Best of Breast: news for week ending 25 July 2014

The latest cancer developments from Google Alerts, with a bias towards breast cancer, for the week ending 25 July 2014.

This week’s top 2 features offer potential cures for cancer which either don’t cost very much (aspirin) or are already being used in other ways (marijuana/cannabis).


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Aspirin was originally derived from willow bark, which has been used as a painkiller since the time of Hippocrates.  Aspirin reduces inflammation, and that may play a role in inhibiting the growth of tumors — perhaps by slowing the development of new blood vessels that nourish them, or by fighting old cells that keep growing when they should be dying off. It may also inhibit estrogen production, and we know that estrogen fuels the growth of most (but not all) breast cancers.

And yet, until now, there have been no randomized trials (the gold standard of research) of aspirin use among women with breast cancer – a travesty.  The solution:  don’t wait for the boffins to rubber-stamp aspirin, just take it.

As for cannabis (or rather in its concentrated form, cannabis oil), just google cannabis oil and cancer, or Rick Simpson Oil and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of scientific studies.  Unfortunately, unlike aspirin, cannabis oil is not available in your local friendly pharmacy, and in many countries, its use is illegal.

1.  Grandfather, 63, claims he cured his cancer with ‘Breaking Bad’ style homemade CANNABIS OIL

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 18 July 2014

The weekly summary of news from Google Alerts for Breast Cancer and Cancer, for week ending 18 July 2014.


Not guilty!  Contact with raw meat, especially lamb, is a more significant source of Toxoplasma human infections in some countries. Up to one-third of the world’s human population is estimated to carry a Toxoplasma infection. Image credit:

This week opens with a vaccine for cancer made from a manipulated version of toxoplasmosis gondii, a parasite which is often passed through cat poo, or eating contaminated meat.  About a third of the US population has toxoplasmosis.  In a healthy person, the infection causes mild symptoms.  However, in an immune-compromised person (e.g. with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy), toxoplasmosis can give rise to serious side-effects such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and death.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 11 July 2014

New developments in Breast Cancer and Cancer, from Google Alerts, for the week ending 11 July 2014.


How to name a cancer protein/gene

I’ve often wondered how scientists come up with the names for these discoveries.  It’s not as if TARBP2 or alpha v beta 6 trip off the tongue.  I have a theory that scientists just dip their spoons into a can of alphabet soup, and whatever comes up is the name du jour … .

Something I’ve had to do this week is re-write a number of headlines.  Some of the tabloids seem to view every discovery of a new oncogene or signalling pathway as a !BREAKTHROUGH! in treatment.  Now that I’ve been scanning developments for more than a year, I’m more realistic.  Most of these “breakthroughs” have been realised only on rodents, and they’re also years away from commercial release, plus they’re only one bit in the jigsaw puzzle that is cancer.  I hate it when newspapers tout the latest cure for cancer, which is anything but.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 4 July 2014

New developments in Breast Cancer and Cancer from Google Alerts for the week ending 4 July 2014.

The first article steps straight into the controversy about the use of antioxidants in cancer patients.  Some doctors/scientists believe that they actually protect the cancer cells; however, another school believes that antioxidants can protect healthy cells from free radicals and prevent further cancer formation.

What I found interesting was that finally there was a plausible explanation for why taking antioxidant pills or eating vast quantities of foods rich in antioxidants may be failing to show a beneficial effect against cancer.

It has to do with the fact that cancer cells generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) – aka free radicals – in order to grow and antioxidants “do not act at the critical site in cells where tumor-promoting ROS are produced – at cellular energy factories called mitochondria.”

Rather, supplements and dietary antioxidants tend to accumulate at scattered distant sites in the cell, “leaving tumor-promoting ROS relatively unperturbed.”

So the dilemma still remains for those cancer patients who pop pills:  antioxidant supplements or no?

Update:  thank you to reader JT who pointed out this study which showed that antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy is beneficial:  Cancer Treatment Reviews, 2007 Aug;33(5):407-18Impact of antioxidant supplementation on chemotherapeutic efficacy: a systematic review of the evidence from randomized controlled trials [full paper]. One of the authors of the study is Dr Keith Block of the Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education, Illinois, USA, which lends the study clinical authority.  See also this fantastic study sent by JT: – The Role of Supplements (including Anti-Oxidants) in Cancer Treatment.

1.  How antioxidants can accelerate cancers, and why they don’t protect against them

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 27 June 2014

The weekly round-up of news developments from Google Alerts, for Breast Cancer and Cancer, for the week ending 27 June 2014.

A surfeit of news articles this week, so I’ll just draw your attention to the first two:  the first is a study on how limiting carbohydrate intake could cut down breast cancer recurrence in women with certain types of tumours.  The question is:  how do we find out whether or not our tumours are IGF1 receptor positive?  It would go far in helping out sort the tricky diet dilemma for all breast cancer patients.  There are a plethora of diets out there, some very high in carbs (e.g. Gerson with its juices) and their passionate advocates.  However, what works for some women may not work for others, and this study underlines the fact that limiting carb intake (which is the foundation of many cancer diets) may not be effective for some.

The second article comes with a warning:  distressing photos.  A study on weedkiller and GMO corn causing tumours in mice has been confirmed as accurate.   The study was first published two years ago and caused an uproar and withdrawn, it has since been reviewed and republished.  I’m just puzzled that not more has been made of this study.  Methinks Big Pharma may be behind this news mask.


Poison or Food? image credit:

1.  Limiting carbs could reduce breast cancer recurrence in women with positive IGF1 receptor Continue reading

London Sat 4 July – workshop on Breast Cancer with Dr Contreras (Oasis of Hope)

This is a must-attend event for anyone with breast cancer.  It is being run by Yes To Life, the breast cancer charity.  The main speaker is Dr Contreras of the world-famous Oasis of Hope clinic in Mexico.

If you are unable to afford the full cost of the seminar, please e-mail:

Breast Cancer – The Power of Choice
Yes to Life London Seminar

Saturday 5th July 2014: 9.30 –  4.30 pm
Glazier’s Hall, 9 Montague Close, London SE1

Yes to Life is delighted that Sheila Dillon, Radio 4’s Food Programme Presenter will host a ground-breaking  seminar on breast cancer headlined by Dr Francisco Contreras, Director and President of the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico. 

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with incidence rates having increased by 70% since the mid-1970’s.  Although survival rates have been improving, in 2011 in the UK, around 11,700 women died from breast cancer (that’s around 32 per day).*

The seminar will look at ways to support a weakened immune system; taking an integrative approach to breast cancer care; and therapies for supporting the body through breast cancer and standard treatments. 

Joining Dr Contreras will be :

  • Dr Siegfried Trefzer from High Tree Medical Clinic;

  • Dr Stefan Geider from Camphill Medical Practice NHS, Aberdeen;

  • Barbara Gallani who will demonstrate the importance of exercise and, in particular, yoga;

  • Two inspirational women will share their personal journey of recovery from breast cancer;  

  • Ted Poulter, a physical activity and public health expert and a member of the Macmillan expert advisory group on a physical activity; 

  • Question and Answer sessions will be held during the day and there will be an opportunity to meet the speakers during refreshments and lunch.

The seminar is aimed at the general public, health care professionals, carers, complementary therapists, and anyone with an interest in breast cancer.
*Cancer Research UK Jan 2014

To book tickets, please click here