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Can You Prevent Breast Cancer?

Posted by on in Breast Health

Recently someone emailed me a question from a woman who was upset to find out that there is such a thing as breast cancer prevention. She was upset that many women may be misled by this notion, especially women who have genetic predisposition to breast cancer. Although I understand the sentiment, as none of us want to be misled by false promises, this is the subject that I personally feel very strongly about and I would like to defend my position. Yes, most breast cancers are in fact preventable. Further, women who are considered to be high risk with the BRCA gene can be the greatest beneficiaries of what I would call ‘preventive medicine’.

 

Most of us still consider cancer, or breast cancer in particular, as some mysterious and very complicated disease since there is no definitive cure for it. This is true but only to a point. The problem is the way we view this. If we focus only on the cure, the result seems distant and unattainable. For sure, once the body is riddled with cancer it is very difficult to treat and to cure. However cancer does not occur overnight, it is a process that takes many years to develop before it is even diagnosed. By the time breast cancer is detected, with mammography for example, usually it takes 8-9 years to get there. So, the question is if we’re in year 5 of tumor development and it cannot be seen by detectable methods we use today, does that mean that there is nothing there? Of course it’s there, we just can’t see it yet. It is growing and developing yet nothing is being done. This is why proactive prevention is the key.

 

I would go further and say that unless you have a predisposition to cancer you cannot get it. Simply speaking, once your immunity is compromised cancer can set in. On the other hand if the milieu (your body’s internal environment) is not conducive nothing will grow in it. Just like certain plants cannot grow in unfavorable soil and conditions, the same principle applies to our health and cancer tumors. For instance, if you’re not prone to getting headaches you are not going to get them. You can create an environment where you’re likely to start getting headaches, if you have food allergies, if you have trauma to your neck or head, if you have digestive issues, hormonal disturbances, hypertension, etc. However, if none of these conditions exist it is not likely that you’ll be suffering with debilitating headaches.

 

Even according to American Cancer Institute 1/3 of breast cancers can be preventable based on diet and life-style changes.  I’m convinced that we can do way better than that. If we follow a few more simple measures we can have 2/3 of all breast cancer never occur. Here are some simple yet proven methods women can use to drastically reduce their own risk of developing breast cancer. 

 

Appropriate changes in lifestyle, diet, nutrition along with treatment of hormonal and endocrine disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, etc. – all of the above can forestall or even prevent the formation of tumors.

 

Where can we start? Let’s start by addressing well-known risk factors associated with breast cancer. I have written articles on these subjects and you can read them in more detail following the list below. Each subject title is linked to another article. See what resonates with you:

 

 

This is not a complete list, but in my opinion, these are the most common risk factors associated with breast cancer. To get started get together with a trusted health professional to assess properly your own risk factors.  Further, create a plan of action on what you’ll need to address first and execute proper follow up. This may require some time and effort on your part but once you have made a commitment to keep improving your health there is no going back. This is not only life changing but also life saving!

 

Breast cancer prevention does not get better by CHANCE and quick fixes, it gets better by CHANGE and lifestyle choices.

 

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The Secret of Asian Women

Posted by on in Breast Health

 

It is a well-known fact that Asian women have a much lower incidence of breast cancer compared to women in North America and Western Europe. Women in Japan for instance have one seventh of breast cancer rates compared to women in US and Canada.  To illustrate the point, there was a study conducted measuring breast cancer incidence in Asian women in both San Francisco and Shanghai showing that women in San Francisco have a much higher rates of breast cancer. (So much for the gene theory as a significant indicator of breast cancer incidence). It has been shown in many studies that Asian women’s estrogen levels are 40% lower compared to their sisters living in North America. Also, interesting to note that as Asian women migrate to North America within one or two generations their breast cancer rates are the same as everyone else’s living in North America. Unfortunately as their traditional diets are changing their breast cancer rates are going up. So what is it that is happening in Asia that protects women from breast cancer?

 

One significant factor is: their diet.  First, their animal product consumption is much lower, including meat and dairy products. They do, however, eat more soy and mushrooms, and drink more green tea. Most significant is one additional food they eat that stands out prominently and that is - SEAWEED. Studies have shown that seaweed is effective at killing cancer cells in Perti dish experiments. Compared to a widely used chemotherapy drug, seaweed worked better and without harming normal cells. In human population trials it has been shown to cut the incidence of breast cancer in half by consuming a single sheet of Nori. (Same nori commonly used as a wrap for sushi).

