Category Archives: Breast Cancer

Fighting breast cancer in the kitchen

fishWe always hear about the things we shouldn’t be doing when it comes to fighting breast cancer and other diseases and health conditions. We already know that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption contribute to a greater risk of breast cancer. We’ve also heard that we should reduce our intake of red meat for the same reasons. But what should we be consuming that can help stave off breast cancer?

So tonight, FoodFacts.com wants to take a positive approach and look at some foods that help reduce our breast cancer risk.

Oily Fish
Recently, a study published in the British Medical Journal featuring data from over 800,000 participants and 20,000 breast cancer patients linked diets high in oily fish intake to a lower risk of breast cancer. Diets featuring fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel that contain high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids work to help prevent breast cancer. Other sources of omega-3s are leafy greens, flaxseed and walnuts.

Berries
Featuring ellagic acid — a phytochemical linked to the prevention of a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, berries can make a big impact on your healthy diet. Both strawberries and raspberries are high in ellagic acid, but there are no bad-for-you berries — so enjoy!

Beans and other high fiber foods
Foods high in fiber have been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. In fact, for every 10 grams of fiber, breast cancer risk has been shown to decrease by seven percent. Breast cancer risk reduction in roughly a half cup of beans — that’s a pretty big benefit!

Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and kale are all members of the cruciferous vegetable family. A compound called sulforaphane is linked to fighting the spread of tumors.

Dairy
Research has shown that high levels of vitamin D and calcium lower breast density. Women with high breast density have four to five times the risk of developing breast cancer. While researchers haven’t yet determined whether it’s the vitamin D or calcium in your diet that lowers breast density, they do believe that low-fat dairy can help fight breast cancer development.

Tomatoes and other red and orange fruits and vegetables
A colorful plate has a positive effect on breast cancer. Fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids may reduce your risk of aggressive breast cancer by up to 20 percent. Carotenoids make for richly colored foods, so you’ll want to add fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, cantaloupe and mangos to your diet.

It’s always important to be proactive about our health. That doesn’t simply mean avoiding lifestyle habits that contribute to the risk of breast cancer. It also includes educating ourselves on the foods that can help us reduce our risks. During breast cancer awareness month, let’s get proactive and find creative and delicious ways to add the foods that can help us make a difference in our own health to the menu!

Soy and breast cancer … there’s more to the story

istock_000014130416xsmallSoy is certainly a controversial subject. And if you rely on soy as a dairy or protein substitute, you’ve undoubtedly heard and read about conflicting information regarding its health effects.

Could your daily soy lattes up your risk of breast cancer or lend a protective effect? So far, the research has been conflicting. While some studies have shown that soy can increase tumor growth at the cellular level, other research has found that soy may actually have a protective effect. However, most of what we know about this link comes from epidemiological studies (looking at broad population data), which have not been able to find a clear cause-and-effect link between soy and breast cancer.

Now, a new study published in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute directly compared women who took soy supplements with women who took a placebo to determine what effect soy would have on the expression of genes associated with breast cancer.

The researchers looked at 140 patients who had been recently diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. In the 2-3 weeks before their surgery (either a mastectomy or lumpectomy), these women were given either soy supplements (the equivalent of about four 16 oz. glasses of soy milk or four large servings of tofu) or a placebo every day. “The hypothesis was that soy food for a limited period of time could influence the behavior of already established breast cancer,” says study co-author Jacqueline Bromberg, M.D., Ph.D., breast medical oncologist and researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

After a few weeks, they found that some women in the soy group had high levels of genistein, a metabolite of soy, while the women in the placebo group did not. And interestingly, patients with high levels of this metabolite saw an increase in the genes associated with tumor growth. However, it’s important to note that the tumors were not actually growing better in these women.

Basically, taking a huge amount of soy in a short period of time led to changes in gene proliferation for some women with invasive breast cancer. But importantly, this didn’t lead to an actual change in the appearance or growth of a tumor, explains Bromberg. While the researchers definitely saw changes in the expression of these genes, they don’t know if this would lead to even greater changes if the women had been taking soy supplements for longer than 2-3 weeks.

So does that mean you should limit soy or avoid it completely if you have breast cancer?

Not necessarily. Like many things, soy seems to be safe in moderation, and there is definitely research showing it’s protective effects against a variety of cancers, including breast cancer. That said, this study does suggest that high amounts of soy may have an effect on women who have already been diagnosed. Bromberg notes that normal amounts of soy are probably fine for women with breast cancer, but she strongly advises against taking soy supplements. Moderation in a healthy diet is key, she says.

