Prevention and treatment of breast cancer is based on some very basic principles and general information.
1. Only about 5% of breast cancer has a genetic or hereditary predisposition. The other 95% is hormonal and environmental.
2. Hormones: estrogen, in one of its metabolic forms, increases cell division and, as a result, increases the risk of malignant change. So anything that increases estrogen levels in the body, increases proliferation of hormone sensitive tissues - especially the breasts and uterus. But estrogen is also the cause of prostate cancer. The incidence of cancer of the breast and prostate is exactly the same: 32% of all women’s cancers and 32% of all men’s. So what applies to breast cancer is also applicable to prostate cancer. There is also the suspicion that other cancers have receptors for estrogen and this includes another very common cancer, cancer of the colon. Both women and men need to be aware of these important facts.
3. The source of estrogen may be irrelevant - whether it derives from our body’s own made estrogen or from sources outside the body such as hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, estrogen creams, and - of increasing danger - toxic chemicals which have estrogenic properties (xenoestrogens). These include chlorinated pesticides and plasticizers used in the manufacturing of plastics. The latter have now been found in 100% of human tissues in ever-growing concentrations. This is why we discourage eating and drinking from soft plastic packaging. It is not by chance that breast cancer is occurring in 1 in 5 to 1 in 8 women.
4. Radiation from natural background sources and man-made radiation from x-rays, isotopes and nuclear radiation, account for about 10% of all breast cancers. This is why we have taken the position that mammograms not be used for routine and repetitive breast cancer screenings. Mammography is of value along with ultrasonography for localization of tumor sites so biopsies can be more easily performed, when necessary.
So let us repeat: anything that increases estrogen levels, whether by increased sources or by our body’s decreased ability to metabolize or breakdown these estrogen levels, increases our risk of cancer. This is the key to 90% of all breast cancer and also uterine and prostate cancer.
If this is so, what do we have to do to prevent these hormonal and environmental causes of cancer?
The answer is:
1. Reduce as much as possible exposures to all sources of radiation.
2. Avoid all exposures to toxic chemical xenoestrogens.
3. Do not use natural or synthetic estrogenic hormones during your reproductive years unless you are clearly deficient. After menopause, where necessary, use primarily the anti-cancer from of estrogen, Estriol.
4. Maintain and enhance your liver’s ability to metabolize your estrogens from any of its sources. This is the single most important thing that must be done if you are going to prevent cancer.
All these steps are clear except for the last. How do you maintain and enhance liver function?
The answer is through proper nutrition, which requires very specific concentrations of nutrients, and consistency of optimal nutrition. This should be continuous throughout one’s life. Through this approach the ultimate goal of down regulating estrogen activity will be achieved. (It may require 5 to 10 years of poor nutrition to upset estrogen equilibrium and 6 months of good nutrition to bring it back to normal.)
The optimal program to be followed should include:
1. Adequate levels of all B-complex vitamins through a diet rich in unrefined grains including, especially, wheat germ, and bolstered by a good quality B-complex supplement.
2. Increased vegetables especially from the cruciferous family: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale. These vegetables contain indole carbinols, which promote the good estrogen metabolite 2 hydroxyestrone which counters the proliferative effect of the bad 16 alphahydroxy estrone. The key ingredient in the cruciferous vegetables is available in capsule form for your convenience and can be purchased through our Center and at most health food stores.
3. Flaxseed as granules, not oil, is rich in lignans that are converted in the gut to phytoestrogens. These bind to estrogen receptors interfering with estrogen cancer promoting properties. They also excrete excess estrogen safely out of the body.
4. The key way the body gets rid of estrogens is through the bile which is bound to glucuronic acid. Foods that promote this bonding, by decreasing the activity of an enzyme that interferes with the process, include onions, garlic, apples, cruciferous vegetables and lettuce. Calcium D-Glucaric acid is a supplement equal to or better than Tamoxifen, has no side effects, and may be considered the magic pill in down regulating estrogen activity. It should be taken in doses of 500-mg. twice daily.
5. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant and is critically low in breast cancer patients while lipid peroxides, which it counteracts, are dangerously high. Supplementation with doses of 400 units to 1000 units of vitamin E should be taken.
6. Fish oil in the form of Omega 3 essential fatty acids are very protective. Although molecularly distilled fish oil is the best source, flaxseed is also good. The higher the level of alpha linolenic acid, a component in omega 3 oil, the less chance of metastasis of a breast cancer.
7. Eat organically grown foods. There is a high correlation between pesticides found in breast tissue and breast cancer.
8. Do not eat well done meat, especially bacon.
9. Inositol hexaphosphate, known as IP-6, 1200 mg. daily. Derived from rice bran, IP-6 can decrease cell division, induce normal cell death, and stop metastases.