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Breast Cancer Complementary therapies

There are many complementary therapies, products, and strategies you can add to your conventional treatment to aid your recovery. The following are specific to breast cancer and you can see even more at Cancer Survival Tips

Did you know?
Surgery in second half of menstrual cycle increases survival.

Research has shown that women with breast cancer can sharply improve their chances of survival by timing surgery in the second half of their menstrual cycle.

Women who have breast tumours removed during the first part of the cycle have a survival rate after 10 years of 45 per cent. The survival rate is 75 per cent for women who have the operation in the latter part of the month.

Healing does not happen in a doctor’s office, it happens at home.

Junnifer Simmons M.D

Flaxseed and Breast Cancer:
This Systematic Review found:
Observational data suggest that flaxseed may be protective against breast cancer, with intakes of ¼ cup (~32 g ground flaxseed) or approximately 160 mg SDG demonstrating the strongest can­cer protective effects thus far. Biomarker studies in breast cancer patients indicate increased tumor cell apoptosis, decreased HER-2 expression, decreased tumor cell prolifera­tion, and anti-angiogenic activity in vivo at doses between 25 g ground flax or 50 mg SDG per day.

[SDG = Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, an antioxidant phytoestrogen present in flax seeds.]

Loratadine is an anti-histamine. This study of 54,406 women with Breast Cancer diagnosed in Sweden 2000 through 2008 found that women treated with second generation antihistamines including Loratadine had a better overall and BC specific survival compared with non users.

Iodine Deficiency and Cancer, a Closer Look
A deficiency of iodine has been found to influence the occurrence of many cancers. In Turkey (the country), gastric cancers are most common in areas where iodine deficiency is high. Increased iodine intake over the past several years has been strongly correlated with a reduction in stomach cancers.

Researchers have attributed the low rate of breast cancer in Japan to high dietary iodine (and selenium). Breast cancer cells need iodine to facilitate cell death and suppress tumor growth. Source: The Truth About Cancer
Read more about Iodine Deficiency

This 2022 study says
Some researchers suggest that there is a link between iodine deficiency and human mammary gland disease. Clinical studies have shown that molecular iodine has a beneficial effect on fibrotic breast disease. Women suffering from breast cancer show a significant decrease in the excretion of iodine; therefore, it is expected that iodine may play a significant role in the differentiation and integrity of breast cells. Previous studies show that iodine deficiency also results in hyperplasia of the breast tissue and its hypertrophy, as well as peri-alveolar and ductal fibrosis. The impact of thyroid diseases on the development of breast cancer is well documented. Abnormal thyroid function may promote breast cancer through the action of thyroid hormones

This Review says:
The majority of the included clinical trials suggested a beneficial effect with good evidence with respect to survival, HRQoL,[ health-related Quality of Life] positive remission rate, and reduction of chemotherapy causing side effects for breast cancer patients treated with mistletoe extracts.

Source: National Cancer Institute
To better understand the potential role of adjuvant bisphosphonate treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer, the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) conducted a meta-analysis of individual patient data for 18,766 participants in 26 randomized trials. These trials compared adjuvant bisphosphonate use for 2 to 5 years with no bisphosphonate use…When the study authors looked at the findings according to the trial participants’ menopausal status, they found that treatment with adjuvant bisphosphonates had no effect on any of the outcomes for premenopausal women. However, among the 11,767 postmenopausal women included in the analysis, the use of bisphosphonates was associated with statistically significant reductions in distant recurrence, in bone recurrence, and in death from breast cancer.

Soy food intake after diagnosis of breast cancer and survival
This study analysed 9514 breast cancer survivors with a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer between 1991 and 2006 from 2 US cohorts and 1 Chinese cohort. Soy isoflavone intake (mg/d) was measured with validated food-frequency questionnaires. After a mean follow-up of 7.4 years, postdiagnosis soy food consumption of ≥10 mg isoflavones/day was associated with a nonsignificant reduced risk of breast cancer–specific mortality and a statistically significant reduced risk of recurrence.

This study says an enzyme called UGT8 drives the progression of basal-like breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease that is largely untreatable. It found that the widely used osteoporosis drug zoledronic acid inhibits UGT8 and prevents the spread of basal-like breast cancer in mice, suggesting that this drug could also be used to treat the disease in humans.

