If you think traditional breast cancer treatment and natural therapies don’t mix – think again. Natural therapies can be a vital tool to help support patients preparing for treatment, during and after treatment with proven benefits.
In fact, 87 per cent of Australian women with breast cancer turn to complementary medicine while undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.
Most keep it secret, out of fear of being dismissed or ridiculed, but we believe it should be spoken about, as there are so many ways natural medicine can help support you or your loved one through breast cancer treatment.
Everyone is different, so it’s important to see your Naturopath to ensure you are doing what is right for your body and getting the appropriate support you require. However, there are a few things most people going through breast cancer treatment can benefit from.
Surprisingly, the most important lifestyle intervention for women diagnosed with breast cancer is exercise. Many studies show exercise helps women with breast cancer, as it stimulates immune activity, enhances detoxification, encourages positive self-image, and helps prevent or reduce obesity. Exercise is also important for reducing your risk factor of developing breast cancer, and halting its progression. In fact, women who go for a brisk walk (or equivalent) for two to three hours each week in the year before they are diagnosed with breast cancer are 31% less likely to die of the disease than women who are sedentary before their diagnosis.
Increasing consumption of colourful fruits and vegetables is especially important for both breast cancer prevention and treatment. Many studies have demonstrated a link between breast cancer prevention and increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods. If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, a low-fat, high-fibre diet is linked to improved survival rates. I recommend eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, as well as lean proteins like organic chicken and fish.
Sugar is to be avoided as it creates insulin resistance, which promotes breast cancer growth. A 2009 study found that frequent consumption of sweets by premenopausal women doubled the risk of breast cancer development.
Similarly, alcohol consumption has been clearly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Women who drink between one and two alcoholic drinks per day increase their relative risk of breast cancer by 10% compared with light drinkers who drink less than one drink a day. The risk of breast cancer increases by 30% in women who drink more than three drinks a day.
Get more sleep
Sleep deprivation has also been associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. Women who slept less than 6 hours per night had a 62% increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who slept 7 hours per night.
It’s easy to say, much harder to do. Stress can alter the levels of hormones in the body and affect your immune system, so it’s important to keep your stress levels under control. Many people find success with meditation, yoga, tai chi and other light forms of exercise.
Try a natural supplement
There are a wide variety of nutrients and herbs that have been shown to help with breast cancer treatment and support, including Black Cohosh, Curcumin, Melatonin, Vitamin D and even green tea. We can advise you on the best natural supplements for you.
Remember, you can’t choose whether or not you get cancer, but you can choose how to manage it.
If you would like some advice on how we can help, book a free 15 minute phone chat with a qualified Naturopath. Click here to book now.
If you are in need of some support and would like some free advice from our qualified Naturopaths, drop in to the Herb Bar anytime Monday through Friday from 8am – 1pm or Saturday 9am – 1pm. No appointment necessary and a qualified Naturopath will be on hand ready to assist you with a free advice, practitioner grade natural supplements and herbal medicines. The Herb Bar is located at the Centre, 16 Murray Street Hamilton NSW 2303.