While in 1950 only one in 20 women suffered from breast cancer, today this ﬁgure has risen to one in eight.
Although the medical establishment has recommended early diagnosis via periodic breast examinations and mammograms, less stress has been placed on possible causes of the disease and preventive measures.
Yet it’s these last areas of understanding that hold the most promise.
A family history of breast cancer does put one at higher risk for the disease. But there’s so very much more that comes in to play.
Medical evidence indicates that prolonged exposure to the female sex hormone estrogen as a result of either an early onset of menstruation or a late menopause increases the chance for acquisition of breast cancer.
In addition, women who have not had children or have not breast-fed are at higher risk of developing breast cancer, implying that the female sex hormone progesterone can S6IT6′ as a preventive agent.
Estrogen and progesterone are usually equally balanced. But when the amount of estrogen increases or the amount of progesterone decreases, an imbalance, known as estrogen dominance, is created.
Increased levels of estrogen are associated with a high alcohol intake, being overweight, and consuming a lot of fatty foods.
Also, people who eat large quantities of meat are more susceptible to breast cancer due to the estrogen-stimulating hormones that are frequently used to improve the texture of meat products.
A diet that is high in fat has other adverse effects upon the body. One is that when a person consumes a large amount of fatty food the membranes of body cells can become damaged by the fat.
After this occurs, the cell can either die and eventually be replaced by another cell. or it can attempt to repair the damage that has been done.
During the latter process it is possible for the damaged cell to transform itself into a cancer cell while attempting to
The liver, which is responsible for the elimination of estrogen and other hazardous materials, is often overwhelmed by the abundance of toxic substances that ﬁnd their way into the human body each day.
Problems with the breakdown of estrogen by the liver can also be compounded by the presence of excessive amounts of sugar or alcohol.
The presence of foreign chemicals in the body known as xenoestrogens can be troublesome.
While forms of xenoestrogens that are derived from plant foods can have positive effects on the body. Forms that originate from synthetic materials such as fuel, pesticides, or plastics have proved to be carcinogenic.
Another possible cause of breast cancer is a dysfunction in the lymphatic system, which is responsible for the drainage of toxic substances from the tissues. The lymphatic system is essential to the body’s immune system and aids in the removal of the xenoestrogens that can accumulate in the fatty tissue of the breast.
The flow of lymphatic fluid. Which carries the body’s toxins and waste products away from the cells, is not analogous to that of blood, as it can be interrupted by muscle contraction and external force. It is important to note that an excessively constrictive bra can be a cause of lymphatic blockage, and that, eventually, the accumulation of harmful materials within the breast can lead to cancer.
Studies have indicated that wearing a bra for more than 12 hours a day is correlated with an increased incidence of breast cancer;
therefore, it is advisable to limit the wearing of a bra as much as possible and to beware of bras that may constrict the flow of waste products from the breast.
The absorption of excessive amounts of radiation, such as medical x-rays, can be a causal factor in breast cancer. Years ago doctors were ignorant of the dangers of radiation because the manifestation of harmful side effects can take decades.
Consequently, the amount of “rads” a patient received was not a cause for concern, and many treatment procedures, such as fluoroscopic examinations, exposed patients to excessive radiation numerous times a year.
Excessive exposure to harmful rays can lead to chromosomal damage, and eventually, to various forms of cancer. Dr. John Gofman of the University of California at Berkeley, who investigated the correlation between x-rays and breast cancer, has asserted that up to 90 percent of all cases of breast cancer can be attributed to overexposure to x-rays.
It is true that during the past few decades radiological facilities have been forced to lower their dosages dramatically, but there is still substantial room for improvement. Dr. Gofman feels that pressure should be applied to the medical community to further reduce dosages. And he recommends that people alert themselves to the potential dangers of medical x-rays and insist that when they receive an x—ray, a low dosage is administered.
Studies have demonstrated that excessive absorption of electromagnetic radiation, which can be emitted from common household objects like televisions, digital clocks, and microwave ovens, contributes to the development of breast cancer in men and women by preventing the production of melatonin in the pineal gland during the sleeping cycle. Numerous tests have been conducted in this ﬁeld, including one that revealed a cancer rate directly proportional to the use of electric blankets.
Some studies have also shown that the performance of a mastectomy during the ﬁrst phase of the menstrual cycle can increase the possibility of a recurrence of breast cancer.
During the first half of the menstrual cycle, only estrogen is produced, and when a mastectomy is done at this time the small quantity of cancer cells left behind may have their growth enhanced by the estrogen.
On the other hand, mastectomies performed after the ﬁrst half of the menstrual cycle have been more successful.
The recurrence rate is halved due to the presence of progesterone, which enables the cells to differentiate.
Other factors that are contributory to breast cancer are use of alcohol and tobacco products. Nicotine is the second largest cause of breast cancer (after elevated estrogen levels due to dietary and environmental factors). And the consumption of only two to three alcoholic beverages a week increases breast cancer risk significantly.
