Breast Cancer – When to Get a Second Opinion

If you have a breast cancer diagnosis and are wondering about when to get a second opinion, or even whether you should, you need to watch this video.

As a breast cancer coach, I’ve heard some real horror stories about breast cancer patients being told all sorts of negative things by their oncologist or someone on their cancer team, and this is not okay!

So in this video I provide information about the sequence of events that occurs when a breast cancer pathology report is issued, some tips about when getting a second opinion makes sense, and what to do if you don’t like your oncologist.

I hope you find the video useful, and if you do, please (as you’re watching it in YouTube) give it a thumbs-up, or comment (or both!). I will get back to you as quickly as I can. Thanks for watching!

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters. 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.

Taking the Scare Out of Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions

If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, that alone can scare the heck out of you. Then, to make matters worse, you’re expected to make a bunch of decisions about the treatments being offered to you for the type of breast cancer you have. I mean, let’s face it – you just found out you have breast cancer. Now you’re expected to make some really important decisions based on what your doctor is telling you. It’s enough to send you looney, and it’s no wonder people often make decisions they later come to regret. Let me help you take the scare out of breast cancer treatment decisions.

Let’s slow it all down, shall we? Watch my video. You have time to make these decisions. In all likelihood, your tumor has been growing for a number of years. Taking a little time out to come to terms with (a) the fact that you’ve been diagnosed, (b) the fact that you have a bunch of important decisions to make, and (c) you have no idea what you’re doing. Taking a little time will not hurt in the long run. Just don’t get stuck in that place and make no decisions at all – that wouldn’t be a good thing.

If you need help, send me a message. I have loads of resources and articles for you to delve into. I am available for coaching – call it information gathering. Whatever you want to call it, I can help. Don’t go through this alone.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis – How Did This Happen to Me?

In this video I discuss one of those questions that women newly diagnosed with breast cancer will sometimes ask themselves, which is, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME? I DID EVERYTHING RIGHT AND I STILL GOT BREAST CANCER! Oh, how I can relate to that question.

So check out the video, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below (or below the video on YouTube). Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for more informative and supportive videos.

GET MY BEST TIPS on healthy ways to beat breast cancer and prevent recurrences by signing up for my free newsletters. 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 MammaPrint® Test, a Tumor Profiler

Gene expression tests can be a very good way to learn more about your particular form of breast cancer. Based on the information these tests provide, your doctor can then decide how best to treat your cancer, or even choose no further treatment after surgery.

Gene expression tests are not the same thing as genetic testing, which is done using a sample of blood, saliva, or other tissue. Genetic testing is generally carried out to ascertain whether a person has a mutation (abnormal change) in a gene that is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, such as BRCA1/2.

The MammaPrint test is one such gene expression test, also known as a tumor profiler. It was created by Agendia, a privately-held company in Amsterdam that develops and markets genomic diagnostic products.

How the MammaPrint test works

After you have had your breast cancer surgery or a biopsy, some tissue from the tumor is sent for examination. They look at the activity level of 70 different genes known to be associated with breast cancer. After examining the tissue, a recurrence score is then calculated which will tell whether you are at low risk or high risk for recurrence. Based on that information, your doctor can then decide whether any further treatments would be beneficial to you after surgery.

The Best Candidates for the MammaPrint Test

those with stage I or stage II breast tumors
those with invasive tumors
those whose tumors are smaller than 5 cm
those who had cancer cells in three or fewer lymph nodes
those with both hormone-receptor-positive or hormone-receptor-negative tumor cells
the tissue must be taken during the original biopsy or surgery

There are several other tumor profiling tests used to analyze breast cancer, including the Oncotype DX test, which has been validated by more research. The Oncotype DX test is presently the most widely used genomic test for breast cancer.

What is the Cost?

In the United States, the cost of the MammaPrint test ranges between USD$3,000 to $4000. It is covered by US Medicare and some private health insurance, depending on whether the individual’s breast cancer matches the test’s parameters. Be sure to ask your health insurance company if you are covered, should you be considering having the MammaPrint test.

