Breast cancer has been with us for centuries. The ancient Egyptians were the first to recognise breast cancer. A papyrus dating from around 1600 BC describes the disease and early attempts at cutting out the tumour.
In the days of ancient Rome, Roman physicians believed they could treat and cure breast cancer by rubbing paste made from cabbage onto the breast.
("Studies have shown that if you make cabbage into a paste and rub it on the backs of laboratory animals, you can prevent tumours from developing" - Jon Michnovicz, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Foundation for Preventive Oncology)
Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer is not one disease. Experts believe there to be between 25-30 variants.
Incidences of breast cancer have risen by 50% in the last 25 years.
"A few women are so terrified of breast cancer, as their mother and sometimes grandmother and other relatives died of this disease, they have their breasts removed as a precaution. My mother died of breast cancer - but I would never undergo such radical surgery unless I actually had cancer."
"Our inherited genes control the structure and function of our body but if our genes stay healthy then our body stays healthy. If you live a healthy lifestyle, you can change which genes are expressed. In other words if your parents and grandparents died of heart attacks or cancers, you may have a pre-disposition for heart problems and cancer, but if you live a different lifestyle and eat healthier foods, you can change the chemistry within the body - you don't have to suffer just because they did. Genes are repairable and alterable - they adjust to our environment and state of mind" - Hazel Courteney
Risk factors for breast cancer are using HRT for too long, the contraceptive pill, excessive intake of saturated fats, dairy products, alcohol, pesticides, herbicides, and a low intake of fruit and vegetables - Hazel Courteney
Helpful Hints (For avoiding breast cancer)
*Examine your breasts at least once a month. If you find even the hint of anything unusual or any type of lump, see your doctor immediately. Remember the earlier any problems are detected the greater your chance of a complete cure. [ N.B. If you do find a lump, don't panic. 9 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous.]
*Avoid wearing a bra for too much of the day. Women who wear a tight fitting bra for 14 hours a day or longer are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer. At the very least find yourself a comfortable loose fitting bra that doesn't block lymph drainage.
*Exercise should be taken on a regular basis as this helps reduce stress and strengthens our immune system, making us less susceptible to disease.
*Some scientists believe that antiperspirants may be linked to breast cancer. Many sprays contain chemicals that are absorbed into the body and they also stop you sweating, but this is nature's way of getting rid of many unwanted toxins. The majority of breast cancers occur in the part of the breast nearest the armpit. Always use natural deodorants such as Pit Rok or a tea tree oil based deodorant. Remember your skin is your largest organ and chemicals in creams and deodorants are absorbed into the body.
*Breast cancer is more common in people who are overweight and obese - control your weight.
*High stress levels are associated with breast cancer - make sure you get plenty of exercise, which reduces the tendency towards stress. Make some time for proper relaxation.
- Hazel Courteney (From '500 Of The Most Important Health Tips You'll Ever Need'. Published by Cico Books. Reproduced by kind permission of the author.)
In a 1994 study of 121 women with breast cancer, those in more advanced stages whose breast cancer had spread to their lymph nodes showed the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the breast tissue. After 31 months, the 20 women who had developed metastases had significantly lower levels of these EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) than those who didn't. Another study out of Boston University using the same type of tissue profiles that were used in the breast cancer study demonstrated that patients with coronary artery disease likewise had, low levels of EFAs. - Dr. Robert Willner M.D.
Obesity is the biggest driving force behind the most common form of breast cancer in older women, say researchers . Alcohol and then cigarettes are the next largest culprits, according to Cancer Research UK.
One in eight women in the UK develop breast cancer in their lifetime, data shows, and the majority of these tumours are 'hormone sensitive' meaning theit growth is fuelled by hormones.
Too much stored fat in the body raises the level of these 'sex hormones' - BBC Ceefax July 2011
Professor Jane Plant gives us a slightly different slant on the fat issue. (Using the calories from a high fat diet to 'burn' for warmth and energy is , of course, altogether different from building up an obese state due to over-eating)
'Populations such as the Eskimos living on a predominantly fish diet have long been known to have less breast cancer than those eating other animal fats. If properly cooked, seafood also contains lots of iodine and iodine compounds (like those of zinc) are involved in ensuring that mistakes (which could cause cancer) do not occur during cell division in the body.
