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My Researcher's Own Story: "How I Beat Breast Cancer"May 02 2012 | 72,713 views | 74 comments |
Studies show that surgery or needle biopsies on tiny spots seen in mammograms, and the extra radiation needed to perform these procedures, can actually increase your risk for developing breast cancer, whereas had it been left alone, it may never have developed into cancer at all.
According to lead author Mette Kalagerii :
"Mammography might not be appropriate for use in breast cancer screening because it cannot distinguish between progressive and non-progressive cancer...
Radiologists have been trained to find even the smallest of tumors in a bid to detect as many cancers as possible to be able to cure breast cancer.
However, the present study adds to the increasing body of evidence that this practice has caused a problem for women—diagnosis of breast cancer that wouldn't cause symptoms or death."
When the scientists also suggested that women need to know the potential harm of mammography errors, the American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging were quick to accuse Harvard's study of being flawed.
But as more and more women come forward with stories of how they've lost their breasts and undergone grueling cancer treatments as a result of overzealous screening, it's apparent the Harvard team knows what they're talking about.
A Case in Point...The Harvard study, released April 3, 2012, reinforces the story of one of the literature researchers that work for this newsletter, whom I mentioned in an article on cancer last year. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and scheduled for several months of chemotherapy and radiation when she sought a second opinion at a renowned cancer institute. There, she learned chemo was inappropriate because her type of cancer doesn't respond to it.
"Since chemo is poison, why would we want to poison you for no reason?" the oncologist told her.
Now she's agreed to let me tell the rest of her story—one that is a perfect example of what Dr. Kalager was alluding to. Because of its flaws, mammography can lead to an overzealous search for possible cancer, overdiagnosis and, ultimately, unnecessarymedical procedures for something that, left alone, may never have developed into cancer at all.
Of course the breast imaging industry wasted no time firing off a scathing response to the researcher's commentsiii. But as I said, my employee's story illustrates the study's central thesis exactly: that a growing body of evidence is showing that mammography may be doing more harm than good for a great number of women.
A Teeny Tiny Dot—Followed by a Slew of ProceduresFrom the year she turned 40, this employee never missed a mammogram. Like many women, she mistakenly believed it was the most appropriate way to prevent breast cancer. She didn't work for me then, so she didn't know that radiation from mammograms can actually CAUSE canceriv,v. But in 2008, everything changed.
"I had no lumps, no problems, it was just my regular screening," she told me. "But after my 2008 mammogram, the technician said she'd seen something on it and needed to do an ultrasound right away. So that's what we did. But when she was done, she left and came back with another tech, who did a second ultrasound. Then they both left and came back with the radiologist, who did a THIRD ultrasound. After a lengthy exam, the radiologist announced he was scheduling me for an MRI with dye immediately."
The radiologist explained that he saw a tiny calcification in her breast, and since the ultrasound couldn't tell him whether it was cancerous, he needed to do the MRI. The MRI was done, but that report wasn't clear either, listing a final diagnosis as simply "suspicious." The radiologist wasn't satisfied.
"He called me at home and said he needed to do a stereotactic biopsy right away," she said. "Scared, I agreed to it. It was a biopsy from hell, indescribably painful. In the middle of it, the radiologist commented that my 'breast density' prevented him from getting a good sighting on where to do the biopsy. I thought he was referring to all the weight I'd gained in the past few years."
The biopsy came back negative. But her ordeal wasn't over. She was next sent to a surgeon, who determined that she needed a lumpectomy, despite the negative lab report. So a lumpectomy it was—and that, too, came back negative.
Surgery or Needle Biopsies Can Actually CAUSE Cancer"I was so relieved," she told me. "But when I went back for my post-op checkup, there was a small lump at the surgery spot. I didn't know at the time that there all kinds of studies about how the slightest injury or cut, as well as surgeries and biopsies can actually cause cancervi—I just heard that on ABC News recentlyvii. I also didn't know about other studies showing that injuries like my biopsy not only can trigger invasive cancer, but that mammographic compression can spread itviii .
