If one word could sufficiently answer the question about changing diet and habits resulting in the prevention of breast cancer, there would be a rapid decrease in the fatalities all over the world. Research is still in its early stages, but so far not one recommendation is a fool proof method in the prevention of breast cancer. Most commonly affecting the inner milk ducts and the lobules inside of the breast, the cancer is medically termed malignant breast neoplasm, ductal carcinoma, or lobular carcinoma, depending on the nature and origin of the disease.
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; much media attention and participation from patients, survivors and family and friends of survivors has helped to create awareness among the general public. So much attention to breast cancer awareness has helped to create a platform for organizing fund raising activities and facilitating mammography screening for all women for the early detection of breast cancer.
The first noticeable symptom of breast cancer is a lump; therefore periodical physicals and self-examination is emphasized during the breast cancer awareness campaigns. Astra Zeneca Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer company, involved in making drugs for treating breast cancer, founded Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, in association with the American Cancer Society. The pink ribbon has become the symbol of breast cancer awareness.
Lifestyle and breast cancer
Modern lifestyles have become like a double-edged sword; our lifestyles have brought devastation along with the luxuries we are so accustomed to. For instance, alcoholism is one of the major underlying factors attributed to developing cancer. Studies have shown that alcohol and tobacco smoking increase the risk of breast cancer considerably. Statistics compiled from many research campaigns show that even moderate consumption of alcohol increase the breast cancer rate by over 24 percent when compared to non-alcoholics. Hence, changing one’s lifestyle by cutting down on alcohol and avoiding tobacco in any form (chewing or smoking) helps in the prevention of breast cancer.
Holistic approaches to preventing breast cancer
Because so many drugs cause dangerous side effects, many people want to take a holistic approach to preventing and treating/curing breast cancer. For decades, researchers have been searching for alternative sources and supplements to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer. For example, green tea, as a holistic approach to preventing breast cancer, has shown some promise, but the evidence is not conclusive. According to cancer.org scientific evidence doesn’t prove that green tea prevents or treats cancer in human beings; although, green tea is still being studied. There will need to be clinical trials before green tea can be accepted or rejected as an anti-cancer agent.
Researchers have found that there is a link between obesity and breast cancer. Based on the clinical research going on in many parts of the world, it appears that changing diet patterns and adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, greens and reducing animal protein can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Often, because of marketing advertisements, soy products have grabbed the attention of the researchers and consumers alike. Soy protein is considered to be rich in antioxidants which have the capacity of eliminating the carcinogenic cells and free radicals from the body. Soy contains a chemical called genistein. Genistein has been tested on animals and there were some promising results. There was one study on humans and it inhibited the growth of cancer cells.
Two essential nutrients, beta-carotene and Lycopene have been recorded to show considerable strength in reducing the growth of tumors. Food products rich in these nutrients should be added to the diet menu. Mushrooms are also known to help in the prevention and reduction of all sorts of cancer. Mushrooms contain polysaccharide compounds which are proven to activate the immune system.
Flavonoids and catechins are two nutrients that cause a bitter taste to the food products. Some studies have shown that these two ingredients were found to be good cancer fighting agents. Thus, there has been an increase of consumers trying to reduce their risk of breast cancer by adding these nutrients to their meals. Common foods rich in Flavonoids are broccoli, cherries, berries, apples, squash, garlic and onions. The bottom line here is that there is no food or supplement that is guaranteed to prevent breast cancer. For every study that produces hope, there is another study that throws a wet towel on them.
Dietary supplements such as minerals and multivitamins have been showing some promise in reducing a woman’s risk of breast cancer. There is also some promise that the extracts from the jasmine plant will eradicate some forms of cancer cells. Many people believe that certain foods can cure cancer. However, the research is still considered premature for the US Food and Drug Administration and other authorities around the world to approve foods and supplements as a viable treatment for cancer. Many doctors believe that avoiding the indiscriminate use of pain killers, anti-fever medications and antibiotics can also help to prevent breast cancer.