After the thyroid, the highest concentration of iodine in human females is in the breast - suggesting that - as in the case of zinc, which is concentrated in the prostate in males - it plays an essential role in the proper functioning of breast tissue (Indeed, I have helped many of my friends who have had sore breasts before a period to overcome the problem by taking Icelandic kelp tablets)'
The fact that breast irradiation increases the risk of heart disease is not a new finding. Starting in the late 1960's, it became known that, after receiving adjuvant radiation to prevent breast cancer recurrence, more women than expected were dying of heart disease, sometimes decades after their initial surgery. It took brilliant medical detective work to prove that this apparently successful use of radiation therapy was also the cause of many cardiac deaths. (Fajardo 2001) So many women were dying of the long-term adverse effects, that it more or less counterbalanced any survival benefit from the treatment itself.
Radiation is a classic two-edged sword. It does substantially reduce the risk of recurrences of breast cancer in the irradiated field. But this comes at the price of an increased risk of damage to the heart, especially when the internal mammary lymph node chains are irradiated or when the patient is a smoker. Patients and their physicians need to carefully weigh up benefits and risks before agreeing to this or any other potentially toxic treatments. - Ralph Moss ('Big Blow To Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer')
"The animals were genetically programmed to get breast cancer and about 80 - 90% of them normally get spread of the cancer from the breast to the lungs which is a common route in humans, also for how people die of breast cancer, and instead when they gave the animals Laetrile by injection only 10 - 20% of them got lung metasteses. And these facts were verified by many people, including the pathology department." - Ralph Moss
Breast cancer and alcohol: Women who have just two alcoholic drinks a day massively increase their risk of developing breast cancer, scientists warned yesterday.
Even as little as two small glasses of wine daily can fuel a tumour, doubling its size in a matter of weeks - Daily Express 1st May 2007
Alcohol has been linked to increased risk of breast, liver, mouth, oesophagus and bowel cancers because it can damage DNA, increasing the risk of cancer. Carcinogens are formed when the body breaks down alcohol...
A 2007 study (carrried out by researchers in Denmark) found that women who drank more than four units in one day or ten units over a weekend had more than double the risk of breast cancer, because high alcohol intake increases levels of oestrogen - Lorraine Kelly and Anita Bean ('Nutrition Made Easy')
Pamela Goldberg, Chief Executive Breast Cancer Campaign, said "A recent survey carried out for Breast Cancer Campaign by Ipsos MORI showed that less than ten per cent of women knew that a diet high in saturated fat and high alcohol consumption increased the chances of developing breast cancer, which was their biggest fear."
Countries with a higher intake of fat, especially fat from animal products, such as meat and dairy products, have a higher incidence of breast cancer - The Cancer Project
How olive oil can help in breast cancer fight: Olive oil contains tumour-killing chemicals that may help us win the war against breast cancer, scientists said last night.
Substances discovered in the oil have stunned researchers with their ability to fight the most aggressive form of the disease.
Their study has shown the substances, found in the premium, extra virgin variety, make breast tumour cells self-destruct.
The cancer-killing effects of the chemicals, called lignans and secoiridoids, could explain the ability of the Mediterranean diet to cut a woman's risk from the disease which strikes about 45,000 Britons a year.
Their anti-cancer effect is so potent that the researchers from the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Spain now plan to use extra virgin olive oil to develop a new class of anti-breast cancer drugs.
The substances work in a similar way to the drug Herceptin, by "drastically" cutting levels of the Her2 protein, a major factor in the growth of the most aggressive form of the disease, Her2 -positive breast cancer.
Lead investigator Dr. Javier Menendez said , "Our findings reveal for the first time that these chemicals in extra virgin olive oil drastically suppress the cancer gene Her2 in human breast cancer cells."
