Medicine to Move You

Medicine to Move You

Natural Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

Some of the greatest pioneers in medicine work to find ways to highlight lifestyle-based solutions for the most devastating diseases.  Of course, nothing strikes fear into the heart and, literally, the chests of women than the diagnosis of breast cancer.  Luckily for us, these trendsetting docs have uncovered some research truths about what we can do to help ourselves.  Up until now, many women have supported the cause by wearing pink ribbons, getting mammograms and doing monthly self-breast exams believing they are practicing prevention.  First point I must make and, think about this one… getting a mammogram and doing a self-breast exam is NOT prevention, it’s early detection, right?  Those two concepts are worlds apart.  And even though finding a breast cancer early through these methods is valuable, preventing the breast cancer altogether is priceless!


These are some of the recommendations given to me by a leading researcher in Integrative Oncology, Dr. Donald Abrams, and I humbly pass these on to you for the women you love and care for in your community.  Share these tips about breast health and pearls about improving breast cancer survival the next time you meet.

1.  Eating a single serving of a cruciferous vegetable a day can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer (and other cancers as well!).  Examples of these life-saving veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, daikon, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, watercress and wasabi.

2.  Women with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer should not drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks per week.  One drink is equal to 12 oz beer, 4-5 oz of wine or 1.5 oz of hard liquor to be precise.


3.  Eating a diet rich in healthy soy early in life could reduce your risk of breast cancer.  Intake after menopause could also favorably affect osteoporosis, heart disease and menopausal symptoms with no increased risk of breast cancer.   Avoid soy protein isolate and other ‘manufactured’ soy like those in veggie burgers.  (Learn more about the impact of soy on your body at Living Wellness

4.  There is newer research that intake of whole soy foods and natural soybean-derived products (~0.5 serving/day) does not contribute to breast cancer recurrence and it might actually reduce your risk of a recurrent breast cancer.  This is a significant shift from previous recommendations, just in case you were left a little confused by this one.


5.  Weight gain and lack of exercise are easy traps to fall into during ongoing breast cancer treatment, but it remains prudent to advise women to eat right and exercise daily.  So, don’t take your breast cancer just sitting down and eating your comfort food.  Getting going might just help you survive not only your breast cancer, but also all-cause mortality (translation: all major causes of death).

Remember, the next time you see a Susan G. Komen race T-shirt, a TV announcement about getting a breast check buddy or getting your annual squeeze at the radiology center, you can do so much more to fight the battle against breast cancer by practicing true prevention tips today.

Comments read comments(22)
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Kris Mouton

posted August 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

Excellent article!!

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posted August 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Thank God, I do not have breast cancer that I know of, but this information is important to have. I am concern about taking care of myself and trying to stay in excellent shape. This information will be very helpful and I will share it with my mom and sisters. I want to thank you for your time and the health tips.

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posted August 27, 2011 at 4:31 am

Can a person on Tamoxifen use a meal replacement drink containing Soy protein isolate?

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    Dr. Shilpa P. Saxena

    posted August 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I would advise against this in general.

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posted August 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I thought that a person with a family history of breast cancer should not eat soy because of the estrogen and I tried to eat soy and ever time I did my breasts became sensitive.

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posted August 28, 2011 at 1:08 am

I did everything possible to prevent breast cancer: didn’t drink, smoke, kept my weight down, exercised everyday, didn’t eat meat, and got 2 kinds of breast cancer anyway, due to taking estrogen for 30 years after a hysterectomy, and mine was estrogen-fed cancer. Luckily, it was stage 1, and I had a lumpectomy, 33 treatments of radiation, and am on Arimidex for 5 years and no recurrence after 2 yrs.

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posted August 28, 2011 at 10:29 am

Many studies have pointed to breastfeeding as having a protective effect in regards to breast cancer.

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posted August 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm

As coming from a long line of breast cancer survivors in my family. I’ve been told by all my Doctors to avoid soy products. New studies have shown that the plant compound in soy can increase you risk of breast cancer. Check your research.

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    Dr. Shilpa P. Saxena

    posted August 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    From the education given through the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, founded by leading Integrative Physician Dr. Andrew Weil and taught by by Dr. Donald Abrams, Integrative Oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Medicine:

    “Recent findings from the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL) suggest that soy supplements consumed in very small amounts were not associated with increased risk for breast cancer (Brasky, 2010). Further, recent epidemiological studies on post-diagnosis soy intake and recurrent or new disease suggest that modest soy intake may reduce risk of recurrent breast cancer, even in women with estrogen receptor positive tumors and in women prescribed tamoxifen (Shu, 2009, Boyapati, 2005, Guha, 2009).”

    I invite all readers to feel free to check out this latest research and make the best educated decision for your individual risk factors. Best, Dr. Saxena

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posted August 31, 2011 at 5:20 am

The belief that self examination or mammograms can prevent cancer is encouraged by health professionals, who tell us that if a tumour is caught earlier it is easier to treat. Its an assumption that many women make, but unfortunately use of mammograms can lead to overtreatment of tumours that may never have progressed. Far better to lead a healthy life, exercising, eating a healthy diet and consuming little if any alcohol and not rely too much on the results of the mammograms. A very interesting and useful article which will give women another avenue to explore.

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Mary Legg

posted September 11, 2011 at 5:17 am

Why did you leave out the importance of breastfeeding your babies to reduce risk of all sorts of cancers?

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posted September 11, 2011 at 9:09 am

Thanks for the information on breast cancer i am very happy,because i did an ultra sound on my breast, but because of my age could not have a mammogram done, so i believe that the informayion u have shared with us is very helpful


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Pat Selanikio

posted September 11, 2011 at 9:28 am

My daughter is fighting this disease and it is the fight of and for her life. She has always lived the life you recommend and yet the cancer continues to advance. She is a young woman with a 9 year old son and I feel so cheated for her and her family. We are seeing these agressive cancers in young women and I have to believe that in part it is due to the toxic world we live in and the modified food we eat.

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posted September 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Why doesn’t the ACS tell women about the pesticides and herbicides that are associated with breast cancer, especially the estrogenic mimickers? It’s always cure – but seldom prevention.

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posted October 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Eating a healthy more vegetarian diet will lower your risk of all cancers. Everyone should adhere to this diet. Exercize is important too. But less stress will also help. Keeping toxins out of your environment and your body too. Clean with baking soda, 20 Mule Team Borax and vinegar saves the planet and is less costly than all the cleaners with chemicals and strong odors. Switch to non clorine bleach for your clothes. Cleans better and smells better.

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Pamela Ritche

posted December 12, 2011 at 6:33 am


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I was prescribed by Side Effect

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posted December 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm


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Patricia Ryan

posted January 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm

The link between abortion and breast cancer is becoming more and more established through recent studies. Having an abortion will increase your risk of breast cancer. Natural miscarriage does not increase the risk. Abortion hurts women.

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posted January 27, 2012 at 1:09 am

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posted August 12, 2013 at 8:31 am

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posted September 11, 2013 at 8:06 am

Thanks for these tips. Women are vulnerable to breast cancer and we need all the help and tips to prevent it.

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