breast cancer facts

Postmenopausal Women With Gum Disease Seem to Have Higher Breast Cancer Risk

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can range from simple inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis by dentists, to periodontitis, when the gums pull away from the teeth leaving open spaces that become infected. The bacteria causing the infection and the body’s response to the infection can break down the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. If periodontitis isn’t treated, the teeth may become loose and have to be removed.

Gum disease can be prevented by regular tooth brushing and flossing.

Gum disease has been associated with several other diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Past research has found links between gum disease and oral, esophageal, head and neck, pancreatic, and lung cancer, so researchers wondered if there were any links between gum disease and breast cancer.

A study has found that postmenopausal women with gum disease were more likely to develop breast cancer than postmenopausal women who didn’t have gum disease. If the women had a history of smoking, the risk of breast cancer was even higher.

The study was published online on Dec. 21, 2015 by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Read the abstract of “Periodontal Disease and Breast Cancer: Prospective Cohort Study of Postmenopausal Women.”

The research is part of the very large Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, commonly called the WHI. The WHI is looking for links between health, diet, lifestyle, and genetic factors and health problems, such as cancer.

In this study, the researchers monitored 73,737 postmenopausal women in the WHI who had never been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 26% of the women told the researchers they had gum disease.

After about 6.5 years, 2,124 women had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Overall, the risk of breast cancer was 14% higher in women who had gum disease compared to women who didn’t have gum disease. So if average breast cancer risk is about 12%, a woman with gum disease had about a 13.5% risk of breast cancer.

“We thought that periodontal bacteria — either the bacteria themselves or the inflammation that’s part of having periodontal disease — has an effect on other parts of the body, including breast tissue. We know there are bacteria in breast tissue and we know there are bacteria in mother’s milk. Women who had periodontal disease had a small increase in the risk of breast cancer overall,” said Jo Freudenheim, Ph.D., distinguished professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University of Buffalo and lead author of the study.

Because earlier studies have shown that the effects of gum disease can be more severe if a person smokes, the researchers also grouped the women by smoking history:

  • Among women who had quit smoking within the last 20 years, women with gum disease had a 36% higher risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t have gum disease.
  • Among women who had never smoked, women with gum disease had a 6% higher risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t have gum disease.
  • Among women who had quit smoking more than 20 years ago, women with gum disease had an 8% higher risk of breast cancer than women who didn’t have gum disease.

“There’s been an explosion of information recently that makes it clear that many different parts of the body that were thought to be sterile contain bacteria and other microbes,” Dr. Freudenheim said. “These bacteria may influence diseases that were previously thought to have no infectious component.”

The researchers said there are several possible reasons for the association between gum disease and breast cancer:

  • Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream through tooth brushing, flossing, and chewing. Even though the bacteria are cleared out of the body quickly, the cumulative exposure to tissues can be considerable. It could be that these bacteria affect breast cancer.
  • Inflammation in one part of the body, such as the gums, may have an impact on other diseases.
  • There may be other factors that increase the risk of both gum disease and breast cancer.

“This is a new area, so we have to be careful in how we interpret our findings,” said Dr. Freudenheim. “We can’t say, ‘if you treat periodontal disease it will reduce cancer risk.’ There are new methodologies that allow us to measure things we weren’t able to before. We are now beginning to understand how much the interaction of the microbiome affects our health both in terms of acute infections and chronic diseases.”

Doing all that you can do to keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be makes good sense. Besides exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, avoiding alcohol, and taking good care of your teeth and gums are steps you can take to control several risk factors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, gum disease can be kept in check by:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth every day to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease.
  • Seeing a dentist at least once a year for a checkup, or more frequently if you have any of the warning signs of gum disease:
    • red/swollen gums
    • tender/bleeding gums
    • loose teeth
    • bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go way
    • gums that have pulled away from your teeth
    • sensitive teeth

(Article Excerpt from Breastcancer.org)   – See more at: http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/gum-disease-may-be-linked-to-higher-risk

Lack of Exercise Can Raise The Risk of Breast Cancer

Research shows a link between exercising regularly at a moderate or intense level for 4 to 7 hours per week and a lower risk of breast cancer. Exercise consumes and controls blood sugar and limits blood levels of insulin growth factor, a hormone that can affect how breast cells grow and behave. People who exercise regularly tend to be healthier and are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and have little or no excess fat compared to people who don’t exercise.

