A Breast Cancer Surgeon's Prevention Diet

review by Irene Alleger

The 1994 cancer projections told us that 182,000 U.S. women would be diagnosed with the disease during that year and of those women, 46,000 would die. For most of those women, despite mammograms, extensive chemotherapy and radiation, despite the removal of breasts, the dying process was a nightmare from which they would not awaken.

Some statistics of interest: breast cancer is the cancer for which the most X-rays are taken; it is the cancer for which the most biopsies are performed. It is the cancer for which the most radiation therapy is given; no other cancer is treated with so much chemotherapy. No other cancer (with the exception of skin cancer) is so often discovered by the patient herself. It would appear that breast cancer is a highly profitable disease to diagnose and treat. Research is now focused on a genetic cause which only affects 3 to 5% of the women, and for prevention, physicians only advise mammograms, misleading women into believing that early detection leads to cures.

Dr. Kradjian, a breast cancer surgeon for 30 years, says "Early detection is not enough. I have treated many women who faithfully followed all of the recommended advice, yet were found to have tumors that were beyond medical control at the time of earliest possible detection." The overall mortality rates for breast cancer have not improved from 1930 to the present. In fact, there is a worsening trend. Now it is the most common cancer among American women and the second most frequent cause of death (after lung cancer).

The manipulation of cancer statistics is not news but when it comes to breast cancer, it may be difficult to ascertain the real incidence of mortality. One respected researcher, Dr. C. Barber Mueller, professor emeritus of surgery from McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, believes that the true number is much greater. After following 3,558 breast cancer patients from upstate New York for 19 years, he found that 1,660 of those women were dean and 88% of them had died of breast cancer. Many researchers feel that the 5-year survival without evidence of recurrence is a widely quoted, but inaccurate, definition of cure.

Since breast cancer in its earliest form is present in the body for 8 to 10 years, with an opportunity to metastasize long before it can be detected, Dr. Kradjian feels strongly that prevention is the only answer to this deadly epidemic. He notes that the medical establishment has ignored and rejected dietary programs and that there have been only four books exclusively relating to the prevention of breast cancer, from the 1960's to the present.

In Save Yourself From Breast Cancer, Dr. Kradjian, a doctor with conscience, acknowledges the limitations of conventional treatment of breast cancer, saying "These...weapons are crude, harsh tools. They have side effects that are unacceptable to many, and often are ineffective." His book begins with a presentation of the current beliefs about how breast cancer begins, and the statistics, then to a thorough investigation of fat in the diet as promoter, and the mounting evidence for diet being a preventive measure.

Some of the most compelling evidence in the book comes from Dr. Kradjian's extensive search of epidemiological, or human population studies. This scientific evidence shows that in countries with low breast cancer incidence, there is low intake of dietary fat. In countries with high levels of breast cancer, there is high intake of fat. This relationship of high-fat diets to high breast cancer rates is strikingly consistent in all countries studied. There are no exceptions. Furthermore, migration studies have only confirmed this, showing that women who move from areas with a low incidence of breast cancer (such as Japan) to areas with a high incidence of breast cancer (such as the U.S.), have an increased rate of breast cancer. The time period required for the increase in breast cancer incidence can be as short as 8 to 10 years. These studies prove that the "protection" enjoyed by women in countries with low rates is environmental, not genetic.

Animal studies are very important in cancer research and for more that 75 years researchers have consistently found that an increase in dietary fat causes an increase in the spontaneous growth of breast cancer in animals. The conclusion: dietary fat is a promoting agent for breast cancer growth. dietary fat intake closely relates to estrogen levels in a woman's body; obesity after menopause results in the production of large amounts of estrogen in the subcutaneous fatty tissues. Also, high-fat diets are almost always low- fiber as well, which tends to increase estrogen levels, adding to the risks.

Much of the information in Save Yourself From Breast Cancer is hard-to-find and very useful; some of the information is alarming. Graham A. Colditz, M.D., of Harvard Medical School is quoted as saying "Breast cancer is caused by estrogens, both those produced by the body during the reproductive years and those added through the use of oral contraceptives and replacement hormone therapy." (emphasis added). Are women suffering and dying in great numbers from the many years of using oral contraceptives, and later, hormone replacement? The fact is that there have been no long-term follow-up studies done to determine the safety of these synthetic hormones. It did occur to me while reading this book that estrogen is now probably prescribed more often as "possible" protection from osteoporosis and heart disease, that it is for menopausal complaints. New markets...those folks in Pharmacity never miss a beat! The author counsels women who wish to protect themselves from osteoporosis and heart disease to do it through improved nutrition (a low-fat, low-protein, high-fiber diet).

Dr. Kradjian examines the flaws in the Harvard Nurses Study and believes that this one study did more to delay breast cancer prevention than anything else. I was appalled to learn that this study, which purported to prove that there was no link between diet and breast cancer, was actually nothing more than a mail survey, based entirely on questionnaires sent out to the participants.

The breast cancer prevention plan:

  • Reduce your dietary fat intake to no more than 20% of total calories. The optimum goal is 10%.

  • Base your diet on rice, potatoes, corn, beans, whole grains and pasta.

  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Stress the cancer-fighting foods - the protease inhibitors soybeans, chick-peas, lentils, limas, and red, black and white beans; the cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower; and the beta-carotenes including carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, and squash.

  • Eat plenty of fiber - that's whole foods.

  • Avoid all dairy products and minimize or avoid animal protein.

  • Avoid all hydrogenated oils and use only seed oils and fish oils, from natural sources.

The date indicate that polyunsaturated fats are more effective promoters of breast cancer than saturated fats. Dr. Kradjian states: "In my opinion, the data support a link between increased use of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats with the increase in breast cancer rates. In the 1960's, when the association between saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart disease was established, we radically increased our intake of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats in an attempt to escape coronary artery disease... As a result, the average American now ingests over 21 lbs. of all oils each year. I believe that this unprecedented change in human nutrition has had a massive negative impact on our health. The dramatic increase in consumption of oils, and especially the hydrogenated fats, is not even mentioned in much of the published research on this subject. Thus it appears that we have partially protected our hearts by reducing saturated fats in our diet, but have caused increases in breast, prostate, and colon cancers."

For women, the information in Save Yourself From Breast Cancer may be lifesaving, and this doctor encourages women to get all the information they can, and analyze and use their own judgement. The author says very little about other possible contributors to breast cancer, such as radiation, or pesticides, but there is evidence linking pesticide levels to breast cancer, which should encourage women to avoid all pesticides as much as possible.

There may be some comparisons between the breast cancer epidemic and AIDS: both groups are being manipulated to the tune of profitability, and no one seems to care about all the suffering and deaths. We must become our own healers, using our intelligence, intuition, and freedom, to save our own lives.

Save Yourself From Breast Cancer
by Robert M. Kradjian, M.D.
The Berkley Publishing Group
200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016
1994, Softcover, $12, 258 pp.

(Reprint, Townsend Letter for Doctors, July, 1995 edition)

Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.

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