MM Fights Breast Cancer
As you may have noticed, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Seen any pink ribbons? ;) As usual, this was the occasion for another rant by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who gets so worked up, he's dropping G-bombs all over the place! Every year at this time, he points out that simple awareness is not the problem; we should be talking about Breast Cancer Prevention.
By now, I think we are all well aware of the existence of Breast Cancer. Is there anybody left who hasn't seen their wife, friend, mother, daughter or sister go through this terrible disease? In Canada, 1 in 9 women will contract the disease in their lifetimes and it accounts for 1 in 4 cancers in women. So what does awareness mean? Should we all just stand around being fearful, knowing it's out there and closing in on us, or is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening? How can MM help?
I'm glad you asked. A recent article in the Daily Mail highlighted a study showing that just a single serving a day of high fat cheese, yogurt or ice cream increases the mortality rate in breast cancer sufferers by 50%. This is thought to be due to the high concentration of estrogen in cow milk. Tasty! Another good reason why I recommend a meatless Monday that is also milkless.
Earlier this year, there was a lot of discussion of the presence in cooked meats of "heterocyclic amines," the so-called "Three Strikes" carcinogen because it:
- Causes DNA mutations, and
- Promotes Cancer growth, and also
- Increases potential for metastasis by increasing cancer invasiveness.
The main stat that came out of several studies of this carcinogen was that "women eating more broiled, grilled, fried, barbecued, and smoked meats appear to have up to 400 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer." This quote comes from Kathy Freston's excellent, easy to understand summary of this effect in the Huffington Post, which I highly recommend.
Let me get this straight... eating cooked meats can equal up to 5 times the risk of getting breast cancer? Show of hands - how many people cook their meat before they eat it? Right. Of course you do. You see, this is the kind of Breast Cancer Awareness that would be really beneficial to know about. But again, show of hands - how many people have ever seen this point on a "Pink Ribbon" poster? Right. Of course you haven't.
This increased risk is built into the "1 in 9" stat because most women eat meat in our society. So cutting back on meat consumption through programs like MM is a positive step we can take to reduce breast cancer risk. Yay! Champagne and lollipops for everyone! Let's keep the ball rolling. What else can we do to prevent breast cancer?
In honour of the month, Dr. Michael Greger has been using the forum of his brief, informative "Nutrition Facts" videos to comment on studies showing good sources of prevention. He began with the question of why Asian women have a rate of breast cancer which is six-fold lower than what we experience in North America. (Note: this is for Asian women still living in Asia; the ones who moved to or grew up in Western countries have the same rates as their neighbors of non-Asian heritage. For more on this, I recommend The China Study.) Yes, they eat less meat than we do and yes, they consume almost no cow milk, but what else is contributing that we can learn from?
- Eating mushrooms - 65% reduction in risk - eating just 5 mushrooms a day has been shown to suppress tumor growth
- Eating (whole) soy products - up to 36% decrease in the recurrence of breast cancer and a 25 to 50% reduction in risk of contracting the disease
- Drinking green tea - 33% reduction in risk by itself, even more when combined with mushroom consumption
- Eating collard greens and carrots - 14 to 19% decreased risk in a study on African-American women
- Eating your G-BOMBS - in general terms, eating the super foods Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds has been shown to be highly protective
Because MM encourages us to eat less of the things that are risky and more of the things that are protective, I hereby declare MM to be a positive change women can adopt to help prevent breast cancer. Try this week's recipe as a meat-free substitute for an age-old comfort food favourite - it contains both whole soy beans, onions and carrots and replaces a normally meaty dish. Maybe you'll make this a staple for any day of the week and feel better in the process.
Have a great Monday and a positive outlook this Breast Cancer Prevention Month!