Carotenoids and Selenium prevent Recurrence
This study found that Carotenoids and Selenium can prevent breast cancer returning. Cruciferous vegetables contain Carotenoids and Selenium is available as a supplement.

Propranolol (Beta-blocker)
This study says: Propranolol was also shown to have an effect on metastasis to the brain – the other major site of interest in breast cancer. Choy et al assessed retrospective data that showed that for stage II breast cancer patients beta-blocker usage was associated with a significantly reduced risk of post-operative recurrence or distant metastasis…The recent studies outlined in this paper add to the weight of evidence to support the use of propranolol as an anti-metastatic agent in breast cancer.

DHA oil inhibits breast cancer cell growth
This study
 demonstrated that Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) oil inhibited the growth and induced the death of Breast Cancer cells.
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water oily fish and in seaweed. DHA is also widely available in supplement form.

This study
 says eating blueberries can inhibit breast cancer tumor growth.

Scientists tie walnuts to gene expressions related to breast cancer
New research from Marshall University links walnut consumption as a contributing factor that could suppress growth and survival of breast cancers.

Led by W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, a Marshall University team revealed that consumption of two ounces of walnuts a day for about two weeks significantly changed gene expression in confirmed breast cancers. This pilot, two-arm clinical trial is the latest of a series of related studies at Marshall University related to dietary walnut links to tumor growth, survival and metastasis in breast cancer. The work is described in a March 10 paper published in the journal Nutrition Research. Read full article

This study: NAC as a single agent reduces MCT4 stromal expression, which is a marker of glycolysis in breast cancer with reduced carcinoma cell proliferation. This study suggests that modulating metabolism in the tumor microenvironment has the potential to impact breast cancer proliferation.

NAC was safe and well tolerated in this clinical trial. This is consistent with previous clinical trials and the pharmaco-vigilance data, which has detected only mild side effects and little toxicity.

In sum, this pilot clinical trial of NAC shows that it is safe and has biological activity in breast cancer.  

(3,3′-diindolylmethane) For Estrogen driven cancer
This study says:
In breast and prostate cancers, DIM has been shown to induce a dose dependent apoptosis by inhibiting AKT kinase and IKK-mediated phosphorylation, thus leading to decreased cell growth and proliferation. One target of DIM, which has been observed in various studies, is modulating estrogen metabolism.

Bioactive DIM (a bioactive compound derived from cruciferous vegetables) has demonstrated chemopreventive activity in all stages of breast cancer carcinogenesis – study
DIM is available as a supplement

Indole-3 carbinol
This study says: I3C exhibits anti-cancer activities by suppressing breast tumor cell growth and metastatic spread. Metastatic breast cancer is a devastating problem, clinical application of I3C as a potent chemopreventive agent may be helpful in limiting breast cancer invasion and metastasis.

Oncolytic Virotherapy
This 2020 study says:
The development of new oncolytic virus for the treatment of breast cancer includes new viral vectors targeting tumour cells with high affinity without perturbating normal cells, improving immune system activity against cancer, reducing adverse events and ensuring safety. In particular, in breast cancer, novel reovirus, vaccinia virus and HSV are been developing. Among these, vaccinia virus is considered to be very promising candidate, due to its transfection capacity, easy manipulation, good safety profile and inability to integrate into the host genome.

Silver Nanoparticles kills breast epithelial cancer cells
This study says: Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) show promise for treatment of aggressive cancers including triple‐negative breast cancer (TNBC) in preclinical cancer models…We establish that AgNPs, regardless of size, shape, or stabilizing agent, are highly cytotoxic to TNBC cells at doses that are not cytotoxic to non‐malignant breast epithelial cells.

Antitumor activity of colloidal silver on MCF-7 human breast cancer cells
This study says: Our in vitro [laboratory] studies showed that colloidal silver induced a dose-dependent cell death in MCF-7 breast cancer cell line through apoptosis, without affecting the viability of normal PBMC control cells…The overall results indicated that the colloidal silver has antitumor activity through induction of apoptosis in MCF-7 breast cancer cell line, suggesting that colloidal silver might be a potential alternative agent for human breast cancer therapy.

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Breast Cancer

Updated 2024

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