According to Cornell University, 86 percent of women treated for breast cancer will survive at least five years. Research regarding the role diet plays in the survival of breast cancer is still in its infancy. However, it appears that a healthier plan of eating may be helpful. Consuming a healthy diet can also help to decrease your risk of other serious illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and adult-onset diabetes. Additionally, healthier eating can help you attain and maintain a healthy weight. Check with your doctor before making significant changes to your diet.
According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, women, particularly of menopausal age, should avoid obesity. Similarly, if you are a breast cancer survivor, staying at or near your ideal weight can decrease your risks. In addition, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center explains that breast cancer survivors can reap many health benefits from healthier food choices. White meat skinless poultry, low fat dairy products, lean pork and egg whites all provide amino acids that help your tissues heal, and they have less fat than other animal protein sources. If you are receiving chemotherapy treatment, be sure any animal foods you consume are well cooked to prevent food poisoning while your immune system is compromised.
Foods High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are necessary for functioning of the cardiovascular and immune systems. According to a study published in the 1997 "Journal of Clinical Oncology," Volume 15, found that breast cancer survivors who had higher levels of EFAs in their fat stores had a lower incidence of positive lymph node test results. Although this finding alone isn't indicative of cancer, it is an indication of stimulation of your body's immune response. In some cases, with biopsy testing, positive lymph node status may be an indicator of cancer. Eating foods that are rich in EFAs, such as salmon, mackerel, flax seeds and walnuts, can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and may help decrease the recurrence of cancer.
Adequate Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber is important for proper digestion, weight control and decreased risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center explains that the typical adult should consume between 25 g and 25 g of fiber every day. Dr. John P. Pierce, PhD., of The University of California - Davis, adds that a diet that is rich in dietary fiber appears to reduce estrogen that circulates in the body. For women who are survivors of breast cancer, an estrogen-driven type of cancer, less estrogen may mean less risk of recurrence.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in dietary fiber, can help you manage your weight and provide nutrients that can improve your immunity, mood and ability to heal. According to Cornell University, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower can stop the proliferation of cancer cells and the development of cancer in laboratory animals. Fruits, particularly of the citrus variety, are rich in vitamin C, which is a natural antioxidant that can improve your immunity. Both fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, so you can manage your weight while feeling full from the fiber.