Category Archives: Body-Mind Medicine

Epigenetic Factors to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Part 1

Epigenetic Factors to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Part 1

Epigenetic factors to reduce breast cancer risk has been a particular interest of mine ever since I found out that I had breast cancer in 2004. I have studied everything I could lay my hands on with reference to epigenetic factors. The word means “above genetics” and is the science of how genes can be expressed differently using external factors without changing the DNA structure of those genes.

The reason epigenetics interests me so greatly is because I lost both my mother and my grandmother to breast cancer. When I was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer myself, I was quite concerned about the so-called genetic aspect of this disease. I spoke about this with a friend of mine and I can remember saying to her “What if everything I’m doing to get well and stay well turns out not to be enough if I’m genetically predisposed to breast cancer?” Her response was to introduce me to a scientist named Bruce Lipton and a whole new way of thinking. Dr Lipton’s book “The Biology of Belief” helped me to understand that we do not have to be slaves to our genes. The book introduced me to the  concept of epigenetic factors which can influence the expression of genes.

I learned that nutrition, thoughts, exercise and quite a few other factors can influence our genes in a very powerful way. What an immensely liberating thought – that we mere humans can play a huge role in turning off the very genes that might otherwise predispose us to breast cancer.

In a series of articles, I will be sharing some of the epigenetic nutrients that provide us with the ability to alter genetic expression, thus possibly preventing or reversing breast cancer. From my best count, here are the best 11 ways they do this (and one article will be devoted to each subject):

Epigenetic nutrients can:

1. Control regulatory genes
2. Prevent damage to DNA
3. Prevent rapid cell proliferation
4. Ease or prevent cancer-promoting inflammation
5. Change malignant cells into healthy cells
6. Restore receptors on cells
7. Inhibit excess estrogen production
8. Trigger cancer cell death (apoptosis)
9. Block growth factors
10. Block angiogenesis
11. Prevent metastasis

PART 1 – NUTRIENTS THAT CAN CONTROL REGULATORY GENES

Through genetic testing, we know that there are a number of gene defects that can predispose a person to certain diseases, including breast cancer. There are quite literally hundreds of ways genes can be influenced to control, slow or stop breast cancer growth. Any of these genes, when faulty, damaged or disrupted, can put us at a higher risk for breast cancer. Fortunately, there are a number of nutrients that have epigenetic targets in cancer cells and they block these processes, and can help to prevent carcinogenesis (formation of cancer cells).

Here are but a few of the most-studied genes involved with breast cancer:

MTHFR

The MTHFR gene plays a critical role in DNA methylation. This is a much-studied and ever-expanding subject, especially for breast cancer patients. According to 2012 research done at the University of Mississippi, a number of genes become abnormally methylated in breast cancer patients. [1] Methylation involves the addition or removal of a methyl group (CH3) to a substance so that it can metabolized. Methylation takes place daily inside cells, millions of times,  and requires the presence of enzymes known as DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) to catalyze (cause or accelerate) the process.

For example, methylation is required to convert the neurotransmitter serotonin into melatonin. Methylation is involved in converting stronger estrogens into less aggressive estrogens and that is one of the reasons it is included in this discussion. MTHFR working properly means you can break down circulating estrogen and excrete it, otherwise it can build up to dangerously high levels and this increases breast cancer risk. Hypermethylation is known to be associated with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. [2]

The problem isn’t just with estrogen, however. MTHFR also provides the directions to produce an enzyme called methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase, which converts inactive folate (vitamin B9) to its active form, levomefolic acid, to enable cells to utilize it. An inability to convert folate into levomefolic acid affects many metabolic processes in the body. Active folate is essential for healthy cell division, DNA synthesis and repair, heart health, good vision, brain development, memory and mood, and so much more.

Helpful Nutrients:

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate – EGCG – found in green tea [3]
Curcumin  – from turmeric [4]
Genistein – from soy [5]
Lycopene – from tomatoes and apricots [5]
Resveratrol [6]
Caffeic acid – found in apples, apicots, buckwheat bran, coffee, chia seeds [7]
Chlorogenic acid – found in apples, tomatoes, black beans, almonds, coffee beans, chia seeds [7]

BRCA1, BRCA2

Much-studied genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 stand for breast cancer type 1 and type 2 susceptibility proteins. They provide instructions for the creation of proteins that repair damaged DNA and act as tumor suppressors. Having a mutated BRCA1/2 gene has been shown to put a person at a higher risk for breast cancer, ovarian and some other cancers. It is estimated that around 10% of breast cancer cases are caused by mutations in these genes. DNA methylation can be involved here too – a 2014 Chinese study investigating the regulation of DNMT1 (discussed above) in BRCA1-mutated breast cancer found that a transcription factor known as E2F1 was hypermethylated. Another key factor is a process known as histone deacetylation. Without getting into huge detail requiring a chemistry degree to understand it, acetylation of histones involves DNA binding proteins, activation of gene transcription and other cellular functions.  [8] Fortunately, there are a good many nutrients that can play a protective role for those with BRCA1/2 mutations:

Helpful Nutrients:

Genestein – from soy [9]
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate – EGCG, from green tea [9]
Soy foods [10]
Sulforaphane – from broccoli sprouts, cruciferous vegetables [11]
Garlic [11]
Caffeic acid – found in apples, apicots, buckwheat bran, coffee, chia seeds [7]
Chlorogenic acid – found in apples, tomatoes, black beans, almonds, coffee beans, chia seeds [7]
Resveratrol [12]
Vitamin D3 [13]

Special note for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers – when taking B-vitamins, carriers of the BRCA1/2 mutation would be well advised to consult a functional medicine doctor or integrative oncologist specifically trained to deal with this genetic mutation, because there are conflicting studies on the helpfulness of B vitamins for carriers of this mutation. One study reported that high folate levels were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers [14] while another study indicated high folate levels were protective. [15]

Remember too that physical activity has also been found to be associated with a reduction in risk of breast cancer for those with BRCA1/2 mutations. [16]

P53

P53 is a tumor suppressor gene, regulating cell division by keeping cells from proliferating (growing and dividing too fast) or in an uncontrolled way. So you want this one to be working because when P53 is faulty, there is seen to be an associated increase in cancer risk. P53 is considered to be one of the most frequently mutated genes leading to cancer development.

Helpful Nutrients:

Quercetin [17]
Zinc [18]
Apigenin – found in celery, parsley, onions, grapefruit, oranges, chamomile tea [19]
Vitamin D3 [20]
Arenobufagin – isolated from Chan Su, a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb, aka Venenum Bufonis [21] (please do work with a TCM doctor when using this)
Berberine – found in goldenseal, barberry [22]

EZH2

EZH2 is a gene that has been shown in research to be a marker for more aggressive breast cancer. One study indicated “Aberrant expression of EZH2 has been associated with metastasis and poor prognosis in cancer patients.” [23]

Helpful Nutrients:

Omega 3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid) [23]
Ginsenoside RH2 – from Korean red ginseng [24]
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) – from green tea [25]
Curcumin [26]
Sulforaphane [27]
Berberine [28]
Tanshindiol – from the Traditional Chinese Medicine herb, Danshen, or Salvia miltiorrhiza [29]
Melatonin [30]

This is by no means an exhaustive list of regulatory genes, nor the nutrients that help to influence them. The purpose of this article is merely to inform you of the ones I am aware of that do exist and as I find more, I will add them to this lists. As you look through these lists of epigenetic nutrients, you begin to notice the repetition of a few, right? I think it’s pretty clear that those are the ones to focus upon and add to your daily protocols.

References:

[1] Epigenetic events associated with breast cancer and their prevention by dietary components targeting the epigenome – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21992498

[2] DNA methylation and hormone receptor status in breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754852/

[3] Suppressive Effects of Tea Catechins on Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997373/

[4] Epigenetic diet: impact on the epigenome and cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3197720/

[5] Modulation of gene methylation by genistein or lycopene in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18181168

[6] Trans-resveratrol alters mammary promoter hypermethylation in women at increased risk for breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3392022/

[7] Inhibition of DNA methylation by caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, two common catechol-containing coffee polyphenols – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16081510

[8] Regulation of DNA methyltransferase 1 transcription in BRCA1-mutated breast cancer: a novel crosstalk between E2F1 motif hypermethylation and loss of histone H3 lysine 9 acetylation – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3936805/

[9] Reversal Effects of Genistein and (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate on Repression of BRCA-1 Expression in Human Breast Cancer Cells with Activated AhR – http://www.fasebj.org/content/30/1_Supplement/42.6.short

[10] Dietary intake and breast cancer among carriers and noncarriers of BRCA mutations in the Korean Hereditary Breast Cancer Study – http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/10/23/ajcn.112.057760.abstract

[11] Modulation of Histone Deacetylase Activity by Dietary Isothiocyanates and Allyl Sulfides: Studies with Sulforaphane and Garlic Organosulfur Compounds – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701665/

[12] Acetylated STAT3 is crucial for methylation of tumor-suppressor gene promoters and inhibition by resveratrol results in demethylation – http://www.pnas.org/content/109/20/7765

[13] Cooperation between BRCA1 and vitamin D is critical for histone acetylation of the p21waf1 promoter and for growth inhibition of breast cancer cells and cancer stem-like cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4322975/

[14] Plasma folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 and breast cancer risk in BRCA1- and BRCA2-mutation carriers: a prospective study – http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/07/26/ajcn.116.133470

[15] The effects of plasma folate and other B vitamins on breast cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers – http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/75/15_Supplement/LB-185

[16] Effects of lifestyle and diet as modifiers of risk of breast cancer (BC) in BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers – http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2017.35.15_suppl.1505

[17] Anticarcinogenic action of quercetin by downregulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and protein kinase C (PKC) via induction of p53 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cell line – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26311153

[18] Metalloregulation of the tumor suppressor protein p53: zinc mediates the renaturation of p53 after exposure to metal chelators in vitro and in intact cells – http://www.nature.com/onc/journal/v19/n46/full/1203907a.html

[19] Evidence for activation of mutated p53 by apigenin in human pancreatic cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3277744/

[20] 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 regulates T lymphocyte proliferation through activation of P53 and inhibition of ERK1/2 signaling pathway in children with Kawasaki disease – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28925469

