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Breast Cancer


About
Cancer cells grow out of control. Normal cells do their division and growth in a mannerly fashion. The cancer cells are pushy and remove any room for normal cells. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women; however, it is most common in women.


Notes
  • Make sure you are taking supplements for overall good health. If you are not taking these basic supplements, we recommend Enfuz from Vitabase. When you take a small packet of pills each day, you get all the basic nutrition you need. Each packet contains a multi-vitamin, CoQ10 (for heart health), Omega 3, Vitamin D-3, a probiotic, and a powerful set of antioxidants to help your body fight off disease.
  • 1. Lumpectomy - also known as segmental mastectomy or tylectomy. Breast saving surgical procedure in which only the tumor and a small area of surrounding tissue are removed. Following a lumpectomy, there is usually several weeks of radiation treatment. This is essential to breast-conserving treatments. A Lumpectomy is the least costly of the breast surgeries available.
  • 2. Quadrantectomy - also known as partial mastectomy. This is a partial mastectomy in which approximately 1/4 of the breast is removed along with the tumor.
  • 3. Simple mastectomy - Surgical removal of the breast and possible a few of the axillary lymph nodes close to the breast.
  • 4. Modified radical mastectomy - also known as total mastectomy. The removal of the entire breast, some of the lymph nodes under the arm, and the lining over the chest muscle. Sometimes it is necessary to remove part of the chest wall muscle.
  • 5. Radical mastectomy - also known as the Halsted radical mastectomy. Surgery for breast cancer where the breast, chest muscles, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. This was the breast cancer operation used most often for many years. Physicians no longer believe that this type of cancer is necessary, instead they recommend a modified radical mastectomy which is believed to be just as effective.
  • A couple of connections to raising your chances of getting breast cancer are: continuous use of dark hair dyes and too many medical x-rays.
  • A new outpatient procedure using magnetic resonance imaging with lasers that destroy early stage cancers will soon be available to treat breast cancer. Using this procedure would eliminate surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. This new technique is called (RODEO) rotating delivery of excitation off-resonance and is an MRI-guided laser lumpectomy.
  • After surgery, care for women that have had surgery to remove cancer involves no moving or carrying of heavy objects. They are to not wear tight, rubbing clothes and gloves and must stay out of the sun. It may be possible for women whose lymph nodes were taken out to experience swelling of the arm or lymph edema on the same side. This is because lymphatic fluid builds up. This is not uncommon. The build up may occur right after surgery or months (or even years) later. Injuries, infection, or overuse of the arm can trigger the swelling. To avert possibly getting lymph edema, avoid having blood work, chemotherapy, or blood pressure checks done on the arm that has had surgery. To keep the arm from developing stiffness, it may be recommended to do some easy arm exercise. Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual swelling, redness, or pain in the hand or arm.
  • As breast cancer can be a very scary and mind-boggling disorder, it is critical the family all work together to support the cancer patient so as to avoid the ramifications of possible depression, anxiety, and fear.
  • Be sure to discuss the risks versus the benefits of taking birth control pills with your physician. At this time it is still not known what effect taking birth control pills have on breast cancer. The thought is that you increase your risk by taking these pills.
  • Breast Health from NaturalMax contains the following: phytochemicals, nutrients, which includes genistein, black currant blend, freeze-dried broccoli, gotu kola, indole-3-carbinol, saw palmetto, and lycopene. This supplement was made to protect the body from breast cancer.
  • Current studies using Glucaric acid on women at high risk for breast cancer have found it to remove toxic, carcinogenic substances from the body. Estradiol, a form of estrogen associated with breast cancer was found to be lowered by Glucaric acid. Glucaric Acid is found in apples, grapefruit, and sprouts.
  • Geinistein, an isoflavone derivative is found in soy products and holds great promise in its ability to slow the growth of existing cancer and inhibits new tumors from growing. Research has shown that genistein is the most potent inhibitor of growth and spread of cancerous cells.
  • At this time there are many options for treatments for breast cancer. Some of these are surgery, radiotherapy (radiation therapy), chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a mixture of these to restrain tumors or the breast. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is a medication in pill form that interferes with the activity of estrogen (a hormone). At this time Tamoxifen is the pill of choice sold for breast cancer treatment. Unfortunately Tamoxifen has been associated with an increased risk of uterine cancer, blood clots in major veins and the lungs, cataracts, and maybe even strokes. It continues to be studied for the prevention of breast cancer and possible long term effects. In women at high risk of developing breast cancer, tamoxifen reduces this chance and might be a good choice of treatment for these women, but the side effects must be considered. It would be best to consult your physician about whether this would be a good treatment for you and if you are at high risk for the side effects.
  • Controversy is prevalent on the benefits of breast cancer treatment which involves a combination of high-dose chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. There are researchers on both side of the fence in either support or dissuasion of this treatment. Physicians take out and freeze a small section of marrow and then submit the marrow to high doses of chemotherapy to dispel the cancer cells. The marrow is then reinstated into the cancer patient's body. A test was studied at Duke University on women with advanced breast cancer to had relocated to the lymph nodes in the armpits. Two years later, 72 percent of those treated were cancer free. This was a marked improvement over the 38 percent that had received the standard chemotherapy treatment. This treatment is extremely cost prohibitive; anyone considering undergoing this treatment should be very aware of exactly what and what not their insurance company will pay. This treatment does have inherent risks that may outweigh the benefits. See next column for best candidates.
