Transcript: Breast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake
Breast cancer is initially so slow-growing that women may have tumors years, or even decades, before they’re diagnosed. So, it makes sense that the same dietary factors that helped grow the tumor in the first place would keep goading it on, before and after diagnosis.
This is not always the case, evidently. Alcohol, for example, is strongly associated with breast cancer risk. But once you already have a full-blown tumor, it may not make a difference if you continue to drink or not.
But in general, the same diet that helps prevent breast cancer appears to be the same type of diet that’s going to help prolong survival. That seemed to be the case in this recent New York study. Started out with about a thousand women with breast cancer. Ended up with less than a thousand.It must be so sad to do these survival studies; you never know who’s going to make it to the end.
Several investigations have suggested that plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains, as well as their related nutrients, may have a beneficial effect on survival after breast cancer. Evidence pointed to lignans, phytonutrients found throughout the plant kingdom. We know they may prevent breast cancer. Now we know dietary lignan intake is associated with improved survival among postmenopausal women with breast cancer. In fact, it appeared to cut mortality risk in half!
Where do you find it? Well, there’s some in red wine, whole grains, vegetables like kale, big jump to sesame seeds, and then meteoric rise to flax seeds. Let me squish down the scale. Look at that. Nothing comes close to flax.
The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project estimated the quantity of lignans Long Island women average on a daily basis. From their entire diet, about six milligrams a day. That’s how many lignans are found in a single teaspoon of flax seeds. So, you add just a teaspoon to your diet, and you may have just doubled your entire intake for the day.
Just maybe not during the last two trimesters of pregnancy, as preliminary data suggests flax use may increase the risk of preterm delivery.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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