In this last article for Breast Cancer Awareness Month I want to summarize the many ways women can be proactive in preventing cancer. I know that one out of eight women is a frightening statistic. I also know that what’s important is that we women know there are many things that we can do to stay breast healthy.
The ‘self’ breast exam on a regular basis and a clinical breast exam by your practitioner once a year are mainstays and should become routine. A Mammogram is considered part of this important routine, but how often and when to begin regular mammograms differs for every woman.
A Mammogram has become the norm because it may detect malignancy 1.7 years before breast exam. A mammogram can detect lesions as small as 12mm. A mammogram is reasonably inexpensive and has to be at least partially covered by insurance.
But there are many reasons that mammograms have become more controversial. First of all a mammogram is a radiation exposure event and we want to minimize those exposures. Secondly mammograms do not do well with the denser tissue of breast of younger women. And as many of you may have experienced there are false maybes and false positives. The Maybes require a follow-up mammogram or ultra-sound and the false positives lead to unnecessary biopsies.
Add Thermography to the Basics
My recommendation for all women, but especially those 30 to 50 years old, is to begin relying on thermography of the breast as a means to early detection and prevention of breast cancer.
Medical thermography is quite simple. It is taking a picture of your body’s functioning and changing in “real time.” Healthy breast tissue shows up blue on the thermogram. Red and White patterns mean there is inflammation. Inflammation is a very active cause of cancer, heart and cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and much more. A baseline thermograph shows your breast’s health. I recommend a baseline thermography with a follow-up each year to discern any changes to tissue health.
There is no radiation associated with thermography so there is no exposure or build-up. Thermography is capable of showing very early changes in breast health - up to 8 years before an abnormal mammogram. It is painless and relatively inexpensive. However, it is not available everywhere and not yet covered by insurance.
Add the Good Health Basics
I feel very fortunate that at Carolina Integrative Medicine we can offer the Thermography method of breast cancer detection. Because, when inflammation is detected there are proactive things we can do to reverse the inflammation and keep the cells from progressing to a cancerous stage. These include things I suggest to all of my patients to promote general well-being. In cancer prevention they become extremely critical. An anti-inflammatory diet, detoxification, hormone balancing, stress reduction modalities like massage all work to reduce inflammation.
Deep-colored berries, green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, flax seeds, and garlic are just a few examples of an anti-inflammatory diet. We will add to that diet any Vitamins, minerals to make up for the nutrition we are not getting from our daily diets. There are available herbs and homeopathic remedies and cleanses that help the body balance and clear itself of toxins.
Good levels of Vitamin D can prevent breast cancer. Here is the medical explanation:
- Vitamin D binds to a nuclear transcription factor that is also known as a vitamin D receptor (VDR). This complex modulates the transcription of more than 50 genes that promote good cell growth and prevents proliferation of cancer cells. In addition vitamin D also exerts action to down regulate the expression of estrogen receptors.
85,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented in North America alone with sufficient Vitamin D levels. A study out of San Diego compiled data on breast and colon cancer and Vitamin D levels and found that dosages of 3500 IU/day would reduce breast cancer by 50%. Current median adult intake of Vitamin D in the US is 230 IU/day.
70% of the world population is estimated to be iodine deficient and Dr. Brownstein found that out of 3,000 patients tested, 95% of them were iodine deficient. Breast tissue is the second most concentrated place we find iodine in the body. Japanese women who ingest an average of 13.8 mg iodine/day have one of the lowest breast cancer rates in the world.
- Iodine has been shown responsible for altering gene expression that regulates hormone metabolism as well as regulation of cellular growth and differentiation. Iodine forms iodinated lipids called iodolactones that disrupt the growth of cancer cells.
A study of 108 women showed a 98% reduction in breast pain when treated with iodine for 9 months. There are several pharmaceutical products currently in development for treatment of FBC that contain iodine both Sensiva from Abbott laboratories and IoGen from Symbollon.
There are topical creams and supplements that help to reduce inflammation. One of the most promising topical treatments available is “Dr. Spencer’s Breast Cream.” This cream not only detoxifies and firms breasts; it may clear congested lymph and cystic breasts. Resolve Internal Fire Supplement is an available Natural COX-2 Inhibiting Anti-Inflammatory Formula in capsule form.
Hormone Balancing for Breast Tissue Health Support
I have talked about the critical role of balancing estrogen and progesterone in detail in last week’s article, but I will summarize once again. I consider the balance of the three types of estrogen levels in the body and the correct ratio of progesterone as the most important concern in both Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and in breast tissue health.
Let’s detect and prevent Breast Cancer. Schedule a baseline Thermogram this month for only $99. Or if you had one last year call for your follow-up. Make a point to do this every year. One way to remember is to treat yourself to a Thermogram on your Birthday. Breast Cancer Awareness Month every October can also serve as a reminder. Testing for vitamin D, iodine, anti-inflammatory needs and hormone levels are all very easy to do and available at Carolina Integrative Medicine. We have supplements available and can provide nutritional counseling to keep your breast tissue and your whole being healthy.