  • Exercise is still being studied to see if there would be any benefits to the prevention of breast cancer. It is thought that exercising when you are young, may help protect you from getting breast cancer for life. Adults that get at least a moderate amount of exercise may decrease their chances of getting this cancer. Research is still being done on this though. One of the benefits of exercising outside would be getting more sun and raising your levels of vitamin D, ensure that you don't get too much sun.
  • If a person has locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, a drug called capecitabine (Xeloda) has been approved for use. Especially when none of the other acceptable treatments are attainable. The use of this drug is for patients whose cancer has proven resistant to other treatments. It was noted that in some studies this drug did shrink the patients tumors. As with most of these drugs there are side effects such as, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, painful inflammation of the mouth, a painful rash and swelling of the hands and feet.
  • If breast cancer is detected early before it spreads to nearby tissue, nearly 100% have been curable with surgery alone. As long as the tumor is 1 centimeter or less the prognosis is good. Less than 10% of these come back within ten years. The larger the tumor the higher chances you have of lymph node involvement.
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer, it is of the utmost importance that you are tested for this as often as the physician decides is necessary. Some women are turning to genetic testing, as this may find whether you have a genetic mutation, all though it cannot tell whether you will develop breast cancer. Consult your physician if you are interested in this procedure. Be aware that most insurance companies will not cover this procedure and it is very expensive.
  • In 2003 the National Cancer Institute published an article on biological therapy. The article explains treatments that use your own immune system to fight the devastating effects of cancer. As recent as 2005, worldwide clinical trials have shown possible positive treatments with aromatase inhibitors (Arimidex [chemical name: anastrozole], as well as Femara [chemical name: letrozole] to the point where they may even be better than tamoxifen in women that have hormone-receptive-positive cancer in the breast.
  • In August 2006, the National Cancer Institute put out a fact sheet for the general public that discusses key facts regarding hormonal therapy to treat cancer. Experimentation with this treatment is still ongoing. The treatment being tested is to introduce genetic material into a cancer patient's cells to fight or even prevent disease. Even though the genes are changed to make them safe, there are still inherent risks associated with this treatment. Prior to a clinical trial being conducted utilizing gene therapy, it has to undergo a review/approval process by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as the National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.
  • In most cases the women that are diagnosed with breast cancer will have to have surgery. The type of surgery will of course depend on the stage of the breast cancer. Surgical treatment has come a long way in the last twenty years. The thought now is breast preservation, saving the breast when possible. Listed in the next 6 blocks are types of surgery available and an explanation of the surgery.
  • It is very important to have mammograms as often as your physician determines you should. Mammograms detect small tumors and possible breast abnormalities as much as two years before they can be seen or felt. It is at this time that they may be treatable. When scheduling your mammogram try to choose a day within the first fourteen days of your menstrual cycle as the breasts are less likely to be swollen. The facility where this will be done or your physicians office will give you instructions to follow on the day of the test.
  • Jason Natural Cosmetics has a Bosom Buddies breast self-examination kit you can get. This kit contains moisturizing cream, a chart on how to do the breast exam, a record keeping booklet, and a bottle of breast comforting cream. This kit can be purchased at most heath food stores.
  • Tocotrienol are members of the vitamin E family of compounds. Tocotrienol, have anti-tumor activity, particularly for breast cancer cells in humans. D-alpha-tocopherol is the natural supplement form of vitamin E, and is readily absorbed by the body.
  • While breast cancer may appear to be wholly eradicated, the American Cancer Society is quick to allow that recurrences can happen.
  • Low levels of selenium and lower than normal levels of vitamin E have been found in patients diagnosed with breast cancer. These are two essential antioxidants that together work to counteract free radicals in the body. Researchers have discovered that selenium destroys tumors and safeguards healthy tissue. It has also been determined by researchers that patients that have cancer of the lungs, bladder, breast, colon, and skin have lower than normal levels of vitamin A. Patients tested and found to have low levels of vitamin B12 have been linked to breast cancer.
  • Methods for detecting and treating breast cancer now entail the use of biopsies. A biopsy is the taking out of a small piece of tissue for the purpose of examining it under a microscope or culture. How the tissue is removed is done depends on the type of biopsy. There are three types: 1) In a needle biopsy, the tissue is obtained with the use of a syringe. This type can be done in conjunction with X-ray (CT scan) assistance. 2) An open biopsy will be removed through an incision made in the skin for the purpose of exposing the organ so a tissue sample can be collected, and 3) A closed biopsy will also necessitate removing the sample from an incision; however, the incision required is much smaller in size. This is so that the a visualization object can be inserted to assist the physician towards accurate location.
