Health Buzz: Giuliana Rancic Has Breast Cancer

Diet changes that might cut breast cancer risk; free services for women with breast cancer.

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Giuliana Rancic Reveals She Has Breast Cancer

E! News host Giuliana Rancic has breast cancer, she revealed Monday on NBC's Today show. Rancic, 37, is in the early stages of the disease, which was picked up by a mammogram while she was undergoing in-vitro fertilization in an effort to get pregnant. She says she will have surgery this week, followed by six weeks of radiation therapy. "It was like the world just crashed around me. And I just couldn't believe it," Rancic told Ann Curry of her diagnosis, The Washington Post reports. "Had I gotten pregnant a few years down the line I could have gotten sicker. So right now I'm okay. The baby saved my life." Though Rancic initially resisted a mammogram—she hadn't planned on having one until the recommended age, 40—she says one doctor insisted on ruling out any small risk of cancer, since pregnancy would accelerate the disease. Despite the diagnosis, Rancic still believes motherhood is in her future.

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  • Diet Changes That Might Cut Breast Cancer Risk 

    You can't do anything about the genes you were born with, but committing to a sound diet can help protect against breast cancer. "Researchers estimate that in the U.S., we can prevent about 38 percent of breast cancers with some basic healthy steps," says registered dietitian Karen Collins, a nutrition advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research. "We can make a difference without doing anything extreme."

    While no food or dietary approach can flat-out prevent breast cancer, the risk of developing the disease could be reduced. Here's a roundup of findings.

    1. A plant-based diet. A recent study suggests that women who eat lots of fruit, veggies, and legumes and little red meat, salt, and processed carbohydrates may lower their odds of developing estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer, which accounts for about a quarter of all breast cancers. A study published in September in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the likelihood of the cancer was 20 percent less when women followed such a diet.

    2. Walnuts. Consuming walnuts slowed the development and growth of breast cancer tumors in mice, according to a study published in September in Nutrition and Cancer. Study author Elaine Hardman, a professor at Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, looked at the effect of a diet containing the human equivalent of 2 ounces of walnuts a day (25 to 30 walnut halves). After 34 days, mice that ate walnuts had less than half the rate of breast cancer as a control group on the same diet minus the walnuts. The number and size of tumors also were significantly smaller for the walnut group. The study authors speculate that walnuts' anti-inflammatory properties are the reason. [Read more: Diet Changes That Might Cut Breast Cancer Risk.]

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    • Free Services for Women With Breast Cancer

      When battling breast cancer, it helps to have an army of well-wishers on your side. And there are plenty, including dozens of groups designed to make the journey smoother, if not a bit brighter. Some clean patients' homes; others send customized scarves, or hats, or pillows, U.S. News reported in 2010. Often, these services are free.

      "Cancer is a shocking experience. You don't expect to get it, and you don't know what's going to happen to you," says Ann Silberman, 52, of Sacramento, Calif., who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. "Knowing different groups are there for you in a real, personal way has been one of the more meaningful parts of my whole cancer experience."

      Here's a sampling of free available services that cater to cancer patients nationwide:

      1. Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide iPhone application. Breastcancer.org, a nonprofit that promotes disease awareness, released its mobile app last year. Patients plug in details about their condition—cancer type, tumor size, and grade, for instance—and they'll receive an extensive lesson, including illustrations and definitions. The app also features a glossary of terms commonly spouted by oncologists and surgeons. "Getting results back from the doctor is very overwhelming," says Jamie DePolo, a breastcancer.org senior writer who spearheaded the app's development. "If you're unfamiliar with some of the medical terms, you can look them up right away with just a click." Women also receive personalized breast cancer news, including the latest studies on treatment options. "The research is relevant for each individual, so you don't have to wonder whether the information should matter to you," DePolo says. [Read more: Free Services for Women With Breast Cancer.]