Early symptoms of breast cancer are thickening of the breast, a lump, and dimpling of the skin. The person may experience pain, ulcers, nipple discharge, and swollen lymph glands under the arm at a later time.
After the manifestation of any of these symptoms, you should immediately seek professional assistance.
When a diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed, there are several facts that one should be aware of. First, the survival rate is dependent on whether or not the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, on the size of the cancerous region within the breast, on how fast- growing the tumor is, and ﬁnally, on whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. During the initial, very localized, stage of breast cancer known as stage O, the 5-year survival rate is approximately 90 percent.
If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone or to other vital organs (stage 4), the 5-year survival rate is only 10 percent. This is why early diagnosis is stressed.
The mainstream medical establishment often prescribes mastectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy to treat breast cancer, an approach that has been described as a slash and burn strategy.
This approach may be in for a reappraisal with the recent insight by the medical world that breast cancer is actually three different diseases, with indistinct boundaries, rather than one.
In other words, only some breast cancers ﬁt the image of a disease that is fast-growing and it-spreading. Two other categories of this condition exist, the slowest-growing of which may never spread or be life-threatening at all. With this realization comes the idea that giving everyone with breast cancer chemotherapy may be unnecessary.
Considering the harmful effects of chemotherapy, the belated nature of this realization is disturbing, to say the least.
A bottom line in understanding breast cancer remains that life style as an important factor should never be ignored.
Consider that women in our country suffer from one of the highest breast cancer rates in the world, while women in japan have one of the lowest. The message here is that some cases of breast cancer can be avoided if we make needed changes, adopting some of the ways of Asian culture.
Studies have shown that the consumption of cleansing herbs; lessened levels of stress, alcohol, and tobacco intake; enforcement of stringent pollution laws; and lower levels of dangerous radiation are factors that work to the advantage of women in Asian countries.
Diet and Supplements
One of the most important steps to take in preventing breast cancer is to avoid a diet that is high in animal fat while at the same time increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
The abundance of ﬁber in vegetarian diets helps the colon dispose of unnecessary estrogen, while the low ﬁber and high iron content of beef and processed foods can damage cells and encourage the spread of cancer.
In addition, some foods, such as lima beans, soybeans, and other soy products, seem to have medicinal capabilities because of the presence of isoﬂavones and phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens.
These substances actually curb the activity of the excess estrogen in the body’s tissues.
Phytoestrogens can also be found in other vegetables and in fruits, along with useful amounts of non-soluble ﬁber, beta-carotene, and selenium. Flaxseeds and certain types of ﬁsh, including salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring, contain omega-S fatty acids, which have an anticancer effect.
The consumption of broccoli, cauliﬂower, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables is also recommended to combat cancer. The daily addition of acidophilus and approximately an ounce of wheat ﬁber to the diet can further enhance the colon’s ability to eliminate estrogen. An adequate amount of wheat ﬁber can be obtained by taking two tablespoons of raw wheat bran per day.
Finally, evidence has shown that reishi, shiitake, and maitake mushrooms can serve as formidable opponents of cancer cells.
Supplements of vitamin D can protect the body from breast cancer, especially if you are deﬁcient in phosphorus, but do not exceed 400 IU per day without medical supervision.
Medical evidence has indicated that the prevention of breast cancer may also be related to consuming the proper ratio of calcium to phosphorous. The optimal ratio is 1.5:1. but most people have a greater phosphorus intake because of the presence of meat in their diets.
Although meat products contain calcium, the phosphorus content can push the calcium out of the tissues and into the bloodstream.
Where it eventually lodges in the walls of the arteries and in the joints. Damage to the tissues of the breast can be avoided with a proper intake of antioxidants.
Many doctors are currently recommending the following important nutrients to prevent the onset of breast cancer: between 10,000 and 25,000 units of beta-carotene, l00 mg of coenzyme Q10, the mineral germanium, DMG (dimethyl glycine), two capsules of garlic three times a day, 400 IU of vitamin E, and up to 10,000 mg of vitamin C taken as divided doses throughout the day.
Other doctors have stressed that the body requires the proper amounts of calcium, magnesium, selenium, chromium, alpha linolenic acid, and molybdenum, all of which can be supplemented if a deﬁciency develops. Borage, evening primrose, and black currant seed oils contain a cancer-ﬁghting agent known as gamma linoleic acid.
In addition, in order for the bodily protein SOD to function correctly and prevent oxidation damage in the cells, we must avoid deﬁciencies of zinc, copper, and manganese.
A nutritionally oriented physician can help you decide which nutrients are most important for you, and in what amounts.
Numerous herbs are protective against breast cancer. The Venus ﬂy trap has become quite popular in Europe.
On this side of the Atlantic, the native American herbal formula called Essiac is used to prevent cancer and treat cancer that is already present. Cat’s claw, an herb used by Peruvian Indians, is another known cancer combatant. Xiao Yao Wan.
