Melissa Etheridge Blames Breast Cancer On Western Diet And Lifestyle - BlissTree

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Melissa Etheridge, who was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2004, is now blaming an acidic diet and western lifestyle for her medical problems. She told Access Hollywood that the disease isn't genetic or random, but that it feeds off of stress and a diet high in meat and processed foods. So is the singer spreading bad rumors about why people get breast cancer? In our opinion, not really.

Etheridge isn't the first to claim that diet and lifestyle choices contribute to cancer, and her ideas about an acidic diet aren't new, either: Last year, Kris Carr's book "Crazy Sexy Diet"—a book touting the merits of an alkaline, vegan diet for prevention and treatment of cancer—hit the New York Times bestseller list, bringing previously fringe ideas about lifestyle and prevention closer to the mainstream. The basic idea is that by eating more vegetables and certain fruits, it's possible to encourage a less acidic environment in your body, which discourages the development of disease in your cells. Etheridge offers a similar explanation:

I'm healthier now than I've ever been because I'm understanding what breast cancer is… It's when your health is out of balance, when you're too acidic… It's not like a disease that finds you or something in your genes. It's actually your own cells going bad.

Our own western lifestyle is one of the reasons that half of us have cancer – because our western lifestyle is so acidic; the food we eat causes acid… the meats, the processed foods… and it's really taxing us, and that's why we're seeing this epidemic.

Again echoing the advice of Carr and other advocates of prevention through lifestyle, she emphasizes that stress is a big contributing factor: "You can eat bad, you can sit around and watch TV and not get sick, but if you are stressed, you're going down."

And even if you don't believe that going vegan and eating a strict alkaline diet (which mostly consists of green vegetables), you'd be foolish not to consider diet and lifestyle a big risk factor. Even doctors who don't advocate the same ideas as Etheridge or Carr will tell you that diet, exercise and limiting stress are important for preventing cancer and other common diseases.

That said, we do think Etheridge's claim that cancer isn't a disease that "finds you" or is in your genes is a glib response to evidence that genes are a huge risk factor for some cancers—breast cancer among them. While a healthy lifestyle can certainly help protect us against cancer and even increase our survival rates, breast cancer in particular is highly genetic, so if it does run in your family, it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and see a doctor for regular screening.

Photo: FayesVision/

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29 Sep, 2011

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