Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer occurring among women in the United States. The incidence of breast cancer increases with age, rising sharply after age 40. Nearly 80% of invasive breast cancers in the United States occur among women 50 years of age and older.

Men can develop breast cancer, although the incidence is very low (less than 1%). While the incidence of breast cancer has been increasing, breast cancer mortality has slowly declined. Breast cancer mortality should be kept in perspective with two other leading causes of death among women. Since 1987 lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer in causing deaths, attributed to the increase in smoking among women. Heart disease is still the greatest threat to older women and causes four times the number of deaths as breast cancer in women over the age of 55.

Generally, the stage at which breast cancer is diagnosed is critical because survival rates increase dramatically with earlier detection. The five year U.S. national survival rate is 97% when breast cancer is diagnosed at a local stage (confined to the breast), 76% when diagnosed at a regional stage (spread to surrounding tissue), and only 21% when diagnosed at a distant stage (the cancer has metastasized).

Although the causes of breast cancer have not been fully exposed, it has become clear that hormonal manipulation may have a therapeutic impact on the course of the disease. This is why the tumors, when removed during surgery, are studied to find whether or not they are estrogen-receptor positive or negative. If the cancer is estrogen-receptor positive, theoretically there should be a response to manipulation of estrogen.

There are many alternative books available for preventing and dealing with breast cancer. Getting as much accurate information as possible is critical in giving you the edge you need to overcome this condition.

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer : How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life by John R. Lee M.D. is one example among many. As new books are coming out, check on the Internet for book reviews and popularity and take a trip to the bookstore to see what the latest offerings are. What happens is really up to you.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, which are thought to increase the risk of developing the disease, have similar survival and death rates as women not carrying the mutations, according to a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine (July 12, 2007), the Wall Street Journal reports.

For the study, Gad Rennert, chair of the medical faculty at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and colleagues examined the 10-year survival rate of 1,545 women diagnosed with breast cancer (Pereira, Wall Street Journal, 7/12). The participants were treated at 22 hospitals in Israel, Reuters reports. The study found that the 10-year survival rate was 67% for women carrying a BRCA1 mutation, 56% for those carrying a BRCA2 mutation and 67% for the participants who did not carry the gene mutations. According to researchers, the difference in survival rates was not statistically significant.


Risk factors for Breast Cancer


Low Progesterone or Estrogen Dominance

See the link between Progesterone Low and Increased Risk of Breast Cancer.


Dysbiosis, Bacterial

Epidemiologic and experimental data implicate putrefactive dysbiosis in the development of colon cancer and breast cancer. A putrefaction dysbiosis is accompanied by an increase in fecal concentrations of various bacterial enzymes which metabolize bile acids to tumor promoters and deconjugate excreted estrogens, raising the plasma estrogen level.


Breast Cancer suggests the following may be present


Low Progesterone or Estrogen Dominance

See the link between Progesterone Low and Increased Risk of Breast Cancer.


Dysbiosis, Bacterial

Epidemiologic and experimental data implicate putrefactive dysbiosis in the development of colon cancer and breast cancer. A putrefaction dysbiosis is accompanied by an increase in fecal concentrations of various bacterial enzymes which metabolize bile acids to tumor promoters and deconjugate excreted estrogens, raising the plasma estrogen level.

Recommendations for Breast Cancer


CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)

For breast cancer prevention and treatment, it is suggested that 6 to 10 750mg capsules of CLA be taken daily. When taking CLA, the breast cancer patient also must take soy.



Please see the link between Cancer – General Measures and Marijuana.



The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology research team presented two studies at an international conference in June, 2001 indicating that pomegranate seed oil triggers apoptosis – a self-destruct mechanism in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, pomegranate juice can be toxic to most estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells, while leaving normal breast cells largely unaffected. Estrogen is a hormone often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis.

In the first study, laboratory-grown breast cancer cells were treated for three days with pomegranate seed oil. The researchers observed apoptosis in 37% to 56% of the cancer cells, depending upon the dose of oil applied.

In the second study, both normal and cancerous breast cells were exposed to fermented pomegranate juice (pomegranate wine) and pomegranate peel extracts, which contain polyphenols (powerful antioxidants). The vast majority of the normal cells remained unaffected by the two pomegranate derivatives. But more than 75% of the estrogen-dependent cancer cells, and approximately half of the non-estrogen dependent cancer cells were destroyed by exposure to these same pomegranate products.

