Excellent! Laughter is a great stress-reliever.
Lindiloo, I'm not at all reassured by Tim's responses because he is not answering a lot of the questions! And as for accuracy one has to be very careful in using that word, as statistics and evidence can be manipulated into different results for different people. I really dont agree either that we can feel rest assured by the current up to date information......I'm certainly not and will continue following research,not just from main stream thinking ie the medical model, but from other sources such as alternative medicine.
And by the same token, ladies who wish to experience wellness, who, after having tortured their bodies with toxic chemicals want to maximise not only their survival rates but maximise their enjoyment of the life they have, will continue to eat an 'anti-cancer' wellness diet. The wellness experienced is 'the proof in the (sugar free, dairy free, organic) pudding".
I personally do not have any guilt issues about food (Dominos pizza last Friday night!), and I am sure that there are many other women who eat a super healthy diet for enjoyment, and who can eat occasional junk food with no guilt or stress.
Good luck to everyone and their own, personal lifestyle decisions.
I suppose in reality we could all go searching till Kingdom Come on the internet and find some small study somewhere which fits in with our own ways of thinking and our own personal beliefs ,the thing is it just doesnt prove anything does it?, all of the previous studies are just too small to even come close to being very meaningfull in relation to diet and BC , so thankfully these huge studies that are now underway are much more reliable and accurate as is pointed out by EPIC .
I think Tims response and answers to the questions i asked are very reliable and entirely accurate and i personaly want to Thank Tim Key for taking the time to answer some of the questions that continue to be a Hot Topic here on BCC over the last few years,
We all have to make our own choices at the end of the day ,but im very glad that at least now for a lot of people especialy those that are confused by their current normal diet and BC,or those that are Newly DX who may be finding this whole topic a little concerning that they can feel rest assured by the current up to date information and evidence and continue to enjoy their food without it causeing them unnecessary stress.
I am SO pleased you have decided to come back. I have sent you a PM.
Had just read the exact same article!
Very technical but might go some way to explaining the connection between IGF and cancer.
Found this on the internet detailing some studies, but I'll see if I can find anything on the one quote in the Lancet of this year:
This is a little technical - but provides evidence that IGFs play a role in promoting cell division, but also that breast cancer cells are attracted to IGF's, so they also promote breast cancer cells migrating towards sources of IGFs. I am wondering if this means that as animal protein results in higher levels of IGFs in the blood stream, it increases the chance of vascular invasion? It would seem to me that breast cancer cells moving is not a good thing in any circumstances. Would be interested to hear from anyone with more knowledge of this.
Journal of Endocrinology (2000) 165, 123–131
The insulin-like growth factors (IGF)-1 and -II play a
key role in cell cycle progression, cell proliferation and
tumour progression (Humbel 1990, LeRoith et al. 1995a,
Resnicoff et al. 1995). Most of the effects of IGFs are
mediated by binding to type 1 IGF receptor, whereas type
2 IGF receptor is mainly involved in the clearance of
IGF-II (LeRoith et al. 1995b, Stewart & Rotwein 1996).
In all biological fluids, IGFs are bound to at least six
different high affinity binding proteins (termed IGFBP-1
to -6) which prolong IGF half-life, counteract the insulinlike
hypoglycaemic effect of IGFs, maintain a reservoir of
IGFs in the circulation, transport IGFs from the circulation
to peripheral tissues, modulate IGF action, and also exert
IGF-independent actions (Cianfarani & Holly 1989, Jones
& Clemmons 1995). The complexity of the IGF system is
further increased by the intervention of specific proteases
which, by fragmenting IGFBPs, reduce their affinity for
IGFs and eventually lead to augmented IGF bioavailability
(Hossenlopp et al. 1990, Giudice 1995).
There is increasing evidence that IGFs are also able to
stimulate cell motility. Many types of cells, such as
endothelial cells, keratinocytes, osteoblasts, rhabdomyosarcoma
cells, epithelial cells, trophoblasts, melanoma cells,
breast cancer cells, smooth muscle cells, and carcinoma
cells, migrate towards a source of IGFs or display increased
motility in the presence of these factors (Leventhal &
Feldman 1997). Type 1 IGF receptor has been implicated
as a mediator of IGF-stimulated cell motility (Stracke et al.