[21] Arenobufagin Induces Apoptotic Cell Death in Human Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cells via the Noxa-Related Pathway – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28892004

[22] Berberine Enhances Chemosensitivity and Induces Apoptosis Through Dose-orchestrated AMPK Signaling in Breast Cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28775788

[23] Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids suppress expression of EZH2 in breast cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2832544/

[24] 20(S)-Ginsenoside Rh2 suppresses proliferation and migration of hepatocellular carcinoma cells by targeting EZH2 to regulate CDKN2A-2B gene cluster transcription – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28928088

[25] (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and EZH2 inhibitor GSK343 have similar inhibitory effects and mechanisms of action on colorectal cancer cells – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28925507

[26] Effect and mechanism of curcumin on EZH2 – miR-101 regulatory feedback loop in multiple myeloma – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28322158

[27] The Ezh2 Polycomb Group Protein Drives an Aggressive Phenotype in Melanoma Cancer Stem Cells and is a Target of Diet Derived Sulforaphane – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4919248/

[28] Naturally occurring anti-cancer agents targeting EZH2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28323035

[29] Biological evaluation of tanshindiols as EZH2 histone methyltransferase inhibitors – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24767850

[30] Melatonin inhibits tumorigenicity of glioblastoma stem-like cells via the AKT-EZH2-STAT3 signaling axis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27121240

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is to provide information. It should not be interpreted as medical advice, and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition, or to be a substitute for advice from your health care professional.  If you have breast cancer, it is important that you work closely with a health care professional to properly treat your condition and monitor your progress.

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Dr Joe Dispenza Teaches About Power Of The Mind To Heal

Dr Joe Dispenza Teaches About Power Of The Mind To Heal

Book Review: “Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself – How To Lose Your Mind And Create A New One” by Dr Joe Dispenza

Whenever I come across a really helpful book that I believe will help us in our endeavor to get healthy, I usually just add it to my “Recommended Reading” list.  Today, however, I would like to share exactly what I liked about this particular book and why I think you should read it.

Joe Dispenza, D.C. has already written one book about the power of the mind called “Evolve Your Brain”.  He has studied biochemistry, holds a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in neuroscience and is a Doctor of Chiropractic.  He also has postgrad training in neurology, neuroscience, brain function, cellular biology, memory formation and longevity.  He’s a lecturer, an educator, a talented chiropractor, and was featured in the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know!?”

Goes Beyond the Principle of “Like Attracts Like”

If you’ve ever read “The Secret” and then tried to put the principles of “like attracts like” into action, without much success; if you’ve ever tried to change your thoughts into more positive ones thereby hoping to create a new existence for yourself but only had marginal results (or none); if you’ve ever worried that you are doomed by your genes or destined to be a certain way for the duration of your life, you’ll want to read this book. 

Dr Dispenza shares with us that changing our minds and thinking new thoughts is not enough – we also need to work on our subconscious mind because it is really running the show.  I’ve shared this with you before through the writings of Dr Bruce Lipton in his groundbreaking book “The Biology of Belief”. 

Dr Dispenza teaches us how to activate and coordinate all three sections of the brain – the frontal lobe, the limbic region, and the cerebellum – what he calls our three brains, in order to create a new reality for ourselves.  What makes this book so helpful is that he has included some very specific exercises in the book, including meditation, to help us create a new reality for ourselves (including good health).

So How Will This Book Assist in Breast Cancer?

I can hear you asking that question and there are two reasons I’m recommending this book.  The first one is that just about every one of my coaching clients and subscribers shares with me that although they don’t necessarily feel responsible for their disease, they are definitely aware that they were under a huge amount of stress in their lives prior to their diagnosis and describe all sorts of badly managed stress – sometimes it was from a relationship, sometimes from their job, sometimes it would be the kind of stress we put on ourselves to be the “perfect mother” or the “perfect partner” or the “top manager” in the company. 

The other thing is that there are a lot of people out there worried about genetics.  I can relate to that – I was too.  Because both my mother and her mother died from breast cancer I worried that if breast cancer was their genetic legacy to me, nothing I could do for myself would change that.  If that is something you worry about, you will want to learn more about a new scientific understanding called epigenetics, which tells us our genes are influenced not by DNA sequences out of our control, but by our thoughts, our emotions, our environment – things that definitely are within our control.  Dispenza states “It’s true that the external environment influences our internal environment.  However, by changing our internal state of being, can we overcome the effects of a stressful or toxic environment so that certain genes do not become activated?  We may not be able to control all the conditions in our external environment, but we certainly have a choice in controlling our inner environment.

As a breast cancer coach, I’ve long been aware that if we can gain control over our brains and reduce our stress levels, the road to healing is much shorter, and if we are not worried about genetic predisposition, there is nothing holding us back.

Our Genes Are As Changeable As Our Brains

Dispenza tells us that our genes are as changeable as our brains, that “epigenetics empowers us to think about change more profoundly“, and that this new information gives us free will to activate our own gene activity and modify our genetic destiny.   The most interesting thing he had to say about this subject: “Just by changing our thoughts, feelings, emotional reactions, and behaviors (for example, making healthier lifestyle choices with regard to nutrition and stress level), we send our cells new signals, and they express new proteins without changing the genetic blueprint.  So while the DNA code stays the same, once a cell is activated in a new way by new information, the cell can create thousands of variations of the same gene.  We can signal our genes to rewrite our future.

