Understanding When Eating Soy Might Help or Harm in Breast Cancer Treatment

Excerpt:

“Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have used animal models to reveal new information about the impact – positive and negative – that soy consumption could have on a common breast cancer treatment.

“The scientists have uncovered the biological pathways in rats by which longtime soy consumption improves effectiveness of tamoxifen and reduces recurrence. But they also show why eating or drinking soy-based foods for the first time while being treated with tamoxifen can, conversely, reduce effectiveness of the drug, and promote recurrence.

“The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, uncovers the molecular biology behind how soy consumption, especially its most active isoflavone, genistein, affects tamoxifen—both positively and negatively.”

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Melanoma Mutation Likes Fat for Fuel

Excerpt:

“Cancer cells love glucose, the simple sugar the body uses for energy, so a high-fat, low-carb diet should starve them, right?

“Not so fast. Research in mice suggests that melanomas and other cancers driven by a particular mutation (BRAF V600E) will grow faster in response to a high-fat diet. In addition, lipid-lowering agents such as statins curb these cancers’ growth, even in the context of a more normal diet.”

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Hormel Joins Cancer Specialists to Develop Line of Ready-Made Foods for Chemo Patients

Excerpt:

“Shortly after his mother died of cancer two years ago, Jeff Ettinger, then-chief executive of Hormel Foods, asked the company’s specialty division to explore how to help people undergoing treatment or recovering from it.

“The timing was right. The Cancer Nutrition Consortium, a group of U.S. cancer researchers, was looking for a food manufacturer to produce nutritional products based on what they saw was a gaping need. Patients undergoing chemotherapy tend to experience extreme fatigue, unintentional weight loss and suppressed appetite and energy.

” ‘You feel like you finished the New York marathon and have no energy to cook,’ said Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, a Florida physician and consortium board member. ‘Many people end up going to a fast-food restaurant to take home a meal, which is not the nutrition they need.’ ”

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Can Detoxing Regimens and ‘Cleanses’ Fight Cancer?

“If you type ‘detox and cancer’ into an Internet search engine, you’ll get an avalanche of websites, articles, products, patient testimonials, and practitioners claiming that cancer can be prevented or even cured by diets or ‘cleanses’ that rid the body of ‘toxins.’ Are these approaches safe? Are they effective? It’s not necessarily as straightforward as you may think; the details really do matter, says Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, a senior nutritionist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

“These regimens and offerings run the gamut: raw food, high-alkaline, and ‘miracle’ diets; herbal supplements or ‘elixirs’; detox drinks with lemon and cayenne pepper; liver, gall bladder and colon flushes or cleanses, coffee enemas, and many more.”


The Truth behind Three Natural Cancer “Cures”

“The Internet is full of ‘miracle cures’ for cancer and alleged surefire ways to prevent it, and well-meaning people may urge cancer patients to just try them out in hopes of eliminating their disease. Some patients, worried that conventional treatments won’t work or pose significant side effects, seek a treatment whose effectiveness isn’t actually supported by scientific evidence or may even prove dangerous. During a time of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s understandable that any hope for a cure — even if it isn’t medically proven — is tempting.

“ ‘Patients want something “natural” to try to treat their cancer or prevent their cancer from coming back,’ says Memorial Sloan Kettering pharmacist and herbalist K. Simon Yeung. ‘But the people promoting these treatments might not necessarily have a medical or oncology background. In addition, patients who try these therapies may find, when they come back to seek mainstream treatment, that it’s too late and their cancer has already spread.’ “


Living With Cancer: Keep On Cooking

“Julia put a glass jar of turkey-tail mushrooms on the restaurant table. Drinking home-brewed tea helps her combat the side effects of treatment. The day before a blood test — which would reveal whether or not an experimental drug was working — I placed one delicate bit on the center of my palm. The ridged striations and concentric ruffles reminded me of the tiny angel-wing shells that Leslie’s partner had collected on Sanibel Island for our cancer support group.

“When I put down the mushroom to pick up a menu, nothing on it resembled the foods I had been enjoined to eat at a cancer conference I had just attended.

“Next to the podium a speaker stood beside a blender in which she put almond milk, half of an avocado, a banana and flax seeds. Conference participants were told to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, to abstain from sugar and dairy and meat. We were urged to avoid white foods and instead to consume dark greens, bright oranges, vivid reds and glowing yellows. Raw and organic are the way to go, or slow roasted and locally grown. Whole grains should be a staple, but turmeric, garlic and ginger can be added abundantly, along with blueberries, walnuts, wild salmon and especially kale.”


Findings Confirm That Coffee Protects Against Breast Cancer Recurrence

“A number of research studies have shown that coffee helps to protect against breast cancer. A new study led by Lund University, has confirmed that coffee inhibits the growth of tumours and reduces the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with the drug tamoxifen.

“The study, which is a follow-up of the results the researchers obtained two years ago, was carried out at Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, in collaboration with researchers in the UK.

” ‘Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells. The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all’, explain researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernström, who obtained the results in collaboration with Jeff Holly and his research team at University of Bristol.

” ‘The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumours and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumours. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis.’ “


Higher Folate Intake Associated With Reduced Risk of Hormone Receptor–Negative Breast Cancer in Premenopausal Women

The gist: New research shows that premenopausal women who have more folate in their diet may be less likely to develop estrogen receptor (ER)–negative and progesterone receptor (PR)–negative breast cancer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that folate supplements can prevent cancer. It just shows a correlation between folate and cancer risk.

“In an analysis from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, de Batlle and colleagues found reduced risks of estrogen receptor–negative and progesterone receptor–negative breast cancer for highest vs lowest dietary folate intake among premenopausal women.

“The study involved EPIC data from 367,993 women aged 35 to 70 years in 10 European countries. During median follow-up of 11.5 years, 11,575 women developed breast cancer. Folate intake was estimated from country-specific questionnaires…

“The investigators concluded: ‘Higher dietary folate intake may be associated with a lower risk of sex hormone receptor–negative breast cancer in premenopausal women.’ ”


Selenium Supplement May Increase Risk of Death in Nonmetastatic Prostate Cancer

The gist: Men who are newly diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer might increase their risk of death if they take selenium supplements. That was the conclusion of a recents study of 4,459 patients.

“Selenium supplementation of 140 μg/d or more after diagnosis of nonmetastatic prostate cancer may increase risk of prostate cancer mortality, according to a prospective study following 4,459 men initially diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1988 through 2010. ‘Caution is warranted regarding usage of such supplements among men with prostate cancer,’ Kenfield et al advised in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

“The Health Professionals Follow-up Study is a prospective cohort study of 51,529 U.S. male health professionals who were between age 40 and 75 years at the time of enrollment in 1986. Participants completed a baseline questionnaire that included extensive data, including medical history and lifestyle factors such as diet and supplement use, and completed detailed information on the use and dose of supplements every 2 years.

“ ‘Total selenium supplement intake was calculated as the sum from multivitamins and selenium supplements,’ the investigators explained. Total selenium supplement dosage was divided into four categories: nonuser, 1 to 24 μg/d, 25 to 139 μg/d, and ≥ 140 μg/d. ‘We also calculated total duration of use to assess whether the association between selenium supplement use and prostate cancer morality differed by duration,’ the authors noted.”