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The Best Diet Against Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Image Source: morgueFile / adicshun

Image Source: morgueFile / adicshun

The Best Diet Against Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Continuing my series of articles on dietary recommendations for particular types of breast cancer, this one is directed towards those who have been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.

What Exactly is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

Inflammatory breast cancer ( or “IBC”) is a more unusual form of invasive breast cancer that affects the lymphatic vessels in the skin of the breast, causing the breast to become red and inflamed.

Where most breast cancers form a lump (known as the tumor) IBC spreads along and blocks the lymphatic vessels in the skin of the breast.  Lymphatic vessels are responsible for removing excess fluids and waste products from the body to help prevent infections.  When lymphatic vessels become blocked, the breast becomes red and swollen, similar to an infection.  This is what gives IBC its name.

Only about 1-2% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have IBC, so it’s reasonably rare and often misdiagnosed.  The majority of women diagnosed with IBC range in age between 40-59.

Diet and Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Because IBC tends to be a more rare form of breast cancer, few studies on people have investigated the effectiveness of a certain type of diet  for its beneficial effects on IBC.  Having said that, a few studies have demonstrated the impact of food extracts on IBC cells in the laboratory and those studies have indicated these three foods to have benefit for IBC patients:
Reishi mushrooms1
Pomegranate juice2
Green tea3

Despite the lack of studies on humans, it only makes sense that by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet you will be helping to heal IBC.  Cancer is inflammation, after all.  Prof Fran Balkwill of Cancer Research UK states “If genetic damage is the match that lights the fire, inflammation may provide the fuel that feeds the flames.”

Food That You Should Include In Your Diet If You Have Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Wherever possible, try to ensure that the items from the list below are organic, because if you are trying to heal from cancer you need to stay away from conventionally grown produce and meats as much as possible due to pesticide residues in produce and, in the case of meats, growth stimulators and antibiotics.  You really need to keep the toxin load at a minimum to give your body the best chance to heal. If you are unable to obtain organically grown produce, just make sure to wash it extremely well.  Soak produce in a tub or pail of fresh water with a little white vinegar for a few minutes, then rinse well.

Here’s the list of foods and spices (or their components) which have been found to decrease inflammation:

    • Oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation;
    • Freshly ground flaxseed – for the same reason as above – the omega 3 fatty acids and flaxseed’s lignans with their uncanny ability to decrease the growth of breast cancer4;
    • Whole grains – in moderation.  Quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oats, bulgur wheat are good.  Consuming whole grains can be helpful for keeping inflammation at bay.  Avoid refined, white bread, cereal, rice, and pasta.  Whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they usually have less sugar;
    • Dark, leafy greens – full of vitamin E which is key for protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.  Spinach, kale, broccoli, collard greens, etc are great, they also tend to have higher concentrations of key vitamins and minerals and natural phytochemicals which fight disease than veggies with lighter-colored leaves;
    • Bell peppers contain high quantities of antioxidant vitamins.  Hot chilies are also useful – they are rich in capsaicin, a chemical used in topical creams that reduce pain and inflammation;
    • Beets and their juice (raw of course) have excellent antioxidant properties, vitamins, fiber and plant pigments which have been shown to reduce inflammation, as well as protect against cancer;
    • Fresh basil and peppermint – full of antioxidants, highly anti-inflammatory;
    • Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties.  Studies have linked ginger to lowered post-exercise inflammation and a decrease in joint pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They aren’t sure why this happens, only that it is beneficial for inflammation;
    • Turmeric is potently anti-inflammatory.  Research indicates it is able to turn off a NF-kappa B, a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers the process of inflammation;
    • Garlic shuts off the pathways that lead to inflammation in the body;
    • Onions contain quercetin and allicin, which breaks down to produce free radical-fighting sulfenic acid;
    • Orange food – sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, apricots – all high in vitamins C and E and the carotenoids, alpha- and beta-carotene, which are potent anti-inflammatories;
    • Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal (it’s a phytochemical that gives olive oil its taste) and it has been shown to have a similar effect as NSAID painkillers in the body;
    • Coconut oil has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties 5;
    • Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bilberries, etc) are a rich source of anthocyanins, powerful phytochemicals that give the berries their rich colors and are potent anti-inflammatories;
    • Raisins – eating raisins helps to reduce a marker of inflammation known as TNF-alpha;
    • Tart cherries – a 2012 study found that tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.”6  The study indicated that tart cherry juice can reduce inflammation in the blood of lab rats by up to 50%.  In humans, tart cherries have been shown to help athletes improve performance and reduce their use of anti-inflammatory pain medications.  They contain high levels of anthocyanins 1 and 2.  A therapeutic dose is 1-1/2 cups of tart cherries per day – or 1 cup of tart cherry juice.  Sweet cherries don’t have the same effects;
    • Cruciferous vegetables such as arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, kale and wasabi, because they are rich in sulfur, which helps your liver detox;
    • Vitamin D – research indicates that adequate levels of vitamin D are important for inhibiting the metastasis of IBC 7

This is not an exhaustive list – indeed, there are many other foods which are known to have anti-cancer benefits.   See my page Diet and Cancer for a list of other foods that have anti-cancer activity.

I recommend that breast cancer patients and survivors with IBC include as many as they can of the things on the “good” list above and limit or avoid the “please avoid” things that appear below.

Please Avoid These

No food list is complete without mentioning the things that should be avoided for inflammatory breast cancer because they have been shown to promote breast cancer growth. Those things are:

White and other highly processed breads, cereals, white rice, pasta, sugar in all its forms, most fruit (because of the fruit sugars), most dairy products, alcohol, cigarette smoking.

A Warning About Copper

According to the website foodforbreastcancer.com, “Circulating copper levels have been shown to correlate with tumor incidence and burden. Inducing copper deficiency reduced tumor growth and angiogenesis in a mouse model of IBC.”  It was recommended to avoid the following high-copper foods:

Calf’s liver or veal liver
Beef liver
Shellfish, especially oysters & lobster
Sesame seeds
Soybean products made with defatted soy flour, soybeans
Chocolate, dark & cocoa powder
Nuts, especially cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pistachio nuts
Calamari
Cooked shiitake mushrooms
Sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds
Sun dried tomatoes
Lentils

Special note: kale also contains plenty of copper but the good benefits of kale – its detoxification and anti-cancer properties – I feel outweigh the copper concern.  If you were worried about it, you could take an antacid after eating kale or the foods listed above because the stomach requires an acid environment to properly absorb copper. Antacids interfere with this absorption.

Essential Oils May Play a Role In Anti-Inflammatory Process

One last item – there are also quite a number of essential oils which research has indicated may be helpful for inflammatory conditions. Nearly every single essential oil has anti-inflammatory benefits. I have been writing articles about essential oils for The Truth About Cancer website, so head on over there and put “essential oils” into the search field.

Thanks in part to http://foodforbreastcancer.com/ for some of the dietary recommendations in this article.  Written by Sarah Charles, also a breast cancer survivor and a woman of sharp intellect, Sarah has a mathematics degree from UCLA and is a Harvard graduate.

Research:

1.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23468988

2.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23065001

3.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24039951

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24869971

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20645831

6. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/researchers-say-tart-cherries-have-the-highest-anti-inflammatory-content-of-any-food-155672215.html

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22610818

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16987032

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

The Difference Made By The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

http://MarnieClark.com/guest-writer-sarah-poland-for-the-breast-cancer-research-foundationThe Difference Made by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
By: Guest Writer, Sarah Poland

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is a non-profit organization with a mission to “prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.”  Since their founding in 1993, BCRF has raised over $500 million, and over the next couple of years, they will award nearly $60 million in grants to 200+ scientists from top universities and medical institutions around the world. BCRF provides vital funding for cancer research, focusing on six specific areas: tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship.

