Category Archives: Breast Health Blog

Deepak Chopra: Interesting Article Suggests Cancer Is Preventable

breast cancer cells
breast cancer cells

I am a follower of Deepak Chopra on Twitter because I like his short little tweets and the wisdom they often contain.  I don’t always agree with him (sometimes I don’t even understand his comment!) but when he tweets about cancer, I pay attention.

On August 21, 2012, Deepak Chopra’s website had an absorbing article titled “Cancer: A Preventable Disease is Creating a Revolution“.  Check it out – interesting reading.

Someone went to a lot of time and trouble to set up the interviews with the experts (including Candace Pert, one of my favorite authors!), film them, and create the chapters of the video, some of which are interactive.

It really is a vastly informing little video.  The chapters include brief discussions of cells, what normal cells look like, what cancer cells look like, how cancer spreads, types of cancer, staging and grading of cancer, risk factors, altered genes, symptoms of cancer, imaging, screening, treatments for cancer, and a discussion of cancer remission.  There are also discussions of how body weight and exercise factor in, what to eat and not eat (which you can also get from my page titled Diet and Cancer), smoking and drinking and environmental hazards.

For someone who knows nothing about cancer, it’s a good place to start learning and to possibly accept the proposition that cancer can be preventable.

For those of us who have been through it, it might seem a little elementary, but the reason I decided to include this article on my blog today is because I really liked the way he ended his article with this statement: “You aren’t called on to become a cancer expert. But weighing all the evidence, it’s clear which way the wind is blowing. The likelihood that cancer is not enmeshed with lifestyle is diminishing year by year. Yes, cancer is immensely complicated, but everything you can do to support your body’s innate intelligence is a positive step in allowing that intelligence to block the cellular changes that create malignancy. A decade from now, I expect that we will tune in and find that this ray of hope has become even brighter.”

While I’m not a cancer expert either, I’ve spent years and years researching health and cancer, I’m a breast cancer survivor of 8 years, and I have a newsletter series that presents all of the most healing things I’ve come across in my years of research.  Please sign up for my newsletters on the right and I will be honored to walk with you on your journey to regain your health.

Prophylactic Mastectomy, Thoughts Shared By a Cancer Coach

Mastectomy scars Mastectomy scars

Prophylactic Mastectomy, Thoughts Shared By A Cancer Coach

In my last article, I promised to share some information about prophylactic mastectomy, which is the removal of a single breast or both breasts, disease-free, to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. My own personal opinion (which may or may not count with anyone) is that this sort of surgery  is happening far too frequently these days, especially in younger women. While there are certainly situations when prophylactic mastectomy might make sense, they are few and far between. If your doctor has suggested prophylactic mastectomy for you, please read this article.

While the following is not an exhaustive list, these 7 situations are most frequently the basis for a recommendation of prophylactic mastectomy.

The 7 Situations When Your Doctor May Recommend Prophylactic Mastectomy:

  1. When you have a strong family history of breast cancer.
  2. When you have a personal history of breast cancer – the thinking here is that this your likelihood of developing a new cancer in the opposite breast than someone who has never had breast cancer.
  3. When you’ve tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, which some feel increases the risk of breast cancer.
  4. When you have been diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), which has been shown to increase the risk of developing invasive breast cancer.
  5. When you’ve had radiation therapy to the chest before age 30, which appears to increase the risk of breast cancer throughout your life.
  6. When you have widely spread breast microcalcifications (very tiny deposits of calcium in the breast tissue) sometimes this means cancer can be present, certainly not always.
  7. Some doctors are even recommending prophylactic mastectomy for women with dense breasts.  The thinking here is that it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose breast abnormalities which sometimes requires the removal of tissue samples to study under a microscope (biopsy).  If this happens too many times, the scar tissue that is created can cause problems for mammography screening.

My Answers To Those 7 Situations

Using the above numbering system, I would like to go out on a limb and offer a new way of thinking. Again I remind you that this is simply my opinion (and everyone, as you know, has one!) I have years of mind-body research, a background in natural medicine, years of experience as a breast cancer coach, I fought the disease myself, and I am continually reading the latest research.

1.  If your doctor recommends prophylactic mastectomy because you have a strong family history, get a new doctor.  That is practicing fear-based medicine at its worst.  I had a strong family history – both my mother and her mother died from breast cancer.  And even though I did get it as well, I learned that there are many causes of breast cancer, it is a multi-factorial disease. I learned what those causes are and limited my exposure, I learned not to be afraid of cancer and how to take my healing into my own hands, and now I teach these things to others.

2.  If you have a personal history of breast cancer, it doesn’t mean that just because you got it in one breast, you will get it in the other.  It’s not too late to change your life by taking some positive steps towards health and wellness.  If you need more information about this, sign up for my free newsletters on the right side of this page and you’ll get my two free e-books as well.

3.  Ah, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.  Would you be interested in knowing that the ONE single company that tests for these genes (and charges thousands of dollars for doing so, thank you very much) is presently trying to take out a PATENT on the genes?  Would they be doing this if there weren’t a lot of money involved here?  Read my article on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genesRead also the web page of Breast Cancer Action, an organization that opposes gene patenting.

4.  If you have had LCIS then you might have an increased risk of developing invasive breast cancer.  But as I said in paragraph 2, it’s not too late to change your prospects by being very proactive with body and mind and immune system. Find out what things will take you back to a state of extreme good health.

