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Breast Health

Preventing breast disease


  • 'Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer (apart from melanocytic skin cancer) in Australian women.
  • 1 in 14 women will develop breast cancer before they reach 75 years of age.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer in women.
  • 76-77% of women with breast cancer (based on data from two Australian States) survived more than 5 years after diagnosis. The percentage of women surviving was much greater for those women diagnosed with early stages than for women with cancers that have spread beyond the breast.' Reference

Genetic Predisposition

  • BRCA1 & BRCA2 genetic testing. Makes up only 5% - 10% of breast cancers but if an individual harbour's one of these genes, there is an up to 80% risk of developing a breast cancer. These genes also predispose to ovarian cancers.
  • Vitamin D Receptor [VDR] mutations. Women with a VDR mutation are twice as likely to develop a breast cancer than those without these mutations.

How a cell progresses to cancer

Unleash the power of diet to prevent disease

  • Because cancer initiation occurs it does not mean that it will progress. Click on the slide below to see the sequence of events that leads to the initiation and progression of cellular change towards cancer.
  • There are many dietary interventions that can help to prevent cancer from developing. A plethora of epidemiological or animal studies attest to this fact.
  • In an important book that can be found in the bookshop titled ‘Foods that Fight Cancer’ , the authors state “The acquisition of these cancerous properties generally takes place over a long period of time, a latency period that gives us a golden opportunity to intervene in order to prevent the tumour from reaching the stage of maturity.”

Diet possibilities

Unleash the power of diet to prevent disease

Diet and breast health
Many factors are linked to breast disease including diet, lifestyle and environment. The Breast Health Diet, outlines the many nutritional  strategies that can be utilized in a preventative sense.

Special tests

The 2OHE1 to 16αOHE1 Ratio in Breast Health

  • In women susceptible to breast disease assessing which type of estrogen [estradiol] breakdown product predominates is important. One  of these called 2-hydroxyoestrone [2OHE1] is protective, the other 16α-hydroxyoestrone [16αOHE1] is highly estrogenic and a potent stimulator of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells in culture [Higdon 2007].

  • A urine test is available to identify which is the dominant pathway involved in you  - 2OHE1 or 16αOHE1 for oestrogen metabolism.

  • The aim is to ensure that the ratio between the 2:16 pathways is maintained at the ideal of 2.0. Can you change this ratio? The aim of the diet is to change this ratio through wholefoods rich in glucosinolates and wholefood concentrates rich in cruciferous vegatables and to ensure the many other risk factors for breast cancer are minimized.

[Higdon et al 2007]


Suggested Reading


Higdon, J. (2007). An Evidence-based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals, Thieme Medical Publishers.

QuickGuide Topic References

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QuickGuide Topic References


Personalized genetic treatment

An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals

Jane Higdon, Ph.D.