If we consider that only 5-10 % of breast cancers have a genetic
or hereditary predisposition, then it stands to reason that the
other 90-95% have hormonal and/or environmental causes - causes
that you can do something about.
Lets start with hormones. Estrogen (in one its metabolic forms,
estrone) increases cell division and, as a result, increases the
risk of malignant changes. Anything that increases estrogen levels
in the body increases proliferation of hormone-sensitive tissues,
especially the breast and uterus. Estrogen, produced by the human
body, is also available from many other sources. It is found in
many products such as hormone replacement therapy, birth control
pills, estrogen creams, and in the most dangerous group of toxic
chemicals - xenoestrogens.
Chlorinated pesticides and plasticizers used in the manufacture
of plastics have been found in 100% of human tissues tested, and
in ever-growing concentrations. Soft plastic water bottles, shrink-wrap
and plastic food containers (especially when heated in a microwave)
leach xenoestrogens into your body. Eating or drinking from soft
plastic packaging should be strongly discouraged.
Radiation, which also comes from different sources, accounts for
approximately 10% of all breast cancers. There is natural radiation
from the sun, and man-made radiation such as x-rays, isotopes, and
nuclear radiation. Many health care professionals and consumer advocates
propose that mammograms should not be used for routine or repetitive
breast cancer screenings. Don't miss-understand this point - mammography
is a great diagnostic tool, especially when used in conjunction
with ultrasound - but it has its limitations. The cumulative damage
from radiation over a period of continuous exposure and the simple
fact that upper outer quadrants of the breast are almost impossible
to squeeze into the mammography machine. Incidentally, this is where
most breast tumors develop, and are not always within the scope
of a mammogram. Another drawback is that by the time a lesion is
detected by a mammogram it is on the average 9 years in the making.
Alternatively, thermography provides for the earliest possible detection
of angiogenesis, i.e. proliferation of blood vessels, utilizing
a painless, effective and safe procedure with no radiation or compression
of breast tissue.
What can you do to prevent hormonal and environmental causes
of breast cancer?
Avoid exposure to toxic chemical xenoestrogens and other carcinogenic
- Do not use synthetic estrogenic products during your reproductive
years unless you are clearly deficient. If necessary after menopause,
use the anti-cancer form of estrogen - Estriol. (For more information
on this subject go to www.drpettle.com)
- Avoid perfumes, air fresheners, and perfumed deodorizers that
contain benzene, aluminum or lemon-scented chemicals. Products
lacking a complete list of ingredients should not be used. Treat
cosmetic products with extreme suspicion unless you are guaranteed
that they contain no known carcinogens - safe alternatives do
- Reduce as much as possible all exposure to man-made radiation.
- Avoid diets high in animal fat. Many meat and dairy products
are contaminated with growth hormones, carcinogenic and estrogenic
chemicals - buy organic if possible.
- The most important advice for preventing cancer is to maintain
and enhance your liver's ability to metabolize estrogens from
different sources. This can be done through proper nutrition and
requires very specific concentrations of nutrients and occasional
liver support and detoxification. This is a continuous and life-long
prevention program. The ultimate goal here is to improve your
Here is an example of a program that I would advise for many
of my patients:
To begin with, a detailed case history of the individual is taken
to identify potential problem areas such as current health condition,
past diseases that maybe caused by other medications, and unresolved
physical and psychological issues. Once the case "picture"
is complete and there is a clear identification of the imbalances,
a therapeutic approach is applied to address the issues. Since each
individual and their case history are unique, it makes sense that
each case requires a different approach towards good health.
- Establish a pattern of health that is drug free and disease
free with the most basic functions under control: eat well (digestion),
sleep well and eliminate well. If you are suffering from any of
these disfunctions you have to get them resolved first.
- Start and maintain an exercise program that addresses three
key components of health: such as duration (aerobics), strength
(weight resistance), and flexibility (stretching). A moderate
daily exercise routine will promote weight loss and hormonal balance,
stabilizing your mood and the overall feeling of well being.
- Increase your consumption of vegetables, especially cruciferous
family - cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and kale. The main
ingredient in these vegetables is indole carbinols, which promote
2 hydroxyestrone, (a protective estrogen) and counters the proliferative
effect of carcinogenic 16 alphahydroxy estrone (a bad estrogen).
Indole carbinols are also available in capsule form as I3C or
- Change to a high fiber diet that includes foods primarily from
plant and grain based varieties. Fiber helps with eliminating
estrogens and lipids out of our bowels and helps promote a healthy
intestinal function. You should also keep your intestinal flora
healthy with the use of probiotics.
- Maintain adequate levels of all B-complex vitamins through a
diet rich in unrefined grains including wheat germ. A good quality
B-complex supplement could be very important.
- Consume foods such as garlic, onions, lettuce and cruciferous
vegetables that promote bonding of bile to glucuronic acid which
aids our body in removing bad estrogens. Calcium D-Glucaric acid
is a supplement that improves estrogen metabolism. It should be
taken in doses of 500mg twice daily.
- Inositol hexaphoshate, known as IP-6, 1200mg daily. Derived
from rice bran, IP-6 can decrease cell division; induce normal
cell death and stop metastases.
- Other helpful supplements include: flaxseed that helps excrete
excess estrogen safely out of the body. Fish oil - Omega 3 essential
fatty acids adds more protection. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant
and is found to be critically low in breast cancer patients. Supplementation
of 400 to 800 units with Selenium should be taken daily.
Early Screening Technology (such as Infrared Thermography) can
help to identify pre-cancer situations. Combined with the basic
principles, supplements, homeopathic medications and lifestyle modifications
listed above, you and your doctor can develop a proactive program
to help prevent the process of early tumor formation.