5.  If you have had radiation therapy before the age of 30 but you still have healthy breasts, there are things you can do to minimize whatever damage that might exist.  Don’t undergo needless mastectomy if you have healthy breasts.

6.  Microcalcifications in the breast do not mean that cancer is present.  Again, there are things you can do to minimize any possible problems.

7.  On Aug 20, 2012, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that high breast density does not increase the risk of death among breast cancer patients.  If you have dense breasts and your doctor recommends prophylactic mastectomy, get a new doctor.

Here’s what I recommend if you’re on the fence about prophylactic mastectomy.  If you have healthy breasts, you have time to make your decision.  Subscribe to my newsletter series because I’m all about being proactive with your health, both body and mind.  I have lots of top quality information based on actual research in my newsletters, and they won’t cost you a thing.

Prophylactic Mastectomy: No Guarantee

Although prophylactic mastectomy is shown to greatly reduce your chances of developing breast cancer, it is not a guarantee. For one thing, it is almost impossible to remove all the breast tissue. Cancer can still develop in the tissue that is left on the chest wall or underarm area.

The latest paleoanthropological research shows that cancer was virtually nonexistent before pollution and poor diet became the norm.

Science is still no closer to finding out what causes cancer because I think they’re looking in the wrong place.  Cancer is a man-made disease.  It’s going to require us getting VERY proactive with our food and nutrition, our environment, our body products, and our minds to rid ourselves of cancer.

Resources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/03/cancer-not-found-in-ancient-mummies-appears-to-be-recent-disease.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/13/at-least-onethird-of-breast-cancer-cases-are-avoidable.aspx

http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/prophylactic_mast.jsp?gclid=CIyom-iliLICFeg-MgodklEAAg

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedfiles/Content_Binaries/806-356.pdf

http://bcaction.org/our-take-on-breast-cancer/politics-of-breast-cancer/gene-patenting/

Sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

Don’t Be Worried About Breast Size and Cancer Risk

Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and F Fokkelman
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and F Fokkelman

The Huffington Post released a news story on July 5, 2012 titled Breast Cancer Risk Might Be Tied To Breast Size, Study Says.

The article (which you can read by clinking the link above) basically tells us that researchers at a commercial DNA testing service say they have found a handful of genes that help determine whether a woman spends her life as an A cup or a D AND that those genes might be tied to a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

Might being the operative word here.

Are we going to worry about this?  Are we going to spend one iota of our time being concerned?  NO, WE ARE NOT.

If you are, go back to my post of a couple days ago about The Biology of Belief.  Watch the one-hour video by Dr Bruce Lipton.  I will say it again – OUR GENES ARE NOT OUR DESTINY.

Here’s What We Do Need To Concern Ourselves With

In order to keep ourselves healthy, there are several things we definitely need to do.  As the article mentions (and I do agree with this), obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer, particularly after menopause.  So we need to keep our weight down.

We also need to build rock-solid immune systems so that disease can’t get a foot in the door.  If you need to know how to do this, contact me.

Studies have also suggested that women with dense breasts are up to 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer, but nobody seems to know why.  I don’t worry about that either.  I use certain essential oils to help keep myself healthy.  See my page Essential Oils For Overall Health and Specific Health Problems.

For more information, sign up for my newsletters and download my two free e-books that will (a) help you get through breast cancer if you are going through it, or (b) help you to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

By the way, while I was doing research for this article, I discovered that people are obsessed with breast size (no surprise there).  Apparently there were 1,300 worldwide Google searches on Angelina Jolie’s breast size.  Really?  People need to find something better to do with their time!  Just sayin’…

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.

Member No 267494
Member No 267494

Okay, So You’ve Found a Breast Lump – Here’s What to Do

hand on chest2It’s every woman’s secret fear – finding a breast lump.

The first important thing to do is DON’T PANIC.  Studies have shown that 80% of all breast lumps are harmless.

There are many things that can cause a breast lump

Cysts – fluid-filled sacs that can feel like over-ripe grapes. A cyst can sometimes be tender, especially just before your menstrual period.

Fibrocystic changes – lumps that are often painful.  Contrary to popular belief, fibrocystic breast changes do not increase your risk of breast cancer.  You might find that symptoms are usually worse right before your menstrual period, and then improve after your period starts.

Fibroadenomas – noncancerous lumps that feel rubbery and move easily inside the breast tissue. Like fibrocystic changes, they occur most often during your reproductive years. They are usually not tender and except in rare cases, they do not become cancerous.  A doctor can tell during an exam whether a lump is a fibroadenoma. Some doctors will still recommend a lump biopsy just to be sure.

Lipoma – a collection of fatty tissue, a lipoma moves easily with very little finger pressure. Sometimes they are tender to the touch but are usually not associated with any other symptoms. Lipomas rarely become malignant.

Milk cysts – sacs filled with milk and infections (known as mastitis), which may turn into an abscess.  These typically only occur if you are breastfeeding or have recently given birth.  They are painful!

Other causes of breast lumps

There are other conditions which can cause breast lumps:

  • Injury — sometimes if your breast is badly bruised, there will be a collection of blood that feels like a lump. These lumps tend to heal themselves in a few days or weeks but if they do not improve, see your doctor.
  • Breast cancer — if you suspect this, see your doctor

Other breast changes to look for

  • Bruising on your breast, but you did not experience any injury;
  • Any discharge from your nipple, especially if it is bloody or pinkish
  • The skin on your breast appears dimpled or wrinkled, like the peel of an orange
  • A new breast lump during your monthly self-exam
  • Your nipple is inverted (turned inward) but normally is not inverted

Do this first!

