[Luckee’s note: When I cured myself of breast cancer, I had stopped eating sugar. I replaced sugar with honey and stevia. I didn’t know back then anything about this. The second article covers the diet overcoming the ‘breast-cancer-gene’. Being that on my mother’s side of the family, all the women have had breast cancer, and on my fathers side, members of the family had all been taken by cancer of various forms. I am the only one who defeated cancer in my family and it is because I changed my diet, and got rid of the toxin causing items in my life. My diet change was the most rewarding change I had made. My food was scrumptious and fun to make, and while expensive at first, I later found it to be cost effective. I didn’t spend a cent on crappy fix its by doctors. So I am pleased to post the following in hopes everyone can beat this dreadful disease.]
Few things are as dissonant to me as the use of so-called “anti-hormone drugs” in breast cancer patients to prevent recurrence. Not only are these drugs extremely toxic, with Tamoxifenclassified by the World Health Organization as a known carcinogen and a list of over two dozen adverse effects associated with their use on our database, but their much tauted “life saving” benefits may only be theoretical. Furthermore, their use is often completely unjustified given the prevalence of breast cancer overdiagnosis.
For those who are not yet aware, it has been estimated that thousands of women each year are subject to breast cancer overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis is actually a technical-sounding euphemism. What is actually happening is that women are being erroneously told they have breast cancer when they actually have benign lesions, such as the commonly misunderstoodductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which most of the time would never progress to cause symptoms, much less bodily harm. Even when in rare cases overdiagnosis is identified before the patient undergoes unnecessary treatment, the psychological and physical trauma that follows the initial error can have lasting adverse health effects.
Most overdiagnosis goes unrecognized and results in overtreatment, which includes unnecessary lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapies. It has been estimated that 1.3 million US women were wrongly diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in the past 30 years for conditions that even the National Cancer Institute’s expert panel in 2013 determined are intrinsically benign and should not be called “cancer” at all.
Following treatment, most “breast cancer survivors” (or, more accurately, “survivors of overdiagnosis and overtreatment”) are given so-called hormone suppressive drug therapies, withArimidex and Tamoxifen the most commonly used in the category. These drugs happen to be produced by Astra Zeneca, which maintains control of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a monthly promotional campaign to encourage healthy, symptomless women to subject themselves to x-ray mammography, the result of which is significant increases in diagnoses of “early stage,” or “zero stage” breast lesions such as DCIS, as well as increases in drug sales – a conflict of interest that is as obvious as it is unethical.
But the world is not perfect. The time lag between the emergence of new medical truth and clinical practice can span decades, and with the growing number of Stockholm syndrome afflicted overdiagnosed and overtreated patients doing whatever they are told by their “saviors” following treatment, the reality is that hormone suppressive drugs will continue to be promoted and used by thousands of women, no matter what we write here or how many references we back up our research with.
Because I have personally witnessed and worked with dozens of women who have experienced not only the original traumas and side effects of breast cancer treatment, but also the subsequent hair loss, fatigue, hot flashes, libido crashes, etc., that are often caused by drugs like Arimidexand Tamoxifen, I am reporting on a new study published in Molecular and Clinical Oncology titled,Bee pollen and honey for the alleviation of hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients,” which at least offers some palliative support to attenuate these side effects, while also having potential side benefits as well, including anti-cancer properties.
Hormone suppressive drugs commonly result in discontinuation. Some of the side effects are themselves treated with potent psychotropics like Prozac (fluoxetine) and Lyrica (gabapentin), leading to a downward spiral that can be more dangerous to one’s health than the original theoretical cancer risk the original prescriptions are being used for. The new study aimed to test the hypothesis that bee pollen could be helpful in reducing the menopausal-type symptoms that are caused by chemical hormone suppression, as was recently evidenced by a trial that showed pollen extracts reduced hot flashes and improved quality of life in menopausal women.
Interestingly, the researchers used honey as a placebo, but found that it was as effective as bee pollen at reducing patient symptoms.
