Breast cancer tends to cause a misery to daily life due to painful nature of itself and toxic effects of various treatment options. However, two bee products have shown promising effects in treating breast cancer: honey and pollen. Benefits of honey are way more than you had ever thought.
Overdiagnosis of breast cancer is a problem
Due to various awareness programs, screening for breast cancer has increased significantly. A side effect of wide-scale screening is overdiagnosis of breast cancer. Thousands of women become victims of overdiagnosis every year. Some medical professionals may confuse Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) with breast cancer. However, DCIS is a benign lesion without invasiveness.
Overdiagnosis of breast cancer invariably prompts a patient to go for aggressive treatment options like mastectomy, lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. All of these are painful and carry long-term hazards. Despite having advanced facilities, about 1.3million women in the U.S. were overdiagnosed as having breast cancer. Traditionally, breast cancer patients are given long-term hormone therapy after surgery or radiotherapy to prevent recurrence.
Considering honey and bee pollen in integrative management
Molecular And Clinical Oncology published a study on the effects of bee pollen and honey in breast cancer treatment and it was revealed that they can reduce the side effects of traditional cancer treatment options. Due to hormonal changes after treatment, most women experience flushes and postmenopausal symptoms. Hormonal changes include reduction of female hormones such as estrogen. Bee pollen is useful to counter the effects of such changes.
Another study conducted among menopausal women indicates that administration of bee pollen extracts improves the quality of life by reducing severity and frequency of hot flashes. In the study, pollen–honey mixture was given to test group and honey were given as placebo to the comparison group. Both groups were taking hormone therapy for breast cancer. Amazing observation of this study was that honey can reduce the menopause-like symptoms as effectively as pollen.
The observation led to a conclusion that honey can raise the estrogen levels in female patients. Estrogen was previously believed to be a carcinogen, but there is insufficient data to prove this hypothesis. It is now well established that estrogen can prevent and even suppress breast cancer and some other cancers of the reproductive system.
Summary: Benefits of Honey in Cancer Treatment
Benefits of honey were known to humans since a long time. But due to various side effects of anticancer drugs and hormone therapy, researchers are inclining towards natural compounds and honey has been found to have estrogen stimulating effects that can improve the comfort levels of breast cancer patients. Honey and bee pollen also can play preventive and therapeutic roles in several types of cancers.