Breast Cancer Month

I have just returned from attending a conference in Montlucon, Allier entitled Cancer and Nutrition.

It was presented by Professor Yves-Jean Bignon, director of the onco-genetic department of Centre Jean Perrin in Clermont Ferrand

Here is a precis of what he had to say:

The highest incidence of breast cancer is in Northern America, Western Europe and Scandinavia. There is virtually none in Africa and China

Highest risk factors are 30% tobacco, 30% nutrition, 9% sedentary life style, 31% other various factors

Incidences of breast cancer have doubled from 1980 to 2000


20% late 1st pregnancy (after 30)

10% alcohol

5.6% overweight

10% sedentary

Rest is other factors such as toxins, chemicals, radiation exposure etc.

During lifetime you will ingest 50 cubic metres of drinks and 30 tons of food (which includes of course toxins)

Prevention can be divided into 3 areas:

Health, exposure to something, avoiding a recurrence

Ideal nutrition:

by changing habits you can reduce risk of breast cancer by 50% and colorectal cancer by 75%


1.Stay thin

2.exercise more

3.avoid sweetened drinks and energy foods more vegetables and avoid processed, refined and sweetened foods

5.reduce amount of red meat to 500 gr a week and avoid ‘charcuterie’ meats

6.limit intake of alcohol

7.reduce amount of salt

8.avoid nutritional supplements

9.breast feed babies for at least 6 months (in Africa women feed until age of 3)

10.avoid tobacco

Professor Bignon then quoted the bible – Genesis Chapter 1 verse 29:

“I have given you every herb bearing seed and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be meat”



eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

exercise regularly

breast feed


drink alcohol

become overweight

eat red and processed meat

eat salted food

take supplements especially beta carotene (they can cause other cancers)

take HRT long term

Statistics show that people born after 1940 have a much higher risk of developing cancer than those born before 1940

People who have been treated for cancer often feel abandoned, depressed, lonely and tired because once the treatment is completed they are left to their own devices. They also find it difficult to stick to an altered life style. 50% will put on weight and many don’t continue to follow prevention recommendations.

YIPPEE! I’m one of the 71+ group, had breast cancer (1981), and survived.

Re ‘late’ pregnancies: one can’t always choose, can one? Same goes for breast feeding.

All recommendations are super, but I’m missing that one important thing:

self-check your breasts every month (get to know every square mm of them) and see a gyneacologist once a year.

Bear in mind that ‘incidence’ involves diagnosis - and that detection methods (and their accessibility) have also improved. Thus, an increase in ‘incidence of- …’ includes those cases that existed but would not previously have been detected.

That also impacts upon the pre/post 1940 comment - not least because there are now relatively few people left who were born before 1940 (ie now aged 71+)

I think the putting on weight after treatment is also due to the fact that chemo alters your metabolism, this has been proven. I did, and lots of other cancer sufferers I know also did.