Fat cells make estrogen and extra fat cells make extra estrogen. When breast cells are exposed to extra estrogen over time, the risk of developing breast cancer is higher.

Steps you can take

Exercise is now considered such an important part of daily life that the United States Department of Agriculture added it to ChooseMyPlate.gov, the U.S. government’s guide to healthy eating. The American Cancer Society recommends that women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer exercise regularly (about 4 to 5 hours per week) to improve their quality of life and physical fitness, as well as to reduce the risk of developing new cancers. Research shows that women who exercise the equivalent of walking 3 to 5 hours per week at an average pace after being diagnosed with breast cancer may improve their chances of surviving the disease.

Start slowly: The first thing to do is to talk to your doctor and possibly a certified fitness trainer about a safe and sensible plan designed specifically for you and your needs and physical abilities. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor about a healthy weight for your age, height, body type, and activity level.

You may want to start gradually, maybe walking for 15 minutes a day and then slowly increasing the amount of time you spend exercising, as well as the intensity level of each session. You may need months to work your way up to 5 hours a week, but that’s OK.

If you’re not sure how to start exercising, you might want to visit a gym or make an appointment with a certified personal trainer to learn about different types of exercise. Some people prefer exercising in their homes using videotapes or DVDs. Others find great joy in gardening or building things, as opposed to organized exercise. Some people love being part of a team and playing soccer or baseball. Walking or jogging with a friend is a great way to socialize AND get the benefits of exercise. Dancing to great music is great exercise. With so many different ways to move, you’re bound to find a way to exercise that suits your personality and schedule. If you can find one or a mix of exercises that you think are fun and not boring, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it.

(Article Excerpt from Breastcancer.org)   – See more at: http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/exercise.

The Question of Soy and its Effect on Breast Cancer

Soybeans are the most widely used, least expensive, and least caloric way to get large amounts of protein with very little fat and no cholesterol. Soy is the main source of protein for billions of people around the world.

Some doctors are concerned about the safety of eating soy for women diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s because soy contains a protein, called isoflavone, which can act like a weak estrogen. Concentrated soy products, such as powders, pills, and capsules, contain more isoflavones compared to soy foods, such as tofu, soy milk, and the beans themselves (also called edamame). Hormone-like substances in plants are called phytoestrogens. The growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers may be turned on by these substances.

Other doctors think soy might protect breast health because the hormone-like strength of isoflavones is MUCH weaker than the estrogen your body naturally makes. So it might be healthier if soy’s weak isoflavones wash out or replace some of your body’s stronger estrogen.

Doctors in the middle say it’s OK to eat soy foods because they are a healthy source of protein. But avoid — or greatly limit — your use of concentrated soy products.

Let’s keep things in perspective: Soy is NOT a major risk factor for breast cancer. At most, there is a concern about soy foods and a worry about soy products. We’re addressing this issue because a lot of you have asked us about things you can do in your everyday life to lower your risk and asked specifically about soy.

It turns out that the research on soy and its effect on breast cancer risk is unclear. You can find studies showing that soy is helpful, harmful, or harmless related to the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer or a recurrence.

It’s not clear why the results are so different. It might be due to differences in a woman’s age, diet history, weight, amount of physical activity, and other aspects of her health.

Current studies are starting to figure out how the many different compounds in soy affect our bodies. In general though, most doctors believe that it’s safe to eat a moderate amount of soy foods, with or without a history of breast cancer.

Soy 101

When I say soy, I mean all forms of soy foods, not byproducts such as concentrated soy protein powder and soybean oil that are found in many processed foods. Those are topics for another column.

Soy is promoted as a healthy option for vegetarians or for people who want to cut back on foods that come from animals.

Soymilk is a popular plant-based alternative to cow’s milk for vegans and people who are lactose intolerant. Unsweetened soymilk is comparable to cow’s milk in terms of calories, protein, and fat. It also has less sugar than cow’s milk. (Most plant or animal milks naturally contain some sugar.) Soymilk also provides important nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, along with fiber and potassium.

Other substances in soy foods are thought to help keep cell growth and activity normal, regulate cholesterol, and protect cells from harmful chemicals called free radicals.

