Ask Dr. Block: Tips for Early Stage Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivors

Would you share integrative tips for early stage triple negative breast cancer survivors who are now NED?


Dr. Keith Block

There is a lot we still don’t know about triple negative breast cancer patients and what diet and lifestyle might contribute to their well-being. However, there are some intriguing clues to processes that might be going on that could be modified by lifestyle and supplementation. Genetic analyses of these cancers have shown that genes related to elevated inflammation and angiogenesis are over-activated in many patients with triple negative disease. Further, it appears that metabolic syndrome may be more common in triple negative patients than in patients with other breast cancer types. 

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and other metabolic abnormalities. It is also associated with high levels of internal inflammation. These findings argue for an assessment for metabolic syndrome characteristics with your physician. You should also have a terrain assessment to determine whether inflammation or glycemia (abnormal blood glucose or insulin levels) are a problem for you, or whether there might be other imbalanced terrain factors in your case. Especially if you find abnormal levels of inflammation or glycemia, a comprehensive lifestyle intervention is in order. You should be eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits (note that some berries have angiogenesis-inhibiting properties), as well as healthful plant proteins and fish. Avoiding refined grains and sugars is crucial; whole, unrefined grains are much healthier for you. Healthful oils such as olive oil and omega-3 rich oils and nuts should be included in your diet. A committed exercise program including aerobic, strength and flexibility emphases is needed, and may help with weight control if you are not at a healthy weight. Supplementation with herbs and other supplements targeted to terrain abnormalities may help in counteracting the effects of any possibly overactive inflammatory and glycemia-related genes. Block Center staff can help you with developing a full program, and you can also look for advice in implementing this strategy in my book, Life Over Cancer.

In addition, though there are no major post-treatment mainstream therapies for triple negative disease, there have been some encouraging cell culture studies showing combinations of nutrients may slow the progression of this condition. For example, in a recent study, a combination of DHA and curcumin was shown to have antiproliferative effects on triple negative cells cultures. The effect was actually synergistic, which means that the two of them together actually had an effect that is multiplicative not just additive when combined. The effects of genes known to be involved in cell cycle arrest, cell death, inhibition of metastasis, and cell adhesion were enhanced, while the effects of genes involved in cancer development and progression, metastasis, and cell cycle progression were inhibited. Synergy and multi-targeting our actually core concepts of my philosophy of Integrative Cancer Treatment that I have been using for over thirty years now. And as mentioned above, another addition to this protocol would be to do an in-depth molecular tumor profile to find additional vulnerabilities that could be targeted with additional nutrients. 

For more information on The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment and Life Over Cancer, visit

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