Tuesday, November 15, 2011


NATIONWIDE -  Oh my goodness, do I get diet tips when I am on the road.  Every week, I have at least 5 or 6 emails, chats, etc that invite me to learn about  some new fabulous thing that will most certainly rid my body of cancer cells. The good part of this is that I have a) a genius oncologist who is willing to listen to all my questions and b) many of the ‘cure-all’ items being recommended do not boast universal endorsement by professionals. Soy, however, is a recurring theme I’d like to discuss.

IT DOES NOT CAUSE BREAST CANCER, I have been assured by myriad medical experts. Does. Not. However, because of my type of breast cancer, my doctor has recommended I do not eat it. According to him, for those of us who’s cancer really seems to enjoy estrogen, it could cause problems. Some certain parts of soy may exhibit estrogen-like activity, so I just steer clear. I don’t Eat it, Drink it, Consume it at all, so please don’t send me recipes containing it. I have watched so many interactions between a well-meaning tipster trying to convince a breast cancer patient to stop eating this or that and just eat soy;  and watched the patient politely smile and try not to wince. For many women and men with breast cancer, it is just fine to have this product.  No worries, it might even have a strong health benefit! For others, however, it very well may be walking trouble so we don’t consume it.

I have found that the best way for anyone to dispense advice about food is this way:.

1)      Only give nutrition advice when asked. Specifically. About nutrition, and then just stick to the topic. Don’t waver off onto something like exercise with a patient mid-chemo. We don’t want to know how fabulous your pilates or zumba makes your backside look . Please. We are just trying to survive.
2)      Don't pretend you are a doctor, unless of course you are a doctor. Always say: "This just is something I found helped ME when I was in chemo or radiation. I have a friend who tried broccoli and it was great for her. You should just ask your onc what he/she thinks might help."
3)      We know that by eating things like steak, whipped cream, pudding, etc., we might have made bad choices. We know diet has made a difference, but we also know that those choices didn’t make us eligible to "deserve our breast cancer."  Saying something like that to a cancer patient puts you on Santa’s bad list, just fyi.
4)      Read before you advise. I don’t mean articles on the web or something you saw in the waiting room magazines while you were getting your tires changed. Read the face of the person to whom you are speaking. Is she wincing? Perhaps you are saying something that she just can’t do. Does she look like she might cry or hit you? If so, immediately compliment her on her shoes. Trust me, this works.
5)      We all know that there are some other remote countries offering other diet programs at a glamorous spa-like retreat in a beautiful setting. If we don’t have access to it, please don’t tell us. Much in the same way I am certain that the Cinderella Suite in Disneyworld exists, if I’ll never see it I don’t want to know about it. Thanks, though.

Soy specific, our friends at Livestrong have written a great post about recent discoveries in that area. 

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