As discussed above, soy also contains phytoestrogens — weak estrogen-like compounds found in some plants. Isoflavones are a class of phytoestrogens. Some of the isoflavones in soy include genistein and daidzen. Equol is another isoflavone that comes from soy, but it’s only made by certain people when bacteria in their intestines break down daidzen. Not all people have the intestinal bacteria that create equol, so it’s not found in all people.

Because estrogen plays a significant role in the development, spread, and growth of breast cancers, there has been concern that eating a lot of estrogen-like soy compounds might also affect breast cancer risk.

So, is soy good or bad for breast health? 

The question is especially important for women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Big doses of isoflavones could overstimulate hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Small amounts of isoflavones in soy foods are less likely to cause a problem. Isoflavones also may get in the way of hormonal therapy medicine’s ability to do its job. Tamoxifen and isoflavones both work in the estrogen receptors in the body.  IF isoflavones deliver a weaker estrogen signal to the receptor compared to tamoxifen (and your body’s estrogen), then the isoflavones might provide extra protection against this type of breast cancer. But if isoflavones give breast cells a stronger estrogen signal than tamoxifen, that’s a problem. Large amounts of isoflavones could interfere with the goal of the aromatase inhibitors, which are Arimidex (chemical name: anastrazole), Femara (chemical name: letrozole), and Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane). Aromatase inhibitors, another type of hormonal therapy, lower the amount of estrogen available in the body to interact with the estrogen receptor.

So there are reasons why some doctors advise women diagnosed with breast cancer to limit or stop eating soy, while other doctors tell them to eat more.

The research: benefits

Most of the reassuring news about breast cancer and soy comes from studies on groups of people and their consumption of soy foods, not soy products.

There’s an association between eating soy and lower rates of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer in women living in Asia. The link is weaker for Asian women living in Western countries. People living in Asia eat up to 10 times more soy than people living in the West. Because of this, experts wondered if eating a lot of soy helped protect against breast cancer. Of course, there are other healthy aspects to the Asian lifestyle besides soy that could help explain the lower rate of breast cancer, such as less obesity, more physical activity, and less alcohol use.

There are also studies that found no association between soy and a higher risk of breast cancer or its recurrence. For example, a 2009 study of postmenopausal women found that soy isoflavones didn’t increase breast density. This was an important finding since dense breasts are linked to a higher risk of cancer. Another 2009 study on more than 5,000 Chinese women diagnosed with breast cancer found that a diet rich in soy did not increase the risk of recurrence.

More recent, bigger studies and research reviews suggest eating soy foods (not concentrated soy products) can be protective for some people.

  • A 2014 analysis of 35 studies found eating soy foods was linked to a lower risk of breast cancer both before and after menopause for women in Asian countries, but not women in Western countries. Still, when researchers combined results from three large studies involving nearly 10,000 women, they found a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence in both U.S. and Chinese women who ate soy and had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This was especially true for women who had estrogen-receptor-negative disease. Risk dropped by 25% in women who ate about 10 grams of soy daily, an amount similar to what’s in a standard Japanese diet.
  • A study of 15,000 Japanese women found eating moderate-to-high amounts of soy foods was linked to lower breast cancer risk after menopause.
  • An analysis of more than 130 studies on soy consumption found that eating about 1½ cups of soy foods daily was linked to a lower risk of recurrence and dying from breast cancer for women who had been diagnosed, regardless of their ethnicity.

Recent research also suggests that the age a woman begins eating soy foods plays a role in soy’s effect on breast cancer risk. Asian women begin eating moderate to high amounts of soy foods as children. Scientists think that may be why the most protective results have been seen in these women. Eating soy foods early in life might reduce the risk of developing breast cancer because soy seems to contribute to breast-tissue differentiation in developing girls, which seems to be protective. Tissue differentiation is when cells line up to function as they’re supposed to. There’s also some evidence suggesting a link between better survival and eating soy foods a year or more after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

While all these results seem encouraging, other studies offer different results.

The research: risks

Most of the troubling results about soy come from studies on lab animals and cells. Research has shown that certain isoflavones in soy seem to encourage cancer cell or tumor growth and spread, particularly around menopause. For example, lab studies have found that low concentrations of the isoflavone genistein stimulated the growth of estrogen-receptor-positive breast tumors and interfered with the effects of tamoxifen.

Another concern is whether soy’s estrogen-like effects worsen outcomes for women newly diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. A small and short 2014 study suggests that for some of these women, adding about 4 cups of soy milk to their diets turns on several genes that encourage cell growth. The study didn’t last long enough to know whether these genetic changes would cause cancer to grow, and the study also didn’t look at whether soy does or doesn’t reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The research: mixed results

Some research has found that soy has different effects under different conditions.