1.  Tumor Biology

Logically, one must first understand how cancer works before one can treat and prevent it.  To get to the core of the cancer, which is actually a group of more than 100 diseases, every aspect from the smallest molecule to the largest tumor is examined.  Even when detected at the earliest stage, breast cancer is still unpredictable; doctors do not yet know which cells will be treated successfully and which will grow or spread. (University of California San Francisco Medical Center)

Ultimately, BCRF researchers seek the answer to two important “why” questions: Why does a normal cell become abnormal?  Why do different tumors react different to treatment?

According to Dr Charles Perou, “Understanding the bigger picture of the relationship between cancer stem cells, tumor biology, and their response to therapy has now evolved to be our area of focus”.  Once researchers like Dr Perou determine the “why”, they can focus on the “how”: how to treat and ultimately prevent breast cancer.  As every person is unique, so is every tumor, so there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” treatment.  The question of “why” has many answers and, by providing funding to researchers across the globe, BCRF is helping to simultaneously discover all solutions.

2.  Heredity & Ethnicity

You may be surprised to learn that most breast cancer patients do not have a family history of the disease.  “While breast cancers are known to run in families, they are rarely a direct result of mutated genes inherited from a parent.  In fact, inherited, or hereditary, cases account for only 5 – 10 percent of all breast cancers.” – Christine B Ambrosone, PhD

A person’s heredity and ethnicity are definitely risks, but they are not guarantees.  For this reason, genetic cancer research can be quite complicated.  There are certainly racial similarities when it comes to the manifestation of breast cancer, such as a genetic link to more aggressive tumors in women of African descent.  By focusing on racial differences at the molecular level, BCRF researchers will be able to better understand the course of the disease and therefore tailor treatment plans to specific ethnic groups.

3.  Lifestyle & Prevention

By now you know that there are many factors that lead to breast cancer, and lifestyle can be one of them.  While some of these factors, such as age and gender, are beyond one’s control, there are other ways that people can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

One of the major lifestyle risks is obesity, and BCRF researchers have found that maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and avoiding stress can significantly affect prognosis.  Identifying lifestyle-related risk factors can help to empower people who may otherwise feel helpless when it comes to cancer.

4.  Treatment

Again, every cancer is unique.  Thanks to sophisticated research projects like those funded by BCRF, we know that no two cancers are the same and, subsequently, treatment plans have evolved to accommodate the diverse nature of the disease.

Not only do treatment results vary from person to person, but so do the risks and side effects.  From the patient’s family history to the tumor’s biology, researchers take everything into consideration when determining a treatment plan.  The overall goal is to find the least invasive but most effective option that will produce the best outcome for that particular person.

According to Dawn Hershman, a BCRF researcher, the quality of cancer care is a major national concern. Not all patients receive the most advanced treatment that is available, while others undergo costly treatments that may not help them.  The goal of Dr Hershman’s studies is to “integrate findings from population-based research to improve the quality of cancer care, reduce overuse of expensive drugs and improve quality of life for breast cancer survivors.”  Such patient-oriented approaches will surely lead to more successful results.

5.  Survivorship

Breast cancer research is clearly making a difference when it comes to survival rates.  There are nearly 3 million cancer survivors in the United States alone!  However, once a cancer patient enters remission, their journey is not over.  Survivors face a variety of physical and emotional challenges, from pain and fatigue to depression and insomnia.  By focusing on life after cancer, researchers have been able to identify treatment plans for ongoing care.  For example, research conducted by Patricia Ganz focuses on memory loss after breast cancer treatment.  Her work has provided insight into the causes of and ways to recover from this loss.

While complete breast cancer prevention may be an extremely long-term goal, survivorship is very relevant.  Cure rates have increased dramatically over the last 15 years and, according to Dr Ian Smith, death from breast cancer may become uncommon in the next decade.  Therefore, research focusing on life post-treatment is incredibly important.

6.  Metastasis

Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.  Early detection of breast cancer is certainly associated with higher survival rates but when the disease metastasizes, it often turns deadly. To many researchers, stopping the spread of breast cancer to other areas of the body is the single most important task at hand.

The BCRF has pledged $27 million to an international collaboration focusing on metastasis.  This will help researchers to uncover the reason why some breast cancers spread versus others.  The BCRF recently joined the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Society for Clinical Oncology to sponsor a workshop aimed at developing new drugs to treat metastatic breast cancer.

By fostering a community approach and providing easily-accessible grants and funding, BCRF is leading the fight against breast cancer.  With a talented array of researchers at the helm, this foundation is providing hope for everyone who is affected by the disease.  Dr Ian Smith said it well: “BCRF brings all the top people involved in breast cancer research together, physically once a year and in spirit over the rest of the year.  That leads to better exchange of ideas, and that is the way progress is made–not by people sitting and working in isolation, but by bringing large groups of people together.  This is what makes BCRF so important and so valuable.”

Thanks to Sarah Poland for letting us know how BCRF is helping people with breast cancer, and thanks to BCRF for the crucially important work they do.  I would encourage my readers to go over to the BCRF website and make a donation to this worthy cause.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

Facing Mastectomy? The Merits Of Having A “Breast Wake”

Image Source: rgbstock / sundesigns
Image Source: rgbstock / sundesigns

Facing a life-altering surgery such as mastectomy is never going to be easy, let’s face it.

Regardless of your age, your breasts have been a big part of your sexual identity, nurtured your children, and/or given your partner much delight (and hopefully you as well).  If  you are facing mastectomy because of breast cancer, the thought of losing one or both breasts is no doubt a huge shock.

There are many resources out there for you to help you make your decision – and more than a few on this website – but the purpose of today’s article is to share with you the merits of having a “breast wake” should you decide to go forward with mastectomy.

What is a Breast Wake?

The traditional wake, held when someone died, involved family members or friends who stayed awake with the body of the deceased to watch or guard it and/or have a prayer vigil until it was time for the church funeral and/or burial.

According to Wikipedia, a wake is often a social rite which highlights the idea that the loss is one of a social group and affects that group as a whole.

Why should the loss of a breast be any different?  I have a friend who held a wake for a much-beloved dog.  I really think that this kind of loss should be noted, either before or after the event, but preferable before and here’s why.

Why Have A Breast Wake?

When you have gathered your family and friends together to mourn the loss of your breast(s), this is an exceptional time to ask each of them to help you with that process, in some small way while you are recovering and even possibly after treatments begin (if any).

Whether it be cooking you a healthy meal and bringing it over, or just taking out your garbage, or occasionally scrubbing the sink, you will be surprised to discover how many people actually want to help you and are willing to do just that.  And you will need their help at some point, I promise you.

Helpful Hints

Mourning the loss of a breast doesn’t have to be a solemn occasion.  Put someone else in charge of all of this – your best friend, for example – if you don’t http://MarnieClark.com/facing-mastectomy-the-merits-of-holding-a-breast-wakefeel up to it.  Pull the carpets back and dance if you want to.  Have some great, healthy food with your friends and family.  Cry and laugh with them.  Propose a toast to your breast(s) and have others do the same.  Serve cupcakes that look like breasts.

Instead of having a guest book where people list their names, have a blank book for people to write in – a few of their favorite inspirational quotes (ask them to bring them along when you invite them) because at some point during this journey you will feel overwhelmed, scared and depressed.  Having a book like this to delve into can help you through these difficult times.

With regard to the people who offer to help you, either you or a friend with good handwriting can write down the name and phone number of each person who offers help, along with what it was they offered to do.  Don’t be afraid to call them either!

Please do mark the occasion because it will help you in so many ways.  It will help your friends too.

If you would like to receive my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences, just  sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com). I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Breast Cancer

Image Source: morgueFile / Yoel
Image Source: morgueFile / Yoel

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Breast Cancer

One of the things that you might not know about me is that I am a massage therapist, so the subject of the benefits of massage therapy for breast cancer is near and dear to my heart.

As a breast cancer survivor myself, I can give firsthand testimony that massage therapy is a wonderful and beneficial thing when you’ve been told those awful words “I am sorry but you have breast cancer.”  Nurturing touch can mean so much at a time like this, and it truly does have many benefits as you progress through the gamut of treatments and uncertainties.

