Symptoms of Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bones & Best Alternative Nutritional Therapies

Introductory Paragraph :Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bones

Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer types in women. [1] Additionally, the bone is the most common location of metastasis for breast cancer. [2] Breast cancer and several complications caused by metastasis in the bones affect the quality of life and survival in cancer patients.

Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bones

There are several traditional treatments options to target metastatic breast cancer. Still, natural nutritional therapies are suggested to support the immune system,overall wellness and to lower the side effects caused by this type of cancer.

When cancer develops in the breast and has spread or metastasized to the bones, it is referred to as secondary or metastatic breast cancer in the bone. [3]
The breast cancer cells spread to the bone through the lymphatic system or the blood and the bones most commonly affected in metastatic breast cancer are:

• the spine
• the ribs
• the skull
• the pelvis
• the upper bones of the arms and legs

Symptoms of Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bones

The main symptoms of breast cancer metastasis are [4]:

• Pain in the back, arms, or legs, which indicate a spinal cord compression
• Fractures (breaks)
• Fatigue
• Weakness
• Nausea
• Loss of appetite
• Dehydration
• Low levels of blood cells, which tend to increase the risk of infection, anemia, bruising and bleeding
• High levels of calcium in the blood or hypercalcemia

Best Alternative Nutritional Therapies

The side effects caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery in patients with metastatic breast cancer are also major obstacles to a healthy recovery. Metastasis remains a major problem in the development of effective treatments for breast cancer.

Therefore, most breast cancer patients also rely on alternative natural therapies that provide the health benefits they need to overcome the most difficult symptoms caused by breast cancer.
Here are 4 dietary essential nutrients recommended to women with metastatic breast cancer:



Fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide obtained from brown seaweeds, which are well-known for their incredible health benefits. Some of the most common species are Mozuku (C. okamuranus), Mekabu (U. pinnatifida), and Fucus or bladderwrack (F. vesiculosus). Fucoidan, which is a natural ingredient has been researched since 1913 when Professor Kylin discovered its health benefits and functions. [5]

In breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer, many cells develop a pathway to invade other tissues or organs through a mechanism known as metastasis. [6] Metastasis is responsible for more than 90% of cancer deaths due to its ability to cause conventional treatments to be less effective. [7]

Related post :: The 4 Key Healthy Benefits of Fucoidan

Fucoidan has offered anticoagulant properties that may decrease the expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinases, resulting in an inability of tumor cells to cross the capillary wall. Therefore, it offers an alternative way to lower the ability of the tumor cells to invade other organs.

For example, fucoidan derived from Mekabu or Undaria pinnatifida sporophylls has been shown to prevent in vitro cell growth, migration, invasion, and adhesion capabilities presumably by downregulating the VEGFC/VEGFR3 axis, deactivating the NF-kB pathway, and improving the protein levels of TIMPs. [8]

Other types of fucoidan have been shown to decrease the expression levels of MMP2 in a dose-dependent manner and downregulate the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. The MMP2 gene provides a pathway that lets part of the extracellular matrix form spaces between cells. [9]

2.Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes) have been consumed for many years because of their great immune-enhancing benefits. The major active ingredients in Shiitake mushrooms are beta-glucans, which are a group of polysaccharides with great properties. Various cancer types like metastatic breast cancer are characterized by a weak immune system.

This happens when the body is unable to promote the activity of different immune cells like dendritic cells, NK cells, etc. Therefore, it is essential to boost the body with an effective anti-tumor and immune-enhancing strategy to promote a better Quality of Life.

In Asia, Shiitake mushrooms have been used for thousands of years as a way to enhance the immune system. [10] Several clinical studies have focused on Shiitake’s immune-enhancing benefits in cancer patients. In a study, people who consumed 5g or 10g of Shiitake per day for 14 days resulted in better immune function by an increase in T cells, NK cells, and lymphocytes. [11] However, when lower amounts were taken, for example, 1400 mg per day, there were no immune effects recorded. [12]

Besides the immune-enhancing benefits of Shiitake mushrooms, they are also rich in protein, fiber, B-complex vitamins, Vitamin D, antioxidants, potassium, and selenium. All of these nutrients are helpful to provide antioxidant, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor health benefits.

3.Astragalus root (Huang Qi)

Astragalus root (Huang Qi) is a medicinal herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Astragalus has been shown in studies to have immune-enhancing, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. [13] Astragalus is native to the northern and eastern parts of China, as well as Mongolia and Korea. Since many bioactive constituents in plants are flavonoids, polysaccharides, and saponins. Some of the active ingredients in Astragalus are known as flavonoids.