For example, research done in animals has shown that high concentrations of the isoflavone genistein slow the spread of breast-cancer cells but low concentrations of genistein encourage tumor growth. Still, the amounts of genistein studied were higher than anyone would actually eat. Studies are also looking at how soy affects people of different ethnicities, how isoflavones interact with estrogen receptors, and how the interaction is affected by estrogen levels in the body.

Enjoy some soy

At most, soy’s effect on breast cancer risk is neutral, or small. It’s probably a combination of lifestyle factors (for example, exercising daily, limiting alcohol, not smoking) that all work together to lower risk. Also, people who depend on soy for protein are probably eating a healthy diet.

I’m not trying to be confusing by telling you about all these conflicting results. I just want you to know why doctors are still debating the soy question.

I feel comfortable recommending moderate amounts of soy foods as part of a balanced diet for healthy women and breast cancer survivors. This means two to three ½-cup servings of soy per day, similar to a Japanese diet.

That said, it’s always best to follow the Precautionary Principle:

  • Until the soy question becomes clearer, eating soy or increasing the amount of soy you eat is not a proven strategy to reduce your risk of breast cancer or lower your risk of recurrence.
  • Eliminating all soy from your diet “just to be sure” is drastic, hard to do, and is unlikely to give you any extra protection against breast cancer.

But we recommend that you:

  • Avoid highly concentrated soy products or protein supplements (they come in powders and capsules).
  • Avoid hidden soy, found in many packaged foods in various forms (protein isolate and soybean oil). Real whole foods provide the best nutrients. Packaged foods may affect your body differently than whole soy. Eating hidden soy may mean that you’re eating more soy than you wanted to.
  • Stick to certified organic soy foods. More than 90% of conventional soybeans come from genetically modified seeds. So far, no research shows that genetically modified foods affect cancer risk or cause long-term health problems. But many crops such as soy are engineered to withstand spraying with certain pesticides, and pesticide residues can cause unhealthy cell changes. Certified organic products don’t use genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Special circumstances call for extra precautions. Of course, anyone with soy allergies should avoid soy. Limit how much soy you eat if you’re being treated for low thyroid hormone levels, and don’t take your medicine with soy foods. And if you have problems absorbing minerals, you may want to avoid soy because compounds in soy called phytates can slow or block absorption of important nutrients including iron, calcium, and zinc.

(Article Excerpt and Image from Breastcancer.org)   – See more at: http://community.breastcancer.org/livegreen/the-soy-question-safe-to-eat/.

Suzanne Somers: How I’d Treat My Breast Cancer Differently Today

Don’t learn the hard way by “trying it first”, listen to those who have made the mistake and learn

Video Transcript: Suzanne Somers: How I’d Treat My Breast Cancer Differently Today

Ty Bollinger: Suzanne, if you could, let’s go back about 14 years now in time and tell us about your bout with breast cancer and what you did to treat it.

Suzanne Somers: When I look back 14 years, what I am so glad about is what I didn’t do. I remember that I got the recipe right away; we’ll do surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and after care drug of Tamoxifen.

And even at that time… because all of us in the alternative world, from year to year you know so much more. I can’t do that. The idea of putting chemical poison into my body to cure me just doesn’t make sense. And he [the doctor] said “you’ll die if you don’t.” And I said, “I think I’ll die if I do what you want me to do.”

So I did end up doing radiation because a doctor I respected very much, who is an alternative doctor, said, “Well, you have to do radiation.” And I said, “Really? You would do it, too?” And she said, “Absolutely.”

I think today, knowing what I know about radiation and knowing what I know about a nutritional approach to cancer, I really don’t think I would have done radiation. Because any problem I have health-wise is as a result of radiation. So, I have a whole different feeling about it.

But, we [all] do the best that we can with the information we have at the time. And that is what I knew at that time…

Stay informed and don’t miss a single article from The Truth About Cancer. Go here to be notified each week about new, cutting-edge information that impacts your health!

(Article Excerpt and Image from Thethruthaboutcancer.com), article by:  Ty Bollinger – See more at: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/suzanne-somers-breast-cancer/posted by: Suzanne Somers

Some Breast Cancers Are On The Rise…Others Will Become Less Common

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The reasons why are fascinating.