“Our study simply says that [after taking] large amounts of soy for a short period of time, a subgroup of patients who had high levels of the soy metabolite genistein had an increase in the expression of genes involved in the growth of tumor cells,” says Bromberg. “But that did not translate to an increase in actual growth.”

FoodFacts.com knows that many in our own community have had questions about the health benefits of soy vs. possible negative health effects. This new information does help to put some of those questions to rest. The advice certainly isn’t foreign — moderation in our dietary habits is always for the best.

http://www.today.com/health/latest-soy-breast-cancer-what-you-need-know-2D80192077

Panera Bread celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the Pink Ribbon Bagel

bagels[1]RightSideOctober is the month for pink ribbons and at FoodFacts.com we do want to celebrate that. In a relatively short span of time, through the efforts of medicine, research and women, breast cancer can actually be a curable disease for many. There’s still a long way to go and awareness certainly play a tremendous role in the advancements that have been made. We’re all working together on this. So Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a valuable time for everyone. And we’re happy to see so many people, companies and brands getting involved. We only wish that when they choose to become involved, they’re careful about their choices.

So for a limited time, you can “enjoy” the Pink Ribbon Bagel at Panera Bread. This is their acknowledgement of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And, while we’re happy that they participate, we’re not exactly sure that this bagel was the way to go.

The nutrition facts for the Panera Bread Pink Ribbon bagel are a bit different than other comparable items. Take a look:

Calories              370
Fat                      7 grams
Sodium              430 mg

While these numbers aren’t horrible, a regular cinnamon raisin bagel has similar nutrition facts — a bit lower in calories and definitely higher in fat. It’s the ingredients here that we should really pay attention to:

Unbleached enriched wheat flour (flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, cherry flavored chunk (sugar, palm kernel and palm oil, whole milk powder, cherry powder, natural flavor, soy lecithin [emulsifier], salt), cherry flavor infused cranberries (cranberries, sugar, cherry juice concentrate, citric acid, natural cherry flavor with other natural flavors, elderberry juice concentrate, sunflower oil), sweetened dried cherries (dried red tart cherries, sugar, rice flour, sunflower oil), bagel base (sugar, salt, malted barley flour, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, molasses powder [molasses, wheat starch], yeast, soybean oil, ascorbic acid, enzymes [wheat]), brown sugar, honey, vanilla flavor (water, propylene glycol, alcohol, artificial flavors, caramel color), yeast (yeast, sorbitan monostearate, ascorbic acid), palm oil shortening.

We’re not particularly thrilled with this. Multiple instances of natural flavors, propylene glycol, artificial flavors, caramel color doesn’t exactly add up to our idea of a an ode to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Maybe it’s just us, but we do think that any food introduction that’s meant to honor this important month would be better with a clean ingredient list … especially with the recent research regarding certain ingredients and cancers (not to mention nutrition and cancers). Ingredients aside, it IS important to mention that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Pink Ribbon Bagels will go to breast cancer research. And, regardless of the ingredients, we ARE a big fan of that. We’re just going to donate to the cause, without eating the bagel. Sorry, Panera Bread.

https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/menu-categories/bagels-and-spreads.html#pink-ribbon-bagel

Could drinking soda raise your risk of breast cancer?

Woman in cinema. Beautiful young woman drinking soda while sitting at the cinemaSoda consumption is back in the news. This time, though, that news is reporting on much more than how sugar consumption is linked to the obesity crisis, diabetes and heart disease (as if those problems weren’t enough). FoodFacts.com didn’t actually need any further convincing that soda is an unnecessary beverage — too much sugar, too many bad ingredients and no nutritional benefits whatsoever have left us with a bad taste in our mouths.

Sugary drinks are notorious for their health hazards, and unfortunately, Americans are nowhere close to giving them up. A 2012 Gallup poll found that 48 percent of Americans surveyed drank soda on a daily basis. Of the 48 percent who consumed soda daily, the average intake of the beverage is 2.6 glasses a day.

And if you think a lack of awareness is to blame, then think again! A study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Interlex Communications found that most Americans know that drinking soda is bad for you.

