Breast Cancer vs. Breast Health Awareness

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breast thermography cropped resized 600Today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I personally would like to propose a change in the name to Breast Health Awareness, and make it a yearlong recognition.

There are many statistics being tracked with regard to cancer. Here are just a few regarding breast cancer:

  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Just under 30% of cancers in women are breast cancers.

  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations. (It remains to be seen how much we will be impacted by the genetic mutations which take place as a result of the genetically modified food that we consume today).

  • The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).

Statistics taken from breastcancer.org.

While mammography has been relied upon as the gold standard in the United States for detection of breast cancer, it tells the story a little late (studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for several years achieving more than twenty-five doublings of the malignant cell colony), and is not without its risks.

Radiation from routine mammograms poses significant cumulative risk of initiating and promoting breast cancer. In fact a mammogram results in 1000 fold greater radiation exposure than a chest x-ray. Additionally each rad (radiation absorbed dose) of exposure increases breast cancer risk by one percent annually, an extremely worrisome statistic for premenopausal women whose breasts are more sensitive to radiation.

Mammography involves placing the breast between two plates and subjecting the breast to painful compression. The recommended force to be used for the compression of breast tissue in a mammogram is 300 Newtons, the equivalent of placing a fifty pound weight on the breast. In an article written in 1928(5) physicians were warned to handle “cancerous breasts with care – for fear of accidentally disseminating cells and spreading cancer.” In 1992 (6) an opinion was offered that such compression might lead to distant and lethal spread of malignant cells by rupturing small blood vessels in or around small, as yet undetected breast cancers.

In 1995, the Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, reported that “since mammographic screening was introduced in 1983, the incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ “DCIS”, which represents 12% of all breast cancer cases, has increased by 328% and 200% of this increase is due to the use of mammography.

There are several other methods of screening for breast abnormalities. One of those emerging as a reliable means of detecting changes in the breast tissue (which have been shown to correlate with cancerous or pre-cancerous states) is Thermography, a physiologic test, which does not submit patients to radiation, which is a known carcinogen. It is unaffected by implants, surgical scars, or breast density. While it cannot identify tumors, it does provide clinicians with extremely useful information regarding any areas of abnormality in the breasts. Those areas can then be examined clinically and with other testing methods.

Since thermal imaging detects changes at the cellular level, studies suggest that this test can detect activity eight to ten years BEFORE any other test. This makes it unique in that it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor.

Text in italics taken from Thermographic Diagnostic Imaging site (tdinj.com). To learn more about Thermography, click here.

Improving our Breast Health

Diet, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and our state of mind are all important factors in staying as healthy as possible. While we may not be able to completely avoid contracting illnesses or diseases (e.g. cancer), we can make a concerted effort to minimize their effect on us.

The following recommendations are offered by Thermographic Diagnostic Imaging (tdinj.com): 

  • Eat organically grown fruits and vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are especially good because they are high indole-3-carbino, a substance that aids the liver in removing toxins and hormones from the blood stream.

  • Eat organic or grass fed meat and dairy in order to avoid ingesting hormones, pesticides and antibiotics.

  • Eat organic or cage free poultry and eggs to avoid ingesting hormones, pesticides and antibiotics.

  • Avoid eating refined sugar. Try an alternative like stevia, xylitol, agave nectar or honey.

  • Avoid refined and processed food.

  • Increase sources of essential fatty acids including flax, walnuts, sunflower seeds and cold water fish.

  • Add organic green tea, Maitake mushroom, turmeric, and garlic to your diet.

  • Smoking cessation.

  • Minimize or eliminate caffeine and alcohol.

  • Avoid toxic products in your home and work environment.

  • Self-care – put some time aside every day for yourself.

  • Adequate rest.

  • Exercise.

  • Stress reduction – meditation, yoga, Reiki, etc.

  • Express yourself –set up healthy boundaries.

  • Do what you love and love what you do.

  • Healthy relationships.

  • Detoxify mind, body and spirit.

  • Avoid chemical deodorants and antiperspirants with aluminum.

  • Avoid underwire bras or bras that are too tight.

  • Do monthly breast self-exams.

  • Lymphatic breast massage.

How many of the above recommendations are part of your lifestyle? In today’s environment, with toxins present in our air, water, food, etc., we need to do all that we can to support our health and well-being. I believe we have the right to live healthy and abundant lives. Spending our energy and resources trying to regain our health and well-being is much more difficult than the effort it takes to stay healthy.

Photo credit © http://www.tdinj.com/breast-health-assessment.html

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