Sep 11, 2013 – As we edge closer towards Breast Cancer Awareness month, one cause that most likely won’t be marketed to us is that of women taking back control of their health by consuming more cancer-fighting foods.
In years past, Smith & Wesson’s pink hand gun and KFC’s “buckets for the cure,”have made the list of approved ‘pink’ products, but nowhere does one find fund-raisers and races for better access to and consumption of the extensive list of foods that increasingly science has vetted as actually preventing and/or killing breast cancer.
All the more reason why a new meta-analysis on flaxseed and breast cancer published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapy this month is so timely.
The review was no small undertaking, as it obtained its findings by sorting through 1,892 records from a variety of biomedical databases, including MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and AMED from inception to January 2013, concerning any available human interventional or observational data pertaining to flax and breast cancer.
They discovered the following benefits of flaxseed among newly diagnosed breast cancer patients:
Additional findings among uncontrolled and biomarker studies included:
Finally, observational data suggested the consumption of flaxseed:
The study authors concluded:
“Current evidence suggests that flax may be associated with decreased risk of breast cancer. Flax demonstrates antiproliferative effects in breast tissue of women at risk of breast cancer and may protect against primary breast cancer. Mortality risk may also be reduced among those living with breast cancer.”
Feb 28, 2016 – Phytoestrogens such as flax seed are cancer-preventive, not causative. Regular consumption of flax seed prevents breast cancer, reduces tumor growth, inhibits the progression of the disease, and dramatically increases survival time.
Your Doctor is Wrong
Many doctors tell their patients to avoid flaxseed as they believe that phytoestrogens are bad for women with breast cancer. The ‘logic’ behind the notion that flax is a weak estrogen and therefore could potentially stimulate hormone dependent cancers is simply, well, not logical. On the contrary, studies have found that the more flaxseed a woman eats, the less likely she will get breast cancer. If she has already been diagnosed, flaxseed has the potential to reduce the growth and invasiveness of her cancer.
While it is true that a high concentration of plasma estrogen is associated with breast cancer, the lignans in flaxseed actually help reduce estrogen’s effects. Phytoestrogens compete with natural estrogen for binding to the receptors on breast cells, yet they exert much milder action than the body’s own estrogen. While the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen also blocks estrogen receptors, it comes with a host of dangerous side effects.
One of the other ways the tamoxifen works is by starving the tumor of its blood supply. However, once again, researchers have found that flaxseed provides the same response.
A landmark study led by lignin expert Dr Lilian Thompson, a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, showed that just two tablespoons (25 grams) of flaxseed daily can significantly reduce tumor growth. The researchers further concluded that the effect of flaxseed on cancerous cells was comparable to that of tamoxifen, sans the side effects.
In this infamous study, women with newly diagnosed breast cancer were given either a muffin laden with 25 grams of flaxseed or a placebo muffin that did not contain flax. The researchers found that in those participants who had eaten the flax muffin there was a 34% reduction of the Ki-67 index expression (a cellular marker for proliferation) a 71% decrease in Her2/Neu expression (Her2/neu is a genetic marker that predicts the aggressiveness of the cancer) and a 30.7% increase in apoptosis (cell death). Mighty impressive results.
When the tumors were removed, the researchers found that the women who had eaten the flax seed muffins had slower-growing tumors than the others. And what is really cool is that the researchers found that the effect of flax on the cancerous cells was comparable with that seen using chemotherapy (tamoxifen).