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Breast Cancer and Nutrition

Posted By Andrea Purcell, ND, Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014

October is breast cancer awareness month. There are walks for breast cancer sponsored by various groups; many working to find a cure for cancer. A walk I recently attended was with Support Connection, a non-profit organization providing free support services for women with breast and ovarian cancer.

From a Naturopathic perspective, preventing cancer is the first step, curing and or surviving cancer is the second step. It seems as if many people miss the first step, and by the time they get to the second step there is a lot of fear involved.

There is some basic information that will keep you informed about how to prevent breast cancer and why conventional medicine often provides a false sense of security around this topic.

Point #1: Nutrition is important. Sadly, more often than not I come face to face with women with cancer and close family members who do not realize that nutrition has an impact on survival rate and overall health. Sugar feeds cancer cells and it lowers the immune system. Gluten and dairy products are inflammatory and will cause more inflammation slowing down the cellular repair processes. Certain vegetables such as dark green leafy greens, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and parsley have chemical compounds proven to prevent and fight cancer. Artificial colorings, flavorings, dyes, hormones, and preservatives in food are often suspect carcinogens.

Point #2: Most conventional doctors do not discuss nutrition with their clients. Nutritional biochemistry is not taught in conventional medical schools. The reason your doctor most likely did not discuss nutrition with you is because the importance of it is not stressed in medical schools.


Conventional doctors do two things very well:
Diagnose and treat disease with drugs and surgery. The key word is disease. If you have a disease they will either recommend drugs or surgery. If you are trying to prevent a condition that you don’t officially have yet, it means your conventional doctor can’t help you. Conventional doctors diagnose and treat diseases only. If you want to know how to help yourself with nutrition, or pursue natural therapies to help your body, do not expect to get all the information that you need from your conventional doctor.

Point #3: Mammograms do not prevent cancer, mammograms screen for cancer. A mammogram will not tell you if you will develop cancer next year or evaluate the current health of breast tissue. Therefore, mammograms have limitations. If you are relying on your annual mammogram to give you the green light, for another year of bad nutrition, and lack of exercise, think again. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to make some healthy lifestyle changes now? As Benjamin Franklin said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Mammograms are not recommended in younger women for two reasons:
Reason 1:Younger women can have denser breasts, which create less visibility and therefore less accuracy on a mammogram.
Reason 2: Mammograms are x-rays. Repeated radiation of breast tissue can accumulate in the body and cause cellular damage to breast cells. X-rays are known carcinogens. Receiving a note that your annual mammogram is negative provides a false sense of security to a woman who may have some pre-disease states manifesting that will ultimately impact the health of the breast tissue.

Note from Dr. P:
As usual, naturopathic medicine has the other side of the story.
Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition, I can’t stress this enough! How can you expect your body to perform optimally for 40+ years on Frappuccino’s, lunch at the local sandwich shop, and take out? It just won’t. Yet, I see some highly educated women out there who put everything before food, nutrition, and feeding themselves. This has got to stop! Food is our gasoline; it provides the fuel for every body system. Usually we can "cheat” up until age 40 but as usual, you can only make withdrawals from the body for so long before it becomes bankrupt. I call it nutritional bankruptcy. From this point, we go into accelerated aging, the development of chronic diseases, hormone imbalance, depletion, and we are left wide open for cancer and other undesirable conditions.

Whole food is food that grows. When you are reviewing ingredients and food choices, ask yourself, have I ever seen this growing on a farm or in the soil? Hint: Frappuccino’s don’t grow on any farm anywhere.


Mammograms are an important screening tool, yet they need to be properly understood in order to see the whole story. Breast health is an indication of whole body health; the breasts cannot be separated from the rest of the body. Naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer women with pre-existing hormonal imbalances, which will enhance the health of breast tissue over time, reduce fibrocystic densities, and prevent cancer.

- Be Healthy, Happy, and Holistic

Tags:  cancer  nutrition 

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