Make a call to your primary care doctor and go get it checked out.  Don’t delay, because if it is breast cancer, the earlier you find it and get treatment, the better your chances for survival.

Your doctor will most likely order an ultrasound exam; it’s a painless, radiation-free way of determining if the lump is a mass or a harmless, fluid-filled cyst.  You might also have a core needle biopsy where, with the assistance of the ultrasound equipment, they insert a very slender needle into the breast (it’s not as bad as it sounds) and suck out a small sampling of cells which they test for cancer.

In the event that the lump can’t be seen during your ultrasound exam (which apparently does happen about a third of the time)  a similar procedure known as a “stereotactic needle biopsy” uses a mammogram to guide the procedure.  They use the mammography equipment when they insert the needle and then scan the breast to ensure accuracy.

I know all this sounds very scary, but go and get yourself checked anyway.  If it turns out to be nothing, at least you’ll know and NO ONE will think you are over-reacting.

References:

http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/features/advances-in-diagnosing-breast-cancer

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003155.htm

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.

Why to Consider Fighting Breast Cancer with Vitamin D

oil capsules 3Fighting Breast Cancer with Vitamin D

Responding to research showing that vitamin D may slow the progression of breast, colon and other common cancers, some doctors have begun recommending their patients add vitamin D to their “tool kit” of cancer therapies alongside more conventional treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin.  When the sun shines on the skin, the ultraviolet rays activate a form of cholesterol which is present in the skin, converting it to vitamin D1.  Because the body can provide sufficient vitamin D to meet its needs simply through exposure to sunlight, some feel it is not really a vitamin, but rather a hormone.

What must be taken into account, however, is the fact that the amount of vitamin D converted through sunlight exposure varies according to the time of year, latitude and longitude where you live, the color of your skin, and whether or not you wear a sunscreen whenever you go out.  So not everyone gets the same amount of vitamin D.

Recent studies have indicated that women in North America and northern European countries exhibit the highest incidence rate of breast cancer, whereas women in southern regions are relatively protected.

While not all doctors are convinced that the studies are strong enough evidence to warrant taking an extra dollop of vitamin D, those recommending it say popping the pills is a simple health strategy that has few, if any, risks and has the added benefit of also improving bone health in those with cancer.

Doctors Discuss the Data on Vitamin D

There is emerging data on breast cancer recurrence rates and vitamin D levels that are quite compelling,” says Tracey O’Connor, an oncologist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo who treats breast cancer and is having her patients take the vitamin.

Dr O’Connor recommends high doses of the supplement to the most deficient patients immediately after they are diagnosed to quickly raise blood levels of the nutrient.

Dr. O’Connor says that having a low level of vitamin D “is quite common” among women with breast cancer, and most patients – about 80% – are either deficient or have insufficient amounts.

Dr. O’Connor says some breast-cancer patients have such low stores of the nutrient that they need to embark on a crash course of taking up to 50,000 iu a week for several months to bring up their levels. Other patients whose starting levels aren’t so poor take a few thousand iu per day. She also monitors blood levels to make sure people don’t get too much.

International units are the standard measurement of how much vitamin D is contained in supplements or foods. Multivitamins typically have either 400 or 800 iu, and a cup of fortified milk has 100 iu.

Longer Survival Times

In recent years, vitamin D has emerged as one of the most intriguing areas of cancer research. There have been numerous epidemiological studies finding that people with less vitamin D in their blood are at a higher risk of developing cancer compared with those who have higher levels.  18 different cancers have been identified for which this trend has been observed and includes colon and breast cancer.

Other research has found that people diagnosed with cancer in summer and fall – when blood levels of vitamin D are at seasonal highs because of sun exposure – have longer survival times than people whose cancers are detected in winter and spring.

I’m not advocating using ONLY vitamin D to fight breast cancer.  I truly believe, however, that it is beneficial to add to your arsenal of weapons against breast cancer.  If you’re newly diagnosed with breast cancer, generally wear sunscreen or don’t spend much time in the sun, and don’t drink milk, it might be a very good idea to go and get your vitamin D levels checked and start supplementing if your levels are low.  Watch this compelling video by Dr Joseph Mercola on vitamin D testing and supplementation.

References:

http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/02/12/qjmed.hcs014.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22694289

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/04/03/vitamin-d-grant.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22234628

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/ID/1377954245/

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.

21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils

 

21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Rawich

21 Ways to Heal Yourself With Essential Oils

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I use essential oils daily.  I smell fragrant from the oils – every single day.

There’s a good reason for that!  (By the way, people are always asking me “Have you just had a massage?” or “You smell incredible! What is that?”)

Therapeutic grade essential oils are good for so many things – the following list is only scratching the surface (but I had to start somewhere!)