How empowering is that?

Dispenza warns, however, that “You can’t think one way and feel another and expect anything in your life to change.”  That’s why we encounter difficulties in trying to make these big life changes – if the subconscious mind (really running the show) isn’t on board with the changes you are trying to make, you will encounter a certain amount of resistance and inability to make the desired changes.  You have to change both your thoughts and your feelings because only then can you change your state of being and change your reality, thus your future. 

One of the most useful things about the book is that we are taught exactly how to create our own new reality – there are plenty of exercises and powerful tools in the book to help you make these changes.

Whether you are trying to break an addiction, or to have more compassion for others, or to rid yourself of a particular disease – whatever the wrong that you’re trying to right – I strongly feel this book will assist you.  For your convenience, I added the book to my Amazon shop.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Healing The Body With The Mind – and Essential Oils

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net

Healing the Body With The Mind – and Essential Oils

One of the things I learned long ago was not to discount how much we can achieve simply by setting our minds upon achievement of a particular goal.

Healing can be achieved in the same way – by focusing our mind, attention and intention upon the area of your body where you wish healing to take place.  There are a myriad of books and authors, such as Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, Andrew Weil, Bernie Siegel, and Wayne Dyer, which discuss the subject of healing the body with the mind, and I would encourage you to check them out.

My sole intent with this article is to open your mind to the possibility of using not only your mind, but also essential oils for healing.  Why?  Read on.

Our Powerful Minds

Way back in the 1950’s a scientist by the name of Franklin Loehr explored the effect of prayer and human thought on water and on plants.  Loehr discovered that human thought was able to alter the bonding angles between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms, thus changing the physical properties of the water.  (See The Power of Prayer on Plants by Franklin Loehr).

What quantum physics is teaching us is that human thought and human intent affect the behavior of electrons.  Since every chemical and neural process in the human body involves the activity of electrons, we see that our bodily functions are not simply matters of traditional chemistry and classical physics – they are mental, emotional, and spiritual as well.  The mind-body connection everyone is talking about happens through our electrons.

Essential Oils Amplify Healing

One of my favorite healing modalities is the use of essential oils.  I’ve been using them for years on myself (see my page Essential Oils For Overall Health and Specific Health Problems), my family and my clients, with great success.  How they work like they do is often a mystery to me, but I know they have chemical constituents, provided to us by Mother Nature, which (in part) explain how and why they work so well and are, in fact, potent little healers.

Here’s something you might not know though — essential oils have electrical properties which are subject to our thoughts and feelings.  Mind blowing?

It is known that the same essential oil will have different effects on different people, and the usual explanation is that different people have different chemistries.  But is it truly just about chemistry?

Desire, Feeling and Intent Matter Too

It is taught in every aromatherapy class that the chemical composition of an oil determines its role in healing.  But quantum physics is teaching us that essential oils are also subject to desire, feeling and intent.

In short, the potential actions of an oil are thought to be defined and limited by its chemistry, but the real determining factor as to which potential action will manifest is definitely also affected by the attitudes of the anointer and receiver.

Our thoughts won’t change the chemistry of an oil, but our thoughts can determine which aspects of the chemistry of that particular oil will work in our bodies.

How To Amplify Healing When Using Essential Oils 

  • Essential oils amplify intent – the intent of the person applying the oils, and the intent of the person receiving the oils.  Healing practitioners who anoint with oils know from experience that essential oils work better with prayer, faith and belief.  What this means is that the receiver of an essential oil can participate in their own healing.  The oils are not healers, they are the vehicles that must be facilitated by our supportive thoughts for them to work optimally!  They will work reasonably well without the conscious participation of the receiver because of the intent given to them when grown, distilled, packaged and distributed – but they work so much better when the receiver actively participates in their own healing.
  • When an oil is applied to any part of the body you can mentally direct it to go wherever it is needed and affirm the outcome you desire.  Your affirmation should be more than a one-time thought, it must come from your deepest convictions, emotions, and faith, and be repeated and consciously retained until the desired results are manifested.
  • A single oil then is full of possibilities – almost unlimited – for example, an oil could be known to be supportive of liver function, but not known for nerve regeneration.  Even so, that oil could be used for nerve regeneration if directed to do so.  Knowing this, if you don’t think you have the right oil for a specific application, using your intuition, choose an oil that you do have, and with intense concentration and feeling, direct the oil to do whatever you wish it to do.  Essential oils are imbued with an intelligence non-existent in pharmaceutical drugs.

Essential oils are vehicles of living energy and work on all human levels: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.  I even believe that essential oils work on the financial level as well (if you don’t believe me, start wearing the blend of “Abundance”, which has a beautiful, exotic aroma, and direct the oil to help you create whatever it is you are looking for in your life – then watch what happens!).

I hope you found this brief discussion interesting.  To read more on the scientific basis of essential oils, see The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple by Dr David Stewart, a fascinating read.  Another good book to read is Aromatherapy For Healing the Spirit by Gabriel Mojay.