Breast cancer is already the most common form of cancer. We’ll see 234,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed this year alone — but according to new data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2015 Annual Meeting, that number is only set to rise substantially in the years ahead.

According to the research, breast cancer rates will increase by 50 percent by the year 2030, compared to stats analyzed from the year 2011 — a risk that’s especially potent in women over 70. Around 40 million women in the U.S., born between 1946 and 1964, will experience high absolute risks for postmenopausal breast cancer — or two to four percent risk over a decade-long span. Another 56 million women in their 20s and 30s will see a substantial risk of premenopausal cancer, around 0.4 percent to 1.5 percent over a 10-year span.

On the current trajectory, the total number of breast cancer cases will jump from 283,000 in 2011 to 441,000 in 2030. Although the number of diagnoses among women 50 to 69 should see a drop, the proportion of women seeing a breast cancer diagnosed between ages 70 and 84 will rise from 24 percent to 35 percent. This is mostly due to a jump in ER-positive, in-situ cancers, generally found by mammography, from 19 percent to 29 percent.

These numbers seem staggering, but, when you look at the reasons why, they make more sense:

1. Baby boomers are aging: There will be more women at an age where they experience a higher risk for breast cancer.

2. People are living longer. As women age, they’re more likely to develop breast cancer.

3. Estrogen positive breast cancer is on the rise.

Researchers delved into national data on breast cancer rates using projects run by the Census Bureau: NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Then they used mathematical models to help forecast incidence of the disease, gleaning insights into the eventual burden of these cases and how we should approach prevention.

According to Richard Bleicher, MD, associate professor of surgical oncology and breast surgeon at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, these statistics are a reminder that we can’t get lax about testing and symptom checks. “It emphasizes the fact that screening is important,” he tells Yahoo Health. “There’s been a lot of controversy lately about mammography, the reliability, effectiveness and false positives — but mammography is still our front lines in detecting cancer.”

Bleicher also insists that it’s important for every woman to know the symptoms of cancer — whether she has family history and other risk factors, or not. “We hear different numbers, like one in eight women, or one in 11 women will develop cancer,” he says. “But it’s difficult to provide an exact estimate of cancer risk in the absence of a genetic mutation, which we know can lead to a 40 to 80 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.”

It’s important to be aware of changes in your body. In addition to a lump in the breast, which most women know about, he says other reasons to see a doc include bloody discharge from the nipple, a lump in the armpit or changes to the contour of the skin.

However, no woman is immune to breast cancer, and all should be watchful. “It’s more common to get breast cancer in the absence of risk factors,” Bleicher says. “This is called sporadic cancer. Sometimes it’s due to various types of tissues having a high rate of cell turnover, or a hormone change, but the point is, even though you may do everything right — eat right, exercise, stay at a healthy weight — you may still get it.” Which is why you should know the signs, get regular screenings, and take active steps to reduce your risk.

On a positive note from the study, the researchers involved in the current study believe we’ll see fewer tough-to-treat cancers, like HER2-positive and triple-negative subtypes of breast cancer, as well as fewer estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors.

Why the drop in certain types? No one’s sure, but researchers are delving into clues. As an example, the trend in delaying motherhood and choosing to breastfeed may have something to do with a the reduction in the rates of these cancers, as early age at first birth and lack of breast-feeding are both risk factors for ER-negative tumors.

(Article Excerpt and Image from Yahoo! Health), article by:  Jenna Birch, April 20, 2015 – See more at: https://www.yahoo.com/health/u-s-breast-cancer-rates-will-increase-50-by-2030-116923364217.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

Mind Body Healing Techniques for Breast Cancer

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The diagnosis of breast cancer can send your mind spinning in a hundred different directions. Right after diagnosis, being in “panic mode” is normal. It is important, however, for you to step back at some point and simply process all the information.

This is the time when YOU must reel in all those anxiety-producing thoughts and take charge of your mind. Even though it may seem like you are in a situation that is out of your control, you DO have a choice. You can let the cancer control you and become the “victim” of cancer cells… or YOU CAN CONTROL THE CANCER.

Essential #4 of “The 7 Essentials System™ ” for healing and preventing breast cancer naturally is learning how to heal emotional wounds. What does this mean, exactly?

