Fiber vs. Breast Cancer

Fiber Rich Diet To Prevent Breast CancerBy Michael Greger, M.D., NutritionalFacts.Org.

A recent editorial in the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research starts out “There are far too many breast cancer survivors,” by which she means it’s great that women with breast cancer are living longer, but lamenting the fact that the number of women getting breast cancer in the first place isn’t going down. ‘A million women every year. As with any other epidemic, identification and aggressive reduction of any reversible risk factors must become an immediate priority.

One such risk factor appears to be inadequate fiber consumption. For example, this new study out of Yale. Among pre-menopausal women, higher intake of soluble fiber (highest versus lowest quartile of intake) was associated with a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer, 62% lower odds. And when they just looked at younger women with the hardest to treat tumors, the estrogen receptor negative tumors, then those eating the most fiber appeared to have 85% lower odds of breast cancer. This is what’s called case-control study, where you compare women who already have disease to those that don’t and you ask both to tell you what they used to eat. And so how they get these statistics is that the breast cancer patients were significantly less likely to report eating lots of plant foods, the only natural place fiber is found. The reason it’s important to understand how they arrived at their conclusion is that maybe it’s not the fiber at all that’s what’s so protective. The reduced risk of breast cancer associated with dietary fiber intake observed in this study may in fact indirectly reflect the effects from other dietary nutrients, and thus dietary fiber here may simply act as a marker for other exposures which have been linked to a reduced risk of human cancer as well, such as folate, phytochemicals, carotenoids, vitamin C and E which are also like dietary fiber found in plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and pulses (legumes, beans peas lentils soy), as well as in grains. And look, if you’re eating more plants, you may be eating fewer animals. An increased consumption of fiber from foods of plant origin (such as vegetables, fruits, and grains) may reflect a reduced consumption of foods of animal origin.

A combined analysis of a dozen such studies published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute show they all found pretty much the same thing, a consistent, statistically significant, association between breast cancer risk and saturated fat intake, which is mostly from cheese and chicken, and consistent protective effect for a number of markers of fruit and vegetable intake was demonstrated; such as, which like fiber, is basically only found in plant founds.  Every 20 grams of fiber a day was associated with a 15% drop in breast cancer risk.

Case control studies are susceptible to something called recall bias, though, since they rely on people’s memory. If people with cancer are more likely to selectively remember all the bad things they ate, since they may be feeling responsible for their condition, it could artificially inflate the correlation; so prospective cohort studies may provide stronger evidence.That’s where you take a bunch of healthy women and follow them and their diets over time to see who gets cancer and who doesn’t. By 2011, 10 such studies had been done, and the same thing was found. Every 10-g/d increment in dietary fiber intake was associated with a significant 7% reduction in breast cancer risk. Pretty much the same the other studies found, remember, 15% for every 20 grams? This has important public health implications. That was 2011. By 2012 we were up to 16 prospective, or forward-looking studies on dietary fiber and breast cancer, and they found the same thing.  But for the first time it showed a nonlinear response.

The more fiber you eat the more benefit you appear to get. American women eat a little under 15 grams of fiber a day, less than half the minimum daily recommendation. Maybe that’s why vegetarian women may have lower breast cancer rates, more plant foods equals more fiber. But vegetarians only seem to be averaging about 20 grams a day. So one might really have to venture out into vegan territory, off the chart at 47 grams a day, or a really healthy vegan diet (59), or eat lots of vegan thai food averaging 68.7.

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.
Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

Cancer-Proofing Your Body

Cancer Proofing Your Body Against Breast Cancer
By:

Lifestyle medicine pioneer Nathan Pritikin was an unlikely candidate to spark a nutrition revolution. He wasn’t a doctor or dietician but an engineer. As featured in my 2-min. NutritionFacts.org video Engineering a Cure, he reversed his own heart disease with a plant-based diet and went on to help millions of others. He even saved the life of my own grandmother, which is what inspired me to go into medicine.

Pritikin’s work has continued though his research foundation. Once Dean Ornish proved that Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped, the focus shifted from heart disease to cancer. In my 3-min. video Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay, I describe an elegant series of experiments in which people were placed on different diets and their blood was then dripped on cancer cells in a petri dish to see which diet was more effective at suppressing cancer growth.

