In addition to undergoing conventional therapies like surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and using herbs and supplements, people having breast cancer may do a few more things to facilitate their treatment as well as protecting their body from the side effects of some of the treatments.
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For instance, it is important for people with breast cancer to stay away from allowing any fat build up in their body and this can be done successfully by taking the appropriate dietary fats in the right proportions as well as by undertaking exercises on a regular basis. In other words, this denotes that people suffering from this health condition should avoid taking red meat, lard and butter, particularly if they are yet to get into their menopausal phase, because ingestion of the fats mentioned above has the potential to encourage development of cancer.
You may substitute these fats by eating foods containing omega-3 fatty acids - the type of fats that help to shield from cancer. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids and taking two or three servings of sardines, salmon, tuna or any other coldwater fish once every week, or having capsules containing fish oil may also provide you with the omega-s fatty acids you require. Olive oil and other comparable monosaturated fats are also considered to be healthy fats, as they help to protect against cancer.
Women taking vegan diets or diets that are totally without any animal products ought to ingest plant oils every day. Researches undertaken in the laboratories have hinted that beta-sitosterol, a constituent of nearly all the vegetable fats, helps to diminish the growth of breast cancers that are stimulated by estrogen.
At the same time, it is important to consume fresh vegetables and fruits that have high beta-carotene content. Typically, women having breast cancer have a propensity to have very poor beta-carotene levels in their bloodstream, while physicians are yet to ascertain whether this phenomenon is a reason for developing the disease or a consequence of having breast cancer.
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A limited study undertaken by scientists in Italy had discovered that when beta-carotene was given together with additional associated carotene compounds, it helped to extend the tumor-free phase in women who were already having breast cancer. Consumption of three or even more servings of dark-green, orange or yellow vegetables as well as fresh citrus fruits every day is believed to be the safest as well as the most effectual way to sustain healthy beta-carotene levels.
Broccoli is a very important food for those suffering from breast cancer and, hence, they ought to eat it on a regular basis. Among the entire vegetables belonging to the cruciferous (cabbage) family, broccoli seems to possess the maximum potency to combat cancer. This vegetable encloses a compound called sulphoraphane that assists the body to start getting rid of cancerous toxic substances within just 10 days of including broccoli in your daily diet. In addition, sulphoraphane is also effective in preventing estrogen from attaching to as well as promoting the development of breast cancer cells. It is important to note that this compound has the aptitude to endure micro waving as well as steaming.
In addition, it is important for women with breast cancer to stay away from charcoal-grilled foods as well as fried foods whenever possible. Findings of several studies have hinted that eating fried foods every day has the potential to augment the chances of developing breast cancer during the course of a woman's life from one woman in nine women to two women in nine women. Similarly, eating grilled meats every day has the potential to increase the rate of development of cancer to five women in nine women.
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Also keep away from indulging in starches and sweets. Consumption of plenty of starchy foods or sweets at the same time makes the body discharge large amounts of the hormone insulin that appears to hasten the development of the cells of breast cancer. In case you are having diabetes, you should try and manage your diet in such a way that you are able to sustain a healthy level of blood sugar and need the minimum amount of insulin to control your blood sugar.
If you are having breast cancer, it is essential for you to expose yourself to some sunlight every day. There is ample proof of the fact that vitamin D has the aptitude to facilitate in converting breast cancer cells into normal, healthy cells. You do not need to take vitamin D supplements; but just need to expose yourself to sunlight for about 20 minutes every day so that your body is able to manufacture sufficient amount of vitamin D to combat cancer.
It is important that you should not use a sunscreen during these 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight, because using sunscreens actually prevent the type of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, which activate the production of vitamin D naturally, from reaching your body. In fact, the efficiency of vitamin D to combat cancer is subject to sufficient provisions of vitamin C, which is essential for activating vitamin D and can be obtained by taking a number of servings of fresh vegetables and fruits every day. Therefore, it is important that you ensure that your daily diet comprises adequate fresh apples, grapes, cherries, plums and every type of berry.
