DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: Here’s why boosting bacteria in your breasts could cut the risk of cancer

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I was inspired to read about Julia Bradbury’s breast cancer diagnosis and her subsequent mastectomy.

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The 51-year-old TV presenter has been open about the whole process, and urges women everywhere to check their breasts. Julia’s own cancer was diagnosed after routine mammograms, but sadly, it was too late to do anything other than remove the breast.

I don’t know if Julia has a mother or sister who had breast cancer (which would more than double her risk), but she seems to have been pretty unlucky.

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She is younger than a typical breast cancer patient and is neither overweight nor a heavy drinker, both of which, after genetics, are risk factors.

The good news is that outcomes for breast cancer patients have improved significantly, thanks to screening and better treatments, including the development of immunotherapy (mobilizing the immune system to destroy the cancer).

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I was inspired to read about Julia Bradbury’s breast cancer diagnosis and her subsequent mastectomy. The 51-year-old TV presenter (above) has been open about the whole process, and is urging women everywhere to check their breasts. Julia’s own cancer was diagnosed after routine mammograms, but sadly it was too late to do anything other than remove the breast

The ten-year survival rate has nearly doubled since the 1980s and may be further improved thanks to new drugs on the horizon, such as talazoparib, which stop cancer cells from repairing themselves, thereby preventing cancer cells from repairing themselves. They self-destruct, and that is now being tested on patients. Cancer that has spread.

But there are also concerns. A friend who works in insurance told me that the number of women claiming their vital life insurance — which is what the insured pays when diagnosed with a medical condition — has fallen by more than 30 percent during the pandemic.

Breast cancer tissue typically contains low levels of bacteria called lactobacillus, which produce anti-inflammatory compounds, and one study (albeit in monkeys) showed that changing breast levels of these bacteria to a med diet tenfold. was extended.

This sounds like a good thing, but what it really means is that many are not being diagnosed, which is obviously bad news.

Charity Breast Cancer Now estimates that around 1.5 million fewer women in the UK have had breast screening because of Covid-19, and that 12,000 women in the UK could live with undiagnosed breast cancer.

In addition to examining your breasts and having regular mammograms, there are steps you can take that may be proven to reduce your risk.

follow a med diet

The Mediterranean diet is not only delicious, it has wide-ranging, beneficial effects, including reducing your risk of cancer, and especially breast cancer.

In a major study years ago, more than 7,400 middle-aged Spaniards were randomly allocated to either a Mediterranean diet (eating more nuts, oily fish, olive oil, and veg), or a standard low-fat diet. Was.

Not only were women on the Mediterranean diet half as likely to develop breast cancer over the five years of the trial (which is really impressive), but a follow-up study showed that those with breast cancer had a significantly lower risk of it recurring. post-treatment compared to a low-fat diet.

The Mediterranean diet is not only delicious, it has wide-ranging, beneficial effects, including reducing your risk of cancer, and especially breast cancer.

The Mediterranean diet is not only delicious, it has wide-ranging, beneficial effects, including reducing your risk of cancer, and especially breast cancer.

And extra virgin olive oil seemed to be one of the key ingredients; It contains polyphenols, which are known to be anti-inflammatory.

This diet has also been shown to improve our gut microbiome (the microbes closely associated with health). And recent research shows that it also improves the breast microbiome. While the breast contains far fewer germs than the gut, they can also be protective.

For better heart health… try hugging

Most of us love hugging a friend or loved one or petting a dog. But why does being touched or touched matter so much?

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to two scientists who, more than a decade ago, identified some of the mechanisms that trigger the sensations of touch, including a key protein called They called it piezo 1, after the Greek word for ‘pressure’. ‘.

As with piezo1, our skin contains nerves that respond to gentle touch, by sending signals to the brain that lead to the production of oxytocin, the ‘love’ hormone. One study found that stroking the skin 3 cm per second is optimal.

Along with making us feel good, being touched reduces feelings of stress by lowering our heart rate and blood pressure.

Personally, I enjoy a good hug, and since I read somewhere that you should aim for 20 seconds once a day, I’m giving it a go. It’s cute, but it’s best not to try it on strangers.

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One of the things that beneficial bacteria do in your gut is reduce chronic inflammation, which can lead to cancer, and it appears that bacteria in the breast may be doing something similar.

Breast cancer tissue typically contains low levels of bacteria called lactobacillus, which produce anti-inflammatory compounds, and one study (albeit in monkeys) showed that changing breast levels of these bacteria to a med diet tenfold. was extended.

Do not eat after 7 pm

The more fat you take in, the higher your levels of estrogen and insulin, hormones that increase breast cancer.

As well as losing weight, you may want to try time-restricted eating, which means cutting out late-night snacks and doing more overnight fasts.

We know this thanks to a seven-year study of women with breast cancer in the US who were either allocated to a low-fat diet or given a pamphlet on the benefits of ‘five a day’.

The aim of the study was to see if eating less fat made a difference. The answer was no.

But the women’s eating habits also showed that those who fasted for more than 13 hours were 36 percent less likely to have breast cancer recurrence than those who didn’t.

If you are without…

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