Honor Breast Health Awareness Month by Taking Care of You!
When my best friend was recently diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, the breast cancer epidemic really hit home for me and I went into overdrive.
Like so many others who have breast cancer today (approximately 1 in 8 of us) there was no prior history of breast cancer in my best friend’s family.
So I naturally embarked on a frantic research mission to update myself and her regarding the best lifestyle choices, supplements and healing foods to help strengthen her system and prevent re-occurrence in the future.
She opted to do a combination of low-dose chemotherapy with holistic therapies to maximize her immune system.
Beating Breast Cancer
Besides speaking to her nightly and telling her we would get through this together as we had weathered so many other of life’s ups and downs, I started working on the nutrition front.
Knowing her B positive blood type (the same as mine) with its unique DNA blueprint, I immediately sent her the adaptogen astragalus with some spleen and thymus tissue glandulars to bolster her immune system.
I included some of the Adrenal Formula with additional ashwaganda for her overly reactive fight or flight stress response and told her to get in bed by 10 PM sharp.
I also sent her several bottles of CoQ10 (which earlier research from Denmark suggested could shrink breast cancer tumors at about 390 mg daily).
To help deal with the nausea of the chemo treatments, I sent her my favorite recipes for more liquid meals—nourishing pureed veggie soup and bone broth.
Since I knew she was a smoothie lover, I also included Fat Flush Whey Protein, made from the healthiest hormone-free A2 protein to help make glutathione in her liver to help detox some of the chemo and strengthen her body.
Sourced from New Zealand, this protein powder contains non-mutant A2 protein that has not been associated with any of the health problems—including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and digestive problems—linked to the mutated A1 protein produced by most U.S. cows (and found in the majority of whey protein powders on the market).
I lectured her on keeping her cell phone far from her body—and especially not in her bra (for reasons briefly detailed below).
For years, my dear friend carried her cellphone in a pouch which sometimes landed right below her right breast—the side where the cancer was detected.
I told her to use glass or stainless steel to replace the plastic bottles she was using to transport her purified water.
AND—I told her to give up her love of dried fruits because cancer of all types loves sugar!!
Breast Cancer On the Rise?
It saddens me but breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer for women today behind skin cancer. Why? Factors like more xenoestrogens (estrogen mimics) in the environment from pesticides and plastics, having fewer children, delayed childbearing, synthetic HRT, and obesity in postmenopausal women are all significant.
Breast cancer is especially on the rise with women under 40—perhaps due to early puberty, hormones in meat and dairy, as well as excessive alcohol which can elevate estrogen levels particularly with women in their 20s when hormones are peaking at their highest levels.
Perhaps it just goes undetected because mammograms have generally only been recommended for women 40 and over (this is now changing to 50 and over according to the latest guidelines from U.S. Preventative Services Task Force) and many women are unfamiliar with the breast thermography tests that can now be performed to determine “hotspots” in the breast fairly accurately.
While a little bit of alcohol is good for us as adults, according to Dr. Christine Horner, surgeon, author, and breast health advocate, one drink day a day for a woman in her 20s increases a woman’s breast cancer risk by 11 percent and three drinks by 33 to 70 percent.
Since prevention is so much easier than treatment, here’s what we can all do today for the best breast health ever:
Go for an Oil Change. One of the best oils is flaxseed oil which is particularly female-friendly due to its high levels of alpha-linolenic acid. Women with high ALA levels in their breast tissue have been found to have up to a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women with low levels of this fatty acid. Flaxseed is also rich in the phytonutrient lignans that help remove excess estrogen from the body by binding with estrogen receptors. High estrogen levels have been linked to breast cancer.
Iodine to the Rescue. Introduce iodine rich foods to your diet like sea vegetables (kombu, hijiki, and nori) and Seaweed Gomasio to add flavor to your favorite dishes with an extra dose of prevention. Breast tissue is the second biggest user of iodine in the body, right behind the thyroid gland. A deficiency in iodine has been linked to the tendency to develop breast cancer.
Pump Up the Polyphenols. Foods rich in polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) have been found to block inflammation, inhibit oxidative stress, choke off blood supply to tumors, and program cancer cells to die by reducing cell division. Helpful foods include 2-4 cups of green tea, daily doses of curcumin, pomegranates, and non-GMO soy.
