Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breast cancer, estrogen and your diet - part one

I am entering that stage of my treatment where I am starting to look more and more at preventing a recurrence. I do not want to go through this again, and I'm pretty sure everyone around me feels the same way.

So what do I do? First off, I know I need to get more exercise and eat less calories so that I will begin to lose weight.  I also need to adjust my diet to improve my overall health and, hopefully, lower my risk of growing another tumour. With that in mind, I am trolling the Internet, looking for everything I can find to help me make these changes safely. The key is finding information with good scholarly research behind it.

Please talk to your doctor before following the advice of anyone on the Internet. Treat my recommendations as jumping off points for your own research or conversation starters for you next visit with a health care provider. And, as with anything you are learning about online, consider the sources. I'll do my best to sort the sensible from the kooky, the solid from the flimsy.

Here's what I have found, so far:
  1. Why higher blood levels of estrogen are a problem and what you can do to counteract them.
  2. What food and drink choices can be made to lower estrogen levels?
  3. Diet advice from Sheryl Crow's doctor, a specialist in minimally-invasive breast cancer diagnostic and treatment methods.
  4. Foods that reduce estrogen dominance. From Livestrong. They recommend consuming flax seed. However, there are conflicting views on the use of flax while on Tamoxifen. Some studies show the lignans it contains may inhibit the growth of tumours and improve the effectiveness of Tamoxifen. Some patients say consuming ground flax seed helps them deal with Tamoxifen's side effects (cutting down on hot flashes!). However, lignans are also a weak form of estrogen, and studies are being conducted to determine if they impede the action of the Tamoxifen by blocking receptor sites on cancer cells. The advice I received from my clinical team nutritionist - one to two tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day is probably fine, but I should avoid higher dosages.


    1. Do doctors routinely test for estrogen levels. Is it something to ask for during a physical?

    2. No idea. But if your sister has had breast cancer, you should ask your doctor if it can be tested for.

    3. hey cynthia, just found your blog. now i am all up to date! also checked out these sites. i am getting some vitamin d and some broccoli stat!

    4. Excellent work, Sasha! Don't forget the green tea! I'm fairly sure you don't have to worry about the fitness side of this. :-)