Triple Negative Breast Cancer
About 15% of all breast cancers are found to be triple-negative. Having a negative test result means that the growth of the tumor is not supported by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, nor by the presence of HER2 receptors. Because of this, triple-negative breast cancers do not respond to the generally prescribed hormonal therapies such as tamoxifen or arimidex, nor to the therapies that target the HER2 receptors such as Herceptin, making them difficult for conventionally-minded doctors to treat. “Triple negative breast cancer does not have these receptors and so much less in known about what makes it grow. Thus, it can be difficult to treat successfully. There are fewer treatment options available – hormone therapy, such as Tamoxifen, and most targeted therapy drugs, like Herceptin, are of no benefit.” Says Dr Emma Pennery, Clinical Director at Breast Cancer Care.
Triple negative breast cancers are most likely to occur in pre-menopausal women aged 40 or 50, and are more common in African-American and Hispanic women, and in those who carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. Triple-negative breast cancers are also more invasive than other forms of breast cancer with tumors that appear to grow more aggressively, seem to spread to other parts of the body faster, and have a tendency to reoccur more often. Because of this, women with triple-negative cancer have lower five-year survival rates than other breast cancer patients, with about 34 percent of treated patients experiencing a distant recurrence within 2.6 years following treatment. Additionally, current treatment models for triple-negative breast cancer are extremely limited, this is because triple negative cancers are considered to be aggressive by conventional standards so they are often treated very aggressively with surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.
Some natural therapies for Triple Negative Breast Cancer
- Change your diet and you will change your internal environment: Cancer needs the right type of internal environment to grow and spread.
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits: The goal for those with cancer is to eat at least 10 servings of vegetables and at least 5 serving of fresh fruits every day.
- Vegetables: are some of the most nutrient dense foods that you can eat. Some cancer-fighters include bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, green beans, kale, leeks, onions, garlic, radish, scallions, mustard greens, spinach, leafy greens, collard greens, Swiss chard, peas, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peas, mushrooms, sprouts, etc.
- Fruits: if you are excluding fruit from your diet, you are missing out on an abundance of antioxidants, flavonoids, and anthocyanins that can prevent and reverse cellular damage and reduce overall inflammation. Fruits have astringent qualities that can cleanse the lymphatic system and get it moving again. Some powerful fruits to include are: red grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, cherries, pomegranates, pineapple, lemons, limes, and oranges. Fruits are easily digested, therefore they should be eaten separately or about 1/2 hour before your main meals, or they can easily be blended into nutritious smoothies.
- Juicing fresh vegetables and making fruit smoothies are both excellent ways to increase your overall servings of these nutrient dense foods. A good rule of thumb here is to juice the vegetables and blend the fruits because you want to have fiber to go along with the natural sugars that are in the fruits.
- Complex carbs can include sweet potatoes and yams with the skins, adzuki beans, and lentils (red, green, yellow, black and brown).
- Grains can include amaranth, black rice, wild rice, millet, and triticale. How to soak and cook grains.
- Eating very limited amounts of animal proteins. These can include wild-caught salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, and pasture-raised eggs a couple of times per week as needed to maintain weight.
- Herbs and spices should be added to the diet, such as oregano, basil, thyme, cilantro, sage, lemon grass, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger, sage, lemon balm, parsley, rosemary, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, just to to name a few.
- Sea vegetables such as kelp, wakame, dulse and nori that provide a natural source of iodine along with other essential minerals.
- Eat a variety of mushrooms, read more about their benefits
- Nuts can include raw almonds, Brazil, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia, pecans, cashews, walnuts, and their butters (except for peanuts and peanut butter), and a variety of seeds including hemp seeds, flax, chia, black sesame, pumpkin, sunflower. Read how to soak and sprout these.
- Raw organic honey can be used sparingly as a sweetener, if needed.
- Blueberries: contain phytochemicals which are plant-derived compounds that have protective or disease preventive properties. In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Cancer Research, researchers discovered that the phytochemicals found in powdered blueberries inhibited the growth and metastatic potential of TNBC cells. Read more about this study
- Iodine- serves many functions in the body. The immune system can’t function without it and you can’t fight infections without it. But its main job is to maintain the normal architecture of the endocrine glands, these include: the thyroid, breasts, ovaries, uterus, and the prostate, which is where many new cancer cases are occurring. Consider taking a quality Iodine solution. Adequate iodine supplementation helps the body to produce the hormones that it needs in the proper ratio. Many things can interfere with iodine absorption, including goitrogens, glutens, fluoride, bromide, pesticides, viral infections. Read more about iodine here.
