Diet and Breast Cancer: insights from the EPIC study

two hands offering fresh spinach leaves up to the camera

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) [i] study is one of the world’s largest ongoing cohort studies[ii], following over half a million people from ten European countries for almost fifteen years. Among its main objectives is to understand the influence that diet, nutrition, lifestyle and environmental factors have on the incidence of cancer and other chronic illnesses.

The study’s recent findings on breast cancer are particularly revealing, and affect younger and older women in different ways.

by Professor Luis Costa Weight gain may increase risk The EPIC study confirms a strong connection between excess body weight and increased incidence of breast cancer in menopausal women. Moreover, post-surgery weight gain has been found to increase the risk of cancer recurrence. The majority of breast cancers contain hormonal receptors (oestrogens and/or progesterone receptors) and are considered hormone-dependent in some way. However, the increased incidence of breast cancer due to high BMI (body mass index) is observed both in cancers showing hormonal receptors and in those with none at all. The challenge for scientists and doctors is to understand what exactly occurs in Read more

Yoga improves quality of life for breast cancer patients

According to a study carried out by the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, yoga provides a range of important benefits for breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.

The initial results of this study were made public some years ago by Professor Lorenzo Cohen, Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This study, incorporating a deep insight into the interaction of body and mind and the positive effects of this on cancer patients, was developed in collaboration with the world-class yoga institution, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, in Bangalore, India. What is yoga? Yoga is a combination of concentration techniques used in order to achieve harmony through the union of body, mind and breathing.  It is an ancient practice and is undertaken through breathing exercises, (pranayama), meditation and poses (asanas).    According to the results, breast cancer patients who incorporated yoga exercises with conrolled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into the treatment plan for Read more

Cleopatra Study improves overall survival rates for patients with HER2 positive breast cancer

Only a few years ago, being diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer meant surviving for no more than 20 months. Fortunately, new research such as that undertaken in the Cleopatra Study, has changed the outlook for one of the most virulent and deadly types of breast cancer which it is now one of the cancers with a more encouraging prognosis for the patient.

Today, a patient diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer in which the cancer cells contain the HER2 protein has up to a 90 percent chance of a cure as long as the cancer has not spread to other organs. Best Doctors’ experts confirm this positive outlook Dr Luis Costa, Director of Oncology at the Santa Maria Hospital, Lisbon (Portugal), Professor of Medicine and Biology of Cancer at Lisbon University and member of Best Doctors’ Medical Advisory Board, gives us his thoughts on the Cleopatra Study which focussed on research into using a combination treatment of Trastuzumab (Herceptin), chemotherapy and Pertuzumab (Perjeta) for Read more