1989) and signalling mechanisms involving type 1 receptor
autophosphorylation, tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin
receptor substrate family (IRS-1 to IRS-4), activation of
phosphatidylinositol (PI)-3 kinase, integrin-dependent
adhesion, and tyrosine phosphorylation of the focal
adhesion proteins, such as paxillin and focal adhesionkinase
(FAK), are involved in IGF-stimulated cell migration
(Leventhal & Feldman 1997).
I don't really see any contradiction in Linda's links re the EPIC study, and the more detailed studies of smaller groups on more restrictive diets, because they were looking at entirely different things. The EPIC study looked at a large number of people on a "normal" diet, and found variations in consumption of certain foods didn't make much difference. I wouldn't disagree with that at all, and wouldn't expect to see any differences in outcome with a few more or less vegetables, or meat or dairy. I think the smaller studies have shown that to stand any chance of improving a prognosis, the diet changes for most of us have to be very big ones.
When the EPIC study looked at a small group - the vegans - with a radically different diet - they found significant differences in the presence of cancer-promoting Insulin like Growth Hormone. Just as the prostate study of a radical diet showed dramatically different results for the vegan group. Unfortunately, as the vegan group in the EPIC study is so small, it is very unlikely that they will publish the long term outcomes for these people - in a group of 90 odd you would perhaps only expect one or two breast cancers in a ten year period - not nearly enough to get any statistically accurate figures.
So as someone up above noted, there isn't time, for those of us that want to make changes, to wait for definitive proof. And there is no way, absent cast iron proof from numerous long term studies, that any govt organisation including the NHS is ever going to tell you not to eat meat or dairy, after the Edwina Currie eggs fiasco. Personally, I'm happy with a decision that means I will have much lower exposure to IGF's in my diet - I really don't like the idea of eating something that is promoting rapid cell division when I have active cancer cells in my body.
I would go with what the Penny Brohn centre advice of not more than once or twice a week if you're going to eat red meat. I stick to that and have organic meat only.
Mel - I thought it might be helpful to post the info from Cancer research. The one you quote is 2006 and there is another from 2007:
as you'll see, the 2007 one states that research undertaken by University of Leeds did find a link between eating higher amounts of red meat and breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This confirms findings of Shanghai study for pre and postmenopausal women. Some researchers though think that this is because of higher body weight and therefore Cancer Research UK state that more research is required in larger groups.
Thanks Linda for posting up the response from Prof Key. It is interesting that although they state their is no proof that dairy increases risk, it is an hypothesis that they are exploring. Likewise with IGF levels. Vegan diets have been so poorly explored over the years as we live in a meat/dairy eating society so I'm not surprised about the lack of data. The prostate cancer research is very promising though on this front.
Personally I'm not going to wait for strong proof - that could take years. There is enough data to make me want to reduce my IGF levels by reducing or cutting out meat, dairy and soya. We each of us have to make a decision about whether or not we're looking for absolute proof. If they turn round in a few years and say that there is strong evidence that dairy poses no increased risk then I shall be delighted.
I would love to see greater comparisons of European diets and Asian diets. This to me is where the real interest is. All European countries, America and Brazil appear to have high levels of breast cancer in comparison to countries like China, Thailand, Japan etc.
Can you imagine the hue and cry if researchers said that women should reduce or eliminate dairy and meat from their diets? The media would go mad. No wonder researchers are going to want to be as sure as they can be before advising that.
Its lovely to see you back on the forums i have realy missed your posts
on here, i miss a lot of the ladies who used to be on BCC ,i hope you will come back more often , its nice to be able to stay in touch with everyone.
Hope you are ok and are keeping well.
Hugs to you
I think the difference between EPIC and some of the other smaller studies is that human population studies must look at large numbers of people to provide the most meaningful results.