Dial Up the D. Raise your daily Vitamin D intake (D is like a hormone rather than a vitamin) to at least 1,000 – 4,000 IU to reach a level of at least 52 ng/mL. Women with serum levels at <13 ng/mL level had a 50% higher risk than those with levels of 52 ng/mL. Supplement with fatty fish and Vitamin D formulas. If you have darker skin, you will need more time in the sun than a lighter skinned individual.
Get the Sugar Out! Plain and simple, cancer feeds on sugar which is known to immobilize white blood cells for up to five hours. Opt for more veggies during the day and snack on whole, low sugar fruit rather than fruit juice. Avoid processed sugar and processed grains which are metabolized like sugar in any form. If you want a sweetener, try a plant-based sugar substitute like stevia or monk fruit. For more tips on staying sugar free, check out my book “Get the Sugar Out.”
Ditch Your Bra Whenever Possible. Bras especially with under wires restrict your lymph flow so toxins can easily accumulate.
Use Non-toxic Cosmetics and Personal Care Products. Check for parabens (which function as estrogen mimics) and chemicals. I created my skin care line, BeauCle to be paraben-free and full of cancer fighting antioxidants and healing omega fats like omegas 3, 7, and 9. Aluminum, a heavy metal which interacts with the detox mineral magnesium, is often found in deodorant, antiperspirant and even in your contact lens solution.
Avoid Artificial Hormones. Try to avoid Premarin, Prempro and birth control pills which provide estrogen and synthetic progesterone. Keep hormones balanced and ensure an adequate level of natural progesterone to avoid estrogen dominance, a condition that can fuel breast cancer. Prolonged use of traditional combination hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk. Opt for natural or bio identical hormone replacement if you must use hormones to manage your symptoms and use alternative means of birth control that don’t include hormones if possible. Consider a salivary hormone test to get a baseline of all six key bodily hormones and test yearly.
Stay Clear of Microwave Radiation. Electromagnetic fields from microwaves in cellphones and wireless technology as well as electrical appliances and machines can destroy melatonin—a powerful hormonal antioxidant which protects against breast cancer. Remember to turn off your wireless router and cell phone. Keep your cell phone away from your body when it is on and don’t stash in your bra. The microwave radiation emitted from you cellphone is readily absorbed by your soft breast tissue. There is a growing body of case reports which link breast cancer with cellphones in the bra.
The good news is that 95% of breast cancers are now considered preventable—which makes becoming a breast health warrior such a winning proposition! And, as soon as my friend completes her choice of treatments I know she’s going to become a victor as well.
Barclay, Laurie. “New Scientific Options for Preventing Breast Cancer: Research Update on Compounds to Incorporate into Your Breast Health Program.” Life Extension 1 Oct. 2008.
Gittleman, Ann Louise. Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution. New York: HarperOne, 2010.
Horner, Christine. Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner’s Program to Protect against & Fight Breast Cancer. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications, 2005.
Great info. Thank you so much…
Where do I get the Fat Flush Whey Protein made from hormone-free A2 protein ?
The Fat Flush Whey Protein is available online at: http://www.unikeyhealth.com/fat-flush-whey-protein or by calling 1-800-888-4353. Thank yoiu for your comment!!
Question : I use thermography rather than mammography for early detection . What are your thoughts ? Thank you .
Great question! I believe that thermography is a very helpful diagnostic tool – especially with younger women whose breast tissue is not as dense as those of older women – but ultimately is not a substitute for mammographies. That being said, many individuals use both.
Dear Dr. ALG,
Thank you for this blog!
I am looking to switch from mammogram screening to thermography. Can you direct me to a website or organization that can help me locate a reputable thermography center in my area?
Is thermography a good choice for those of us with dense breast tissue?
I welcome your input also on the use of ultrasound in lieu of mammography.
Thank you for your well-researched science based guidance! Yes, prevention is the goal!!
Here is the website I recommend; http://www.breastthermography.com
I think that thermography is an excellent diagnostic tool for younger women. It may not be accurate enough for older women with denser breast tissue. There are many pros and cons and quite honestly, I don’t have a clearcut answer for you….