 

The more seaweed you eat the less estrogen you have in your body, this in turn lowers your risk for breast cancer. The connection between estrogen and breast cancer risk has been well established. Seaweed and many sea vegetables also contain special fibers that help your body to flush excess hormones. In addition, seaweed contains iodine and breast tissue is a sponge for iodine. Many women (and men) are iodine deficient, especially those living in the Great Lakes Region, Northwestern US and most of Canada. Iodine is an essential trace element and iodine deficiency gives rise to goiter and low-functioning thyroid, fibrocystic breast, weight gain, depression, fatigue and low basal body temperature. For centuries, iodine also has been used as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent thus treating and preventing many infections.

 

There are many delicious seaweed products and snacks other than the above-mentioned Nori, and fortunately they are becoming more available. Kombu is a large type of seaweed that is often used as a soup stock. Wakame has been shown to lower blood pressure and help with weight loss, also used in soups (miso soup) and Sunomono salads. Arame with a mild semi-sweet flavor is used in appetizers, casseroles and soups. Sea vegetables have phytonutrients found nowhere else; they contain special fibers, carotenoids, polysaccharides and polyphenol compounds that have anti-cancer properties. 

 

It is important to note that seaweed just like any other food product must be of the best quality and organic.  My preference would be to use traditional Japanese products vs. lower priced Chinese products that may contain other additives and in some cases even heavy metals. Try experimenting with these delicious and nutrient vital foods and incorporate them into your regular diet.  Want to significantly lower your risk of breast cancer? – Try seaweed! 

 

Just one or two sheets of Nori per day may keep breast cancer away.

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Welcome to Pinktober

Posted by on in Breast Health

Every October we are inundated with cause-related marketing when a nefarious “pink tide” rolls over North American retail establishments. Product manufacturers, from vacuum cleaners to fast food producers to the cosmetics industry embellish their products with pink ribbons, promising to donate a small portion of their profits to research.  Ever since 1985 in a brilliant stroke of marketing virtuosity AstraZeneca (the manufacturer of carcinogenic petrochemicals and breast cancer drug Tamoxifen) originated Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Yet in spite of a growing industry of pink ribbon products and promotions, what has been done for women living with and at risk for breast cancer?

 

For almost 30 years now we get the multitudes of runs, hikes, walks and other fundraising events that raise hundreds of millions of dollars to conquer breast cancer. Nonetheless breast cancer statistics have not changed for the better in the past 30 years, on the contrary more women get breast cancer and even more women are at risk for breast cancer. In the 1920’s the incidence of breast cancer for a woman’s lifetime risk was one in twenty. Now it has skyrocketed to one in eight. Clearly the so-called war on breast cancer has not been effective as the rates of breast cancer continue to climb.

 

Did the alarming increase of breast cancer rates just mysteriously happen? Or, perhaps the focus on cure has conveniently ignored the cause? It is a well-known fact that the chemical and the pharmaceutical industry directly contribute to the breast cancer epidemic. However big pink sponsors like cosmetic giants continue to use carcinogenic plasticizers and other carcinogens in their products. Even alcohol purveyors have jumped on the pink ribbon wagon despite the fact that the connection between alcohol consumption and breast cancer has been long established. It is an undisputed fact that carcinogens in pesticides, herbicides, plastics and xeno-estrogens contribute to breast cancer – and yet, there is a deafening silence about all this by all Breast Cancer Awareness Month programs!

 

Is there something wrong with this picture? Or perhaps they are happy to take the money from the same industry that is causing cancer?

 

The PR spin-doctors for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month industry claim that breast cancer ‘is not a preventable disease’, thus shifting the focus from prevention to early detection with the use of mammography. But detecting breast cancer with mammography does not protect women from breast cancer! 

 

Billions of dollars have been spent on ‘awareness’ promoting screening and early detection; perhaps we should focus our resources on promoting prevention instead of fear. For a fraction of the cost of this ‘awareness’ campaign, we could get the message out that prevention is more preferable to detection.

 

If you care about addressing breast cancer in a meaningful way and wish to take action you should demand that the Cancer Industry stop pink washing and profiteering off this disease. Demand that the organizers be accountable and transparent in their fundraising. You should expect that the information presented should be evidence based and not paid for special interest groups. You should insist on the obvious, a simple respect women’s diversity and freedom of choice. I invite you to take a stand against the industry that is taking advantage of the goodwill of caring people.  Take a personal stand for health and prevention.

 

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