Any woman wanting to avoid breast cancer or its recurrence needs to be aware of the real risk factors. These are not the factors you hear about from the typical oncologist who is interested in pushing drugs. Imbalances in the body are the real risk factors that explain why women get breast cancer, not lack of drugs. The only way to avoid cancer or its recurrence is to address these imbalances. Two minerals, zinc and selenium, are key in maintaining balance in the body and keeping cancer away. Lack of zinc has been implicated not only in the initiation of breast cancer, but also in the transition, progression, and metastasis of the disease. When zinc is deficient, cellular functioning in the breast is compromised. (Genes and Nutrition, April 2) In a recent study done at the University of Washington, scientists investigated the signaling pathways modulated by selenium. They compared global gene expression profiles in mammary tissues from pubescent female rats maintained on a selenium (3ppm) diet with those on a standardized diet. The selenium-enriched diet altered the steady-state levels of genes involved in various cellular functioning, the most dramatic of which was the changes in the expression of multiple genes that regulate circadian rhythm.
The primary gene protecting women from breast cancer, p53, is thought to be the most frequently mutated or altered gene in the development of cancer. This gene requires zinc, and if it is missing, the gene becomes mutated, resulting in it becoming inactivated or suppressed. Dysfunction of p53 is well documented in the development of breast cancer, indicating that a zinc deficiency is a risk factor for breast cancer independent of the levels of boron, copper and calcium. In France, scientists report that estrogen receptor expression in breast cancers is associated with differentiated tumors and a more favorable prognosis. The greater the resemblance of cancerous breast cells to non-cancerous breast cells, the less threatening is the disease. Although the exact mechanism underlying the protection ERs play against cancer progression remains to be researched, these scientists studied the actions of ER alpha, and documented that one of the ways this ER inhibits invasion is though its first zinc finger. A zinc finger is a group of proteins organized around a zinc ion that can bind to DNA and influence gene regulation. (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2008)
The relationship between selenium status and intake among breast cancer patients was studied by scientists in Kuala Lumpur. 64 women with breast cancer and 127 matched controls were interviewed to obtain information on their habitual dietary intakes, demographic data, and medical history. Selenium status was determined from toenail and hair analysis. The researchers found that total energy and protein intake was significantly higher among controls than among the breast cancer cases. The selenium intake among the women with breast cancer was significantly lower than the controls. Breast cancer risk decreased with the increasing quartiles of selenium intake. Selenium in hair did not differ among breast cancer cases and controls, but selenium status in the nails of controls was significantly higher compared to the breast cancer cases. (Singapore Medical Journal, March 2009). Drink your minerals ladies