A Chinese combination of digestive herbs that people take to improve circulation, build blood, and treat ﬁbroids, is often used to combat breast cancer as well. Astragalus can aid in preventing and treating breast cancer by enhancing the immune system, and is especially useful for people undergoing chemotherapy who need to regain strength.
One teaspoon of the herb should be added to puriﬁed water and consumed once or twice daily. Other herbal solutions for avoiding breast cancer use echinacea, pau d’arco, sassafras, red clover, and burdock, which improve the immune system and purify the blood. Studies have also shown that extracts of mistletoe can be of use for immunity enhancement.
Activities that detoxify the body can further reduce the chance of acquiring breast cancer. For instance, aerobic exercise assists in lymphatic drainage and induces sweating, which is a natural way for the body to rid itself of waste products. And exercise has in fact been shown by studies to be correlated with a lowered breast cancer risk.
The removal of hazardous waste products by the lymphatic system can be aided by manual lymphatic drainage, which involves a light massage that stimulates the lymph nodes and enables them to properly dispose of waste. As mentioned earlier, the blockage of the lymph ﬂuid in the breast, which can occur after the performance of a mastectomy, allows potentially dangerous substances to collect in the breast, eventually leading to cancer.
The restoration of the immune system can enable a patient to successfully control cancer without a need for toxic chemical treatments.
Immuno-Augmentative Therapy attempts to accomplish this using noninvasive treatment, and caters to the unique needs of each individual by studying the contents of the patient’s blood and correcting factors that may contribute to cancer.
This method of therapy, devised during the 1950’s by Dr. Lawrence Burton and his associates, has been successfully used with numerous breast cancer patients, and is performed outside the United States in Freeport’s (Bahamas) Immunology Research Center, by Dr. Burton’s successor, Dr. _john Clement.
A new branch of science, known as psychoneuroimmunology, studies the integration of thoughts, emotions, and physical reactions at the cellular level. When a person feels depressed for extended periods, this state of mind can have an adverse effect on the body’s ability to ﬁght off disease and to heal itself. On the other hand, positive emotions can aid in maintaining or regaining physical health.
According to Dr. Carl Simonton, director of the Simonton Cancer Center an California, women who are diagnosed with breast cancer should work to overcome the stereotypes associated with cancer.
Women in this position are often under the impression that their cancer can easily overwhelm and destroy their health, and that their bodies will be severely victimized by harsh treatments.
If a person has this defeatist attitude, then her body will read these signals and act accordingly. It is important for patients to evaluate their thoughts about the disease, the treatment, and their chances of recovery, and remain conﬁdent.
One way to improve one’s psychological and physical health, and to lessen one’s chance of breast cancer, is through meditation.
Studies report this fact, and give the explanation that women who meditate have more melatonin in their blood than women who do not.
This is the case because the pineal gland, wich secretes melatonin, is sensitive to psychological processes, and in turn, is important because melatonin is known to inhibit estrogen, and breast cancer is associated with higher levels of estrogen in the body.
What to Avoid
There are a multitude of precautions we can take to prevent breast cancer. First of all, it is utterly foolish to abuse tobacco and alcohol products, as medical evidence has linked these directly to various forms of cancer, including breast cancer.
Furthermore, we know that estrogen is a risk factor, so fatty food, which increase levels of this hormone, are to be avoided.
Also, consider that an excessively fatty diet can induce free radical production, resulting in the damage of healthy cells and their eventual conversion to cancerous cells.
Be especially careful to curtail processed meat products, margarine, and other saturated fats.
Beware too of excessive intake of hot, spicy foods, oily foods, foods high in sugar, and stimulants such as coffee, tea, and recreational narcotics. Another precaution we can take is to avoid unnecessary exposure to X-rays and other forms of radiation. And remember to try to limit your use of bras to less than 12 hours per day, and do not purchase a constrictive bra that may impede lymphatic drainage.
Finally, be aware of the quality of the water that you consume, as many urban and suburban water supplies require ﬁltration of ﬂuoride and chlorine.
There is a proven correlation between high-fat diets and breast cancer. Conversely, populations that eat more fruit, vegetables, and legumes, with an emphasis on soy products, have lower incidences of the disease.
Extra protection from breast cancer can be obtained with vitamin C, vitamin D, a proper ratio of calcium to phosphorus (higher in the former), and antioxidant nutrients.
Herbs provide extra protection from breast cancer; especially noteworthy are the Venus fly trap, the herbal formula Essiac, cats claw, Astragalus, and pau d’arco.
Aerobic exercise and manual lymphatic drainage rid the body of stored- up wastes that can otherwise lead to cancer.
Some people have success with Immuno-Augmentative Therapy, a nontoxic, noninvasive approach to treatment.
The new ﬁeld of psychoneuroimmunotherapy stresses positive emotions and meditation as health and healing promoters.