Tag Archives: breast cancer risk reduction

7 Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol without Statins

7 Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol without Statins

We already know that obesity is linked to breast cancer, there are several studies that have linked the two quite effectively. Now it appears that having high cholesterol levels MAY also put us at a higher risk for breast cancer.

Several studies have recently been published investigating whether there was an association between hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) and breast cancer.  There have been mixed results, with one preliminary British study saying there definitely is an association, and one French study finding no association between blood lipids and breast cancer risk.

Dr Harold Burstein, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and a spokesman for the American Society of Clinical Oncology has stated “The link between cholesterol and breast cancer risk is mild, at most, and has not been a consistent finding in different studies, especially when other factors such as weight, obesity and diet are factored into the epidemiology.”

So the experts don’t agree and the studies are inconclusive but we already know that having high cholesterol levels is bad for our cardiovascular health.

Also in the breast cancer community, patients treated with aromatase inhibitors often develop hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension, all of which are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

So it only makes sense to do what we can to naturally reduce high cholesterol levels without the  use of statin drugs, which come with their own set of problems and side effects.

Following is a guest post from Kate Forsyth over at Be Healthy Today. Kate has shared 7 great tips on how to effectively lower cholesterol levels without statin drugs.

GUEST POST from KATE FORSYTH

Thanks to the onslaught of fast food and junk food we have easily available nowadays, a lot of people are battling with the bulge. This means having a high cholesterol content in the body. And that’s not good.

As we all know, having too much of something is always a bad idea. To ensure a healthy lifestyle, we always need to check the levels of everything. With regard to cholesterol levels,  one way that people ensure they’re not too high is through taking statins.

Statins, to put it simply, are cholesterol-lowering medications. How do they lower the blood cholesterol levels? They block the action of a specific chemical in the liver that is necessary for producing cholesterol. Take note that having too much cholesterol in the blood causes plaque buildup on the artery walls. This buildup will eventually cause the arteries to narrow and harden. Blood clots in these arteries will cause a heart attack or stroke. To prevent that, statins are then prescribed.

When a person takes statins, cholesterol levels are thus lowered. Because these levels decrease, this then reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In fact, some studies show that statins effectively lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death from heart disease by around 25%–35%. Other studies also show that statins reduce the chances of recurrent strokes or heart attacks by around 40%.

So how exactly will you know if your blood cholesterol levels are “high”? Most of the practitioners in the medical community believe that the ratio of LDL (bad) cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol should be around 2:1. Taking a lipid profile blood test will show the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your system.

Total Cholesterol

Below 200 mg/dL Ideal
200–239 mg/dL Borderline high
240 mg/dL and up High

LDL Cholesterol

Below 70 mg/dL Ideal for people with a very high risk for heart disease
Below 100 mg/dL Ideal for people with a slight risk for heart disease
100–129 mg/dL Near ideal
130–159 mg/dL Borderline high
160–189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL and up Very high

HDL Cholesterol

Below 40 mg/dL (women) Poor
Below 50 mg/dL (men) Poor
50–59 mg/dL Better
60 mg/dL and up Best

Triglycerides

Below 150 mg/dL Ideal
150–199 mg/dL Borderline high
200–499 mg/dL High
500 mg/dL and up Very high

While I’m sure statins are a godsend to many people, wouldn’t it be better to lower cholesterol levels naturally? That way there won’t be any drug dependency, and you’ll have more control over your body.

There are quite a number of ways that you can lessen those high cholesterol levels. Here are a few prime examples that actually work.

  1. Watch That Fat

Make sure to limit your intake of foods loaded with saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol. These include butter, fatty flesh (red meat), dairy products, palm oil, as well as coconut oil.

The best choices of food to load up on instead are those with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel.

Also, opt for foods with polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. These two will help lower LDL. Many plant-derived oils contain both. Some examples are safflower, grapeseed, olive, and peanut oils. (note by Marnie – make sure they’re organic!)

  1. Eat More Protein

For your protein content, great sources are legumes, beans, seeds, and nuts. Specific examples are red beans, pinto beans, white beans, and soybeans. They’re full of essential nutrients and help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and insulin levels.

  1. Fiber Is Your Best Friend

Foods with high fiber intake have been proven to help lower high cholesterol levels. Excellent sources of fiber include oats, barley, peas, yams, sweet potatoes, and other potatoes. You can also stock up on legumes or beans, such as peas, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Good fruit sources are berries, passion fruit, oranges, pears, apricots, nectarines, and apples. And finally, vegetables rich in soluble fiber include carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets, okra, and eggplant.

  1. Hello, Herbs!

A number of herbs have been noted to help with cholesterol levels as well. These include rosemary, basil, and turmeric. Adding them to your food provides powerful antioxidants that are cardio-protective and can help lower cholesterol levels naturally.