 21 Health Benefits of Using Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

  1. They support immune function – Some of the constituents in essential oils mimic human immunoglobulin (an antibody the body uses to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses), elevate lymphocytes (white blood cells needed for your immune response) and stimulate our natural immune system – grapefruit, German chamomile, clove, mountain savory, lemon, also the blends Immupower and Thieves.
  2. They affect your emotional well-being – Therapeutic oils can trigger psychological and physiological responses, lifting your mood, aiding in reducing depression, and calming anxiousness – use lavender, orange, rose, jasmine, also the blends Peace & Calming, Believe, and Joy.
  3. They supply potent anti-microbials – Research has found that therapeutic oils are highly effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and even the “superbug” (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA). Bacteria cannot mutate in the presence of therapeutic oils – cinnamon, melaleuca, geranium, clove, melissa, eucalyptus, rosemary, and the blends Melrose and Thieves.
  4. They ease stress and anxiety – Too much stress, anxiety and tension are the physiological responses to our thoughts and beliefs and trigger unresolved emotions.  Most chronic illness and disease begins with stress and tension.  Therapeutic oils are known to soothe, bring peaceful thoughts, quiet the nervous system and calm the body/mind – lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, sandalwood, and the blends Highest Potential, Hope, Release, and Valor.
  5. They help you sleep – Research shows that lavender reduces insomnia, helps you to relax and decreases anxiety.  Let me just say, though, that the lavender you use must be therapeutic-grade Lavandula angustifolia (I only have one trusted source).  The other oils known to promote sleep are valerian, Roman chamomile, frankincense, marjoram, clary sage, cistus, and the blends Peace & Calming, Citrus Fresh and  Progessence Plus (my particular favorite).
  6. They reduce inflammation – Inflammation can be caused by bacteria, a poor diet, injuries, an overload of toxins, and hormonal imbalances and is at the root of most degenerative diseases!  Try Idaho balsam fir, ocotea, peppermint, wintergreen, spruce, and the blend PanAway.
  7. They help you concentrate and study, support brain health – Certain oils increase alertness and your ability to memorize – peppermint (try this when you have driving fatigue!), basil, and the blends Brain Power and Clarity.  They also support the health of your brain by stimulating the cerebral cortex, thereby reducing your chances of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia – use frankincense, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, cedarwood, helichrysum, nutmeg,  peppermint, rosemary, and the blends Clarity, Valor and Brain Power.
  8. They provide natural pain relief – Massage therapeutic oils into sore, tired muscles, use with a warm compress (oils first and then warm compress) – use Idaho balsam fir, black pepper, peppermint, ginger, wintergreen, and the blends PanAway, Aroma Siez.
  9. They soothe burns, sunburns, scrapes & cuts – Lavender is so incredible at healing burns!  Therapeutic oils are antiseptic and cleansing and can be very effective in healing, much better than antibiotic creams or gels.  Use lavender, geranium, melaleuca, eucalyptus radiata, and the blend Melrose.
  10. They are marvelous for your skin – Essential oils have been used for centuries to restore, rejuvenate, and improve damaged, wrinkled skin.  You can also use them to clear acne, clogged pores, eczema, dark spots, and stretch marks!  Try lavender, Roman chamomile, German chamomile, geranium, sandalwood, Idaho tansy, melaleuca, patchouli, frankincense, myrrh, myrtle, helichrysum.
  11. They protect against colds and flu  – Therapeutic oils have potent antimicrobial actions and protect against colds, flu, and aid respiratory tissues. Inhale oils, diffuse them, put in empty capsules and take internally – lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, Dorado azul, ravensara and the blends RC, Raven, Purification and Melrose.
  12. They assist hormonal function – Your endocrine system includes 9 glands that interconnect with organs using hormones (chemical messengers) to maintain balance and metabolism.  Stress and imbalance in the endocrine system is at the root of many degenerative diseases.  Best oils – clary sage, fennel, spikenard, nutmeg, myrrh, pine, Idaho balsam fir, the blend EndoFlex and Progessence Plus.
  13. They soothe digestive disturbances  – Therapeutic oils are very effective relief for nausea, indigestion, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, irritable bowel. Rub on abdominal area; take internally in water or empty capsules – best ones are peppermint, ginger, fennel, patchouli, Roman chamomile, and the blend DiGize.
  14. They support muscles and bones – Muscles and joints become stiff and painful when overworked, stressed or burdened with toxins. Apply oils to these areas to relieve pain and inflammation – peppermint, wintergreen, basil, and the blends Relieve It, Aroma Siez, and Pan Away.
  15. They improve circulation – Therapeutic essential oils oxygenate and cleanse your cells and this assists you to have healthier blood which carries more oxygen and a healthier vascular system – use cypress, German chamomile, helichrysum, grapefruit, ylang ylang, spikenard, and the blend Aroma Life.
  16. They support the urinary system – Essential oils have been used for nearly a century for aiding kidney, bladder and urinary infections.  Rub oils over the kidney area; take internally in water or empty capsules – grapefruit, lemon, geranium, juniper, mountain savory, clove, oregano, melaleuca alternifolia, and the blend Thieves.
  17. They support your liver – Since your liver is one of your major detoxifying organs, it’s important to help it detox on a regular basis.  A good liver support recipe: use  2 drops German chamomile, 3 drops celery seed oil, 10 drops orange and 5 drops rosemary.  You can apply 1-3 drops of the oil over the liver twice a day, you can massage 2-4 drops of oil neat on the soles of your feet just before bedtime, you can place a warm compress with 1-2 drops of oil over the liver 1-2 times per day.  Quite often, I put a drop of lemon oil or orange oil in a glass of juice or water.
  18. They improve oral and dental health – Bacteria in the mouth can cause disease in other parts of the body, including the heart.  Therapeutic essential oils in oral care products kill microbes associated with tooth decay, gum disease, systemic infections and unpleasant mouth odor – cinnamon, clove, melaleuca alternifolia, peppermint, and the blend Thieves (also available in toothpaste and mouthwash).
  19. They strengthen and nourish hair – Essential oils make wonderful hair care ingredients that rejuvenate hair, encourage hair growth, and cleanse hair follicles.   The personal care products I recommend do not contain harmful toxic ingredients (like dimethicone, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol) because these are petrochemicals that are stored in fatty tissue of the heart, liver, lungs, breast and brain.   Use lavender, sandalwood, rosemary, ylang ylang, lemon, sage, cedarwood (also available in shampoo and conditioner).
  20. They help you fight against disease –  Lots of research has been done that indicate therapeutic essential oils can help you combat disease.  Look how many articles there are about frankincense on the pubmed.gov websiteSee also my page about overall health.
  21. They provide safe, natural alternatives to toxic household cleaners – Research points to common household cleaners as a suspected link to the 55% increase in certain types of disease (specifically for women who work only in the home).  Essential oils are powerful yet safe antibacterial and antimicrobial agents, making them a fantastic, safe choice as cleaners and disinfectants – use clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, rosemary, melaleuca alternifolia, grapefruit (also try Thieves Household Cleaner, it works wonders).

