Interesting City of Hope Research on Blueberries and Triple Negative Breast Cancer


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Searching around for hopeful things for breast cancer patients is one of my favorite things to do (call me crazy but I like to help) and today I found some interesting research from City of Hope, a cancer center in Duarte, California.

The research demonstrated that blueberries have the ability to control tumor growth, decrease metastasis and induce cell death in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)

A Quick Explanation of Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is a particular subtype of breast cancer that lacks estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) receptors and because most breast cancer tumors do have at least one of these receptors, doctors are able to target them with specific therapies.

I have spoken to quite a few patients whose tumors were triple negative and many were more than a little anxious over their diagnosis particularly because there seems to be a lot of really negative information on the Internet about triple negative breast cancer – that it accounts for only about 15% of breast cancer and that it has a poorer prognosis compared to other subtypes with the receptors present. Thus, whenever I do find some positive research about TNBC, I like to share it.

Blueberries Are a Triple Threat

Dr Shiuan Chen, director of City of Hope’s Division of Tumor Cell Biology said “blueberries help fight triple-negative breast cancers by suppressing pathways critical to tumor development and migration.” 

The research has not been carried out on real, live people yet (they are still waiting for the results of that study) but they have used it on TNBC cell cultures and also on laboratory animals with great results.  The researchers discovered that the group that received the blueberries had a tumor weight that was 70% lighter, exhibited significantly lower proliferation rates, and higher apoptosis activity (apoptosis means programmed cell death) than the group not receiving the blueberries.  So they considered that to be a triple threat against TNBC.  I found a YouTube video where they discuss their findings – click here to view it.

Researchers estimated that in humans, a person weighing 130 lbs would need 4 oz daily to achieve the good effects that the studies exhibited.

Got TNBC?  Get those blueberries in ya!

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook ( and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Book Review – Kicking Cancer In The Kitchen Review –  Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen: The Girlfriend’s Cookbook and Guide to Using Real Food to Fight Cancer by Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott

This is a great resource.  This cookbook was co-authored by two friends, Annette Ramke and Kendall Scott, both cancer survivors and holistic health coaches who adopted a “food as medicine” philosophy and began making small changes in their diets and busy lives to help their healing.

There are more than 100 recipes in the book and you are going to love them, they are all geared to helping you heal from cancer and STAY healthy.

The book has gone on to become #3 of The 25 Cookbooks of the Year for 2012 by

I was very impressed with their story and their passion to help others and especially with the lovely recipes (which I can’t wait to try).  I have added the book to my Amazon shop for your convenience.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Natural Remedies for Chemo-Related Constipation

Toilet sittingNatural Remedies for Chemo-Related Constipation

Going through chemotherapy and having constipation is NOT fun.  I mean, it’s not bad enough that you’re going through chemotherapy, you’ve lost your hair, now you gotta have this problem too?  I can SO sympathize with you.

Just so we’re clear, you are considered to be constipated if you have fewer than three difficult bowel movements in a week.  Which is not much!

My oncologist gave me a couple of recommendations but I wasn’t crazy about them – they were all pharmaceuticals and I prefer to use the things that nature has provided us (which is why it took me four months to make my decision about doing chemotherapy!).

So I searched further afield (let’s face it, I was motivated!) and found some more natural things to help.  When I had my next office visit with him, he asked how I was doing with the constipation and I told him I had a good herbal formula that was working for me he exasperatedly said to me (laughing) “Do you listen to anything I tell you?”  I guess he wasn’t used to having patients do things their own way.

My List of Recommendations for Constipation

  • Eat foods high in fiber like nuts, bran, vegetables, legumes, freshly ground flaxseed, whole wheat breads and pastas, and fruits
  • Drink 2-3 liters of non-alcoholic fluids (water, juices) each day, unless you are told otherwise by your doctor
  • Avoid sodas, coffee, alcohol and caffeine-containing drinks, which can have a diuretic effect and worsen constipation
  • Exercise 20-30 minutes most days of the week, as tolerated, and if okay with your doctor.  A lot of patients find that walking for exercise is convenient and easy to do
  • Take 2 tsp of freshly-ground flaxseed two-three times per day
  • Try drinking a glass of lukewarm or hot water just after you wake up. The warmth helps stimulate your intestines so that they start moving
  • Try my herbal formula (recipe below)
  • If you hate the herbal (and some will), try the Prune, Fig & Raisin tea recipe below

My naturopath in Perth, Sue Bartoll, made a herbal formula for me and she’s been kind enough to share the recipe. You will still probably want or need a naturopath or herbalist to blend this for you.  You may have to convert milliliters to ounces but most measuring devices have both these days.