Also, be aware that Agendia offers a reimbursement assistance program to help you with your insurance claim. If you don’t have insurance or your insurance company doesn’t cover the MammaPrint test, Agendia may still be able to help. Contact one of their patient advocate representatives by phone at 1-888-363-7868 or email at billing@agendia.com.

Unfortunately, in Australia, the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) did not support public (government) funding for the MammaPrint test. They based that decision on a review of the safety, clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the test.

According to an Australian government website [1], “MSAC based its conclusion on its appraisal of a study known as the MINDACT trial which investigated the use of the MammaPrint® test in a clinical trial setting.

The trial aimed to show whether information provided by the MammaPrint® test could be added to existing clinical information to inform decisions about the use of adjuvant chemotherapy for early breast cancer. The trial showed that, overall, breast cancer outcomes were poorer in women who did not have chemotherapy based on the MammaPrint® test, compared with those who received chemotherapy.

“As a result, MSAC had little confidence that the MammaPrint® test could be used to justify withholding chemotherapy without negatively impacting upon important outcomes, including overall survival.

The MammaPrint test is available to Australia patients, but patients must pay the cost of it themselves, there are no government subsidies.

MammaPrint Research

We do have quite a bit of research [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7] on the MammaPrint test, which suggests that it may be useful to help make treatment decisions based on the expression of certain genes, as to the risk of the cancer returning within 10 years after diagnosis.

One 2019 review of medical studies [8] found that all of the tests analyzed (including MammaPrint) were able to provide prognostic information on the risk of relapse, but that the results were more varied in those patients with positive lymph nodes than for those with node-negative disease.

If you have been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and are trying to decide whether or not adding chemotherapy to your treatment plan would be beneficial, the MammaPrint test may be of very real assistance to help you and your doctor make that decision.

References:

[1] https://breast-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/treatment/mammaprint-70-gene-signature-test/questions-patients-about-mammaprint

[2] 2016: Special Plenary Session: Results of the MINDACT Clinical Trial – http://winconsortium.org/files/O4.5-SPECIAL-PLENARY-SESSION-Results-of-MINDACT-clinical-trial-Suzette-Delaloge.pdf
[3] 2017: The Era of Multigene Panels Comes? The Clinical Utility of Oncotype DX and MammaPrint – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5649994/
[4] 2019: MammaPrint and BluePrint Molecular Diagnostics Using Targeted RNA Next-Generation Sequencing Technology – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31173928
[5] 2019: Multigene expression signatures in early hormone receptor positive HER 2 negative breast cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31553709
[6] 2019: Prospective, multicenter study on the economic and clinical impact of gene-expression assays in early-stage breast cancer from a single region: the PREGECAM registry experience – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31300934
[7] 2019: Prospective Validation of a Genomic Assay in Breast Cancer: The 70-gene MammaPrint Assay and the MINDACT Trial – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31264430

 

[8] Tumour profiling tests to guide adjuvant chemotherapy decisions in early breast cancer: a systematic review and economic analysis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31264581

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. 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.

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Announcing the Release of My How-To Courses

You haven’t heard much from me lately because I have been hard at work putting together something that women going through breast cancer have been requesting me to put together for a long time. It has taken me nearly three years of pretty constant work, but I am pleased to announce the release of “Toxic Free Me”.

Toxic Free Me is a comprehensive how-to course which teaches breast cancer survivors how best to heal – whether they choose conventional therapies, natural therapies, or a combination of the two. I have been compiling this information over my 20-year career as a natural therapist, as a breast cancer survivor (15 years now!), and during my seven years as a breast cancer coach.

It is my hope that this course will help walk you through all of the confusing information out there about breast cancer, and help you to become a thriving survivor. Some of you have been waiting a long time for this course, and I thank you for your patience!

Initially, my goal when putting together this course was to answer the most frequently-asked question of me: “How do I get through estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer without using Tamoxifen or the other aromatase inhibitors?” Because those drugs can have such life-altering side effects, it is the most-asked question women with breast cancer ask me.

