One out of every 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer. It is the second most prominent cancer in women, next to lung cancer. A serious and almost epidemic problem in the U.S., it makes the top ten list of causes of death for women in this country. Although breast cancer affected less than 1%of the U.S. population in 1960, today it affects almost 12%. Women over the age of 50 are at highest risk, as are those who have close relatives with the disease.
Because of these alarming statistics, we’ve heard a lot of noise about regular selfexamination. And there’s a reason for that— breast selfexamination is one of the best things you can do to catch this cancer before it catches you. Self examination involves a simple process of pushing on the breast to feel for irregularities: unusual lumps, soft or hard, that were not previously present. Other symptoms to check for include:
- Swelling in the breast or dimply skin around the breast
- Pain in the nipple, changes in the nipple formation, or unusual discharge
- Pain or sensitivity in the lymph node under the arm, or lumps in the armpit
What Causes Breast Cancer?
While there are certain genetic predispositions to getting breast cancer, and some statistical evidence of a family tendency, more than 80% of women with breast cancer have no family member with the disease. Likewise, although more women over 50 develop breast cancer than women under 50, there is no proof that the disease has any connection to hormonal changes at menopause. More likely, factors such as late childbearing, early puberty and obesity contribute to the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who smoke, drink, or take certain longterm medications (such as progesterone and estrogen combinations like Prempro) also have a higher risk of contracting the disease. Poor nutrition may also play a part.
Treatments and Prevention
Many things can be done do to prevent cancer, including breast cancer. Cancer rates have increased in step with the increase of artificial foods and additives in the American diet. Naturally, preventative treatments that focus on removing harmful toxins and adding supportive supplements can be helpful. Here are some of the essentials:
- Stop using chemical antiperspirant products and switch to natural deodorants.
- Stop drinking milk, which is loaded with artificial hormones and pus from factoryfarmed cattle.
- Get plenty of vitamins B and E from food and supplements.
- Get extra vitamin D by taking short walks in the sun without sunscreen. In fact, studies show that women who live in sunny climates have a 30% to 40% decreased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Take cayenne pepper in gel caps and eat plenty of chili pepper in your foods.
- Eat plenty of nutrientrich whole foods for overall immune system health.
Soy products are natural phytoestrogens and are useful in both prevention and an adjuvant therapy in active breast cancer. Also, a number of supplements may help prevent not just breast cancer, but cancer in general. These include antioxidants, selenium, adrenal hormone, the algae Chlorella and Spirulina, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplements.
Maitake mushroom extract is high in enzymes and betaglucans, known to fight fungus, virus, and bacteria in the body, as well as cancer. And antioxidants, such as Pycnogenol and green tea helps build the NK and T cells in the immune system that fight cancer.
If you’re worried about breast cancer, you’re probably already getting a mammogram done regularly. This is a controversial topic in alternative health circles, as some experts believe that mammograms increase your risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, one Canadian study found that women who receive annual mammograms have a 52% increased risk of ultimately dying from breast cancer. On the flip side, however, the American Cancer Society still loudly advocates regular mammogram screening. The choice is yours, but keep in mind that mammograms do expose your body to radiation, a cause of cancer. An effective alternative is a thermogram, a noninvasive, nonradiation exposure test that relies on detecting the greater infrared radiation from malignant breast lesions.