  1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Regular exercise improves cholesterol. Doing moderate physical activity helps raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Regularly exercising helps you lose weight. Making sure you maintain a desirable and healthy weight can gain plenty of benefits. One of these is improving your cholesterol profile. This helps prevent getting other sorts of diseases as well, like type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, gout, and some types of cancer.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to find an exercise buddy who shares the same goals as you. You can both encourage and help each other out to be healthier.

  1. Say Goodbye to Smoking

If you smoke, quitting ASAP is a good idea. Cutting this bad habit will do wonders to your HDL levels. Once you quit, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease will be half that of a regular smoker.

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep deprivation has been proven to increase the LDL levels. This leads to high blood pressure and overeating as well. Try to ensure you get a good solid 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Check out bedtime practices that work for you and are effective in providing you with the rest you need.

Author Bio:

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

SOURCES:

https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/health-benefits/lower-cholesterol/1468-7-tips-for-improving-your-ldl-cholesterol.html

https://draxe.com/lower-cholesterol-naturally-fast/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-to-lower-your-cholesterol-without-drugs

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20552005,00.html#dietary-fiber-0

http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Headline/statins-cholesterol-natural-drugfree/2013/11/14/id/536605/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/reduce-cholesterol/art-20045935

 

Thanks, Kate, for the 7 great tips!

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How Beneficial Gut Bacteria Reduces Cancer Risk

Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / OZphotography
Image source: Freedigitalphotos.net / OZphotography

How Beneficial Gut Bacteria Reduces Cancer Risk

We are now well informed that inside our digestive tract are millions of beneficial gut bacteria that help us break down the food we eat and limit the overgrowth of bad bacteria. They also protect us from infections by playing a crucial role in a healthy immune system. In this article I will share with you how beneficial gut bacteria also reduces cancer risk.

All one needs to do is take a course of antibiotics which kills off the beneficial gut bacteria to have a very good understanding of what an important role they play in our health. Supplementing with probiotics when one is taking antibiotics has long been favored by natural medicine doctors. Even a few conventional medicine doctors (if they are good ones) will advise taking probiotics to replace the good bacteria that is being killed off by antibiotic drugs.

In the past, taking probiotics has been seen primarily as something to help defend against intestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, etc. But scientists now believe that beneficial gut bacteria and probiotics play an even more important role in the prevention of other diseases, including cancer.

Did you know that 70-80% of your immune system is located within the gut? Also, the intestinal tract contains a very dense concentration of molecules that are involved in chemical detection and signaling and these molecules are able to affect cells throughout the entire body. This can be a good thing but it can also cause problems.

Intestinal bacteria produces proteins that are able to powerfully influence these chemical detector molecules. An imbalance in the ratio of good-to-bad bacteria within the gut activates these detector molecules in ways that can trigger the development of a wide range of diseases, including cancer. Fortunately, taking probiotics can reverse these disruptions to intestine-based signaling mechanisms. This, in turn, reverses the negative influence that triggers the development of chronic disease.

Some Research on Probiotics

A 2014 paper published in the World Journal of Clinical Oncology discussed a number of research studies which indicate that certain strains of beneficial bacteria have a protective effect against cancer. [1] The authors mentioned their own study wherein a probiotic bacterium known as Lactobacillus casei stimulated an immune response against a particular sort of breast tumor in mice, and delayed or avoided the growth of mammary tumors. [2]

A small animal study released in 2015 wherein Lactobacillus acidophilus was given to mice with breast tumors indicated that the mice that received this probiotic had an increased immune response and lived significantly longer than those who did not. Researchers concluded that the results of the study suggested that daily consumption of Lactobacillus acidophilus may modulate the immune response through its anti-tumor properties and enhance Th1 cytokine production. [3]

A 2014 study on rats found that long-term administration of a new strain of probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum, combined with a prebiotic known as inulin (indigestible fiber derived from mainly root vegetables) suppressed tumor frequency, increased T-cells (part of the immune system), and reduced tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a cytokine associated with cancer promotion in certain conditions. [4]

A 2004 animal study indicated that probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum significantly decreased DNA damage associated with the development of malignant cells. [5]

8 Ways Beneficial Gut Bacteria Help To Guard Against Cancer

1. By binding to potential carcinogens (cancer causing agents) and promoting elimination by the body.

2. By suppressing bad bacteria that could convert cancer-causing molecules into carcinogens.

3. By boosting immune cells in the gut that play a role in tumor inhibition.

4. By decreasing the enzymes associated with the development of carcinogens.

5. By promoting immune cytokines which fight against early stages of cancer development.

6. By decreasing DNA damage that can trigger malignant cell development.

7. By suppressing or decreasing inflammation in the body.

8. By boosting natural antioxidant and detoxification enzymes that inhibit activation of potential dietary carcinogens.

Because today’s Western diet, stress factors, widespread antibiotic use (and other pharmaceutical drugs), treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, and other lifestyle factors (even Caesarian delivery of babies), can disrupt the balance of healthy gut bacteria, supplementation with probiotics is highly recommended. An imbalance of gut bacteria can be reversed through supplementation with good quality probiotics and by regularly eating fermented foods such as kefir, organic plain yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, pickled radishes, kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha.

