facts on breast cancer

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/.

Study Says Breast Cancer Prevention Must Begin Early in Life

Every woman wants to know what she can do to lower her risk of breast cancer. Some of the factors associated with breast cancer — being a woman, your age, and your genetics, for example — can’t be changed. Other factors — being overweight, lack of exercise, eating unhealthy food — can be changed by making choices. By choosing the healthiest lifestyle options possible, you can empower yourself and make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible.

A paper strongly suggests that breast cancer prevention should start early in life because nearly 25% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women younger than age 50 in developed countries.

The paper was published online on July 22, 2015 by the journal npj Breast Cancer. Read “Preventing breast cancer now by acting on what we already know.”

The lead author of the paper is Graham Colditz, M.D., an internationally known epidemiologist and public health expert who is a member of the Breastcancer.org Professional Advisory Board. He is the director of Prevention and Control at the Siteman Cancer Center at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.

In the paper, Dr. Colditz and his colleague Kari Bohlke describe the factors that most commonly influence breast cancer risk:

  • increased exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone
  • changes in women’s height growth rate and reproductive patterns
  • lifestyle changes, including diet, that come about because of economic development

The researchers also quote breast cancer prevention task force reports urging people to focus on risk factors during specific time periods in a woman’s life:

  • in childhood, before and during breast development
  • in young adulthood/adulthood before the breasts fully mature with the birth of a woman’s first child

Research has shown that girls who eat a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet that contains few vegetables and fruits and get little or no exercise/physical activity are more likely to start having their periods earlier. This means that the body starts producing more estrogen — so girls who start menstruating earlier are exposed to more estrogen over their lifetimes. We know that estrogen can make breast cancer develop and grow. Girls who eat more vegetables and whole grains are more likely to start their periods later, which means they’re exposed to relatively less estrogen over their lifetimes.

“Timing of prevention therefore matters,” the researchers wrote. “Because 22% of breast cancer is diagnosed in premenopausal women and is often more aggressive than cancers diagnosed in postmenopausal women, it makes sense to start prevention early in life when it can have maximum impact. For example, prevention begun in childhood and continuing through adolescence and early adult years can reduce development of premalignant or intermediate lesions that are on the pathway to breast cancer.”

They recommend the following strategies to reduce breast cancer risk and have calculated how much of a difference each would make in the number of cases diagnosed in the United States:

  • Eat a diet full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in childhood and continue eating that way throughout life: would prevent 3% of breast cancers
  • Be physically active as a child and continue exercising throughout life: would prevent 11% of breast cancers
  • Avoid gaining weight as you age: would prevent 25-32% of breast cancers
  • If you do gain weight as you age, lose about 10% of your body weight (and keep it off) after menopause: would prevent 25% of breast cancers
  • Limit or avoid alcohol between your first period and the birth of your first child: would prevent 3% of breast cancers
  • Limit or avoid alcohol throughout life: would prevent 3% of breast cancers
  • Avoid using medicines such hormone replacement therapy that contains estrogen and progesterone: would prevent 3% of breast cancers
  • Women at high-risk for breast cancer because of family history or an abnormal gene should consider taking preventive medicine such as tamoxifen or Evista (chemical name: raloxifene): would prevent 11% of breast cancers

Dr. Colditz urges communities, policy makers, schools, and parents to talk to girls about prevention strategies. Exercising, eating healthy food, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol all help reduce the risk of breast cancer. If these strategies start in girlhood, before the breasts begin to develop, breast cancer risk can be reduced even more than if these healthy behaviors start in adulthood.

“If we act and act now, shifting the balance and focus to earlier life, supported by additional resources devoted to implementing prevention, bringing messages and bolstering lifestyle and risk-reduction behaviors during the critical time points in life, we stand a good chance of significantly reducing the burden of breast cancer now and for future generations,” he wrote.

Doing all that you can do to keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be makes good sense. Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol are steps you can take to control several risk factors. You can learn much more about breast cancer risk and other steps you can take to minimize your risk in the Breastcancer.org Lower Your Risk section.