- Selenium- the BRCA1 mutation is associated with having a higher risk for developing triple negative breast cancer. Taking a daily dose of 200 mcg of selenium eliminates the threat that is posed by the BRCA1 mutation putting these women on a level playing field with those who do not carry the BRCA1 mutation. According to the following study: “The frequency of chromosome breaks was greatly reduced following 1 to 3 months of oral selenium supplementation. The mean level of chromosome breaks in carriers following supplementation was similar to that of the non-carrier controls (0.40 versus 0.39). Therefore oral selenium is a good candidate for chemo-prevention in women who carry a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. Read more about this study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=15894690.
- Vitamin D3: helps to regulate over 100 genes in the body. Researchers at the University of Albany in New York discovered that giving laboratory mice Vitamin D supplements suppressed several proteins that TNBC cells and basal-type breast cancer cells need to survive. Those with Triple Negative Breast Cancer have been shown to have the highest percentage of vitamin D deficiencies as well as the lowest overall levels. Read more about the benefits of vitamin D
- Curcumin: is a compound that is found in turmeric root. Numerous studies, including one in 2012 conducted through the University of Otago in New Zealand, have shown that this substance stops the growth of TNBC cells by inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis) of the cancerous cells. Read more about curcumin
- Bee Propolis: comes from honeybees. Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (or CAPE) is a medicinal compound that is found in bee propolis. CAPE inhibits MCF-7 (hormone receptor positive, HR+) and MDA-231 (a model of triple negative BC (TNBC) tumor growth, both in vitro and in vivo without affecting normal mammary cells. Read more about this study
- Green Tea extract: contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG. This compound induces cancer cell death by restricting blood flow. It also prevents DNA damage with new research finding that EGCG may stop the production of breast cancer stem cells. Read more about green tea
- Medicinal Mushrooms- contain high levels of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Research reveals that glycoproteins can help cellular communications in three ways. 1. they help your hormones perform their duties better. 2. they help receptor sites receive the messages they are supposed to receive 3. they help your immune system to be able to differentiate rogue cells from healthy cells Read more about medicinal mushrooms here
- Milk Thistle– is a relative of the artichoke that has been recognized for its liver-protective properties. Milk thistle is the best known source of the compound flavonoid silymarin, which contains silybin. Silybin has been shown to inhibit growth and induce apoptosis in human breast cancer cells and HER-2/neu over-expressing (HER2+) mammary tumors in mouse models.
- Essential oils- have a very small molecular weight which allows them to be absorbed through the skin and circulate throughout the bloodstream. They are lipid soluble, which means they also have the ability to cross through the cellular membrane and heal the body at the cellular level. The Essential Oil Desk Reference, 4th Edition, says that “ essential oils are lipid soluble and can penetrate cellular membranes bringing an increase of 21% oxygen to the cells within 20 minutes of application.” Normal cell function can be reestablished when there is sufficient oxygen, and this also allows the cells the ability to once again expel their waste products.have the ability to can be used topically. Clove essential oil in particular is said to be oxygenating. Read more about using essential oils.
- Systemic enzyme therapy– this involves taking large doses of proteolytic (protein dissolving) enzymes on an empty stomach at various times throughout the day. The enzymes are utilized by the body for various functions, including breaking down the fibrin proteins that surround tumors allowing them to be recognized and destroyed by the immune system. Read more about enzyme therapy
- Cannabis Oil- research has shown that PR+, HER2-positive, and triple-negative breast cancers can benefit from cannabis oil. The protocols recommended by those who have worked with patients recommend an oil with higher THC-to-CBD ratios, around 4:1 for this particular type of breast cancer. Read more about cannabis oil with this post.
Detoxing bath- Have long soaks in an Epson salt/sea salt/baking soda bath which can help those on a mostly vegetarian diet to mobilize toxins out through the skin. Add one cup of Epson salts, 1/2 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and 1/2 cup of sea salt to a warm bath and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with plain water when finished soaking to prevent the salt from drying your skin.
Exercise: has a direct impact on your lymphatic system and its ability to remove toxins from the body. Read more about this here
Alternative therapies that may be helpful for TNBC: DCA (sodium Dichloroacetate), please talk with your doctor about prescribing pharmaceutical grade DCA.
Read a testimonial of healing from triple negative breast cancer naturally
Kelly Binkowski heals from triple negative breast cancer with the McDougall plant-based diet
Thorne Research – Selenomethionine – 200 mcg
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels are formed and is responsible for much of the growth and spread of cancer. Once a tumor grows to a certain size, the tumor sends chemical signals out that stimulate the growth of new blood vessels that carry the blood to it. If you can stop the tumor from receiving a blood supply, then the tumor can not grow and spread. The following supplements can interrupt the growth process of tumors and promote cancer cell death.
Natural killer are lymphocytes of the immune system that control several types of tumors and microbial infections by limiting their spread and subsequent tissue damage. Supplements that support the function of Natural Killer Cells include: