The Breast Cancer Survival Vegetable

Image Credit: Kris A / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Quadrupling Breast Cancer Survival

Half a million Americans are expected to die this year from cancer, equal to five 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 — five or more servings of fruits and veggies a day and just walking 30 minutes a day six 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. In the video, Breast Cancer Survival Vegetable, you can see the proportion of women with breast cancer surviving nine 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 one of their five 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.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


8 responses to “Quadrupling Breast Cancer Survival

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  1. We were fortunate to attend Healthy Taste of Ventura just five months after my wife was diagnosed with triple positive, stage IIb breast cancer in 2012.
    She had a very simple lumpectomy without lymph node dissection and clear margins but chose not to have chemo, radiation or drugs.
    Although she was already cancer free just two months after surgery, We immediately switched to a plant based diet after hearing Dr Gregor’s research. She remains cancer free 19 months later.




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    1. Wonderful news and thanks for posting. Dr. M’s last statement is true: People would rather have chemo, take drugs, et al, than eat vegetables. Strange. My best wishes to you both and your post will be passed on.




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  2. I so appreciate your website and research, Dr. Gregor. I switched to an entirely vegan, whole food, plant based diet after treatment for breast cancer. It has been nearly 3 years now… My health has been amazing since the change. I feel at least 10 years younger – and have had a bunch of other health issues disappear – psoriatic arthritis, for one. I am told that I look amazing, too:)
    Thank you again!




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  3. The study was based on women who take tamoxifen and adopt a plant-based
    diet. Any research on survival rate for those of us who have not chosen
    to take tamoxifen, yet have changed to a plant-based diet and exercise
    daily?




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    1. Great question! I heard recently they are now suggesting even longer periods of tamoxifen use from 5 years previously to 10 years for most people regardless of vegan or not. I doubt there are any studies on exercising vegans not taking tamoxifen compared to general population taking tamoxifen, although that would be so interesting!




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  4. I could not locate any info on sugar and cancer. Some say sugar feeds cancer, do the studies show this to be ? Are there differences for the different types of sugars?




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