Quick Survey: Early Breast Cancer, Soy Foods and Tamoxifen
Why Take Supplements? Audio Scroll Length - 03:38 Doctor DeMarco Recommended Products Breast Cancer and Natural Alternatives
Early Breast Cancer, Soy Foods and Tamoxifen

I am 37 years old and was recently diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. I had a partial mastectomy and 12 nodes removed with clean margins and no node involvement. I will undergo radiation soon. My tumour is both progesterone and estrogen positive. I would like to know which estrogen rich foods to avoid. Tamoxifen may be recommended but I worry it will increase my chances of uterine cancer?

I am not sure what a partial mastectomy means, but readers should know that lumpectomy, (removing only the lump), plus radiation yields the same survival rates as mastectomy (removing the whole breast). What readers may not know is that lymph nodes are removed for diagnosis primarily, and not for treatment. If the breast tumour is small, as yours was, and there are no hard lumps in the armpit, some women choose not to have any lymph nodes removed. Radiation does not prolong your life, but does decrease the chance of local reoccurrences.

In a new book on how to prevent breast cancer, Fit for Life III (Prentice Hall, 1998) Harvey Diamond emphasizes the critical role of the lymph glands, to trap and destroy cancer cells and limit further spread. Diamond also outlines how women can keep the lymph drainage system in top shape through reducing its load of toxins by proper diet, cleansing, and exercise, including jumping on the mini-trampoline for at least five or six minutes a day.

Pesticides contain chemicals which mimic the action of estrogen in the body. These pesticides tend to be concentrated in the fat of meat and dairy. Several studies have found a higher level of pesticides in the fatty tissues of women with breast cancer. Avoidance of animal fat, especially that of beef and dairy is important. All food should be organic when possible.

Vegetables and fruits are protective for breast cancer. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-E, vitamin-C, betacarotene, and selenium have a proven anti-cancer effect.

Soy beans contain genestein, a plant estrogen that interferes with the formation of new blood vessels that supply the cancer, and thus has an anti-cancer effect. As far as we know, soy products are safe and beneficial for breast cancer patients to take. Flaxseeds have the same positive effect. Some scientists believe that genestein and other plant estrogens act like tamoxifen, but without the side effects. Certain types of iodine also act like tamoxifen and can be taken for breast cancer prevention.

Tamoxifen has both anti-estrogenic effects and pro-estrogenic effects. Side effects include menopausal symptoms, menstrual irregularity, blood clotting disorders, eye problems, twice the risk of uterine cancer, depression and a possible small risk of liver cancer. For premenopausal woman with estrogen positive nodes, potential benefits from taking tamoxifen are small.

Much of the information for this answer comes Breast Cancer, What You Should Know About Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment (Prima, 1994) written by a naturopathic physician, Dr. Steve Austin and his wife, Cathy Hitchcock, who had breast cancer. Two other general books on cancer that I highly recommend are God I Thought You Died, (McClelland and Stewart, 1986) by Claude Dosdall and Cancer As A Turning Point , (Dutton, 1989) by Lawrence LeShan . I also suggest you see a naturopathic physician to supervise a natural prevention programme. Dealing with breast cancer is emotionally demanding, and a good support network is important.

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