Can You Reduce Your Risk Of Breast Cancer Related To Estrogen
The connection between estrogen and breast cancer is clear, so optimal levels are vital. I wish I could tell you exactly what to do to avoid a breast cancer diagnosis altogether, but of course, I cant because it’s an issue that’s too complex to offer that type of advice.
That said, there are things you can do to keep your estrogen in check:
Remember that estrogen helps us feel healthy and sexy. The key is maintaining balance with other hormones. Here are my top lifestyle habits that promote healthy estrogen metabolism.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Remember that your fat tissue can make estrogen by converting androgens into estrogens. This means that as body fat increases, so does the amount of estrogen produced and circulated throughout your tissues.
Scientists estimatee that your risk for developing breast cancer jumps by 30% after menopause if your BMI is above 30. And being overweight appears to be linked to ER+ breast cancers, likely related to the increased estrogen production. While its much easier said than done to maintain body weight, the number one tip I advise for healthy weight is a healthy fiber intake. Try swapping your mindset from how many calories did I eat today to how much fiber from real, whole vibrant foods did I enjoy today?
- Keep xenoestrogens out of your kitchen. Chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and BHT all mimic estrogen in the body. They sneak into our kitchen via canned goods, plastic containers, and other food storage items.
Body Mass Index/physical Activity
Trained staff measured weight and height using a standardized protocol at the clinic or home visit. Body Mass Index was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. A total of 141 participants were missing values for measured height for these women we used self-reported height to calculate BMI. We have previously compared results of BMI calculated from a subset of women who have both measured and self-reported height, and have found high concordance: only 3 of 569 women had a change in BMI classification from overweight to healthy weight when using self-reported height rather than measured height . We classified BMI according to the World Health Organization categories : healthy weight, overweight and obese .
We collected information on physical activity using a questionnaire administered in-person at the 24-month follow-up visit. The questionnaire was based on the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire developed by Kriska and colleagues . The type, duration, and frequency of activities performed in the past year were assessed and, for each activity, frequency was multiplied by duration in order to quantify activity level. For the present analysis, physical activity was defined as the number of metabolic equivalent hours per week in sports and recreational activities. A MET is defined as the ratio of the associated metabolic rate for a specific activity to the resting metabolic rate .
Can Diet Reduce Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Diet has quite an impact on the way the body works, including the development of cancers.
Theres still some controversy surrounding foods containing estrogen-like compounds, like soy, red meats and dairy, and whether they contribute to estrogen-positive breast cancer. These foods all have estrogen and estrogen-like chemicals in them, says Generose. However, research outcomes vary by type of food, how much of that food is eaten over time, the genetic makeup of the person and their diet overall.
Some foods have cancer-fighting properties while others have cancer-causing properties. If you focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods, it may help reduce your risk of developing estrogen-positive breast cancer.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Once you let your doctor know about all the medications you takeincluding over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and other supplementsyou may still have more questions, especially when it comes to your cancer treatment.
Below are some questions to consider asking:
- Can I take my other medications before and during chemotherapy?
- What are the potential side effects of this cancer treatment?
- What can I do besides take supplements to help manage treatment side effects?
- Are there any natural supplements that safely help relieve side effects from treatment?
- What are the side effects of any supplements that are safe to take?
- Are there any warning signs I should be aware of when taking supplements that are considered safe?
- When is it safe again to take the supplements I usually take?
Expert cancer care
Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese affects breast cancer risk differently before and after menopause.
- Before menopause, women who are overweight or obese have a modestly decreased risk of breast cancer .
- After menopause, women who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of breast cancer .
Although women who are overweight or obese may have a lower risk of breast cancer before menopause, weight gain should be avoided. Women who gain weight in adulthood have an increased risk of breast cancer before and after menopause .
Most breast cancers occur after menopause. Any weight you gain before menopause you may carry into your postmenopausal years, so its important to maintain a healthy weight throughout your life.
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More Information About Vitamins And Minerals
MedlinePlus in the USA has information about vitamins and minerals used as dietary supplements. They provide information about possible side effects and research about vitamins and cancer.
Cochrane Systematic Review, January 2018.
Vitamin D supplements and prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseaseJ.E.Manson and othersNew England Journal of Medicine, 2019. 380 33-34
The Vitamin epidemic: what is the evidence for harm or value?M. Kennedy
What This Means For You
If you are currently being treated for breast cancer or have completed treatment and are considering taking dietary supplements, its very important that you talk to your doctor and possibly a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology or an oncology pharmacist about what you would like to take and discuss all the risks and benefits, including any interactions that may occur with medicines you are taking.
Its important to know that just because something is naturally occurring doesnt mean its safe. Many people believe that any food or supplement in its naturally occurring, unprocessed state is better or safer than something that is refined or manufactured. This is not necessarily true. Some of the most toxic substances in the world occur naturally. For example, poisonous mushrooms and poison oak or ivy are extremely toxic to people but are completely natural.
Whether something is natural or synthetic isn’t the most important question to ask. The most important questions are:
Will it benefit my health?
Will it interact with any other medications or treatments I am receiving?
Does it have consistent and accurate doses?
Is it free of contaminants?
Its also important to know that most doctors and dietitians recommend getting the nutrients you need from food, not from supplements.
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What Are Vitamins Minerals And Other Nutrients
A balanced and varied diet is the best way to get a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals. Some examples of these various nutrients are:
- vitamins A, C, D and E
- minerals like zinc, calcium, selenium and magnesium
- essential amino acids like phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, and lyseine
- some plant compounds like carotenoids, flavonoids, and isoflavones
You might find that your cancer or your cancer treatment makes it difficult to eat or drink properly. Or your cancer might stop you absorbing some nutrients from your food or drink. So you might have low levels of particular nutrients. This can make you feel unwell.
Breast Cancer Patients Advised Not To Use Supplements During Treatment
- Researchers say vitamins and other supplements taken during breast cancer treatment can cause a higher risk of recurrence.
- Experts note that chemotherapy and radiation are designed to cause damage to cancer cells, while supplements main job is to repair cell damage.
- They recommend that people undergoing breast cancer treatment get their nutrients through a healthy, well-balanced diet.
When youre in treatment for breast cancer, nutrition can be a challenge.
In an effort to get essential nutrients, you may think its a good time to add dietary supplements to your regimen.
But some supplements, particularly antioxidants, may interfere with cancer treatment.
A recent study suggests that people with breast cancer taking certain supplements before and during chemotherapy may be at increased risk for recurrence of the disease and earlier death.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The American Institute for Cancer Research is advising people with cancer to use caution with dietary supplements.
We do not recommend supplements for cancer prevention or in the treatment setting, so this study supports that approach, Nigel Brockton, PhD, the AICR vice president of research, said in a column on the organizations website.
Not only is there no benefit, but they may be harmful. Our best recommendations remain to obtain nutritional requirements from a plant-based, whole foods diet, he added.
The researchers said they found:
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Are There Any Vitamins Or Supplements That You Would Strongly Suggest A Person With Breast Cancer Doesnt Take
I advise against taking dietary supplements that may have strong effects on levels in the body. This includes DHEA, red clover and licorice. Any that is labeled to naturally support a womans hormones or as a natural option are also things that I advise against using for anyone with a history of breast cancer.
For women with breast cancer, whole soy foods are safe and healthy to include in the diet and several studies suggest women with breast cancer who eat soy foods have a lower risk of breast cancer compared with women who do not eat these foods. But concentrated soy supplements are not well studied, so I advise women to stick with foods tempeh, miso, tofu, edamame, soy milk and to avoid soy-based dietary supplements.
Also consider what types of cancer treatments you are receiving. Some dietary supplements may be fine for some patients, but may need to be avoided during treatment for other patients. For example, there is some evidence that the dietary supplements berberine and quercetin may interact with . For someone on taxane medications, these would need to be avoided. For a woman who is not taking these drugs, these supplements may be perfectly safe.
The most important thing is to discuss your use of dietary supplements with your doctor or . These people will know your full medical history and your planned course of treatment. They will be able to advise you best on which dietary supplements may or may not be safe for you to use.
Signs Of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen can be metabolized in your body in different ways. Some pathways lead to estrogen metabolites that can compromise your health. This can be a particular problem if your liver is not functioning well. Then your liver doesnt process estrogen metabolites and help remove them from your body, and you end up with more estrogen circulating, causing havoc and estrogen excess.
ED can mean one of two things: you either have too much estradiol in relation to progesterone, or an imbalance in your estrogen metabolites .
This can lead to the following symptoms:
- Lumpy, painful or swollen breasts
- Weight gain, particularly around the hips
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After Treatment Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obese women have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women who are in their ideal body weight range.
Many studies including a study conducted by researchers from the Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research in Tehran, Iran, have demonstrated an association between body mass size and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
If youre overweight, Taylor recommends losing weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise once youve finished treatment. Weight loss during treatment isnt typically encouraged, as this is often associated with undesired muscle loss, leading to fatigue, a suppressed immune system and a slower healing process.
