Tag Archive: breast cancer


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Following on the heels of Angelina Jolie’s widely celebrated decision to remove her breasts ‘preventively,’ few truly understand how important preventing environmental chemical exposures and incorporating cancer-preventing foods into their diet really is in reducing the risk of gene-mediated breast cancer.  

There is so much fear and misinformation surrounding the so-called ‘Breast Cancer Associated’ genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that it should help to dispel some prevailing myths by looking at the crucial role that epigenetic factors play in their expression.  Literally ‘above’ (epi) or ‘beyond’ the control of the genes, these factors include environmental chemical exposures, nutrition and stress, which profoundly affect cancer risk within us all, regardless of what variant (‘mutated’ or ‘wild’)* that we happen to carry within our genomes.

In 2012, a very important study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry that looked at the role a natural compound called resveratrol may play in preventing the inactivation of the BRCA-1 gene. BRCA-1 is known as a “caretaker” gene because it is responsible for healing up double-strand breaks within our DNA. When the BRCA-1 gene is rendered dysfunctional or becomes inactivated, either through a congenital/germline inheritance of DNA defects (‘mutation’) or through chemical exposures, the result is the same: harm to the DNA repair mechanisms within the affected cells (particularly breast and ovary; possibly testicular), hence increasing the risk of cancer.

Ironically, while the prevalence of a “bad” inherited BRCA1 variation is actually quite low relative to the general population (A 2003 study found only 6.6% of breast cancer patients even have either a BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline mutation[1]), everyone’s BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are susceptible to damage from environmental chemical exposures, most particularly xenobiotic (non-natural) chemicals and radiation. This means that instead of looking to a set of “bad” genes as the primary cause of cancer, we should be looking to avoid exposing both our “bad” and “good” genes alike to preventable chemical exposures, as well as avoiding nutrient deficiencies and/or incompatibilities, which also play a vital role in enabling us to express or silence cancer-associated genes. [For more on why genes don’t “cause” disease see: The Great DNA Data Deficit.]

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8 Pink Foods that Fight Breast Cancer

There are plenty of “pink” products in support of breast cancer awareness, but why not just cut out the middle man and eat naturally pink anti-breast cancer foods?

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when companies love to showcase pink packaging…but sometimes, what’s inside those packages isn’t so healthy. So we’ve rounded up 8 naturally pink foods that have all been shown to help keep away breast cancer. Always choose organic to avoid pesticides and toxins. Go, Mother Nature!

Red cabbage

cabbage

A compound called indole-3-carbinol (also rich in cruciferous vegetables) is now being researched for its potential to significantly reduce the incidence of breast cancer.

Pomegranates

pinkpom

These gem-like fruits may prevent breast cancer, lab studies suggest, by blocking a certain enzyme (aromatase) that converts androgen to estrogen.

Beets

redbeets

Extract of red beetroot has been shown to help suppress multi-organ tumors in lab tests, and experts are considering using them in combination with traditional anticancer drugs to reduce their toxic side effects.

Radishes

pinkradishes

High in antioxidants, these have been shown to help reduce the spread of breast cancer cells. Additionally, a lab study with Japanese radish sprouts significantly lowered the incidence of mammary tumors.

 

Read More Here

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Research: Ginger Selectively Kills Breast Cancer Cells

Research: Ginger Selectively Kills Breast Cancer Cells

New research published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found that “ginger may be a promising candidate for the treatment of breast carcinomas.”[i]  This is a timely finding, insofar as breast cancer awareness month is only days away, and one of the primary fund-raising justifications is the false concept that a low-cost, safe and effective breast cancer treatment is not yet available. Could ginger provide the type of cure that conventional, FDA-approved treatments have yet to accomplish?

The new study was performed by researchers at the Biological Sciences Department, Faculty of Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, who discovered that a crude extract derived from the medicinal plant ginger (Zingiber officinale) inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells, without significantly affecting the viability of non-tumor breast cells — a highly promising property known as selective cytotoxicity, not found in conventional treatments.

The researchers outline the serious problems with present breast cancer therapies thusly:

Despite significant advances toward targeted therapy and screening techniques, breast cancer continues to be a chronic medical problem worldwide, being the most common type of cancer in women and the leading cause of death [1]. Typically, the treatment of breast cancer involves hormonal therapy with tamoxifen or other selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulators [24]. However, almost all patients with metastatic disease and approximately 40% of patients that receive tamoxifen experience relapse that ends by death [5]. In addition, the clinical utility of ER antagonists is often limited by side effects [2, 3, 6] and is largely ineffective against ER-negative breast cancer [2, 3]. Furthermore, despite the fact that many tumors initially respond to chemotherapy, breast cancer cells can subsequently survive and gain resistance to the treatment [7]. Thus, identification of novel agents that are relatively safe but can suppress growth of both ER-positive and ER-negative human breast cancers is highly desirable.

They described their interest in investigating crude extracts of ginger in the following manner:

Despite knowledge about the potent anticancer activity of the ginger, the molecular mechanisms underlying this activity are not currently well known in breast cancer. Based on the previously mentioned reported scientific data and considering the fact that in some cases herbal extracts are showing more potency than the purified components [21, 22], the present study was undertaken to investigate the impacts of crude extracts of ginger on growth of breast cancer cell lines.

They discovered that ginger was capable of positively modulating a surprisingly wide range of molecular mechanisms simultaneously, such as:

  • Induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death)
  • Upregulation of Bax (a pro-apoptosis gene)
  • Downregulation of Bcl-2 proteins (cancer-associated)
  • Downregulation of prosurvival genes NF-κB, Bcl-X, