Mighty mushrooms add muscle to the fight against breast cancer
The incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the developing world. Research is ongoing but, at present, the causes of breast cancer remain inconclusive.
According to South Africa’s, National Cancer Registry, breast cancer is the leading cancer for women with one in 29 South African women diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. It is the most prevalent cancer amongst white and Asian women and the second most common cancer among black and coloured women – thus a disease that affects ALL women.
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is considered a heterogeneous (widespread) disease—differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves.
Early detection helps fight breast cancer and can save women’s lives. That is why regular mammograms are so important - the most reliable way to catch breast cancer early when it’s most treatable.
Over 30% of women are diagnosed after breast cancer has spread beyond the localized stage.
When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%.
Good news is that cancer-fighting mushrooms are establishing themselves as one of the key partners in the battle to win this fight…
Mushrooms and cancer
Recent breast cancer research studies, stretching from western Australia to California are indicating that mushrooms have breast cancer-fighting properties:
Researchers at the University of Western Australia discovered in their study that the women who ate at least 10 grams of button mushrooms per day were 64 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.
An emerging body of science suggests that higher intakes of vitamin D may be associated with lower risks for some cancers, including prostate, breast, lung, colon and colorectal cancers. Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable that naturally contains vitamin D, a nutrient which many people lack.
Research done by Professor Shiuan Chen, Director of Surgical Research at City of Hope Hospital in California indicates that natural compounds found in white button mushrooms inhibit aromatase enzymes in the body (proteins that stimulate the production of estrogen and which can promote the growth of some cancers, including breast cancer). So indications are that the consumption of white button mushrooms will help reduce the amount of estrogen the body produces, and subsequently reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Mushrooms may also help prevent cancer by providing natural antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals (naturally occurring chemicals that can damage cells’ DNA and initiate the cancer process) and help to repair damage that has already occurred. In some laboratory studies, mushrooms displayed even more antioxidant power than tomatoes and carrots.
So you can now add mushrooms to your well balanced diet (which should include plenty fresh fruits and vegetables) and know that you are eating for your health!