Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Not-So-Intuitive Dietary Guide to Managing Estrogen & Progesterone Positive Cancer

Here I am pre-op for my partial mastectomy.
Research shows, lemon water is still an excellent
choice for me.
In July 2019, I was diagnosed with stage 2 ductal carcinoma. I'm going today to get results of body scans to show if there is cancerous activity in other parts of my body. Meanwhile, I'm armed with the information in my pathology report from my partial mastectomy on July 8. The key detail in this report, in my opinion, is that my cancer is hormone fueled. The primary treatment for it is ingesting chemical hormone blockers or fully inducing early menopause by surgically removing my ovaries. I like the side effects of those less than the side effects of allowing additional tumors to slowly, quietly grow over time. Of course, I would also rather avoid that if possible.

Reflecting on my diagnosis has made me feel very philosophical--deep diving into concepts like Choice and Death. I have explored these in some essays, which I'm hopeful will appear soon in Buzzfeed Reader and Gay Magazine. (Yeah. I'm looking at you editors, if you've popped by this page!). I have also been revisiting cancer wellness guru Kris Carr's work. One thing I love about her book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips is how she takes control of her disease through diet. I have been trying to do a similar thing for the past few months, but I've had a lingering feeling that something is just a bit off about my plant-based, whole foods approach. Today, I think I discovered what that is. It turns out that many of the healthy foods and supplements I've been consuming actually either boost levels of estrogen and progesterone or mimic these hormones, leading to a different kind of physiological confusion. They are still healthy foods, which fight many types of cancer--just not the types which are as hormone-fueled as mine.

For the sake of keeping myself on track, as well as inspiring anyone in a similar spot, I'm sharing my notes about my findings in this post. As you read, please bear in mind that I am not a licensed healthcare professional and am merely providing some inspiration for your own research, not standing in for a doctor or making claims about what will work for you. I don't even know if these suggestions will work for me! However, I am feeling hopeful to take a new approach which puts some power back in my hands. Thank you for witnessing the journey.

Safe for Consumption: Lower And/Or Block Estrogen And/Or Progesterone
  • Mushrooms 
  • Blueberries
  • Lemons
  • Green Tea
  • Brown Mustard
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage 
  • Corn
  • Kale
Not Safe for Consumption: Increase And/Or Mimic Estrogen And/Or Progesterone:
  • Nuts & seeds, particularly flax
  • Apples, carrots, strawberries, pomegranates, cranberries & grapes 
  • Sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, lentils & beans
  • Oats, barley, wheat germ
  • Coffee, alcohol, olive oil, jasmine
  • Meat
  • Non-organic dairy
  • Spinach
  • Soy
  • Garlic
  • Manuka Honey
Safe for Consumption in Moderation Among Hormone Conscious Consumers:
  • Simple sugars. White rice. White bread
  • Organic, no hormones added, cheese
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
Safe Supplements Which Help Limit Excess Hormone Production & Absorption:
  • Mushroom Extract
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Passion Flower
  • Vitamin E
  • Probiotics
Supplements I Previously Used to Treat Other Conditions Which Do Not Negatively Affect Hormone Levels:
  • D-3
  • L-lysine
  • St. John's Wort
  • Turmeric
  • D-Mannose
Ever a proponent of responsible cannabis use for health, I have found mixed results on its impact on hormone levels. However, research leans more positive than negative. More notably, I've read some very hopeful studies about using the whole plant as a therapeutic agent during menopause if hormone replacement therapy in contraindicated due to a history of breast cancer like mine. If I needed another reason to move to Colorado in the future, there it is!


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