Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment

By Bill Reddy, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

There's a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. It suddenly feels like your collar is too tight around your neck, your vision narrows to a receipt sticking out of your purse, and you can't seem to pull your eyes away from it.

You've just been told you have breast cancer…and you're not alone. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2004, over 275,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer. How can you prevent this? If you've been diagnosed, what are your options beyond surgery and chemotherapy?

PREVENTION

Some of the approaches I'm going to discuss are backed by double-blind, placebo controlled studies. Others are known, but have not been fully tested within the scientific community. Let's begin by identifying the constants and variables in this equation. The constants would be your ethnic background, family medical history, height, and age of initial menstruation. Variables would be your diet, lifestyle, use of birth control pills, alcohol, exposure to environmental toxins, and stress level. Risk factors include height (taller women have a greater chance of getting breast cancer), ethnic background (Caucasian and African Americans have a higher incidence than Hispanic and Asian Americans), family history increases your chances, as well as a history of birth control pill usage, getting your period at an early age, and excess stress and alcohol intake. The reason why we have more women getting breast cancer today than 100 years ago is because of environmental toxins and xenoestrogens. Environmental toxins include heavy metals (from the amalgams in our teeth, cigarette smoke, fungicides, chemical manufacture, childhood vaccines, and antiperspirants), electromagnetic fields and household & automotive cleaning agents. You can limit your exposure by wearing gloves when cleaning, using deodorant instead of antiperspirants, not smoking or drinking heavily, and considering seeing a biologic dentist to remove your mercury-based amalgams and replace them with an inert substance. Consult a Naturopathic Physician to help you take steps toward organ-specific and whole body detoxification. Xenoestrogens are estrogen -"like" compounds that promote the growth of estrogenic cancers. Pesticides (DDT, Dioxin), petroleum products (toluene, benzene, car exhaust), plastics (food wrap, PVC), and hormones (HRT for menopause, fattening agents for chickens, pigs, and cows) are all xenoestrogens and must be avoided. You can limit your exposure to these items by eating organic vegetables and fruit, buying organic/free range meats, not re-using plastic water bottles, and not microwaving foods in plastic containers.

TREATMENT

Herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine have a proven antiproliferative (cancer-stopping) effect. Antioxidants are crucial to stimulate a cancer patient's immune system. Shark cartilage has been found to inhibit the production of blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors, preventing metastasis (cancer spreading to other organs or parts of the body). Graviola has been known to selectively kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Colamine phosphate is a naturally occurring substance that removes toxins in your body, thus preventing cancer growth. Reishi mushrooms, aloe vera, and broccoli sprouts all have immune-enhancing properties.

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