A leading scientist, who has been fighting breast cancer since 1987, says the disease is overwhelmingly linked to animal products.
In 1993, the breast cancer that had plagued Jane Plant since 1987 returned for the fifth time. It came in the shape of a secondary tumour – a lump in her neck the size of half a boiled egg. Doctors told her that she had only months to live.
Then a mother of two young children, Prof Plant recalls the shocked
discussion she had with her husband, Peter. As scientists – she is a geochemist, he a geologist – they had both worked in China on environmental issues, and knew that Chinese women had historically very low rates of breast cancer: one epidemiological study from the Seventies showed the disease affected one in 100,000 Chinese women, compared with one in 12 in the West.
“I had checked this information with senior academics,” Prof Plant says. “Chinese doctors I knew told me they had hardly seen a case of breast cancer in years. Yet if Chinese women are on Western diets – if they go to live in the US or Australia, for example – within one generation they got the same rate. I said to Peter, ‘Why is it that Chinese women living in China don’t get breast cancer?’ ”
Her husband recalled that on field expeditions his Chinese colleagues provided him with powdered milk because they did not drink it themselves. “He pointed out at that time they did not have a dairy industry. It was a revelation.”
Feeling she had nothing to lose, Prof Plant switched to a dairy-free, Asian-style diet virtually overnight, while also undergoing chemotherapy. Having already cut down on animal protein such as meat, fish and eggs, she now cut out all milk products, including the live organic yogurt she had religiously eaten for several years.
Within six weeks the lump in her neck had disappeared; within a year, she was in remission and remained cancer-free for the next 18 years. Convinced that her diet had helped, she devised the Plant programme – a dairy-free diet, relying largely on plant proteins such as soy – similar, she says, to the traditional diet in rural China.
She believes new and “wonderful” anti-cancer treatments are vital – but so, she argues, is a dairy-free diet, as well as other diet and lifestyle measures, such as stress reduction.
But her far more radical message is that a diet that totally excludes dairy products – milk, cheese, butter and yoghurt – can be successfully used to help stop the disease “in its tracks”, by depriving cancer cells of the conditions they need to grow.
“Going dairy-free, she says, may also help patients with colorectal cancer, lymphoma and throat (but not lung) cancer. Cows’ milk is good for calves – but not for us,” she adds.”
Credit: Rel facts