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Does chemotherapy increase cholesterol and could that cholesterol influence creation of breast cancers?

Does chemotherapy increase cholesterol and could that cholesterol influence creation of breast cancers?

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Yes, some types of chemotherapy can increase cholesterol levels.  Some research has suggested that elevated cholesterol levels, typical of those in a Western-style diet, may accelerate the development of breast tumors and exacerbate their aggressiveness. Here is a link to a good article that discusses the types of chemo that impact cholesterol levels and ways to improve management of high cholesterol: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/side_effects/inc_cholesterol.jsp   Chemotherapy image courtesy of BreastCancer.org Lisa Fielding For the past 25 years, Lisa has enjoyed various roles within the marketing and advertising industry, including at femMED. A busy mom with 2 young children, 2 dogs and a cat named George, Lisa, like all working moms, strives to find the right balance between all things work and play. A firm believer in taking charge of your own destiny, Lisa is passionate about women’s health and encourages women to become their own health...

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Can green tea or soy reduce risk of breast cancer?

Can green tea or soy reduce risk of  breast cancer?

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What about the estrogen in green tea and soy for increasing breast lumps?  My GP has told me not to drink green tea. Green tea does not contain any estrogen. In fact, some research has suggested that it may actually help in estrogen metabolism and reduce reduce risk of  breast cancer. Soy contains isoflavones which are known as phytoestrogens because they can bind to estrogen receptors and exert weak estrogenic effects. Soy foods have been shown in studies to offer many health benefits including providing protection against osteoporosis (increasing bone density), reducing risk of heart disease with beneficial effects on cholesterol, platelets and blood vessels, and relieving menopause symptoms. According to most human research, eating whole soy foods does not increase risk of breast or endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women, and may even be protective.  There is also some evidence that soy may be beneficial for cyclic breast pain and improve fibrocystic breast conditions. However, consuming purified soy products and supplements is a different matter. A study published in Carcinogenesis suggests that not only is the cancer-preventive ability of soy foods markedly reduced in highly purified soy products and supplements, but that such processed foods can stimulate the growth of pre-existing estrogen-dependent breast tumors.   Image courtesy: By 375antoine (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons Sherry Torkos Sherry Torkos is a pharmacist, author, certified fitness instructor, and health enthusiast who enjoys sharing her passion with others. Sherry graduated with honors from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1992. Since that time she has been practicing holistic pharmacy in the Niagara area. Her philosophy of practice is to integrate conventional and complementary therapies to optimize health and prevent disease. Sherry has won several national pharmacy awards for providing excellence in patient care. As a leading health expert, Sherry has delivered hundreds of lectures to medical professionals and the public. She is frequently interviewed on radio and TV talk shows throughout North America and abroad. Sherry has authored fourteen books & booklets, including The Glycemic Index Made Simple and Breaking the Age Barrier. Her most recent book, The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine has become a national best-seller. For more information, visit:...

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Steps To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Steps To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

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In the back of every woman’s mind is the fear of getting breast cancer. This disease will affect 1 in 8 women in their lifetime. The biggest risk factor apart from being a woman is advancing age. Only 5-10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. Whatever a woman can do to reduce breast cancer risk is vitally important. There is no guarantee a woman can keep herself breast cancer free but research suggests that with lifestyle changes, up to 50% of cancers can be prevented. To reduce breast cancer risk women can adopt a number of lifestyle changes. Breast cancer awareness and prevention need to become an everyday part of life. Exercise is good way to reduce breast cancer risk because may reduce certain hormonal levels, estrogen in particular. Physical activity also improves the immune system, allowing the bodies to more effectively fight off any invasion of cancer cells. Since being overweight is a risk factor for breast cancer, exercise also can help with weight loss. This is especially true if you are overweight after menopause since fat cells store estrogen. Regular moderate exercise like a brisk walk 20-30 minutes per day can help to minimize breast cancer risk. Adopting a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables doesn’t offer direct protection against breast cancer, but it can go a long way to maintaining a healthy weight, a key factor in breast cancer defense. Certain vitamins have been studied to determine their relationship to breast cancer. Vitamin D has been studied since emerging research suggests an association between a higher risk of breast cancer and low levels of vitamin D. In order to determine your levels of vitamin D you should request a simple blood test from your doctor which will show your vitamin D serum levels. It is recommended that your serum level be between 40-60 ng/ml (nanograms/milliliter). If you are vitamin D deficient, the best source for increasing your levels is daily exposure to sunlight. Sunlight triggers the inactive form of vitamin D found in our bodies. If however you wear sunscreen, cover up, are dark skinned or live north of the equator, getting adequate sunshine may be a challenge. In these cases daily supplementation with vitamin D3 is the next best thing. Current guidelines for the appropriate amount of vitamin D are thought to be too low, so check with your doctor first. Also if you are going to take a vitamin D supplement, experts agree that D3 is the best form, not D2 If at all possible, combine daily sun exposure and exercise with a brisk walk outdoors and you could be decreasing your risk for breast cancer in 30 minutes/day. Mammograms are still being recommended for women as an important tool is early diagnosis, but there is a lot of debate around when to begin mammograms, how often women should have one....

