Beat Breast Cancer

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Beat Breast Cancer

When Catherine Frompovich was diagnosed with two cancerous tumors in her right breast in 2011, she rejected the breast surgeon’s invasive plan of action: surgery and chemo.

“I decided I wanted to go the holistic route from the very beginning,” says Frompovich, who’s been a natural nutritionist and consumer health researcher for 35 years (now retired). Frompovich applied her knowledge of food, supplements and other holistic modalities as treatment to fight her breast cancer—despite the surgeon urging her that if she didn’t do the conventional treatments they recommended, she wouldn’t make it.

Today, after embracing a vegan diet, meditation and prayer, Frompovich has confirmation of one tumor gone, as verified by sonograms, and the other greatly reduced. “I’m working with a holistic physician who is allowing me to have input on my protocol—and it feels great to be working as a team,” she says.

That proactive attitude is exactly what you need to deal with treatment or to help prevent breast cancer, says Lise Alschuler, N.D., past president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and coauthor of The Definitive Guide to Cancer (Celestial Arts) and The Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer (Ten Speed Press). Many women aren’t aware of the profound effect that lifestyle changes can have on breast health, she says.

For example, an analysis of study data published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed a significant improvement in survival rates among women with stage 1 breast cancer who both exercised for at least 30 minutes per day and maintained a diet that included five servings of fruit and vegetables. And new research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that exercise can also prevent the disease. Researchers found that just 30 minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise (think moderately brisk walking) can reduce the risk of breast cancer between 40 percent and 60 percent. “Exercise reduces a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer by about 50 percent, and it reduces her risk of getting the disease in the first place by up to 60 percent,” says Alschuler. “That would be considered a miracle drug if it were in a bottle.”

To help you be more proactive, we’ve answered some of the most common questions women have when facing treatment or who hope to prevent breast cancer.