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NaturalNews.com has an article entitled How Angelina Jolie was duped by cancer doctors into self mutilation for breast cancer she never had (emphasis in original)

But the really sad part about all this is that Angelina Jolie was lied to. She didn't have an 87% risk of breast cancer in the first place. All the women reading her NYT op-ed piece are also being lied to. Here's why...

** How cancer doctors lie with statistics and use fear to scare women into high-profit procedures**

The very idea that breast cancer is a "percent risk" is a complete lie. In reality, everyone has cancer micro-tumors in their bodies, including myself. Cancer is not a disease you just "get" like being randomly struck by lightning. It's something you must "manage" or "prevent" day by day, meal by meal, through a lifestyle choice that involves vitamin D supplementation, nutrition, superfoods, vegetable juices and avoidance of cancer-causing chemicals and radiation.

So when a doctor says you have a "chance" of getting cancer, what he's implying is that you have no control over cancer, and that's an outright lie. Cancer quackery, in other words.

Even Jolie with her BRCA1 gene that's linked to breast cancer can quite easily follow a dietary and lifestyle plan that suppresses BRCA1 gene expression. It's not rocket science. It's not even difficult. It can be done with simple foods that cost a few dollars a day. Those foods include raw citrus, resveratrol (red grapes or red wine), raw cruciferous vegetables, omega-3 oils and much more. Those same foods also help prevent heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases.

Can eating the right foods avoid BRCA1 breast cancer?

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In Brief

You cannot reduce cancer risk to zero by any strategy, including nutritional choice.

The article contains several major errors.

  • The article is wrong about BRCA1 gene expression
  • The article is wrong about risk factors
  • The article is wrong to say everyone has micro-tumors
  • The article is wrong to suggest cancer causing chemicals and radiation can be avoided

BRCA1 gene and cancer

The phrase "can easily follow a dietary and lifestyle plan that suppresses BRCA1 gene expression." is inconsistent with the current understanding of the medical condition under discussion.

The phrase suggests that you need to suppress BRCA1 gene expression to avoid cancer.

In search of the tumour-suppressor functions of BRCA1 and BRCA2 says that the opposite is the case. The medical condition is one where the tumour-suppressor genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are NOT being expressed.

Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes can be caused by loss-of-function germline mutations in one of two tumour-suppressor genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2

Negative Regulation of BRCA1 Gene Expression by HMGA1 Proteins Accounts for the Reduced BRCA1 Protein Levels in Sporadic Breast Carcinoma also says the opposite of the quotation in the question.

A drastic reduction in BRCA1 gene expression is a characteristic feature of aggressive sporadic breast carcinoma.

If this is the case, the article is wrong. The last thing anyone should do is suppress BRCA1 gene expression.


"Percent risk" or "avoidable"

The article alleges that breast cancer is not a "percent risk", that it is avoidable and that doctors lie when discussing risks with patients.

This is not the case.

According to Breast Cancer Campaign

Anything that increases a person’s chances of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Having many risk factors does not mean you will develop breast cancer, whilst having fewer risk factors will not definitely prevent the disease.


Nutrition and Cancer

The link between diet and cancer is complex and difficult to unravel. This is because our diet is made up of lots of different foods and nutrients. Most of these affect our risk of cancer, often in combination with one another. The genes you inherit also affect the way diet influences your cancer risk.

The advise from cancer research organisations is fairly simple and straightforward.

  • Try to get plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet.
  • Eat smaller and fewer portions of red and processed meat.
  • Try not to eat too many salt-preserved or high-salt foods.
  • Boost the fibre in your diet by choosing wholegrain varieties of starchy foods wherever possible
  • Try not to eat too many fatty foods.
  • Try eating more fish instead of red or processed meat.

(summarised from Diet and Cancer - Cancer Research UK)


Microtumors

The article suggests we all have microtumors.

We don't know much about micro-tumors in people without cancer symptoms. They are difficult to detect. What we do know suggests they are the initial stages of cancer.

According to Distinct Contributions of Angiogenesis and Vascular Co-option during the Initiation of Primary Microtumors and Micrometastases

Primary microtumors and micrometastases are the initial stages of primary tumor and distal metastases, respectively.

Tumor-induced angiogenesis and tumor cell vessel interactions are one of the most important events during these stages.

the smallest microtumors and micrometastatic clones are very difficult to detect in cancer patients and traditional animal models [1,2]. Most of our understanding of the initial formation of microtumors is deduced from static images captured from late stage tumors,


Avoidance of cancer causing chemicals and radiation

The article suggests you can prevent cancer by (among other things) avoiding cancer causing chemicals and radiation. The tone of the article suggests you can totally prevent cancer thus.

Sunlight causes skin cancers. Avoiding sunlight is not a sensible option. We also need sunlight for Vitamin D production and for other positive health reasons.

Our planet is naturally radioactive, radiation cannot be totally avoided.

Our bodies and everything we eat, drink and breathe is composed of chemicals. It is not currently possible to completely avoid all chemicals that have been linked with increased risk of cancer. For example read the nutritional advice (referred to above) about the chemical sodium-chloride, an essential part of our diet.

  • Indeed. The BRCA mutations increase the risk of cancer because the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are DNA repair enzymes. The mutations mean that the genes don't do their job correctly, increasing the risk of mutations and eventually cancer. – RecursivelyIronic May 18 '13 at 19:31
  • I don't think we've addressed the article or the question fully here. Their argument for reducing BRCA1 gene expression (which is faulty if you mean to reduce chances of cancer) is just one proposal in the more general argument that eating the right foods can reduce the risk of BRCA1 breast cancer. – Ezequiel Muns May 20 '13 at 3:38
  • @EzequielMuns: That's a fair point. I'll revisit the answer. – RedGrittyBrick May 20 '13 at 9:14

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