By Suzy Cohen

Few things are more painful to bear than a diagnosis of breast cancer and all that goes with it. I have three close friends who are breast cancer thrivers today, although my mother-in-law died from it because the suspicious spot on her scan did not receive follow-up imaging and by the following year, it was too late. She died in 1996. I miss her but I get to love her son, my sweet Sam.

We’ve learned so much since then. I will share the new research now. There is a more comprehensive version of my article with more tips on my website, just sign up for my newsletter to receive your copy.

  1. Bone loss treatment may need to be re-evaluated. According to a paper published in Medical Hypothesis (2010), alterations in the serum calcium to magnesium ratio could lead to increased development of new as well as recurrent breast cancer (due to low magnesium levels relatively speaking). The paper states, “Most women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer are recommended to take aromatase inhibitors, which causes bone loss and thus are generally prescribed Calcium and vitamin D, but not Magnesium.”  So when you take high amounts of calcium all by itself for osteoporosis, it may be better for you to add supportive minerals like magnesium and/or vitamin D.  Talk to your doctor.
  2. Natural folate from salads and greens are incredible for you. Eating folate-rich foods appears to reduce risk. This was determined when researchers evaluated the diets of 367,993 women recruited from 10 European countries. The researchers used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Eating a diet that is rich in dietary folate may be associated with a lower risk of sex hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, at least in pre-menopausal women.
  3. There are natural SERMs like Rhodiola. The SERMs short for Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators can block estrogen-mediated breast cancer growth and help to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women. You know the drugs as tamoxifen (Nolvadex) and raloxifene (Evista) and others. A paper in Phytomedicine 2016 found that Rhodiola rosea acts a bit like a SERM by binding to estrogen receptors, counteracting TNF-alpha and protecting bone cells (osteoblasts) from hydrogen peroxide. You should discuss the risks to benefits with your physician but it seems that with SERM activity, natural Rhodiola might help mitigate or delay menopause-related discomfort and support breast health.
  4. Eating rosemary is powerful.  This herb contains natural compounds such as rosmarinic acid that are protective of our reproductive organs. Another spice called Spica prunella (Xia Ku Cao in Chinese medicine) contains this rosmarinic acid.  There are studies on rosmarinic acid that are important to breast cancer survivors, for example, one that found how it can slow or inhibit bone metastasis from breast cancer. There are more tips on my site. For now, consider putting rosemary sprigs in everything you eat. It’s easy, simple and provides many other health benefits.