Breast cancer and prevention

Breast cancer makes up 12%

Breast cancer and prevention is very significant in chiropractic practice.

This page was updated on 24 October, 2018 by Dr Barrie Lewis DC.

Shall we look at this misery and what you can do to avoid it? It's no good taking the ostrich approach; one in eight women get it and, just like prostate CA in the male, it's one of the most dehumanizing diseases.

It is after all the most common female malignancy, and highly informed research suggests that at least 35 percent of cases could be stopped in their tracks through diet and lifestyle modification.

Thwarting this disease not only makes sense; it's also relatively simple, and good for your whole health.

How to avoid this nasty malignancy is the question faced by every woman with one in eight suffering in much of the Western World. Worst affected are the United States and Holland.

Eat fish like salmon, pilchards and mackerel at least twice a week for their rich supply of omega 3 essential fatty acids and vitamin D, both important in the fight against breast cancer.

Polyunsaturates have two major classes; omega 6 and 3.

Western diets are too high in the omega six fatty acids which have tumour promoting effects. That means less of many seed oils and a change to that from the olive.

On the other hand omega 3 fatty acids have been found to have anti tumour properties.

Animal fats have been widely condemned until recently when a huge study suggests that butter is back, to use the buzz word. There are increasing questions concerning polyunsaturate margarine too for numerous reasons; breast cancer and prevention is just one of them.

Breast cancer and prevention

Breast cancer and prevention is vital with one in eight Western women now getting boob CA; it's time to think about alternatives.

Pay up or die

Dom D has needed 17 doses of Herceptin in the past 12 months at a cost of $2500 a dose. This is in addition to 30 days of radiation, surgery, blood tests and four weeks of chemotherapy. Isn't prevention better than a dubious cure?

Breast cancer stats

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Fatty fish

Asian women with a traditionally high omega 3 diet have much lower breast cancer rates. Yet, within a generation of moving to the west with a high 6 diet have equal rates of breast cancer with other local females.

Your breast cancer prevention diet should be high in omega 3 oil. The best sources are fatty fish, freshly ground flax seeds and walnuts.

Not that omega six fats are unimportant or unhealthy, but the ratio of 6 to 3 is considered dangerously high in western diets.

Interestingly, this ratio is important at every stage of a woman's life. Pregnant females on a low omega 3 diet bear children who are far more likely to get breast cancer. Likewise, young kids and those in puberty; all should be eating a diet rich in these fatty acids as a routine part of prevention. It's equally true for men and metastatic diseases of the prostate gland.

Legumes like green peas, beans in general but especially limas have the right omega 6 to 3 ratio of around three.

Breast cancer and prevention I'm sure is at the back of every woman's mind; you probably have several friends undergoing the indignity of this horrible disease. Are you next?

Every woman should be walking daily anyway, because a sedentary lifestyle is top of the list of the causes of osteoporosis; the motor car, office desk, the laptop, the television and our couch potato attitude in general is the cause of so many diseases.

Over and above that, it's now beyond debate, there's so much evidence, that exercise, and especially a brisk walk, cycling, gardening or golf are an essential part of the breast cancer and prevention regimen; choose your favourite sport; they all reduce the risk of boob CA. Make at least half an hour a day for your body, and clear your mind too. Try and relax as you amble along, and give the creative side of your brain some space.

It's win all the way from an activity in the sun. The vitamin D not only reduces osteoporosis, but also is vital for breast cancer prevention. Remember to don a broad brimmed sombrero. Keep the direct rays off your face and ears.

Phytochemical foods

Phytochemical foods with antioxidants have strange names like lignans, isoflavonoids, carotenoids and terpenes; they are at the heart of cancer prevention.

Food-rich anti-oxidants like magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamin C and E should be on the menu every single day. They are a vital part of breast cancer and prevention of all malignancies, in fact. Because it's possible to overdose on minerals and some vitamins, you should always rely on getting them from your food rather than out of a bottle.

Plus, there are so many, you'd be swallowing dozens of capsules every day if you wanted to be sure of getting all the necessary vitamins, minerals and phytogens. That would make the supplement companies happy, but not necessarily enhance your health. Rather, eat better.

Use the Search this Site function at Chiropractic Help to read about the benefits of avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, strawberries, mussels.... all rich in anti-oxidants.

One of my favourites is a BROCCOLI WALNUT SALAD ...

flaxseed grinder


About eight percent of cancer is caused by medical ionising radiation, including X-rays. Always question whether an mammogram examination is really necessary, and whether an MRI could be done instead. They are expensive but a lot cheaper than having to deal with breast malignancies.