Constipation Herbal

40 ml Senna

30 ml Golden Seal

40 ml Fennel

50 ml Butternut

5 ml Ginger

40 ml Liquorice

Dosage 5mls 2 x day with water or juice. Start with 2.5mls twice a day and increase over the next 2 days to full dosage. Sue says: “Please note that everyone is individual and may require another prescription that is appropriate for the person’s symptoms.”

Prune, Fig & Raisin Tea

Cut up about 12 organic figs and place them in a saucepan together with about 12 organic prunes and 2 tbsp organic raisins.  Cover with 1 liter (4 cups) of filtered water and simmer for about 30 minutes.  If desired, lemon juice may be added to vary the flavor.  Drink the tea before breakfast and dinner time.  You can make this ahead the night before and refrigerate.

Why Constipation Occurs with Chemotherapy

Because anticancer drugs are made to kill rapidly growing cells, they also affect normal, fast-growing cells such as blood cells forming in the bone marrow and cells in the digestive tract (i.e., mouth, stomach, intestines, esophagus), reproductive system, and hair follicles. Some anticancer drugs may affect cells of vital organs, such as the heart, kidney, bladder, lungs, and nervous system.

The anti-nausea drugs and steroids used during chemotherapy can also cause constipation.  It may take a few days after your infusion before your bowels return to normal.  Diarrhea can also occur as the microflora in the bowel is destroyed by the chemo drugs.

I noticed that “things” just seemed to grind to a halt the day after my infusions, which was very uncomfortable.  Once I started taking the above herbal though, it helped me a lot.  I found it helped for me to take the herbal the day before an infusion and then to continue it until things normalized, usually 2-4 days later.

If These Occur, See Your Doctor Right Away

Sometimes, chemo-related constipation can get out of hand.  If you get any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away:

      • Pain in your stomach
      • Fever
      • Unable to pass gas
      • Nausea, and/or vomiting along with your constipation
      • If you have not had a bowel movement in three days despite following the above recommendations
      • If your stomach looks swollen and/or feels hard to the touch


“Better Health Through Natural Healing” by Ross Trattler, Harper Collins Publishers

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Survivor Rejects Oncologist’s Advice to Take Tamoxifen in Favor of Special Diet

To Take Tamoxifen or Not…. That is the Question

I wanted to share with you this great article I read today about Vicky Sewart, a 4-year breast cancer survivor who has rejected her oncologist’s advice to take Tamoxifen in favor of a special diet.

Here’s a link to that article.  It’s a great article, I hope you’ll read it.

I did exactly the same thing 7 years ago.  It’s nice to have company.

I’m not passing any judgment whatsoever on those who have decided to take Tamoxifen, I just know that for myself and my body it wasn’t the right thing to do.  I wasn’t willing to risk any of the side effects that the drug engenders, there are too many of them.

This may not be a good course of action for everyone, I’m not saying that either.  My whole desire here is just to inform – to let you know that in some cases doctors don’t know everything there is to know about the healing power of certain nutrients in our food.

My Biggest Hope

My biggest hope is that the field of oncology will begin to pay attention to and take on some of the wisdom that natural medicine has to offer.

I loved the part of the article that stated “Her experience will now form part of an academic study into how lifestyle can affect the body’s response to cancer.”  There are lots of these studies being done already. 

Just go to the website and put the words “turmeric cancer” in the search field and you’ll get 20 studies that say curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) is effective against all kinds of cancer cells. 

The most interesting and newest study just published on June 14, 2012 says “The findings indicate that curcumin is of potential value for the chemoprevention of breast cancer, especially in breast cancer with Skp2/Her2 overexpression.”  Cycle arrest and apoptosis in MDA-MB-231/Her2 cells induced by Curcumin, Sun SH, Huang HC, Huang C, Lin JK, Eur J Pharmacol. 2012 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print].

