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Give Your Breasts a Boost

Give Your Breasts a Boost

Around this time five years ago my cookbook Feed Your Cells was released. I planned a book signing in New York with family, friends, and patients to celebrate its launch. I also organized a “Feed Your Cells Team” to participate in a local Breast Cancer Awareness Walk in Westchester County. The day of the walk dawned and it was drizzling on and off. It had rained quite hard the night before and the park where everyone was to gather was soggy at best. There were big puddles, grassy areas that had turned to mud and we showed up with our raincoats and umbrellas. Thankfully, as it turned out there was no more rain that day.


Feed Your Cells Cookbook


Me with Kathy Quinn the Executive Director of the Support Connection Walk

The walk was rain or shine and there was a great turnout as women and families gathered to rally for friends, colleagues, and loved ones. I was there to walk with my team, raise money for the local breast support chapter, and showcase my new book. There were many other vendors participating in the event. There was everything from wigs and hair replacements, to breast centers, and pink baked goods. As I walked around and spoke to people I became glaringly aware of which pieces of critical information had been left out of breast cancer awareness education.

As my eyes scanned the crowd they settled on a table filled with baked goods. There were huge cakes, trays of brownies, pink and blue cupcakes, pink cookies, rice Krispy treats dappled with pink sprinkles, the display seemed endless. And then I watched women line up to purchase them for a “good cause” and saw the long line wrapping around into another part of the park. It’s almost as if I could see the mental wheels churning in their minds, “Well if I buy this cupcake the money goes towards research so this is my duty to buy not one but two and eat them guiltlessly.”

I stood there cringing as I silently shouted, “No! That pink and blue dye is poison, sugar feeds cancer cells, those sweets are inflaming your body and robbing it of its God given ability to heal.”

I became a little disheartened. How were we going to get ahead of the breast cancer epidemic when there was so little information being disseminated about food and nutrition.  I knew that food was so powerful that it had the ability to starve out cancer cells but why weren’t more people talking about it? I realized that many of the women I spoke with were feeling helpless. They had been told there was nothing for them to do. Cancer had attacked them and it was best to let their doctors manage their care as they saw fit. I had to be careful when talking about food. I was walking a fine line between having them understand that certain food choices are inflammatory and not having them blame themselves for poor choices made in the past. Nobody wants to hear that they gave themselves cancer, especially from somebody else. Plus, it’s not true.

We can’t find a cause for cancer because there isn’t one. There are too many. Cancer is a complex disease that results from multiple attacks upon a body that span the physical, mental and spiritual planes.  Every day we make choices, all choices have outcomes. Most of the time we don’t know what the long term effects of those choices will be. I will remind you that there was a time about 70 years ago when smoking was thought to be healthy. That’s why we have the popular cliché’ “Hindsight is 20/20”. If I only knew then what I know now…But it’s no use to look back. It’s time to be present. What do I know now? What tools can I access now to help myself? How can I get in the game and stop feeling hopeless today? 

In the past five years a lot more information about nutrition, our environment and cancer has surfaced. There is more information now than we have ever had and more is coming. You have more control over your body and your health than ever before. You no longer need to solely rely on an annual mammogram (which is simply a screening tool to see if you have cancer) for peace of mind. You can take back control over your health and change the health of your breast tissue with a few small improvements to your daily routine. This is because we have come to find out that every lifestyle choice you make will influence the health of your breast tissue.

Every lifestyle choice you make will influence the health of your breast tissue.

Here are a few examples:

*Drinking water and exercise – Doing these simple items will move and drain your lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic system is responsible for draining and detoxifying the breasts. Water hydrates the cells and supports elimination through the skin, kidneys, liver, and colon. Exercise is the single most important thing shown to decrease cancer risk at a wopping 37% reduction.

*Anti-persperant & Deodorant – aluminum from deodorant has been found in breast cancer cells and many questions have been raised about it affecting the health of breast tissue. There is currently an insufficient amount of research to confirm this however I recommend switching to a natural one.

*Underwire bras – These interfere with the fluid flow into and out of the breast. This affects lymphatic drainage and detoxification. Think of a stagnant pond…Mosquitoes, algae, Yuck! Nothing in the body should be stagnant, everything is in motion all the time.

*Eating 5 servings of Fruits and Vegetables daily – The saying is “Five to Thrive”. Cancer survivors who regularly eat 5 servings of vegetables or more each day have lowered their rates of recurrence by 50%.

*Reduce/eliminate refined sugars and flours – Rapidly absorbed carbohydrates are associated with menopausal breast cancer risk and weight gain. Excess weight means excess fat and fat cells product estrogen. Excess estrogen is the cause of many estrogen receptor positive breast cancers.  Sugar lowers Vitamin D levels. Optimized levels of Vitamin D have been shown to lower the risk of all cancers.

*Reduce/eliminate Alcohol – More than two drinks each night increases breast cancer risk. Alcohol interferes with Vitamin D metabolism.

The current breast cancer rates are that one in every eight women will develop breast cancer. This may at first glance appear alarming but I don’t see it that way. When I look at the breast cancer statistics I am hopeful. This is because I know there are things that you and I can do each day that make a difference. More than half of all cancer deaths can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.

-To Your Health

Dr. Purcell



Duchaine, CS, Diorio, C., Association between intake of sugar sweetened beverages and circulating 25 hydroxyvitamin D concentration among pre-menopausal women, Nutrients, 2014.

Duchaine, CS.,Dumas I., Diorio C., Consumption of sweet foods and mammographic breast density: a cross-sectional study, BMC Public Health, 2014 Jun 26;14:554

Cao YGiovannucci EL. Alcohol as a Risk Factor for Cancer. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2016 Aug;32(3):325-31.

Shirlina NGVilms EAStasenko VL. Nutrition as a possible risk for Breast Cancer. Gig Sanit. 2015;94(8):48-52.

Friedenreich CMNeilson HKFarris MSCourneya KS.Physical Activity and Cancer Outcomes: A Precision Medicine Approach. Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Oct 1;22(19):4766-4775.

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.

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