For more information on which brand of essential oils I use (and they are the best!) or to sign up for my essential oil newsletters, contact me.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

Member No 267494
Member No 267494

The Supreme Court Rules Against Myriad Genetics’ BRCA1 and BRCA2 Patents

 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Kittisak
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Kittisak

The Supreme Court Rules Against Myriad Genetics’ BRCA1 and BRCA2 Patents

Last week, the Supreme Court finally issued its decision on whether or not it is legal to patent human genes.  

The Supreme Court ruled that genes found within the human body cannot be patented, however, synthetically created genetic material, called complementary or cDNA, can be patented.

The lawsuit upon which the Supreme Court ruled was brought against Myriad Genetics, a Utah based diagnostic test maker, by researchers, genetic counselors, the women’s health advocacy  group Breast Cancer Action, and individual patients stating that it was unlawful for a corporation to patent our very own human genes.  It has been a hotly debated topic for a significant length of time, and Breast Cancer Action views the high court’s decision as a big victory for women.

Myriad Genetics has been enjoying the rights to sell the only test currently available for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes linked to hereditary risk of breast and ovarian cancer – the test that actress Angelina Jolie recently took that showed she did have the mutated genes which purportedly put her at a much higher risk of developing breast cancer – and which information caused her to undergo a double mastectomy recently.

The significance of the Supreme Court decision is huge for women’s health because:

1. It will allow more women to have access to potentially life-saving information about their hereditary risk of breast and other cancers;

2. The genetic test, which has been exorbitantly expensive through Myriad Genetics, will no doubt become much more available at a much more affordable cost;

3. The monopoly of Myriad Genetics is broken, thus allowing other labs to begin conducting testing, research, and developing treatments using the previously unavailable BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

My Own Thoughts

Ladies, just as I’ve said it’s not just about estrogen, it’s also not just about your genetics.  There are so many things you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk – even if you do have the genetic mutation – and this website is all about teaching you how to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Most especially, read Dr Bruce Lipton’s book  “The Biology of Belief”, it’s eye opening stuff about genetics and how the power of your own mind can over-ride your supposed genetic risks.

Download my e-book and special report, read my newsletters, and find out what you can do for yourself.  Knowledge is power.

References:

VICTORY: Supreme Court Outlaws Human Gene Patents!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/14/supreme-court-gene-patenting-myriad-stock_n_3441802.html?utm_hp_ref=breast-cancer

 

 

My Thoughts On Angelina Jolie, Prophylactic Mastectomy and Genetic Predisposition

 

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com / xymonau
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com / xymonau

My Thoughts On Angelina Jolie, Prophylactic Mastectomy and Genetic Predisposition

Angelina Jolie’s heart-rending choice to have a double mastectomy has certainly created a storm of controversy this week among breast cancer circles and my friends and subscribers have asked my opinion on the whole matter, hence today’s post.

First of all, please read her personally written article which appeared in the New York Times Opinion Page.  Eloquent.  However…

Two Lines Of Thought

There are those who applaud her decision and her courage for making it (because it had to be a tough one to make), while others believe it was incredibly stupid because she didn’t have breast cancer, just a strong family history.  I’m hovering somewhere in between those two lines of thought.  Mostly I just feel incredibly sad for her, because it’s apparent that Ms Jolie fell prey to fear, to overzealous medical providers who must have played a rather large part in that fear, and to the cancer industry as a whole.

Please allow me to share some of my thoughts on the matter.

Surgery Has Risks

In explaining her own choice to have this surgery, Ms Jolie does not mention the many side effects and risks of this type of surgery.  Surgery always comes with risks and side effects.  To complicate matters, breast implants are considered “high risk” by the FDA (not that I concern myself overmuch with what the FDA thinks).  The current statistics indicate that 4 out of 10 women who have had a mastectomy and implants will require additional surgery within 3 years of getting their implants.

More than a few of my subscribers have shared with me that had they known reconstruction surgery (whether flap reconstruction or implant reconstruction) was going to be so painful, so bothersome and such a disruption to their lives they would never have chosen it.  I truly feel for them.

Genetic Predisposition Vs Epigenetic Factors

As far as the genetic predisposition part of the story, an excellent article has been written by Sayer Ji, the founder of greenmedinfo.com, a website resource that I trust and often refer to because it always contains well-researched and well-written information on all sorts of health issues.  The article is titled Did Angelina Jolie Make a Mistake By Acting On The ‘Breast Cancer Gene’ Theory?   Do yourself a favor and click on the link and read that article.

I particularly appreciated the author’s assertion that “even in those in which a BRCA mutation is identified, the genes, in and of themselves, do not alone make the disease.”  I have been endeavoring to teach that particular line of thinking via my posts on this site.  In June, 2012 I wrote an article Cancer Genetics: BRCA1 and BRCA2 Are NO Cause For Concern! wherein I shared some information from the book “The Biology of Belief”, by Dr Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist, whose research and studies clearly indicate that many other factors are at play in health and disease than merely genetics.