“Pomegranates are unique in that the hormonal combinations inherent in the fruit seem to be helpful both for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer,” explains Dr. Ephraim Lansky, who headed the studies. “Pomegranates seem to replace needed estrogen often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis, while selectively destroying estrogen-dependent cancer cells.”

Dr. Martin Goldman, a New York-based board certified internist and life medicine specialist, notes, “This is apparently a safe substance that could be helpful to many people, especially women at high-risk for developing breast cancer.”

Dr. Lajos Pusztai, an assistant professor who studies breast cancer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, says Dr. Lansky’s study “provides a potential new avenue to develop anti-cancer drugs from a natural compound.”



Experiments into why artemisinin works as an anti-malaria agent led to its tests as an anti-cancer drug. The key turned out to be a shared characteristic of the malaria parasite and dividing cancer cells: high iron concentrations.

When artemisinin, or any of its derivatives, comes into contact with iron, a chemical reaction ensues, spawning charged atoms called free radicals. In malaria, the free radicals attack and bind with cell membranes, breaking them apart and killing the single-cell parasite.

Cells, too, need iron to replicate DNA when they divide. And since cancer is characterized by out-of-control cell division, cancer cells have much higher iron concentrations than do normal cells.

On their surfaces, cancer cells also have more so-called transferrin receptors, cellular pathways that allow iron to enter, than healthy cells. In the case of breast cancer, the cells have 5-15 times more transferrin receptors on their surface than normal breast cells.

Henry Lai, a bioengineering researcher at the University of Washington, reasoned why not target cancer cells with the anti-malaria treatment? The thrust of the strategy, according to Lai, is to pump up cancer cells with even more iron and then introduce artemisinin to selectively kill them.

In the experiments, Lai subjected sets of both breast cancer cells and normal breast cells to either:

1. A compound known as holotransferrin, which binds with transferrin receptors to transport iron into cells and thus further increases the cells’ iron concentrations.

2. A water-soluble form of artemisinin; or

3. A combination of both compounds.

Cells exposed to just one of the compounds showed no appreciable effect, Lai reports. But the response by cancer cells when hit with first holotransferrin, then artemisinin, was dramatic, he says.

The success is particularly noteworthy in that breast cancer cells that were resistant to radiation were utilized in the experiment. Further research will be necessary to detail and confirm the use of wormwood for breast cancer patients.


Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthrococcus senticosus)

Women with inoperable breast cancer given Siberian ginseng were reported to tolerate more chemotherapy. [Medexport, 1984]


Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racimosa)

Researchers analyzed an extensively studied mouse breast cancer cell line to learn if commercially available extracts of black cohosh altered the response of cancer cells to radiation and four drugs commonly used in cancer therapy. The results showed that black cohosh:

Increased cell killing by two of the drugs[ (Adriamycin and Taxotere)

Decreased the effectiveness of one drug (Platinol)

Did not alter the effects of radiation or a fourth drug (4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide, or 4-HC, an analog of Cytoxan, which is active in cell culture)

Therefore, in light of these findings, researchers advise patients being treated for breast cancer to consult with their physician before using black cohosh. [Breast Cancer Research and Treatment April 2005;90(3): pp.233-239]


Maca (Lepidium meyenii)

Women with breast cancer should avoid this herb because of possible negative hormonal influences.


Sugars Avoidance / Reduction

512 women, averaging 50 years of age, without diabetes, but with early-stage breast cancer were studied. Higher fasting insulin levels identified those women with poorer outcomes, with regard to time of recurrence and death [ J Clin Oncol January 1, 2002;20(1): pp.42-51]. So if you are dealing with breast cancer, do what you can to keep your insulin levels down.


Increased Fruit/Vegetable Consumption

A meta-analysis of 12 separate studies comparing breast cancer risk to diet found that high consumption of fruit was associated with a 6% reduction of breast cancer compared to low consumption.


Olive Oil

(2008) Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain have discovered two chemicals found in extra-virgin olive oil-lignans and secoiridoids-block the HER2 protein that causes breast cancer tumors to grow more rapidly than other forms of the disease.

“Our findings reveal for the first time that all the major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil drastically suppress over-expression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells,” wrote study authors Javier Menéndez from the Catalan Institute of Oncology and Antonio Segura-Carretero from the University of Granada.

According to a report in Newsmax, the researchers believe their study may lead to the development of drugs based on the cancer-fighting chemicals.