Many previous studies on diet and cancer have been flawed for the following reasons:
They were too small. Even thousands of people are not enough to detect links between cancer and diet.
They focus on one population with limited variation in diet. For example, if you only study a group of people who eat very little fibre, the study would miss out the beneficial effects of eating large amounts of fibre.
EPIC is a long-term study of more than 500,000 people in ten European countries. This includes around 90,000 British men and women, including about 30,000 vegetarians/vegans.
Unlike many other studies, it has the following important design features:
It’s huge. At over 500,000 participants, EPIC is the largest study of diet and health ever undertaken.
Only healthy people were recruited and their health was then followed for many years,Many other studies ask patients who already have cancer to recall their lifestyles before their diagnosis - a much less accurate approach.
It’s accurate. Each participant completed detailed diet and lifestyle questionnaires and also provided blood and urine samples so the researchers could analyse their nutrient levels.
EPIC participants are also followed for at least 10 years.
And the People from 10 EPIC countries had very varied diets. This has allowed the researchers to make more reliable assessments of the effects of different aspects of our diets.
A conventional healthy diet is a normal healthy balanced diet with everything in moderation .
Thanks so much for posting this email, a few points:
The only factors that definitely in crease the risk is obesity and alcohol. Nothing else is definitive and certainly not that red meat and dairy reduces the risk. There is 'simply not enough info on vegan diets', and the one study that was comprehensive about a very healthy vegan diet show very promising results. This study looked for very broad patterns and found none. It did not look at specific anti-cancer diets. It proves that a typical average diet of 5 a day is not good enough to reduce the cancer odds. It proves that the conventional wisdom of a 'healthy' diet is not adequate to alter someone's odds of developing cancer. It does not prove that eating red meat and dairy has no impact.
It is entirely inconclusive about hormones in cows milk.
Tim's reply says there are no known supplements in the bc fight yet vitamin d is widely accepted as being an important supplement for bc sufferers, particularly in a country like the UK where 5 months of the year the sun is not strong enough to allow our bodies to make vitamin d.
Raised IGF1 levels increase the risk of developing bc. Fact. The IGF1 is ingested from certain foods.
This can work as another piece in the puzzle that we all have to put together and come to our own conclusions.
Hi Lindiloo, Interesting to read the e-mail from Tim Key and I'm not overly impressed with the findings as once again there are lots of unanswered questions and blurred answers! what on earth does a 'conventional healthy diet' mean? We could start another thread on this subject!!!
You said at the end of your message that there is absolutely no proof about the red meat-dairy, well perhaps not from his findings, but there are plenty of findings from many other sources that find links with red meat/dairy and increases in cancer. It really depends on who you read and how you interprete the studies.
Following some of the inappropriate comments that have been running through this thread could we just remind you all that if you find any posts in these forums going against our Community Guidelines that you use the 'report post' function rather than commenting publicly. By reporting this way it enables the moderation team to take the appropriate action and also helps to make sure the thread doesn't get sidetracked or off-topic.
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Hi , I've been Reading this thread but haven't posted, but wanted to say how interesing it is, and also the email that you copied for us was great linda, thanks.
Well, its great to read all the latest comments on this thread and lovely that other ladies are taking part in the dabate it can get a bit boreing when its just the same old few of us repeating the same old thing,its realy good to get a much broader spectrum of all the different views on the diet Red Meat, Dairy issue and hopefully now we will all be able to get back to discussing what is important and what is the heading of this topic ... Diet-red meat,
I recieved a lovely email today from Tim Key ( EPIC Study ) i thought some of the ladies here might find it interesting so ive posted it below to give us some answers on diet and BC from the largest ever study (well Massive actualy) ever conducted to date .
Professor Tim Key,
Deputy Director, Cancer Epidemiology Unit,
University of Oxford, Richard Doll Building,
Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7LF
Thank you for your email.I am sorry for the delay in replying,I was
away last week. I have tried to answer your questions - see below.
1. Has EPIC found a "vegan" (not vegatarian) diet to be better for
fighting/preventing breast cancer .
2. Has Dairy/Red meat/Eggs/Sugar been found to be
cancer contributeing/causeing in breast cancer.
The answer is the same for both these questions. The only dietary
factors that definitely increase the risk of breast cancer are obesity
and alcohol. No other aspect of diet such as vegetarianism, meat, dairy,
sugar etc. has been definitely shown to affect the risk for developing
breast cancer. However, research on this is continuing and it may be
that some links will be found in the future. In relation to vegan diets
there is simply not enough information anywhere in the world to draw any
In relation to fighting breast cancer, the only strong evidence in
relation to diet is that obesity has been associated with a higher risk
of the disease progressing.
3. Re IGF1 levels , have higher levels of IGF1 proved to cause breast
There is now a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that women with
relatively high blood concentrations of IGF-I do have a moderately
higher risk for developing breast cancer compared to women with
relatively low IGF-I. It seems likely therefore that IGF-I does play a
role in increasing risk. However, more research is needed to clarify
the importance of IGF-I.
4. Is the hormones in Cows Milk a factor in causeing breast cancer
This is not known.
5. Can useing suppliements help in breast cancer fighting/prevention.
No, not as far as we know at present.
6.Some also believe that "the intensive diet lifestyle change prostrate
study" ,is proof that a vegan diet does prevent cancer progression.
This research area is interesting but there is not yet enough known to
draw any firm conclusions, therefore there is not any proof that a vegan
diet does prevent cancer progression.
I hope that these answers are helpful - there is still a lot that we
don't know. Some of our research here is following the possibility that
dairy products might perhaps increase risk by increasing IGF-I, but we
don't know yet if there is much truth in this hypothesis. Therefore the
best dietary advice we can give is to choose a conventional "healthy
diet", to avoid obesity, and to limit alcohol consumption.
With best wishes
Well , as i expected there is absolutely no proof at this time re Red Meat-Dairy so its good to hear it from the experts on the subject.
Thanks for the link - will check it out. The Omega 6/3 was a big thing for me as well - even though I was eating mainly veggie food, I ate loads of bread and cheese, and very little Omega 3.
Elinda - the highest European bc rates (as of 2000) are in the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, the UK, Germany and Iceland (in that order). The lowest rates are in Spain, Greece, Latvia, Belarus, Macedonia and Lithuania.
Hi Mel - this isn't an area I know anything about, but this link from the Mayo Clinic might be a good place to start. finty x
hi Swallowtail, Thanks for your comments and agree with the HRT. They are now trying to get people off HRT as it is now considered a cancer risk! This is a typical example of the medical profession thinking HRT was the cure for all menopausal symptons and then some years down the line it's a cancer risk! I think the pill will go the same way, it makes the body full of hormones that shouldn't be there!
This is one of the reasons why people loose faith in a medical profession that is driven by drug companies!!!! Statins is another example
End of rant!!!
The French people I know who have a more traditional less Americanised diet, do regularly eat meat and cheese but in very small quantities. They eat a lot of salad and fruit and virtually no cakes, chocolate, butter or processed food. Also have quite a bit of fish so it's not meat every meal. Don't know how typical they are though ...
I think perhaps the UK diet isn't as good as the French/italian diet overall but then don't we have quite high rates of cancer everywhere in Europe?
Diet is all about reducing risk not eliminating risk. It is complex and as individuals we need to make decisions on that risk. I still eat some foods with sugar which I know aren't nutritious. I try to eat well at least 80 to 90% of the time but I'm always aiming higher! Even if diet wasn't linked directly to cancer, then giving our bodies the best nutrition possible must be helpful when facing any disease eg. boosting our immune system etc.
Thanks Celia - I do agree that you can do absolutely everything right, be a strict vegan your entire life, and still get cancer - I just think it is a little less likely.
Gretchen - I hope my son's experience is atypical - I do think the French and Italians care much more about quality than us, and many still shop in local markets, with lovely fresh produce. But I guess everywhere is becoming more Americanised in food culture - its an unstoppable juggernaut, sadly.
Flinty, Ah well, it sounded a feasible reason at the time! Maybe the French & Italians aren't all eating rustic, organic home made produce, it is just a lie fed to us by Jamie Oliver and the like!
Hello Leadie feel free to disagree I really dont mind I didnt say diet had nothing to do with bc I said that I personaly didnt think it had which is a diferent thing I am not an expert on anything only speaking as it affects me you are correct in saying that a vegetarian diet can be high in dairy you can be vegetarian and eat nothing but junk if you wish, I agree with you on the lifestyle issues I took hrt which wouldnt have helped I am not trying to be contentious or anything like that, I belive a vegan diet to be the best but it is not for everyone, and I admire Finty for sticking with her point as well,she as some very good points to make and I agree with what she says just wouldnt want anyone to think that if you follow a vegan lifstyle you would not get bc,
Gretchen I think that is a fair point about food quality in places like France and Italy. Although when my son went to France last year on a school exchange - having been warned by me to expect lots of rustic home cooking that he was to eat and be very polite about - he was surprised to find himself given microwave pasta or pizza every night! Another illusion shattered.
Thanks Leadie - cute dogs 🙂
Another suggestion that there is not a higher rates of cancer in France and Italy may be that there is a much higher quality of food eaten. Would it be a fair comment to say that in those countries food is given higher priority and there is less over processed convenience food eaten? So although there is more red meat and dairy eaten, there is much less processed chemical food eaten. Higher levels of good olive oil and quality fresh produce would help counteract the high red meat and dairy consumption.
Just a thought.
I think it has to be accepted that while there are some very healthy vegans with a low risk profile get bc, and very sadly, somewhere along the way their bodies created a strong pre-disposition to cancer, the vast majority of women do fit a risk profile and diet could be a great way to increase survival odds, even if only by 1 or 2 %.
I eat 90% super healthy. BUT I still have a splash of milk in tea, have red meat occasionally and still love cakes and biscuits. Of course everyone has to make their own decisions about diet. Hopefully these threads help the women who want to make a difference yet get woeful dietry advice from the NHS.
Dear Swallowtail, I disagree with you on the point you made about diet has got nothing to do with BC and using yourself as an example. One can be vegetatian and eat loads of dairy or vegan and not have enough variety and right types of food to keep the body balanced. As I have said before, I think BC is not just about the food we eat, but our lifestyle,stress levels,environmental pollution,toxins, high levels of eostrogen, etc etc. I am very interested in the alkaline/acid balance that we maintain in our body and how that can cause imbalances and then disease.
I am really enjoying this thread and want to give you a stroke for sticking in there despite some very difficult comments!! Best wishes everyone
I very rarely post on here nowadays, but have been reading this thread with interest. Not so much because of the content, but because of the pettiness - ie the comment regarding mispelling of specifically. Cheap shot and very much bullying.
As I said before on this thread I was vegetarian for 32 years and for the last 10 have been 100% vegan but I still got bc so cant really say that I think diet as anything to do with it having said that I still think vegan is healthier, but everyone must do what is best for them,
I totally agree that diet is only one of many factors, and you can appear to be doing everything right and still end up with bc or other cancers. I think it's all about tinkering at the margins to try and reduce risk - but everyone's assessment of what is worth doing versus the risk will be different. I really feel for you that you have tried so hard and still finish up here.
One thing that may possibly contribute, even with a very good vegetarian diet, is inflammation caused by high levels of Omega 6, or an Omega 6 vs Omega 3 imbalance. This is Servan Screiber's thesis - that we all have cancer cells, but for some inflammation at a very small (cellular)level overwhelms the immune system and allows the cancer cells to grow.
Hi Lulu - I think the lack of a discrepancy with countries like France and Italy could be explained by differentiating between vegetarians and vegans. Most vegetarians in the UK eat a lot of dairy, so you would probably need to compare cancer rates of vegans vs consumers of animal products, including vegetarians. As vegans only represent 0.3% of the population in the Uk, the effect would be way to small to feature in national cancer rates. I've been looking for the actual rates of cancer among vegans (that's when I found the IGF study we've been discussing), but I although I find thousands of references to lower rates, I'm struggling to find actual research that confirms it. Will keep looking though.