(Article Excerpt and Image from Breastcancer.org)   – See more at: http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/prevention-must-begin-early-in-life

5 Rarely Discussed Breast Cancer Early Warning Signs

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As an informed, health-savvy individual, you probably want to know what you need to look for right now in order to nip breast cancer in the bud. Instead of trying to deal with it after you’ve already been diagnosed – which hopefully will never happen! We’ve compiled a list of five early warning breast cancer signs, most of which are rarely talked about in the media, that you can use in your preventative arsenal to stay ahead of the game.

Don’t Just Look for Lumps

The most common way that conventional doctors look for breast cancer in women is to identify lumps in the breast. They most often do this with mammogram x-rays. This offer physicians a basic roadmap for navigating the terrain of breast tissue, allowing them to pinpoint any lumps, masses, or other questionable abnormalities that might point to a malignancy.

But mammograms can be a potential cause of cancer due to the ionizing radiation they send into breast tissue. They also aren’t accurate 100 percent of the time, despite what you may have been told. Lumps and masses in breast tissue can be either benign (harmless) or malignant (harmful), and mammograms don’t differentiate between the two. This often leads to false diagnoses and unnecessary treatments with chemotherapy and radiation.

A better option, if you choose to undergo routine cancer screenings, is thermography. This unique screening method allows doctors to not only look for unusual lumps or growths, but also identify whether or not angiogenesis is taking place within the breast tissue. This is a much stronger and more accurate indicator that breast cancer may be present.

Angiogenesis is a fancy way of saying new blood vessel growth, which may indicate that a woman’s body is trying to build a new supply system for blood to be delivered to developing breast tumors. Doctors who specialize in examining thermography images will be able to identify whether or not angiogenesis is taking place, and suggest a proper course of action.

Hormones and Cellular Health

A lot of health experts like to talk about breast cancer as something that results from “bad genetics,” being passed down from mothers to their daughters. This implies that breast cancer can’t be avoided and occurs as an unfortunate “luck of the draw” type scenario. And depending on the type of breast cancer they’re talking about, there may be some merit to this popular theory.

But most types of breast cancer are a result of environment, diet, and lifestyle, all of which dictate how a woman’s endocrine system produces and balances hormones. In other words, hormone imbalance plays a much greater role in determining breast cancer risk than many people think. Thermography can help qualified physicians determine whether or not a woman has an elevated breast cancer risk due to this often overlooked early indicator.

Learn Your Body’s Natural Rhythms

Every woman’s body has a unique ebb and flow, and getting in tune with your own personal rhythm is invaluable for staying healthy. Paying close attention to any unusual changes that might be occurring, especially within breast tissue, is critical to avoid breast cancer.

If you feel any unusual aches or pains in your breast, including occasional throbbing, pain, or even fluctuating discomfort, talk to your doctor. Many women assume that only an isolated lump with localized pain suggests the presence of breast cancer. The truth is that breast cancer can manifest as “scattered, seed-like” tumors that, in some cases, spread like small tentacles throughout breast tissue.

Experts from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston warn that breast cancer often shows up without the classic lump, showing symptoms such as swelling and irritation, dimpling, nipple discharge beyond normal lactation, nipple inversion, and/or a thickening and reddening of skin around the nipple.1

“There are breast cancers that present as half a lump or there may be no lump at all,” says Dr. Naoto Ueno, chief of Translational Breast Cancer Research at the Center, as quoted by CBS News. “It could just be a strange-looking skin appearance or skin being red or dimpled.”

Just be sure to look for patterns of change or any new and unusual symptoms that occur outside the norm. Occasional pain may not be indicative of breast cancer, but persistent itching, for instance, could point to fluid buildup, poor lymph function, or your body trying to create new blood vessels for breast tumors.

Can Back Pain Indicate Breast Tumor Development?1

Upper back pain that feels as though it’s coming from deep within the bones may be an early sign of breast cancer – but don’t assume that every occasional bout of soreness or back pain means you’re becoming the next statistic! Chronic back pain that doesn’t relent with stretching, chiropractic or other means may be a sign that breast cancer tumors are forming.