I’m pretty particular about the essential oils I use – there’s only one maker that creates the therapeutic oils I love and trust and use every single day.  Here’s where you can get them.

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.

Member No 267494
Member No 267494

The Healing Power of The Kiss

The Healing Power of the Kiss

I came across an interesting statistic today that fired up my imagination: I read that a kiss stimulates 34 muscles and lots of hormones and chemicals known as neurotransmitters.

So I decided to investigate.  According to researcher Dr Andrew Scholey (wouldn’t you love to be a kiss researcher?  what fun!) senior lecturer in psychology at Northumbria University, the reason kissing feels so nice is because of the disproportionately large area of the brain dedicated to lip and tongue movements. He stated that “Only finger or hand movements occupy as much brain space.”

Apparently, a multitude of changes is going on in our bodies when we kiss – here’s the breakdown.

The Electric Moment

The moment your lips meet is often described as electric, and apparently that’s exactly what it is.  Studies using electrodes on people’s lips during a kiss showed electric currents flowing along the nerves from the brain to all of the 34 facial muscles. Hence, those tingly sensations!

A Flood of Hormones and Neurotransmitters

Kissing stimulates the primitive part of the brain involved in automated functions (the four Fs: feeding, fighting, flight and, um, mating).  “As you kiss, signals received by nerve endings in the lips are sent to the limbic system, which releases hormones that tell the pituitary glands to produce gonadotrophin.  This hormone attaches itself to the ovaries, causing the release of estrogen and testosterone, which increase sexual excitement,” says Dr Scholey.

Another hormone released at this point is oxytocin (which is also secreted during breastfeeding and orgasm, and promotes caring feelings towards your partner or baby – sometimes referred to as the “bonding” hormone).

Your growing excitement causes a rise in the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline and adrenaline causes blood to switch from the stomach to the limbs, ready for fight or flight and turning off digestion.  As your heart rate increases, blood rushes to the surface, making your body warmer and creating a rosy glow!  It also causes your whole body to receive more oxygen than it does when you’re just standing around.  At rest, your heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute, but mid-kiss this accelerates to over 100 (unless of course you’re kissing your mother…).

As adrenaline increases, levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin fall – this keeps you focused and less likely to want to break off to go feed the cat.  As serotonin drops, so do your inhibitions, making you more impulsive.

Once your kiss reaches its peak, your body is working overtime – it makes you feel nice by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain, which intensifies your desire.

That light-headed feeling is from the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural opium-like substances.  Endorphins produce the euphoria most people feel during a good kiss – they make us go all gooey.  Do you ever wonder why you feel better after a long run, a good laugh or a great kiss? It comes from a release of endorphins.

So – wow!  More oxygen (always a good thing), dopamine and endorphins that make you feel good.  I think we should incorporate kissing into our healing plan – what do you think, girls?

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.

If You Don’t Think Yoga Can Change Your Life, Check This Out!

If you are one of those who doesn’t think yoga can change your life, you have to see this YouTube video.

The Story of Arthur

I happened to see a few minutes of “The Revolution” at lunchtime today while I was turning on my DVR to check out the latest “True Blood” episode (well, I can’t help it, I love that show!) and I saw this amazing, inspiring guy by the name of Arthur Boorman.

Arthur was a Gulf War veteran who had been disabled – he was a paratrooper and all those repeated hard landings had been extremely vicious to his back and knees.  He struggled with pain, obesity, leg braces and doctors who told him he’d never walk unassisted again.

A chance mention of yoga by his wife led Arthur to do some research on-line and he found Diamond Dallas Page and DDP Yoga and Arthur decided to take his healing into his own hands.

Arthur totally transformed his life – truly inspiring story.  Watch the video and stay with it to the end – the before and after pictures are so amazing, I can’t even believe it’s the same guy!

Arthur’s Secret

Arthur says there was only one secret for him – consistency and discipline.  He worked hard at it every day.  You can do the same thing with YOUR life.

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Protect Yourself from Xenoestrogens & Estrogen Dominance

 

Image Source: MorgueFile / Pippalou

There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from xenoestrogens and estrogen dominance!