  • Newer and more advanced and less invasive methods of testing for breast cancer are being developed. A few of these are: Minimally invasive breast biopsies (MIBB) almost no recovery time needed, Ultrasounds and high-resolution ultrasounds are safer than x-rays and may provide sharper digital pictures, and Magnetic resonance imaging may show a three-dimensional image and can be beneficial in finding ruptures in silicone breast implants.
  • Physicians are using a new method of testing for the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes. This is called sentinel node biopsy and the physician can pinpoint the first lymph node that a tumor drains (the sentinel node), and surgically remove the nodes that are likely to be cancerous.
  • Physicians do not believe that jumping into surgery immediately is the answer anymore. It has been discovered that surgery can spread the breast cancer through the bloodstream. This can happen even if the cancer is in its earliest stages where it cannot yet be detected through examination or X-rays and produces no symptoms. The use of drug treatment after surgery has been used to kill these cells. Consult your physician regarding adjuvant therapy as a possible treatment for you. The following drugs have been approved by the FDA: capecitabine (Xeloda); docetaxel (Taxotere), this may be used if locally advanced or metastasized breast cancer has proven resistant to other drugs; paclitaxel (Taxol), used to both treat metastasized or advanced breast cancer and to prevent relapses; Tamoxifen (Nolvadex); and trastuzumab (Herceptin), an immunotherapy regimen which may be taken alone if other drugs were ineffective, or even as a first treatment along with other drugs.
  • Pro Fem progesterone cream is applied topically to the breast and is absorbed through the fat under the skin. It is believed that progesterone can aid in lessening the risks of breast cancer.
  • Retrogenesis along with researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina is working on a better option for women who are considering breast reconstruction. This process would include growing their own tissue from a sample of fat and blood vessel cells taken from the thigh or buttocks. They would then add growth hormones, which would cause the tissue to grow. Hopefully this new form of reconstructive surgery will be available soon to women that have had a mastectomy.
  • So far studies on whether or not DHEA can prevent breast cancer have shown conflicting evidence. But studies being done on 7-keto DHEA are showing that it may be a better option to DHEA in the fight for a cure for breast cancer. 7-keto DHEA is not changed into testosterone or estrogens in the body.
  • The chemical structures of tamoxifen and raloxifene are very similar. Raloxifene is a newer drug though and in recent studies it has been hypothesized that raloxifene might prevent breast cancer. The findings regarding its use on breast cancer are reassuring and encouraging, although more studies need to be done. So far the studies that were performed were done primarily for osteoporosis. The FDA has not yet approved this drug for breast cancer, but has approved it to treat osteoporosis in menopausal women. Both tamoxifen and raloxifene are known to increase a woman's risk of blood clots.
  • The following relaxation therapies have proven beneficial in treating breast cancer: meditation, yoga, massage, even writing can help.
  • The Johns Hopkins Breast Center offers support in an outpatient setting that will explain mastectomy options for cancer patients. The patients, along with their families, can take a test run visually and learn and understand everything that goes on in the operating room all the way through the surgery.
  • The Journal of Oncology recently published the results of a clinical trial done on use of epirubicin (Ellence), a chemotherapy drug. It reported that a chemotherapy regimen including high-dose epirubicin significantly elevated chances for a possible cure and long-term survival for people with early-stage breast cancer.
  • The M1000 Image Checker checks the results of the mammograms and shows suspicious areas on the images after the initial evaluation has been done. This has improved the radiologists detection rate from 80 cancers out of a 100 to 88 out of a 100. Usage of these digital x-rays is believed to improve the detections of breast cancer significantly.
  • The National Women's Health Network advises women to cut their fat intake to 20% of total calories. There is an ongoing debate as to whether fat intake increases chances of getting breast cancer. Limit your saturated fats to no more than 5% of calories.
  • The New England Journal of Medicine reported that drinking as few as three alcoholic drinks a week raises the possibility for breast cancer by as much as 50%. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends you not drink more than two drinks twice weekly. The ACS believes that you increase your chances for getting cancer by 1.5 times more than women that don't drink at all, if you drink two to five drinks daily.
  • The spread of the cancer over to the lymph nodes may necessitate postoperative therapy that includes radiation, chemotherapy, or hormonal therapy. A follow up to a lumpectomy or quadrantectomy is always radiation to guarantee that there are no more cancer cells present.
  • The surgeon with consult with the patient to determine which surgery would be best suited to her medical condition and particular situation. Usually women are concerned with finances, access to care, body image, and personal beliefs. In most cases breast reconstruction can be done at a later time.
  • The tumor is examined after surgery and a test is performed on it to see if estrogen-receptor protein is present. With this test they can find out if the cancer is estrogen-dependent, and if this is so then the physician may prescribe tamoxifen as an alternative treatment to conventional chemotherapy.
  • There is a pain drug available that is stronger than morphine and is available in a flavored sugar lozenge form This drug is called fentanyl (Actiq) and physicians are prescribing it for patients having severe pain.