Sometimes when tumors are developing in a woman’s breast, they put pressure on the ribs and spine causing new found and persistent pain. You need to be aware of any changes that occur in your spinal column, upper back, and eve2n neck. Talk to your doctor if you feel as though the pain you’re experiencing is unusually pronounced and marked by pressure from a possible internal growth.

Nutrient Deficiency and Cancer

If you’re not getting enough of the right nutrients in your diet, including things like vitamin D and iodine, your risk of developing breast cancer is already elevated. Nutrient deficiency is endemic in the West. Many people don’t realize that what they’re not eating is increasingly their likelihood of developing chronic health conditions such as breast cancer.1

Nearly 75 percent of the adult “healthy” population is deficient in iodine, which has been shown to help ward off cancer cells in the breast and elsewhere throughout the body. Vitamin D is another risk factor in breast cancer. A 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed that low vitamin D levels are a hallmark in women with breast cancer. Other studies show similar findings.

A good rule of thumb in today’s nutrient-depleted world is to supplement with these and other cancer-fighting nutrients such as selenium and zinc. You may also wish to consult with a trained naturopath or integrative doctor. They can help you identify any specific nutrient deficiencies you might have and help you optimize your unique biological “terrain” for best breast cancer prevention.

(Article Excerpt and Image from TheTruthAboutCancer.com), article by:  Posted by:  Ty Bolinger  – See more at: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/5-early-warning-breast-cancer-signs/

Reflexology For Breast Health

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Reflexology for Breast Health

According to Nobel Prize Laureate Carlo Rubbia, living things are only one billionth physical matter. The rest, he says, is energy! That goes for your body as well. When it comes to breast cancer prevention and breast health, it is vital that you keep your energy, or Qi, flowing.

One way to do this is through the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice of reflexology. Reflexology is a type of acupressure or massage that focuses on the feet. The idea is that by stimulating points on the feet, one can improve the health of corresponding parts of the body, including various organs and the breasts. Reflexology has been used as a healing modality for thousands of years in Asia. Archeologists have even found evidence of its use by pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Breast Cancer and Stagnant Qi 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, when cancer of any kind is discovered, this means that energy has been stagnating for a long time, similar to how a river may get clogged and muddy with the buildup of debris like twigs and leaves. In addition to unhealthy eating and lack of movement, a big reason why stagnation occurs is because of negative emotions that have not yet been healed.

Louis Hay, author of the best-selling book You Can Heal Your Life, presents one interpretation of this connection: “When there are problems with the breasts, it usually means we are ‘over mothering’ either a person, a place, or a thing, or an experience… If cancer is involved, then there is also deep resentment.” Other emotional blocks include lack of self-love and lack of nurturing in one’s life.

According to the Wai Ke Zhang Zong, written in the 1400s: “These [negative] emotions accumulate day by day and cause Spleen and Stomach Qi deficiency and Liver Qi stagnation. These conditions will cause the body to create a lump. When Qi or energy stagnation accumulates in the meridians over time, a small seed can progress to a cancerous mass. Then the five major organs will spiral out of balance. This problem is called breast cancer.”

Of course, this is a modern translation of the words of this ancient text as there was no such thing as the current concept of cancer back then. It is safe to say, however, that throughout history people have seen the consequences of blocked Qi. The development of “blocks in the river,” or tumors are a result.

Reflexology for Breast Cancer

The connection between points on the feet and the major organs is real and this knowledge has long been used by Chinese medicine practitioners. Holly Tse, CMP, tells a powerful story of her first introduction to both breast cancer and reflexology:

“When I was first introduced to Chinese Reflexology, my [practitioner] knew simply from massaging my breast reflexology point that I had a breast lump. While I was squirming in pain, he suddenly asked, ‘Do you have a breast lump in your right breast?’ That’s how accurately your feet can reflect your body!”

In recent studies, reflexology has shown to ease the symptoms, such as shortness of breath associated with chemotherapy and hormone treatment in women with metastasizing advanced-staged breast cancer.