He said the findings added to recent evidence that the ability of the Mediterrean diet to fight breast cancer had been under-estimated. Dr Menendez added: "We suggest these chemicals might provide a safe platform for the design of new anti-breast cancer drugs." - Daily Express 22nd December 2008
An article published in June 2003 reported that breast cancer risk was reduced by one half in Japanese women who ate three or more bowls of miso soup on an almost daily basis.
Conducted by the Japanese Public Health Study of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease, the report monitored 21,852 women from 1990-2000.
Postmenopausal women showed the highest reduction in risk - Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D ('Health Bliss')
Eating broccoli can dramatically cut the risk of developing breast cancer: Along with other cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, cauliflower and cabbage, it is already known to contain chemicals that prevent a number of cancers.
But now experts have discovered the compound in the veg that can actually kill breast cancer cells.
The remarkable discovery once again highlights the benefit of eating the cancer-busting vegetables.
Scientists at the University of California have revealed for the first time how the healing power of these vegetables works in the cells.
Their research, published in the journal Carcinogenesis, found that a compound in broccoli inhibits the rapid growth of tumour cells in a similar way to chemotherapy drug taxol and vincristine, a drug which kills cells that reproduce the fastest.
The drugs inhibit cell division during mitosis, the process by which cells split apart and divide.
The research was carried out by Leslie Wilson, professor of biochemistry and pharmacology, and Mary Ann Jordan, adjunct professor in the Department of Molecular, Celluar and Developmental Biology, at the university's Santa Barbara laboratories.
Graduate student Olga Azarenko, who worked on the project, said: "Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, can be protected against by eating cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and near relatives of cabbage such as broccoli and cauliflower.
These vegetables contain compounds called isothiocyanates which we believe to be responsible for the cancer-preventative and anti-carcinogenic activities in these vegetables. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the highest amount of the isothiocyanates.
Our paper focuses on the anti-cancer activity of these compounds, called sulforaphane, or SFN. It has already been shown to reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumours in animals. It inhibits the growth of cultured human breast cancer cells, leading to cell death." Ms. Azarenko and her team made the surprising discovery that SFN inhibits the rapid growth of tumur cells, mimicking some anti-cancer drugs that target the fastest-producing cancer cells. -Daily Express January 2nd 2009
The Polish Women's Health Study included hundreds of Polish and Polish-born women in the United States. The study revealed that women who ate three or more servings of raw, lightly cooked or fermented (sauerkraut) cabbage were 72 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer as opposed to those women who ate only one and a half servings per week - David Grotto RD, LDN ('101 Foods That Could Save Your Life')
Fruit 'blocks' breast cancer: Extracts of a fruit grown on tropical vines appears to have breast cancer blocking powers, say researchers.
Scientists found key ingredients of the green and knobbly bitter melon fruit interfered with chemical pathways involved in cancer growth. It turned off signals telling the breast cancer cells to divide and switched on signals encouraging them to commit suicide.
Experts told Cancer Research journal more trials were needed - BBC Ceefax 25 th Feb. 2010
Red meat 'doubles' breast cancer risk: Women who eat red meat more than once a day double the risk of getting the most common form of breast cancer, doctors said yesterday.
Women who ate the most meat, especially in processed forms such as hamburgers and sausages, were at the greatest risk of 'hormone sensitive' breast cancers.
A new study of premenopausal women examined the effect of diet on different types of breast cancer.
The natural female hormones oestrogen and progesterone are essential for a range of bodily functions but they are also responsible for stimulating growth in 70 per cent of breast cancers - those known as 'hormone receptor positive' (HR+)
Dr Eunyoung Cho, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the study, said there were a number of reasons why red meat triggered this type of breast cancer.
They included the treatment of American beef cattle with hormones to speed up growth, carcinogens created when meat was cooked at high tempertures and the presence of a certain form of iron in meat.
More than 90,600 premenopausal American nurses aged 26 to 46 filled in questionaires about their diets between 1991 and 1999, according to the Archives of Internal medicine, which published the research.
