Boost Your Breast Health for Spring

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Strategies and Recipes to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

It’s time to focus on real prevention, now that the myth: “mammographic screening prevents breast cancer deaths,” has been debunked. Results of the Canadian National Breast Cancer Screening Study were just published in the British Medical Journal on Feb 10, 2014. This important study of almost 90,000 women aged 40 to 59 from across Canada revealed that the number of women who died from breast cancer was the same whether they received screening mammograms annually for 5 years, or had annual physical breast exams only. During the five-year screening period, 666 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in the women who were screened using mammography, while 524 were found in those receiving physical breast exams. Both groups received the usual medical treatment for breast cancer. Out of all of these women, 180 in the screening mammogram group and 171 in the physical exam group died of breast cancer during the 25 year follow-up period. Surprisingly, early detection through mammography did not reduce deaths due to breast cancer. (1)

The World Health Organization reports that breast cancer is by far the most frequent cancer among women, with an estimated 1.67 million cases diagnosed worldwide in 2012, comprising 25% of all female cancers.(2) Approximately 23,420 of those women were from Canada. In 2012, about 522,000 women worldwide died from the disease, almost 5,000 of them from Canada.(3) These numbers are staggering and the collective toll on women and their families is devastating.

If early detection does not reduce breast cancer deaths, then where might we focus our attention and health care dollars to decrease the psychological, familial, social, financial and global burden of breast cancer? It’s time for real breast cancer prevention.

Although breast cancer is a disease that could happen to any of us, there is much we can do to help prevent it. Being personally, politically and globally proactive with prevention is the way forward.

We know a lot about many of the causes of breast cancer. Knowing the causes guides us towards solutions. There are 11 things women can do to prevent this disease.

Tips on Preventing Breast Cancer

  1. Exercise at least 40 minutes each day or 4 hours a week, outside of your normal activities (walk, jog, swim, dance, cycle, rebound, use an elliptical machine etc.)[iv]
  2. Reduce or limit alcohol to no more than 2 beverages per week. [v]
  3. Adopt a primarily vegetarian diet. Minimize or avoid meat and animal fat, using instead legumes (lentils, chick peas, split peas, mung beans etc.), nuts and seeds. Reduce or avoid sugar, other than in fresh fruit. Choose organic food whenever possible.[vi]
  4. Sleep in a dark room, with no light from the street coming into your bedroom. Use a night light in the washroom. To keep melatonin levels high and your biological rhythms intact, avoid turning on a bright light at night.[vii]
  5. Spend 15 minutes outside exposing your arms and legs to sunlight daily when the weather allows it.  Monitor vitamin D levels in blood annually, and if it is low, take 1,000 – 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, especially during the winter months.[viii]
  6. Avoid use of the birth control pill[ix] and/or Hormone Replacement Therapy.[x]
  7. Avoid cosmetics, nail polish, toothpaste, shampoo, etc., containing parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl paraben) or phthalates. Read labels and choose brands that are paraben- and phthalate-free. Both of these chemicals act like the hormone estrogen, and may stimulate breast cancer cell growth. See for safe cosmetics.[xi]
  8. Keep water and any leftover food stored in the fridge in glass, ceramic or stainless steel, NOT plastic. Many plastics leach bisphenol A or phthalates, both of which mimic estrogen.[xii]
  9. Add 2 Tbsp of freshly ground flaxseeds to your cereal, juice, fruit smoothie, salad or bean dishes. (Use an electric coffee grinder to grind them. Eat them within 15 minutes after grinding.) Also use 2 Tbsp of cold-pressed flaxseed oil daily in salad dressing or drizzled over rice, pasta, baked potatoes etc. Never heat it. Buy it in glass and keep it refrigerated when not in use. [xiii] [xiv]
  10. Eat 2 teaspoons of turmeric daily, added to your food, or take 1,000 mg of curcumin in capsule form daily.[xv]
  11. Use the following herbal teas regularly to help prevent breast cancer: rosemary[xvi], red clover[xvii], taheebo[xviii], holy basil[xix], chai and green tea[xx].

Along with the above tips, incorporate breast-friendly foods into your diet on a regular basis.

Breast-friendly Foods

  • freshly ground flaxseeds
  • broccoli sprouts
  • red clover sprouts
  • garlic, onions
  • rosemary, pomegranate
  • shitake mushrooms
  • brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, etc.)
  • tomatoes, watercress
  • legumes, seaweeds
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Brazil nuts

To learn more about real breast cancer prevention, join Sat Dharam Kaur, ND, and Dr. Gabor Maté on May 26 – 31, 2014 at the University of Toronto, for a 6-day workshop in the Healthy Breast Program and Mind-Body Approaches to Cancer and Health. For more info:


(1) Miller AB, Wall C, Baines CJ, Sun P, To T, Narod SA. Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial BMJ 2014;348:g366
[iv] Kruk J, Czerniak U. Physical activity and its relation to cancer risk: updating the evidence. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(7):3993-4003
[v] Scoccianti C, Lauby-Secretan B, Bello PY, Romieu I. Female breast cancer and alcohol consumption: a review of the literature. Am J Prev Med. 2014 Mar 46;(3 Suppl 1):S16-25. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013
[vi] Ko KP, Kim SW, Ma SH et al. Dietary intake and breast cancer among carriers and noncarriers of BRCA mutations in the Korean Hereditary Breast Cancer Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Dec;98(6):1493-501.
[vii] Stevens RG, Brainard GC, Blask DE, Lockley SW, Motta ME. Adverse health effects of nighttime lighting: comments on American medical association policy statement. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Sep;45(3):343-6.
[viii] Nair Lopes, Joana Paredes et al. Vitamin D and the mammary gland: A review on its role in normal development and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. 2012; 14(3): 211.
[ix] Ebsanpour S, Neiad FS, Raiabi FM, Taleghani F. Investigation on the association between breast cancer and consumption patterns of combined oral contraception pills in the women of Isfahan in 2011. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2013 May;18(3):186-90.
[x] Brand JS, Czene K, Eriksson L et al. Influence of lifestyle factors on mammographic density in postmenopausal women. PLoS One. 2013 PLoS One. 2013 Dec 9;8(12):e81876.
[xi] Wrobel AM, Gregoraszczuk EL. differential effect of methyl-, butyl- and propylparaben and 17β-estradiol on selected cell cycle and apoptosis gene and protein expression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells and MCF-10A non-malignant cells.  J Appl Toxicol 2014 Jan 30.
[xii]  Solo AM, Briskan C, Schaeberle C., Sonnenschein C. Does cancer start in the womb? altered mammary gland development and predisposition to breast cancer due to in utero exposure to endocrine disruptors. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia .2013 Jun;18(2):199-208.
[xiii] Flower G, Fritz H, Balneaves LG, Verma S et al Flax and Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review. Integr Cancer Ther 2013 Sep 8.
[xiv] Truan JS, Chen JM, Thompson LU  Flaxseed oil reduces the growth of human breast tumors (MCF-7) at high levels of circulating estrogen. Mol Nutr Fod Res 2010 Oct;54(10):1414-21. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200900521.
[xiii] [xiv] Liu D, Chen Z. The effect of curcumin on breast cancer cells. J Breast Cancer 2013 Jun;16(2):133-7.
[xvi] Ngo SN, Williams DB, Head RJ.  Rosemary and cancer prevention: preclinical perspectives. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2011 Dec;51(10):946-54.
[xvii] Chen J, Zeng J, Xin M, huang W, Chen X. Formononetin induces cell cycle arrest of human breast cancer cells via IGF1/PI3K/Akt pathways in vitro and in vivo. Horm Metab Res 2011 Sep;43(10):681-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1286306. Epub 2011 Sep 19.
Mukherjee B, Telano N, Wong GY. Growth inhibition of estrogen receptor positive human breast cancer cells by Taheebo from the inner bark of Tabebuia avellandae tree. Int J Mol Med  2009 Aug;24(2):253-60.
Nangia-Makker P, Raz T, Tait L, et al Ocimum gratissimum retards breast cancer growth and progression and is a natural inhibitor of matrix metalloproteases. Cancer Biol Ther .   2013 May;14(5):417-27.
Yu SS, Spicer DV, Hawes D, Tsang CC, Yang CS, Pike MC, Wu AH. Biological effects of green tea capsule supplementation in pre-surgery postmenopausal breast cancer patients. Front Oncol 2013 Dec 13;3:298.


This herbal blend cleanses the lymphatic system, kidneys, and liver while supporting the immune system and assisting in cancer prevention.

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  • Use equal parts of the following dried herbs: Burdock root, red clover tops, dandelion root and leaves, cloves, peppermint, licorice root, fennel seed, juniper berries, milk thistle seed, pau d’arco,

1) Mix the herbs together and use 1 tsp of the blend per cup of hot water.

2) Steep for 15 minutes.

3) Drink 1-2 cups daily for a month or longer.

Green Smoothie

This green drink has become a staple for me as well as my patients. It decreases sugar cravings, alkalinizes the body, supplies easily digested protein and helps cleanse the liver and kidneys. It makes a great morning meal, and can be sipped throughout the day.

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View the full printable recipe

This yummy blend of vegetables will have your liver smiling in no time – a great way to welcome spring!


  • 1 pound of organic carrots
  • 6 stalks organic celery
  • 1 small beet
  • ½ cucumber
  • 15 leaves of either kale or Swiss chard
  • thumb size piece of fresh ginger root,
  • 2 cloves of garlic

1) Juice carrots, celery, beet, cucumber, and kale or Swiss chard, along ginger root and garlic.

2) Drink this throughout each day.

3) Aim for a litre a day. It’s easiest to fill a mason jar and sip between meals.


Try this delicious drink in the evening. It will help to prevent cancer by decreasing inflammation and infection, while providing beneficial antioxidants.

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This delicious soup has become a celebrity at my house, taking its place at the table with guests, and loved by everyone. (Yields 6 servings)

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