"So when the surgeon said the lump was probably only a hematoma, I went home and ignored it. The lump was still there when it was time for my 2009 mammogram, and I pointed it out to the tech, who looked at it, felt it, and said it might just be scar tissue. When she came out and said everything was fine and I could go home, I asked if she was going to do an ultrasound on the lump, but she said no, there was no need."
'No Evidence of Cancer'The written mammogram report reiterated the tech's verbal report, saying there was "no evidence of cancer" in her breast. In 2010 she showed the tech the lump again, and again the tech said everything was "fine."
"But this time I didn't believe it," she said. "So I went somewhere else before I even got the report back. I had a biopsy—and learned I had cancer. The very day of my surgery [mastectomy] I got the letter from the radiology center saying they were 'pleased to inform' me they'd found 'no evidence of cancer' in my breast. It was so crazy I couldn't even find it in me to cry."
After the mastectomy, the surgeon wrote her a prescription for a wig and scheduled her for chemo and radiation.
"But by this time I was working for Dr. Mercola, and I was very much aware of my power to take control of my own health," she said. "So I did some proactive things right then and there, to make sure I was doing everything possible to fight this cancer."
Diet, Exercise, Lifestyle ChangesThe first thing she did was take a cold, hard look at the cancer risk factors of her overall health, diet, and lifestyle.
"I don't have diabetes or heart problems or cholesterol," she said. "But I was overweight—a definite risk for both breast cancer and its recurrenceix. Also, despite Dr. Mercola's warnings on aspartame, I was addicted to Diet Coke—I knew for a fact that in clinical studies, aspartame caused breast tumors in mice, but I still drank it. It was a given that I didn't watch my diet; I didn't exercise; and I had no clue what my vitamin D3 levels were, even though I was aware that deficient levels of D3 are associated with breast cancer."
Based on my recommendations, she implemented the following immediate changes:
A Natural, Nutritional Approach to Preventive Cancer CareThe cancer hospital where my employee went offers complementary care, including the services of both a nutritionist and a naturopath—a rarity among any place in health care, let alone the cancer industry.
"And I embraced them," she said. "They told me to start exercising, and they furnished me with a wonderful anti-cancer dietthat includes fresh, organic vegetables and fruits that are loaded with antioxidants. They applauded me for restricting myself on refined sugars and flours. And they also told me to GIVE UP commercial meats altogether, because of the carcinogenic ways in which they're prepared. Basically, if the food comes in a can, box or package, I'm not supposed to eat it.
Luckily, my husband is a hunter so our freezer is already full of wild meats such as elk, deer, turkey and hog. We have a lake house, so fresh fish is always available."
With the new diet, lifestyle changes, and exercise, the employee has lost over 25 pounds so far. She's also taking vitamins and supplements that include a maintenance dose of 5,000 IUs a day of vitamin D3, CoQ10, vitamin C, grape seed extract, turmeric, and vitamin B12, to name a few.
"And I'm living it," she said. "I feel better in all kinds of ways, and my lab work shows it. For example, at my last checkup, my vitamin D3 level was over 73—"a good number for cancer prevention" according to my oncologist.
"I love my new lifestyle, and my new way of eating. I've learned that many foods I'd never eaten before taste really good—the herb rosemary, for example, has a wonderful savory taste, and watercress and kale are full of flavor. I've learned how to snack too—a handful of walnuts is not only a cancer-fighter, but eaten with a glass of water, they can really fill you up. I'm never hungry, yet I'm losing weight a little at a time. And the best part is I'm cancer-free."
As she embarked on this diet, this employee got a surprise bonus.
"I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2000," she said. "But shortly after I started the grain-free, sugar-free, flour-free diet, something strange happened. I quit having aches and pains, and my fingers became unusually nimble. Then, when I went for my checkup at the rheumatologist's, something even stranger happened: my blood work showed no evidence of RA at all! Although he said there was no way to prove it, the rheumatologist acknowledged that it was entirely possible that the diet was the mitigating factor in my recovery. So now I don't need my prescription arthritis drug or even an over-the-counter pain medication. I can move and I'm pain-free. It's a miracle!"
Mammography is a Total Failure for Dense-Breasted WomenBesides the importance of diet and lifestyle in cancer prevention, my employee learned a lot of other things on her cancer journey. For example, she didn't know until recently that dense breasts have nothing to do with whether or not you've gained weight xi.