It's a tough call, and many chiropractors would disagree, but I no longer routinely X-ray every patient; and thus occasionally miss things that I would have detected.

Ask for your breasts to be covered with lead shield.

It's a toss-up with mammograms. Personally I question the need for routine regular scans unless you are at high risk; far rather an annual breast examination by your doctor, and then a mammogram only when insisted by a gynaecologist.

Dietary fat

Dietary fat, and particularly from an animal source like this feta cheese should be enjoyed in moderation; in the context of this beet salad, you need have no fear. Add fresh lemon juice and olive oil for a salad dressing.

Beetroot salad

Avoiding all fat in the diet is not healthy, but the breast cancer prevention diet should certainly not be high in fat. There is a strong correlation between a high fat diet, obesity and breast cancer. Try to get as much of your fat as possible from the olive and the avocado, and of course fish or flax seed.

Likewise, dairy products are a double wammy unless you can find a source of eco-friendly milk and cheese. The high saturated fat and residues of bovine estrogen that virtually all cows are injected with to increase milk production are extremely dangerous. I too love my dairy, but it is wise to limit them, and take with high fibre foods.

Moreover, not only is there a strong association between red meat and breast cancer, but also how it's cooked. Avoid well-done meat, particularly that exposed to very high temperatures. BBQ meat should be cooked for as short a period as possible.

Oleic acid

The fat found in olives and avocados is high in the MUFA oleic acid. Research shows that "oleic acid has been shown to exert anti-tumorigenic effects".

Oestrogen-like chemicals

Breast cancer and prevention : Many industrial chemicals found in pesticides for example, and the hormone residues in meat, have oestrogen-like activity. They are certainly breast cancer causes. In general do your best to avoid all chemicals, especially those used in the garden, using gloves and masks where possible.

Green beans


Green beans and limas too are so easy to grow in any garden, large or small.

On the other hand, foods containing phyto-estrogens, substances like lignans and isoflavones form substances in the gut that are then absorbed and compete with circulating oestrogen at sites in the breast, reducing the risk of CA.

They are high in foods like soy and flax and sesame seed, fruits (especially the berries) and legumes like green and lima beans. Every woman should be regularly cooking chickpeas and using sesame tahini in their diets. The bean family is a must even in the smallest garden; just three pole beans produce an amazing amount of food.

Do it, even if the only reason in your mind is breast cancer and prevention; make sure you're not the one in eight.

Pole beans are rich in phytochemicals

Post-Menopausal hormones

Post menopausal hormones, or HRT, are a major cause of breast and uterine cancer.

A new study in the British Journal of Cancer has found that the risk of HRT using a combination of oestrogen and progestogen causing breast cancer has been grossly underestimated; the increased risk is around three times, depending on the number of years it was used. The research followed more than 100,000 women over a period of forty years.

However, use of oestrogen only HRT did not increase the risk.

Breast cancer and prevention : Having lost so many patients over the years, I am now utterly convinced that only a very small group of women should be taking hormones after the menopause. The risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer is well substantiated.

Serious depression is perhaps one reason, but the oft-peddled reason, osteoporosis, I believe is grossly over-used. Post menopausal hormones are a cheap and nasty substitute for a proper diet and exercise regimen; read our best calcium for osteoporosis page. 

The Dutch have a lovely idiom: Now I'm sitting with baked pears! It means to be saddled with the consequences of a bad decision. Will you be eating baked pears in a few years time, or are you going to ring in some changes in your life? Think breast cancer and prevention BEFORE the fact. Afterwards it's too late. Seize the day.

OBESITY is a breast cancer cause

"Healthy body weight is an important factor for prevention of breast cancer recurrence"

Interesting studies reported in the journal of Breast Cancer Research states that most women with breast CA are obese. A Body Mass Index of over 30 puts you at risk.

Worse, patients treated for breast CA have, after care, an increased risk of cardio vascular disease.

Weight loss in not included in current clinical practice guidelines, not because doctors think it unimportant, but because only 5 percent of patients take their advice seriously.

Legumes combine many of these advantages; they are high in vegetable protein and are a low fat food which is the easiest and safest way to lose those extra pounds.  They have the right ratio of the omegas. They are high in fibre, lower cholesterol  and are true phytochemical foods. Their carbohydrate has a very low glycemic index.

Counseling about weight takes a lot of time, and if most patients ignore the doctor's advice anyway, then they might as well save their breath.

Weight loss is one of the most important factors in your breast cancer prevention programme; it stops recurrence too. But it's up to you, because the chance is high no one will tell you, bully you, coerce you because it's a so called sensitive issue. Doctors don't want to see their patients storming off to another practice so they tend to avoid these matters; most people won't listen anyway, so what's the point?

