Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in both developed and developing countries. Early detection increases survival, and we at Holden Healthcare encourage women to participate in routine screening programs. The average age of diagnosis is 60, however there is a growing incidence of breast cancer in younger women – nearly 6 per cent of breast cancers in Australia and New Zealand develop in women younger than 40.
It is well understood that there is increased risk for women who have a family history of breast cancer. What is less well known is the association between breast cancer and controllable risk factors of alcohol consumption and abdominal obesity.
Breast cancer is a term used for a variety of cancers that originate in the breast. Broadly it is categorised whether it begins in the ducts (about 90% of breast cancers) or in the lobules, and whether it is in situ or invasive. Some may be a mixture of in situ and invasive. Some of the less common breast cancers can arise in other structures in the breast, such as the lymph.
Staging describes the extent to which the cancer has developed. The most commonly used is Stage 0-IV, Stage IV being the most advanced.
The letter N followed by a number between 0 and 3 indicates the number of lymph nodes near the breast to which the cancer has spread. Therefore for example DCIS N(2) indicates ductal carcinoma in situ, with 2 lymph nodes affected.
Medical recommendations may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal treatments.
After breast cancer diagnosis, find a good holistic health care professional who can provide guidance about all the natural and complementary therapies that may help you. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of advice on the Internet, so it is important to find an experienced and well-qualified naturopath who can help you determine what is the best way ahead for you. Be comfortable with the person you choose – you may be working together for some time.
Be sure to have your partner or someone close involved as an integral part of your healing process.
It is best to eat a primarily vegetarian diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Eliminate red meats and completely avoid caffeine & trans fats found in commercially processed foods. Eat complex carbohydrates and fibre-rich foods. Consume fish and some nuts for protein. Your naturopath will help draw up a personalised list of foods and frame up a menu plan for you.
Always consult with a herbalist for the most appropriate herbs for you. This may, for instance, include lymphatic herbs which may improve the function of the lymph system and can actually help absorb cysts. Herbs that regulate hormone function and balance the endocrine system may also be included in your herbal formula. Taken as directed, herbal formulas can be a powerful therapy on the road to health. Safety in prescribing is an important part of a herbalist’s training, and you can be confident that your qualified herbalist understands the interactions between taking your prescription medications and herbal medicine together. In fact, some research studies show better outcomes for some patients who choose to combine conventional and herbal medicine than for those who use conventional medicine alone.
There are specific supplement protocols which your naturopath can advise you on. There may be nutritional deficiencies which may be most effectively dealt with in the first instance by supplements. It is well worth the investment to consult with a trained and experienced naturopath who can discern the quality and also the appropriateness of the supplements available, especially when taken in conjunction with prescription medications.
We are not just our physical selves, and there are various practices such as massage, exercise outdoors and creative expression through a form of art, to name a few, which help relieve stress and bring about a more relaxed outlook, all beneficial in recovery from breast cancer. Your naturopath and medical herbalist can discuss these further with you and determine with you which works best for you.
We at Holden Healthcare take your health seriously and are well-trained and experienced in the care of breast cancer patients. See here for further information on what we can offer you.
If you would like to discuss this further with us, please do not hesitate to call us at Holden Healthcare on 09 282 3588
With very best wishes,
By David Holden, Senior Naturopath & Biochemist, specialising in Naturopathic Oncology
As the stats show, 1 in 9 Women will develop some form of breast cancer in their lifetimes. Breast Cancer is now the most common Cancer of all time on planet Earth. In New Zealand, 3,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
One of the many reasons is that breast tissue being mainly comprised of fat, stores toxic chemicals that we are exposed to on a regular basis, especially if you live in a large city. If you live in a rural area where chemical sprays are being used, like most of rural New Zealand; then your risk is even higher! What can we do to prevent developing breast cancer?
This is the $64M dollar question and the answer is – heaps!
Cleaning up your diet, getting regular cardiovascular exercise, having a good mindset and taking specific supplements all make a huge difference to a Woman’s risk profile. If you have a close family relative (mother or grandmother, aunt or sister) who has had a scrape with any type of breast cancer then you are at increased risk.
If you want to decrease your risk of breast cancer then take action and change your lifestyle and get regular check-ups by qualified health professionals who know what to look for. Many breast cancers leave a tell-tale dimpling (or orange-skin) effect on the surface of the breast or a discolouration that health professionals are trained to detect. Have a look at this: https://www.breastcancerfoundation.org.nz/breast-awareness/breast-changes/real-signs
Stop eating all forms of sugar on a regular basis, odd treats for birthdays and Christmas & Easter are fine, it’s what you do every day that makes all the difference. Cancer cells thrive on sugar so the less you eat the lower your risk.
Cut out soy in your diet as one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer, ER+ve (Estrogen Receptor positive) breast cancer, thrives on phyto & xeno estrogens found in soy products in high quantities and chemicals in some processed foods and food packaging.
Eat a lot more high antioxidant rich foods in your daily diet. These include carrots, beetroot, all types of leafy greens, garlic, turmeric, ginger and the best of the lot is organic blackcurrants & blueberries. Being organic is important as berries have a high surface area that traps a lot of chemical sprays so never buy them unless you know they are organic or you wash them very thoroughly before eating with warm water and let them soak for 5 minutes to help lift off any spray residues. At HHC we do a specific Antioxidant Laser Scan test in our clinic with ALL new patients to make sure their levels are optimal, elevated and high. If not we educate them on what to do to increase them circulating in your blood stream. See Super Smoothie recipes on our website.
Eat more broccoli and especially broccoli sprouts several times weekly as these are shown to help decrease breast cancer risk.
