Breast Cancer Month

Good morning, elite MM readers! Thanks for tuning in for the latest episode of MRMLast week, I pointed out that October is Vegetarian Awareness Month as well as Vegan Month of Food. As many of my media-savvy readers will by now have noticed, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Could these things be related? Read on to find out more.

Breast cancer is a subject which is sadly familiar to most families, ours included. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and breast cancer is the leading cancer among Canadian women. One in nine women will develop breast cancer and 1 in 28 will die from it. Sobering statistics. But so much of the media coverage - as well as the efforts of charitable organizations - focuses on awareness, mammograms and treatment (in the form of surgery and chemotherapy). Why is this the focus of our discussion of the number one cancer in women, and not prevention?

So let's take a look at what we know about things that help prevent occurrence or re-occurrence of breast cancers. In past episodes, I have highlighted studies showing that soy foodscruciferous vegetables and a vegetable-rich diet are all proven preventive factors. Dr. Michael Greger has made breast cancer the focus of several recent installments of his excellent "Nutrition Facts" video series. Specifically, he pointed out the protective qualities of lignanssoy foodsbroccoli and mushrooms (all plant-based) and then the opposite, how trans fatssaturated fat and chicken consumption (mostly found in junk food and animal products) can reduce the survival chances of breast cancer patients. Is this even a surprise to people anymore? Bonus video: see what researchers found when they tested the breast-cancer-fighting capacity of the blood of women put on a plant-based diet for ONLY TWO WEEKS! (Hint - it was good.)

BAM! Take that, Breast Cancer! And speaking of foods with explosive cancer-preventing properties, here are some other specific recommendations. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who was quite grumpy about the lack of focus on prevention in last year's Disease Proof post, is focusing on the positive this year. That is the positive impact of his G-BOMBS (get it? explosive? ha! I kill me.) in the fight against breast cancer. The G-BOMBS (formerly known as GOMBS - the new name is catchier) are his top disease-fighting foods: Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds. On a good day, I will eat all six of these, but mostly because they're delicious... the disease prevention is just a bonus.  

Now, I'm not suggesting that everybody who eats a plant-based diet automatically has a zero percent chance of contracting breast cancer, nor am I in any way trying to put even a shadow of blame on the victims of this dreadful disease by pointing out things women could do differently. But if we aren't willing to take a clear-eyed look at what the science tells us about the environment in which breast cancer thrives, we're just going to be wearing pink ribbons and wringing our hands while the women we love keep getting sick from now until forever. It's a fatal countdown. Today it's 1 in 9. How long till it's 1 in 8 or 1 in 7? We need to start taking action on the knowledge we have - if we prevent disease, treatment isn't even necessary. 

And on that cheery note (okay, sorry, but cancer as a subject is not exactly a barrel of laughs), I offer up a new recipe which contains two of the six "G-BOMBS" for your "breast cancer fighting" enjoyment. And don't forget to make a "Green Smoothie" for your breakfast and you're be getting another three of the six, including lignans and soy milk! Prevention has never tasted this good before. Enjoy them in good health.