I’ve been researching breast cancer a lot more since my grandmother’s recent breast cancer diagnosis. I’ve supported breast cancer research for a long time now but the fact that it is now a part of my family’s medical history I feel like I need to educate myself more about it and somehow fight a little bit harder to prevent it.
Here is a great article I ran across by Dr. Keith Block on preventing breast cancer recurrences.
Avoiding Refined Sugar Helps Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence
By Keith I. Block, M.D.,
Author of Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment
If you ingest whole foods, insulin will be secreted slowly and the body will manage this well. Insulin is needed to carry glucose into your tissues and is essential for providing much needed fuel. However, ingest a candy bar, your favorite brand of cookies, or 12 ounces of soda pop — what I like to refer to as carbonated belly wash — and the cells in your pancreas will respond with a surge of insulin.
In recent years, researchers found that women with early stage breast cancer who had the highest insulin levels were twice as likely to have their tumor metastasize, and three times as likely to die of breast cancer, as women with the lowest insulin levels. For this reason, I believe any patient combating breast cancer or trying to avoid a recurrence would be wise to have their doctor routinely monitor their insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as their insulin growth factor (IGF-1). Choosing a whole foods diet and staying fit can reduce the deleterious effect that elevated sugar and insulin levels can have on both the risk of recurrence and risk of death. In addition, following a nutritional, fitness and therapeutic supplement program can help achieve or maintain improved levels.
Even though all therapeutic interventions should be individualized to match the needs of each patient, I’m convinced that certain dietary recommendations are fundamental to achieving improved health.
- Eat a diet lower in fat, and make it a better quality fat. Ideally, fat should represent no more than 18% of your daily caloric intake. “Good” fats include monounsaturated and Omega 3 fats.
- Examples of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, almond oil and walnut oil. Omega 3 fats include flax seed, canola, and, of course fats contained in cold water fish.
- Eat abundant cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, bok choy, kale and brussel sprouts — which contain plant phytochemicals that result in lower blood levels of estrogen by increasing the estrogen detoxification and dumping capacity of the liver.
- Eat a diet high in fiber, with plant-based sources of protein. Consuming more fiber in the form of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, and beans can reduce harmful circulating estrogen levels.
In addition, while research has shown that mind-spirit interventions improve quality of life for cancer survivors, there is also data that suggests they boost immune function, increase cancer-fighting melatonin levels, and can play a role in helping prevent recurrence.
© 2010 Keith I. Block, M.D., author of Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment
Keith I. Block, M.D. is Director of Integrative Medical Education at the University of Illinois College of Medicine; Medical Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Evanston, Illinois; and founder and Scientific Director of the nonprofit Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education. He is also editor in chief of the peer-reviewed professional journal Integrative Cancer Therapies and a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Editorial Board.