Flavonoids are found in most parts of plants and have been shown to have multiple biological activities such as anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, anti-bacterial, antivirus, and immune-enhancing. [14]

It contains several types of bioactive compounds including polysaccharides, flavonoids, and saponins. Astragalus has been shown in many studies to inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cultured breast cancer cells. The effect of Astragalus extract to suppress breast cancer cells growth was associated with its ability to inhibit PI3K/Akt/mTOR activity. These results suggest that Astragalus may offer an alternative and natural treatment for breast cancer patients. [16]



Selenium is a micronutrient with favorable breast cancer prevention and possible natural treatment potential. There is extensive preclinical evidence suggesting that selenium may prevent mammary carcinogenesis. Selenium provides health benefits through multiple mechanisms that involve antioxidant activities, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of DNA damage, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and invasion. [17]


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  4. BREASTCANCER.ORG Bone Metastasis: Symptoms and Diagnosis
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  6. 25. Jiang, W.G., Sanders, A.J., Katoh, M., Ungefroren, H., Gieseler, F., Prince, M., Thompson, S.K., Zollo, M., Spano, D., Dhawan P., et al. (2015). Tissue invasion and metastasis: Molecular, biological and clinical perspectives. Semin. Cancer Biol. 35:244–275. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2015.03.008.
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  8. Wang, P., Liu, Z., Liu, X., Teng, H., Zhang, C., Hou, L., and Zou X. (2014). Anti-Metastasis Effect of Fucoidan from Undaria pinnatifida Sporophylls in Mouse Hepatocarcinoma Hca-F Cells. PLoS ONE. 9:e106071. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106071.
  9. Han, Y.S., Lee, J., and Lee, S. (2015). Fucoidan inhibits the migration and proliferation of HT-29 human colon cancer cells via the phosphoinositide-3 kinase / Akt / mechanistic target of rapamycin pathways. Mol. Med. Rep. 12:3446–3452. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.3804.
  10. Zhang, Y., Zhang, M., Jiang, Y., Li, X., He, Y., Zeng, P., Guo, Z., Chang, Y., Luo, H., Liu, Y., et al. (2018). Lentinan as an immunotherapeutic for treating lung cancer: A review of 12 years clinical studies in China. J. Cancer Res. Clin. Oncol. 144, 2177–2186.
  11. Dai, X., Stanilka, J.M., Rowe, C.A., Esteves, E.A., Nieves, C., Jr., Spaiser, S.J., Christman, M.C., Langkamp-Henken, B., and Percival, S.S. (2015). Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 34, 478–487.
  12. Zembron-Lacny, A., Gajewski, M., Naczk, M., and Siatkowski, I. (2013). Effect of shiitake (Lentinus edodes) extract on the antioxidant and inflammatory response to prolonged eccentric exercise. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 2013, 64, 249–254.
  13. Bamodu, O.A., Kuo, K.T., Wang, C.H., Huang, W.C., Wu, A.T.H., Tsai, J.T., Lee, K.Y., Yeh, C.T., and Wang, L.S. (2019). Astragalus polysaccharides (PG2) Enhances the M1 Polarization of Macrophages, Functional Maturation of Dendritic Cells, and T Cell-Mediated Anticancer Immune Responses in Patients with Lung Cancer. Nutrients. 11, 2264.
  14. Zhang, D., Zhuang, Y., Pan, J., Wang, H., Li, H., Yu, Y., and Wang D. (2012). Investigation of effects and mechanisms of total flavonoids of Astragalus and calycosin on human erythroleukemia cells. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012():209843.
  15. Liao, M.J., Ye, M.N., Zhou, R.J., Sheng, J.Y., and Chen, H.F. (2014). Yiqi formula enhances the antitumor effects of erlotinib for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer xenografts. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM. 2014:628712.
  16. Zhou, R., Chen, H., Chen, J., Chen, X., Wen, Y., and Xu, L. (2018). Extract from Astragalus membranaceus inhibit breast cancer cells proliferation via PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. BMC Complement Altern Med. 18: 83. doi: 10.1186/s12906-018-2148-2
  17. Fontelles, C.C., and Ong, T.P. (2017). Chapter Seven – Selenium and Breast Cancer Risk: Focus on Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms. Advances in Cancer Research. Volume 136, 2017, Pages 173-192.

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