Breast Cancer Prevention – Part 1
Breast diseases and complaints are extremely common among Western woman. Today statistics show that 50% of women in this country will have some medical complaint concerning their breasts at some point in their life and one out of every 8 or 9 women will develop breast cancer. These unfortunately high statistics make prevention of breast cancer vitally important.
Throughout a women’s life she experiences the significant effects of her waxing and waning hormones. During the times of her menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause she becomes especially aware of how much her entire well-being is affected by this hormonal balance. Having the proper amounts of hormones in the body determines a women’s fertility, the suppleness of her joints, the strength of her bones, her mental clarity, water and digestive metabolism, sleeping patterns, ect. We need hormones to feel good and we also know that too much can lead to problems.
The most frequently cited factors in developing breast cancer according to Western medicine are hormone changes, age and family history. It is known that the risk of breast cancer increases as women age and that some women inherit genes that are more susceptible to alterations that can lead to breast cancer.
Estrogen has been strongly linked to reproductive cell growth in the body. Reproductive area cells have specific receptor sites for estrogen (I like to think of them as keyholes). Any substances (Keys) that fit into these receptor sites mimic and trigger an estrogenic like reaction in the body, such as cell growth. Therefore, prevention and treatment of reproductive area cancers: breast, ovarian, and uterus aim to minimize exposure to excess estrogenic substances. There are four recognize substances that possess estrogenic qualities and fit the receptor sites (key holes).
- Dairy Products – Conventional (non-organic) farming practices pump their animals full of hormones in efforts for them to produce more milk. These hormones are then consumed by you. **USE ONLY ORGANIC DAIRY** and minimize your daily intake at restaurants.
- Soft plastics – Soft plastics when warmed up even slightly leach xeno-estrogens into your food and water. This includes plastic bottled water and microwavable plastic containers. Do not store food in plastic, especially if it will be exposed to any heat.
- Dry cleaning products
- Body products – lotions, shampoo, shaving cream, ect. – Use only chemical-free, natural products
- Cosmetics – Use chemical free, natural products
- Deodorants – These chemicals are placed right next to the lymph node and the breasts
- Unpurified water – The large amounts of hormones being used in the other listed sources, medications, etc. have leached into our water supply.
- DRINK ONLY FILTERED WATER, preferable water from a reverse osmosis filter. Most filters cannot filter these small substances, check to see if yours can.
Phyto-estrogens (plant-based) differ greatly in habit from Xeno-estrogens. These estrogenic substances are not as strong nor last as long in the body as xeno-estrogens or estrogen. They cannot compete for the cell receptor sites if they are already filled with estrogen or xeno-estrogen. Therefore, although they can effect the estrogen levels in the body it is only if the receptor sites are not filled with other estrogen.
Commonly sited phytoestrogenic plants:
Black cohosh, Chaste berry, Dang gui, Licorice, Red Raspberry leaf Red clover, Saw-palmetto berries, Wild Yam, Soy, and possibly Rhodiola.
Mycoestrogens (fungi) are commonly found in stored grain. They can come from fungi growing on the grain as it grows, or after harvest during storage.
The awareness of estrogen exposure is the first place we start in discussing the prevention of breast cancer. In part 2 and 3 we will discuss how Chinese medicine views breast disease and uses acupuncture herbs, supplements, and lifestyle chances to aid the body in staying healthy. Having awareness about breast disease or health does not need to be scary, awareness can be very empowering. If you are intersted in Part 2 and 3 of this article please refer to our webpage: www.middlewaymedicine.com, under specialties: Gynecology, in the next few months for the rest of the article.