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Breast Cancer Facts
by Dave Foreman
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 182,460 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2008. They also estimate 40,480 women will die from the disease this year. Currently there are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. (Men get this disease too. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates nearly 2,000 new male cases and 450 deaths for 2008) In the 60's, women had a 1 in 30 chance of getting breast cancer. In the 70's it increased to 1 in 20. According to the ACS, the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35.
IT GETS WORSE.
Modern medicine's advances in "treating" breast cancer have only put a small dent in the cure rate. Even though the incidence rates for female breast cancer dropped slightly from 2001-04, the therapies used cause illness, severe pain and drastic changes in the outer appearance of a woman's body. The focus seems to be on cutting, radiating and chemically attacking the body instead of supporting the body's own efforts to remove this dreaded disease. Prevention should be built around understanding the disease, including such things as knowing the risk factors and lifestyle changes (including my 4-Pillars of Great Health).
Please don't misunderstand; I believe there's a time and place for modern medicine. My regret is that too often it looks at the surface of health instead of the root of the problem. There should be more focus on education about the benefits of lifestyle changes and less spent on potentially bogus research.
WHO GETS BREAST CANCER?There are many risk factors that can increase your chance of developing breast cancer. Here are some of the more commonly accepted. If your mother, sister, or daughter has had breast cancer, you are up to 3 times more likely to develop breast cancer. Researchers have identified two genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) responsible for some instances of familial breast cancer. (It is estimated that about 1/2 percent of women have this gene. Just having the gene doesn't mean you will get breast cancer, but your chances are increased.
Other examples of risk factors are:
Remember, risk factors are just that; having one or more of these will increase the possibility of developing the condition. Having any one of these isn't necessarily a sentence of doom, but should be treated as a wakeup call to take better care of yourself.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
I am drawn to one conclusion: Lifestyle is the one constant in most forms of cancer we get. If we could just change certain things about how we live, we probably wouldn't get cancer. In past articles on cancer I stated that you won't get cancer if your immune system is functioning optimally. Cancer cells are abnormal cells. If your immune system was working the way it should, it would identify the bad cells and destroy them. I believe that, because of the many lifestyle choices we make, (not following my 4-Pillars of Great Health), we place our bodies in harm's way by decreasing the effectiveness of our immune system.
As I have stated in every newsletter, the 4 Pillars are Supplements, Diet, Activity and Spirituality. Let's start with Dietary supplements. See the chart for a list of supplements I recommend. Doses may change based on your condition and its severity. Someone with Stage IV cancer should be more aggressive with dosing than someone who is just looking at prevention. This is the laundry list of supplements you should consider.
Of these listed supplements, many can be purchased in "breast health" supplements. Examples such as Advanced Breast Support (M.D. Select)would be a great step in the right direction. I would use these as part of my foundation when building the Herbal Pharmacist® Dietary supplement program.
The next level up would be to use a good antioxidant that targets your condition. Supplements like Super Critical Antioxidant (New Chapter) would be a great fit. You may wish to add more antioxidants if you wish to be more aggressive. Finding a combination antioxidant which contains CoQ10, and vitamin A, and maybe the herbs Green Tea and Turmeric would be great. I also throw Flor–Essence Tea into this level. This amazing tea is ALWAYS part of my supplement recommendations for those with cancer concerns. Not only is it a great antioxidant, it also possesses detoxification properties. I especially like its ability to work on cleansing the lymphatic system. This system is critical in all forms of cancer, but especially breast cancer. I have had great success using this tea on a daily basis. Doses ranging from 1-2 ounces per day to the more aggressive 4-8 ounces per day in very severe cases. Note large doses will usually cause side effects like digestive discomfort and diarrhea.
The third level of supplementation would be your fish oil supplement. The jury is still out on how much is enough without going overboard. I usually recommend consuming 2-3 grams per day to maintain overall health. Perhaps 5-10 grams per day would be considered the high end for a more aggressive approach.
Even though a probioticis not listed below, I believe we all should take a daily supplement of these friendly bacteria. There isn't any research to say it helps, but with more "good guys" in your digestive system, your body can focus on doing positive work instead of spending energy on another health issue that may crop up due to insufficient friendly bacteria. Look for a guaranteed delivery product like Reuteri Pearls (Nature's Way) or Flora Smart(Renew Life) for blended formulations.
There are other miscellaneous supplements such as Melatonin that can be very helpful, but consult with your healthcare provider to determine dosing. Also, many of the other supplements, like soy, should be used with caution by those with estrogen positive cancer. Also, the fat-soluble vitamins like D3, A and E should be used with caution if you are consuming higher than recommended doses. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional to find the dose that's right for you.
As I always preach, you can't do just one Pillar and expect to be a healthy individual. Let's take a quick look at other recommendations for those concerned with Breast Cancer.
I feel like a broken CD, but here it goes. Throw away and stop consuming refined foods. (especially sugar and flour based products) I define a refined food as one that isn't in its original state (such as, pasta, bread, bagels, refined oils, etc.) Instead eat whole foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats (organic lean cuts), chicken (organic), eggs (organic) and fish (not too much because of heavy metal toxicity). I prefer being heavy on the fruits and veggies and lighter on the animal proteins. If you are having trouble with the fruits and veggies, buy powdered supplements that contain fruit and vegetable extracts. If you're into soy, eat fermented soy products like tofu. (I recommend staying away from soy because there are too many conflicting studies about it being beneficial or harmful, especially with estrogen positive forms of cancer)
Studies show exercise reduces breast cancer risk. I teach in my seminars that regardless of health challenges you are fighting or preventing, to walk briskly 30-45 minutes per day. Brisk walking is defined like this: If you are walking with someone and talking, you should be having trouble catching your breath. According to the American Cancer Society website (www.cancer.org) one study found that as little as 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 and a half hours of brisk walking per week reduced the risk by 18%. Their recommendation is that you exercise for 45 to 60 minutes, 5 or more days a week.
I've covered the power of prayer and the belief in GOD before. I think that the majority of us understand the power of religion (whatever you may follow) and our overall health outcome. I recommend taking a deeper look into our hearts and souls to help us be healthier individuals. What about the mind/body connection? My favorite source for this is Louise Hay. Louise Hay believes there is a mental or emotional link to our health (and so do I). Referring to her book Heal Your Body we find two different areas. She doesn't single out Breast Cancer as a single condition so we have to look at two: Breast(s) and Cancer. Under Breast(s) she states a link with "A refusal to nourish the self. Putting everyone else first. Over mothering, Overprotection, Overbearing attitudes" For Cancer she mentions: "Deep hurt. Longstanding resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatreds. "What's the use?" If any of these ring true for you, I recommend getting her book(s) and begin working on replacing your negative thought/emotion with a positive one. Too often we overlook the mind/spirit component of health. If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired then there is no time like the present to start.
Whether I have this condition or I am looking to prevent it, I would use the same basic supplements.
(Doses may change based on your condition and its severity.)