• Are chia and flax seeds healthy for breast cancer survivors?

    Asked by Maryflier on Tuesday, June 25, 2019

    Are chia and flax seeds healthy for breast cancer survivors?

    I’ve added these to my diet for fiber/ health purposes. So many contradictory articles! Are they bad for you if you have ER positive diagnosis?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • downbutnotout's Avatar
      downbutnotout

      I'm not sure about the level of "healthy" they are in the cancer patient's world, but I eat a lot of things like this, along with granola and other whole grain bars and cereals.

      4 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      There is a great deal of contradictory information out there! Plus, there is a whole movement of people that are pushing that you don't need to have traditional medicine to treat cancer, all you need to do is eat blueberries, granola, and drink this or that. So be careful in what you choose to eat or drink while in treatments. Check with your doctor before committing to any major change.

      4 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Yes, I would definitely check with my doctor before adding any different foods or supplements to my diet. Doctors are the experts.

      4 months ago
    • Ccbayside's Avatar
      Ccbayside

      Flax seeds are loaded with estrogen. Stop immediately is my advice. But yes check with your doctor / dietitian.

      4 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Flax seeds are not "loaded with estrogen." Estrogen is a hormone that is found only in mammals. What flax has--as do soy and black cohosh--is a phytochemical referred to as a "phytoestrogen." Sometimes phytoestrogen-containing foods (and supplements containing extracts of these chemicls) are prescribed (formally or by advice) to ease dysmenorrhea or menopausal symptoms.

      But it's not that simple. Some phytoestrogens--such as in soybeans and flax seeds--might actuslly counteract or at least cancel out human-produced endo-estrogens (estrogens made by one's own body), so long as they are eaten "on the hoof:" e.g. edamame or small amounts of tofu rather than soy protein isolate, or flax seeds in small amounts (like in your smoothie or on your cereal or yogurt) vs. flax supplements. If you have or had an ER+ cancer, talk to your oncologist (or cancer center's nutritionist). But if your tumor was NOT estrogen-dependent, nothing to worry about, just eat stuff that doesn't cause inflammation.

      Please stay away from pseudo-medical amateur user-driven fad sites that don't know WTH they're talking about. I'm talkin. Your life depends on getting and following RELIABLE info.

      4 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Thank you, ChicagoSandy!! When a cancer patient has their own highly educated oncologist, what would make them think an ad on the internet could give better advice????

      4 months ago
    • Maryflier's Avatar
      Maryflier

      Thanks all, for your responses. Thank you ChicagoSandy for clarifying the estrogen issue. Still no feedback on the chia seeds though . I’ll call my doctor. Thanks again.

      4 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy (Best Answer!)

      Chia should be safe. Both they & flaxseeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy--good idea if you've had chemo/targeted therapy &/or are on an AI, all of which treatments can increase cardiovascular disease risk), plus fiber to make you a "regular gal." ;-)

      4 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      If you are concerned about substances that might drive ER+ cancer, watch out for chemical additives that are "endocrine disruptors:" parabens, which are preservatives in personal care products; phthalates, which are "plasticizers" to make plastic containers flexible; BPA, which strengthens some rigid plastics (and is no longer necessary, as rigid BPA-free plastics are freely and affordably available); and the chemical sunscreens oxybenzone & avobenzone (though they are the most effective sunscreens, not only are they endocrine disruptors, but also when they wash off in seawater can kill coral and damage reefs).

      So what's an "endocrine disruptor" and why is it bad? It stimulates your body to produce (or increase production of) estrogen. Bad news for kids: for girls it can bring on early puberty; for boys it can delay puberty by counteracting testosterone. Not good for men: it can "feminize," including causing gynecomastia ("man boobs"). If you have ER+ cancer, it can cause your body to fuel the tumor cells. It can theoretically help relieve menopause symptoms in a never-had-cancer woman without risk factors--but phytoestrogens and even hormone treatments are safer, because the dosage can be controlled or discontinued.

      If your care products need preservatives, you're buying too much at one time or keeping them too long. If you cook in plastic in the microwave, never do so in soft plastic. If you need a water bottle, buy stainless steel, glass or BPA-free (the label will practically scream that out) rigid plastic. If you need unbreakable wine glasses for outdoor use (or you're a klutz), same thing--look at the label or catalog ad. And for sunscreen--at least for your kids--stick with mineral sunscreens. Not as effective as chemical, but so long as they're SPF 45-50+ (Consumer Reports says SPF 30 is enough but the labels usually overstate the SPF--so three mineral brands they like are LaRoche Posay SPF 50, and the cheaper Alba Botanica 45 and Badger 45) and used as directed (a shot-glass' worth for the body or a nickel-size blob for the face, applied every 2-3 hrs or after getting out of the water), mineral sunscreens should be fine and safe. (Opaque cloth is the best sunscreen).

      4 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Here's a guide for how to identify BPA-free plastic ware:

      https://simplysmartliving.com/plastic-tableware-fyi/three-simple-ways-find-bpa-free-plastic-glasses/

      And all Govino brand disposable/reusable plastic stemless glasses are BPA-free.

      4 months ago
    • PattyMarie's Avatar
      PattyMarie

      I get confused the more I read. There are so many articles out there that claim that this or that will be the greatest thing you ever ate and help get rid of cancer or prevent someone from getting it.

      4 months ago
    • Maryflier's Avatar
      Maryflier

      Just an update. Spoke with nutritionist at oncology office. Said chia was fine but flaxseed was questionable. Avoiding it for now.

      4 months ago

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