Following on from yesterday’s post where I explained what xenoestrogens are (environmental estrogens) and how they are related to breast cancer and a whole host of other diseases (including diabetes, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, menstrual irregularities such as heavy bleeding and cramps, menopausal symptoms, and cervical cancer), today I’d like to share with you some ideas on how to protect yourself from them.  First, a refresher on where xenoestrogens come from:

The Most Common Sources of Xenoestrogens

  • commercially raised meat (full of antibiotics and synthetic hormones)
  • canned foods
  • plastics, plastic food wraps
  • styrofoam cups (especially when used with boiling hot liquids)
  • industrial wastes
  • chlorinated water
  • paints, solvents, lacquers
  • most personal care products & cosmetics (unless organic)
  • pesticides and herbicides
  • car exhaust and pollution
  • birth control pills and spermicide
  • household detergents and cleaners
  • all artificial scents (like aerosol room deodorants)
  • air fresheners, perfumes

Keep in mind that this is probably only a partial list.  These are just the best known sources of xenoestrogens.

25 of the Best Ways to Protect Yourself from Xenoestrogens

    1. Find Out Your Hormone Levels – I believe this should come first.  Find out what your levels are (there are test kits available from this reputable site) and supplement with progesterone if needed.
    2. Diet – ensure you are getting lots of fresh whole (and organic) foods in your diet every day.  Whole foods support your body’s natural ability to balance itself, and provide essential nutrients your body needs to thrive.  Make sure your diet includes abundant brightly colored vegetables and fruits, hormone free meats, and healthy fats including cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil (from deep seas that are unpolluted). Limit or avoid refined foods like white sugar and flour, as these foods deplete the body of essential nutrients.
    3. Eat Phytoestrogens – (plant estrogens) because plant-based estrogen compounds bind to the same estrogen receptor sites on cells that xenoestrogens do. When a receptor site is already occupied by a phytoestrogen, xenoestrogens cannot attach to it. The great thing about phytoestrogens is that they are generally much weaker in their estrogenic effects than xenoestrogens, or even the body’s more potent natural estrogens. So phytoestrogens help to protect the body against excessive estrogen stimulation by binding receptor sites against more potent xenoestrogens.  Phytoestrogens are found in soy, all legumes, whole grains, flax seed, and dark green leafy vegetables.
    4. Stress Management – stress directly affects your hormones.  When stress is chronically high, hormones become out of balance.  Therefore, finding ways to de-stress every day are a must. Take a little time each day to breath deep, exercise, and find ways to relax like yoga, meditation and walking.
    5. Eat Organic or Free Range – meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables (whenever you can).  I still believe that if you can’t get something organic and you’re really craving it – to me that’s a sign your body needs that food.  Buy it and be really OCD about washing it to remove any traces of pesticide from it.  Use a good quality fruit & vegetable wash.
    6. Learn How to Garden Organically – avoid all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicide.
    7. Filter Your Shower Water – have a good water filter for your source of water to protect yourself from organochlorines in our water.  See some good ones in my Amazon shop.
    8. Avoid Plastic Goods – they leach into your food and into the environment (especially don’t leave a plastic bottle of water in the sun!).  Use glass, ceramic or stainless steel whenever possible to store food.
    9. Replace Plastic Wrap on meats and other foods as soon as you get home from the store with plastic wrap that doesn’t have DEHA in it.
    10. Beware of the Microwave – do not microwave food in plastic containers, and especially avoid the use of plastic wrap to cover food for microwaving. I only use my microwave for those flaxseed heat packs.
    11. Avoid Teflon and Other Non-Stick Cookware – titanium or cast iron are better alternatives.
    12. Don’t Use Fabric Softeners – it puts petrochemicals right on your skin.
    13. Use Safe Cleaning Products – choose “green” products with no nasty chemicals in them.  Contact me if you need a good source.
    14. Use Safe Body Products – especially toothpaste.  You’re putting this into your mouth and your children’s mouths.  You don’t need fluoride, it’s a myth! 
    15. Avoid Suncreams and Cosmetics That Have Toxic Chemicals – the cheaper they are, the more toxic chemicals they have in them.  Contact me if you need a good source of safe body products and cosmetics, I have a list of them.
    16. Avoid Nail Polish and Nail Polish Removers – full of toxic chemicals.
    17. Avoid Perfumes and Use Essential Oils Instead – most perfumes are petrochemically based.  Therapeutic grade essential oils not only smell wonderful but they are full of beneficial plant compounds that will help keep you healthy and won’t give you a headache like some perfumes can.  Again, contact me if you need a great source.
    18. Avoid Birth Control Pills and Lubricants Found in Many Condoms and Diaphragm Gels
    19. If You Get New Carpet Installed, Live Somewhere Else For a Few Days – it gives off noxious fumes, so does new furniture.
    20. Avoid X-rays As Much As Possible
    21. Avoid Synthetic Flea Shampoos, Flea Collars, and Flea Pesticides for your pets and home.
    22. Avoid Synthetic Air Fresheners – instead put a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a spray mist bottle filled with distilled water.  Smells better, works well, it’s cheaper and safer.
    23. Avoid Canned Foods – in the USA, over 85% of tin cans are lined with bisphenol-A (BPA) to reduce the metallic taste that can be present in canned foods. Unfortunately, BPA is a known xenoestrogen that leaches when exposed to heat, such as the sterilization process some cans undergo, or acid (and tomatoes are acidic).
    24. Avoid Anything Containing Red Food Dye – FD&C Red No. 3, a common food dye (erythrosine) is a known xenoestrogen.
    25. Find Non-Toxic Paints – look for companies that make interior paints that are formaldehyde free, emit minimal VOC’s, and contain additional sealing properties that reduce outgassing.

