Estrogen sensitive cancer and diet



Just wondering if anyone has any views on what not to eat when your breast cancer is estrogen sensitive. 


I’m vegetarian and have found out that pretty much all of my diet is on the list of foods that produce high amounts of plant based estrogen. I’ve been advised that everything is in moderation but I live off these foods every day e.g. tofu, chickpeas, berries, dried fruits,cauliflower and broccoli . My sugeron has also mentioned that there is estrogen in diary products. 


I have been put in contact to see a nutritionist at the haven for some advice in a couple of weeks but just wondering if anyone else has faced similar issues and if they were advised to change their diet and or they have changed their diet because of the above issues.


Any formation /advice would be really appreciated



Hello Cheffy, 

No doubt you will soon be inundated with replies with various recommendations.  If you do a forum search of the issue of diet,  you will find many thoughts on the issue and contributions discussing such things as the protective effects of mushrooms,  turmeric and the benefits of selenium uptake amongst others which you may find useful.   There seems to be so many “do and don’t” articles when you do a full web search that  you could also be left overwhelmed and confused.  


Each to their own view and that but I would advise to be wary of extreme views and find validated research to back up any extreme claims. The much repeated and over simplified claim that sugar causes cancer springs to mind.  An excess of certain types of sugars may have an effect but if sugar causes cancer then just stop eating and stop the body glucose production.  


Well your surgeon may be right in saying animal milk (and it’s derived products) contain oestrogen.  I hope that they then went on to give you full research details and the concluding dividing opinion of whether it affects, or how much one has to ingest for it to have significant effect on blood/organ/body levels.  If you are going to give up animal dairy,  and especially if you are on Aromatase Inhibitor treatment, then make sure you get an adequate intake, from other sources,  of calcium, other minerals,  as well as vit d to protect your bones as much as you can.   


From what you have listed,  you sound like you have a good, varied and mainly plant based diet.  It is up to you of course but why would you want to remove foods like berries,  cauliflower and broccoli from your diet when such foods have been labelled anti carcigenic as well.  So some nuts,  beans,  fruit and veg may come under the realm of being phytoestrogenic… but that does not mean to say they are the same as the oestrogen produced by your body or that they will bring breast cancer back to life.  


I am not vegetarian and I am not vegan.  My cancer was triple positive and I am on Anastrazole.   I think I eat a healthy balanced diet etc.  and did so before cancer.  I have not made any major changes based on my diagnosis apart from considering more the availability of calcium,  vit d, and magnesium within my diet.  I reserve the eating of such  foods as red meat,  fried foods,  gourmet indulgences  for eating out,  dinner parties etc.  I take sugar in my tea and coffee, avoid anything with artificial sweeteners and enjoy a glass of red now and again.  I really enjoy my main diet which is mainly plant based and includes soya,  nuts,  beans, lentils,  Veg, fruits, as well as  dairy and fish .  I love curry,  chilli, use spices like turmeric,  avoid low fat foods, use Olive oil and take  some supplements like a multi vitamin, vit d,  calcium with magnesium.  I have at least one milky drink a day.  I use to like a milky coffee but realised recently that  this was counter productive for calcium/mineral update so have changed to Ovaltine Regular,  for it’s boost to essential mineral levels and hopefully to counteract some of the Anastrazole effects.  I buy organic where possible.  My appetite for sweeties and cakes  took  a natural decline post menopause. I do not eat carbs like pots, pasta etc with all my meals. 


  As far as I am concerned,  my diet did not cause my cancer.  Based on research, quite a lot of what I eat  should have increased protective elements, as well as assist in maintaining a healthy weight and immune system.  Perhaps it did when going through treatment etc.   but it would be difficult to scientifically quantify.  I believe I  have a very healthy, yummy diet with “things in moderation”,  with my main weakness being crisps!!   Food is important to health,  but it also needs to be enjoyed.  Cancer has taken enough from me so I am not going to beat myself up too much about what I am putting into my mouth foodwise unless there is very strong evidence against it.


Good luck with your visit to the Haven and I hope you will share the advice and recommendations given to you.  Best Wishes, 

Chick ? x





An excellent, supportive response from Chick. We do all deserve a happy healthy life, and eating (and drinking) is certainly part of that. ? I have to admit that I’ve changed my diet to accommodate my meds, as I feel it would be unwise to expect my Letrozole to work at maximum capacity and lock down oestrogen if I am eating loads of it. I use the Royal Marsden cook book as well as the Maggies Centre one, both for information and inspirational recipes. All their recipes work, and I am enjoying rediscovering my love for cooking. It indicates on each recipe if it helps nausea, poor appetite, sore mouths etc etc. I do try and buy organic, as I feel eating foods which have had hormones added may not be a wise addition to the drugs I take. A personal choice. There is an interactive web site which offers some insight into foods and aromatise inhibitors . I was very interested to read this, and have tried a few foods which I would have otherwise shied  away from -  Kelp, Cavalo  Nero, Chai seeds.  My Onco promotes a varied, healthy diet. He doesn’t advocate ad hoc supplements as there is no medical research that they help. As he reminds me, Google is not a doctor, and the Daily Mail is definitely not a medical journal! ? Hoping that you feel better after reading the balanced responses on here, and your nutritionist appointment is positive and supportive. X