Mushrooms Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A sponsored post for the Australian Mushroom Growers.


Why are you writing about breast cancer and mushrooms Katie?

Because it’s October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Australian Mushroom Growers (AMG) are all over it. And because super cutey cute food blogger Christie of Fig & Cherry who works alongside the AMG told them she’d find some cool bloggers to get on board the campaign this year and well, I’m one of them! (Cheers Christie, mwah-mwah). AND because I’m comfortable being paid to encourage people to eat mushrooms, as it happens I see this to be a very noble exchange.

The AMG gave me carte blanche to address this topic and so I have chosen to go in a bit deeper than simply sharing a mushroom recipe with y’all.

I went to the information on cancer on their website, you can find it here: Power of Mushrooms – Health and Nutrition – Cancer and read the facts about mushrooms and their power (POW POW!) but I wanted to know more, you know… I wanted to know what really went on behind the scenes of these scientific papers?

So I read them all in their full on scientific jargony jargon and now what I know is this… in a white button mushroom cup (very, very summarised):

  • Certain constituents of muchrooms act in the immune system to recognise foreign, mutated cancer cells and mount an attack on them accordingly; inhibiting tumor growth and killing cancer cells.

  • Mushrooms, particularly the white button variety, posses anti-estrogen properties which is pertinent to breast cancer as estrogen promotes the growth of cells.

Introduction to how estrogen affects breast cancer:

Estrogen is a hormone essential for the development of female sexual characteristics and for reproduction. It  binds to cells with estrogen receptors and exerts its effects in these tissues, chiefly the uterus and the breast tissue but also the liver, brain, heart and bone tissue.

In the uterus and the breast tissue, estrogen stimulates cell proliferation (division and replication) preparing the uterus for conception and the breasts for lactation. Estrogen levels will be high mid cycle and then low late cycle to onset of menses if pregnancy does not occur and those cells that proliferated in preparation for conception will deteriorate and die.

So a cycle of: high estrogen: cell proliferation in uterine and breast tissue: low estrogen: menstruation: cell death with be repeated many, many times over until menopause.

As you can now see, estrogen stimulated cell growth is normal and healthy BUT it can also be problematic IF cells with mutations proliferate under the influence of estrogen.

Estrogen can stimulate the division of uterine and breast tissue cells that already have DNA mutations, and it also increases the chances of developing new, spontaneous mutations (errors in DNA duplication are common). Basically, whether or not the mutations are preexisting or spontaneous, estrogen will drive the proliferation of these mutated cells and this increases the risk of developing cancer.

What the bloody hell does this have to do with mushrooms Katie?

Well… as previously mentioned, the enzyme which converts androgens* to estrogens (aromatase is the name of this enzyme) is hijacked and kicked to the curb by a wee gem of a phytochemical (phyto = plant) found in the white button mushroom.

*Androgens are the precursor to all estrogens.

GET OUT OF TOWN! Yes-yes, there’s some special-ass stuff inside mushrooms, but particularly the white button variety that totally interferes with estrogen synthesis which is bad news for estrogen sensitive cancer cells innit?

I mean it makes sense that anti-aromatase power be put up against the androgens that need aromatase to convert into estrogen, yeah?

“Fuck OFF aromatase, I’M taking charge now pow pow!” (says the cute little Ninja faced mushroom).

Here’s a break down on the scholarly article support for the power of mushrooms:

A case-control study of 362 Korean women aged between 30 – 65 histologically (study of tissue under microscope) known to have breast cancer were matched to controls without cancer. Mushroom intake was assessed via food frequency questionnaire.

Frequency and quantity of mushroom intake were found to be strongly inversely associated (inverse = reverse, opposite, not associated!) with breast cancer risk in postmenopausal but not premenopausal women.

Does this mean don’t be eating mushrooms until you hit menopause? Hell no. It means eat them with abandon and then when you reach menopause find a way to inject them straight into your blood stream – ha!

Antoher similar study was conducted in China, with 1009 women aged between 20 – 87 years old histologically known to have breast cancer and 1009 age-matched healthy (well without breast cancer at least) controls. Consumption of mushrooms and green tea were documented via food frequency questionnaire.

Compared to those who did not regularly consume mushroom and/or green tea the risk of breast cancer was higher for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

A meta-analysis involving 10 eligible articles reports that polysaccharides and glucan in mushrooms are well documented to possess significant anti-tumor and immune-modulating activity: inhibition and reduction of tumor growth in breast cancer and inhibition of breast cancer cell growth and induction of breast cancer cell death.

Further, this meta-analysis confirms the inverse association with dietary intake of mushrooms and reduced risk of breast cancer in both pre and postmenopausal women.

And as highlighted alongside the information on estrogen, phytochemcials within mushrooms inhibit estrogen synthesis by blocking aromatase.

So: across animal studies, in-vitro human tissue studies and dietary assessment studies mushrooms consistently display immune modulation, tumor reduction, cancer cell death and decreased risk of developing breast cancer!