But as I was putting the course together, it occurred to me that women with HER2+ breast cancer and triple negative breast cancer would want information for their types of breast cancer too. So I got busy and included information for them as well.

The course isn’t a health summit that you have to set aside hours per day in order to watch videos by certain experts. I find those too stressful because we often don’t have the time to put aside for that. It’s also not a book. Rather, Toxic Free Me is an on-line course with modules that you can take at your own pace (and no, there are no tests!). The modules contain the following information:

  1. The problem with Tamoxifen and other hormone blocking drugs
  2. The foods that should be avoided, and the foods that help to protect from breast cancer/recurrence – including all of the latest research
  3. Epigenetic factors that protect from breast cancer
  4. How to revitalize your immune system
  5. The importance of reducing your viral load
  6. How to detoxify your personal care and cleaning products + recipes for making your own
  7. The supplements that make the biggest difference for living recurrence-free
  8. How essential oils keep us well (including research)
  9. The diagnostic tests you can do to monitor how you’re going (in case your doctor washes his/her hands of you because you’re not following his/her plan)
  10. How to detoxify your body – the things that make the most difference, and how to do them
  11. The importance of healing toxic thoughts and emotions
  12. Which types of exercise make the biggest difference for breast cancer survivors
  13. How intermittent fasting can be used to keep well
  14. How best to mitigate the effects of stress
  15. How to reduce your exposure to electro-magnetic fields

The best part about the course is that it is “evergreen” – it will continue to evolve. As I read through new research and acquire more information, I will continue adding that to the course.

Your next question is likely to be “What’s the cost?”. I pondered on that quite a bit. I had a look at what other cancer coaches are teaching (I took their courses!) and what they are charging for them, and mine has WAY more information for breast cancer survivors, and I’m making my course more affordable, as well. I want everyone who needs this information to be able to get it.

Special Offer

I’ve been told that the value of Toxic Free Me is at least $295 USD but I’m offering it at a special price of $149 USD for the next WEEK (through October 16, 2019). That’s the same price as a one-hour coaching session with me. After that date, the normal price of the course will be $179.00 USD. There are no hidden costs or monthly subscription costs. To sweeten the deal, the first 100 people to sign up for the course will also get unlimited access to my how-to-meditate course called “Change Your Life Meditation”, designed especially to help ease the stress that a breast cancer diagnosis can often create.

Here’s the link to enrol for “Toxic Free Me”

So is this course for you? Here are some factors to help you decide:

• Are you determined to overcome your breast cancer diagnosis and be a thriving survivor?
• Are you tired of feeling alone because your treatment providers and loved ones are pushing you to take a course of action that you are not comfortable with?
• Are you worried about the toxic effects of some of the treatments recommended by your oncologist?
• Are you completely confused by all of the anti-cancer supplements available out there? Which ones work? Which ones don’t?
• Have you gotten through all the treatments your doctor recommended but still frightened that breast cancer might return?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, Toxic Free Me was designed for YOU.

USE THIS LINK TO ENROL FOR “TOXIC FREE ME”

Don’t wait! Special pricing of $149 USD plus my free how-to-meditate course is only available through October 16, 2019. After that, the course price rises to $179 USD.

Your satisfaction is assured through my no-risk, you-can’t lose, 100% no questions asked (well, I might ask you what you didn’t like about it for future product improvements), iron-clad money back guarantee. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase, just contact me directly within 30 days of purchase and I will refund 100% of your purchase price. That means you get to try it for one full month, risk-free.

Disclaimer: This course is not intended to be a substitute for anything your doctor recommends. If you have a breast cancer diagnosis, you MUST consult a qualified physician and get treatment. All content in Toxic Free Me is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal 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. 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.

