The majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer continue to use dietary supplements throughout their treatments and for the continuum of their care. Working with your doctor and adding in natural supplements could help decrease your chance of recurrence.
Inflammation plays just as large of a role in cancers as it does in other chronic healthcare conditions. Reducing inflammation has been shown to reduce symptoms along with improving survival rates.
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No matter the type of breast cancer, two of the most important factors to consider are tumor size and the presence of malignant disease in regional lymph nodes. This being due to the fact that the risk of survival is correlated to each positive lymph node. Considering this, a pathology report is best to get before biomarker testing is conducted.
Vitamin D is a simple yet very informative biomarker. Studies have shown that those who have insufficient amounts of vitamin D have more advanced cancers with a higher probability of recurrence. Those with a higher vitamin D count have smaller cancers and a lower risk of metastasis.
IGF 1 (Insulin-like growth factor-1) is now being recognized as a responsible agent in ⅓ of all cancer growth. If the IGF 1 biomarker is high, it is best to start diet intervention immediately. Switching to a low glycemic diet and balancing blood sugars with the use of berberine will help to get this biomarker under control.
C-Peptide is another biomarker that is important to look for. When the pancreas makes a single molecule of insulin, it also creates a molecule of c-peptide. C-Peptide is associated with a 50% increase risk of invasive breast cancers. Following the same interventions as above, when this biomarker is detected abnormal best results have been seen when adjusting weight, diet, and blood sugar/insulin lowering medications.
Out of all the biomarkers, one panel that provides a great deal of information is an inflammation biomarker panel. This panel consists of homocysteine (which has been independently linked to breast cancers) hsCRP, Ferritin, Fibrinogen (a clotting factor that has increased sensitivity with inflammation, insulin resistance, and increased risk of metastasis), IL-6, and IL-8.
Having a healthy diet is one of the most important factors when it comes to immunity, cell repair, and the overall health of our system as a whole. Those who follow a prudent diet decrease their risk of breast cancer by 11% compared to those who followed a western (the standard American diet) or drinker diet (heavy alcohol consumption). A prudent diet consists of high quantities of fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Although a healthy diet is important, it should be noted that diet does not prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. Additionally, excess weight contributes to 1 out of every 6 deaths related to cancer in the US. Following a healthy diet will aid in the reduction of excess weight build-up.
Exercise is one of the best things for cancers. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of dying from cancers by 41-61%. Research has shown that 2.5 hours a week of moderate exercise (example: a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) was associated with a 27% reduction in all-cause mortality. However, in this case, more is better! Vigorous exercise reduces the risk of mortality more than moderate exercise. Women who exercised before their breast cancer diagnosis were 31% less likely to die and women who continued exercising or began exercising after diagnosis had a 45% decreased rate of death.
Following a healthy diet and exercise regime, all-natural supplements have also been proven to reduce mortality rates in breast cancer patients. A few of the best supplements to consider include
- Multivitamin. Containing an antioxidant, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin D.
- Green tea. Up to 8 cups per day can decrease the risk of recurrence by 8%
- Curcumin. A potent anti-inflammatory that impacts the genes involved in carcinogenesis
- Melatonin. When coupled with active cancer treatments, it can double the time before recurrence
Cancer is a serious diagnosis and treatment plans/supplements should always be discussed with your team of health care professionals.
Exercise is truly amazing and the benefits it has when it comes to cancer are some of the best we have seen! Not exercising has been considered to be like the new smoking and can even be accounted for 10% of cancer deaths. Following a healthy diet, increasing activity levels, and combining supplements for maximum health benefits have had favorable outcomes. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Alschuler, Lise. “Breast Cancer: Integrative Management Strategies .” Functional Medicine University. 11 May 2020, www. functionalmedicineuniversity.com/members/960. cfm .
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