Healing your emotional wounds involves healing not only those wounds that we are consciously aware of – the trauma of a recent breast cancer diagnosis, for example – but also the wounds that have been imprinted deep into your subconscious brain. Emotional wounds that go unhealed are very likely connected to the development of cancer because every stress, whether we are aware of it or not, eventually manifests somewhere in the body.

The Silva Method Mind Body Healing program is one tool that has impressed me. Jose Silva, founder of the Silva Method, believed that 90 percent of all illnesses are caused by the mind. If illness is caused by the mind, he reasoned, why can’t it be healed by the mind as well?

Through my own participation in the Silva program, I discovered that a child’s brain (between the ages of zero to three years of age) functions primarily at the delta frequency. Between the ages of four and seven, a child’s brain functions predominantly at the theta frequency.

This means that from childbirth (or maybe even in the womb) to the age of seven, your brain registers things at a deep, “hypnotic” level. What is more significant is that the experiences you had during those formative years created the foundation for how you will react to the outside world for the rest of your life. That is, unless, you learn to change the programming you are running on the subconscious level.

Just how can you do this? Simply put, you can do it through meditation and visualization practices conducted at those same frequencies. Jose Silva found that people who can remain in the alpha and theta levels of consciousness are able to put their mind and body in a state conducive to healing. In this state cells repair, stress dissipates, the immune system strengthens, and physical symptoms of illness are, in some cases, reduced.

Dr. Carl Simonton was a radiation oncologist specializing in the treatment of cancer. His wife Stephanie is a counselor and trained in psychology. They are the authors of the book Getting Well Again: A Step-by-Step Self-Help Guide to Overcoming Cancer for Patients and Their Families. Through their study of bio-feedback as well as various modalities such as the Silva Method, they learned that people can influence their internal body processes. The book describes example after example of people who had been diagnosed with cancer and were told to go home to die. Yet, after learning how to meditate and “visualize their body healing,” the cancers disappeared.

Current research on the effects of meditative practices on breast cancer patients confirm that it really does work:

1. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had a significant effect on sleep quality in Danish breast cancer patients;

2. Mindfulness-based Art Therapy decreased anxiety in women with breast cancer in an 8-week study;

3. The use of meditation and yoga improved long-term quality of life for African American breast cancer patients in a 2011 study.

Learning to harness the power of your mind can have numerous benefits – including accelerating your body’s ability to heal. I am so convinced of this fact that this process is a requirement for my coaching program. Unless you take proactive steps toward learning how to meditate and, even better, make a commitment to visualizing a positive outcome for your breast cancer journey every day, you may be missing the mark when it comes to truly healing.

(Article Excerpt and Image from The Truth About Cancer), article by:  Dr. Veronique Desaulniers – See more at: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/mind-body-healing-cancer/

Mammograms Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths…Insurance Companies Want To Restrict Access

Mammograms reduce breast cancer deaths by an average of 15%. New recommendations against routine mammograms for women aged 40-49 have been issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Other major health care providers, including the American Cancer Society, disagree with the new recommendations.

Tell state insurance regulators not to allow insurance companies to restrict access to mammograms. Sign the petition & tell a friend today!

Sign Petition ► http://po.st/75piL3

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(Article Excerpt and Image from The Breast Cancer Site). – See more at: https://www.facebook.com/TheBreastCancerSite?fref=nf

Breast Cancer Treatments Expose A Huge Systematic Issue In American Health Care

The more breast cancer treatments a radiologist administers, the more reimbursements he or she typically receives. This is known, in healthcare, as fee-for-service medicine — and lots of experts don’t like it, largely because it creates an incentive to provide as much care as possible, regardless of whether patients get any healthier.

For ages, conventional treatment has been a five- to seven-week course of radiation after a lumpectomy. Women have to come see the doctor each day for breast cancer treatments, and doing that for over a month can be disruptive. But around 2008, researchers started publishing some great news: three weeks of higher-dose therapy could deliver equally good results for many patients. It has no worse side effects, and patients could spend less time and money on doctor’s visits.

“When we see patients who have breast cancer, their first concern is if it yields the same cure rate, which it does, and the second is whether it’s more toxic, and it’s not,” says Justin Bekelman, a radiation oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania whose practice focuses on treating prostate cancer. “Then it’s like, wow, if that’s true and the new breast cancer treatment is only three weeks, its a no-brainer.”