References:

1. Modification in the Diet Can Induce Beneficial Effects Against Breast Cancer – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127615/

2. The Administration of Milk Fermented by the Probiotic Lactobacillus Casei CRL 431 Exerts an Immunomodulatory Effect Against a Breast Tumour in a Mouse Model – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24646876/

3. Th1 Cytokine Production Induced by Lactobacillus acidophilus in BALB/c Mice Bearing Transplanted Breast Tumor – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449865/

4. Preventive Effects of Probiotic Bacteria Lactobacillus Plantarum and Dietary Fiber in Chemically-induced Mammary Carcinogenesis – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25202079

5. Dietary Intervention with the Probiotics Lactobacillus Acidophilus 145 and Bifidobacterium Longum 913 Modulates the Potential of Human Faecal Water to Induce Damage in Ht29clone19a Cells – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15182396

 
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.

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.

Reduce Breast Cancer Risk By Avoiding The Use Of Pesticides

 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Sweet Crisis
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and SweetCrisis

Reduce Breast Cancer Risk By Avoiding The Use Of Pesticides

We are in the midst of fly season here in Western Australia and if you’ve ever encountered the Australian bush fly, you will know the special kind of hell they create for us!  Having said that, I am constantly surprised at how frequently I see friends reaching for a can of fly spray, or chemical mosquito repellant, or some sort of toxic pest spray, and thinking nothing of it.  I am here to persuade you otherwise because, of course, one of my main goals in life is to help people reduce breast cancer risk.  Not only are we spraying toxic chemicals into our environment (already laden with the same) but we are also setting ourselves up for breast cancer and there’s a very simple reason why.

Why Pesticides Are So Dangerous, For Women Particularly

Pesticides mimic the action of estrogen in our bodies.  The way they do this is by locking onto specific receptors within the breast and then stimulating cell division.  Even small amounts of pesticides can be dangerous to women. and the reason for this is that they concentrate in fat cells, and the breast is comprised mainly of fat cells!

Here are 3 Ways to Avoid Pesticide Exposure

1.  Use only plant-based or essential oil-based pest control in your garden (basically if it’s in your hardware store, I’d avoid it).  You can make your own, perfectly safe garden pesticide spray.  Here’s a great recipe:

Essential Oil Pesticide Spray For Garden

Items needed

* Distilled water
* Spray bottle – 8-oz/236 ml
* 1-1/2 tbsp liquid dish soap (biodegradable)
* Spearmint essential oil
* Citronella essential oil
* Lavender essential oil
* Blue tansy essential oil
* Cedarwood essential oil

To Prepare:

Fill an 8-oz/236 ml spray bottle with distilled water, add liquid dish soap, then add 3-4 drops of each essential oil.  Mix and spray generously on plants, fruits, and vegetables.

2.  Avoid the use of chemical sprays that you apply directly to your skin or into and around your rooms.  This wonderful and aromatic spray is easy to make,  and although the initial outlay for the oils is somewhat costly, they last forever and will make bottles and bottles of this.  Therapeutic grade oils have no expiration date but they should be kept in cool, dark places.

Personal Bug Deterrent

Items needed:

* Spray bottle, 8-oz/236 ml
* Distilled water, 4-oz/118 ml
* Unscented witch hazel, 4-oz/118 ml
* Thieves essential oil blend
* Purification essential oil blend
* Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil
* Citronella essential oil
* Lavender essential oil
* Lemon essential oil
* Peppermint essential oil
* Idaho tansy essential oil

To Prepare:

Fill spray bottle with the distilled water, add witch hazel, add 10 drops of Thieves, Purification, and Melaleuca alternifolia essential oils, add 5 drops each of lemon, lavender, peppermint, Idaho tansy, and citronella essential oils.  Shake well before each use and spray a light layer on skin and clothing.

This natural alternative to store-bought bug sprays will keep you free from chemicals and other unnatural ingredients, not to mention you are going to smell divine!  Everyone will ask you what that pleasant aroma is!

3.  Buy organic produce whenever and wherever you can.  If you can’t buy organic, due either to unavailability or finances, you must wash everything with a good quality fruit and vegetable wash, or make your own:

 Homemade Fruit & Vegetable Wash

* Slice a lemon in half and squeeze out 1 tbsp of lemon juice into a large spray bottle. If you don’t have a lemon, you can use a few drops of lemon essential oil.