The point on the feet that connects to the breasts is a rectangle-shaped area on the top of the foot that extends “from the base of your toe to slightly below your big toe knuckle.” To massage the area, Tsu suggests making a fist and using all of the knuckles to rub up and down with moderate pressure for 30-60 seconds. Massaging reflexology points that are connected to the lymph glands is beneficial as well, since the breast area contains a large number of lymph nodes.

Keeping the body systems in flow through the use of ancient Chinese medicine techniques like reflexology is a vital part of “The 7 Essentials System™” for healing the body naturally and a time-tested way to stay vibrant, vital and dis-ease free.

(Article Excerpt and Image from TheTruthAboutCancer.com), article by:  Posted by:  Dr. Veronique Desaulniers  – See more at: http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/reflexology-for-breast-health/

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…

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(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

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/

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).

How Exercise Can Prevent Cancer

 

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How Exercise can Prevent Cancer

Exercise is critical for improving one’s overall health. It is the key to cardiovascular wellness, respiratory productivity and improving your mood. Many people don’t enjoy adding exercise to their daily life and yet, it’s been proven in thousands of studies to both prevent and fight disease.

It is a complementary treatment without negative side effects!

Don’t ignore the benefit of a 30-minute workout. Your health is worth the investment. A walk around the block, a yoga class, time on a stationary bike or treadmill (especially when the weather is bad) are excellent low-impact ways to get your blood pumping!

Early in the morning is one of the best times to exercise. It revs up your circulation, warms the muscles, and clears the “fog” from your mind. Starting your day with a workout will keep you energized and alert.

A pleasant-looking body can be achieved through exercise, but you can also enjoy other benefits. These benefits enable the body to fight serious illnesses that can easily destroy the body.

Proven Health Benefits of Exercise

  • Part of a healthy weight control plan. Obesity is a primary risk factor for cancer, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and many other serious health conditions.
  • Helps improve mood and prevent depression – a serious side effect of cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment. Exercise boosts the production of the endorphin hormones in the brain that make you feel happier and more relaxed.
  • Improves energy levels by boosting your body’s circulation and delivery of oxygen to your cells. Over time, your heart, lungs, and muscles get stronger and work more proficiently.
  • Get better (and deeper) sleep if you suffer from insomnia – a common complaint amongst patients struggling with the anxiety of their cancer crisis.
  • Boosts the excretory system so that cancer-causing toxins and waste are removed more efficiently. The fewer the toxins in your system, the better you’ll feel overall. The excretory system is comprised of your blood, lymph, bladder, kidneys, and intestines.
  • Enhances your immune system (specifically the lymphatic system) preventing the growth and spread of disease-causing organisms in your body. A strong immune system is your best defense against cancer.
  • Makes you more conscious of your overall lifestyle choices. People who exercise regularly tend to be more attentive to their food choices and water intake. They are also more likely to eliminate pro-inflammatory substances such as dairy, processed foods and excessive alcohol consumption.

You don’t have to spend all your time in the gym or invest a fortune on home exercise equipment. To improve your health from head to toe, you can incorporate “healthy movement” in many ways that won’t feel like a chore.

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12 Fun Ways to Exercise (without being miserable)

1.Take regular walks with family, friends, and pets
2.Jump on a mini-trampoline while watching TV
3.Playing with your kids in the pool or at the beach
4.Turn “meeting over coffee” into a walk
5.Housework (yes, it really works)
6.Yoga, tai chi, water aerobics, or other “low-impact” classes
7.Join a community athletic league (and meet new people)
8.Power walk while you grocery shop or wait for a prescription
9.Take the stairs if you have the option
10.Park further from stores and use those extra steps
11.Bike or walk to work, friends’ homes, or to do errands
12.Use breaks at work to walk around the building with a co-worker

Exercise shouldn’t be awful. It can help prevent cancer – as well as dozens of other serious, life threatening diseases – and keep it from coming back.

Help your body get strong and stay strong with thirty minutes of heart-pumping, physical activity every day. Once you get in the habit of “moving,” you’ll never want to stop. The trick is to find the exercise or activity that’s right for you, something you love and get excited about doing.

Get moving…right now!

(Article Excerpt and Image from http://thetruthaboutcancer.com/exercise-can-prevent-cancer/ by Ty  Bollinger).

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