Come on, oncologists.  Your way isn’t the only way.  Get with the program!

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook ( and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Natural Remedies That Enhance Chemotherapy and Reduce Toxicity

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Natural Remedies that Enhance Chemotherapy and Reduce Toxicity

When I finally made the decision to do chemotherapy for my breast cancer, I was interested in finding natural remedies that would enhance the chemotherapy drugs and reduce the toxicity of the drugs.

Oh, I spent hours combing through books, talking to natural therapists, researching the best natural remedies.  I came across a few duds, a few that made extraordinary claims, tried quite a few myself.

This is my A-Z list of the best natural remedies, tried and true

Vitamin A and carotene – Immune enhancer, reduces toxicity of chemo drugs, protects lungs and mucosal membranes, enhances effectiveness of chemo drugs.

Astragalus – Protects against toxicity of chemo drugs, boosts immunity and energy, protects bone marrow and lungs, helps body produce interferon.

B Complex vitamins – Enhance effects of chemotherapy, reduce side effects of chemo, protect digestive system.

Bromelain – Improves effectiveness of chemo drugs.

Vitamin C – Enhances effectiveness of chemo drugs, reduces side effects, boosts immune function, helps detoxify harmful substances.

Cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli – Contain cancer fighting nutrients.

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) – Herb which reduces side effects of chemo drugs.

Coenzyme Q10 – Maintains cellular health, improves immune system, improves oxygenation to cells and tissues, helps chemotherapy work better.

Cysteine – An amino acid, protects against toxicity of chemo drugs, protects kidney and bladder, reduces nausea.

Vitamin E – Best to begin this 2 weeks prior to chemotherapy, it enhances inhibition of estrogen-positive tumors, reduces chemo side effects, improves effectiveness of chemo drugs, reduces mouth ulcers.

Fiber – Helps with elimination of toxins.

Fluids – Make sure you drink plenty of filtered water because chemo can cause dehydration and water helps to eliminate toxins.

Glutathione – A combo of 3 amino acids (glutamic acid, glycine & cysteine), protective for kidneys and liver against toxicity, decreases chemo side effects – particularly cisplatin.

Goldenseal – A powerful immune enhancer, also helps to eliminate toxins from liver.

Juicing – A big subject, I have a whole category of articles on juicing, check them out here.  Many vegetables and fruits have anti-cancer properties and will help you detox.

Vitamin K – Found in leafy green vegetables like spinach, lettuce and broccoli, eggs, fish oils, liver – it inhibits tumor growth.

Lipoic acid – Reduces drug resistance and side effects, boosts immunity.

Love – Yes, think of it as a nutrient – it is the most necessary nutrient for healing!  It can be found in many places like kids, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, dogs, cats, music, flowers, trees and plants.  Easily absorbed and side effects include healing, euphoria, happiness.  Four-five hugs per day required to avoid deficiencies.

Omega-3 fatty acids (especially flaxseed) – Deadly against cancer cells, reduces chemo side effects, anti-inflammatory.

Pancreatic enzymes – Help to remove the blocking antigens from cancer cells, decrease inflammation, improve gut absorption of nutrients and prevent malnutrition.

Quercitin – Anti-inflammatory, enhances chemo drugs.

Selenium – An important antioxidant, reduces side effects of chemo drugs, cardio-protectective, enhances immunity.

SOD (superoxidedismutase) – Reduces side effects and toxicity of chemo drugs.

Transfer Factors – A little known nutraceutical which teaches your immune system what it should be doing.  Since a big malfunction of the immune system caused your cancer to flourish in the first place, this one’s a must.  Most people haven’t heard of this, contact me for more information.

I don’t recommend you take these all at once!  I can help you to pick and choose the ones that will help you the most, taking into account your personal health status.  Let me know if I can help you.

Yes, there’s a lot here and yes, you will probably rattle when you walk (just kidding!) but if you’re going through chemotherapy, you owe it to yourself to protect against toxicity and give those chemotherapy drugs a boost.  Give yourself the best chance you can of beating this and if I can assist you, I’m only too happy to do so.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or natural health practitioner.  You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (  It is my honor to help you through breast cancer so that you are thriving on the other end.


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