Looking Deeper to Find the Cause of Breast Cancer

Looking Deeper to Find the Cause of Breast Cancer

When I was studying naturopathic medicine in the late 90’s, one of the things I was most impressed about was the fact that we were taught, when faced with a patient and an illness, to get to the root of the problem, to discover why the patient had the illness. I recall one instructor telling us that if you don’t find what is causing a person’s malady – or dis-ease – treating the symptoms was often not going to heal  them. It was impressed upon us that in order to heal from a disease you have to find out what is causing it.

Fast forward a few years, and I heard those awful words, “I’m sorry but you do have breast cancer.” I knew that in order to heal, I was going to need to find the reason for my manifesting this disease. I feel that is where conventional medicine totally fails us with regard to breast cancer – the recommended treatments do not address the reason why we got breast cancer in the first place and in many cases exacerbate the problem.

Cancer is a complex disease and can be caused by a multitude of factors, which is why I coach my clients to endeavor to discover what it was in the first place that caused them to manifest this disease.

Many already know. A whopping 90% of my clients tell me that they were under enormous levels of stress in the lead-up to their breast cancer diagnosis, and it was the same for me. Stress is a huge factor, because high levels of cortisol (the hormone that is released when we are under stress) impact our health in many ways.

18 years ago, Stanford University released a study which found that women with advanced breast cancer who had unusually high cortisol levels were significantly more likely to die sooner than patients with normal levels of the hormone. The women also had lower levels of natural killer cells (cells of the immune system that scour the body for cancer cells), and this reduced immunity was also a factor in the higher mortality of the women in the study. [1]

So for at least 18 years our medical professionals have known about the stress factor yet, to my knowledge, very few oncologists ever suggest that their breast cancer patients examine their stress levels or try to do anything about it. It seems they are too busy to read such studies, but a simple how-to-meditate course together with joining a support group has been shown to effectively lower cortisol levels and provide women with some much-needed social support – and these women are living longer.

Stress is not the only factor in breast cancer. As I stated before, there are many possible causes and here is a list of the 18 more prevalent ones:

  1. Stress and chronically high levels of cortisol
  2. Shift work, which disrupts melatonin release (see my article “Optimize Melatonin and Reduce Breast Cancer Risk)
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. Poor diet with inadequate fruit/vegetable/fiber intake
  5. Insulin resistance
  6. Epstein Barr Virus
  7. Obesity
  8. Environmental pollution, both in the home and outside it
  9. Overabundance of xenoestrogens, disrupting hormones
  10. Genetic predisposition (only 5-10% of breast cancer is due to this)
  11. Radiation exposure
  12. Poor breast microbiome (if you haven’t heard of this before, see the studies listed below under references)
  13. Compromised immunity
  14. Hormone replacement therapy
  15. Poor gastrointestinal health
  16. Poor dental health, including root canals in teeth
  17. Poor emotional health – an overabundance of toxic emotions
  18. Chronic inflammation

My goal by writing this article is to empower you with information so that you are better able to make your body hostile terrain for cancer development and growth. I am not telling you to ignore what your doctor has recommended for you. I do suggest that, in addition to whatever your conventional medicine doctor has recommended for you, one of the things to which you give a high priority is to discover the reason why you have breast cancer in the first place. It’s a lot of territory to cover, no doubt about it, but I encourage you to work with an integrative oncologist, or an oncology naturopath, or a functional medicine doctor, or at the very least (not to trivialize what I do) a breast cancer coach. All of us can help you find your way back to good health.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of prioritizing stress relief. Sometimes it’s an improvement in nutrition, sometimes it’s a matter of dealing with a wonky gene (and that’s where functional medicine can help). It might be that you don’t methylate properly. It could be an environmental toxin. So focus on working with a trained professional, healing and getting past this. YOU CAN DO THIS!

References

[1] Stress Hormone May Contribute to Breast Cancer Deaths – https://news.stanford.edu/news/2000/june28/breast-628.html

Breast Cancer Linked to Bacterial Imbalances – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171006124004.htm

Breast tissue, oral and urinary microbiomes in breast cancer – http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path[]=21490&path[]=68289

GET MY BEST TIPS on healing from breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the  far right-hand side of each page of this website. 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.

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