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Diet and Nutrition By popular demand our nutritional message board. This board will be monitored by a Registered RD who is certified in oncology by the American Dietetic Association

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Old 11-04-2013, 07:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 5
I Was Told to Avoid

Soy, flaxseed and alcohol. By my oncologist. I lost weight on my diet a couple of years ago by switching to soy milk and adding lots of fibre, including flaxseed to my menus. Who knew?
She tells me that having Chinese food now and then is fine.

The thing is, the cancer center nutritionist, her office nurse, and the other oncologist in her office tell me different things!
I was surprised by the number of processed/store bought food items that contain soy lecithin and especially soy protein. So I asked each person, how much soy, if any is really safe?
The nutritionist said three glasses of soy milk per day was fine, but no protein bars, as that would put me over the limit.
The office nurse said, "natural is better, avoid processed foods."
The other oncologist said, "everything in moderation."

I am so confused!
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:15 PM   #2
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Re: I Was Told to Avoid

Flaxseed is good!! Especially for her2+. A good rule to follow is that if it doesn't rot, or sprout - then don't eat it. Avoid sugar as much as possible, even fruits high in sugar. And if you are eating meat or fish - Organic grass fed or wild. Alcohol is horrible - yes avoid that, any cell put into alcohol dies, the rest is easy to figure out. Soy - well there are so many different opinions on that one, that I refrain from commenting. I do however, eat soy from time to time. Good luck in your nutrition navigation. There are very few oncologists that have any training in nutrition.
Breastfeeding when diagnosed with Her2+ May 2008
Oct 2008 Double mastectomy 22/28 lymph nodes positive
Decline chemotherapy (decision I regret)
Nov 2009 Mets to lungs and bones.
Dec 2009 Start Taxotere and Herceptin, T1, T3 heal completely and lungs are clear, T2 and first rib have lytic lesions. First rib becomes sclerotic. Considered stable.
May 2011, Onc calls progression and I cross over from comparison arm of clinical trial to TDM-1
Brain scan in Sept 2011 showed small tumor in right cerebellum, did Novalis radiation.

Feb 2013 < 1cm tumor in left frontal lobe. Did Novalis in March and latest scan shows no sign of brain metastasis.
Aug 2013 did 36th round of TDM-1 Due to TDM-1 side effects, shortness of breath, and difficulty getting my balance when getting out of bed, agreed with my oncologist to stop TDM-1.
Took a six week break, bone scan showed small uptake on left first rib. CT showed hypodensities in liver (too small to biopsy) and small nodule in lungs (mediastinal).
Started Navelbine weekly. Did one round with Herceptin.
Skipped next 2 rounds, due to neutropenia. Next chemo 7th Nov - have had 3 Neupogen shots, so WBC should look better... Did not tolerate Navelbine well.
December 2013 scans show no sign of active cancer.
March 2014 - currently only on Herceptin - brain MRI clear, PET/CT two nodules in right lung show uptake
May 2014 - stop Herceptin.
Sept 22, 2014 Brain MRI clear :) PET/CT Progression in lungs.
Sept 2014, Xeloda, Tykerb and Herceptin.
Nov 2014 - Decide to take a break from all treatment.
May 2015 - Brain met radiated with Novalis
July 2015 - Have progression in right lung.
Sept 2015 - Perjeta and Herceptin alone after a 9 month break from all treatment.
Nov 2015 - Thoracentesis 1500ml removed from right lung.
Dec 2015 - Two tiny 1mm brain mets radiated in right cerebellum.
Feb 2016 - Thoracentesis 2200ml drained from right lung
Feb 2016 - Stopped Perjeta and Herceptin and started back on Kadcyla as I had no previous progression on it. After 1 cycle of Kadcyla markers begin to drop. On second cycle add Keytruda.
March 2016 - Thoracentesis 1650ml drained from right lung.
April 2016 Thoracentesis 1500 ml drained from right lung.
June 2016 CT scan shows progression in right lung, as well as moderate pleural effusion requiring Thoracentesis.
June 2016 Decide to stop Keytruda, and will do chemosensitivity test through Rational Therapeutics. Plan to continue on Kadcyla for next two cycles.
July 2016 - Start weekly Abraxane with Herceptin. WBRT with hippocampal sparing, Taking Namenda. 15 sessions over 3 weeks.
Aug - Dec 2016 - 2 infusions of Navelbine, very hard on my body and still dealing with anasarca (generalized edema) 1 infusion of Havalen
My doctor wants to put me on hospice.
Dec 23rd 2016 - I am granted compassionate use of Neratanib.
May 31st 2017 - still on Neratinib, feeling good.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:49 AM   #3
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Re: I Was Told to Avoid

Tanya (TanyaRD) posted the AICR findings (about soy) not too long ago: http://www.aicr.org/cancer-research-...ber_18_2012_1/

Details about soy: http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/soy.html

Nora (norkdo) has also posted a link about soy and Her2 breast cancer recently: http://her2support.org/vbulletin/sho...&highlight=soy

The Chinese food sold in the restaurant can be greasy. But stir-fried (or 'Steamed') vegetables are usually good. Try to get lots of broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper and snow peas if you are eating at a Chinese buffet. And don't forget to drink a lot of (green)tea.

