I get a lot of my information about what to eat to try and prevent breast cancer reoccurence from the Food For Breast Cancer blog-– which I highly recommend both for its ease of reference by food, as well as for its overall emphasis on clinical research as a source.

But really, the diet that helps with Breast cancer is also, coincidentally, the one that helps with heart health, tension, etc. etc…..you’ve heard it all before. Eat more plant-based foods. More fiber. Less/No alcohol. No red meat (and yes, that means pork which calls itself “the other white meat” but we’re talking any meat that had hooves here).

I recently read Clinical nutritionist Daniella Chace’s book, review below. She didn’t present guidelines on things like dairy and soy as having conflicting research results especially for different aged and diagnosed populations, but overall has some excellent recommendations to follow.

Turning Off Breast Cancer: A Personalized Approach to Nutrition and Detoxification in Prevention and Healing

Let me preface my review with the caveat that I am not a medical professional or researcher. I am however, a breast cancer survivor (lumpectomy, radiation, chemotherapy– ER+, HER-) deeply invested in the tools at my disposal to prevent a reoccurence: nutrition, exercise, lessening of exposure to specific pollutants/chemicals.

This book is more of a reference than one you should read straight through. (in fact page 119-160 are research citations and glossary). What is presented here mostly jives with what I’ve read other places. It’s got handy notations about a wide variety of foods, and some great guidelines for the use of nutrition in preventing breast cancer occurence. (and even a recommendation for Rosemary, which I hadn’t encountered elsewhere, although the berries, brassica, fiber wasn’t new to me).

With a couple caveats.

From the perspective of a patient– who has wrestled with serious financial concerns about paying for treatment, and weighing the efficacy of genetic tests (I did the Oncotype DX ultimately) with insurance possibly not paying for them, the persistent advice in this book about getting tests for a variety of things without any reference to how to approach the financial aspect of it struck me as a bit odd.

In an ideal world, I would have no problem with the battery of tests suggested here: blood tests for percentages of chemical pollutants such as heavy metals or BPA’s as well as possibly much more expensive and less-clinically supported tests such as the recommendation for tests for polymorphism (through Genova Diagnostics– figured prominently here, which is not necessarily odd in the small world of genetic testing)

But it isn’t an ideal world. I had to go through a lot of wrangling with my provider (Mayo Clinic) as well as Genomic Health about the test. While ultimately participation in a research study paid for it, there was an emotional cost…and the results were ambiguous. Framing the book from the start with the recommendations for all these tests, while I understand how it informs nutritional choices, creates a burden on patients to navigate this messy world that insurance companies have made over payment for the tests.

Also, I might be behind on some of the literature, but I thought there was some contention in research over the actual clinical evidence linking parabens to breast cancer, as well as contention over soy products and organic, whole milk for different kinds of breast cancer. The recommendations presented here don’t seem to acknowledge those particular controversies.

The most useful part of the book for me started in Chapter Four where the book leaves off genetic testing and pollutants and goes into Nutritional recommendations.

Here’s the chapter I think all breast cancer patients should read. Specific recommendation about kinds of vegetables, herbs, spices, and fruits to put into your diet and the specific reasons why they help. Very enlightening.

Overall, despite my issues with health providers recommending genetic tests, the nutritional aspect of this book is very valuable. An excellent addition to a breast cancer survivor’s arsenal.

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