“These findings, together with the fact that humans have safely been ingesting significant amounts of lignans and secoiridoids as long as they have been consuming olives and extra-virgin oil, strongly suggest that these polyphenols might provide an excellent and safe platform for the design of new anti breast-cancer drugs,” wrote Menéndez and Segura-Carretero.


Conventional Drugs / Information

Chemotherapy given to women with early-stage breast cancer causes their bone density to decline at a faster rate than previously known, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Scientists at Ohio State University said they were surprised to find that 35 pre-menopausal women treated with chemotherapy experienced up to an 8 percent loss in bone density after 12 months of treatment. The usual loss after menopause is 1 to 2 percent per year. The median age of the women was 42. [Journal of Clinical Oncology, July 2001]

However, a drug that targets only diseased cells has proved effective against an aggressive form of early breast cancer.

Herceptin, made by Genentech Inc., is already used for advanced cancer. But in three studies involving thousands of women with early-stage disease, it cut the risk of a relapse in half.

Herceptin, known generically as trastuzumab, does not help everyone. For one thing, it is only for the estimated 20% of breast cancer cases in which tumors churn out too much of a protein known as HER2. In the recent studies, the drug was used along with standard treatments, including surgery and chemotherapy.

In the first study, 220 women taking standard therapy for a year either developed breast cancer again, showed other kinds of tumors, or died. Only 127 did when Herceptin was added. The two other studies, partly funded by Genentech, reached similar findings in their combined results. At three years, patients on Herceptin showed a disease-free survival rate that was 12 percentage points higher than without it.

The government approved the drug in 1998 for advanced breast cancer that has already spread within the body. But early-stage cases are much more common.

Many doctors are already embracing the drug for such women, cancer experts say, because details of the three studies were first publicized last spring at a medical conference.

For those women with estrogen positive (ER+) tumor cells, anastrozole (Arimidex) may be advised. Anastrozole is a third-generation non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. It inhibits the final step in biosynthesis of estrogen in the peripheral tissues, which is the primary source of estrogen in postmenopausal women.

Time – April 20, 2008

(Houston, Texas) Lead researcher Dr. Angel Rodriguez, from the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, released the results of a study on a new breast cancer drug named Lapatinib which has shown remarkable results. According to a Daily Mail report, Lapatinib – licensed in the U.S. – successfully and often dramatically shrank tumors in as little as six weeks’ time.

The report noted that “using Lapatinib led to an average cut of 60% in the size of the tumor and a fall in the number of stem cells that may help the cancer to spread.”

Said reporter Jenny Hope: “After six weeks of treatment, the tumors had gone into complete or near remission in two-thirds of women evaluated, compared with one-quarter of women on standard chemotherapy. But unlike standard treatment, Lapatinib destroyed more stem cells with the capacity to self-renew which might protect women from the cancer coming back.”

“We were excited to see that the results with Lapatinib were different,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “Rather than the broad brush approach, in which cells are killed indiscriminately, targeting the stem cells may be more effective and also prevent some of the unpleasant side effects associated with conventional chemotherapy treatment. International studies are currently underway looking at the effect of Lapatinib in lung, colon, head and neck, gastric, esophageal, and bladder cancer and lymphoma, among others.”


LDN - Low Dose Naltrexone

A few women with breast cancer have responded favorably to LDN alone. LDN needs to be studied further, but until that time, it appears to be safe, inexpensive, and possibly very helpful.


Hydrazine Sulfate

See the link between Cancer (General) and Hydrazine Sulfate.


Change In Clothing Habits

Highly regarded studies, including one at Harvard, have shown that women who wear bras for extended periods are at much higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not. There is strong evidence that this is as a result of impaired lymphatic flow. Wearing a bra, especially a constricting one with underwires and/or tight straps, and especially to bed, prevents normal lymphatic flow and would likely lead to anoxia (lower than normal oxygen content), which has been related to fibrosis, which has been linked to increased cancer risk.

The logical conclusion is that bras should be used as little as possible, if at all. Breast movement should not be restricted. Scientific literature about lymphatic flow indicates that this may be as important as the constriction factor. Every subtle bounce of the breast while moving, walking, running, etc. gently massages the breast and increases lymphatic flow and thus cleans the breast of toxins and wastes that arise from cellular metabolism.

Of course, there may be other mechanisms for the damage that bras apparently cause. One such mechanism could be temperature. Breasts are external organs and have a naturally lower temperature, but this rises when a bra is worn. Cancers can be temperature-dependent; breast cancer is hormone-dependent; temperature can alter hormone function.