From my perspective I would take this information and apply it in ‘real life’ by giving an enthusiastic high five to regularly consuming mushrooms (and green tea too, ha!). The amount of mushrooms consumed noted in the dietary assessment study equated to about 1 button mushroom per day but who eats one button mushroom??

So I’m gonna go ahead and just say eat mushrooms and eat them regularly! (particularly if there is a familial history of estrogen sensitive cancer): about a decent handful per person 2 – 3 times per week.

Eat them like this:

  • In a stir fry.
  • Atop home made pizza.
  • Sliced very thinly and added raw to a salad or salad wrap/sandwich.
  • Inside an omelet or alongside fried/scrambled/poached eggs: wilted in butter with some herbs or balsamic vinegar.
  • In pasta dishes.
  • In soups.
  • In curries.
  • Holy shit if you’re hardcore add them to your green smoothie.
  • Make this risoni dish I’ve previously published here: It’s tiny little rice shaped pasta and lots of mushrooms and cheese: yeah yeah!

Here’s one of my favourite ways to eat mushrooms:


  • Slice mushrooms (I usually use button or field) into thick-ish discs and add to a frying pan with some butter/ghee and olive oil: yes you need both of these fats…
  • …Mushrooms are quite absorbent and can dry out and burn quickly until they start releasing their water content, so use both butter/ghee and olive oil to prevent this happening!
  • AND heat them gently to begin with, you can turn the heat up later.
  • Once they’re somewhat simmered down, add a clove of minced garlic, stir to combine and leave to cook off a bit.
  • Now put some good bread on to toast, slice up a lemon and crumble up some Greek or Danish style feta.
  • Once mushrooms and garlic have made funky ass love in your frying pan, season well then squeeze over lemon generously.
  • Serve atop buttered toast and garnish with feta OR spread the feta onto the toast and then serve the mushrooms on top.
  • Rosemary or sage pair particularly well with mushrooms if you’d like to add these to the mixture when frying.

Easy. Doesn’t take too long. Tastes ace: the zing of the lemon lightens up the rich garlic meaty mushroom and the creamy feta cuts through the aforementioned zing of lemon! It’s a zingy-rich-creamy situation that just works.


And so I am nearing the close of my first ever proper sponsored post here on K180 – what larks!

But business is business and herein please find information about how the Mushroom Growers are getting behind Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their Mushrooms Go Pink campaign:

♥Basically they just want to draw attention to the health benefits of mushrooms, which are plentiful as it stands and now we know a thing or two more about them that is really quite special and holds promise for ongoing, further research into the treatment of breast cancer.

♥They will be holding events in each state to celebrate the mighty wee mushroom WHAT A FUN GUY! with funds raised at these events being directed toward the cancer council in each state.

♥And there’s a chance to win a pampering SPA DAY valued at $1000 to share with some mates. Entries can be made via the Power of Mushrooms website: CLICK HERE WOOT WOOT.

♥Entrants need to answer three questions correctly, and outline in 25 words or less the positive steps they have taken towards their health this year (for example: 1. Started reading Katie180).

Ok giddy up on down to the green grocer and get yourself sorted with some mushrooms ‘aight.

And if you’ve got a recipe starring mushrooms that you’d like to share then please link it in the comments for one and all to SEE.

~Yours in white button love, K180, x



Grube BJ., T. Eng E, Kao Y-C, Kwon A and Chen S. White Button Mushroom Phytochemicals Inhibit Aromatase Activity and Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation. J. Nutr. December 1, 2001, vol. 131, no. 12 pp. 3288-93.

Hong S. A., Kim K., Nam S-J., Kong G. and Kim MK. A case-control study on the dietary intake of mushrooms and breast cancer risk among Korean women. Int J Cancer. February 2008, Vol. 122, Issue 4, pp. 919-23.

Zhang M., Huang J., Xie X. and Holman CD. Dietary intakes of mushrooms and green tea combine to reduce the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women. Int J Cancer, March 2009, Vol 124, Issue 6, pp. 1404-8.

Li J, Zou L, Chen W, Zhu B, Shen N, et al. (2014) Dietary Mushroom Intake May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. PLoS ONE 9(4): e93437. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093437
























  1. Love, love, looove what you have done here Katie. Broken down the science-y stuff so that it is UNDERSTANDABLE. That’s what you do best babe.

    And yes, fetta and mushrooms. Winning combo!!

  2. Thanks for sharing the mushroom love. It is great to read another take on the science. Most people just love them for the taste, but to give ladies out there another reason to add them to meals is just fantastic….

    • I must say when reading the evidence I was very impressed, of course there’s room to dig further but it’s clear to see that they have very beneficial nutritional properties! Y A Y Mushrooms :)

  3. Wow, I didn’t know this – thankfully I nibble on raw or cooked mushies often. Now I will add to my list of super foods.

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