The study design and results were described in the abstract as follows:
We compared a pollen-honey mixture with pure honey(placebo) in a prospective, randomized crossover trial in breast cancer patients receiving anti-hormonal treatment. The menopausal complaints were assessed using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). A total of 46 patients were recruited; 68.3% (28/41) of the patients reported an improvement in their symptoms while taking honey, compared with 70.9% (22/31) who reported an improvement with pollen (the difference was non-significant). The results were confirmed by significant improvements in the postmenopausal complaints in the two groups in a pre-post analysis in the MRS and its 3 subscales. This study provided evidence that honey and bee pollen may improve the menopausal symptoms of breast cancer patients on antihormonal treatment.” [emphasis added]
The study authors raised a flag of caution regarding the honey’s ability to raise estrogen levels in patients. If the goal of reducing breast cancer recurrence and hormone suppressive drugs like Arimidex is to reduce estrogen levels and/or estrogen activity in the body, clearly this is not a good thing. And yet, estrogenic substances like genistein in soy, enterodiol in flaxseed andresveratrol in grapes have been identified to have potent anti-breast cancer properties. Furthermore, the unsophisticated idea that “estrogen is a carcinogen,” without qualifying by type, estrogen receptor activity and specificity, etc., has been a fundamental part of the success of the estrogen-blocking drug manufacturers’ promotional copy. The reality, however, is that naturally-induced, and/or naturally mimicking estrogen activity (as is commonly found withphytoestrogens) may be preventive and even therapeutic against breast and other hormone sensitive cancers. This should be taken into account when you read the study’s concluding remarks:
In conclusion, this study provided evidence that honey and bee pollen improve menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients receiving antihormonal treatment. As we observed an increase in the serum levels of oestradiol with honey treatment in patients receiving aromatase inhibitors/inactivators, and due to evidence regarding the effect of honey and bee pollen on ovarian function and the direct effects of these products, honey and bee pollen should be used with caution in cancer patients. Whether this caution is justified remains to be established. As previously mentioned, the scepticism regarding soy products also does not appear to be justified, according to Chi et al (13). Honey and bee pollen may be offered to women who have failed to respond to other reasonable alternatives to cope with postmenopausal symptoms (e.g., acupuncture) and who would otherwise discontinue treatment. However, the fact that flavonoids, which are found in both honey and pollen, have been found to prevent breast cancer, supports the use of both products in women with menopausal problems without a history of breast cancer. The use of honey and pollen for menopausal complaints in healthy women and patients with breast cancer should be addressed in future trials.”
The study’s findings could be considered a double-edged sword. For instance, women who would normally discontinue hormone suppressive drugs from their side effects (i.e. their body telling them the drug is a bad idea) might stay on them longer while using honey or bee pollen to mask or mitigate the warning signs of incompatibility and/or accumulating toxicity (i.e. like taking an aspirin for a toe pain caused by a splinter that simply needs to be removed). While prolonging medication compliance may be construed as a “good” thing from the conventional perspective, it may also simply enable patients to maintain a suboptimal or misguided drug-based protocol longer. The ultimate outcome, therefore, is they may end up being at higher risk of Tamoxifen-induced liver or endometrial cancer because they were able to stay on it longer: clearly not a “good” outcome.
Thankfully, there is another factor that may help to resolve the dilemma: honey may actually have anti-cancer properties by itself. If this is true, honey certainly can not be looked at simply as a palliative, side-effect reducing adjunct to conventional drug-based treatment.
Indeed, there may be safer and more effective ways to prevent breast cancer recurrence by using natural anti-hormone and anti-cancer substances. For instance, there are a wide range of natural aromatase inhibitors (“estrogen blockers”) which have been studied to have potential anti-breast cancer properties. Here is a section on our database on Aromatase Inhibitors. Also, we have amassed a vast database of research on natural anti-breast cancer substances, nutritional protocols and CAM modalities. You can investigate the research on our database: Breast Cancerresearch.
My hope in writing this article is that for those who have their minds made up that they are going to stay on drugs like Tamoxifen or Arimidex that their side effects can be reduced naturally. However, I also hope that those who are looking for more natural alternatives to these drugs, and to a more root cause resolution-based model of addressing breast cancer (including investigating whether or not their original diagnoses were even valid), will benefit from exploring other approaches that offer more sustainable solutions than the palliative use of natural interventions in the integrative model which still gives conventional medicine the dominant position.
 Results of the ATAC (Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination) trial after completion of 5 years’ adjuvant treatment for breast cancer. Howell A, Cuzick J, Baum M, Buzdar A, Dowsett M, Forbes JF, Hoctin-Boes G, Houghton J, Locker GY, Tobias JS, ATAC Trialists’ Group Lancet. 2005 Jan 1-7; 365(9453):60-2. [PubMed]
 A randomized, controlled, double-blinded clinical trial of gabapentin 300 versus 900 mg versus placebo for anxiety symptoms in breast cancer survivors. Lavigne JE, Heckler C, Mathews JL, Palesh O, Kirshner JJ, Lord R, Jacobs A, Amos E, Morrow GR, Mustian K Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Nov; 136(2):479-86. [PubMed]
 Femal, a herbal remedy made from pollen extracts, reduces hot flushes and improves quality of life in menopausal women: a randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel study. Winther K, Rein E, Hedman C Climacteric. 2005 Jun; 8(2):162-70. [PubMed]
Following on the heels of Angelina Jolie’s widely celebrated decision to remove her breasts ‘preventively,’ few folks truly understand how important preventing environmental chemical exposures and incorporating cancer-preventing foods into their diet really is in reducing the risk of gene-mediated breast cancer.
There is so much fear and misinformation surrounding the so-called ‘Breast Cancer Associated’ genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that it should help to dispel some prevailing myths by looking at the crucial role that epigenetic factors play in their expression. Literally ‘above’ (epi) or ‘beyond’ the control of the genes, these factors include environmental chemical exposures, nutrition and stress, which profoundly affect cancer risk within us all, regardless of what variant (‘mutated’ or ‘wild’)* that we happen to carry within our genomes.