*  Pour 2 tbsp of vinegar into the spray bottle, together with 1 cup of water.

 *  Screw on the top (the trigger portion) of the spray bottle and shake vigorously.  Spray this on all of your fruits and vegetables (even the organic ones can stand a wash!) prior to preparing or eating them.  Let them sit in the sink for a couple of minutes and then wash.  They are now ready to eat or use in cooking.

Please – do your best to get pesticides out of your environment.  If you regularly have your home and garden sprayed with insecticide, consider some alternatives, think about the fat cells in your breasts and let’s make our environment and our bodies a much cleaner, healthier place.

If you need to know where to buy therapeutic grade essential oils, contact me.  I will point you in the right direction!

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

Member No 267494
Member No 267494

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

Helpful Breast Examination Video & The Problem With Mammograms

nude with hands on breastsHelpful Breast Examination Video

I found a very well done video on You Tube today explaining the proper way to do a self breast examination.

I liked this video because it described what you should be looking for, things to be concerned about and things not to worry about.

Watch the video.

The Problem With Mammograms

The only thing that concerns me in the video is the advice to start getting screening mammograms at the age of 40.  There are many problems associated with mammograms and Dr Joseph Mercola (among others) has written an excellent article about that.

One of the main problems with mammograms is that they employ ionizing radiation at a relatively high dose, which in and of itself can contribute to the development of breast cancer.  Mammograms expose your body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray.  This is not acceptable!

A second problem with mammogram screening is that it also compresses your breasts tightly, and if there are any cancer cells present, could also lead to a dangerous spread of those cells.

The third problem with mammography is its unacceptably high rate of false positives.  Read Dr Mercola’s article for more information on this – really important for you to know.

Thermal Imaging – A Much Better Solution

Dr Mercola and I agree that thermal imaging is a much better screening device.  When I lived in Australia, I went yearly to a Thermal Imaging Center and really loved the experience.  No squish!  No pain!  No radiation!

Thermography measures the infrared heat radiating from your body.  It can detect signs of breast cancer without the use of dangerous radiation or mechanical pressure.  Thermography can provide a picture of the early stages of angiogenesis — the formation of the blood vessels that feed a tumor.

See my page titled What is Thermography for more information.  I highly recommend you do an Internet search – put in your city name and “thermal breast imaging” to find a center near you.  Sometimes insurance pays for this – contact the thermal imaging center for more information.

The bottom line is this.  The medical establishment is going to continue to push mammography on us – despite its obvious safety issues – unless we, the empowered patients, insist on doing something different.

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.

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/

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Do I Get a Mammogram This Year?

mammogramI’m really on the fence about getting a mammogram this year.

I’ve done so much research for this blog and the more I read, the more I question whether it’s really an advantage to me.

8 years ago when I first found the lump that later tests would reveal was breast cancer, I’d had a mammogram a scant 5 months prior and it didn’t show a thing.  How did it get from not showing up on a mammogram screening to a 2.5 cm lump in 5 months?  Why didn’t the mammogram pick it up?  Or did it really just “blow up” during those intervening (and stressful) months?

I really believe we need a test that detects the early signs of malignancy, ie what makes the cancer grow and become lethal.  THAT’S what we really need.

Mammography leaves a lot to be desired, I think, especially when you consider the dose of radiation you get when having one.  Plus there’s the problem of false positive tests needlessly traumatizing millions of women who are sent for unnecessary biopsies and other follow-up testing.

Fran Visco of the National Breast Cancer Coalition doesn’t think that pink ribbons and mammograms are the answer to ending breast cancer and I agree.  She recently stated, “Mammography, or any imaging modality, will never be the answer to breast cancer. It has inherent limitations that cannot be overcome. It simply finds some cancers that already exist.” Which of course, we do want – early detection seems to be an important factor in surviving this disease.  But they don’t necessarily save you.

The problem is that research shows that while the number of mammograms has dramatically increased in America, death rates have not dramatically decreased. The percentage of women aged 40 and older who reported having a mammogram rose from 29% in 1987 to 65% in 2008, according to the National Health Interview Survey.  The mortality rate from breast cancer has decreased by an average of 2.2% per year from 1990 to 2008, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s just not good enough!

There’s a very interesting article over at weeksmd.com entitled “Mammogram’s Role as Savior Is Tested“.  Check it out.

For myself, I much prefer thermal imaging (see my page “What is Thermography” on the subject).

I don’t have health insurance though, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be covered.  I believe thermal imaging is a much better diagnostic tool, but it’s not cheap, costing around $300.  The reason I like it is that it is much safer (no radiation) and it can indicate where a problem area could be occurring long before a tumor develops due to the heat signature of developing blood vessels (called angiogenesis).

Still haven’t decided what to do.  Your comments are invited.

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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.