Thursday, August 19, 2010

cancer and estrogen

Since being treated for invasive breast cancer two years ago I've had to make some changes to my diet. The type of cancer that I had is sensitive to estrogen, so I should avoid any foods with high levels of plant estrogen. That means soy, most importantly, but also other beans, and grains.

The research around plant estrogen is not conclusive, though. It's actually contradictory. Plant estrogen can alleviate symptoms of menopause in healthy women, and some argue that it protects healthy women from breast cancer. But in my case it's the other way around.

In addition to the plant estrogen I'm avoiding food stuffs that are bad for you in general, or bad for cancer patients in particular. This is what I don't eat or drink:

red meat
garbanzo beans
flax seed
sweets, desserts
anything white (rice, white flour, sugar)

There are also a bunch of chemicals that act as estrogen in the body. Those include BPA, which is used in plastics and in the lining of cans, and parabens, which are preservatives that are used in skin lotions, shampoos, and other cosmetics.

I don't store food in plastic containers, and I don't eat or drink anything out of a can. The parabens, though, are harder to avoid. But I'm working on it.

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