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Topic: Changes you made after diagnosis?

Forum: Complementary and Holistic Medicine and Treatment — Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used WITH standard treatment. Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person.

Posted on: Jan 6, 2018 08:40PM

Axolotl wrote:


I'm curious what lifestyle changes you made after your cancer diagnosis in hopes of protecting/improving your health and long-term outcome. Could include anything: exercise, diet, use of supplements, essential oils, etc. Or things that you stopped using or doing. Not to replace treatment, just to be as healthy as you can with things you can control.

I was just diagnosed, and was really surprised as I am 37, active and eat a plant-based diet. I was on Zoloft (an antidepressant) for several years and can only wonder if that played a role in the breast cancer. I've recently stopped taking it.

Diagnosed at 37. Extensive DCIS (7cm) with scattered multifocal IDC. Dx 12/18/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/26/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jan 13, 2018 08:38PM - edited Jan 13, 2018 08:40PM by Axolotl

Hi Lexica,

Aspirin is a mild aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase inhibitors work by reducing estrogen circulating in the body. In premenopausal women, most estrogen is made by the ovaries. When there is a reduction of estrogen in the body of a younger woman, it triggers a feedback loop that encourages the ovaries to up the estrogen production. This is why premenopausal women are given Tamoxifen, which works differently, whereas once women reach menopause (or have their ovaries removed) they can take aromatase inhibitors.

The articles I found about aspirin use for the prevention of breast cancer in premenopausal women all site the same research study. Here is one of them. No evidence of premenopausal breast cancer benefit with aspirin: https://www.medpagetoday.com/hematologyoncology/br...

If someone else has different information, I'd love to hear it, as aspirin would be so cheap and easy to take every day. And perhaps there are other reasons to take it. Also, I'm unclear on how the combination of Tamoxifen and a baby aspirin every day would work together.

Diagnosed at 37. Extensive DCIS (7cm) with scattered multifocal IDC. Dx 12/18/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/26/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jan 13, 2018 11:05PM - edited Jan 13, 2018 11:09PM by wallycat

This was a survey of sorts https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/1705... and seemed to show aspirin as protective (assuming not all the teachers were post-menopausal). They seem to think that the anti-inflammatory aspect of aspirin also helps contribute to lower risks.

I started aspirin with tamoxifen because of the possible blood clots tamoxifen can cause; when I read aspirin could help prevent other things like dementia and recurrence, I just stuck with it.

This study seems to think aspirin does little to assist in decreased risk: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/24/11/1645

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012
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Jan 14, 2018 12:04AM Meow13 wrote:

I didn't change anything related to diet and exercise since I was already living a healthy life in that respect but I did eliminate obnoxious people in my life.

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Jan 14, 2018 01:16AM - edited Jan 14, 2018 01:17AM by ToughCookie101

Meow. I love the comment! “I did eliminate obnoxious people in my life." I did the same. Best choice, started to focus on myself for once. I was also active before, and slowed down with the shock of diagnosis but back at it on a different level. I kickboxed for 13 years and had to stop that after the biopsies and I don't think it would go that well right after surgery either. I'll be back though! I cut down drinking. I wasn't a big drinker before, but cut it down even more. I am not eliminating it, I still want to live! :) I cut down on dairy and meat, but not removed it. I also cut out processed sugar for the most part. I did have a sweet tooth. I will have dessert maybe once a month now.

Dx 11/15/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Jan 14, 2018 03:26AM Hariry wrote:

Wow girls, a really good thread. Glad to find this. I blamed cigarettes, when I was dx. 2-3 sticks a day on off (I stop smoking when I was pregnant/nursing) for the past 15yrs. Otherwise I too, lived a healthy life, balanced diet, no alcohol, regular exercise etc.

So, since dx, I quit smoking. I do qi gong an hour everyday. I take more antioxidants and supplements. I rest more (well that's bc of se of chemo)...

Sometimes I still ask"why me?"