All these facts are well-established in medical literature. By whatever mechanism, someone will eventually explain why Singer and Grismaijer found a 125-fold difference in cancer rates between bra-free breasts and those constricted by 24-hour-per-day bra-wearing. They have written a book that is well worth reading, Dressed to Kill, Avery Press, 1995.

Singer and Grismajer suggest that you simply stop wearing one for two weeks and see how you feel. “Don’t sleep in your bra!“, pleads Singer. “Women who want to avoid breast cancer should wear a bra for the shortest period of time possible – certainly for less than 12 hours daily.

Push-up and sports bras are much worse than loose-fitting cotton bras. You should be able to slip two fingers under the shoulder-straps and side-panels. The higher the side-panels, the more severe the restriction of major lymph nodes. Take your bra off at home. Massage your breasts every time you remove your bra.

To view more detail, please go to the Breast Disease Time Line article.


Chemical Avoidance

Store food items in glass instead of plastic due to the bisphenol A (BPA) content. BPA exposure has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer.

Exposing estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells to extracts of channel catfish caught in areas with heavy sewer and industrial waste causes the cells to multiply, according to a University of Pittsburgh study presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. (2007) The abstract, number 159141, was presented at a special session on “Contaminants in Freshwater Fish: Toxicity, Sources and Risk Communication.”

The study, which tested extracts from channel catfish caught in the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers near Pittsburgh, suggests that the fish, caught in areas of dense sewer overflows, contain substances that mimic the actions of estrogen, the female hormone. Since fish are sentinels of water quality, as the canary in the coal mine is a sentinel of air pollution, and can concentrate fat soluble chemicals from their habitats within their bodies, these results suggest that pharmaceutical estrogens and xeno-estrogenic chemicals, those that mimic estrogens in the body, may be making their way into the region’s waterways.


Diindolylmethane DIM / Indole 3 Carbinol IC3

We all know that eating fruits, vegetables and soy products provides essential nutrition for a healthy lifestyle, while obesity leads to the opposite. Yet proving the effect of nutrition, or obesity, on cancer is an experimental challenge and a focus for scientists. According to emerging evidence being presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, eating well might still be one of the more pleasurable ways to prevent cancer and promote good health.

Eating such foods as broccoli and soy are believed to offer some protection against cancer, but how this occurs is not well-understood. Now, in laboratory experiments, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered a biological mechanism whereby two compounds in these foods might lower the invasive and metastatic potential of breast and ovarian cancer cells.

They found that diindolylmethane (DIM), a stable indole, which results from digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, a major isoflavone in soy, reduce production of two proteins whose chemotactic attraction to each other is necessary for the spread of breast and ovarian cancers.

When applying purified versions of DIM (diindolylmethane) and genistein to motile cancer cells, the researchers could literally watch these cells come to a near halt. When either compound was applied, migration and invasion were substantially reduced.

“We think these compounds might slow or prevent the metastasis of breast and ovarian cancer, which would greatly increase the effectiveness of current treatments,” said Erin Hsu, a graduate student in molecular toxicology. “But we need to test that notion in animals before we can be more definitive.”

Both DIM and genistein are already being developed for use as a preventive and a chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, although more extensive toxicological studies are necessary, the researchers say.



Estrogen Replacement

Great caution should be exercised in exposing women who have had breast cancer to supplemental estrogens.

However, estriol, one of the estrogens produced by the ovaries, is considered a safe estrogen in that it has been shown to inhibit breast cancer. Dr. Henry Lemon and his colleagues conducted a study in women who already had breast cancer that had spread to other areas of the body. One group was given Estriol and another not. At the end of the study, 37 per cent of those women who received estriol had either a remission or an arrest of their cancer. Might not estriol, a natural, safe hormone with almost no side-effects, be able to accomplish what tamoxifen does but without the toxic side-effects?



Melatonin has been shown to inhibit several types of cancers, especially hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer. This may be due to its ability to reduce the number of cellular estrogen receptors, which reduces the production of cell-multiplication factors. The immune-modulating properties of melatonin appear to convey additional anti-cancer properties. It has been shown to support the use of interleukin-2 in anti-cancer therapy, especially under conditions of controlled lighting. Many animal studies have demonstrated an increase in tumor growth rates in animals whose pineal glands have been removed.

