Monday, 24 October 2016

Breast Cancer Prevention Awareness

If you're on the hunt for a useful Pink October, mainstream media is not exactly helpful. We are told that early detection is the best protection, but there are actually many natural ways to really reduce your risk of breast cancer. Some say a third, while others say half, and others still say even a greater proportion, of breast cancer cases are preventable, with the general consensus seeming to point to increasingly larger proportions of preventable cases as knowledge and experience grows. One example of new knowledge is the science of epigenetics, as it has been discovered that dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors can control gene expression.

Red grapes contain resveratrol.
So what are some of the things we can use to prevent breast cancer? One of them may be omega-3 fatty acids. To test this link, 103 women with breast cancer and 309 women without the disease, matched by age and season, had their blood levels of omega-3 and saturated fats measured. Compared with the lowest tertile, women in the highest tertile of omega-3 fatty acid consumption had almost half the risk of breast cancer. There was no link between meat and saturated fat consumption and breast cancer. A higher level of EPA was linked to a 73% reduced risk and a higher level of DHA was linked to a 94% reduced risk. Besides reducing inflammation, epigenetics appear to be one way that omega-3 fatty acids could prevent breast cancer. A gene known as EZH2 is over-expressed in several cancers, such as breast cancer, and may contribute to metastasis (spreading) and poor prognosis. Fortunately, cells treated with omega-3 fatty acids have shown reduced expression of EZH2.

It may seem over-done, but resveratrol could be another way to reduce breast cancer risk. In a Swiss study of 369 cases and 602 controls, women in the highest tertile for resveratrol intake had their breast cancer risk cut by 61%! The middle tertile had their risk halved compared to the lowest. There was a significantly lowered risk for resveratrol from grapes - cut by 36-45% - but not for red wine. Alcohol and the general benefits of eating fruit did not influence the results. Resveratrol could also work by changing the expression of genes related to cancer. In women with a high risk of breast cancer, resveratrol increased the expression of a tumour suppressor gene that may be protective.

Carotenoids, found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, mangoes and carrots, may also protect against breast cancer. In a study of over 600 women with breast cancer and over 600 without it, higher blood levels of carotenoids were linked with a halved risk of the disease in women with high mammographic density. A high density indicates more connective and epithelial tissue in the breast, and so a much higher risk of cancer. The carotenoid lycopene, found in tomatoes, has been found to increase the expression of tumour suppressing genes, at levels seen as relevant to dietary intake.

Overall, there are many ways that we can reduce our risk of diseases such as breast cancer. Other foods and nutrients that may be protective are coffee, green tea, fermented soy and vitamin D, as detailed on Life Extension.

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