simply bad for the body. If it is unavoidable to eat red meat, choose the leanest portion of the meat. Read meat includes pork and beef.
  • Processed foods - Sausages, hotdogs, tocino, chorizo, ham are all processed foods. What make them cancerous? The sodium nitrate present in processed foods is known to be carcinogenic. When eating processed foods and red meat try to eat pepino, tomato and broccoli at the same time since these vegetables have anti-cancer properties.
  • Refined grains - example white bread, commercial rice, pearled grains. At least one study has shown that women who consumed the most refined grains are more susceptible to breast cancer than women who eat whole grain foods
  • Foods rich in Trans fats or margarine - Hydrogenated oils, commercial palm oils
  • Fatty foods and salad dressing - Often contain commercial, hydrogenated oils that trigger cancer.
  • Alcoholic beverages - All research studies link the consumption of alcohol to high rates of cancers. Even red wine and white wine are not safe anymore. Alcohol is a poor source of calories which clog the veins and damage internal organs.
Analyzing the preventions listed here based on credible sources, it appears that following a Mediterranean Diet is one healthy option that effectively protects people from acquiring cancers of any kind, breast cancer in particular. Several studies show that Mediterranean people have lower rates of cancer compared to others. Mediterranean diet concentrates on fresh oily fish, olive, flaxseed and canola oils, whole grain foods and yellow and green vegetables. 

Best Meal preparations to follow:
  • Cooked broccoli, carrots and tomatoes in olive or canola oil with garlic and onions .
  • A combination of Asparagus, okra and cauliflower cooked in olive or canola oil with garlic and onions
  • Whole wheat bread, cereals and orange juice or green tea in the morning or at dinner time.
  • Brown rice, tuna or salmon, sardines as break fast with any kinds of fruits.
  • Coleslaw (boiled cabbage and carrots) with olive oil dressing and tomato ketchup as snack
Healthy lifestyle is often the most effective way of preventions. We cannot afford postponement, the best to start is now and not tomorrow. So plan your meal now and don't forget to consider the pyramid of a Mediterranean Diet as you go along with your meal plan.


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