Mushrooms in pink punnets support the fight against breast cancer
In South Africa breast cancer is most prevalent amongst white and Asian women but it is also the second most common cancer among black and coloured women: http://bit.ly/1rPJwHh
There has in fact also been an alarming increase in the incidence of breast cancer among young black South African women, a group that was previously considered to have the lowest breast cancer risk, is reported. http://bit.ly/1k674mk . Similar reports from Europe and the United States also document the rise in early onset breast cancer among young black women.
More than 85 percent of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease but with all the advances in science, women today have a better chance of surviving breast cancer. The key however, is finding the cancer early.
The increasing numbers of black women being diagnosed with breast cancer is cause for concern. Although there has been an increase in cancer awareness amongst black women many are still presenting themselves at clinics very late, making treatment less successful and their mortality rate much higher. http://bit.ly/TwuASv And the disparity is even more striking in younger black women. Pre-menopausal black women are twice as likely to get basal-like breast tumours – a particularly virulent form of breast cancer – than other women, black or white. http://bit.ly/1jCOQZI
THE POWER OF PINK
One of the key findings to date from the Beckman Institute at the City of Hope Cancer Centre in California and the University of Australia in Sydney in collaboration with Zhejiang University in China is that women who eat an average of 1 mushroom (10gm) per day seem to halve their risk of breast cancer.
The key to breast cancer survival remains early detection:
- Examine your breasts.
The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the better your chances of beating it, so learn to do breast self examinations every month a week after your period.
- Regular medical check-ups.
Go for annual medical check-ups with your doctor and ask for a breast examination.
LOOKING FOR A BREAST CANCER SUPPORT GROUP?
Reach for Recovery is a national Breast Cancer Support Organisation. Visit their website at www.reachforrecovery.org.za for contact details or contact the National Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
MUSHROOMS AND THE LINK TO CANCER
Information: Dr Martmari van Greuning, SAMFA Council member
Mushrooms is a source of polysaccaharides, particularly beta-glucans that are reported to stimulate the immune system via its stimulating effect on natural killer (NK) cell activity. NK cells are specialized white blood cells that spontaneously kill pathogen infected and tumor cells making then a key component of the immune system.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells and can affect almost any part of the body. Although cancer arises from a single cell, the transformation of a normal cell into a tumour cell is a multistage process which involves the interaction of a person’s genetic factors, social and environmental factors including diet. The role of nutrition in cancer is extensive.
Research suggests a diet high in plant based food stuffs (fruits & veggies) is protective and here we include MUSHROOMS.
Mushrooms are rich in anti-oxidants; good for immune system; contain selenium in quantities much higher than any other plant food (selenium is found to have an anti-cancer affect particularly on prostate cancer). All of these protect the body against cancer by getting rid of free radicals and defending the body against invading organisms.
It is also important to point out that mushrooms are a low energy dense food that can help lower calorie intake to help prevent obesity which is a risk for breast cancer.
But more significantantly, mushrooms contain phytochemicals that are found to specifically supress breast and prostate cancer.
Mushrooms contain a fatty acid, conjugated linoleic acid that has the ability to inhibit two enzymes called Aromatase & 5-Alpha-Reductase, both involved in these cancers.
Many mammary tumors are hormone sensitive. That is why Estrogen is a major factor in the development of Breast Cancer, especially in postmenopausal women where the ovaries stop producing estrogen but other cells (fat & breast cancer cells) unfortunately continue to do so.
The enzyme Aromatase has been linked to breast and also to ovarian, uterine and prostate cancers. It is responsible for the production of estrogen and converts androgen to estrogen, which in turn promotes the development of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Conjugated linoleic acid inhibits aromatase and consequently inhibits cancer. [The same applies to the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase which converts testosterone that plays a role in the development of prostate cancer. As in the case of aromatase, conjugated linoleic acid is inhibiting this enzyme thus preventing or controlling prostate cancer.
Tamoxifen is a widely used drug that is prescribed and competes with the estrogen on the same receptor on the tumor cell in interferes with the working of the estrogen. It is effective but has unpleasant side effects and especially in remission it cannot be taken forever. It’s here where mushrooms can act as a natural substitute for controlling the production of estrogen.
Mushroom research linked to cancer:
It was found that in China the occurrence of breast cancer is 5 times lower than in developed Western Countries and although there could be other factors that contribute to this, we have to bear in mind that China is a world authority when it comes to mushroom consumption. These two facts, the low incidence of breast cancer in China and the huge consumption of mushrooms, sparked the research of the cancer fighting potential of mushrooms.
The two leading groups in the field is the Beckman Institute at the City of Hope Cancer Centre in California under leadership of Prof Chen and a group at the University of Australia in Sydney in collaboration with the medical faculty at the Zhejiang University in China.
This research in particular and the clinical trials are ongoing but one clear fact has emerged to date: It has been proven that women who eat an average of 1 mushroom per day (approx. 10gm) has half the risk of breast cancer.
Short bio on Dr Martmari van Greuning
Dr Martmari van Greuning serves on the council of SAMFA (South African Mushroom Farmers Association) with a specific responsibility to supervise local mushroom research contracted to the University of Pretoria. Her mushroom expertise is recognised globally and as such she serves on the executive committee of the ISMS (International Society for Mushroom Science).
Martmari is closely involved with the South African mushroom industry and also has strong ties and working relationships with international associations and growers. Her biggest contribution to the local industry lies in visiting farms where she consults and provides technical expertise on all aspects of the mushroom farming process.
Martmari van Greuning is also the General Manager of Sylvan Africa which is part of Sylvan International, the biggest international company producing and supplying mushroom spawn (the equivalent of ‘seed’ or inoculum to grow mushrooms) to the mushroom industry. Her post graduate studies were on various aspects of the commercially grown mushroom and her doctorate on fungal diseases of mushrooms.