With all the attention focused on treating breast cancer lately, it is perplexing that many do not recognize the great gains to be made by addressing breast cancer prevention. The main approach in the medical community is geared towards waiting until the disease is present and then dealing with it. Why not focus on preventing breast cancer before it occurs?
Although we have not yet identified all causes of breast cancer, we know enough about some contributing risk factors. Firstly, you should determine just how at-risk you are. Breast thermography, in combination with measuring your levels of various estrogens, is highly predictive in assessing your risk for breast cancer. Once your risk assessment is determined there many preventative and therapeutic means available.
What is Breast thermography?
Breast thermography is a non-invasive means for the earliest detection of breast abnormalities. An infrared camera detects unusual heat patterns in your breast tissue. Any heat patterns detected in the breast are compared bilaterally (with the other breast) since cancer does not grow in symmetrical patterns.
What causes changes in heat patterns?
Before tumor growth can take place, there must be additional blood vessels supplying blood to feed these cells (which are metabolically more active than normal cells in the surrounding area). This process, called angio-genesis (the proliferation of blood vessels) produces extra heat in the affected area. A thermographic (temperature-measuring) camera can detect differences in heat. A thermographic image displays areas of increased heat in contrast to areas of lower heat (normal tissue).
How is this information used?
Once an assessment has been made, both breasts are graded from TH-1 (non-suspicious, non-vascular) to TH-5 (highest risk) and a plan of action is determined in consultation with the patient. Subsequent actions may involve mammography or ultrasound tests, or tests for other risk factors. Instructions may include lifestyle changes, nutritional advice or supplementation to improve the breast tissue or even reverse the existing trend.
Most cancers are detected when the diameter is 1cm (about the size of a pea), which will contain about 1 billion cells. Thermal imaging can detect growth patterns in the 3rd year.
Don't wait until it is too late!
The table below represents the average growth pattern of a typical slow-growing tumor. Most tumors are eight to 10 years old before they are discovered.
Active Cancer Cells Can Double Every 90 Days
Source: Buchanan, J.B. et al., Tumor Growth, doubling time, and inability of the radiologist to diagnose certain cancers.
||Number of Cells
|3 years (Change detected with thermography)
|5 years (Change still undetectable with mammogram)
|8 years (Cells doubled 32 times)
Mammograms are a good tool for determining the exact location of a developed tumor but they are not an early warning system. The real danger of breast cancer is whether or not it has spread to a vital organ, and if it is going to spread, it has many years to do so. Thermography can detect the blood supply that feeds a tumor in its infancy.
What can I do if a thermographic image indicates that I am high risk?
Invariably, tumors removed surgically are sent to a pathology lab for an assessment. The resulting pathology report describes the great majority as estrogen receptor positive , which means that estrogens have fed the tumor. However, not all estrogens are created equal. For many years, estrogen has been described based on three estrogen metabolites:
With evolving research, more attention has been given to “good” and “bad” estrogens.
The technical terms for these are:
- 2-hydroxyestrogen (cancer protective)
- 16-alpha-hydroxyestrogen (cancer permissive)
High 2/16 ratios generally means a lower risk of estrogen-related cancer. Low 2/16 ratios mean a higher risk for cancer of the breast, uterus, and ovaries. Incidentally, low 2/16 ratios in men are also highly predictive for prostate cancer.
Can I measure my 2/16 ratios?
Testing for your 2/16 ratios couldn't be easier. You can obtain a test kit from our clinic, or phone and we will mail it to you. At home, collect a urine sample and mail the kit to the lab indicated. Generally, you will receive your results in three to four weeks.
If your 2/16 ratios are less than 2.0, you can improve them by increasing the consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as:
- Bok choy
- Brussel sprouts
Adding one to two teaspoons of freshly ground flaxseed helps the excretion of estrogen from the body. After six to eight weeks, your 2/16 ratios should be sufficiently improved; however, if improvement is not sufficient, you can use supplements made from these vegetables. Two such supplements, DIM (di-indolmethane) taken 60mg twice daily or I3C (Indol 3 Carbonol) 200mg taken twice daily are available at health food stores and pharmacies. Re-check your 2/16 ratios after six to eight weeks.
Can Homeopathy help prevent breast cancer?
Homeopathic medications have a wide range of use in treatment and prevention of breast disease as well as in the promotion of proper lymphatic drainage. Here are just a few examples of the most common remedies from my clinical experience:
Phytolacca Decandra (Poke-root) – Great glandular remedy. Will work specifically for swellings with heat and inflammation. It has a powerful effect on fibrous tissues and muscle sheaths as well as scar tissue. It is the most used homeopathic medicine for mastitis, with the primary indication being that the breast is hard and very sensitive. The breast can be hard, painful and have a purple hue in later stages. Any mammary abscess will require Phytolacca at some point of treatment. Phytolacca is also used when breasts are irritable, before and during menses. This remedy is very common for women to complain that they have pain is radiating into the axillary region, caused by an enlargement of the axillary glands.
Scrophularia Nodosa (Knotted figwort) - Has a specific affinity for the breast and it is very useful in the dissipation of breast tumors. Very powerful medicine whenever enlarged glands are present. This remedy is used with fibroadenoma of the breast (nodules) with pain in all flexor muscles. Many patients with Hodgkin's disease will require this remedy.
Baryta Iodata (Iodide of Baryta) - Acts on the lymphatic system. Patients that require this medicine have leucocytosis. Leucocytosis is an increase in the number of white blood cells in the blood. It is a common feature of inflammatory reactions; particularly those caused by bacteria. Lymph nodes that have chronic or acute infection will respond greatly to this medicine.
Conium Maculatum (Poison Hemlock ) – The ancient Greek philosopher Plato made this medicine well known by his graphic description of its employment in the death of Socrates. However, there are many other applications for this homeopathic remedy that seem invaluable when it comes to breast conditions. This medicine is very effective for breasts that present with a stony hard tumor or gland. It has also proven its therapeutic value in cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver and the prostate.
What else can I do?
Breast cancer will strike close to 250,000 women in North America and claim close to 50,000 lives in 2005. Every woman should know her risk for breast cancer. With proper risk assessment, you can determine if you might be at risk and develop an action plan on how to reduce that risk.
I would encourage all women to become proactive when it comes to their health. As the saying goes – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure . Don't wait until something bad happens to you – protect yourself and your family.