Unfortunately, because these compounds are so ubiquitous in our environment, no article of this length could possibly be as comprehensive as I’d like it to be.  I would encourage you to read further on the subject and educate yourself, your family, and friends.  In the end, voting with your pocketbook and spreading information to enable others to do the same is likely to be the single most important thing you can do to help slow the spread of estrogen dominance and its accompanying health problems.

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.

The Buzz About Boobstagram

Have You Heard About Boobstagram?

While I’m not sure that showing your boobs on the Internet is actually going to be a good vehicle to raise breast cancer awareness, it certainly does create a buzz, especially among the male members of our species.

Working off the tagline “showing your boobs on the web is good, showing them to your doctor is better”, Boobstagram is the campaign of two Frenchmen,  Julien GLT and Lionel Pourtau, who have gone to great lengths (and I’m sure the research was painful… NOT!) to compile thousands of Instagrams of women’s bosoms.

I checked out their website and while not overwhelming with information about exactly HOW Boobstagram was going to accomplish their main goal other than through photographs and social media, I did like some of what they had to say:

“By using this approach and by targeting young people, those most comfortable with new technologies and most comfortable with unconventional messages, we attempt to raise awareness amongst those who must change their behaviour today, in order to change their future tomorrow.”

I’m not sure what they mean about changing “their behaviour” – it would be good to know what they had in mind there. Looks like they had some fun putting the site together though.

If you’d like to be a bit more proactive than just showing your boobs on the web, sign up on the right side of this page to receive my free e-book and report.

Gary Null Videos: How To Eat the Best Health Diet

 

Gary Null Videos How To Eat the Best Health Diet
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Piyachok Thawornmat

Gary Null Videos: How to Eat the Best Health Diet

Gary Null is one of my thought leaders.  I love the way he shares his knowledge, he has such a calm (but authoritative) voice!

I’m sharing four of Gary’s You Tube videos with you today and I would urge you to take the time to watch them!

In these videos, he discusses how to eat the very best for your health.  Each video is about 10 minutes long so you can “digest them” in small pieces.

Click on the links and enjoy!

Power Foods – Part One

Power Foods – Part Two

Power Foods – Part Three

Power Foods – Part Four

 
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.

Favorite Inspirational Quote #4

favorite inspirational quote 4Favorite Inspirational Quote #4

“A great attitude does much more than

turn on the light in our world;

it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of

serendipitous opportunities that were somehow

absent before we changed.”

– Earl Nightingale

Be the change you want to see in the world!

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).  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.

Can You Get Breast Cancer From an Underwire Bra?

Can You Get Breast Cancer From an Underwire Bra
Photo courtesy of rgbstock.com and just4you

That’s a great question!  So can you get breast cancer from an underwire bra?

What about this one: Can breast implants increase your breast cancer risk?

How about: Can my daily cup of java increase my risk of breast cancer?

Good questions, all.  A great on-line article in Health.com entitled “25 Breast Cancer Myths Busted” will answer all of the above questions for you, as well as 22 more.

While I agreed with most of them, I had to take exception to slide #7 about using underarm deodorant and increased breast cancer risk.

The article stated: “One small study did stumble on traces of parabens in a tiny sample of breast cancer tumors.  Parabens, used as preservatives in some antiperspirants, have weak estrogen-like properties, but the study in question made no cause-and-effect connection between parabens and breast cancer, nor did it conclusively identify the source of the parabens found in tumors.”

I believe that enough of a question has been raised about the safety of parabens for our body products – quite clearly we’re getting them from somewhere, so why don’t companies like Proctor & Gamble just take them out?  Because nobody makes them.  See yesterday’s rant on the cosmetics industry and watch the attached video.

Why should we even take that chance when it’s so easily avoided?

Anyway – the Health.com article was a good one for the most part, check it out.  It answers lots of those myths we’ve heard and wondered about.

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).  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.

 

8 Important Things to Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer

8 Important Things to Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot

After years of studying breast cancer, going through it myself, and talking to doctors and natural therapists, I’m pleased to share my list of 8 Important Things To Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer.

Please, ladies (and men, because men can get breast cancer too) – be proactive here.  Your breast health is in your hands (and your life may very well be).

1.  Limit Alcohol Intake

Many studies have been done and all of the research indicates that drinking alcohol frequently increases your risk of breast cancer.  Apparently, it’s only regular, repeated use that increases the chance of breast cancer. For most women, having a glass of wine or beer on occasion is not a problem.

2. Exercise At Least 3 times Per Week

More exercise is apparently better.  Research shows a decreasing risk of breast cancer as the frequency and duration of physical activity increase. Most studies suggest that 30 to 60 minutes per day of moderate- to high-intensity physical activity is associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk

3.  Deal With Stress Before It Overwhelms You

For me, stress was the underlying factor – the evil Blue Meanie – that I believe was responsible for my breast cancer.  My doctors didn’t agree but I know for myself that if I had dealt with the stressors in my life in a much better fashion, I doubt very much that I would have had to deal with breast cancer.

Most of the women in my support group agreed that in the lead-up to their breast cancer diagnosis, way too much stress was in their lives.  Seek out the calming influence of meditation, you will thank yourself for it!

