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.  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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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.
 Modification in the Diet Can Induce Beneficial Effects Against Breast Cancer – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127615/
 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/
 Th1 Cytokine Production Induced by Lactobacillus acidophilus in BALB/c Mice Bearing Transplanted Breast Tumor – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449865/
 Preventive Effects of Probiotic Bacteria Lactobacillus Plantarum and Dietary Fiber in Chemically-induced Mammary Carcinogenesis – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25202079
 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
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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:
Being female, although males can also get breast cancer as well;
Certain races/ethnic groups have a higher risk;
Having mother, sisters or daughters with cancer before age 50;
A personal history of breast cancer (meaning you have already had it yourself before);
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);
Having never breast-fed a baby;
Having at least one breast with atypical hyperplasia (overgrowth of abnormal cells in the lobules or ducts);
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:
Exposure to radiation via x-rays (this includes mammograms), uranium, radioactive materials;
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;
Hormone replacement therapy, both synthetic and animal-derived;
Having undergone breast biopsies;
Excessive stress (doctors say “NO”, but my experience with this says definitely “YES”);
Extremely poor diet with too much processed food;
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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