Most of the times I just be happy with what I do.

Dx at 41, mother of four Radiation Therapy 6/1/2017 Breast Dx 11/10/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 11/21/2017 Lumpectomy Chemotherapy 12/14/2017 Chemotherapy 12/15/2017 AC + T (Taxol)
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Jan 17, 2018 08:54AM Heidihill wrote:

After I was diagnosed with bone mets at the get-go I decided to make a number of changes. One of them was to exercise everyday. In the beginning it was just about taking walks in the forest. 10 years later I am still exercising daily but have a very varied routine. I think as with any medicine, dosage and type of exercise is important and should be personalized. You can't have too much nor too little. I also paid more attention to my upper body than I ever did.

Second was diet. I increased my antioxidant consumption and fiber intake not through supplements but by eating foods rich in them, up to 10 servings a day. These days I get about 7 a day. I also started intermittent fasting at some point but stopped after a year, or rather increased my eating window. I still get a 13-hour fast a day on most days as opposed to 17 or 18 then. I try to eat low-carb and low sugar to maintain my weight. Christmas time is a big exception, vacations another. At various points and for periods lasting at least a month I tried aspirin, metformin, melatonin, anti-inflammatory meds (e.g., Celebrex, glucosamine and chondroitin), antihistamine. I figure in a month I could kill cancer cells and let my body recover from the meds after. My onc was happy to prescribe my "cure" of the month. I also had natural "cures" like broccoli sprouts (everyday for a whole summer), watercress (after the sprouts caused a thyroid nodule), fish oil, massage (daily for 3 months, really healing!!), acupuncture. I also cut down on alcohol to just 3 deciliters of wine a day (1 glass). I feel there's more wiggle room for me with regards to estrogenic effects of wine and food as I'm 10 years past menopause (chemo-induced). So far so good. Next month I will be NED 10 years. 

There has been a lot of press lately on our gut microbiome. And thinking about it, the things I have done might have changed my gut microbiome to enhance my immune system enough to kill circulating tumor cells or micrometastasis not seen on imaging. Exercise supposedly can change the microbiome without a change in diet, improving insulin resistance. I actually have very low blood sugar and insulin levels now. This could be the reason,


A high fiber diet also reduces inflammation and may help increase estrogen metabolism and excretion. More studies are needed


A tumor suppressor called PML which studies show are related to tumor growth in breast cancer can be targeted by statins, so this could be another therapeutic direction. A low fat diet could also help as suggested by this study for prostate cancer. I try to avoid saturated fats but love olive oil. As long as my cholesterol numbers are good I won't worry about all the cheese and dairy I eat, which I figure is good for my bones.


One last plug for leafy greens, a mainstay of my diet.


Dx 8/2007, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, 2/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 3/25/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 17, 2018 11:52AM FarAwayToo wrote:

I'm adding this thread to my favorites! I've been doing a lot of research of my own, and find it pretty hard to navigate all the conflicting recommendations.

What is the prevailing opinion on phytoestrogens for hormone positive BC patients and survivors? I love hummus, I make excellent lentil soup, and I've found very good crackers at Trader Joe's that have a lot of seeds, including flax seeds, and not much flour in them. But I keep asking myself if this is also somehow harmful to me?

Dx 8/31/2017, IDC, Right, 2cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel)
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Jan 17, 2018 03:25PM BellasMomToo wrote:

I had a reasonably healthy lifestyle (both diet and exercise) before my dx. I figure one change I can make is to eat more organic foods so I am buying more organic products now.

I'm avoiding adding new supplements to my diet because I hate having explain every single supplement (I may take) every time I go in for a test. It's embarrasing when they print out 2 pages of drugs/supplements/vitamins.

Dx'd at age 56. Tumor found by my annual mammogram -- cancer can grow fast! Dx 10/6/2016, IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Dx 10/6/2016, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, ER+/PR- Targeted Therapy 11/1/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 11/1/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 11/1/2016 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 3/27/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left

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