Twelve years after the start of the study researchers identified 1,021 cases of breast cancer in the group. Women who ate more than one and a half servings of red meat per day - defined as being the main part of a dish - were 97 per cent more likely to have a HR+ breast cancer than those who ate three or fewer servings per week.
The increased risk for those who said they had between three and five servings per week was 42 per cent.
Those who had meat in processed form such as sausages, salami or mortadella more than three times a week were 2.3 times more likely to get HR+ cancers than those who ate them less than once a month.
Women who ate hamburgers between one and three times per week were 71 per cent more likely than those who did so less than once per month...
- Daily Telegraph November 14th 2006
"But look at the strange case of Brazil. Its level of development is still low but it's breast cancer rate is as high as the most highly industrialized Western countries. Several of us wonder if this phenomenon isn't the result of their meat consumption - nearly three times a day - and widespread recourse, until recently, to all sorts of hormones to speed up the growth of farm animals." - Dr Annie Sasco
Dairy produce and breast cancer: Two articles every woman should read
A woman who drinks one pint of milk a day has substantially higher IGF-1 levels and a three times greater risk of breast cancer than a woman who drinks no milk - Patrick Holford
The results were very clear, the higher your level (of vitamin D) the lower your risk (of breast cancer) - Dr Cedric Garland
Research at the University of California in San Diego concluded that 1,000 i.u. of vitamin D daily could lower an individual's risk of colon cancer by 50% and both breast and ovarian cancer by 30%. The same researchers also stated that 2,000 i.u. of vitamin D, in supplement form, combined with 10 - 15 minutes in the sun could reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer by 50% - NTFC
Women with advanced breast cancer that had spread to their bones were less likely to die of the disease when they had high amounts of active vitamin D in their blood - Patrick Holford
Those with the lowest levels of vitamin E have the highest risk for breast cancer - Dr Wald, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London
(Vitamin E works synergistically with the mineral selenium - another nutrient with anti-cancer capabilities.)
A study done at John Hopkins showed that women with low progesterone levels (estrogen dominance) to have a 540% greater risk of developing breast cancer.
But that same study also showed that women with low progesterone levels had a ten-fold higher incidence of all types of cancer compared to women with good progesterone levels. In other words, women with insufficient progesterone carry a one thousand percent higher risk of developing cancer of any type when compared to women with good progesterone levels.
This study clearly indicates that breast cancer is not the only type of cancer that can result from estrogen dominance - Tanya Harter Pierce
* You can test for progesterone deficiency by taking a hormone saliva test.
* You can correct a progesterone deficiency by using a transdermal progesterone cream - needs to be a minimum of 400 mg of progesterone per ounce.
* Do not confuse (natural) progesterone with (synthetic) progestin. The latter increases breast cancer risk.
[Re - British doctor , Dr P.E. Mohr., who conducted a study of hormone levels in women at the time of breast cancer surgery.
All the women in Dr. Mohr's study were node-positive i.e. their breast cancer had metasized.]
What Dr. Mohr's study showed was that women whose breast cancer surgery was performed in the second half of their menstrual cycle (which is when their own production of progesterone was at its highest) were much less likely to have their breast cancer recur later on.