Allow your body the nutrients it needs to fight cancer, she says. Once your treatment is done, consider meeting with a dietitian for individualized recommendations to decrease recurrence risk and support a healthy weight.
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What Does Estrogen Do For Your Health
Before diving into its role in breast cancer, lets begin by looking at all the beautiful things estrogen does for us. Aside from all the ways it impacts reproductive health, from your monthly cycle to pregnancy, estrogen plays a positive role in functions like:
- Libido, fertility, and sexual health
- Healthy stress response
- Cognitive function
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Minimize Exposure To Heavy Metals
Heavy metals including copper, cobalt, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead have been found to stimulate estrogen receptors. Sources of arsenic include some brands of rice, seafood, well water cadmium is high in cigarettes and can be found in some soils mercury is mainly prevalent in larger fish and old dental amalgams and lead contamination is a component of air pollution, paint and dyes, and ceramic glazes among other sources.
Essentially, heavy metal and toxin exposure is hard to completely avoid in our world, even with careful choices. Because of this, I advise my patients to use compounds that provide safe, gentle detoxification of heavy metals and other contaminants, on a daily or periodic basis.
Modified citrus pectin, is derived from the pith of citrus fruit and has been shown in human studies to remove harmful heavy metals and reduce toxic body burden over time. MCP is able to cross the intestinal barrier and circulate in the bloodstream, where it binds to toxins and heavy metals and helps safely excrete them, without removing essential minerals. I also recommend ingredients such alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, garlic, cilantro and other herbs and nutrients that provide support for our bodys complex detoxification systems.
Why People With Cancer Use Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements are also called nutritional supplements.
You might need to have dietary supplements if you have low levels of certain nutrients. Some hormone treatments for breast and prostate cancer can weaken your bones. So your doctor might prescribe calcium and Vitamin D to protect your bones.
Or, your cancer might stop you from easily absorbing nutrients from your food. So your doctor might prescribe a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.
Most people use supplements alongside their cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy. But others choose to use them instead of conventional treatments.
Taking dietary supplements instead of conventional cancer treatment could harm your health. It might reduce the chance of curing or controlling your cancer.
It is important to talk to a health professional if you’re thinking of taking nutritional supplements. They can refer you to a dietitian. They can given advice on diet and supplements.
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Alcohol And Breast Cancer Recurrence
Studies have shown drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting breast cancer. Its less clear if drinking alcohol affects the prognosis of breast cancer.
NICE recommends people whove had breast cancer limit their alcohol intake to below 5 units a week.
You can find out how many units are in your drinks by using an online unit calculator. As a general guide:
- Half a pint of average-strength beer = 1 unit
- A 175ml glass of wine = 2 units
- A single 25ml measure of spirits = 1 unit
Its worth bearing in mind that alcohol is also high in calories.
Can Eating Soy Increase Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Some types of cancer, such as hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, use human estrogen to grow and spread. Because of this, some people may worry that eating the phytoestrogens found in soy could increase estrogen in their bodies and encourage breast cancer growth.
However, no studies in people have shown a link between eating soy and having breast cancer. Studies done in the laboratory have shown that isoflavone enhanced the growth of breast cancer cells and promoted breast cancer tumors in rats. However, these studies were not done in people, and laboratory studies are not used to make dietary recommendations for people. Researchers have also discovered that rats metabolize soy differently than humans do.
Scientific data suggests that consuming soy foods as part of a diet with lots of other plants is a great way for breast cancer survivors to care for their bodies. However, if you’re not comfortable including soy foods, survivors can have a perfectly healthy diet that does not include soy foods. Julie LG Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, registered dietitian and nutritionist with 15 years of experience working in oncology nutrition
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Question: Can I Take Biotin While On Tamoxifen
There are no reported interactions between biotin and . It is likely safe for you to use biotin while you are taking tamoxifen. However, to be on the safe side, take these items at separate times of the day, or at least an hour or two apart from one another. Some things may not cause interactions in the body in terms of or how a medication is metabolized. But it may interact when in direct contact in the gastrointestinal tract. To avoid any potential interactions as they pass through your GI tract, simply take them separately.
Can Diet And Lifestyle Reduce The Risk Of Recurrence
You may have heard that diet and lifestyle can affect the risk of breast cancer coming back, also known as recurrence.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that women who have had breast cancer follow advice to reduce their risk of cancer coming back. This includes eating a healthy diet that is high in fibre and low in saturated fats, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol .
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