To quote again from the greenmedinfo article, “…we must now accept that factors beyond the control of the gene, known as epigenetic factors, and largely determined by a combination of nutrition, psychospiritual states that feed back into our physiology, lifestyle factors, and environmental exposures, constitute as high as 95% of what determines any disease risk.

Did you get that?  Epigenetic factors (factors beyond the control of our genes) constitute as high as 95% of what determines disease risk.  Our bodies are incredibly smart.  They have the ability to prevent and heal all disease if they are given the right conditions! 

Human Genes Should NOT be Patented

The thing that bugs me the most about all of this is that Ms Jolie’s decision is going to persuade thousands of other young women to do the same – to needlessly lose a valued part of their anatomy.  Not every woman with a mutation will develop breast cancer!  And Myriad Genetics, the patent-holders of the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes, are profiting.  According to a Yahoo Finance report dated May 14, 2013, Myriad Genetics’ shares rose 4% after Angelina Jolie announced her mastectomy surgery.

I support an activist group called Breast Cancer Action, who in 2009 joined researchers, genetic counselors and cancer patients in a lawsuit to overturn Myriad Genetics’ patent on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.  The case is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court and a ruling is expected this summer.  Please visit this page on the Breast Cancer Action website for more information.

My best advice is to do three things:

1.  Sign up for my free newsletters to find out how best to reduce your risk of breast cancer;

2. Sign up for the free newsletters offered by greenmedinfo.com (use this link);

3.  Donate funds to Breast Cancer Action (use this link), help them to continue their good work, compelling the changes necessary to end the breast cancer epidemic.

Meditation Benefits – Video 7 – Teaching You How To Meditate

 

 

Final video today – #7 is “Teaching You How To Meditate” and this one introduces my Change Your Life Meditation Course. I’m excited about this – I wanted to be able to help people on a much wider basis than I’m currently doing.

Meditation made a huge change in my life and I would love to share with you all of the wonderful benefits that it has.

Here’s the link to my page where you can get more info:  Change Your Life Meditation Course

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach).  It is my honor and privilege to help you through this.

Meditation Benefits – Video 6 – Can I Use Meditation For Healing?

 

Hello, welcome back!  Today’s video (#6 in my series of 7 videos) answers the frequently asked question “Can I Use Meditation For Healing?”  The answer is an unequivocal YES. 

I used meditation for healing when I was going through breast cancer and it was one of the single most powerful tools in my arsenal.  Really – it would surprise you to discover just how powerful it is.

Watch the video for more info:

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

Meditation Benefits – Video 5 – What Is The Best Meditation Technique For Beginners?

Welcome back – today’s video (#5 of 7) answers the frequently asked question “What Is The Best Meditation Technique For Beginners?”

 

 

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this.

 

Meditation Benefits – Video 4 – How Do You Know You’re Meditating and Not Just Sitting There?

 

 

Hi there – welcome back!  In today’s video I answer the question “How Do You Know You’re Meditating and Not Just Sitting There?”

Please watch:

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

 

Meditation Benefits – Video 3 – How Do I Find Time To Meditate?

 

 

Welcome back.  Check out Video 3 where I answer the question “How Do I Find Time To Meditate?”

 

 If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

 

Meditation Benefits – Video 2 – How Do I Keep My Mind From Wandering?

 

 

Happy Sunday – this is Video 2.  Today I’m answering the question “How Do I Keep My Mind From Wandering?”

 

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

Johns Hopkins Advocates Integrated Cancer Care

 

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and hisks
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and hisks

Johns Hopkins Advocates Integrated Cancer Care

For those who were not able to attend the webinar put on by Johns Hopkins Medicine on December 17th, following please find my notes and ramblings from that webinar.  I hope you find them useful.

The webinar was titled Integrative Medicine: How Acupuncture, The Mind/Body Connection, Holistic Eating and Chinese Medicine and Other Modalities Can Help Survivors During and After Treatment.  Which is kind of a long-winded title, but they wanted to tell you exactly what they’d be covering and that title does the trick

Webinar Overview

The webinar was presented by Dr Linda Lee and Mr Jeff Gould and it ran for about an hour.  Dr Lee spoke about how the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine Center viewed integrative medicine as being the best of scientific medicine with a broader understanding of the nature of illness, that integrative medicine enhanced conventional medicine rather than replacing it.  They preferred the term “integrative” rather than “alternative” or “complementary” because alternative seeks an “alternate” approach to conventional medicine, it connotes a turning away, while the term complementary was too broad.

The Johns Hopkins website further defines integrative medicine: “Integrative medicine encompasses a broad range of therapeutic approaches to achieve optimal health and wellness for those who are ill or those who are concerned about disease prevention. It is a powerful resource for those seeking to participate actively in their healthcare.”

A Holistic Diet for Cancer Patients

Dr Lee spoke first and discussed holistic eating quite simply – she quoted author Michael Pollan, whose advice was to “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  I loved that – it says so much so succintly!

Dr Lee warned us against eating highly processed foods and too many food additives.  She said we should try not to eat too much meat, especially beef, and that we should strive for a balanced approach in our food choices.  Volumes could be written (and have been) about the best nutrition for cancer patients – for more definitive information, see my page Diet and Cancer.