This study showed that, of the women who had higher levels of progesterone in their bodies at the time of surgery, about 65% were still alive eighteen years later. But of those women who had low levels of progesterone on the day of their surgery, only about 35% were still alive eighteen years later. In other words, if you are a woman preparing to undergo breast cancer surgery, Dr John Lee (author of 'What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer') says," You double your survival rate just by having your progesterone level satisfactory on the day of your surgery!" - Tanya Harter Pierce
The benefits of radiation treatment for breast cancer are questionable, yet radiation is still the most commonly used treatment after surgery. A recent article in the British medical journal 'The Lancet', showed that, according to the study, the use of radiation in breast cancer patients did reduce deaths by 13.2%. However these same radiation treatments increased deaths from 'other causes' by 21.2%. These 'other causes' were largely from heart disease as a result of the radiation administered right around the heart area. As Dr John Lee puts it, the only conclusion that can be made from this study on the use of radiation for breast cancer is that 'the treatment was a success, but the patient died' - Tanya Harter Pierce
Most women have used deodorants for years without a second thought, yet following research published last week many might now be thinking twice before applying it. A potential link between aluminium - commonly found in the form of aluminium salts in anti-perspirants - and breast cancer was found in the study by Christopher Exley, at Keele University. And a higher content of aluminium was found in breast tissue samples - taken from 17 women with breast cancer who had mastectomies at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester - near the underarm area where anti-perspirants are applied. "Although the presence of aluminium in the breast does not, in itself, imply any casual link to breast cancer, it does underline the need for more research, especially in view of the known toxicity of aluminium", says Dr. Exley - Daily Mail 11th September 2007
"We know from research that aluminium applied under the arm appears in the urine, so it does permeate the skin." - Dr. Christopher Exley
A 2004 study carried out by Dr. Phillippa Darbre, a senior lecturer in oncology at the University of Reading, Berkshire, in England, found evidence of parabens in breast tumours."Parabens can mimic the action of oestrogen and there is a link between oestrogen and breast cancer," said Dr. Darbre.
"It does not sound sensible to apply a mixture of chemicals under the arms and around the breast as this could cause a build-up of toxic overload over the years. I have not been using deodorants for ten years and simply wash twice a day with soap and water. If you do use a deodorant, use as little as possible and avoid shaving first as any tiny nicks in the skin will mean easier access for the chemicals." - Dr. Philippa Darbre.
* The skin is a living organ. The body can and does absorb chemicals and metals through the skin. (Copper bracelets, for example, work on exactly the same principle.)The danger comes not from single use, but rather from accumulated effect. For example, if a girl starts using deodorants, or anti-perspirants, on a daily basis, at the age of 12, by the time she is 42 she will have done so well over 10,000 times. One does not need to be an Einstein to see that that could create a problem, especially so if her immune system is below par.
The annual mammographic screening of 10,000 women aged 50 - 70 will extend the lives of, at best, 26 of them. And the annual screening of 10,00 women in their forties will extend the lives of only 12 women per year" - Dr. Charles B. Simone, former clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute
An excellent article on breast cancer...
'Everything You Need To Know About Breast Cancer'
Tea: If you enjoy sipping tea, you'll be happy to know that it appears promising against some forms of cancer.
Like many plant-based foods, tea contains flavonoids, known for their antioxidant effects. One flavonoid in particular, kaempferol, has shown protective effects against cancer.
A large-scale study evaluating kaempferol intake of more than 66,000 women showed that those who consumed the most of it had the lowest risk of developing ovarian cancer. Researcher Margaret Gates, a doctoral candidate at Harvard's School of Public Health, suggests that consuming between 10 milligrams and 12 milligrams of kaempferol - the amount found in four cups of tea - offers protection against ovarian cancer.
A separate study showed a link between consuming flavonoids and reducing the risk of breast cancer. The study, analyzing the lifestyle habits of nearly 3,000 people, showed that postmenopausal women who got the most flavonoids were 46 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who got the least. However, flavonoid consumption had no effect on breast cancer risk among premenopausal women. - Fox News
A high dairy intake is also linked to increased ovarian cancer. This link, however, is thought to be more due to the way that the milk sugar, lactose, breaks down in the body. Lactose breaks down into another sugar called galactose, which appears to be able to damage the ovary. A review in 2006 found that for every 10g of lactose consumed (the amount in one glass of milk) ovarian cancer risk increased by 13 per cent - Patrick Holford
Cow's milk has been shown to contain 35 different hormones and eleven growth factors, many of which are directly implicated in human reproductive and other types of cancer...Growth factors for laboratory research are normally derived from milk or cheese whey - Professor Jane Plant
Ovarian cancer and talcum powder: Women who use talcum powder every day to keep fresh are 40% more likely to develop ovarian cancer, according to alarming research.Scientists fear powder particles applied to the private parts may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish. Although previous studies have raised concerns over talc, the latest findings from the U.S. suggest that the risks are much greater than first thought. Now the researchers have urged all women to stop using talc immediately.Experts in Harvard Medical School in Boston studied more than 3,000 women.
