Nearly 270,000 new cases of breast cancer, most of which are women, are expected in 2018, with a total of nearly 42,000 deaths from the disease.
Aside from skin cancer, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among women.
Both the occurrence and death due to breast cancer have declined somewhat in recent years, largely due to a decline in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) [use among postmenopausal women.
Breast cancer is significantly influenced by dietary and lifestyle factors, in part evidenced by the nearly 3-fold higher occurrence in developed countries compared to underdeveloped ones.
STAY ACTIVE Most studies suggest physical activity lowers breast cancer mortality.
Multiple nutritional supplements have been associated with reduced cancer occurrence and/or cancer progression. This list contains those with the greatest evidence-based benefit.
A number of risk factors are known to be associated with breast cancer occurrence, and the risk factors for younger women are not necessarily the same for women over 40.
Among the most well-established risk factors include:
Risk factors for younger women also include:
Other known risk factors include:
HEALTHY DIET Consume a vegetable rich, Mediterranean-style diet, emphasizing whole foods and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, etc.)
Mammography - Screening by mammography is recommended by a number of cancer organizations. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends individualized, informed decision making about when to start mammography.
Cancer staging and classification - Staging is the process of finding out how much cancer there is in a person’s body and where it’s located. It’s how the doctor learns the stage of a person’s cancer. Physical exams, imaging procedures, laboratory tests, pathology reports, and surgical reports provide information to determine the stage of a cancer.
Genetic evaluation - Genetic evaluation may be recommended, as a number of genetic mutations have been associated with prognosis (outlook) and help to predict how beneficial different treatments may be.
Vitamin D level - Vitamin D levels have been found to be predictive of breast cancer risk and higher grade tumors.
RELAX Practice mindfulness-based stress reduction, like breathing techniques, yoga, Pilates and meditation.
DIM & Isothiocyanates
Isothiocyanates, which are abundant in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, have shown anti-tumor activity and DIM (3,3'-Diindolylmethane), also found in these same vegetables, inhibits cancer cell proliferation in estrogen receptor positive and negative cells, and has shifted urinary estrogen metabolites to those with lower cancer risk among cancer survivors.,,
Suggested dose: DIM 250 mg & Isothiocyanates 600 mcg per day
Vitamin D levels are associated with both the risk of breast cancer, as well as the risk of dying from it. Suggested dose is that sufficient to raise vitamin D blood levels to >40 ng/mL, which may require 5000 IU per day or more.
Suggested dose: May require 5,000 IU per day or more, depending on blood levels.
This antioxidant has been shown to influence the methylation of genes in women at high breast cancer risk, and to reduce the toxicity of radiation therapy.*,
Suggested dose: 100-200 mg per day
Quercetin with Bromelain
This antioxidant has multiple mechanisms by which it inhibits breast cancer proliferation and induces apoptosis (programmed cell death), and alters the metabolism of estrogen to less toxic compounds., It may be particularly beneficial for Her2/neu positive cancer.
Suggested dose: 200-400 mg three times per day
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, have been shown to exert numerous anti-proliferative effects on breast cancer cells, as well as reduced inflammation and fatigue among breast cancer survivors. DHA/EPA have also demonstrated protective effects when combined with several chemotherapeutic agents. Additionally, GLA, another Omega-3 helps to maintain balance in the fatty acids.
Suggested dose: 2-3 grams combined EPA & DHA per day, with at least 1-2 grams of a GLA source
Scutellaria Barbata is an herb that grows in Korea and southern China. An extract of this plant has been shown to be safe in a clinical trial of women with advanced breast cancer, and to inhibit cell proliferation and induce cancer cell death.,
Suggested dose: 1-2 grams per day
The active extract from the spice turmeric, curcumin displays an ability to inhibit many tumor cell types, and also may sensitize cancer cells to other therapies. Recently it was combined with docetaxel, a commonly used chemotherapy medication, in patients with advanced and metastatic breast cancer with encouraging results. Doses range depending on type of curcumin, yet Meriva® and Longvida® have been shown to be much more efficiently absorbed forms.
Suggested dose: 1-3 gram per day
Green Tea Extract
Catechins, antioxidants found in green tea, particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), are known to have numerous anti-metastatic and anti-proliferative properties. Also, clinical trials suggest EGCG may enhance other therapies.,
Suggested dose: 1 gram EGCG and mixed catechins per day
Grape seed extract and/or Pycnogenol
Grape seed extract has been shown to inhibit breast cell carcinogenesis in response to several common toxins, and to inhibit the enzyme aromatase, a factor in hormone-sensitive cancers.,
Suggested dose: 100-200 mg per day
A hormone, supplemental melatonin intake has improved survival in a number of cancers, and may enhance conventional therapy effectiveness.
Suggested dose: At least 3 mg at night, preferably time-released
Various components of vitamin E have shown anti-cancer properties. Although alpha-tocopherol is often used in clinical trials, when given alone it may deplete other important components of vitamin E.,
Suggested dose: 200-400 IU per day of mixed tocopherols & tocotrienols
Vitamin K-2 (MK-7) has the longest half-life, meaning it is the most stable, of all forms of vitamin K. Shown to improve bone and cardiovascular health, higher intakes of this form have also been associated with reduced cancer incidence & fatality, and may improve effectiveness of other therapies.,,
Suggested dose: 100 mcg vitamin K-2 (MK-7) per day
Healthy Food Options
Cold water fish (salmon, cod, sardines, pacific flounder/sole, butterfish, and trout. Choose wild ocean fish over farm raised fish)
Organic legumes (acceptable as a vegetarian protein)
Extra virgin olive oil
Raw, sprouted, or dry roasted nutsand seeds
Organic grass-fed butter
Coconut oil for higher heat cooking
You can eat an unlimited amount of vegetables from the list below:
Cruciferous vegetables (arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens)
Limit starchy veggies such as potatoes
Low Glycemic Index
Moderate Glycemic Index
(fresh or frozen)
Naturally decaffeinated green tea
Fresh herbs and spices
Flax/olive oil & raw apple cider vinegar for dressings
Nuts (raw are best)
Raw or steamed vegetables
Low glycemic fruit
Almond butter with apple slices
Healthy Meal Ideas
2 to 3 hard boiled eggs with 1/2 cup grapefruit
2/3 cup hot quinoa cereal or gluten free steel cut oats, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 cup berries and a small handful of walnuts or pecans
Veggie Scramble: 2-3 eggs scrambled with onion, garlic and broccoli
Sauté veggies and add leftover salmon. Stir to heat up and add condiments/spices
2 to 3 poached eggs over a bed of fresh spinach and sliced tomato
2 to 3 slices turkey bacon with leftover veggies or sliced tomato and avocado
Everyday THRIVE Shake Recipes
In a blender, combine the following ingredients:
In a blender, combine the following ingredients:
Given that many nutritional interventions have the potential to both increase the effectiveness of conventional treatments and possibly interfere with their effects, combined use should always be supervised. For example, NAC may alleviate the adverse cardiovascular effects of some chemotherapeutic agents, but may theoretically interfere with those that require glutathione depletion. DHEA may also interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy, particularly for estrogen receptor positive cancers. Doses higher than 50mcg of vitamin K2 (MK-7) may interfere with some anticoagulant medications.
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