EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION Breast Practices • Food is Medicine – Hippocrates ~400 B.C. • Food choices can help lower your risk for developing cancer. • Food choices made during and after treatment can support your recovery. Breast Practices • There are all different kinds of treatment for cancer patients.. – Surgery – Radiation Therapy – Chemotherapy – Hormone Therapy Breast Practices • But for today, we’re going to focus on “Diet Therapy!!” • Let’s look at the foods available to us that naturally help fight cancer. Breast Practices • The food groups that support you the most for both prevention and protection are… (drum roll) – PLANT FOODS!! Breast Practices • Plant foods provide protection two ways. – 1st Way– Phyto-chemicals • “Phyto” is Greek for plant • Plant chemicals protect you from free radical cell damage Breast Practices • Free radical damage to DNA is thought to be one of the mechanisms by which cancer develops. • Your body’s primary cancer fighter, natural killer cells, are boosted in number and aggressiveness when you eat plant foods. Breast Practices • Antioxidants – “anti oxidation” – They are the antidote to oxidation – Plant foods are the main source of antioxidants Breast Practices • The second benefit of plant foods is the “f” word (no, not THAT word)! • FIBER!! – Acts like a sponge to clean out your colon – Speeds up transit time, thus keeping blood and lymph cleaner Breast Practices • Fiber also soaks up extra estrogen and eliminates it along with fecal matter. • Women who eat a lot of plant foods eliminate 2-3 times more estrogen than women who don’t (New England Journal of Medicine) Breast Practices • Does eating soy help breast cancer? – It looks like the “age” of regular consumption plays a role in its effectiveness – The younger you are when you start eating soy, the more protective it is Breast Practices • Not so much for adults. • This explains why Asian women are protected but American women are not • Genistein, one of soy’s phytoestrogens, may interfere with tamoxifen Breast Practices • Phyto-estrogens are substances in plants that imitate female estrogen • But… plants cannot make human estrogen • However, they can influence hormonal metabolism Breast Practices • Other dietary recommendations: – Eat Less Fat • Foods that are high in fat, and this includes dairy products, are associated with shorter survival rates in women with breast cancer • Fats are twice the calories of carbs and protein • Even 1000 extra calories per day can raise your risk for recurrence Breast Practices • Follow MyPyramid for guidance on numbers of servings and serving sizes • Frequent, small feedings may help you eat adequate calories Breast Practices • Making good food choices can help you: – Prevent or reverse deficiencies – Preserve lean body mass – Help you tolerate treatments – Minimize nutrition side-effects – Maintain strength and energy – Protect immune system – Aid in recovery and healing Breast Practices • See handout provided with recommendations for managing side effects from cancer treatments. Breast Practices • What about physical activity?? – 45 minutes per day, at least five days a week, reduces the risk for developing breast cancer – Exercise controls weight. The lower your weight, the lower the risk. Breast Practices • Physical activity is also important after a diagnosis of cancer. It helps patients overcome the fatigue associated with chemotherapy. It can also help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Breast Practices • Exercise improves strength and endurance for patients receiving radiation or chemotherapy Breast Practices • Maintaining physical activity during and after treatment results in an improved attitude and outlook • Physical activity makes the immune system stronger and helps change hormone levels Breast Practices • Even more than nutrition, exercise has the capacity to protect and enhance your immune system. • You don’t have to work as hard (as say cardiovascular protection) to get the benefits; 20-30 minute walks will do the job. Breast Practices Last but not least: “I have one word for you… Plastics!” The Graduate -- 1967 Breast Practices • Let’s segue from food to food containers. • Plastic food containers usually have triangles stamped on the bottom with a number inside. • The number indicates the type of plastic used. Breast Practices • #7 in the triangle refers to “other” plastics, including polycarbonate products • Polycarbonate is made from BPA (bisphenol A) • It is in the epoxy resins that line the inside of food and beverage cans Breast Practices • It is also in hard reusable water bottles (specifically nalgene), sippy cups, food storage containers, and baby bottles. • BPA is in the bloodstream of nearly every person in the U.S. Breast Practices • This is a problem because BPA is an estrogen “mimic”. • It activates the same receptors in the body as estrogen. • BPA is considered an endocrine disruptor. Breast Practices • Steps to protect yourself: – Avoid plastic containers with a “7” unless you are sure it is not polycarbonate – Prepare and store foods in glass, porcelain, or stainless steel – Don’t microwave in polycarbonate containers. – Don’t wash them in the dishwasher. Breast Practices What questions do you have??