Positive results have been shown with melatonin on its own and in combination with interferon, tumor necrosis factor, and tamoxifen. These preliminary results are quite encouraging as approximately 30% of the patients taking anywhere from 10-50mg daily (at 8pm) experienced improvements in survival time and quality-of-life assessments. [Brit J Cancer 7l(4): pp.854-56, 1995]

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs  

Test / Monitor Hormone levels

Estrogen is metabolized in two ways. Along one pathway, it is converted into a powerful metabolite, 16alpha hydroxyestrone (16alpha OHE1), that acts to stimulate target tissues. Levels of 16alpha OHE1 can rise in response to obesity, alcohol consumption, and toxic exposure. High levels of this potent metabolite are linked with increased risk and poorer prognosis in conditions associated with estrogen excess, including breast cancer and lupus.

Alternately, the body can break down estrogen into a much weaker metabolite, called 2 hydroxyestrone (2 OHE1). This metabolite binds weakly to cell receptors and may slow cell proliferation. However, excessive levels of 2 OHE1 may increase the risk of developing conditions associated with estrogen deficiency, such as heart disease, depression, and osteoporosis.

A proper balance between 2 OHE1 and 16alpha OHE1 is the key to optimal health. Measuring these primary estrogen metabolites allows practitioners to develop individualized therapy based on each woman’s unique health risks.


Tests, General Diagnostic

In the U.S., a novel technology soon may be available to detect the spread, or metastasis, of breast cancer earlier than now possible, according to research presented at the first international meeting on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, organized by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Since secondary tumors, ignited by spreading malignant cells, and not the primary breast cancer tumor, are the primary cause of cancer death, early detection of metastatic spread is crucial to a woman’s prognosis.

Albert said that the company’s diagnostic tool, which is being evaluated in clinical studies at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, can spot one malignant cell in a typical blood sample. A typical sample is 5 milliliters and contains over 2.5 x 1010 cells.

As a biomarker for breast cancer metastasis, cancer cells circulating in the blood system have not been easy to detect and analyze because they are a “needle in the haystack” among the millions of cells in the bloodstream.

However, Albert said that AdnaGen’s technology can detect the “needle” with a specificity of 97 percent (only three “false” positive results in tests of 100 seemingly healthy people).

“Metastasis usually is detected by costly, cumbersome physical methods like computer tomography (CT),” added Albert. “We have seen cases, where our test was positive, when there was still no clinical evidence. But at a careful second look through a CT scan, small metastatic lesions have been detected.”

To produce its diagnostic tool, AdnaGen links an antibody-mix to magnetic beads. This antibody-mix is tailored to home in on specific molecular features, or antigens, of the respective cancer cells.

When exposed to a blood sample, the magnetic antibody-beads capture tumor cells possessing the specified antigens. A magnetic particle concentrator then removes the tumor cells labeled with the magnetic beads, and the cells are then analyzed to identify several gene products, including potential molecular targets for a specific drug.

Using this technology, AdnaGen discovered that the genetic signatures of the breast cancer and its metastases may differ, with the circulating tumor cells reflecting the gene expression profile of the metastases.

When a metastases has been diagnosed, treatments “usually has been chosen according to the features of the primary tumor, neglecting the fact that metastases can differ considerably from them,” Albert noted.

AdnaGen, which is marketing its breast cancer assay (as well as assays for colon and prostate cancer) in Europe, is awaiting the results of a clinical trial before applying for FDA approval to make the test available in the U.S. [Medical News Today 15 Sep 2006]



Treatment for breast cancer usually begins a few weeks after diagnosis. In these weeks, you should meet with a surgeon, learn about your surgery choices, and think about what is important to you. Then choose which kind of surgery to have.

Most women who have DCIS or Stage I, IIA, IIB, or IIIA breast cancer have three basic surgery choices. They are:

Breast-sparing surgery followed by radiation therapy.


Mastectomy with breast reconstruction surgery.

Breast-Sparing Surgery

Breast-sparing surgery means that the surgeon removes only your cancer and some normal tissue around it. This kind of surgery keeps your breast intact—looking a lot like it did before surgery. Other words for breast-sparing surgery include “lumpectomy,” “partial mastectomy,” “breast-conserving surgery,” or “segmental mastectomy.”

After breast-sparing surgery, most women also get radiation therapy. This type of treatment is very important because it could keep cancer from coming back in the same breast. Some women also need chemotherapy and hormone therapy.


In a mastectomy, the surgeon removes all of your breast and nipple. Sometimes, you will also need to have radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or all three types of therapy. Here are some types of mastectomy:

Total (simple) mastectomy.