Now, researchers have found yet another troubling association with soda consumption: a higher risk of breast cancer in women. Specifically, the scientists discovered that the more sugary drinks a woman consumed, the more density her breasts would have. Breast density is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, since there is less fatty tissue and more cells that are at risk of becoming cancerous.

“Among all women, those who had a sugary drink intake of more than three servings per week had a mean of 29.6 percent in breast density, but those who did not drink this type of drink had a mean of 26.2 percent in breast density,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Caroline Diorio from Laval University in Quebec. “An increase of about 3 percent in breast density is not negligible in terms of breast cancer risk. By comparison, it has been shown that healthy women at high risk of developing breast cancer who received (the breast cancer drug) tamoxifen for four-and-a-half years had a reduction of 6.4 percent in breast density, and it has been observed that tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent in high-risk women.”

So in addition to all the other valid concerns surrounding soda, this new association with breast cancer is certainly an eye-opening one. While we understand that soda sales have dropped, we know that millions of consumers are still consuming these beverages — and consuming them in excess. We do hope that research like this makes its way into the consciousness of those consumers and that they take it seriously.

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/life/breast-cancer-and-4-other-health-issues-linked-to-drinking-soda.html/

Girls who eat peanut butter may have better breast health as adults

FoodFacts.com knows that there’s always been one food that kids crave that parents have always felt good about. As long as children don’t suffer from peanut allergies, peanut butter is actually a pretty healthy choice. And today, with organic and natural choices, we have even healthier options that don’t include any controversial ingredients. And let’s face it, even as adults there is something very comforting about a peanut butter sandwich because the taste can bring us back to our childhood. Today we learned that young girls who eat peanut butter may be doing something positive for their well being later on in life.

By eating more peanut butter during their high school years, girls could be improving their breast health in adulthood, according to a US study published recently in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Dr. Graham Colditz, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues found that girls aged 9 to 15 who ate peanut butter and nuts twice a week were 39% less likely to develop benign breast disease by the age of 30 than girls who did not.
Benign breast disease includes lumps or tender spots that turn out to be fibrous tissue and/or cysts, as well as other conditions like hyperplasia, an overgrowth of the cells that line the ducts in the glandular breast tissue.

Although benign breast disease is not cancerous, it can raise the risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

Dr. Colditz, associate director for cancer prevention and control at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, says:

“These findings suggest that peanut butter could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.”

For their study, he and his colleagues looked at health data on over 9,000 American schoolgirls recruited to The Growing Up Today Study between 1996 and 2001. This included detailed information about food consumption as captured in food frequency questionnaires that the girls filled in on enrollment.

The data also included reports from the girls between 2005 and 2010, when they were 18 to 30 years old, that indicated whether they had ever been diagnosed with biopsy-confirmed benign breast disease.

When they compared the two sets of data, the researchers found that participants who had eaten peanut butter or nuts twice a week were 39% less likely than peers who never ate those foods to receive a diagnosis for benign breast disease.

The data suggest pulse foods – soy and other beans and lentils – and corn may also be linked to reduced risk of benign breast disease, but because they did not feature as much in the diets of these girls, the evidence was not so strong.

The researchers also note that:

“Girls with a family history of breast cancer had significantly lower risk if they consumed these foods or vegetable fat.”

And they concluded that “consumption of vegetable protein, fat, peanut butter, or nuts by older girls may help reduce their risk of BBD [benign breast disease] as young women.”

Dr. Colditz says girls would do well to eat more peanut butter and nuts and consume less junk foods and sugary drinks, especially in view of the rise in obesity.

FoodFacts.com is excited about this great news for women. Including peanut butter in your diet when you’re young may help you prevent the breast disease that puts you at a higher risk for breast cancer. It’s easy to do. Kids love it. And the health effects may prove invaluable for adult women!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266681.php

Eat your colors and reduce your risk of breast cancer

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. FoodFacts.com has always felt that Hippocrates had the right idea! We’re always thrilled to learn about how the foods we consume can have a positive influence on our health and well being. And we’re especially excited to discover that simple additions of fresh, healthy food to our diet can help us avoid chronic and often fatal illness.

A recent study from the researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School has shown that women with high levels of carotenoids (naturally occurring plant chemicals) have a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.

While we know that diets high in fruits and vegetables have a positive influence on the risk of many different cancers, this particular link to those that are high in carotenoids offer specific benefits for women.