In 2012, a very important study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry that looked at the role a natural compound called resveratrol may play in preventing the inactivation of the BRCA-1 gene. BRCA-1 is known as a “caretaker” gene because it is responsible for healing up double-strand breaks within our DNA. When the BRCA-1 gene is rendered dysfunctional or becomes inactivated, either through a congenital/germline inheritance of DNA defects (‘mutation’) or through chemical exposures, the result is the same: harm to the DNA repair mechanisms within the affected cells (particularly breast and ovary; possibly testicular), hence increasing the risk of cancer.
Ironically, while the prevalence of a “bad” inherited BRCA1 variation is actually quite low relative to the general population (A 2003 study found only 6.6% of breast cancer patients even have either a BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation), everyone’s BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are susceptible to damage from environmental chemical exposures, most particularly xenobiotic (non-natural) chemicals and radiation. This means that instead of looking to a set of “bad” genes as the primary cause of cancer, we should be looking to avoid exposing both our “bad” and “good” genes alike to preventable chemical exposures, as well as avoiding nutrient deficiencies and/or incompatibilities, which also play a vital role in enabling us to express or silence cancer-associated genes. [For more on why genes don’t “cause” disease see: The Great DNA Data Deficit.]
The aforementioned resveratrol study is titled “BRCA-1 promoter hypermethylation and silencing induced by the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor-ligand TCDD are prevented by resveratrol in MCF-7 Cells.”
Quite a mouthful.
Essentially, the BRCA-1 promoter is the gene sequence within the BRCA1 gene that drives the production of the protein that enables our cells to repair DNA damage, and when “silenced” (i.e. hypermethylated) via the receptor for aromatic hydrocarbons (which are primarily xenobiotic petrochemical compounds), it leads to chromosomal damage within those cells. This study looked at the role of resveratrol, a natural compound found in grapes, wine, chocolate, and peanuts, in preventing these chemically-induced changes in gene methylation, also known as ‘gene silencing.’
According to the study:
“The aberrant hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes has been recognized as a predisposing event in breast carcinogenesis . For example, BRCA-1 promoter hypermethylation has been linked to loss or silencing of BRCA-1 expression in sporadic breast tumors [2–7] and the development of high-grade breast carcinomas [8–10]. Higher incidence (30%–90%) of BRCA-1 hypermethylation has been reported in infiltrating tumors [2,10–12], suggesting that epigenetic repression of BRCA-1 may accompany the transition to more invasive phenotypes. Moreover, BRCA-1 promoter methylation was found to be positively associated with increased mortality among women with breast cancer .
The researchers went on to test resveratrol’s ability to prevent BRCA-promoter inactivation caused by the persistent environmental pollutant 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), which has been linked to birth defects, cancer, immune suppression, liver damage and endocrine disruption, and has been found distributed throughout the global food supply, and even in breast milk.
Resveratrol was found to prevent TCDD- induced suppression of BRCA-1 expression. They discovered that resveratrol was capable of suppressed the silencing (hypermethylation) of the BRCA-1 promoter, revealing one of several possible mechanisms for its well-known anti-cancer properties, including 19 studies on GreenMedInfo.com alone on its anti-breast cancer potential.
Resveratrol is only one of a wide range of natural, food-derived compounds which possess the ability to bind and interact as ligands with the aromatic hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) within the cells of our body. Curcumin, the primary polyphenol in the spice turmeric, for instance, has been found to induce programmed cell death in triple negative breast cancer cells, in part through modulating BRCA1 protein expression and levels within the cytoplasm of normal and cancerous cells.
The researchers concluded “The fact that many food constituents possess ligand properties towards the AhR [57,58] may offer new avenues for the development of prevention strategies for the prevention of BRCA-1 silencing in sporadic breast tumors.”
This is a fancy way of saying that we can prevent chemically-induced cancers through including and perhaps increasing the level of phytoactive, chemopreventive compounds within our diet; and of course, reducing and if possible eliminating chemical exposures that ‘knock out’ the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene function in way that leads to cancer. This, and not some gene-based future drug therapy, is where researchers and medical practitioners should be ‘racing’ for their long sought-after solution. Remove the cause. Prevent and cure the disease.
 Silvia de Sanjosé, Mélanie Léoné, Victoria Bérez, Angel Izquierdo, Rebeca Font, Joan M Brunet, Thierry Louat, Loreto Vilardell, Joan Borras, Pau Viladiu, F Xavier Bosch, Gilbert M Lenoir, Olga M Sinilnikova. Prevalence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutations in young breast cancer patients: a population-based study. Int J Cancer. 2003 Sep 10 ;106(4):588-93. PMID:12845657
*We looked at the theoretical problems associated with BRCA1/BRCA2-mediated disease causation in the article: Did Angelina Jolie Make A Mistake By Acting On the Gene Theory of Breast Cancer
Sayer Ji is founder of Greenmedinfo.com, on the Board of Governors for the National Health Federation, and Fearless Parent, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine.
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