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The Role of Supplements for Breast Health

The Role of Supplements for Breast Health

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Breast Health Supplements At the turn of the century, 1 in 90 women had breast cancer.   Today it’s 1 in 8.   Despite advances in research and treatment, breast cancer continues to take a significant toll on women in our country.   Many risk factors for breast cancer can’t be changed: family history, the age at which you get your first period, and the age at which you go through menopause. However, risk can be increased or decreased based on the lifestyle choices you make.  Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk that are entirely in your control. Consider Breast Health Supplements femMED Breast Health is a clinically proven, specially formulated solution with seven proven ingredients which regulate hormones, inhibit abnormal cell growth and support detoxification. They work together to protect breast tissue, promote a healthy estrogen balance and even reduce menstrual cycle breast pain and tenderness. Included in the ingredients is Indole-3-carbinol, a nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli. It aids in the detoxification of estrogen, has anti-cancer properties and fights free radical damage. Milk thistle supports liver function and aids in detoxification. Calcium-D-glucarate helps the liver detoxify and eliminate estrogen. Studies have shown that Vitamin D3 may help reduce breast cancer development and growth. Other Ways that May Prevent Breast Cancer Maintain a Healthy Weight The amount of weight a woman gains after age 18 is a strong indicator of breast cancer risk, especially after menopause. Older women who gained 20-30 pounds after high school had 40% increased risk compared to those women who kept their weight down. Another report stated that the risk doubled if a woman gained over 70 pounds. This is in part due to the fact that many breast tumors thrive on estrogen and body fat stores estrogen. Don’t give cancer a good place to hide. Foods that Fight Breast Cancer Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) is a naturally occurring phyto-nutrient (plant based) found in vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower. I3C helps protect breast tissue by stimulating your body’s natural detoxifying enzymes. This aids the body in releasing excess estrogen safely. Rethink Hormone Replacement Therapy Current and long-term users of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. HRT was found to raise the number of breast cancers that are ductal and lobular. Stop Smoking Tobacco smoke carries carcinogens, which can accumulate in fluid around the breasts. Active smoking can significantly increase your risk of breast and lung cancers, and passive smoking may also raise your risk. Get help to kick the habit and improve your long-term health. The evidence is piling up supporting  a link between smoking and breast cancer. It’s another good reason to stop smoking. Watch the Alcohol Regular and modest amounts of alcohol can raise your estrogen levels. Even one drink a day can expose breast tissue...

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Breast Cancer – What can be done to reduce your risk?

Breast Cancer – What can be done to reduce your risk?

