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LMU 44 – Enhancing Breast Cancer Outcomes: The Impact of Nutrition and Lifestyle Practices

Nutrition and Lifestyle Practices Shown to Reduce Breast Cancer

LMU 44 – Enhancing Breast Cancer Outcomes: The Impact of Nutrition and Lifestyle Practices

Source: Candian Medical Association Journal (February 21, 2017)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (March 1, 2017)


In the realm of medical advancements, the role of nutrition and lifestyle modifications in improving breast cancer outcomes has gained substantial attention. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on February 21, 2017, delves into the impact of lifestyle changes on breast cancer recurrence, metastasis, and overall survival rates. This article sheds light on the compelling findings of this research, highlighting the crucial link between nutrition, lifestyle practices, and breast cancer outcomes.

Empowering Insights

The research review embarked on a critical inquiry: Can lifestyle modifications influence the recurrence of breast cancer and the survival rates of treated women? The outcomes of this investigation offer encouraging insights that align closely with the principles advocated within the Meschino Wellness Program.

Context and Motivation

While more than 90% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed with early-stage disease, an alarming 25% eventually succumb to distant metastasis. This staggering statistic underscores the urgency of exploring measures that could prevent recurrence and metastasis. Patients, driven by the desire to actively contribute to their well-being, seek strategies that encompass nutrition and lifestyle interventions.

Key Findings

The research brings to light several pivotal observations that underscore the substantial impact of lifestyle modifications on breast cancer outcomes:

  1. Weight Management: Weight gain during or post-breast cancer treatment is significantly linked to a higher risk of breast cancer-related mortality. Moreover, individuals who are overweight or obese at diagnosis experience poorer prognoses. This correlation is attributed to the elevation of insulin, insulin-like growth factors, estrogen levels, and pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with excess weight, which exacerbate breast cancer cell proliferation. Maintaining an ideal weight is, therefore, of paramount importance.
  2. Physical Activity: Physical activity emerges as a potent factor in reducing breast cancer recurrence. The effects of exercise on hormone levels, inflammation reduction, and insulin resistance reversal contribute to its robust impact. The Canadian Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society endorse a regimen of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity for at least five days a week, accompanied by two to three strength training sessions targeting major muscle groups.
  3. Dietary Choices: Observational studies indicate that high consumption of saturated fats and high-fat dairy products might be associated with increased breast cancer mortality. On the contrary, recent research suggests that soy products are safe for consumption, debunking concerns about their estrogen content. Although randomized trials are necessary to validate soy’s role in reducing breast cancer recurrence, existing evidence supports its inclusion in the diet.
  4. Smoking and Alcohol: Smoking among women with breast cancer elevates the risk of mortality. Similarly, alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of recurrence, particularly in estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cases.
  5. Supplements: Emerging data indicate the potential benefits of supplemental vitamin C intake in reducing breast cancer mortality. Vitamin D showcases advantages in maintaining a blood level within the range of 75–200 nmol/L.

Future Directions and Conclusions

While more clinical trials are warranted to validate the protective effects of certain lifestyle practices, the evidence underscores the substantial potential for improving breast cancer prognosis through dietary and lifestyle modifications. Adopting the strategies outlined in this research can significantly enhance long-term outcomes and overall health for breast cancer patients. Importantly, these practices are also relevant in the prevention of breast cancer development itself.


Hamer, J., and Warner, E., Lifestyle modifications for patients with breast cancer to improve prognosis and optimize overall health. CMAJ. February 21, 2017, vol. 189, no. 7.

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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