We’ve often heard the advice that “It’s best to eat in color”. This is certainly the case here. Carotenoids are pigements that give vegetables and fruits deep yellow, orange and red hues. Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash, apricots, mangoes and papyas are all great examples of foods high in carotenoids.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of data from 8 different studies that included 7,000 women. They discovered that the women whose blood levels were in the top 20 percent for carotenoids were 15 to 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those women whose carotenoid levels were in the bottom 20 percent. Most impressive, thought, was that the link between higher carotenoid levels in the blood was the strongest for the most aggressive, lethal forms of breast cancer.

Researchers noted that it seemed to be a linear relationship. The higher the levels of caretonoids in the blood, the lower the risk of breast cancer.

While more research is needed to discover the specific reason for the link, researchers hypothesize that the body may metabolize carotenoids into retinol, which may inhibit tumor growth.

It was noted in the study that the most effective way to boost carotenoid levels in the blood is through food consumption, not supplementation. They clearly felt that increasing fruit and vegetable intake is the best way to receive the health benefits of carotenoids and perhaps decrease the risk of breast cancer.

There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables in beautiful colors. FoodFacts.com honestly has a difficult time deciding which ones to include in our diets first. Whichever you choose, enjoy them in good health, knowing that the rich bounty of colorful, carotenoid-containing produce may help us decrease our odds of developing a deadly disease.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/039018_breast_cancer_carotenoids_fruits_and_vegetables.html#ixzz2VUaOiltR

Eat your asparagus … you might be preventing breast cancer!

FoodFacts.com is always thrilled to learn how natural foods can play an important role in the prevention and treatment of disease. Breast cancer affects so many – not only in our own country where over 200,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year – but worldwide.

A study out of the Rajiv Gandhi University in Bangalore, Karnatak, India illustrates that compounds known as shatavarins found in the roots of asparagus show the potential for anticancer, particularly activity against human breast cancer cells.
The researchers involved prepared shatavrin IV, the ingredient found in asparagus that is active against cancer and isolated it in a preparation. The prepared shatavrin IV samples were tested in human breast cancer cell lines, colon adenocarcinoma cell lines and human kidney carcinoma cell lines to determine the different cells’ reactions.

The shatavarin IV preparations showed the potential to be effective in fighting cancer cells.

In addition to testing done in this manner, on oral administration of an extract of asparagus was also prepared. It was given in doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight for 10 days. It was discovered that this led to a significant reduction in tumor volume and viable tumor cell count as well as an increase in the non-viable cell count. In addition to these results, the asparagus extracts also restored blood parameters to normal levels.
Based on these findings, researchers concluded that the asparagus preparations show noteworthy anticancer potential.

This promising study could lead to new and natural treatments for breast cancer and provide hope that there are less toxic treatments than the traditional medical approaches to the disease. While we know that such treatments are effective in many cases, they are also incredibly difficult for patients to endure. FoodFacts.com understands that for breast cancer patients and those who love them, a solution that may come from a simple vegetable would offer a far less traumatic path for patients worldwide.

And based on this research, perhaps we should be serving more asparagus with our meals and get used to telling our children “Eat your asparagus,” just as often as we’ve ever told them to eat their broccoli!

Read more about this fascinating study here: http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Nutrition/Phytochemicals/asparagus_breast_cancer_1228120409.html

Better health might be written in the tea leaves … green tea, that is.

FoodFacts.com is always looking for information regarding the health benefits of green tea. There has always been conjecture about this tea boasting many, varied health properties gained from including it in your beverage consumption. It’s been heralded in different cultures and has fascinated people for years.

Recent research has pointed to these benefits and recently we’ve blogged about a few of them. It seems, though, that newer research is actually shedding light on how specific elements in green tea might, in fact, be involved in preventing the spread of both breast and prostate cancer!

The new research was focused on 40 women with a form of breast cancer that’s unaffected by hormone therapy. Coming out of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the researchers gave the participants green tea extract in various amounts and a placebo. Those women consuming the green tea extract exhibited much lower levels of tumor growth than those given the placebo just two months into the study.

Green tea contains polyphenols. These chemicals are thought to have caused the slowing of the growth of the cancer in the women studied, specifically by hindering two proteins that support cancer cell growth and movement in the body. The study has tried to identify how much green tea extract, and/or cups of green tea would be needed to achieve the strongest effects. More research will be required to pinpoint the optimal level.

This research was based on a 2009 study on 26 men with prostate cancer, which showed comparable results in the slowing of cancer growth and migration. There’s another study that’s been released out of the University of California that’s even more recent that followed 67 men with prostate cancer who were about to have their prostate removed. Prior to having the procedure done, the men were instructed to drink six cups of brewed greed tea or water each day on a random basis. The men who drank six cups of green tea had lower levels of PSAs (prostate specific antigens). PSA levels are associated with prostate tumor growth.

It’s interesting to note that Japan, whose citizens consider green tea a steady and regular part of their diets, has a prostate and breast cancer rate that’s just about three times lower than the United States.

While we understand that these findings cannot yet be considered conclusive and that further research will be necessary, FoodFacts.com is certainly encouraged and looks forward to learning more about how green tea might be used in the future to help slow cancer growth and maybe even lend some hope to cancer prevention.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/10/19/green-tea-anti-cancer-secrets-revealed/#ixzz2A4hXKjCV

Pomegranate juice drinkers may have natural protection against advanced breast cancer

FoodFacts.com found some exciting information today that can bring new ammunition for women in the war against breast cancer!

There’s a new study that has been released by the A. Rocha Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the University of California, Riverside that has linked drinking pomegranate juice or eating the fruit may reduce the risk of the advancement of breast cancer in the human body.

There are three components of the pomegranate fruit and its juice that appear to be responsible for these findings. They are luteolin, ellagic acid and punicic acid. These are the components that are thought to be responsible for slowing the cellular and molecular processes that can cause breast cancer to progress to advanced stages. The juice seemed to be able to decrease cancer cell migration in the body. It was only observed to affect cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells alone. Another exciting part of the findings was that pomegranate fruit and juice seemed to inhibit the attraction of breast cancer cells to bones.

Researchers are encouraged that the ability of pomegranate fruit and juice to slow down the metastasis of breast cancer can lead to the discovery a new treatments that could potentially prevent cancer progression.

FoodFacts.com knows that our community is aware of the serious threat that breast cancer poses to women all over the world. In the United States alone, the disease is expected to affect over 200,000 women this year alone. Over 18% of the women diagnosed are expected to have fatal outcomes from the disease. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and so informing our community about the possible effects of the pomegranate fruit and its juice is a great way to call attention to the progress being made every day in the worldwide fight against this severe disease and its importance to women.

Read more: http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Nutrition/Food/pomegranate_juice_may_prevent_advanced_breast_cancer_1016120812.html

Breast cancer may be linked to diet in the early years of life

FoodFacts.com is always looking for relevant information regarding how diet and lifestyle affects our health. Today, we found information that may prove to be important for all females, regardless of age.

Research released by a team at UC Davis has presented evidence that suggests that diet may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer later on. And that evidence is separate from the links previously found between breast cancer and the hormone estrogen.

The study illustrates the processes regulating breast development in females. “It’s long been assumed that circulating estrogens from the ovaries, which underlie normal female reproductive development, were crucial for the onset of breast growth and development,” said Professor Russ Hovey, senior author of the study.”Our findings, however, suggest that diet and shifts in body metabolism that parallel changes seen during obesity and Type 2 diabetes can also stimulate breast growth entirely independent of estrogen’s effects.”  The study involved mice receiving a diet with the addition of fatty acids known as 10,12 CLA (or conjugated linoleic acid). 10, 12 CLA mimics certain aspects of a larger metabolic syndrome.

The 10, 12 CLA was added to the diet of the test group of mice because it is known to disrupt normal metabolic processes. Importantly, the mice involved in the study were both male and female mice whose estrogen function was blocked. The findings showed that the supplement induced the growth of mammary ducts in both groups. This diet-induced breast development also increased the incidence of mammary tumors in some of the mice. They also noted that different strains of mice responded differently to the supplement, suggesting a genetic predisposition to how their bodies processed the fatty acid.

The study holds the possibility of increasing the understanding of human breast development both before puberty and after menopause when estrogens are not as prevalent in the female system. It is also important to note that the increasing rate at which girls are experiencing puberty at earlier ages has coincided with the growing problem of childhood obesity. Dietary sources of 10, 12 CLA are beef and dairy products. Again, perhaps pointing to the effects of a diet higher in fats among the young female population, the study underscores the importance of healthy diet in the fight against this all-too-often deadly disease.

FoodFacts.com will continue to look into these findings and keep our community apprised of any new developments. For now, read more at: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_21563891/uc-davis-study-links-breast-cancer-risk-early