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Breast cancer results from uncontrolled growth of breast cells. About 1 in 8 Canadian women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Only 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer and known gene mutations (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) account for only 5 to 10% of cases. This means that most breast cancer occurs in women without a family history. Women living in the US have a 10-fold greater risk of dying from breast cancer than do women living in Thailand. When women migrate from areas with a low incidence of breast cancer (i.e. Asia) to the US their, breast cancer risk increases. These facts suggest that environment, diet and lifestyle play an important role. Unlike gender and age, these modifiable risk factors can be controlled by; maintaining a healthy weight, diet, regular exercise, restoring hormone balance, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding environmental toxins that can serve as transforming agents for breast cancer (i.e. xenoestrogens and carcinogens). The following is a list of scientifically based interventions to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Restore Hormone Balance The phase prior to menopause (lasting 5 to 7 years) is marked by increasing levels of estrogen and falling progesterone as the ovarian follicles are no longer capable of producing efficient ovulation. As well, there is a significant shift in the balance of the three forms of estrogen as menopause approaches with falling levels of estriol (E3) and estradiol (E2) and increasing levels of estrone (E1). E1 continues to be made in postmenopausal women as it is converted in fat tissue and the adrenal glands. The surplus of E1 and low levels of protective progesterone are major contributors to the rise in breast cancer after menopause. Optimize Estrogen Metabolism Estrogens are broken down by the liver and tissue into three major metabolites -two of which have potent activity at the estrogen receptor and are both mutagenic and carcinogenic to the breast. A high “2/16 ratio” of favourable metabolites (2hydroxy-estrone) to toxic metabolites (16hydroxy- estrone) is considered protective and can be enhanced through nutritional factors that optimize the hydroxylation of estrogen. Factors that can increase the 2/16 ratio include: cruciferous vegetables indole 3-carbimole (400mg) di-iodomethionine (DIM) soy flax rosemary vitamin D3 The supplement from femMED, Breast health containing indole-3 carbinol, milk thistle extract, calcium-D- glucarate, Schizandra chinensis fruit extract, stinging nettle, lignans and vitamin D recently underwent a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Researchers were pleasantly surprised to discover consumption of the femMED supplement significantly increased the mean urinary concentration of 2- OHE in pre- and post-menopausal women (by 110% and 88%, respectively), suggesting a risk- reducing effect. The Breast Health supplement was well-tolerated, and displayed no adverse side effects. The study was published in Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research. Enhance Elimination of Toxic Estrogen Metabolites Phase 2 detoxification involves methylation and glucuronidation to enhance elimination and inactivate toxic estrogen metabolites. Phase 2 detoxification requires many important enzymatic pathways (sometimes affected by gene mutations) and nutrients such as vitamin B6,...

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Do You Have Estrogen Excess?

Do You Have Estrogen Excess?

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Do you have estrogen excess? If you answered “yes” you’re not alone.  Over 50% of women 35 years and older have some level of hormonal imbalance often caused by excess estrogen.  Estrogen overload is behind many common health conditions that women experience. Unfortunately, many women often end up treating the symptoms without addressing the root cause.  I spoke at length about this very topic with Sherry Torkos, pharmacist and author of The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, who offered some valuable insights on role of hormones and in particular, estrogen. Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body’s endocrine system. They work together in harmony to regulate many body processes, from body temperature and blood pressure to governing sexual desire and fertility. For women, one of the key hormones to our physical and emotional well being is estrogen. Estrogen is not a single hormone but a group of hormones that are naturally produced primarily by the ovaries and to a lesser extent by the adrenal glands and in the fat cells. Even if you don’t take oral contraceptives or HRT (key contributors to estrogen overload) you are likely exposed to hormones in the form of xenoestrogens, which are estrogen-like compounds that are present in pesticides (which are sprayed onto fruits and vegetables), plastics, and many household cleaning products, and beauty products. These chemicals are structurally similar to estrogen, so they can bind to estrogen receptors in our body and mimic, block or interfere with our hormones leading to both physical and emotional symptoms, such asheavy periods, fibroids, ovarian cysts, infertility, insomnia, irritability, fatigue and other problems. Following are some lifestyle modifications that can help reduce your estrogen load. Eat organically produced food, as much as possible. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower) contain compounds that aid in the removal of harmful estrogens. Choose hormone-free meat and wild fish (not farmed). Wash fresh produce under running water and wipe dry to help remove any surface pesticide residues. Never burn wood that has been treated or painted, since burning materials that contain PCBs can create dioxins and furans. Minimize your use of plastics and never microwave or put hot liquids in plastic products. Boost your intake of fibre which aids in the removal of toxins. Drink lots of purified water. Reduce your stress. Chronic stress can lead to adrenal exhaustion, which can impact hormonal balance. Regular exercise promotes good hormone balance. For birth control, use the rhythm method and/or condoms, which also protect against STDs. Birth Control Pills provide about four times higher estrogen levels than would naturally be produced by a woman’s body. Take care of your liver—it is your key detoxifying organ and is also responsible for producing cholesterol, which is the starting material for all sex hormones. Minimize alcohol use and taking drugs such as acetaminophen that is hard on the liver. Consider supplements that aid detoxification...

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