Dr Lee addressed the concerns of those going through chemotherapy, she had some good advice for what to eat when you don’t feel like eating, for those taste bud issues and digestive problems.  She advised using a blender or food processor (I would say JUICER) and put your food into that.

She had no real recommendations about WHAT to put in the blender – other than you wouldn’t put a spaghetti dinner in there, for instance.  She just said it’s easier to process liquid foods like smoothies and shakes.  She recommended having multiple small meals, rather than 3 bigger meals per day.  Dr Lee recommended the book One Bite At A Time – Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends by Rebecca Katz, which I’ve added to my Recommended Reading list.

I’ll go a little farther than these recommendations and direct you to my article Do You Know The Benefits of Juicers For Cancer Patients.

Dietary Myths in Cancer

Dr Lee discussed some of the dietary myths she had encountered from her patients – we’ll start with the myth, then Dr Lee’s refutal:

  1. Avoid sugar because it feeds cancer – this one surprised me because I do advocate avoiding sugar if you have active cancer in your body.  Dr Lee disagreed, saying a moderate amount of sugar is okay, it won’t cause your cancer to get bigger.  So, I’ve softened my stance on this a little bit and found a good article for you that discusses moderation.
  2. Eat whatever foods you want and as much of them as you like – eating as much as you like of something isn’t advisable if you’re undergoing chemotherapy and having digestive issues, smaller meals are better.
  3. Eat fried foods because they will give you more calories if you’ve lost weight during cancer treatment – Dr Lee advised fried foods are NOT a good idea because they increase nausea.
  4. Being overweight is better than being underweight – Not true for breast cancer, Dr Lee says.  Fat cells create estrogen and if you had/have estrogen receptor positive tumor(s) being overweight can actually cause more problems for you.

Vitamin Supplements

Dr Lee advised caution when taking vitamins – because adverse affects are not always known and they may have interactions with some of the drugs you are on.  She did not have anything against taking vitamins, she merely advised caution, suggesting a person see an herbalist or dietician for guidance (I’d say see a trained naturopath) and always let your oncologist know what you are doing.  Dr Lee suggested referring to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website.

Mind/Body Approach

My favorite part of the webinar was the discussion of how using mind/body medicine can help cancer patients.  Dr Lee went out on a limb and said that STRESS CAN AFFECT CANCER GROWTH.  I’ve been saying this for years and I was so glad to hear someone from the medical world acknowledge and affirm this.

Dr Lee advised that chronic emotional stress can have a negative impact on cancer, and she discussed how the hormones released during stressful periods affect inflammation, cellular immune response and other key factors and that getting stress treated was really important.  She advocated the use of one or more of the following therapies (all of which I also recommend on this site and in my newsletters):

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • tai chi
  • massage
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • guided imagery
  • hypnotherapy
  • support groups
  • journaling
  • exercise

I found a good article for you from the Mayo Clinic which discusses exactly how stress hormones wreak havoc on our body.

Mr Jeff Gould On The Chinese Medicine Approach

The second part of the webinar was handed over to Jeff Gould, a Chinese medicine practitioner at the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine Center.  Mr Gould discussed many aspects of Chinese medicine, I will highlight the most interesting points he made:

    • Chinese medicine is what he termed individualized medicine. He might see 10 patients with breast cancer, but each patient may get a different treatment protocol based on the symptoms they present with on that day.
    • Chinese medicine is very holistic – practitioners don’t just treat physical symptoms (such as cancer), but also the emotional and spiritual aspects of a person.  He said one of his patients, in an effort to describe what they felt like after an acupuncture treatment, called it “a lightness of being”.  I thought that was a very good description.
    • Mr Gould called Chinese medicine a highly effective adjunct to Western medicine, it has been utilized quite effectively for over 3,000 years.
    • Mr Gould mentioned that the Chinese also use diet as a therapy – that Chinese medicine looks at the energetics of food vs the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.  They use food to promote health AND also to treat illness.  I was quite interested to find out that certain restaurants in China will have doctors who will greet you at the door, take a look at your vital signs (which are quite different to Western medicine – they are more likely to look at your tongue and take your pulses than to check your blood pressure, etc.) and then recommend certain things on the menu to assist with your current signs/symptoms.
    • When using Chinese herbs, your herbalist will tailor make a formula for you based on your unique constellation of symptoms and these are modified each week as symptoms change.
    • Mr Gould specifically mentioned chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, saying that the best time to treat that is BEFORE symptoms begin – he said it’s much easier to keep it from happening than to treat it after it has already happened.
    • We were reminded that herbs are drugs and as such, can have side effects and interactions with other drugs.  He also warned to use a trained herbalist when using herbs for any illness.
    • Mr Gould also did not recommend using Chinese medicine alone to treat cancer, but as an adjunct.

All in all, I thought it a very good webinar, well presented, and with good, concise information.  If you have any specific questions, please contact me.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

The Healing Power of Music

healing power of music
Photo courtesy of Ambro and stock.xchng

Normally, getting ready for my day is a pretty mundane thing.  But today, my iPod was playing some really great music and I was dancing (trying not to be too critical in front of the bathroom mirror – just enjoying the movement and the tunes) and it got me thinking about the healing power of  music.