As you can see in the video, even the blood of those on a standard American diet (S.A.D.) fights cancer, but the blood of those on vegan diets fights about 8 times better. The blood circulating within the bodies of vegans appears to have nearly 8 times the stopping power when it comes to cancer cell growth. That was after maintaining a plant-based diet for a year though.Subsequent studies against breast cancer showed the power of eating plants for just two weeks.

Watch The Answer to the Pritikin Puzzle to see the remarkable results.

This dramatic strengthening of cancer defenses was after 14 days of a plant-based diet and exercise—they were out walking 30 to 60 minutes a day. Although Pritikin started out reversing chronic disease through diet alone, later—to his credit—he added an exercise component as well. That’s great for the patients, but scientifically it makes it hard to tease out which intervention is doing what. Maybe the only reason their blood started becoming so effective at suppressing cancer growth was because of the exercise—maybe the diet component had nothing to do with it. This had to be put to the test.

In my 4-min. video Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both? I describe the experiment. Three groups were compared: a plant-based diet and exercise group, an exercise only group, and a control group that did neither. The diet and exercise group had been on a plant-based diet for 14 years along with moderate exercise as simple as walking every day. The second group was exercise and hardcore exercise at that: 14 years of daily, strenuous, hour-long exercise like calisthenics, but they ate the standard American diet. Which group was better at fighting cancer?

The researchers took petri dishes brimming full of human prostate cancer cells and dripped blood from each of the three groups on different dishes to see whose blood killed off more cancer. Watch the diet vs. exercise video to see actual photomicrographs of the effects on cancer cells. Basically they found that strenuous exercise helped, but nothing appeared to kick more cancer butt than a healthy diet.

Even though diet appears more powerful than exercise in terms of rallying one’s cancer defenses it doesn’t mean we can’t do both. In fact eating certain plants may even improve athletic performance—check out my video series that starts with Doping With Beet Juice and ends with So Should We Drink Beet Juice Or Not?.

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2014 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, and From Table to Able.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

Cancer Prevention and Treatment May Be the Same Thing

Michael Gregor, M.D. on Breast Cancer Authority BlogBy Michael Gregor, M.D., a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker.

The breast cancer you may feel one day as a lump in the shower may have started 20 years before. We now suspect that all the epithelial cancers — breast, colon, lung, pancreas, prostate, ovarian, the ones that cause the vast majority of cancer deaths — may have been growing for up to 20 years or more. By the time it’s picked up, it may have already been growing, maturing, scheming for years, acquiring hundreds of new survival-of-the-fittest mutations to grow even quicker, better undermine our immune system.

So called early detection, like mammogram, is really, really late detection. People are considered “healthy” until they show symptoms but if we’ve been harboring a malignancy for 20 years we may feel all right, but we haven’t been.

So many people who do the right thing and improve their diet in hopes of preventing cancer may very well at that very moment be treating it, as well.

Cancer prevention and treatment may sometimes be the same thing.

Breast cancer can take decades to develop, so early detection via mammogram may be too late. Have a question about this video? Leave it in the comment section at http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/canc… and I’ll try to answer it! Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out the other videos on cancer and diet (http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cancer/). Also, there are 1,449 subjects (http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/) covered in my other videos–please feel free to explore them!

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

Quadrupling Breast Cancer Survival

broccoli for breast cancer survivalBy: Michael Greger M.D., a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker.

Half a million Americans are expected to die this year from cancer, equal to five jumbo jets crashing every day. The number of Americans who die from cancer each year is more than all those who have died in all U.S. wars combined. And this happens every single year.

After a cancer diagnosis people tend to clean up their diets. About a third to a half of breast cancer patients, for example, make healthy dietary changes following diagnosis, such as increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and decreasing meat, fat, and sugar intakes. Does it actually help that late in the game? Well, the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study was undertaken in a few thousand breast cancer survivors to determine if a plant-based, low-fat, high-fiber diet could influence breast cancer recurrence rates and survival.

Previously they famously reported that simple changes — five or more servings of fruits and veggies a day and just walking 30 minutes a day six days a week — were associated with a significant survival advantage, cutting the risk of death nearly in half. Note: it was fruits and veggies and exercise. In the video, Breast Cancer Survival Vegetable, you can see the proportion of women with breast cancer surviving nine years in the study if they had low fruit and vegetable consumption and low physical activity, compared to those high in one and low in the other, compared to the survival curve of those high in both. And it worked just as well in women with estrogen receptor negative tumors, which normally have twice the mortality — unless women eat those few fruits and veggies and take a few strolls.

Imagine, for a second, you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Imagine sitting in that chair, in the doctor’s office, as your doctor gives you the news. But, she says, there’s a new experimental treatment that can cut your chances of dying in the next few years from 16 percent down to just 4 percent. To quadruple their survival rate, many women would re-mortgage their homes to fly to some quack clinic in Mexico and would lose all their hair to chemo, but most, apparently, couldn’t stand the thought of eating broccoli.

The Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study found that while fruits and vegetables in general may be good, cruciferous vegetables may be better. For women on tamoxifen, for example, women who consumed one of their five daily servings of fruits and veggies as broccoli, cauliflower, collards, cabbage, or kale had their risk of cancer recurrence cut in half.

I recommend that all women with breast cancer eat broccoli sprouts. See my 8-part video series:

1. DNA Protection from Broccoli
2. Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast
3. Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells
4. Liver Toxicity Due to Broccoli Juice?
5. How Much Broccoli Is Too Much?
6. The Best Detox
7. Sometimes the Enzyme Myth Is True
8. Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck

They may also help out with other cancers (Lung Cancer Metastases and Broccoli and Raw Broccoli and Bladder Cancer Survival).

Republished in whole with the prior written consent of Dr. Michael Greger.

Michael Greger M.D.About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

How Do Plant- Based Diets Fight Cancer?

By Michael Greger M.D.

Plant-Based Diets Fight Cancer

Why do centenarians—those who live to be over a hundred years old—escape cancer? As you can see in my 3-min. video IGF-1 as One-Stop Cancer Shop, as we get older our risk of getting and dying from cancer grows year by year until we hit about 85 or 90, and then cancer risk starts to drop. It seems that centenarians are endowed with a particular resistance to cancer. So what’s their secret?

Every day, 50 billion of our cells die, and every day, 50 billion new ones are born. There’s a balance. Otherwise your body would shrink or get too crowded. Sometimes we need grow, like when we’re a baby or for that growth spurt around puberty. Our cells don’t get larger when we grow up; they increase in number. A child’s hand may only be made up of about 50 billion cells and may have to add half trillion or so while growing up.

Once we’re all grown up, though, we don’t want a lot of extra cells hanging around. We still need our cells to grow and divide, but out with the old and in with the new. We don’t want to be making more cells than we’re putting out to pasture. When you’re a kid, extra growth can be good; when you’re an adult, extra growth can mean a tumor.

How do our cells know when to tip the scale in favor of more dividing with less dying and when to come back into balance? A key signal is IGF-1, a growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor number one. IGF-1 levels go up when you’re a kid so you grow and then come back down when you’re done growing. Should your levels stay a bit too high as an adult, though, there’s a constant message sent to your cells to grow, grow, grow, divide, don’t die, keep going, keep growing. Not surprisingly, the more IGF-1 we have in our bloodstream, the higher our risk for many types of cancer.

When you’re a kid, growth is good, but too much growth when we’re all grown up can mean cancer. In my 90-second video, Cancer-Proofing Mutation, I describe Laron Syndrome, a type of dwarfism caused by congenital IGF-1 deficiency. Those affected don’t have that IGF-1 spurt in childhood so they grow up short-statured, but not having an excess of IGF-1 in their systems as an adult makes them nearly cancer-proof. This raises the question of whether one can achieve the best of both worlds by ensuring adequate IGF-1 levels during childhood and then suppressing excess growth promotion in adulthood. This can be done with a plant-based diet as I described in my last blog posts Cancer-Proofing Your Body and Treating an Enlarged Prostate With Diet, as well as in my 4-min. video The Answer to the Pritikin Puzzle.

Who is Pritikin? See Engineering a Cure. What’s the puzzle? See Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay. The binding protein findings I describe in the video may explain the findings in Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both?

For more on IGF-1, I’ve touched on it before in Dairy Hormonal Interference and Meat Hormones & Female Infertility.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my 2012 year-in-review presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: The Birkes / Flickr

Tagged cancer, centenarians, dwarfism, IGF-1, insulin, Nathan Pritikin, tumor

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