"But they have everything to do with your risk of a mammogram giving a false positive, which can lead to a slew of tests like I had, that you don't actually need, or failing to identify a lump that is cancerous, like what happened to me," she said xii.
Forty-nine percent of women have high breast tissue densityxiii, and mammography's sensitivity for dense breasts is as low as 27 percentxiv—meaning about 75 percent of dense-breasted women are at risk for a cancer being missed if they rely solely on mammography. Even with digital mammography, the sensitivity is still less than 60 percent.
The Final Diagnosis: Stay Cancer-Free with KnowledgeWhen my employee had her fateful 2008 experience, at least a dozen studies were already showing the association of breast density with breast cancer and the mistakes that mammography can make in both overdiagnosis and misdiagnosis in dense breastsxv. She also didn't know there was a movement afoot by other women like her xvi,xvii to force the FDA and state and federal governments to acknowledge mammography's failures, or that thousands of women like her were either being overdiagnosed and overtreated, or had their cancers missed because of itxviii.
"Now I'm the first to shout that, instead of telling you to go get your mammogram in October—Breast Cancer Awareness Month—what they should be saying is, 'Are you aware that mammograms miss up to 75 percent of some women's cancers?'"she says.
"There was a lot I didn't know when this all started—but there also was a lot I did know, things that could have helped me stay cancer-free, but I wasn't doing. I know better now, and that's why I'm glad to share my story. The bottom line is to gather all the knowledge you can. Ask your doctor if you have dense breasts. Know your other risks for cancer, too—and do something about them! "Even more important, be aware that lots of times a whole slew of tests not only are unnecessary, but could be dangerous to your health."
I thank my researcher for sharing her story with you, and hope it may inspire you to take control of your health; to really get PROACTIVE rather than waiting for disease to set in before you get that wakeup call. Maybe you'll be given a second chance, like she was. Then again, maybe you won't. Little else matters once you're in a health crisis, so why not take the time NOW to implement a few healthy lifestyle strategies that just might help you avoid getting ill in the first place.
Remember, the greatest enemy cancer has is a well-functioning immune system.
In the event that you are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, always get a second opinion—and possibly a third and fourth. I cannot stress this enough, as false positive rates are just too high and the diagnostic criteria is too subjective. Before you make any decision about treatment, and definitely before you decide to have surgery or chemotherapy, make sure your biopsy results have been reviewed by a breast specialist who is knowledgeable and experienced in that field. The majority of breast cancer is preventable. But if you are hit with that diagnosis, don't lose hope! There is a great deal you can do to harness your body's own powerful healing abilities.
For a comprehensive guide to breast cancer prevention and treatment, please refer to this previous article, Breast Cancer Breakthrough - Cut Your Risk of Death in Half.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Living in an area where hay fever allergies are fairly common, I have been getting allergy shots for 18 years. When I first started out getting my allergy shots, my doctor told me that the shots will taper off and I will not need them after a period of time when my body adjusts to it. When the dosage got higher, my body reacted so they scaled it back and I was put on a "maintenance level" meaning I was going to keep getting my allergy shots. Every week, I had to get them and I got 3 different types of shots for 18 years!! I wanted to be free of the shots but when I stopped it, I was miserable and could not function. I started researching on my own what an allergy is and what causes them. There is so much information about allergies but I was looking for something that I can do besides take antihistamines or cold medicines to control my runny nose.
According to one website, www.healingdaily.com, "In simple terms, an allergy is a hyperactive response of the immune system to certain substances which are "foreign" to our bodies. These substances are called "allergens", and they can range from food and pollen to dust and drugs. Allergies are something we acquire throughout life, and some people are more susceptible than others.".