Some doctors and even some massage schools will tell you that massage therapy is contraindicated (not to be performed) with cancer patients, and I would very much like to dispel that myth.  There are many benefits of massage therapy for many types of cancer, but today I’m going to focus on its benefits for those going through breast cancer.

Massage Through The Ages

Massage has been used as a therapy for centuries, the earliest known reference to it being portrayed on Egyptian tombs.  It was also mentioned as early as the 700 BC in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, an ancient Chinese medical text.  Massage therapy has been used traditionally in many different cultures including China, India, Japan, Korea, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia and Thailand, for various ailments, pain relief, stress relief, but also for beauty.

In modern times, massage therapy has had a rather odious connection to overcome, just think of the words “massage parlour” and you’ll know what I mean by that.  That connection in people’s minds has taken YEARS to overcome and it still annoys me when I am in cities that advertise massage when it is blatantly obvious that’s not what they are selling at all.  But I digress…

Is Massage Safe For People With Breast Cancer?

The answer is a resounding YES.   Massage can safely be given to people at all stages of breast cancer, but it should be performed by a trained massage therapist who has had additional training in oncology massage, or at the very least by a skilled therapist who is knowledgeable about lymphedema, lymphedema risk, bone metastases, risk of deep vein thrombosis, and suppressed blood cell populations.

An old myth warned that massage could, by increasing circulation, spread cancer cells and promote metastasis since tumor cells travel through the body via the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels, organs and nodes through which lymphatic fluid, or lymph, flows.   We now know that movement and exercise increase circulation much more than a brief massage can, and that routine increases in circulation occur many times daily in response to the metabolic demands of our tissues.  In fact, physical activity is normally encouraged in people with cancer and there is NO reason to discourage massage or some form of skilled touch because it offers so very many wonderful benefits.

The Specific Benefits of Massage Therapy for Breast Cancer

These are the things that we know for sure about the benefits of massage therapy:

  • relieves pain
  • reduces fatigue
  • helps to alleviate nausea
  • reduces stress, anxiety and depression
  • improves sleep
  • helps nerve damage
  • improves mental clarity and alertness
  • boosts immune system
  • reduces discomfort of lymphedema

The great thing about massage therapy is that it treats the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease.  While massage doesn’t treat the cancer itself, it does help reduce the side effects caused by conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiation and improves quality of life in ways we are only beginning to understand.

I Utilize Massage Therapy Daily For Continued Breast Health

I actually also use massage therapy daily on my own breasts, combined with certain essential oils because of their research-backed spectrum of pro-health activities (we aren’t allowed to say anti-cancer!).  For more information on which oils I use, see my page Essential Oils for Overall Health and Specific Health Problems.

The Research

I know my readers like to have evidence based medicine – we want PROOF, don’t we?  So here it is, and there is a lot of it:

A 2008 study done by the National Institutes of Health evaluated the efficacy of massage versus simple touch for decreasing pain and symptom distress and improving quality of life among persons with advanced cancer.  It was found that both groups experienced significant improvement in pain relief, physical and emotional distress, as well as quality of life, however, the immediate improvement in pain and mood was greater in the group receiving massage. 1

A 2004 study found that massage and aromatherapy consistently reduced anxiety and depression in cancer patients and that massage also helped decrease nausea and pain. 2

A 2014 Iranian study found that massage therapy greatly assisted patients with breast cancer with quality of sleep. 3

A 2008 study looked at the safety and effectiveness of massage in reducing stress hormone levels in patients with blood cancer and concluded that massage significantly reduced the levels of stress hormones in these patients. 4

A 2001 study indicated that massage improved immunity for adolescents with HIV and, more recently, a 2010 study showed massage had very positive effects on immune function for normal healthy individuals. 6   By the way, this does not mean that you have to be normal and healthy to enjoy an immunity boost from massage therapy.   I employed massage therapy all during chemotherapy (and I still do) and I know that it was one of the things that helped me to stay very well, despite a practically non-existent immune system.

A 2013 study showed that ovarian cancer patients receiving massage felt significantly less hopeless and enjoyed a better quality of life.7

A 2002 study of the effects of massage on hospitalized cancer patients showed that for those receiving therapeutic massage there were improvements in pain, sleep quality, symptom distress, and anxiety. 8

My advice?  If you are going through breast cancer, go and get a massage from a qualified massage therapist – you have nothing to lose and much to gain!

References:

1.  http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/110608.htm

2.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106172

3.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24834078

4.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18300336

5.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11264907

6.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20809811

7.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23086133

8.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12237988

If you would like to receive my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences, just  sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com). I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – My Best Juicing Tips

Image source: stock.xchng
Image source: stock.xchng

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – My Best Juicing Tips

To conclude my series of articles about juicing for breast cancer, this one is all about the best tips I’ve gathered over the past 15 or so years while juicing – a real grab-bag of “good to know” tips on juicing.

1. The produce you really should buy organically grown – because of the fact that they are highly sprayed and you don’t want toxic residue in your healthy drink –  are: apples, celery, bell peppers, strawberries, grapes, spinach, kale and other leafy greens, cucumbers, and blueberries. Everything else? Well, you’re always better off buying organic but if you need to keep your food budget down or it just isn’t available where you live, the other things are okay to buy non-organically grown. If you have to. See the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Regardless of whether you are using organic produce, always wash everything thoroughly. Even organic produce can have bacteria, road dust, etc on it.
2. Beet juice will turn your urine a beautiful shade of pink (it can happen with your poo too). Just be aware.  It’s not internal bleeding! Beet is a fantastic thing to juice though – see my page Diet And Cancer for the reasons why. The tops of the beets are also excellent to juice or in salads, they are high in potassium, iron, vitamins A and C.
3. Vegetable juices are generally healthier than fruit juices and won’t spike your blood sugar levels. If you’re sweet on fruits and really want to include them, use a blender. For more info on this, see my article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer Or Blender To Use?. Juice mostly vegetables and then add a little fruit to improve the taste.
4. Fresh juices don’t last a long time.  It’s best to consume fresh juices within a half hour or so of making them. Some juicers create juices that can be stored up to 2 days, know whether yours will do that, Store them in the fridge in a glass container, filling it as full as you can (thus allowing very little air inside) and make sure the lid is very tight. This will keep your juice from oxidizing so quickly. Remember, it has no preservatives!
5. Save preparation time in the morning.  Just scrub and chop all your produce prior to putting it in the fridge, and then store it in really great containers (I like these).  This really cuts down the preparation time and the containers also help to keep things fresh a bit longer.
6.  Add a wedge of lemon or lime at the end of your juicing – after you’ve juiced everything else. It helps to clean your juicer of other things you’ve been processing and it adds a fresh, clean zing to the taste of your juice. Not to mention loads of vitamin C.
7. Keep the motor running… head out on the highway…. Seriously.  When juicing, keep the motor running for a further 10-15 seconds. You might be surprised at how much juice keeps coming out.
8. There are lots of things you can do with pulp.  If you are juicing, you may be dismayed to see how much pulp gets left. Don’t worry!  With some juicers you can pass the pulp through the machine one more time to get even more juice out of it.  You can also use the pulp to create your own super healthy organic vegetable stock (contact me if you need a recipe). Just strain the pulp out of the stock when you have finished cooking it.  You can also use the pulp in quiches, soups, stews, casseroles. Or – rather than throwing away the pulp – put it in your compost heap or bury it somewhere in your garden. Your plants will love it.
9. Wash your juicer immediately after juicing. This keeps it from getting stained by the vegetables you juiced, and the dried on bits of vegetable residue can gum it up and be hard to remove if you leave it for too long.
10. Ginger is divine to juice and its anti-inflammatory properties make it well worth adding to your daily juice regime. Begin by using just a little bit, however, because it is hot and spicy and less is more. As you get used to the heat and the flavor, then you can begin adding a little more.
11. Consume fresh juices on an empty stomach. This allows all of the plant nutrients and live enzymes to be absorbed by your body as quickly as possible. Don’t drink juice when you’ve already eaten something else, it may cause some digestive disturbances for you. A good idea is to wait at least 2 hours after a meal to drink fresh juices and wait 20 minutes after drinking your fresh juice to eat solid food.
12. Chew your juice! I know that sounds crazy, but the process of digestion begins in the mouth. Swish the juice around in your mouth, move your jaw up and down for a couple of seconds prior to swallowing – this releases saliva which contains within it the digestive enzymes which will help you get the nutrients into your cells.
13. Rotate your greens. By greens I mean spinach, arugula, kale, chard, etc.  Juice a different one every few days – this helps to prevent imbalances of vitamins and minerals within the body.
14. Be patient. If juicing is something that seems more like a chore than a pleasure, just know you are not alone. The health benefits are huge though, and I would encourage you to be patient and keep at it. Read my article The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing for Breast Cancer if you get too discouraged – that will help you to remember why you’re juicing in the first place!