It seemed like a no-brainer to radiation oncologists too. In 2011, their trade group, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, found that the two options were “equally effective for in-breast tumor control and comparable in long-term side effects” for a huge percent of patients.

doctors don’t have incentives to stay up-to-date on new treatments

This makes it all the more surprising that, three years later, new research published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the vast majority of radiation oncologists aren’t using the new treatment.

The slow adoption of a faster and cheaper technology — one that delivers a better patient experience at a lower cost — isn’t just an issue with breast cancer treatments. It speaks to a lot of what’s screwed up in the larger American health care system. Doctors don’t have big incentives to stay up-to-date with new treatments. Sometimes, it’s actually financially ruinous for them to do so.

“This is the case where everyone could win, except for the radiation oncologists, who would be getting less money for fewer treatments,” says Zeke Emanuel, a bioethicist at University of Pennsylvania and co-author of the new study with Bekelman, the oncologist. “We have a persistence of no-value care, and that’s not good.”

Two-thirds of early-stage breast cancer patients get the wrong treatment

The new research looks at the insurance records of thousands of women treated for early-stage breast cancer between 2008 and 2013. It uses the billing claims that their providers submitted to see what type of treatment they got.

“We have a persistence of low-value care.”

It finds that use of the new treatment — known as hypofractionation whole breast irradiation — definitely increased from 2008 through 2013, as more research came out proving its efficacy. In 2008, when there was nearly as much research as there is today, 10.6 percent of women for whom the new treatment was endorsed ended up receiving it.

By 2013, that number had grown to 34.5 percent. That’s way more than 2008 — but also nowhere near a majority of patients getting a newer, faster, and equally good treatment as the older option. While the United States has made progress since 2008, for Emanuel, that one-third figure still raises the question: why, two years after national guidelines endorsed the new treatment, were most breast cancer patients not getting it?

Why don’t doctors pick the better treatment?

One cynical answer has to do with money: the more treatments a radiologist administers, the more reimbursements he or she typically receives. This is known, in healthcare, as fee-for-service medicine — and lots of experts don’t like it, largely because it creates an incentive to provide as much care as possible, regardless of whether patients get any healthier.

The billing records that Bekelman, Emanuel, and their co-authors examined show that insurance plans were billed more than $4,000 more for patients who received the older, longer course of treatment than those who had the newer, shorter chemotherapy sessions. Patients also had slightly higher (about $100) out-of-pocket costs for radiation-related expenses.

health care costs

“In terms of the financial pressures, right now we work in an environment that rewards higher intensity care and quantity rather than quality,” says Bekelman. “It’s not the whole story, but it’s part of it. Our health-care system certainly doesn’t incentivize and may even disincentivize high-value cancer care.”

And there’s also the role of old habits being hard to kill, and radiologists relying on the same treatment they’ve used for years now. Yes, it is a bit more expensive and inconvenient for patients, but there’s no evidence that it’s actively harming their health.

“If you don’t take into account convenience, costs to patients, and costs to society, you can tell yourself that it’s not the worse option,” says Emanuel.

This could be true not just on the part of oncologists but on the part of patients, too, who might assume that the longer, more expensive course of treatment has to be better. In most other things we shop for, like cars and vacations, bigger and more expensive generally means higher quality. Why wouldn’t health care be like that too?

“In cancer care, we’ve always thought that more is better,” Bekelman says. “The fact is more isn’t always better. Sometimes less is just right. But making that change in mindset can be difficult.”

Low-value care happens everywhere in the health care system

The financial incentives, the doctor preference, and patient attitudes — all of these add up to American women getting worse breast cancer care than women in other countries. In Canada, for example, more than 70 percent of eligible patients receive the new treatment. That’s double the rate here in the United States.

This isn’t an issue limited to breast cancer care. The American health care system is replete with examples of doctors providing care that doesn’t help people get better — care that wastes time, money, and energy on the part of patients and providers. Medicare, for example, spends an estimated $1.9 billion on care that study after study shows doesn’t make people healthier.

And by rewarding volume over value, the American health are system makes this type of unnecessary, unhelpful breast cancer treatments especially easy to provide. The incentives are all there to encourage doctors to provide more care, even if, like the older breast cancer treatment methods, it isn’t the best choice for the patient.

(Article Excerpt and Image from How we treat breast cancer exposes a huge systematic issue in American health care, December 10, 2014, www.news.yahoo.com).

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