Breast Cancer Prevention - Blog # 43
Hi everyone! Welcome back to another Friday blog. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So many of us have been touched by breast cancer. “Breast cancer is a metastatic cancer and can commonly transfer to distant organs such as the bone, liver, lung and brain, which mainly accounts for its incurability. Early diagnosis of the disease can lead to a good prognosis and a high survival rate. In North American, the 5-year relative survival rate of breast cancer patients is above 80% due to the timely detection of this disease.” Here are the latest statistics taken from BreastCancer.Org:
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 13%), vs 1 in 833 men, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Death rates are higher than for any other cancer, except lung cancer.
- Risk doubles if a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) diagnosed, but <15% of breast cancers are due to this.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
- About 43,600 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2021 from breast cancer. Metastatic tumors (not primary tumors) cause > 90% deaths.
- As of January 2021, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.
- Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally as of 2021, accounting for 12% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
- Most breast cancer occurs in women >40 years of age
- In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in Black women than white women. Overall, Black women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower. Ashkenazi Jewish women have a higher risk of breast cancer because of a higher rate of BRCA mutations.
- About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to known gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common.
Okay, so most breast cancers are due to something other than genetics. Environmental insults, modern western diet , smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, radiation exposure, compromised immune system, endogenous and exogenous estrogen (HRT, oral contraceptives), early menarche and late menopause all increase the risk of breast cancer. Early detection, surgery and chemotherapy are the first line of defense. Now, the 5 year survival rate is > 80% due to early detection. Let’s look at what we can do to prevent breast cancer.
The results of a Spanish study was published in 2015. They took 4282 women aged 60 to 80 years and at high cardiovascular disease risk and studied them from 2003-2009. “The study analyzed the effects of 2 interventions: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 1 L per week of EVOO (1476 women) or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 g of mixed nuts daily (1285 women). The control group (1391 women) received advice to reduce their dietary intake of fat. This study is a secondary analysis of the large PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) trial, which was designed to test the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” They showed that the group consuming the Mediterranean diet supplemented with EVOO had a 62% lower risk of malignant breast cancer compared with the control group. Researchers noted the polyphenols, such as oleuropein, oleocanthal, hyddroxytyrosol and lignans in EVOO have been identified as anti-carcinogenic agents. They inhibit proliferation and expression of human oncogenes and prevent oxidative damage to DNA in mammary epithelial cells, inhibit tumor growth and cause apoptosis (cell death) of breast cancer cells.
In fact, there is an inverse relationship to EVOO consumption and incidence of ANY type of cancer. So, the more EVOO you consume with your food, the less chance of cancer you will have. The relationships between polyphenols and their ability to trigger autophagy in the presence of cancer cells is currently being investigated. Eating foods high in polyphenols and phytonutrients has been shown to lower the incidence of not only breast cancer, but all cancers. Why is this?
Think about it a minute. Plants have developed phytochemicals (chemical compounds) to protect them from insects, resist fungi, viruses and bacteria as well as consumption from animals. Capsaicin in peppers, for example, kills Streptococcus Aureus on contact. Polyphenols in EVOO are also anti-microbial, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory. The first step required to create cancer or other malfunctioning action in a cell is an inflammatory event. These compounds can protect us from these events!
- Eliminate foods containing glyphosate or other pesticides, processed meats, sugar and other foods that stimulate a high insulin response, fried foods, phytoestrogens (plants that mimic estrogen in the body, although not all are bad) such as soy products, vegetable shortening and poor quality oils as well as highly processed foods.
- Consume organic foods high in color and high in compounds known to fight cancer: -EVOO - high polyphenol is a functionally active food! - Herbs/Spices - turmeric, black pepper, oregano, rosemary - Allium vegetables - onions, garlic, leeks, shallots - Dark leafy greens - spinach, turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, chard - Fermented - sauerkraut, Greek yogurt (no sugar), kimchi, tea and coffee - Berries - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries - Peppers - sweet and hot - Cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage Omega 3s - fatty fish, sardines Citrus and high C - lemons, limes, oranges - High lignan - peaches, apples and pears - Legumes - beans (a variety), hummus - Nuts and seeds - flax seeds, walnuts
- Boost your immune system - fresh air and sunshine, take a vit D3 supplement, vit K2, vit C, zinc - giving your immune system the tools it needs to fight off viruses, bacteria, fungi and to eliminate cancer cells - check out Blog # 40!
- Stimulate autophagy - this is a cleaning and clearing process throughout the body key in the prevention of multiple disease processes. Recent studies show that IF (intermittent fasting) reduced mammary tumors in mice. EVOO and IF (intermittent fasting) are ways to stimulate autophagy - check out Blog # 41!,
- Sleep - very important in the production of neurotransmitters, melatonin, autophagy, immune response, and brain health. Turn off light! check out Blog # 30!
- Exercise - improves every process in the body, increases blood flow, enhances autophagy and immune response. Studies show moderate, regular exercise impacts all immune cells and their function. The combination of EVOO + moderate exercise has been shown to boost your immune system and “protect” against Covid-19 and other viral infections.
- Screenings - self exams, regular checkups, mammograms for early detection is super important!
Okay folks! Preventing breast cancer is really important!! Let’s do all we can to prevent and stop this disease that affects so many women! So, until next time my friends, Drink, drizzle, digest high polyphenol EVOO, eat foods rich in phytonutrients, eat fatty fish rich in Omega 3s, eat foods high in lutein, drink lots of water, brush and floss your teeth, get a good pre/probiotic to balance your gut microbiome, moderately exercise your body and mind, do regular self-checks and get regular check-ups for early detection, get plenty of sleep…and turn off the light! Stay healthy my friends #EVOO