Toxins and the Breast Cancer Epidemic

Toxins and the Breast Cancer Epidemic

Breast cancer is a life-changing diagnosis. This is especially true for young women (and even men who can get the disease, although it’s still rare). And unfortunately, cases are on rise in these two groups. While it’s true that the majority of patients diagnosed with breast cancer are women over 45, the sobering reality is that the disease can affect anyone. Worse, when younger women receive this life-threatening diagnosis, the cancer often tends to be more aggressive… with lower survival rates [1].

The numbers themselves are cause for concern [2]:

  • 12% of US women develop invasive breast cancer during their lives
  • More than 325,000 new cases are projected in women this year
  • Roughly 276,000 of those will be invasive breast cancer 
  • 42,000+ women will die from the disease in 2020
  • Around 2,600 men are expected to be diagnosed annually 
  • Roughly 85% of cases are in women with no family history 

For younger women under 40, these numbers are far worse. That’s because overall breast cancer cases have increased slowly over the past decade, but cases in women under 40 have almost doubled in that same time. 

As an integrative physician specializing in cancer, immunity and toxic body burden, my belief is that this rise in cases is linked to the bombardment of cancer-causing toxins that we all face in today’s world. Unfortunately, these toxins may often impact women more severely than men, for a number of reasons.  

Toxins that Raise Your Risk of Breast Cancer 

We’re all exposed to untold numbers of environmental toxins and chemicals on a daily basis. Many of these are linked to breast cancer, as well as other cancers [3]. 

These breast cancer-spurring toxins can be classified into two categories – xenoestrogens (estrogen mimics) and heavy metals (like lead, mercury, arsenic, nickel).

Xenoestrogens are considered estrogen mimics, because these chemicals act very closely to estrogen [4]. They trick your hormone receptors into letting them in. From there, they wreak havoc by disrupting hormone activity and communications. Xenoestrogens are known to significantly heighten your risk of breast cancer [5].

Heavy metals are naturally occurring minerals such as lead, mercury, and nickel that can be highly toxic, even in small quantities. Toxic metals are a double threat, because they can have both estrogen-mimicking AND pro-cancer actions. Research continues to demonstrate how toxic metal body burden can raise breast cancer risk [6].

The truth is, in today’s world we’re all heavily exposed to these health-robbing toxins. They’re in the air you breathe, the water you drink, and many foods you eat. They’re found in everyday items such as:

  • plastic water bottles and packaging
  • clothing
  • cosmetics
  • seafood
  • processed foods
  • skin care products
  • fame retardants in furniture and electronics
  • accessories and jewelry
  • children’s toys and baby items 

Even with the best efforts and intentions, it’s extremely difficult to avoid these toxins, because they’re found everywhere. And they pose an enormous threat to breast health and other reproductive health areas. 

Why are breasts so vulnerable?  Because the body stores toxins in fatty tissue, including breast tissue, as a coping strategy to get them out of the way. But, paradoxically, those stored toxins can wreak havoc within your breasts, spurring inflammation and DNA damage and making breast cells more likely to turn cancerous [7]. 

And on top of all that, toxins cause your body to release more of the ‘alarm protein’ called galectin-3, which can easily get out of control and fuel cancer through additional mechanisms.

7 Ways Galectin-3 Promotes Breast Cancer 

You may not have heard of galectin-3 before, but this runaway protein plays a deadly role in breast cancer. Galectin-3 encourages breast cancer development and progression in seven critical ways: 

  1. Speeding up breast cancer cell division and replication
  2. Helping breast cancer cells form tumors
  3. Fueling breast cancer spread and metastasis
  4. Making it easier for cancer cells to take over healthy tissue
  5. Feeding tumors by forming new blood vessels to them
  6. Helping cancer cells avoid apoptosis (programmed cell death] 
  7. Shielding cancer cells from your immune system

Galectin-3 is known as “The Guardian of the Tumor Microenvironment”. Cancer cells need galectin-3 to survive and grow. 

The good news is that blocking galectin-3 with a proven galectin-3 inhibitor, is shown to halt and in many cases reverse cancer’s process in your body.  

Modified Citrus Pectin Blocks Galectin-3 and Fights Breast Cancer

My top recommendation for helping to prevent and treat breast cancer is the original, clinically researched form of Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP). This natural ingredient is shown to fight numerous types of cancer, including breast cancer. This form of MCP is known as the only available agent shown to effectively block galectin-3 and in doing so, offer numerous benefits including powerful anti-cancer actions.  