Advice
  • Avoid salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, junk foods, refined foods that are processed, saturated fats and white flour.
  • Be sure to include extra fiber for your diet.
  • Best to include soy products like soy nuts, tofu, soy beans, soymilk, and soy powder.
  • Diet must be a high fiber diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts (no peanuts), grains, legumes, seeds, and soured dairy products. Vegetables that are important are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, along with orange/yellow vegetables. Best if vegetables are steamed (lightly) or raw. Oats, brown rice (unpolished), and wheat are the best sources for grain.
  • Drink distilled water or either spring. Also, you need fruit juice in the morning and vegetable juice in the afternoon.
  • If you feel depressed or scared during treatment when you are off of medications you will be able to return to a happy fulfilled life.
  • Include onions and garlic into your diet or you can take a supplement for garlic.
  • Must have plenty of Omega-3, Omega-9, and essential fatty acids to lower cancer risk. Do not use cod liver oil.
  • Stay away from iron supplements, this could cause the tumors to grow.
  • Use a fresh juice combination of carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, dark leafy greens, kale, and an apple.
  • Watch the amount of grilled, chard, and fatty foods you take in daily.
  • You should see a doctor if your nipples are red, sore, or itching. This does not apply if you are breast feeding.
  • Your body needs all types of berries, grapes, apples, plums and cherries in your diet.