Want to see your children and grand kids grow up? Get it off and keep your weight down.

Alcohol is another breast cancer cause.

You have a fifty percent greater chance of getting breast cancer if you take four or more drinks per day, said professor Charles Parry of the medical research council in South Africa.

Even one drink a day will increase your risk by twenty percent compared with non drinkers.

High protein low fat diets.

High protein low fat diets are an abomination; so are most diets.

Did you know, considering all of them together that after one year, 95% of people are either the same weight, or heavier? Yet breast cancer and prevention remains vitally important and obesity is a huge factor. 

Fad diets are a fashion so ugly that they have to be changed every year; first it was the high protein and low fat Adkins, then it was the low animal fat and high polyunsaturate; now it's the high animal fat Banting diet.

Next week it will be something else. I think this Banting diet modified has something going for it, though; more people die from the ravages of obesity than starvation; double the number.

Best advice I ever heard was from a veteran heart surgeon, Dr Dwight Lundell. He recommends in a lecture entitled foods to reduce inflammation that we return to the dinners our grandmothers served up, and not the highly processed foods dished up by our mothers.

Granny baked her own bread with 100% whole grain healthy flour, and served it with real butter. Combined with all the fruit and salads from her garden there were no fears of cholesterol. She quite likely grew sweetcorn and made sufferin succotash with lima beans.

High animal protein diets, as in Banting and Adkins are definitely not breast friendly; look rather to legumes for more protein and those foods rich in lignans.

Reporting in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment[1] researchers using a powerful meta-analysis of 262,000 British women who ate the equivalent of one and quarter hot dogs per week (50 grams) had a 21% higher risk of breast cancer, compared with those who ate none.

Added nitrates are the villain of the peace; in vegetables they are safe but when added to meat they react to form nitrosamines that are highly carcinogenic. Even added from a natural source like celery juice makes no difference; the 'natural' nitrates are still converted to deadly nitrosamines during processing of meat according to researchers from Tufts University.

Breast cancer and prevention is a complex subject; don't be guided by everything you read in glossy magazines and newspapers promoting this at that. Yes, I'm suggesting you should be skeptical of what you read here too; we just don't have all the answers so follow your own inner sense.

Salmon dip and salad

Whilst granny probably spent hours kneading and rising her bread, you can make low GI bread in only five minutes. And remember butter is back; there are strong suggestions that margarine is the underlying cause of a host of our problems. Make sure you have plenty of those phytochemical foods with it, though.

Honey bread with 100% wholemeal

Use only 100% wholemeal; nowhere is the food industry more up to its tricks than in the labeling of flour.

Both of these can legally be described as wholemeal flour; both are stoneground, but that in the upper half comes from our own Hawo grinder. It is 100% wholewheat containing all the vitamins, minerals and bran.

That in the lower half is described by the miller as "stoneground wholemeal flour." They are legally allowed to but up to 40% of the goodies have been removed.

The smart bran contains the lignans that are so vital in breast cancer and prevention. Unless your flour and bread are described at "100%" wholemeal they simply contribute to making you fat and help little in averting disease.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is profoundly important in the functioning of over 100 genes; amongst many other processes, according to the American Association for Cancer Research, doubling your vitamin D reduces your likelihood of getting breast cancer by 80%; that's profound. 50ng/ml in the blood is what they recommend.

That means more sunshine and more fatty fish like mackerel, herring and sardines. Mussels too are great and taste fantastic.


There are many studies connecting a deficiency of magnesium in the diet with breast cancer, and a great many other afflictions. Popeye was one smart guy! Your green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are the best sources.

I'm not exaggerating when I say we try to eat them three times a day; eggs Florentine for breakfast, a green salad for lunch, and kale for dinner. My wife has not desire to be amongst the one in eight women who great breast cancer.

Eight colors eggs Florentine is one of her favourites.


Researchers have clearly shown that having a baby before the age of 30 should be considered one part of breast cancer and prevention.

New research now shows that the pregnancy must go at least 34 weeks for this to be of benefit; a 13.6% lower risk compared to women who had no children.(1)

Chiropractic Help

Why all this about breast cancer and prevention on a chiropractic website? Well, it has a habit of metastasizing to the ribs and spine; it's in the back of every chiropractor's mind when treating patients with a history of breast or prostate, or any cancer for that matter.

Rembrandt's wife

Rembrandt's wife died of breast cancer, it is said. She may have also suffered from TB. Here is a small portion of an incredible painting he did of her. Notice the dimple, arrowed, in her left breast.

Rembrandt's wife with breast cancer.

Useful links

› Breast cancer and prevention

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

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Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.

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