The short answer is – yes.
When I had breast cancer at the age of 37, it was highly recommended by my oncologist that I start taking the drug,Tamoxifen. I didn’t know anything about it but it sounded like something I needed to find out more about.
I’m not a pill popper. I don’t even like taking Advil or Tylenol for headaches, so when Tamoxifen was presented to me as a ‘must do,’ I sort of freaked out and then quickly went into research mode.
What I found out is — Tamoxifen is a prescription medicine that is used to treat hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. It works by blocking the action of estrogen, a female hormone, in the body.
What I already knew was — estrogen is essential for our bodies. It affects the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, skin, hair, breasts, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles and brain.
Estrogen also helps keep us looking and feeling vibrant and youthful!
So, it was very alarming when at 37 years old, after giving birth to my daughter, I was told I needed to artificially block all the estrogen in my body and allow my body to go into early menopause.
I was still young. I was nursing my baby! Consenting to early menopause was not something I was willing to do.
I discovered some alarming things about Tamoxifen.
Some of the more serious side effects of Tamoxifen include:
* Uterine cancer
* Pulmonary embolism
The most common side effects include:
* Vaginal discharge
* Hot flashes
* Vaginal bleeding
* Irregular periods
* Weight gain
* Weight loss
* High blood pressure
* Skin rashes
* Chest pain
* Joint pain
* Sore throat
* Deep vein thrombosis
* Hair thinning
* Stomach pain
* Excess sweating
* Loss of appetite Heartburn
* Increased liver enzyme
* Urinary tract infection
* Numbness in extremities
* Infection, fever
* Increased risk of blot clots
The list of potential side-effects of Tamoxifen is serious and extensive. It seemed crazy to me to voluntarily opt to take this medication. I was also surprised at the lack of options presented to me. How could this be?
Consider a holistic alternative
For centuries, human beings have been using plants to heal themselves. Thousands of plants and natural food sources with powerful healing nutrients grow on this earth to help us heal our bodies. I knew there had to be another option.
I searched for a holistic alternative and discovered some clinical studies being done on a natural food source that was beating Tamoxifen in its trials. This interested me! What was it? Something so simple, you might not even believe it — Flaxseed.
What are flaxseeds?
Flaxseed is a highly nutritious seed known for its health benefits and cancer-fighting properties. It is also one of the oldest cultivated crops grown since the beginning of civilization. The seeds derive from the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum, and have been primarily used to produce fiber for clothing and linens since 3000 B.C.
Pharmaceutical drugs may not be your best choice
After reading the studies that compared flaxseed toTamoxifen to help curb estrogen, I was happy to learn that not only was flaxseed the safer route to take, it was also more impactful — not to mention, much cheaper!
Why weren’t doctors giving me this option?
A lot of women acquiesce to what doctors tell them to do before researching natural options. They take drugs prescribed to them because pharmaceutical drugs seem to be the only option when speaking to a medical doctor. Consider the risk of the side-effects. Is the risk worth it?
Going the pharmaceutical route is one way to go, but not the only way. I could have just said yes and taken the drug and been done with it and possibly suffered the consequences of the side-effects. But, my instincts told me there had to be an alternative and I was right. After my research, without hesitation, I said no to Tamoxifen and yes to flaxseed.
A team in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto did several studies and their findings and comments can be found here:
The teams conclusion states, “Our animal and in vitro studies to date suggest that flaxseed plays a role in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and that the lignans may in part be responsible for its effect. The nature of the effect depends on the stage of the cancer process at which flaxseed and its lignans are introduced in the diet…”
One study found that women that ingested the most lignans had 40-50 percent lower rates of breast cancer. Because flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic, a type of omega 3 fatty acid found in plant foods that the body converts into DHA. The evidence suggests flaxseed could help block cancer cell growth and recurrence.
Flaxseeds have multiple benefits
Flaxseeds are amazing. There are many wonderful benefits of flaxseed.
They are very high in lignans, which are phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens mimic the effects of estrogen, but they are much weaker. Phytoestrogens are very helpful in combatting estrogen dependent breast cancer as they block estrogen synthesis and metabolism to slow the cancer cell growth.
Additionally, the antioxidants in flaxseed help neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body, which is important in preventing disease.
Flaxseed is also known for its high fiber content. Evidence suggests that incorporating fiber into your diet protects against a wide range of illnesses, including breast cancer. They improve digestive health and relieve constipation. They can also help lower blood cholesterol, helping to prevent heart disease.
How do you prepare flaxseeds?
After, I made my decision to use flaxseed instead of Tamoxifen, I bought myself a little nut grinder, and every day I ground up some flaxseed and put it in my smoothie or my oatmeal. In the afternoon, I sprinkled some on my salad. It has a wonderful nutty flavor!
It is important to freshly grind the flaxseed to get the most potent version of it. Some stores sell flaxseed already ground — try to avoid that and grind your own. Nutrients are released when the seeds are freshly ground and It only takes a few seconds. Pre-ground flaxseed has been exposed to oxygen longer and oxygen, light and heat causes polyunsaturated fats to break down and this exposure can make the seeds rancid.
Make sure not to ingest the flaxseeds in their whole form because you won’t get the same benefits — the seeds will just pass through your system, undigested. You will also want to keep the flaxseed in an air tight container in the fridge to retain the polyunsaturated fatty acids. I use flax seed in a variety of ways to get the benefits.
Below are some ideas:
* Morning smoothies
* Add to granola recipes
* As a topping on yogurt and fruit
* Sprinkle on salads
* bake into healthy muffins, quick breads
* Stir in homemade soups
* Sprinkle on brown rice
* Mix in with humous
* Sprinkle on grilled vegetables
* Add to stews
Flax seed is a natural and safe alternative to the drug,Tamoxifen. It worked for me, but that’s not to say it will work the same way for everyone. I suggest you consult your medical or natural doctor and discuss it with them.
Personally, it was very important that I found an alternative to Tamoxifen because of my young age. I had just given birth to my baby and was still nursing her when I had breast cancer, so the idea of going into menopause at 37 didn’t feel right to me.
There are always natural alternatives to healing. I highly recommend you do your own research and discover the benefits of flaxseed. It is time for women to stand up for their health, ask more questions, and get more answers. Often medical doctors don’t know anything about diet or natural healing, so it may be up to you to find the right path for yourself.
Is flaxseed better than Tamoxifen? What I know for sure is — there is more than one way to heal. Mother Nature provides so many drug alternative possibilities that grow naturally in our environment — if we would just take the time to stop and look a little deeper!
Check out Heidi’s website for more inspired content at https://holisticbreastexpert.com
I created a book with bits of advice and info that worked for me on my breast cancer journey.