If you would like to receive my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences, just  sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com). I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

 

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer Or Blender To Use?

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer or Blender To Use?

I am a huge proponent of juicing for breast cancer — it’s great for any sort of cancer, really — and one of the questions I get asked most frequently is which juicer or blender to use.

It’s a great question, mainly because of the baffling array of juicers on the market, the manufacturers of which all claim that theirs is the best and provides you with the most nutrients and enzymes.  The purpose of this article is not to compare juicers because there are plenty of websites that do that.  I would just like you to understand the difference between juicing and blending and then you can decide for yourself which is best for you.

As mentioned in a previous article, The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer, juicing is an excellent way to extract massive amounts of vitamins, minerals, plant nutrients and enzymes from fruits and vegetables for your body’s immediate use.  Whether to use a juicer or a blender to extract those nutrients, however, has become a hotly debated subject.

What began as a simple message about the benefits of juicing for health has recently evolved into a rather strict bunch of “juicing rules” that people are obsessing about.  What I’ve observed is that some people have stopped juicing altogether – or never start – because they’ve been told that unless they can afford a particular juicer that’s out of their price range, they are wasting their time!  Now that’s just a crying shame.

There are plenty of juicers on the market that are affordable and do a great job.  You can, of course, obsess about which one does a better job and indeed, I found an interesting 2007 study by Michael Donaldson, PhD of Hallelujah Acres Foundation (this was on Chris Wark’s website – thank you very much, Chris) comparing seven popular juicers, including the $2,400 Norwalk juicer.  Click that link to read the study, it’s pretty interesting.  While the Norwalk excelled in several aspects such as enzyme content when the juice had to be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, it really wasn’t that big of a difference.

Please keep reading, then make your decision.  I think that we should be doing both – juicing and blending – and here’s why.

To Juice Or To Blend – That Is The Question

While both juicing and blending are healthy for you, the results are quite different.  Both juicing and blending will give you a great big shot of dense nutrients that your body can readily use, but there are some important differences.  They both make a valuable contribution to your health, be it in different ways.

http://MarnieClark.com/The-Benefits-Of-Juicing-For-Breast-Cancer-Which-Juicer-Or-Blender-To-UseJuicing, done with a slow speed masticating juicer, is designed to extract as much densely packed nutrition from your organic produce as possible by removing all the fiber (pulp).  This allows your body to easily assimilate all the nutrients without requiring too much energy from your digestive system.  That’s why it’s so great for cancer patients or people who have troubled digestive systems.  When you ingest a big load of vegetables and/or fruit in a meal or a smoothie, it can take hours to digest and absorb all of that fiber. With fresh raw juices that have no fiber, however, your body gets those nutrients in minutes.  That makes juicing ideal for cleansing and detoxification and gives the digestive system a rest.  It’s also ideal for people with cancer who are suffering from cachexia, or muscle wasting. The downside of juicers is that they generally take a little more time to clean up and some people don’t like that.  I don’t find it a problem, it really only takes a few more minutes.  My favorite juicer is the Omega J8005, it’s easy to clean, produces a wonderful smooth juice and isn’t terribly expensive.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / zirconicusso

Blending, done with something like a Nutribullet or Vitamix or just an ordinary blender, works by splitting open the cellular wall of fruits and vegetables, releasing all of the nutrients – but it is much more like eating a meal since the fiber is retained (and that’s good for cleansing the colon and slowing the release of fructose, fruit sugar, when you are blending fruit).  You get better assimilation than if you ate the fruit or vegetables whole, but you don’t get quite the concentrated nutritional density of juice derived from a masticating juicer.  You wouldn’t be able to get as much produce into a blender container as you are able to process with a juicer.  Blenders are great for making smoothies, which tend to be more filling than juices and more satisfying if you are very hungry.  Another benefit to blending is that you can also add super foods and supplements to smoothies to increase the antioxidant hit or cancer-killing nutrients.  I frequently add a spoonful of maqui berry powder to get a big antioxidant hit, or you could add hemp or spirulina or chia seeds or flaxseed (get the idea?).  Doing this adds a lot of nutrition to your smoothies which you might not ordinarily do with a glass of fresh juice.

So the bottom line?  Which is better, juicing or blending?  As you can see each has its benefits and merits. The best one to use IS THE ONE THAT YOU LOVE USING!  If you buy a big expensive juicer and then it sits in your pantry because you hate cleaning it, it’s not doing you any good at all.  So get the one you think you’ll love to use and enjoy it.  Make juicing and/or blending a daily part of your wellness protocol.  For the list of the very best things to juice, see my article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice.

If you would like my best tips on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences 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 (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond. 

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice

Image Source: rgbstock.com / Ayla87

Image Source: rgbstock.com / Ayla87

The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice

In my last article, The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer, I gave you twelve very good reasons why juicing is incredibly beneficial for breast cancer and today, in part 2 of this 4-part series, I am covering what exactly to juice.  I know many people delay juicing because they don’t know what to juice.  Don’t worry about having specific recipes (although resources for those is found at the bottom of this article) — just get started — squish these things into your juice (the next article covers the best juicers to use) and adjust for your own personal tastebuds.  It’s all about experimentation and finding out what you like.

Note:  Always use organic produce wherever you can but if it’s just not available, get yourself a good quality fruit and vegetable wash and wash everything thoroughly before juicing.  You can also add a splash of white vinegar to a basin of fresh cold water and soak your produce to help remove any traces of pesticide, herbicide, wax, etc.

Kale

Kale is one of the most alkaline vegetables and packs a terrific wallop of omega-3 fatty acids, chlorophyll, betacarotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium.  It is highly anti-inflammatory (and cancer is a very inflammatory condition), it helps to activate your immune system, it reduces the absorption of carcinogens (cancer causing things).  Tip: Wash kale thoroughly.  According to foodbabe.com, “To get the most out of your kale, run it through the juicer before the fruits and veggies with higher water content like cucumber and apple.”

Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene, antioxidants that protect against cell damage.  Carrots also contain retinol which inhibits tumor promotion.  There are plenty of cancer survivor testimonies out there on the internet from people who heavily juiced carrots and eradicated their cancer.  Tip: Peel both organic and non-organic carrots prior to juicing because they do grow in the ground and the skins of root vegetables can contain trace amounts of arsenic.

Cucumbers

90% water, they are a wonderful base for any juicing recipe and are full of electrolytes, vitamins B, C and K, and potassium.  They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Additionally, new lab research (done only on animals so far) indicates that cucumbers contain plant lignans which are converted in the gut into enterolignans which have the ability to bind onto estrogen receptors on our cells.  They can have both pro-estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects, depending on what is needed by the body.  A reduced risk of estrogen-related cancers, including cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate have been associated with intake of dietary lignans from plant foods like cucumber (also flaxseed).  Fresh cucumbers also contain a group of compounds called cucurbitacins and researchers have determined that  several different cell signaling pathways required for cancer cell development and cancer cell survival can be blocked by activity of cucurbitacins.  Tip: If your cucumbers are organic, leave the skin on but if they are not organic, peel them due to the synthetic waxes that get applied to them, you don’t want that in your juice

Beets

Beets contain iron, potassium, niacin, copper, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.  They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are required for good eye health.  Beets must be fresh, not canned. Beets are one of the best anti-cancer veggies around, abounding in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  They stimulate lymphatic function, enhance liver function, make a great blood cleanser, and good for cellular detoxification.  Tip: Peel both organic and non-organic beets before juicing.