Even though, I've suffered from hay fever type allergies, I refused to believe that I'm doomed to suffer from it forever! I wanted to find a way to "heal" myself as I started to look at allergy as a symptom of something in my body that is out of balanced and needed healing. My research showed that nutrition plays a big role in allergies. Improving adrenal and digestive health along with meditation and reducing the stress in your life also helps. I have personally found prayers and a quiet time every morning extremely helpful in getting grounded and focused. I have also taken enzymes supplements to improve my "gut health" such as MasterZyme by New Sun and drinking green smoothies 3-4 times a week. (For green smoothie recipes, click on the Recipe Tab of www.bvibrantnow.com. I also increased my intake of "good fats" omega 3 fats using Garden of Life products found on our website or any health food store along with fresh berries with their antioxidant properties. Using natural sprays by New Sun for allergy, Allergy & Hay Fever Reliever, to control symptoms has helped me not use drugs and as my health improved, I have found that my allergy symptoms have also decreased. This year is the first year that I have not experience any allergy symptoms when everyone I know who has allergies have complained how miserable they feel. Check out these other websites for more information. We can take control of our health through good nutrition and healthy lifestyles!http://www.healingdaily.com/conditions/allergies.htm, http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/natural-allergy-relief **Please note that this is for educational purpose only and is not intended to treat or cure any illness.**
5 TIPS TO SURVIVE THE COLD/FLU SEASON
The Center for Disease Control refers to the period between November and March as the flu season since our chances of contracting a cold or flu increases by a whopping 80%. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure as the saying goes. While the “common cold” has similar symptoms to the flu, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by the influenza virus with more severe effects and potential complications such as pneumonia, infection, dehydration, and can lead the severe problems for people with asthma and diabetes. When you consider that every year roughly 200,000 people are hospitalized because of flu and its complications and the cause of death for approximately 36000 out of the 5-20% of the population that typically contracts the flu every year, the importance of taking preventive steps should be a priority especially if you have a chronic health problem.
The flu virus is most commonly transmitted in one of two ways: 1) by inhaling saliva particles from a sneeze or a cough from someone who is infected. That explains why they advise to cover your mouth or turn your face away from people when you sneeze or cough. 2) Through hand-to-hand (or hand-to-object) contact.
1. Since our hands is one of the major culprit, washing your hands thoroughly (20 second rule) with warm water and soap and use the paper tower to turn off the faucet and another paper towel to dry your hands and to open the door specially in public bathrooms is the first common sense tip. Keep your hands away from your face, mouth or your food. Use fork or spoon or a paper towel when eating your sandwich or finger foods. No matter how clean you think your hands are; they are breeding grounds for germs.
2. Specially during flu season, it is important to keep your household surfaces clean. Things that are handled by everybody such as telephones, computer keyboards, countertops, light switches, remote controls, and doorknobs are all great places for germs to hide.
3. Boost your immune systems through exercise and natural supplements such as ImmPower.
You increase the rate of oxygen to your lungs and your blood circulation when you do aerobic exercises and improves your immune system.
4. Drink plenty of water! Americans are notoriously dehydrated. The average adult needs to drink a minimum of eight, 8-ounce glasses a day to achieve the proper level of hydration and help flush various toxins from your body. A balanced and healthy diet is essential to ensure that your nutrition supports and maintains your health. Try one of our green smoothie recipe on our website to ensure that you get your fruits and greens!
5. Relax and get plenty of rest. Stress and fatigue can lower your immunity.
If you follow the basics that doctors follow to avoid colds or flu, you will find yourself surviving the flu season. Remember, eat right, sleep right, exercise and wash your hands!! Take natural supplements to boost your immune system like Vitamin C, ImmPower, etc.
I always like to get a massage as part of my health regimen specially when I started to get headaches due to a neck problem. I am a big believer that massage has health benefits in additon to the overall relaxation and wellness one feels in addition to moving toxins out of your system. I just recently read in the papers that there have been recent research findings that actually indicated beneficial measurable bodily changes in people after they got a massage such as:
1. A 2009 study of 30 participants showed that a full body massage boosted immune function and lowered heart rate and blood pressue in women with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment.
2. A 45-minute massage let to a small reducton in cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone), decrease in cytokine proteins related to inflammation and allergic reactions, and boost in white blood cells.
3. There are some initial evidence that massage can be used to treat pain specially back pain and osteoarthritis symptoms specially of the knee.
Now, I feel a lot better when I get a massage because I know that I'm simply not just pampering myself but also becoming healthier and achieve vibrancy!