They discovered using talc just once a week raised the risk of cancer by 36 per cent, rising to 41 per cent for those applying powder every day. The study also revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile.
Women carrying a gene caled glutathione S-transferase M1, or GSTM1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S- transferase T1 (GSTT1), were nearly three times as likely to develop tumours.
Around one in ten Caucasian women are thought to have this genetic profile, putting them at sharply increased risk.
Talc is made from a soft mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate, which is found throughout the world.
It is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products by millions. Some experts say it has chemical similarities to asbestos, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, apply only to talcum powder used around the private parts, not on the rest of the body.
Laboratory tests show ovarian cells exposed to talc divide more rapidly - a characteristic sign of cancer.
But until recently there was no proof that powder could travel through a woman's reproductive tract as far as the pelvis and then on to the ovaries.
However, last year, a seperate group of doctors at Harvard Medical School identified tiny particles of powder in the pelvis of a 68-year-old woman with advanced ovarian cancer who had used talc every day for 30 years.
More than 6,000 women a year in the UK are diagnosed with cancer of the ovaries.
The main risk factors include a family history of the disease, having already had breast cancer and starting periods at a young age.
Women who are overweight or use hormone replacement therapy are also thought to be more at risk.
Dr. Maggie Gates, who led the study, said that until the outcome of further research women should avoid using talc in the genital area. An alternative is cornstarch powder.
Dr Jodie Moffat of Cancer Research UK said, "It's important to remember that very few women who use talcum powder will ever develop ovarian cancer." - Daily Mail 27th September 2008
Ovarian cancer and tofu: Eating tofu regularly can almost halve a woman's chances of developing ovarian cancer, according to researchers.
A study found that a daily portion of 10 gm of the food, a meat substitute made from soya bean curd, cut the risk by 44 percent. This level of consumption releases around 3 mg or more of isoflavones, the plant hormone in soya believed to protect against some forms of cancer and heart disease.
The benefit also came from other products from the soya plant, including fortified soya milk and dairy products (soya cheese etc.) .
However, diet in general had little impact on the disease, with dairy products, fruit and vegetables or tea not affecting the risk, added the study.
Scientists from the Northern California Cancer Centre carried out the research involving 100,000 active and retired teachers. - Daily Mail 20th October 2008
Ovarian cancer and ginger: Ginger may help to fight ovarian cancer, US scientists believe. University of Michigan researchers announced at the American Association of Cancer Research that tests show ginger kills cancer cells.
The study also found that the spice had the added benefit of stopping the cells from becoming resistant to treatment.
But UK cancer experts said that, while ginger may in the future form a basis of a new drug, more research was needed to corroborate the findings.
Ginger is already known to ease nausea and control inflammation, but the findings by the US team offer cancer patients new hope.
Researchers used ginger powder, similar to that sold in shops, which they dissolved in a solution and applied to ovarian cancer cells.
They found it caused the cells to die in all the tests done.
But it was the way in which the cells died which offered even more hope. The tests demonstrated two types of death - apoptosis, which is essentially cell suicide, and autophagy, a kind of self-digestion.
Report author Rebecca Liu said," Most ovarian cancer patients develop recurrent disease that eventually becomes resistant to standard chemotherapy, which is associated with apoptosis. If ginger can cause autophagic cell death in addition to apoptosis, it may circumvent resistance to conventional chemotherapy." - BBC News 16th April 2006 [This research is in its infancy and it is too early to draw any firm conclusions, but nevertheless if you are suffering from ovarian cancer, or if you are female and there is a history of ovarian cancer in your family, it might be worth your while incorporating some ginger into your diet on a regular basis.]
Disclaimer: This information is being made available as an act of Service. What you do with this information is up to you. We cannot and do not make any claims. If you have cancer, or think you have, you should consult a qualified medical practitioner.