Wheat Grass

Fresh wheat or barley grass juice is very alkaline, it is a very potent blood purifier and liver cleanser as it contains oodles of chlorophyll, which is similar in molecular structure to hemoglobin in our blood and helps transport oxygen to our cells.  Since cancer loves conditions where oxygen is absent, you can immediately see the benefit that wheat grass offers.  Chlorophyll has also been proven to be a more effective antimutagenic than any antioxidants.  Wheat grass also contains selenium and laetrile, and that makes it a superb overall cancer fighter.   Tip:  People with wheat allergies have nothing to worry about with wheat grass – although it is grown from grain, it morphs completely into a vegetable with none of the allergy proteins common to wheat.  Also, if you drink a lot of it, just beware because it can act as a natural laxative.  Which can be a good thing if you’re doing chemotherapy!

Apples

Apples contain flavonoids, which are phytochemicals that protect cells and DNA from damage.  They act as antioxidants and help to control inflammation.  They also contain quercitin which research indicates inhibits EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) and HER2 neu common in breast cancer.  Tip:  Most of the flavonoid content of an apple is in the skin, so don’t peel them and definitely buy organic apples whenever you can.  If organic apples are not available, wash them well in warm water and vinegar to remove the wax coatings and any chemical residue.  Just go easy when juicing apples as they do contain a lot of natural sugar.

Pineapple

Pineapple contains an enzyme known as bromelain which is a natural digestive enzyme and is helpful for cancer because it boosts cytokines, particularly interferon and tumor necrosis factor, which are very important warriors in destroying cancer cells.  Bromelain also decreases inflammation, helps the immune system, and according to mercola.com, bromelain is also involved with “Dissolving fibrin: Cancer cells hide under a cloak of fibrin to escape detection. Once the cancer cells are ‘uncloaked,’ they can be spotted and attacked by your immune system. It is also thought that fibrin makes cancer cells ‘stick together,’ which increases the chance for metastases.”  Tip: To tell whether a pineapple is ripe and ready for juicing, lift it, squeeze it, and smell it. The fruit should be heavy, which means it’s juicy; the skin should yield slightly to a gentle squeeze, and the aroma should be sweet.  Color also matters – if it’s too green, it will probably be slightly sour.  You want a pineapple that has a slightly yellow tinge on the rind.

Celery

Hugely anti-inflammatory and alkaline, celery is excellent for juicing.  Celery is full of potassium, calcium, vitamins C and K, folate, and antioxidants which help protect against oxidative damage to cells, blood vessels, and organ systems.  It is also full of important phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory and protective of the digestive tract and cardiovascular system.  Recent research done on mice indicated that a key component of celery known as apigenin slowed cancerous growths and shrank tumors and reduced the blood vessels feeding the tumors, as well as restricting nutrient flow to the tumor cells, thus starving them of the nutrients needed for growth.   Tip: Keep celery for no longer than 5-7 days in the refrigerator before using.

Berries

Berries are all rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, silicon and iron. They also contain anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants and bacteria inhibitors. Many also contain ellagic acid.  Blueberries in particular have been studied for their ability to help halt the growth and spread of triple negative breast cancer.   Tip: If you are juicing berries with seeds (like raspberries or blackberries), you will want to use a masticating style juicer to separate the seeds from the juice.  Or you can also strain the juice afterward.

Lemons

As we all know, lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, aids the immune system, and is a potent antioxidant. Lemon is also a great source of folate and potassium.  Lemons help you eliminate waste, are a natural antiseptic, cleanse the lymphatic system, and are very potent little cancer-fighters.  Tip: Lemons are not acidic once inside the body – once they enter the stomach they are alkaline and promote a healthy body pH.  Juice organic lemons WITH THE PEEL as the peel contains limonene, a potent anti-cancer phytochemical.

Ginger

In studies on mice, ginger proved to be very effective in killing cancerous cells and it did this in two different ways.  First, ginger causes cancer cells to “commit suicide” (known as apoptosis) by destroying themselves while leaving the surrounding healthy cells untouched. Second, ginger tricks cancerous cells into eating themselves (known as autophagy).  In addition, ginger has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties and this helps cancer patients in a third way – ginger helps to prevent tumors from creating the perfect scenario for growth. One study found that exposing ovarian cancer cells to a solution of ginger powder resulted in their death in every single test.  Tip: Peel your ginger and experiment with the size of chunk that you juice.  It adds a bit of heat and spice to the juice so start with small amounts and work your way up.  I use about a 1″ knob of ginger in my juice, I don’t mind the heat at all.  Ginger is also excellent for helping with nausea due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  You should not take ginger if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or aspirin).

Broccoli

Broccoli is full of vitamins C and B, beta-carotene, folate, calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur and is one of the most highly regarded vegetables for breast cancer prevention. It has high levels of three powerful cancer-fighting phytochemicals – isothiocyanates, indoles and dithiolethiones. These special plant chemicals regulate the way in which cells respond to  environmental elements that can potentially trigger cancerous changes within the DNA of the cell.  The phytochemical indole has been found to increase the elimination of estrogen, which is great for those who have estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.  Tip: Keep the stems for juicing and eat the florets raw or lightly steamed.  Broccoli can have a strong flavor which might take some getting used to, juice it with other things that you love the taste of!

Great juicing recipes abound on the Internet, check out a few of these:
myjuicecleanse.com
thebestofrawfood.com
chrisbeatcancer.com
choosingraw.com
foodbabe.com

For more information on what to juice, visit my page Diet and Cancer.  See also my article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – Which Juicer Or Blender To Use.

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!

The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer

Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / KEK064

Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / KEK064

The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer

This is the first of a four-part series.  In this article I will share with you the 12 best benefits of juicing if you have breast cancer (and even if you don’t!), the second article will cover what to juice, the third article will cover the best juicers to purchase, and the fourth article will share some really great juicing tips to help you save time and money.

As a breast cancer coach, I am increasingly aware of the fact that although juicing seems to be a hugely popular health food trend, not many people are aware of the actual benefits of juicing.  There are plenty of reasons, particularly if you are fighting breast cancer and going through all of the treatments, but even if you’re not, there are some compelling reasons for juicing.

Let’s jump right in.