4.  If You’re Overweight, Do Your Best To Lose It

One of the single biggest risk factors for breast cancer is steady weight gain over the decades of your life.  A recent study done by the National Cancer Institute found that women who gained about a pound a year after age 20 had nearly double the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

The average American diet is full of way too many carbohydrates and many experts believe this is the key to our weight gain.  Cut the carbs, and reduce the risk.

5.  Do a Monthly Self-Exam

It’s important to do a monthly self exam, and if you’re menstruating, it’s better to do this one week after your period finishes to eliminate breast tenderness.  If you’re not sure how to do it, CLICK HERE for directions.

6.  Diagnostic Tests After Age 40

Most authorities mandate mammograms after the age of 40, particularly if there’s a family history of breast cancer.  I am not a fan of mammography, mainly because it subjects the breast to possible damage by pressing and by radiation. I prefer a much less invasive diagnostic exam called thermal imaging, or thermography.  See my article Breast Screening Without The Squish!.

7.  Switch to Organics

I believe our environment is way too toxic.  We need to actively stay away from all of the toxic chemicals being put into our body products, makeup, food, household cleaners, etc.  I have beautiful products that I have found that are safe and effective, check them out.  Click here for organic cosmetics and body products, click here for wonderful household cleaning products  and click here for information on why to choose organic.

8.  Use Pure Essential Oils Every Day

I’m not allowed to tell you exactly why I use essential oils on my breasts every single day.  Certain government agencies will not allow us to make specific health claims.  But read between the lines here, folks.  I recommend essential oils for a very good reason.  See my page Essential Oils For Overall Health and Specific Health Problems to see which oils are the best.

I hope you found this list informative and useful!  I will keep you informed as other items come to light.

If you would like my help with reducing your risk of 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.

Member No 267494
Member No 267494

Toxic Chemicals Found in Babies: 8 Ways to Protect Them (and You)

 

Toxic Chemicals Found in Babies
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and David Castillo

Toxic Chemicals Found in Babies: 8 Ways to Protect Them (and You)

If you know some who’s pregnant, please tell them about this blog post today.

A recent post on the website for the Environmental Working Group (“EWG”) confirmed that laboratory tests commissioned by the EWG have, for the first time, detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen (known as “xenoestrogen”), in the umbilical cord blood of American infants.  9 out of 10 Tested Had BPA.  This is a crying shame!  Here is a link to that article.

According to the Health page at msn.com: “BPA is the main building block of polycarbonate plastic, a hard plastic widely used to make kitchen utensils, food storage containers, travel mugs, and water bottles. BPA is also a main component of the epoxy linings found in metal food and beverage cans.  The problem: Polycarbonate plastics can leach BPA into our food and beverages.  Heat, acid, alcohol, harsh detergents, age, and microwaving can also exacerbate the release of BPA, says Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor and BPA researcher at the University of Missouri.  Because their reproductive organs are still developing, fetuses, infants, and children are especially vulnerable to synthetic estrogens in BPA. This means pregnant women and kids can benefit from reduced exposure to BPA. Reproductive-aged women may also want to be careful.”

While BPA may be impossible to completely eradicate from your life, here are 8 ways to reduce exposure:

1.  Don’t store foods in plastic. Glass food storage containers are quite safe and there are plenty of wonderful Pyrex containers on the market.  Just make sure you wash the plastic lids by hand.

2. Limit the use of canned foods and beverages.  The epoxy liners of metal food and beverage cans most likely contain BPA.  If you can, especially avoid buying canned foods that are acid (tomatoes, tomato-based soups, citrus products, and acidic beverages like colas) and canned alcoholic beverages, since acids and alcohols can worsen the leaching of BPA.  Many foods and beverages can be purchased in glass containers (think beer, olive oil, and tomato paste).

3.  Give up your plastic travel mug. Instead, choose an unlined stainless steel travel mug. This is especially important when transporting hot beverages, like coffee or tea.

4.  Filter drinking and cooking water.  Detectable levels of BPA have been found in municipal drinking water, so using a reverse osmosis and carbon filter is wise.  They can generally can be found for less than $200.

5.  Filter your shower and tub water.  The problem with BPA is that it can easily be absorbed through the skin.  BPA can be removed from the water by adding ceramic filters to shower heads and tubs. Just be sure to change them regularly.

6.  Limit use of hard plastic water bottles. Many of those light-weight plastic bottles we use when hiking  are made of polycarbonate plastic. Better to choose a stainless steel AND unlined water bottle as that plastic lining might contain BPA.

7.  Minimize hard plastics in the kitchen. Hard plastic spatulas, spoons, measuring cups and colanders regularly come into contact with both food and heat. Better to replace them with wooden, metal, or glass alternatives.

8.  Avoid the office water cooler. Unfortunately, those hard plastic jugs that many companies use to provide their employees and customers with “pure” water are usually made of BPA-containing polycarbonate.

I know all of this seems like a lot to take in, and more than annoying to implement.  But it’s worth doing: BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral impairments, endocrine system disruption, reproductive and cardiovascular system abnormalities, diabetes, asthma and obesity.

Especially for pregnant women: Keep taking that folic acid. Not only does it help prevent birth defects, it may also help protect a developing fetus from the effects of the BPA you may inadvertently come into contact with even if you take steps to reduce exposure.

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).  When you’re in a desperate situation, you need an ally.  You can depend on me to help you through this.