Triple Negative Breast Cancer: Why this is different?

If you have been told you have triple negative breast cancer, you might not understand what that means with regard to the treatment you will get and your prognosis.  Triple negative breast cancer is in a class by itself because the treatment is different.   

First let’s look at what the term “triple negative” means.  There are three tumor markers that all breast cancers are tested for.  Most breast cancer patients know what these markers are.  Tumors are tested for estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors and for overexpression of HER2 receptors.  The estrogen and progesterone receptors determine whether or not your cancer’s growth is hormone dependent and hence whether or not you will be treated with hormone blockers.  The HER2 status determines whether or not you will receive a year’s worth of a therapy called Herceptin or some other HER2 blocker.  Triple negative tumors do not have the hormone...

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What has sugar got to do with breast cancer?


Hi there!  I am Dr. Lisa Schwartz and today I am going to talk about the impact that sugar consumption can have on cancer and other chronic diseases.  This involves talking about something called the glycemic index and chronic inflammation.


Sugar is a carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates serve as an immediate source of energy for our cells.  When you eat a carbohydrate, it can release its sugar into the bloodstream very quickly or relatively slowly.  This fact alone plays a very important role in determining how healthy that carb will be for you. 


So carbohydrates can be categorized according to how quickly they release sugar into the bloodstream.  A spoonful of table sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly and rapidly raises blood sugar levels. 


As a consequence, your body releases a big batch of insulin to bring the blood sugar down to a normal level.  Insulin takes the sugar out of the bloodstream and puts it...

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Making Changes That Stick

Uncategorized Jan 08, 2020

Have you wondered why well-intentioned, intelligent, motivated people cannot keep New Year’s resolutions?

I mean you had a reason for making the resolution.  There is something you want to change in your life that gives you pain. And that pain is not going away until you change.

Somewhere around 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail in the first month.  Only about 8% of people actually keep their resolutions. So know that you are not alone if your New Year's resolution has already gone by the wayside.

What is the secret to the people who manage to commit to change and actually follow through?

Well, I certainly don’t know all of the secrets, but here are a few that behavioral science can back up and that you can remember.

1.     Make the change a habit. This sounds easy, but it requires that you have a trigger and an action that follows that trigger that you can consistently do. For example, if you want...

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The Ketogenic Diet and Cancer

Is there any benefit to a ketogenic diet for a cancer patient? That’s a question that some researchers have begun asking. Theoretically, there may be reasons to consider a ketogenic diet, and we have some evidence in primary brain tumors that being on a ketogenic diet might be helpful. To get to the heart of why this might be so, researchers are asking why the ketogenic diet seems to be especially helpful in treating one type of illness involving the brain, and that is epilepsy or a seizure disorder. (To review what a ketogenic diet is and how it is helpful for weight loss, read parts I and II of this series)


The Beginnings of the Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy


To talk about why the ketogenic diet may be useful in the treatment of epilepsy, we have to look at this diet’s cousin, fasting. Short term fasting has been used since Hippocrates (around 400 BCE) for the treatment of various ailments including seizure disorders. Like the ketogenic diet, fasting causes...

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Should you go keto to lose some weight?

The ketogenic diet has become very popular for weight loss. With good reason. If you can stick to it, it is an effective way to lose weight. In the last post we covered exactly what the ketogenic diet is and the many metabolic benefits of nutritional ketosis including the impact it can have on several chronic health conditions. To get all of that information, just click here.


Today though, we are going to cover the most common reason people think about going keto and that is to lose a little weight.


Why does keto work for weight loss?


Yes, the ketogenic diet does work for weight loss. There are several reasons for this.


  1. You are paying attention to what you eat.
  2. With fewer carbs you will lose some water weight in the first week or two.
  3. Eating fats and protein leaves you feeling fuller than consuming carbohydrates.
  4. Some people really do need to limit their carbs because their body has become “carbohydrate intolerant.”


The first reason...