A Supercharged Brain and U2

When I was going through chemotherapy, the night following my infusion would generally be mostly wakeful.  Those darned chemicals were racing around my body and seemed to supercharge my brain.  So I’d lie for hours and listen to music.

You are never so attentive and mindful of a song and what goes into it as you are during the black of night when there are no distractions.  Using headphones also brings the music closer, you can hear every drum beat, every nuance of the singer’s voice.  It was pure magic – I would listen for hours.  (My favorite night-time listening music was by U2, I love them).

The Healing Power of Music

I found a wonderful website called caregiver.com – written for caregivers of dementia patients.  They had this to say about the healing power of music:

Positive results include elevated mood, increased socialization and appetite and reduction in agitation. These benefits are attributed to the stimulation the brain receives during a music therapy session, a sort of “cognitive workout” inspiring us to coin the phrase, “What exercise is to the body, music is to the brain.” The power of music often inspires physical movement and can be used in combination to encourage gentle exercise.

I was able to find a number of articles on-line that spoke of the healing power of music.  Benefits include:

  • Soothing jangled nerves
  • Calming mind and body
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Boosting immune system
  • Focusing mind and attention
  • And so much more!

PBS has a video you can view (you’ll have to wade through the commercial first) about the Healing Power of Music.  Pretty powerful stuff for brain injury patients.

Anyway – I believe music can be very powerful for those trying to overcome a disease such as cancer.  It can soothe your soul, help you through the treatments, and boost your immune system.  My suggestion?  Get an iPod or MP3 player and load all your very favorite songs on it and take it with you to your treatments.

I am currently also putting together some healing meditations for cancer patients and will post them when they are available.

By the way, the song I was dancing to in the bathroom?  Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, “Nowhere to Run”.  Yep, it’s an oldie, but hey – I grew up in the era of the Vietnam War and that song meant a lot to us!  Still sounds great today.

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Another Good Cancer Blog

another good cancer blog
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng and Master isolated images

I have run across another good cancer blog you might enjoy – it is called People Beating Cancer (.org) and its subtitle is “A Healthy Exchange of Information and Inspiration”.

Its creator, David Emerson, was 34 years old in 1994 when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an “incurable” cancer of the bone marrow.

Between 1994-1997 David fought three relapses of his cancer with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant. On his third relapse his doctors told him there was nothing more that could be done and that he had 6-12 months to live.

I love it when cancer patients prove doctors wrong!

David is still with us today and that’s because he chose to look further afield for his healing – to try things of which the FDA doesn’t approve, and then he fought the second biggest fight of his life when he sued his HMO and the doctors’ group that had the contract to care for him because he wanted “to exact a reckoning of how bureaucrats could declare the therapy that saved him ‘medically unnecessary’.”  You can read his whole story here.  The litigation is ongoing.

Bravo!  Now I’m not against doctors, don’t get me wrong.  I think they are marvelous.  What I am against is our system of medical care.  I believe that there is SO MUCH ROOM for improvement that I could write a blog about it every day for the next 365 days and only scratch the surface.

I was impressed with David’s blog, there were loads of interesting articles there.  One article in particular “What Do Your Genes Say About A Future Cancer Diagnosis?” caught my eye, because I have done quite a bit of research myself on the role that genes play (having a mother and grandmother die from the disease you are diagnosed with can definitely spur you on) and I liked what he had to say here:

“…I do everything that I have read that turns cancer genes off.  This anti-cancer list includes

1) supplementation

2) nutrition

3) exercise

4) sleep/relaxation”

I was glad to see that we agree about the importance of taking nutritional supplements, eating carefully, getting exercise and that sleep and relaxation are so very important.

My hat is off to Mr Emerson and may he continue to thrive.

I believe that it is crucial to take your healing into your own hands – doctors do their best, but generally their hands are tied.  It is up to us to empower ourselves and be proactive with our healing.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Frances Hodgson Burnett On The Power of Positive Thinking

Frances Hodgson BurnettFrances Hodgson Burnett was (for those unfamiliar) a marvelous 19th century English playwright and author. She is best known for her children’s stories, in particular “The Secret Garden”.

She had a wonderful way with words and today I’d like to share her thoughts on the power of positive thinking.

“Just mere thoughts are as powerful as electric batteries – as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison.  To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body.  If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.”

It is unimaginable to me that there are still people in the world who don’t believe in choosing positive thoughts – the thoughts that sustain you, nurture you and heal you, rather than causing you pain, anguish and suffering.

It’s not always easy, I know, to choose the positive path.  Especially when the negative path has been ingrained since childhood, or when surrounded by negativity and fearful thoughts.

But I challenge you to try it.  There are so many books out there that will help you with this.  Here’s my top 6 favorites:

  1. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
  2. Everyday Positive Thinking by Louise Hay
  3. The Path to Success is Paved with Positive Thinking: How to Live a Joy-filled Life and Make Your Dreams Come True by Wally Amos
  4. Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love by Judith Orloff
  5. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  6. Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits by Wayne W. Dyer

It is my strong belief that if you are fighting a major illness like cancer, your thoughts can help to heal you much more quickly if you choose positive ones!  I know it helped me immensely.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.