Oh how much I empathise with wwelcomex's comment!
I too could have ticked all the boxes for reasons NOT to develop BC(at least if you go by what the breast cancer literature tells you).
But develop it I did and have been struggling ever since to understand why and come to terms with it. I'm sure that's the story of all of us.
The sad truth is, as I mentioned earlier on, that NOBODY knows for sure why some people develop cancer and some people don't (and I'm not just talking about BC). I'm sure many factors come into play. Diet is only one of them.
That's why I take all advice regarding diet which is too dogmatic and restrictive with a huge pinch of salt.
For once if it was true there is a proven link between meat/dairy produce and cancer you would expect a much higher percentage of women developing BC in countries like France and Italy where vegetarians are thin on the ground and people love their cheeses.
Secondly there seems to be contradictory advice out there regarding what we should eat and what we shouldn't. Take soya for example. Professor Jane Plant, who, as we know, advocates the elimination of ALL dairy produce, strongly encourages the consumption of soya. PB, on the other hand, lists it under food to be consumed in moderation, just like dairy produce and meat.
I confess to be very confused at times. And scared. Hence the huge pinch of salt.
I have personally decided to be sensible about what I eat (plenty of fruit and veggies, varied diet, organic where possible,etc.) without being too extreme and totally eliminating whole categories of food.
Everybody can improve on the way they eat, that's for sure. I have started having a weekly delivery of fresh organic veggies, which I love. I have cut down on coffee and dairy. I make my own fresh fruit juices. I try to drink green tea (although not now I'm undergoing chemo as it tastes revolting for some reason) and rooibos tea.
But I'll still have my nice slice of cake when the fancy takes me.
Or my cup of espresso coffee. Or chunk of parmesan cheese.
This does not mean I don't respect those women who make more drastic changes to their diet. On the contrary. I always read with interest what other women do.
But everyone is different and has the right to deal with this issue as she chooses. Grammatical mistakes and all.
I hope we all agree on that.
Over and out
You really don't have a cancer risk profile, it must be very frustrating for you, especially as your you lived as if you were trying to avoid bc and then you end up with it!
Links to good research sites are always gratefully received. I know that I am a bit busy to be delving about the internet and so love the fact that this forum has posters that hand it all up on a platter, usually with a well summarised synopsis to go along with it.
Mel you're not alone the research can be really difficult - I generally only understand the introduction and conclusions, the bit in the middle is way over my head. (Even the statistical analysis is too much for me, and as I did part of a maths degree that is rather shameful to have to admit.) What I will try to do in future if I find anything interesting is to post alongside it a good summary for laymen - usually the newspapers pick up any good new research and print a more easily understood summary, so I will try and include something similar. In the past I have linked to the original research because I'm sensitive to being accused of imprinting my own bias, so find it better to always go to the primary source - as I was taught all those years ago .......
Anyway, I am very glad you have got something useful out of all the discussions At the risk of repeating myself for the nth time though, do please consider going to Penny Brohn at some stage - they make it all quite easy to understand, and are wonderfully kind and supportive.
There is something wrong with this thread, very wrong.
The 'pacific' thing is tantamount to playground bullying.
Seems to have resolved.
Is it just me or has something gone wrong with this thread. It jumps back to the first page and I can't see the last posting from Stressymessy.
It would be a real shame if people stopped posting research for fear of raising contentious issues or getting accused of forcing a viewpoint. let's not shoot the messenger. I also absolutely agree we should respect each other and if we start worrying about spelling and grammar then that will make some people afraid to post.
General points about looking at research (my views and not aimed at anyone) -
If we want good debate on research then we do need to come to it with an open mind. I would love the research to back up my own personal diet and thought to a large degree it did until I had to have a rethink. I switched from dairy to soya and then research I hadn't seen before that Finty posted has made me cut down on soya.
The best thing is if we can critique the research looking at both its strengths and weaknesses so we can make those difficult decisions on our diet.