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The Breast Cancer Survival Vegetable

Half a million Americans are expected to die this year from cancer, equal to 5 jumbo jets crashing every day. The number of Americans who die from cancer each year is more than all those who have died in all U.S. wars combined. And this happens every single year.

After a cancer diagnosis people tend to clean up their diets. About a third to a half of breast cancer patients, for example, make healthy dietary changes following diagnosis, such as increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and decreasing meat, fat, and sugar intakes. Does it actually help that late in the game? Well, the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study was undertaken in a few thousand breast cancer survivors to determine if a plant-based, low-fat, high-fiber diet could influence breast cancer recurrence rates and survival.

Previously they famously reported that simple changes — 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies a day and just walking 30 minutes a day 6 days a week — were associated with a significant survival advantage, cutting the risk of death nearly in half. Note: it was fruits and veggies and exercise. If you click on the above video, you can see the proportion of women with breast cancer surviving 9 years in the study if they had low fruit and vegetable consumption and low physical activity, compared to those high in one and low in the other, compared to the survival curve of those high in both. And it worked just as well in women with estrogen receptor negative tumors, which normally have twice the mortality — unless women eat those few fruits and veggies and take a few strolls.

Imagine, for a second, you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Imagine sitting in that chair, in the doctor’s office, as your doctor gives you the news. But, she says, there’s a new experimental treatment that can cut your chances of dying in the next few years from 16 percent down to just 4 percent. To quadruple their survival rate, many women would re-mortgage their homes to fly to some quack clinic in Mexico and would lose all their hair to chemo, but most, apparently, couldn’t stand the thought of eating broccoli.

The Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study found that while fruits and vegetables in general may be good, cruciferous vegetables may be better. For women on tamoxifen, for example, women who consumed 1 of their 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies as broccoli, cauliflower, collards, cabbage, or kale had their risk of cancer recurrence cut in half.

I recommend that all women with breast cancer eat broccoli sprouts. See my 8-part video series:

1. DNA Protection from Broccoli
2. Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast
3. Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells
4. Liver Toxicity Due to Broccoli Juice?
5. How Much Broccoli Is Too Much?
6. The Best Detox
7. Sometimes the Enzyme Myth Is True
8. Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck

They may also help out with other cancers (Lung Cancer Metastases and Broccoli and Raw Broccoli and Bladder Cancer Survival).

For more on breast cancer survival, see:

What’s even better is preventing breast cancer in the first place. Here are the 10 latest videos, but there are 81 other videos on breast cancer:

Some of this video may sound familiar — I included it in my 2013 live presentation, which you can watch here.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death and More Than an Apple a Day.

Related:
What Should Women Eat to Live Longest?
Prevent Breast Cancer by Any Greens Necessary
Flaxseeds for Breast Cancer Prevention

Read more: Health, Cancer, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Fitness, General Health, Natural Remedies, Videos, Women's Health, , , ,

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org.

96 comments

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10:04PM PST on Feb 19, 2014

good for many preventive up to a point things too vegetables are, thanks.

11:53AM PST on Feb 18, 2014

Broccoli and kale are so easy to eat on a daily basis.Try kale in a smoothie and broccoli can even be put in lunches raw or cooked.

10:27AM PST on Feb 17, 2014

Green is good for the body! And especially FRESH GREENS!!!

1:31PM PST on Feb 16, 2014

Thanks.

11:02AM PST on Feb 14, 2014

ty

9:39AM PST on Feb 13, 2014

To be more correct, those half a million Americans will die of cancer TREATMENTS, not the cancers themselves. The only was broccoli can save lives is if it has a bottle of iodine strapped to it's stem...

3:40AM PST on Feb 13, 2014

Thanks for sharing

2:59AM PST on Feb 13, 2014

Thank you :)

10:06AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

A very interesting post. Men can get breast cancer as well of course.

9:08AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

Thanks for the information and the post!

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