Now that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, it’s an ideal time to catch up with
Kristi Funk, MD, a breast surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, and author of >Breasts: The Owner’s Manual, published this spring. We sat down with Dr. Funk to talk about everything from breast cancer risk to why she partnered with Silk to dispel the myths about eating soy.
With so many headlines surrounding breast cancer, what really determines who gets the disease?
So we know that 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancer comes from an inherited gene mutation and there are a number of these genes now so it’s not just about the BRCA mutations. The converse of that stat is that 90 to 95 percent of all breast cancer doesn’t come from an inherited genetic mutation. There’s a lot of information that indicates that we’re making poor choices as an industrialized nation and those countries that mirror our lifestyle and eating habits have also seen their breast cancer rates skyrocket. So it comes down to nutrition, alcohol, exercise, obesity, hormone replacement therapy, emotional stress and environmental toxicities. I firmly believe that if we purify those big dietary and lifestyle aspects to our existence that we could truly eradicate 50 percent or more of all invasive breast cancer on earth and there are more than 1.3 million invasive breast cancers diagnosed each year globally. This number is expected to double by 2050.
Let’s turn our attention to soy. Why was every woman told not to eat products containing soy?
It started with a knee jerk reaction from physicians and others intending to do well. I myself perpetuated this falsehood for 17 years and I only corrected it when I dove into the soy literature. What we heard correctly is that the isoflavones in soy have a chemical structure that is remarkably similar to estrogen. Therefore, we believed this phytoestrogen probably acted like real estrogen in the body and we know that estrogen feeds and fuels 80 percent of all breast cancers so spit the miso out of your mouth. Until last summer, when I did that research, I told all of my breast cancer patients to avoid soy in every form.
So what’s changed?
When it comes to soy, the reaction inside human beings doesn’t mimic the animal studies that were done. Sometimes we parallel the animal model and other times we don’t. This is a time when we do not. There have been nine excellent human studies looking at soy since 2009 and over and over again they’re unequivocally pro soy. I’ve proudly teamed up with Silk to slay the myth that soy contains harmful phytoestrogens. It’s indeed the opposite. Soy is healthy and the studies show that when you compare those who consume soy to those who don’t there is a consistent a 30 to 60 percent drop in first-time breast cancers. It’s fascinating to find in the literature that estrogen negative cancer dropped in half with soy consumption. Turns out that in addition to being anti-estrogenic in its behavior, soy is also anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and an excellent antioxidant.
What’s the best way to amp up our soy consumption?
Soy milk can become a really healthy protein equivalent and a substitution to your dairy milk so wherever you throw that, whether it’s into your cereal, smoothie or coffee, you’ll get five to nine grams of protein per cup of soy milk and actually 50 percent more calcium and the equivalent vitamin D as compared to dairy milk. My other healthy caveat is to consume only non-GMO soy and to make sure the first ingredient on the product is whole soybeans or water. In my house, we eat two to three servings daily of tofu, soybeans and edamame. Fermented soy is a little easier on the digestive system, it prompts a little less gas and bloating and creates even more antioxidants, so we eat fermented soy like tempeh, which is a nice fake bacon for people, and miso, natto and tamari soy sauce. These are all excellent whole food forms of soy to give you those anti-cancer benefits.
Finally, anything you’re excited about when it comes to breast cancer screening?
If you think of your breasts as a loaf of raisin bread and you squish that loaf of bread and take a picture and you tell me to find the raisins, that’s a digital mammogram. But the new 3D mammograms do the same squish, but what I see now are 15 slices of raisin bread. Now I’m really finding the raisins. How much better is this technology? We’re seeing a 34 percent improvement in breast cancer detection with a 17 percent drop in callbacks for false positives which is a big plus plus. I love this technology but this remains an area I’m angry about. We can send someone to the moon and we hurtle up in the air at 500 miles per hour in an airplane but we can’t look at a breast and see what’s in it with accuracy. We just need better screening but I don’t see it coming down the pike tomorrow.
Source : https://parade.com/706777/lhochwald/angelina-jolies-breast-surgeon-dr-kristi-funk-talks-breast-cancer-awareness-and-says-soy-is-safe/