In addition to blocking galectin-3, MCP also delivers other critical benefits in the fight against breast, and other types of cancer:

  1. Detoxification: MCP is clinically proven to gently remove heavy metals and other environmental toxins from your body that are linked to breast cancer [8].
  2. Improves conventional therapies: MCP is shown to work synergistically with other treatments including chemo and hormonal therapy, radiation treatment, and herbal formulas to increase efficacy and in some cases, reduce side effects [9, 10],
  3. Improves immune system’s ability to fight cancer: MCP activates NK cells to increase your body’s own cancer-fighting capabilities, and also exposes cancer to the immune system [11].

Botanical Formula Helps Protect Your Breasts

A number of other powerful botanicals and nutrients are shown to help protect breast cells and help fight breast cancer [12]:

  • DIM (3,3’-diindolymethane) is a compound you get from eating cruciferous veggies like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.  DIM blocks xenoestrogens and helps to balance natural estrogen levels.
  • Botanically-grown medicinal mushrooms are cultivated on a milled blend of potent, immune-enhancing botanicals that impart additional benefits in the fight against breast cancer.
  • Powerful botanical extracts including scullcap and astragalus deliver a broad-spectrum of phytonutrient compounds to support immunity and protect breast cells. 

In my practice, in addition to MCP, I recommend a researched breast health formula containing these ingredients. This powerful formula is shown in animal studies to:

  • Limit breast cancer cell growth
  • Reduce tumor volume
  • Limit metastasis to other organs
  • Promote healthy cell and gene signaling
  • Help fight estrogen positive as well as triple negative breast cancer

Modified Citrus Pectin Works Synergistically with Botanical Breast Formula

The combination of MCP with the researched breast formula is shown to increase anti-cancer actions by up to 40% compared to either formula alone [13].

In integrative medicine, we rely on strategic combinations of therapies that can offer greater results when used together within an individualized protocol. Because when you’re addressing breast, or any type of cancer, you want every possible advantage. These targeted natural options can help give you the upper hand. 

Sources:

  1.  Anders CK, Hsu DS, Broadwater G, Acharya CR, Foekens JA, Zhang Y, Wang Y, Marcom PK, Marks JR, Febbo PG, Nevins JR, Potti A, Blackwell KL. Young age at diagnosis correlates with worse prognosis and defines a subset of breast cancers with shared patterns of gene expression. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jul 10;26(20):3324-30. 
  2. U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics. BreastCancer.org website. Updated June 25, 2020. Accessed September 23, 2020. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics
  3. Kresovich JK, Erdal S, Chen HY, Gann PH, Argos M, Rauscher GH. Metallic air pollutants and breast cancer heterogeneity. Environ Res. 2019;177:108639. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2019.108639
  4. Paterni I, Granchi C, Minutolo F. Risks and benefits related to alimentary exposure to xenoestrogens. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;57(16):3384-3404. 
  1.  Fernandez SV, Russo J. Estrogen and xenoestrogens in breast cancer. Toxicol Pathol. 2010;38(1):110-122. 
  2.  White AJ, O’Brien KM, Niehoff NM, Carroll R, Sandler DP. Metallic Air Pollutants and Breast Cancer Risk in a Nationwide Cohort Study. Epidemiology. 2019;30(1):20-28. doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000917
  3.  Pamphlett R, Satgunaseelan L, Kum Jew S, Doble PA, Bishop DP. Elemental bioimaging shows mercury and other toxic metals in normal breast tissue and in breast cancers. PLoS One. 2020;15(1):e0228226. 
  4.  Eliaz I, Hotchkiss AT, Fishman ML, Rode D. The effect of modified citrus pectin on urinary excretion of toxic elements. Phytother Res. 2006 Oct;20(10):859-64. 
  5.  Conti S, Vexler A, Hagoel L, et al. Modified Citrus Pectin as a Potential Sensitizer for Radiotherapy in Prostate Cancer. Integr Cancer Ther. 2018;17(4):1225-1234. 
  6.  Hossein G, Halvaei S, Heidarian Y, et al. Pectasol-C Modified Citrus Pectin targets Galectin-3-induced STAT3 activation and synergize paclitaxel cytotoxic effect on ovarian cancer spheroids. Cancer Med. 2019;8(9):4315-4329. doi:10.1002/cam4.2334.
  7.  Ramachandran C, Wilk BJ, Hotchkiss A, Chau H, Eliaz I, Melnick SJ. Activation of human T-helper/inducer cell, T-cytotoxic cell, B-cell, and natural killer (NK)-cells and induction of natural killer cell activity against K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells with modified citrus pectin. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11:59. 
  8.  Cheng S, Castillo V, Welty M, et al. BreastDefend enhances effect of tamoxifen in estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer in vitro and in vivo. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):115. 
  9.  Jiang J, Eliaz I, Sliva D. Synergistic and additive effects of modified citrus pectin with two polybotanical compounds, in the suppression of invasive behavior of human breast and prostate cancer cells. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Mar;12(2):145-52.