Breast cancer treatment and natural therapy

Once breast cancer has been diagnosed, what can be done holistically to provide treatment? Which supplements are safe to use during chemo and radiotherapy?

Nature has provided us with a variety of tools to stimulate the body’s natural ability to fight off cancer whilst reducing some of the nasty side effects of modern treatment.

Multivitamin supplements

Women who take a multivitamin daily have a 30% reduced risk of cancer. This is due to increased levels of nutrients and antioxidants in the body.[1]

Green tea

Green tea supports multiple cancer fighting processes. It assists with detoxification of carcinogens, prevents tumour development, growth, formation and metastases. 4-8 cups a day provides a significant level of cancer protection.

Melatonin
More often known as the ‘sleep hormone’, melatonin has proven incredibly successful at treating and preventing breast cancer for a number of reasons:

  • During sleep our body goes through a number of cycles that dispose of metabolic garbage. If too little endogenous melatonin is produced or if we don’t get enough sleep, these processes are interrupted, the immune system is weakened and unregulated cell growth is more likely to occur.
  • Melatonin decreases the production of oestrogen – this is particularly important in hormone-dependent cancers like E2+ breast cancer.
  • Melatonin is an extremely strong antioxidant, meaning that it can scavenge the bad guys before they start to cause damage.
  • Melatonin in high doses can initiate apoptosis, which is a process of programmed cell death that cancer cells often skip, leading to further cellular dysfunction and proliferation [2].

 Medicinal mushroomsTurkeytail

Trametes versicolour (Turkeytail) contains PSK (or polysaccharide K), shown to have significant affects on survival following breast cancer, both by itself and in conjunction with Tamoxifen. 5 & 10 year survival rates following chemotherapy for breast cancer were 87% better when combined with PSK from Turkeytail mushrooms [3].

 

 

Are natural remedies safe to take when undergoing medical treatment?

The short answer is yes, most natural remedies are completely safe to take while undergoing chemo or radiotherapy.

Some compounds, like those found in medicinal mushrooms can even enhance the affects of therapy, increasing its uptake into cancerous cells and optimising immune response. However, it’s always best to ask your Naturopath to explain the possible interactions.


 

[1] Alshuler, L. Oncology Masterclass, Session 9. Integrative Comanagement Strategies. April 2014.

[2] Alshuler, L. Oncology Masterclass, Session 9. Integrative Comanagement Strategies. April 2014.

[3] Alshuler, L. Oncology Masterclass, Session 9. Integrative Comanagement Strategies. April 2014.

Photo credit: Scott Darbey / Foter / CC BY