October is breast cancer awareness month.  Likely you or someone you know has been affected by this condition that is alarmingly on the rise.  No one in my family has every had breast cancer, until the past 2 years, I have had two of my family members diagnosed with breast cancer.  I cannot think that all the environmental toxins are not to blame for this increase.  Did you know that over half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer today have no family history of the disease?  That is certainly true in my family.

According to a report published at Breast Cancer Action states, “A growing body of evidence from experimental, body burden and ecological research indicates that there is a connection between environmental factors and breast cancer.” There are over 85,000 synthetic chemicals on the market today, from preservatives in our lipstick to flame retardants in our sofas, from plasticizers in our water bottles to pesticides on our fruits and vegetables. The report goes on to say, “The U.S. government has no adequate chemical regulation policy, which allows companies to manufacture and use chemicals without ever establishing their safety in humans. As the use of chemicals has risen in the U.S. and other industrialized countries, so have rates of breast and other cancers.”  So how could there not be a connection here?  All of these toxins are a huge burden on the body to try and clear and they are estrogen mimicries.  

To reduce your environmental exposures, start ditching the plastic containers, eat organic food, and switch out your makeup and skincare products to cleaner, nontoxic and non-hormone disrupting products.  Beautycounter’s line of makeup and skincare products is one brand I highly recommend and stand behind.

There are some advances being made in treatment therapies, but this has been slow.  Recently I read an article on something that is showing some promise in the research, particularly for treatment-resistant breast cancer cells.  Keep in mind this is still in the research and is in mice.  Having said that, in the study when mice were given a supplement of both green tea and broccoli they showed a reduction in tumor size in difficult to treat tumors.  Tamoxifen acts by binding to receptor positive cells and thereby preventing estrogen from stimulating growth.  However if the estrogen positive cells lose their sensitivity and/or are estrogen negative, tamoxifen is not effective according to the report.  This is where the study on green tea and broccoli shows promise as it can help to restore estrogen receptors in estrogen negative cells.  In other words, these botanicals produced an epigenetic change.  Meaning turning a negative breast cancer tumor cell into an easier to treat positive estrogen breast cancer tumor cell.  

The results of the study in mice on estrogen negative breast cancer cells were as follows:

  • Control group treated with tamoxifen showed no response.  This was expected as estrogen negative cells cannot respond.  Tamoxifen only responds to estrogen positive cells.
  • Tumors treated with a combination of green tea and broccoli reduced tumor size and the tumors weighed about one third as much.
  • Tumors treated with tamoxifen along with the combination of green tea and broccoli showed the greatest improvement.  In this case the tumors were only about 14% the size of tumors of untreated mice and less than half that of tumors treated with only the two supplements.  

This is promising research to suggest botanicals could be an effective adjunct therapy in treatment resistant forms of breast cancer.  

Disclaimer:  The information provided here is not intended to be a replacement for seeking appropriate care and guidance from your healthcare provider.  Do not stop any treatment without first discussing with your healthcare provider.  The purpose of this blog is for education and information only and is not meant to treat or cure disease or to replace conventional medical approaches.

Resources:

Breast Cancer and Environment

Seiken, J.  Green Tea and Broccoli Reduce Breast Caner Risk.  Life Extension Foundation. 2018 Nov 57-60.  Also available at https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2018/11

 

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