Helpful nutrients for this condition.

Beta carotene
Importance: Very High
Comments: Antioxidant. Gets rid of free radicals.


Carotenoid complex (Betatene)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Antioxidant. Gets rid of free radicals.


Coenzyme Q10
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances oxygen flow to cells.


Dimethylglycine (DMG)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances oxygen flow to cells.


Essential fatty acids (black currant seed oil, borage oil, and flaxseed oil are recommended)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Helps with cell reproduction.


Garlic
Importance: Very High
Comments: Stimulates immune system.


Germanium
Importance: Very High
Comments: Stimulates immune system. Aids in cellular oxygenation. May inhibit cancer growth.


Proteolytic enzymes
Importance: Very High
Comments: Free radical scavenger.


Selenium
Importance: Very High
Comments: Free radical scavenger.


Shark Cartilage
Importance: Very High
Comments: Can stop tumor growth. Boosts immune system.


Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Kills free radicals. Can get injections under a physician's care.


Vitamin A
Importance: Very High
Comments: Essential for healthy immune system.


Vitamin B complex
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances circulation and liver function. Helps in construction of red blood cells. Helps cells divide and function properly. Controls production of hormones and enzymes.


Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Enhances circulation and liver function. Helps in construction of red blood cells. Helps cells divide and function properly. Controls production of hormones and enzymes. Caution: Refrain from using niacin if you have gout, liver disorder, or high blood pressure.


Choline
Importance: Very High
Comments: Decreases production of estrogen.


Brewer's yeast
Importance: Very High
Comments: Provides B vitamins.


Vitamin C
Importance: Very High
Comments: Can help fight cancer.


Vitamin E
Importance: Very High
Comments: Lack of vitamin E may contribute to breast cancer.


Maitake
Importance: Moderate
Comments: May help stop growth and spread of cancerous tumors. Stimulates immune system.



Helpful herbs and supplements for this condition.

Astragalus Root & Echinacea
Type: Internal
Purposes: This combination of herbs work together to boost the functions of the immune system.
Dosage: Alternate the use of each herb, not to exceed 7-10 days in a row.
Cautions: If you have a fever, do not use astragalus.

Bilberry, burdock root, ginger, green tea, peppermint, and red clover
Type: Internal
Purposes: These herbs work great as herbal teas, and the benefits far surpass those of regular tea and would not have caffeine.

Black cohosh, chasteberry, red clover, and turmeric herbs
Type: Internal
Purposes: These herbs have a component called phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are similar to the body's own estrogens; however, these herbs have the ability to block stronger estrogens that can cause more damage. They have the ability to reside in the same places in the breast cells that the estrogens do which creates a hostile atmosphere for the estrogens so that the estrogens do not want to stick around. Phytoestrogens can extend the time you have your period. This has been reported to decrease how long a person is exposed to estrogens.

Burdock Root, Dandelion Root, Milk Thistle, and Red Clover
Type: Internal
Purposes: These herbs are reported to keep the bloodstream clean and free of toxins. They will also shield the liver from harm.

Chaste Tree Berry, Ginseng, & Soy
Type: Internal
Purposes: Also known as vitex agnus-castus. Can regulate erratic menstrual cycles, ease premenstrual complaints, ease breast pain, and may be able to slow down cancer cell growth in the breasts. Ginseng & Soy may also prove to be helpful in stopping cancer cell growth.

Turmeric, Soy, & Green Tea
Type: Internal
Purposes: This herb is been heavily utilized in India for multiple ailments. One of the benefits that has been reported is the ability to fight cancer cell generation. In addition, genistein, which is found in Soy, may very well do the same. The National Cancer Institute has an article regarding teas and cancer prevention.

Garlic
Type: Internal
Purposes: Among many other benefits that are just coming to light, garlic is a valuable nutrient to our bodies, one of which may be the ability to fight cancer.

Ginkgo biloba
Type: Internal
Purposes: Ginkgo comes to us from the Chinese. The word Ginkgo means "silver apricot." Further research is being conducted on the benefits of ginkgo for poor circulation. It is more notable for its use in cognitive improvement.

Licorice
Type: Internal
Purposes: Used to treat a variety of disorders boost the body's ability to fight off harmful pathogens.
Cautions: If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is recommended that you do not use this herb. Also, treatment should be limited to only seven days in a row.

Silymarin (milk thistle extract)
Type: Internal
Purposes: The common weed, Milk Thistle, contains an ingredient called Silymarin which is an extract that contains an antioxidant. Milk Thistle is good for detoxifying the liver and gallbladder while also be recognized as a possible treatment for the kidneys, brain, & other tissues from harmful toxins. Silymarin (alternate spelling) is being researched for possible benefits for breast cancer.