Your daily diet should also include additional amount of fiber, which helps to prevent the toxic wastes from being taken up by the bloodstream again. In addition, women with breast cancer should consume garlic or onions. Alternately, you may also take garlic supplements. However, it is important to consult your physician prior to taking garlic or garlic supplements.
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Another effective way to combat breast cancer is to adopt relaxing techniques. For instance, you may relax by writing, doing yoga or meditation or undergoing massage therapy. All these will assist you in combating breast cancer better.
It may be noted that hormonal therapy makes use of medicines that work in a similar manner as estrogens in the body. These medications bind to the cancer cells at the same sites like estrogen, but do not promote the growth of cancer cells as estrogen does. This action of the medications lessens the work burden of the gene p53 and gene p21. The most extensively used medication following a cancer surgery is Tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Nevertheless, even as Tamoxifen helps to diminish the chances of breast cancer, this medication augments the risks of developing uterine cancer.
The hormone called melatonin increases the efficiency of the drug Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) by a 100 times. When Tamoxifen is used individually or in combination with the herb astragalus, this medication also augments its efficacy and, at the same time, diminishes the side effects of interleukin-2 (IL-2), an element of the immune system that is occasionally used in treating breast cancer.
Findings of laboratory tests have shown that the minerals magnesium and selenium also lessen the frequency of new breast cancer cases when they are taken in combination with sufficient dietary supplies of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. In effect, vitamin E is particularly essential for selenium's anti-cancer exploits.
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It is worth mentioning here that although vitamin E does not have any direct result on breast cancer, it has the aptitude to put off development of mammary dysplasia, a pre-carcinogenic state of breast cancer, to an advanced stage of the cancer. In such cases, it is sufficient to take 600 international units (IU) of vitamin E every day in combination with selenium in the maximum dosage of 150 micrograms and about 1,000 mg of a magnesium supplementation.
Breast tissue is especially susceptible to harm from the carcinogens present in tobacco smoke at least at two specific points in the life of a woman - first during puberty and later when she is pregnant. The breast cells divide vigorously during both these periods in a woman's life. In fact, exposure to second-hand smoke during these periods may augment the chances of developing breast cancer.
A number of surveys undertaken on women have detected that although almost 25 per cent of women rarely examine their breast by themselves or never do it ever, approximately 18 per cent of women check their breasts every day or even more frequently. Paradoxically, even too much of self-examination of the breasts may get in the way of successful treatment, because physicians who are making analytical decisions depending on these examinations are inclined to mistakenly identify any growth in the breast as cancer. In case you are very worried about the health of your breasts and examine them every day, it is advisable that you visit a physician for a complete check-up.
Women having breast cancer should never take iron supplementations or dietary supplements containing iron, because the tumours may utilize iron to promote their growth.
Use of folic acid does not have any consequences on women with breast cancer, who don't drink alcohol. However, it helps women who consume over 15 grams (the same as having two to three drinks) of alcohol daily in defending against breast cancer. Physicians, who write in the Journal of the American Medical Association, have suggested that women who drink alcoholic beverages should take a folic acid in a measure no less than 300 micrograms every day to avoid developing breast cancer.
Women who have never had breast cancer, but undergo estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) are likely to have more chances of developing this form of cancer.
It is advisable that you should see your physician immediately and ask him/ her to check you breast and evaluate the condition provided you are experiencing redness, itching and tenderness of the nipples, particularly if you are currently not breast-feeding a baby. You should be aware that such a condition may actually be the indications of Paget's disease, a type of breast cancer.
Certain things augment the chances of developing breast cancer, while others are associated with this health condition. For instance, exposing oneself to medical x-rays very often has been associated with an augmented risk of developing breast cancer. Similarly using everlasting dark hair dyes quite early in life or for a prolonged period of time too has been associated with breast cancer development.
The diagnosis as well as breast cancer treatment itself gives rise to constant worries in the patients and this, in turn, makes the immune system further weak. When a patient is enduring psychological stress, it reduces the aptitude of the natural killer (NK) cells as well as the T cells to combat infection during as well as following the cancer treatment. This is the primary reason why stress management is very imperative for recuperation.
It is worth mentioning here that people having breast cancer may develop lymphedema, a type of engorgement of the tissues that may occur after cancer surgery.