Reduce your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is strongly linked to increased risk of all cancers not just breast cancer. Especially avoid binge drinking.
Don’t smoke anything! Tobacco or weed, both are toxic to the lungs and eventually the breast tissue.
The research shows that if a Woman does 40 mins of Cardiovascular exercise DAILY her breast cancer risk is reduced by 40%!! This is a huge % and should be discussed with every Woman who is ever at risk or diagnosed. The reason is the exercise pumps the breast tissue up and down pumping built up toxins out of the breast, reducing toxic residues by flushing them out of breast tissues by the bodies amazing lymphatic system.
Get fit quicker with less effort by using HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as promoted by the now world famous Dr Michael Mosley, the BBC World doctor. Watch this YouTube video for more info from the man himself.
Ancient Chinese Tai Chi or Chi Gung is also a wonderful way to exercise unwind and relax while exercising very gently. Even the over 80’s can do this easily so there is no excuse.
Mindfulness or having a peaceful response to stresses is vital to reduce cortisol release from the adrenal glands that feeds cancer cells to grow and divide. Learning how to meditate and to let things go that bother you is a vital life skill.
Please visit www.fragrantheart.com and take their FREE 5 day meditation course sent to your email inbox daily over 5 days to learn how to do this easily & regularly.
Take a regular dose of Vitamin C to neutralise cancer cell formation and to help detox your system from chemical exposure on a daily basis. The new Lypospheric Vitamin C is by far the best but good quality Daily C powder is a close second. See our webstore for both.
In winter take Vitamin D3 supplements as this is one of the best nutrient life insurance policies and is one of the most powerful immune boosting vitamins you can take.
Take a quality Women’s Multi-Vitamin like Metagenics Femme Essentials to ensure your immune system has all it needs to be very active and alert.
There are others you can take but these need professional advice and prescription as a lot of people take what they don’t actually need. Get scientific testing done to find out what you do actually need in the way of supplements and which ones you should avoid.
Avoid the contraceptive pill over age 40 if at all possible. Maybe ask your partner to have a reversible vasectomy so you can still have unprotected sex, if you have a regular sex partner, and not be at risk of a “geriatric pregnancy”. Or look at an IUD instead of the pill.
Avoid HRT wherever possible as it increases all types of female cancer risk significantly.
Avoid wearing underwire bras all the time. Breast tissue is designed to bounce to pump the lymphatics that clear toxins out of the ducts in breast tissue. Using a sports bra is another option when exercising as these compress the breast rather than stopping it from moving when exercising like an underwire bra does. Go bra less after work and at weekends for a change.
Stop using anti-perspirants that contain aluminium. Most commercial brands have at least 30% aluminium in them to make them dry on the surface of the skin quickly. Read the label on yours now, you may be surprised! When you exercise or it’s a hot summers day your pores open and the aluminium goes straight into the breast tissue which is very close to the armpit. Aluminium blocks the breast ducts and can allow build-up of toxins in the breast tissue, creating fertile ground for breast cancer to develop. Use herbal deodorants instead.
Regular breast self-massage and self-examination especially around ovulation is a smart move. Many breast cancers are picked up by aware Women who examine themselves regularly. Get to know the shape and texture of your breasts and what is your normal. Then abnormalities stand out more easily and you can go to your doctor and ask for a professional breast examination and if necessary early tests.
Mammograms are controversial in some circles as some people believe that when the breast is compressed during a mammogram the breast ducts are squeezed and this can make some cells burst – so if they have an early stage cancer it can be spread. Further research is needed but as the cancer industry has so much invested in early detection and mammograms it is unlikely that the authorities and the Ministry of Health will ever admit to this but alternatives do exist called breast thermograms. These detect minute changes in breast tissue temperature using an infra-red camera. The theory being cancer cells are hotter than normal cells and will show up as red hot spots on the thermogram. Ultra sound is another safe way to detect changes in breast tissue. As women age their breast tissue changes and loses its elasticity as well as increasing the chance of breast cancers to form with increasing build-up of cellular toxins from our environment, both inner and outer.
Stay within 10% of your ideal BMI (Body Mass Index). If you are overweight lose it with the 5:2 Fast Diet as it really works. For more information, watch another YouTube video by Dr Michael Mosley.
Doing regular annual detoxes in Spring or Autumn is a smart move especially if you have increased risk or are over 50.
Remember early detection is ALWAYS best regardless of how you treat breast cancer once it has been detected. All these lifestyle improvements above will certainly give you more peace of mind knowing that you are doing all you can to improve your chances of not getting diagnosed and if you do, of beating it naturally and more easily and with less medical interventions. After all who wants to have their breasts removed or to be exposed to toxic radio or chemotherapy if you don’t need to?
If breast cancer is caused by build up of toxins and stress - as the evidence shows - then it makes perfect sense to avoid and manage these factors. In short, try to live as naturally as possible. By living as Nature intended, you will not only have more energy and wellbeing, you may find you live a happier and more contented life.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, support and help is available. See here for further information.
David Holden has authored numerous articles on holistic health, wellness & wellbeing over the decades since he started practise nearly 30 years ago and specialising in naturopathic oncology since 1997. Blending the best of both medical and naturopathic / alternative medicine has always been the goal with both sides offering their own strengths when it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatments. Getting to causes as well as symptoms has always been the clinical goal. To this end David works with a range of hand picked professionals, all with different and dovetailing skill sets to help achieve the clinical goals of getting and keeping cancer patients well wherever possible. Natural is always better and keeping medical interventions to a minimum unless absolutely necessary is the aim.
Senior Naturopath David Holden offers ten things to think about if you have been diagnosed with cancer.
This list is not exhaustive but is a good start! For help or any questions please contact us