I am not familiar enough with ultrasound in lieu of a mammography to offer you an informed opinion, but what I can say – and hope this will not be too disconcerting – is that my best friend did have yearly mammograms and her breast cancer was not detected through them. She found a lump – right under her breasts on her bra line – by doing self-examination.
So — the jury is still out on all of the above.
A combination of the best preventative lifestyle habits and yearly testing – one way or the other – seems to be the most balanced course of action.
What do you think would make white blood cell count to go down and keep on going down? that can’t be good because that IS my immune system. How can I get it to work for me?
Midge: A plummeting white blood count can be due to viral infection, radiation, cirrhosis of the liver, rheumatoid arthritis, and the like. You will need to be in the hands of a functional medicine specialist to be able to identify the underlying cause(s) and take appropriate measures. Raw spleen glandulars can help to raise a low white blood count.
Here’s wishing you the very best.
Thank you so much for some of the most important information for women. Also regarding the under wire bras, I heard from a Dr. it is an antenna for the cell phone so ladies CUT OUT THOSE WIRES. Let’s take every level of precaution. By the way, men also get breast cancer.
Thank you, Esther, for sharing more valuable tips and info. I appreciate this very much.
I have a question about using flaxseed oil that’s been bothering me for some time … since it is an omega 3 fatty acid source, which I understand stimulates estrogen production, wouldn’t this increase breast cancer risk? Or are there other components of the oil that counter that? Your input would be greatly appreciated!
One other comment … you mentioned one piece of advice given to your friend is to get sleep and sleep at the right time for good melatonin production … I think we all need that reminder to keep us healthy! Its so simple, but yet so important!! Thankyou!
Hi Maria: High lignan flaxseed oil acts as an estrogen modulator. The key is the high lignan component which is most richly found in the seeds themselves.
Two tablespoons of the seeds were found to inhibit breast cancer tumor growth in studies at the University of Toronto. Three tablespoons of the ground up (toasted) seeds is equivalent to one tablespoon of the oil.
Dr. Ann Louise, I love your informative newsletters and videos and have personally benefitted greatly from them. May I please say that as a Mammographer with over 20yrs experience, younger women have DENSE breast tissue and older women have LESS DENSE breast tissue. That is why the American Cancer Society recommends that all women over the age of 40 get their mammograms every year because studies have determined that age 40 is the optimal time for a Radiologist to be able to see more detail in the breast tissue on a mammogram vs. in a younger women, whose breast tissue is tighter, more dense and the finer details are harder to see. For younger women under age 40, an ultrasound would be recommended first, and then according to the results, a mammogram second. Respectfully, Lydia O
Dear Lydia: Thank you for your highly informative comments. My comment regarding dense breast tissue in older women was actually referring to my personal friend – who is older than 60 – and has unusual dense breast tissue. Perhaps that was the reason her breast cancer was not detected earlier. In general, younger women do have denser breaset tissue which would make it difficult to see all the finer details, as you pointed out.
I appreciate your clarification regarding the ultrasound for women under the age of 40.
You were most thoughtful to share you experience and wisdom with us, Lydia O. Thank you so much!
You’re welcome, my pleasure! 🙂
Dear Dr. ALG,
Thank you for your response above.
And thank you and your friend for letting us know it was she who found her breast lump — not her mammogram.
And that it was in the area of where her cell phone made contact with her body.
I am reminded of the words of the late great Dr. John Lee: “Nobody knows your breasts better than you do.”
Self breast exam is a valuable tool.
I recall you once recommended a pad one could purchase to help one examine breasts. Do you still believe this pad is helpful and ,if so, would you please
give us the details once again?
Best wishes to your friend for a full return to health. Thank you.
I did use the pads you mention. I don’t think they were really too helpful as a diagnostic tool. My opinion is that thermography is a much more reliable when it comes to a serious health matter like this.
Hi. I am interested in doing your Fat Flush pan and purchasing one of the kits. I am being treated for breast cancer with Tamoxifen. I also have high blood pressure and take medication for that. I am postmenopausal. Would this be safe for me? Thank you
The Fat Flush Plan has successfully helped women lose weight with the conditions you mentioned. Ann Louise designed the Fat Flush Kit to speed up weight loss by using thermogenic and detoxifying herbs and nutrients, so it is important to use them.
There are no known contraindications with the medications you mentioned.