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Revealed: What you need to know about reducing your breast cancer risk

by , 20 June 2013

It's no wonder that breast cancer is the biggest fear for so many women. All you hear about these days are the dismal odds. Currently, statistics show one in every 11 women between 20 and 59 years will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. And the treatment options are nothing short of barbaric. Surgery that leaves you disfigured, radiation that leaves you swollen and tender and chemotherapy that leaves you weak, bald and nauseous. So why not focus on preventing breast cancer before it ever happens? Here's what you need to know to reduce your cancer risk - starting today!

According to Dr Jonathan Wright of Nutrition & Healing, it’s disappointing how most breast cancer interventions are focused on waiting until a woman actually has the disease and dealing with it then.“Unfortunately, this has been the standard practice for years,” says Dr Wright.

You probably would rather not become a part of that ‘standard’.

So why not focus on preventing breast cancer before it ever happens?

Is there such a thing as breast cancer prevention?

According to Dr Wright, most mainstream doctors would probably say that “we just don’t know enough about the causes of breast cancer to focus on prevention”.

And that’s “partially true because not all of the causes of the disease have been identified, so you can’t completely eliminate the risk,” continues Dr Wright.

But, although this is the case, we do know about enough causes and risk factors to make it possible for you to cut your risk way back.

The first step, is to determine just how much at risk you are.

Measuring your levels of various oestrogens is a simple technique to help predict if you’re at higher risk for certain types of cancer (especially breast and uterine).

Once you have that information, supplementing with the right kind of oestrogen(along with other supplements and a diet rich in certain foods) can reduce your risk of ever getting those cancers or possibly even help treat existing cases.

But since not all oestrogen is created equal, here’s what you should know first about reducing your risk.

The link between oestrogen metabolites and breast cancer prevention

The term oestrogen doesn’t actually describe a single molecule, instead, it’s a ‘group word’ covering two dozen or more molecules all built on a common framework. And since these molecules are transformed (metabolised) one into another they’re also all called oestrogen metabolites.

According to Dr Wright, the ‘early days’ of oestrogen research focused mostly on three oestrogen metabolites called oestrone, oestradiol and oestriol.

“Over the last three decades, with improved analytical techniques and evolving research interest, attention has turned to some of the other oestrogen metabolites, including ‘good’ and ‘bad’ oestrogens,” explains Dr Wright.

The technical terms for these are 2-hydroxyoestrogen (good) and 16a-hydroxyoestrogen (bad) and together they make up what’s known as the 2/16 ratio.

High 2/16 ratios generally mean a lower risk of oestrogen-related cancers (like breast, uterine and ovarian). On the other hand, low 2/16 ratios mean higher risk of these same cancers.

According to Dr Wright, you definitely want more ‘good’ (2) oestrogen than ‘bad’ (16) oestrogen, substantially more if possible.

So when your doctor gets your results, check the proportion of these two substances: “Any ratio below 1.0 is unfavourable. Although there’s no consensus on an ideal ratio number, I recommend 2.0 or greater if possible,” says Dr Wright.

If your 2/16 ratio is less than 1.0, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to boost it just by eating a few specific foods.

Eat your way to a breast cancer-free future

Start with brassica (or mustard family) vegetables. These include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bokchoy, brussels sprouts and many others. You can also eat freshly ground flaxseed, 1 tablespoonful daily.

Just keep in mind that, you don’t need to go overboard with brassica vegetables. After all, it’s possible for brassicas to cause suppressed thyroid function and even goiter if you eat a lot of them on a daily basis. So three to four servings a week is a good general range.

“In a lot of cases, just eating these foods can bring a low 2/16 ratio to 1.0 or above in just four to six weeks without any other specific supplementation,” says Dr Wright.

If you find you’re still not getting sufficient improvement, you can also take di-indolylmethane (DIM) supplements to boost it even further.

DIM is actually a substance found in brassica vegetables, but it’s also available in your local health shop in supplement form. You can take 60mg three times daily and check your 2/16 ratio again in another four to six weeks to see the difference it makes.

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