The 12 Best Benefits of Juicing for Breast Cancer

  1. The Number One Reason – many fruits and vegetables have nutrients that kill cancer cells and/or stop the spread of cancer.  See my page Diet and Cancer for the very best ones.  If you are not a huge fan of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, juicing is a fantastic way to get them into your body.
  2. Juicing allows you to consume a large amount of vegetables and fruit and the phytonutrients (plant based nutrients) they contain.  Could you sit and eat 6 carrots, 2 apples, a big chunk of ginger and a slice of lemon in one sitting?  Probably not.  But you can certainly juice them and get all of the super-charged nutrients and antioxidants which are more easily and completely absorbed by the body than when taking synthetic vitamins.
  3. Cooking food destroys 100% of all enzymes in that food.  Because you are juicing raw vegetables and fruit, you can take advantage of all the living enzymes within that fruit or vegetable.  Why are enzymes important?  Enzymes are substances which make chemical reactions possible.  The enzymes found in natural, “live” foods and also in your body are the “work force” of the body. They are needed for the production of hormones, to break down the food you eat, for nutrients like minerals and vitamins to work, and thousands of other processes.  There are believed to be hundreds of thousands of enzymes in the body and without them, life cannot exist.
  4. Juicing is great for impaired digestion.  By the time we have reached middle age, our digestion is less than optimal and this limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients you take in.  Juicing helps to “pre-digest” these nutrients for you, allowing the highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes to rapidly enter the bloodstream so that you are able to absorb all of the nutritional benefits of the fruits and vegetables, giving your digestive organs a much-needed rest.
  5. You can enjoy a wider variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet.  If you worry that you aren’t eating a wide enough variety of fresh produce every day, juicing is a great way to remove that worry.
  6.  Juicing gives you more energy.  If you are going through treatments for breast cancer, you will be feeling the effects of those treatments.  I promise – you begin juicing and you will stop feeling this way.  Also, if you don’t have much of an appetite due to the treatment you’re on, sipping away at a lovely blend of juices in a glass helps you to feel better.  Just knowing each sip is full of potent cancer-kicking nutrients helps your peace of mind.
  7. Juicing helps to strengthen your immune system.  If you understand that our immune system is our number one defense against cancer cells, you will recognize the importance of juicing.  I’ll give you just one example of how this occurs.  Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, a substance in plants that is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays a very important role in regulating the immune system, it helps the body fight off infections, and helps keep enough T-cells, also known as fighter cells, in circulation. It also boosts the activity of white blood cells, which defend the body from foreign substances.
  8. Juicing helps to reduce your risk of recurrence.  It only stands to reason that if you are juicing regularly, building your immune system, taking in all of the lovely super-charged nutrients that enter your body through the juices, you are actively helping to keep yourself well and reduce your risk of recurrence.  Additionally, cancer loves acid conditions and juicing helps to keep your body more alkaline.
  9. Juicing helps to reduce inflammation.  Inflammation has long been associated with the development of cancer, as well as other diseases like arthritis, heart disease, stroke, allergies, asthma, Crohn’s Disease, migraines and on and on.  Juicing regularly helps to relieve inflammatory conditions to a huge degree.  For more information, read this article: Why Cancer and Inflammation?
  10. Juicing helps to detoxify your body.  After going through chemotherapy and radiation, you often feel like you are a toxic waste dump, that you might actually glow in the dark.  Juicing during these treatments, and especially afterward, helps your body detox and eliminate the chemicals.  Just check with your oncologist, however, as some won’t allow juicing during the treatments.  I think it is the belief of some oncologists that antioxidants from the juicing may disrupt the action of the chemotherapeutic agents.  I juiced all during my chemotherapy, however, and I’m still here to tell the tale!  I feel it helped me enormously to do it that way.
  11. Juicing regularly helps clear your mind.   It actually helps to increase mental focus and improves clarity of thought.  All those lovely little phytonutrients are so beneficial for the healthy functioning of your brain and nervous system.
  12. Juicing reduces junk food cravings.  I love this last one – whether it’s a function of giving your cells the nutrition that they are craving or because you are eating less sugar when you are looking after yourself and juicing, it’s definitely a great side effect.

Look out for my next article The Benefits of Juicing For Breast Cancer – What To Juice

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!

 

Guest Writer: Jessica Socheski on 8 Ways To Communicate Pain Effectively To Your Doctor

Image source: sjccfthynet.blogspot.com

Today I’m welcoming Jessica Socheski, a freelance journalist who enjoys writing about health matters.  Jessica wished to share some information with my readers about how to effectively communicate pain to your doctor or care provider.

8 Ways To Effectively Communicate Pain To Your Doctor

Clear communication with your physician is essential to receiving the proper diagnosis and treatment for your pain. If there is a lapse in communication between a patient and his or her doctor, even great physicians will have trouble diagnosing their patient’s symptoms correctly.

People who are informed and prepared will be able to relay critical details to their physicians and ask them the right questions in order to receive the best care possible. Here are some simple steps about communicating effectively with your healthcare professional.

 1.  Speak Up

When speaking with your healthcare professional, do not be shy about your pain. Inform your doctor as to why you have made the appointment and talk openly about any related symptoms to your condition. If you have been having chronic migraines, inform your doctor about the symptoms you have leading up to the migraine, the pain during the migraine, and any residual effects.

In addition, tell your doctor if your pain interferes with any activities such as work or leisure activities, and whether your mood changes with the pain.

2. Be Specific

Show your doctor where the pain is and be as specific as possible about its location and intensity. If your migraine affects a certain area of your head, do not simply express that your head hurts. Instead, tell what side the pain resonates in, if it affects your sight, etc.

3. Describe Pain With Adjectives

Since only you know right where your pain is and to what extent it hurts, help your doctor understand by descriptively talking about your pain. Here is a list of adjectives that might be helpful:

•aching

•throbbing

•shooting

•stabbing

•sharp

•tender

•burning

•exhausting

•penetrating

•numb

4. Rate The Severity

Use a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you have ever felt. Rate your pain for a period of time before your doctor’s appointment, noting when the pain worsens and eases. Some people find keeping a record diary is helpful to provide their doctor.

5. Track Your Pain

Tell your doctor whether your pain is periodic, occasional, continuous, or related to a certain activity. Be sure to explain when the pain is at its worst and when it is at its best, or if anything triggers it like food, sleeping, time of day, activities, etc.

6. Devise A Treatment Plan

Treatment varies for each person and each doctor. Your doctor might prescribe pain medication, or they might offer suggestions such as massages, yoga, or light activity. Be sure to talk about what cures you may have already tried at home.

7. Be Honest

Do not be afraid to disagree with your doctor. If what they are relaying back to you seems unrelated to your pain or symptoms, tell them. This can help them to adjust their diagnosis or explain their thinking to you.

8. Be Prepared

Write out or mentally review your questions or concerns in advance. This way, when it comes time for your appointment, you will not forget any symptoms to relay to your doctor.

In order for your doctors to be able to treat you as best as they can, you need to be able to speak with them effectively. Use these tips to better describe your pain.

Thanks, Jessica, for the great advice.

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right. You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark, Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates. I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

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!

How Coenzyme Q10 Benefits Breast Cancer

Photo courtesy of Morguefile / Clarita

How Coenzyme Q10 Benefits Breast Cancer

My last article on Coenzyme Q10 was written in 2012, and at the time there was little definitive research available to say that it had great benefits for breast cancer, simply that we knew it had cardio-protective qualities for someone undergoing chemotherapy and it was of benefit to the immune system.  See my article Coenzyme Q10 – Beneficial For Breast Cancer Or Not?

Having decided it was time to see if more research – something more definitive – had been carried out, I spent the day looking into the subject and I have indeed found some interesting new research for you.

How Coenzyme Q10 Works In The Body

The National Cancer Institute described it beautifully on their website: “A coenzyme helps an enzyme do its job. An enzyme is a protein that speeds up the rate at which natural chemical reactions take place in cells of the body. The body’s cells use CoQ10 to make energy needed for the cells to grow and stay healthy. The body also uses CoQ10 as an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that protects cells from chemicals called free radicals.  Free radicals can damage DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). Genes, which are pieces of DNA, tell the cells how to work in the body and when to grow and divide. Damage to DNA has been linked to some kinds of cancer. By protecting cells against free radicals, antioxidants help protect the body against cancer.1

Coenzyme Q10 stimulates the heart muscles and it also stimulates the immune system in several different ways.  Now here’s the research.

Coenzyme Q10 Enhances Anti-Tumor Effects of Common Chemotherapy Drugs

A 2014 study appearing in the journal Nanomedicine, titled Enhanced antitumor efficacy and counterfeited cardiotoxicity of combinatorial oral therapy using Doxorubicin- and Coenzyme Q10-liquid crystalline nanoparticles in comparison with intravenous Adriamycin, by Swarnakar NK, Thanki K, Jain S, indicates that Coenzyme Q10 enhanced the anti-tumor effects of the chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin.  The study authors concluded that these combinations “pose great potential in improving the therapeutic efficacy of drugs by oral route of administration.”  2

Coenzyme Q10 Decreases Inflammatory Markers

A January 2014 study appearing in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience titled Coenzyme Q10 supplementation ameliorates inflammatory markers in patients with multiple sclerosis: a double blind, placebo, controlled randomized clinical trial by Sanoobar M, Eghtesadi S, Azimi A, Khalili M, Khodadadi B, Jazayeri S, Gohari MR, Aryaeian N, indicated that Coenzyme Q10 significantly decreased inflammatory markers in patients with multiple sclerosis. 3   I included this study because of the fact that breast cancer is an inflammatory process in the body and anything that can reduce the amount of inflammation in the body is extremely beneficial, not only for breast cancer but for many other diseases as well.

