Breast Cancer and Your Unbalanced Gut Health
The list of serious health problems associated with an unbalanced gut is growing as researchers discover more links between gut dysbiosis and various forms of cancer.
Some of the more interesting and disturbing findings have come recently from a research team at the University of Virginia’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology unit studying the connections between the gut microbiome and breast cancer.
So, why does breast cancer spread in some patients but not all of them?
A new study from Virginia researchers has answered that simple question, concluding alterations in a patient’s gut health influence changes in healthy breast tissue that makes it easier for breast cancer to spread to other parts of the body.
Scientists led by Dr. Melanie Rutkowski found an unhealthy gut reprograms mast cells (immune cells in healthy breast tissue) accumulating in the breast that eventually allows cancer to spread to other organs, according to a study appearing in Cancer Immunology Research.
Based on work with human patients and mice, an unbalanced gut alters breast tissue even before the presence of a tumor, setting the table for a tumor to have the resources it needs to spread cancer cells throughout the body, says Dr. Rutkowski.
Additionally, researchers could calculate the risk for a recurrence in breast cancer merely based on the number of mast cells and collagen, opening the door to develop treatment strategies targeted at prevention.
The need for life-saving alternatives is real. Just 29 percent of women and 22 percent of men survive five years after a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.
Until those alternatives come, the best cancer-fighting steps you can take to protect your gut and your health are easy ones.
- Eat a diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods and dietary fiber and ditch your Western diet ways.
- Incorporate more movement in your life with some consistent exercise. Even walking helps!
- Stay on a consistent sleep schedule.
- Avoid antibiotics except when you really need them.
- Take a daily probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.
Need some help figuring out how to get the most out of a probiotic? Check out our updated guide on the basics of taking a multi-strain probiotic, and learn why the prebiotics contained in probiotics matter, especially when fighting cancer.