The surgeon removes all of your breast. Sometimes, the surgeon also takes out some of the lymph nodes under your arm.

Modified radical mastectomy.

The surgeon removes all of your breast, many of the lymph nodes under your arm, the lining over your chest muscles, and maybe a small chest muscle.

Double Mastectomy.

The surgeon removes both your breasts at the same time, even if your cancer is in only one breast. This surgery is rare and mostly used when the surgeon feels you have a high risk for getting cancer in the breast that does not have cancer.

Breast Reconstruction Surgery

If you have a mastectomy, you can also choose to have breast reconstruction surgery. This surgery is done by a reconstructive plastic surgeon and gives you a new breast-like shape and nipple. Your surgeon can also add a tattoo that looks like the areola (the dark area around your nipple). Or you may not want any more surgery and prefer to wear a prosthesis (breast-like form) in your bra. There are two types of breast reconstruction surgery:

Breast implants.

In this kind of surgery, a reconstructive plastic surgeon puts an implant (filled with salt water or silicone gel) under your skin or chest muscle to build a new breast-like shape. While this shape looks like a breast, you will have little feeling in it because the nerves have been cut.

Breast implants do not last a lifetime. If you choose to have an implant, chances are you will need more surgery later on to remove or replace it. Implants can cause problems such as breast hardness, breast pain, and infection. The implant may also break, move, or shift. These problems can happen soon after surgery or years later.

Tissue flaps.

In tissue flap surgery, a surgeon builds a new breast-like shape from muscle, fat, and skin taken from other parts of your body. This new breast-like shape should last the rest of your life.Women who are very thin or obese, smoke, or have other serious health problems often cannot have tissue flap surgery.

Tissue flap is major surgery. Healing often takes longer after this surgery than if you have breast implants. You may have other problems, as well. For example, you might lose strength in the part of your body where muscle was taken to build a new breast. Or you may get an infection or have trouble healing. Tissue flap surgery is best done by a reconstructive plastic surgeon who has done it many times before. [NCI – Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality]


Vitamin D

See the link between Breast Cancer and Vitamin A. High levels of oral D3 are needed to achieve the serum levels recommended for those with active breast cancer. Blood testing for vitamin D should be done routinely in anyone with breast cancer or increased risk of breast cancer. When treating cancer or heart disease, many recommend that levels should be in the 70-100 ng/ml range.


Vitamin E

It appears that the most common form of vitamin E, alpha tocopherol, does not help prevent or treat breast cancer. It may also actually increase the dose of Tamoxifen required to inhibit growth of estrogen receptor negative cancer cell lines. Gamma tocopherol has demonstrated significant cancer prevention effects compared to alpha tocopherol.

Vitamin E succinate is a derivative of vitamin E and has been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth. In one study, vitamin E succinate inhibited growth and induced apoptic cell death in estrogen-receptor-negative human breast cancer cell lines. Vitamin E succinate may be of clinical use in the treatment of aggressive human breast cancers, particularly those that are resistant to anti-estrogen therapy. Those with estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancers should consider taking 1200 IU of vitamin E succinate each day.

However, the best form to take for both prevention and treatment is known as the tocotrienols. Tocotrienols induce breast cancer cell death (apoptosis). Although apoptosis could be achieved, the dose of tocotrienol needed to induce 50% apoptosis was up to 4 times higher than the dose of tocotrienol required to induce 50% growth inhibition.

Tocotrienols inhibit human breast cancer cells irrespective of estrogen receptor status. Although delta tocotrienol was found to be the most effective tocotrienol in inducing apoptosis (cell death) in estrogen-responsive and estrogen-nonresponsive human breast cancer cells, alpha and gamma-tocotrienol have shown anticancer effects also. Gamma-tocotrienol may be more potent in inhibiting growth of human breast cancer cultured cells than Tamoxifen.

A daily dose of 30-50mg mixed tocotrienols may be adequate for reducing breast cancer risk, if elevated, and higher doses should be considered as part of a treatment plan for breast cancer. It is especially important to take the tocotrienols with some form of oil or fat-containing food. One study showed that when tocotrienols are taken on an empty stomach, absorption was reduced by an average of 64%.


Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems



Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.


One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.


Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.


The part of the large intestine that extends to the rectum. The colon takes the contents of the small intestine, moving them to the rectum by contracting.


Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.


The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.


A bitter, yellow-green secretion of the liver. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and is released when fat enters the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) in order to aid digestion.

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