Coenzyme Q10 Instrumental In Tumor Regression

This information isn’t new, but it has just recently come into my hands via an old book I was rereading and I thought you might fight interesting.  The book is “Antioxidants Against Cancer” by Ralph Moss and this is an excerpt:  “In late 1993, Dr. Folkers arranged for the first clinical trial of CoQ10 at a clinic in Copenhagen, Denmark. Doctors treated 32 patients with advanced, ‘high risk’ breast cancer. In addition to appropriate surgery and conventional treatment, each patient was given 90 mg of CoQ10 per day. They also received other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. On this regimen, 6 of the 32 patients showed partial tumor regressions, significant in ‘advanced’ patients. Then in October 1993, a strange thing happened: one of these six women, on her own, increased her dosage from 90 to 390 mg per day. By the next month, her doctors wrote, ‘the tumor was no longer palpable’ and in the following month, a mammogram confirmed the disappearance of her tumor. After that, another woman in the group also increased her dose, this time to 300 mg. Her tumor also soon disappeared and a clinical examination revealed no evidence of the prior residual tumor, nor of distant metastases.” 

The other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that the patients were taking in the above study were:

1.2 grams of gamma linolenic acid

3.5 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids

58 mg (32,248 iu) betacarotene

2.8 grams vitamin C

2500 iu vitamin E

385 mcg selenium

390 mg CoQ10

I hope that researchers will continue their studies on  Coenzyme Q10, because it shows some very promising benefits for breast and other cancers.

References:

1.  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/coenzymeQ10/patient/page2

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24637217

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24621064

Antioxidants Against Cancer by Ralph W Moss

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!

Need A New Breast? Sure, Let Me Just Print One For You!

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / Stuart Miles

Creating Body Parts With 3D Printers

Last week I was listening to a news report about 3D printers and how scientists are working towards creating body parts using a new science called biofabrication.  A scientist was holding up a model of a woman’s breast and they were describing how this new science worked.  

This is the next frontier – 3D printing, a very exciting technology with so much potential.  For breast cancer patients, the hope is that within the next 3 years, science will be able to create a new breast from a patient’s own cells.

No More “Flap” Surgeries Or Silicone Implants

Imagine this,  no more rearranging the muscles from our bodies – muscles that we need and want – to rebuild our breasts, and no more silicone implants!  Personally – speaking as a bodyworker – I feel that when they use muscles to rebuild a breast, it creates all sorts of imbalances in the body, I know that has certainly been the case for me.  Using this new biofabrication technology, your new breast will be made using your own cells!

How The Process Works

As far as I understand it, rather than using rearranged muscles or a silicone implant, an MRI or a laser scan of the patient’s healthy breast would be used to design what is called a breast scaffold.  You can see what the scaffold might look like in this article from the Brisbane Times.

The tissue is created by using modified printer cartridges and cells extracted from the patient, either from biopsies or stem cells.  Then the tissue is grown using already existing techniques – it is cultured in a growth medium and allowed to multiply.  Once the required amount of cells have grown, they are collected and formed into the desired shape and loaded into a cartridge to create what is called BioInk.  The BioInk is loaded into a bioprinter along with a cartridge of hydrogel, which is a water-based matrix used as scaffolding for creating layers of cells.  The printer prints a layer of the hydrogel, followed by a layer of BioInk cells, and so on. The layered calls naturally fuse together to create a scaffold.

Check out this quick YouTube video created by UMC Utrecht (one of the universities mentioned below) that shows how the process can be used to create osteochondral material in bone.  This will give you a better idea of how it works.

Just think – some of your healthy cells could be harvested, grown in a dish, the scaffold created, and in one single operation, your surgeon would implant the scaffold into your body, and *voila* you have a new breast.  From what I understand, in 2-3 years, the original scaffold will have degraded and disappeared.

Fascinating!

This technology is already moving along at a rapid pace – I read about a 2-year-old child in the USA who was born without a trachea and received one built with her own stem cells, this occurred last year (see link to story below). 

University Courses

An international masters degree in biofabrication is already going to be jointly offered by the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Wollongong, the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands and the University of Würzburg in Germany, the first of its kind.  Australian students would spend 12 months at one of the European universities and European students would spend 12 months at one of the Australian universities. 

Ethical Concerns

Of course, there are ethical concerns that this kind of technology will allow us to “play God” as never before, which makes a lot of people very uncomfortable.  There has already been an exposé on 60 Minutes about guns that have been created using 3D printers.  That one really made me nervous.  It will need to be well-regulated, no doubt.  But the applications for biofabrication are seemingly endless – new breasts, new bones, organ transplants.  18 people in the USA die every day while waiting in vain for transplants.  We could save some lives in a big way.  And get new breasts, with our own cells.  🙂

References

Brisbane Times article: 3D Printing Pushes Medical Boundaries

UK Telegraph: The Next Step: 3D Printing The Human Body

CNN: Toddler Gets New Windpipe From Her Own Stem Cells

CNN: The Next Frontier in 3-D Printing: Human Organs

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!

The Problem With Obesity and Breast Cancer

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / Stuart Miles

The Problem With Obesity and Breast Cancer

A study done by the University of Colorado Denver in December 2012, titled Obesity and Overfeeding Affecting Both Tumor and Systemic Metabolism Activates the Progesterone Receptor to Contribute to Postmenopausal Breast Cancer, was recently forwarded to me by a friend (since I both hail from Colorado and am a breast cancer coach) and several things in the study seemed worth sharing.

Study Searches For Reason Why Obesity Increases Breast Cancer Risk

The researchers were searching for an explanation of why obese, postmenopausal women are at greater risk for developing breast cancer, and also why their cancers tend to be more aggressive than those in leaner women.  The study was done on animals, but did open some insights as to why this could be happening.

The lead author of the study, Dr Erin Giles, stated “By using nutrient tracers for fat and sugar, we tracked where the body stored excess calories. In lean models, excess fat and glucose were taken up by the liver, mammary and skeletal tissues.  In obese models, excess fat and glucose were taken up by tumors, fueling their growth.”

I found this interesting because it implies that menopausal women might very well be able to control their breast cancer risk through weight management, something we’ve often been told. 

It also reminded me of another study I recently heard about where women who had received the traditional therapies for breast cancer were followed to see how they fared after those treatments.  They were split into 4 groups: (1) those who did nothing special after their treatments ended; (2) those who made the effort to eat 5 fruits and vegetables per day; (3) those who didn’t bother with the fruit and vegetables but who did exercise 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week; and (4) those who ate 5 fruits and vegetables per day AND exercised 30 minutes per day.  The group that fared much better than the other three, as you might imagine, was the 4th group, the group that ate the fruits and vegetables and exercised.  I don’t have access to the title of this study, but it is discussed by Dr David Servan-Schreiber in his video Natural Defenses In Preventing and Treating Cancer (see link below).

Progesterone Receptor Cancers More Aggressive

Back to the University of Colorado study.  The other interesting thing I read was that tumors from obese animals “exhibited increased levels of progesterone receptors, and that this receptor appeared to give tumors a metabolic advantage for growth.  To extend their findings to humans, they recruited gene analysis experts David Astling and Aik-Choon Tan who analyzed 585 human breast cancers and found that human tumors expressing the progesterone receptor had the same metabolic advantage.”

