This article is one of a series of different articles looking to provide individuals with accurate and reliable information to help people prevent, treat and recover from cancer. At the present there is no cure for cancer, but that does not mean that people do not recover from cancer. Many people have been successful at beating cancer and have gone to live long productive lives. This article is based on the notion that cancer is better treated with a multidimensional approach. Many researchers believe that the best approach to treat cancer is an approach that includes conventional medicine and alternative medicine. Types of conventional cancer treatments include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Examples of alternative medicine include herbs, diet, supplementation, acupuncture, meditation, etc. Your chances of recovering from cancer can be improved if you and your health care provider use such a multidimensional approach
Lifestyle and diet
Many studies have indicated that exercise will help women with breast cancer, as it stimulates immune activity, enhances detoxification, encourages positive self-image, and helps prevent and reduce obesity. An article published in “Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers Prevention,” also demonstrated that exercise can positively influence growth factors specific to insulin. According to leading researchers, ” Increasing physical activity and decreasing body fat may be a reasonable approach toward changing insulin levels and leptin thereby influencing cancer prognosis.” Leptin us a hormone secreted by fat cells that increase the storage of fat and also stimulates the secretion of insulin by the pancreas.
Alcohol consumption has been clearly linked to an increased risk of cancer. The relationship between breast cancer and alcohol is linear, meaning that each additional serving of alcohol confers additional risk of breast cancer development. An article in the “British Medical Journal,” concludes that and adequate dietary intake of folic acid may protect against the increased risk of cancer associated with alcohol consumption. If you are a heavy alcohol drinker, you should quit drinking alcohol or at least cut down drinking to two to five servings of alcohol per week. Social drinkers as well should try to quit drinking alcohol or at least include folic acid to their daily supplements.
Another dietary consideration with regard to breast cancer is soy. Increase soy in the diet is controversial. Dietary soy appears to reduce breast cancer risk; however, women who already have breast cancer should minimize dietary soy, as it may act as growth factor for established breast cancer tumors.
In addition to reducing dietary fat, increasing consumption of colorful fruits and vegetables is especially important in regard to breast cancer. Many studies have demonstrated a link between breast cancer prevention and increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables and antioxidant rich foods. A report in the journal “Nutrition and Cancer,” states that a low-fat high vegetable diet helped reduce the risk of recurrence amongst cancer survivors.
Nutrients and Herbs
A wide variety of nutrients and herbs have been studied for preventing and treating breast cancer. Here are some of the most commonly studied in research trials.
CoQ10: Early studies demonstrated that CoQ10 is effective at improving health of those with advance breast cancer.
Curcumin: This phytochemical found in the spice turmeric decreases oxidative damage to cells and inflammation, interferes with growth factor stimulation of breast cancer cells, and reduces tumor growth in animal and in vitro studies. Do not take curcumin if you are taking the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin.
Diindolelylmethane (DIM): It is a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), influences metabolism of estrogen into safer end products. DIM has also been shown in vitro to stimulate the destruction of breast cancer cells. DIM is found in cruciferous vegetables.
Flaxseed Lignans: Several cellular and animal studies have demonstrated that one of the lignans found in flax seed can reduce tumor growth and help prevent the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the body.
Green Tea: Several studies have demonstrated that green tea has a protective effect against breast cancer and can also inhibit cancer cell growth and invasion. In a study of women with history of stage I breast cancer, those who drank at least five cups of green tea daily had longer disease free survival, lower recurrence rates, and decreased extend of recurrent disease.
L-Glutamine: Recent animal studies demonstrated that oral glutamine could increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs, such as methotrexate and paclitaxe, in cases of breast cancer.
Melatonin: After estrogen binds to an estrogen receptor on a breast cancer cell, melatonin inhibits that receptors signalling for cell division. In vitro studies have demonstrated that melatonin induces apoptosis and reduces breast cancer invasiveness and metastasis. Studies have demonstrated that women with higher levels of melatonin had a 40% lower risk of invasive breast cancer than women with lower levels of the hormone. Melatonin inhibits the enzyme aromatase, which normally converts androgens in fat cells into estrogen. Androgens are the primary source of estrogen in menopausal women, so inhibition of aromatase is a significant way to lower cancer risk in menopausal women.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in flax oil and fish oil, have been shown to reduce breast tumor growth in animal models.
Vitamin D: Although this vitamin has been studied primarily for its role in preventing breast cancer, new research indicates that prognosis may also be improved with Vitamin D therapy.
Vitamin E: A study in California found that Vitamin E inhibited estrogen receptor positive for cancer cell growth by altering cellular response to estrogen.
Among the most promising supplements are green tea, melatonin, curcumin, and Vitamin D. Al of these interventions rest upon a foundation a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, exercise, exercise, stress management, and strong support systems. It is important that you communicate to your doctor any changes in lifestyle or the addition to supplements in your diet. I hope you found this article helpful please feel to contact me if you have any specific questions or if you are interested in reading other articles I have written regarding cancer and alternative medicine.