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Nutritional education can help breast cancer patients prevent recurrences

Breast cancer

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(NaturalNews) It's been said that knowledge is power.

For many breast cancer patients in Brazil, such words ring true, as researchers discovered that providing them with nutritional information may play a role in preventing a recurrence of the disease. In Brazil, where the five-year survival rate is only 58.4 percent, the finding is considered an especially important way of raising health awareness and, ultimately, helping to keep the cancer at bay.(1)

To conduct the study, over the course of one year, researchers from the Federal University of Santa Catarina provided an intervention group with ongoing nutritional education which included phone calls from the researchers, who provided healthy recommendations. This group also received a monthly bulletin about nutrition and was asked to record their food consumption on a calendar. A control group, which did not receive the nutritional education, was also included.(1)

On the other hand, the control group was intentionally not provided with these opportunities, and the differences between the two groups make the case that proper nutrition and prevention of breast cancer recurrence may be linked.

Essential: healthy weight, less red and processed meat

It was found that the intervention group ate 50 percent less red and processed meat than the control group, and instead, more fruits and vegetables. The control group also doubled their body weight compared to their healthier-eating fruit and veggie counterparts. Both red meat consumption and weight gain (which is typically associated with eating a great deal of red and processed meats in the first place) have been shown to play a role in having detrimental health effects, especially pertaining to cancers.(1)

Consumption of red and processed meats have been strongly associated with thwarting cancer patients' ability to heal during treatment, while making healthier dietary choices may lessen its effects and even diminish the onset of a recurrence. In fact, in one study that examined over 35,000 women over an eight-year period, it was found that those who ate two or more ounces of meat daily were 56 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not.(2)

Concerning the relationship between being overweight and developing cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, the odds are not in favor of those with extra pounds. The Institute notes, "Compared with people of normal weight, those who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and certain cancers." It's explained that, although factors such as race and ethnicity can create variations in this association, what happens is that, when one is overweight or obese, their fat tissues produce excess amounts of estrogen. High levels of estrogen have been said to lead to a "more rapid growth of estrogen-responsive breast tumors."(3)

Considering statistics, nutritional education is key to helping reduce breast cancer recurrences

Of the Brazil study, lead author Cecilia C. Schiavon, MsC, said that it "provides evidence that women undergoing breast cancer treatment might benefit from immediate, individualized and detailed nutrition monitoring."(1)

Titled, "Nutrition Education Intervention for Women With Breast Cancer: Effect on Nutritional Factors and Oxidative Stress," the study was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. It states that its objective was "To assess the effect of a nutrition education intervention on nutritional factors and oxidative stress during treatment of breast cancer." The study concludes that such education is "clinically relevant" and maintains that dietary improvements which are supported by ongoing interventions are beneficial for those hoping to prevent a breast cancer recurrence.(4)

The National Cancer Institute estimates that, just in 2014 alone, over 230,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States. In Canada, breast cancer is considered the most common cancer of Canadian women and is the second leading cause of death among that country's gender.(5,6)


(1) http://www.alphagalileo.org

(2) http://www.reuters.com

(3) http://www.cancer.gov

(4) http://www.jneb.org

(5) http://www.cancer.gov

(6) http://www.cancer.ca

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