Breast Cancer and Natural Options
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. To date, modern medicine is still taking the invasive approach to preventing the disease. Prevention should be built around understanding the disease including such things as; knowing the risk factors and lifestyle changes (including my 4-Pillars of Great Health).
Please don’t take me the wrong way, I believe there is a time and place for modern medicine. The modern medical world does-in most cases-have our best interest at heart. My regret is that too often it (modern medicine) looks at the surface of health instead of the root of the problem. There should be more focus on education about lifestyle changes and less spent on potentially bogus research.
Who gets Breast Cancer?
Remarkably, some women who have one or more risk factors never get breast cancer. And most women who do get breast cancer don’t have any risk factors at all. The crazy fact is-about 70% of women with breast cancer have no known risk factors. This is even more reason to live a healthier lifestyle. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Things you can’t change
Age (risk rises as you get older)
Sex (100 times more common in women)
Race (Whites more than African-American, Asian, Hispanic and American Indian)
Menstrual Periods (women who begin before 12 or end after the age(s) of 55)
Breast lesions (previous breast biopsy with abnormal cells)
Things you can change (if it isn’t too late)
Child Birth (Either not having a child or having one after the age of 30)
Birth Control Pill use
Not breast-feeding (breast-feeding lowers the risk)
Alcohol Use (especially 2 or more drinks per day)
Exercise (increased activity decreases your risk)
Remember, risk factors are just that-having one or more of these will increase the possibility of developing the condition. Having any one of these isn’t necessarily a sentence of doom, but should be treated as a wake-up call to take better care of you.
The following is based on “what would the Herbal Pharmacist do if he had this condition?” I choose to start with the following comments:
1. The majority of women with breast cancer have no known risk factors
2. No matter where the condition is-breast, colon, lung, etc.-CANCER can be life threatening.
3. Modern medicine does acknowledge that lifestyle choices (being overweight, smoking, eating habits, not enough exercise, etc.) increase your risk of developing cancer.
Having stated these (obvious to many) points, I am drawn to one conclusion: Lifestyle is the one constant in the majority (probably all-but I don’t have the time to look it up) of the forms of cancer we get. If we could just change certain things about how we live (LIFESTYLE) we probably wouldn’t get cancer. In past articles on cancer I stated that you won’t get cancer if your immune system is functioning optimally. Cancer cells are abnormal cells. If your immune system was working the way it should, it would identify the bad cells and destroy them. I believe that because of the many lifestyle choices we make (not following my 4-Pillars of Great Health), we place our bodies in harms way by decreasing the effectiveness of our immune system.
As I state, the 4-Pillars are Supplements, Diet, Activity and Spirituality. Let’s start with Dietary supplements. Whether I have this condition or I am looking to not develop it, I would look to the same basic supplements. Doses may change based on your condition and its severity. (Someone with Stage IV cancer would be more aggressive with dosing than someone who is just looking at prevention) This is the laundry list of supplement you should consider:
EPA/DHA (Fish oil)
I3C (comes from cruciferous veggies) (besides diet, use cruciferous extracts)
Iodine (or other natural sources of this mineral)
Maitake Mushroom (extract-I prefer D-Fraction from Maitake Products)
Vitamin A (use caution-high doses are linked to liver damage)
Of these listed supplements, many can be purchased in “breast health” supplements. Examples such as Advanced Breast Support (M.D. Select) and Healthy Cells Breast (Enzymatic Therapy) would be a great step in the right direction. I would use these as part of my foundation when building the Herbal Pharmacist Dietary supplement program.
The next level up would be to use a good antioxidant targeting your condition. Supplements like Super Critical Antioxidant (New Chapter) would be a great fit. You may wish to add more antioxidants if you wish to be more aggressive. Finding a combination antioxidant which contains CoQ10, A, and maybe the herbs Green Tea and Turmeric would be great. I also throw Flor*Essence Tea into this level. This amazing tea is ALWAYS part of my supplement recommendations for those with cancer concerns. Not only is it a great antioxidant, but also possesses detoxification properties. I especially like its ability to work on cleansing the lymphatic system. This system is critical in all forms of cancer, but especially breast cancer. I have had great success using this tea on a daily basis. Doses ranging from 1-2 ounces per day to the more aggressive 4-8 ounces per day (very severe cases) (this large dose will usually cause side effects like digestive discomfort and diarrhea)
The third level of supplementation would be your fish oil supplement. The jury is still out on how much is enough without going overboard (no pun intended). I usually recommend we consume 2-3 grams per day as part of maintaining great health. Perhaps 5-10 grams per day would be considered the high end for a more aggressive approach.
Even though a probiotic is not listed above, I believe we all should be taking a daily supplement of these friendly bacteria. There isn’t any research to say it helps, but with more “good guys” in your digestive system, your body can focus on doing positive work instead of energy on another health issue that my crop up due to insufficient friendly bacteria. Look for a guaranteed delivery product like Reuteri Pearls (Nature’s Way) or MD Select for blended formulations.
As I always preach-you can’t do just one Pillar and expect to be a healthy individual. Let’s take a quick look at other recommendation for those concerned with Breast Cancer.
I feel like a broke record, but here it goes. Throw away and stop consuming refined foods. (Especially Sugar and flour based products) I define a refined foods as a food that isn’t in its original state-Don’t Eat It! (Pasta, bread, bagels, refined oils, etc.) You can eat: Whole foods! Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats (organic lean cuts), chicken (organic), eggs (organic) and fish (not too much because of heavy metal toxicity) I prefer being heavy on the fruits and veggies and lighter on the animal proteins. If you are having trouble with the fruits and veggies, then buy powdered supplements that contain fruit and vegetable extracts. If you’re into soy, eat fermented soy products like tofu. (I recommend staying away from soy because there are too many conflicting studies about it being beneficial or harmful-especially with estrogen positive forms of cancer)