Dr Giles said, “Basically, we saw an abnormal metabolic response to fat and sugar in the obese that, in many ways, mirrors the response to fat and sugar in Type II diabetes.”  The researchers then tested the use of Metformin, a common Type II diabetes drug, with their test subjects and noted a dramatic decrease in tumor size, as well as reduced expression of the progesterone receptor.

This definitely piqued my interest because my own tumor had only progesterone receptors on it – no estrogen receptors – which is not the norm.  Because of this, many of my treatment providers, both conventional and alternative, were a little puzzled on how to proceed with my treatments.  I wasn’t obese, nor was I menopausal when I found my tumor, however.

Obesity and Weight Gain During Menopause Spells Trouble

The researchers found that weight gain during menopause is particularly detrimental for those who are obese and that the combination of obesity and weight gain during menopause can impact breast cancer in two ways:

1.  Tumors in obese women appear to have a metabolic advantage;

2.  The inability to store excess calories in healthy tissues may further fuel tumor growth.

Dr Giles said “While drugs may be useful in controlling breast cancer risk in obese, postmenopausal women, our results imply that a combination of diet and exercise may be equally if not more beneficial.”   The study to which Dr Servan-Schreiber referred in his video (referenced above) certainly implied that to be the case. 

So here’s what we can take away from these two studies:

1.  Women struggling with obesity as they enter menopause are at a higher risk of breast cancer;

2.   Those who are obese and do get breast cancer tend to have tumors that have a metabolic advantage, meaning they tend to grow more quickly and be more aggressive;

3.  A combination of good diet – incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables – together with 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 times per week, had a very protective effect.

So it appears that the old adage is true – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  We need to keep our weight at a healthy level, not only in our earlier years, but particularly as we enter menopause.   Those are not the only things that will protect us from breast cancer, but a combination of diet and exercise is a good start.  To find out which fruits and vegetables give you the best protection, visit my page Diet and Cancer

References:

E. D. Giles, E. A. Wellberg, D. P. Astling, S. M. Anderson, A. D. Thor, S. Jindal, A.-C. Tan, P. S. Schedin, P. S. MacLean. Obesity and Overfeeding Affecting Both Tumor and Systemic Metabolism Activates the Progesterone Receptor to Contribute to Postmenopausal Breast Cancer. Cancer Research, 2012; 72 (24): 6490 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-1653

Natural Defenses In Preventing And Treating Cancer (YouTube video – 58:21)

If you would like to learn how to protect yourself and decrease  your risk of getting breast cancer,  please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).

It’s A Great Idea To Assess Your Risk Of Breast Cancer – Before You Get It

Photo courtesy of morgueFile / earl53

It’s A Great Idea To Assess Your Risk Of Breast Cancer – Before You Get It

Today’s post is aimed at younger women and I’m doing this because of the fact that, increasingly, younger women are getting breast cancer, and the younger they are, the more aggressive the breast cancer tends to be.  My biggest hope is that women in their 20’s and 30’s will read this post and be proactive about assessing their risk of breast cancer and acting before it becomes a problem for them.

There is already a lot of talk on various breast cancer forums and websites about breast cancer risk assessment, and also about genetic testing for breast cancer, so I wanted to provide you with a little basic information about why it’s a great idea to assess your risk of breast cancer EARLY and some easy tests you can undertake to do that.  I also would like to address the matter of hereditary factors and will start with that first because I think that people feel it’s the biggest reason why we get breast cancer.  That is not the case!

Only 5-10% Of Breast Cancer Is Hereditary

There are many things that appear to cause breast cancer – or at least put us at a higher risk – but you may be surprised to learn that in the vast majority, it is not caused by hereditary factors.  We have all heard about the tests that are available to determine whether you may have inherited certain genes that have been implicated in the development of breast cancer (Angelina Jolie was instrumental in bringing that information to the forefront), but the fact remains that genetic predisposition only accounts for 5-10% of all breast cancer.  The medical establishment is fond of telling us that breast cancer in the remaining 90-95% has an unknown cause, but there are many influencing factors and ongoing research confirms this.

Unavoidable Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Some of the factors that put us at a higher risk for breast cancer are pretty much unavoidable:

  1. Being female, although males can also get breast cancer as well;
  2. Certain races/ethnic groups have a higher risk;
  3. Increasing age;
  4. Having mother, sisters or daughters with cancer before age 50;
  5. A personal history of breast cancer (meaning you have already had it yourself before);
  6. Menstruation before age 12, and menopause after age 55 (these two put us at a higher risk because of sensitive breast cells having prolonged estrogen exposure);
  7. Having never breast-fed a baby;
  8. Having at least one breast with atypical hyperplasia (overgrowth of abnormal cells in the lobules or ducts);
  9. Hormonal imbalances (although it could be argued that this one is avoidable if one is paying attention to such things). 

Avoidable Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Many other risk factors are avoidable.  You can do things to decrease your risk of breast cancer even if you have a strong family history of it (like I did).  Some of the avoidable risk factors are:

  1. Exposure to radiation via x-rays (this includes mammograms), uranium, radioactive materials;
  2. Exposure to xenoestrogens (estrogen-mimicking compounds) found in our environment in petroleum products (always check your body products and cosmetic ingredients on the Environmental Working Group website Skin Deep), also pesticides, fuels, detergents, certain plastics;
  3. Hormone replacement therapy, both synthetic and animal-derived;
  4. Having undergone breast biopsies;
  5. Obesity;
  6. Smoking;
  7. Excessive stress (doctors say “NO”, but my experience with this says definitely “YES”);
  8. Extremely poor diet with too much processed food;
  9. Excess alcohol consumption.

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

Here are a few easy things you can do to help you assess your risk of getting breast cancer.

  1. Get your vitamin D levels checked.   Most integrative doctors believe the optimal level should be in the range of 70-90 nanomoles/litre (nmol/L).  Below 25 is a serious deficiency.  If your levels are low, take supplemental vitamin D3.  Also, be aware that your body can produce 10,000 IU or more of vitamin D with as little as 10-15 minutes of exposure to sunlight.  In Australia, one of the sunniest countries on the planet, there is rampant vitamin D deficiency because for years that population has been told to “slip (on a shirt) slap (on a hat) slop (on some sunscreen lotion)” to curtail the increasing skin cancer incidence.  So what happens?  A vitamin D deficiency!   For more information, read this 2007 study: Intakes of calcium and vitamin D and breast cancer risk in women.  See also this 2008 study: Vitamin D from dietary intake and sunlight exposure and the risk of hormone-receptor-defined breast cancer.
  2. Get your hormone levels checked.  Hormonal imbalances often contribute to increased breast cancer risk.  If you are found to have abnormal hormone levels, work with an integrative doctor or a naturopath to balance hormone levels.  A great book to consult is Dr John R Lee’s What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer: How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life.
  3. Get your thyroid tested and iodine levels checked.  Having a hyperactive thyroid can increase your breast cancer risk, and interestingly, hypothyroid conditions are often encountered post-breast cancer.  For more information see my article Why Iodine and Selenium Are Useful for Breast Cancer.  Iodine, often deficient in our western diet, is the greatest common denominator linking both breast and thyroid health, according to naturopath Dr Jacob Schor.  Iodine is highly concentrated in breast tissue and suppresses breast cancer development.

When To Seek Help

If you notice the following changes in your breasts, please consult your doctor immediately:

  • a lump, lumpiness or thickening, especially if it is only in one breast and doesn’t seem to be related to your menstrual cycle;
  • any changes in your nipple such as redness, crusting, ulceration, inversion (turning inwards), altered shape, or discharge (especially if it comes from only one nipple or only one duct or if it is bloodstained);
  • a change in the color of the skin of the breast;
  • any heat, swelling or inflammation of the breast;
  • puckering or dimpling of the skin of the breast;
  • anything, in fact, that just doesn’t seem right about your breast(s).

Please read my website articles for other tips on how to reduce your risk of breast cancer.  You might also like to sign up for my free newsletters and e-books that are full of my best tips on healing from breast cancer and reducing your risk.