Erythema Nodosum 85
Life-long Central Neurocytoma 4x5x6.5 cm 23 hrs 62090 semi-coma 10 d PT OT ST 30 d
3 Infertility tmts 99 > 3 u. fibroids > Pills
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Exemestane 25 mg tab 102912 ~ 101016 stopped due to r. hip/l.thigh pain after long walk
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1-2016 lesions in liver largest 9mm & 1.3 cm onco. says not cancer.
3-11 Appendectomy - visually O.K., a lot of puss. Final path result - not cancer.
Start Vitamin D3 and Calcium supplement (600mg x2)
10-10 Stopped Exemestane due to r. hip/l.thigh pain OKed by Onco 11-08-2016
7-23-2018 9 mm groundless(granules?) nodule within the right lower lobe with indolent behavior. Due to possible adenocarcinoma, Recommend annual surveilence.
7-10-2019 CT to check lung nodule.


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Last edited by Jackie07; 11-05-2013 at 04:10 AM..
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Re: I Was Told to Avoid

Thank you for the comments and the links. Interesting reading.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:10 AM   #5
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Re: I Was Told to Avoid

All things in moderation. If all we ate was salad (traditional types with just veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, mushrooms) we would also eventually die from lack of protein and other vitamins and minerals we need even though salad is very,very healthy. As such, a piece of birthday cake, a glass of wine, will also not kill you unless you have several every day and it won't do you any good. Flaxseed and soy products are good for you but in moderation. As with the salad, cake and wine example - if that's all you do, its not so good for you.

The jury is still out on flax and soy versus hormone positive cancer but how could a serving here or there really hurt. A couple of pounds a day would be bad for anyone.

To be sure, I would go to a good nutritionist - perhaps one that works at your cancer center since they are even more in tune with cancer and discuss your situation.

For the record, I was never a soy person before cancer but always enjoyed the vegetarian selections of Chinese and Thai food that contain tofu. I continue to enjoy those selections when having these entrees. I also use ground flaxseed and actually put it into baked goods so my daughters get some without knowing it - pancakes for example. However, I don't put flaxseed in or on everything I eat.
Kind regards


Found lump via BSE
Diagnosed 8/04 at age 45
1.9cm tumor, ER+PR-, Her2 3+(rt side)
2 micromets to sentinel node
Stage 2A
left 3mm DCIS - low grade ER+PR+Her2 neg
lumpectomies 9/7/04
4DD AC followed by 4 DD taxol
Used Leukine instead of Neulasta
35 rads on right side only
4/05 started Tamoxifen
Started Herceptin 4 months after last Taxol due to
trial results and 2005 ASCO meeting & recommendations
Oophorectomy 8/05
Started Arimidex 9/05
Finished Herceptin (16 months) 9/06
Arimidex Only
Prolia every 6 months for osteopenia

NED 14 years!

Said Christopher Robin to Pooh: "You must remember this: You're braver than you believe and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think"
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:31 AM   #6
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Re: I Was Told to Avoid

Jackie you beat me to the punch! Thank you. Nutrition can be very frustrating because it is ever evolving--as is medicine as a whole. Soy and flax were things we used to tell people who experienced breast cancer to avoid but newer research has demonstrated that it is not necessary. Alcohol however continues to be a risk factor. The recommendation for women is less than one drink per day.

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Old 11-18-2013, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: I Was Told to Avoid

Hi Everyone!
I refer often to Jane Plant's website for nutrition information. She has an entire section about soy and I felt less confused after reading it.
Also, Rebecca Katz's cookbook 'The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen' is excellent. The recipes are DELICIOUS and she has a lot of information about ingredients. She also focuses a lot on nutrition during chemo, and I believe it helped me get through chemo while wrangling my 1 & 3 year-old kids!

5/14/13 Found lumps via BSE
7/19/13 Dx IDC left breast; cluster of small tumors; no suspected lymph node involvement
8/1/13 Started neoadjuvant TCH
11/15/13 Finished TC!
12/4/13 Double mastectomy/tissue expanders scheduled
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