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Should You Go Keto? (Ketogenic Diet)

ketogenic diet Nov 12, 2019

The ketogenic diet gets a lot of coverage in the health media. And that coverage is well-deserved. There have been very few dietary interventions that have the impact on blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and weight that the ketogenic diet does. Yet, the “medical establishment” still frowns upon its use largely because it requires that you consume fat. And for at least a generation, we have been misled by the unsubstantiated claims that low-fat diets are the healthy way to eat. First, let’s take a look at exactly what the ketogenic diet is. Then we’ll cover the pros and cons of the ketogenic diet with regard to heart health, diabetes, weight loss, and cancer.


What exactly is the ketogenic diet?


Most of you can probably answer “low-carb” right away.  But the real health benefits come from being on what has been called a “well-formulated ketogenic diet” and not just low-carb. The well-formulated...

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Are You at Risk for Broken Bones if You Are On an Aromatase Inhibitor?

This is the second post on bone health and why it is so important for breast cancer survivors.  In the first post, we covered the causes of bone loss, who is at risk, and what you can do to keep your bones strong. To read that post, just click here, and then you can come back to this one.


As you were going through breast cancer treatment, you knew to ask about the side effects of the chemotherapy and radiation, how long it would take to recover from surgery, and when you would be able to get back to a normal schedule.


But, as most of you have found out, the treatment can have subtle and long-term effects that you might not have thought of. Bone loss is one of those effects that can be overlooked. But you can’t blame treatment completely. Bone loss happens to us all as we age even if you are not a breast cancer survivor.


How do you know whether or not you have strong bones?  The easiest and most accurate way to know your bone strength is with a...

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What’s Your Bone Density?

bone density Aug 21, 2019

An often-overlooked part of managing our maturing bodies is keeping our bones strong and healthy. This is especially important for breast cancer survivors since some of the medications you take can weaken your bones. In this week’s post we’ll cover the causes of bone loss, who is at risk, and what you can do to keep your bones strong.


The most common cause of bone loss is surviving past the age of 30. That’s right.  Bone loss is a normal part of aging.  As you grow your bone is constantly going through a process called remodeling which involves destroying and building bone. This process continues throughout life. Before the age of 30, you make more bone than you break down, and after the age of 30, you break down more bone than you make.


Since surviving past 30 is generally a good thing, what are some of the causes of bone loss that we might actually want to change? Here are some things that impact bone health that you have control over:

  • ...
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Which is Better to Fight Breast Cancer: Broccoli, IC3, or DIM?

We all know that eating vegetables is a healthy thing to do and can help prevent a lot of diseases including cancer.  But are there some vegetables that are better than others at preventing cancer, and are some of these vegetables better at preventing breast cancer specifically?

Well, broccoli is one of those veggies that has been promoted as preventing breast cancer as a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. And there’s actually research to back that up.

This group of vegetables has been looked at for cancer prevention because some of the compounds in these veggies have very interesting anti-cancer activities.  In fact, there are even a couple of nutritional supplements that have been developed from these compounds that are being used by some women for breast cancer prevention.  I’ll talk about the wisdom of that choice in just a bit.

First, what are cruciferous vegetables?  They include this list of veggies which you can see includes some of...

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Why You Don't Know What to Eat

Why is it that no one seems to have a straight answer on what to eat?


We know that good nutrition and good health are inextricably linked. What we eat directly influences our health, our weight, and our future. Wouldn’t you think that the health care providers, the media, the weight loss experts, the diabetes experts, the heart health experts, and so many more...wouldn’t you think that they could all agree on what’s healthy and what’s not??


Though it may be hard to believe, it’s just not that simple. Here’s why.


Most of the confusion comes from how we actually conduct nutritional studies. A lot of nutritional studies are what we call observational.  Basically, researchers observe what people eat and compare their health outcomes. The gold standard of research is a randomized controlled trial where you control the variables that could have an impact on the outcome and randomize subjects to a treatment group or a control...

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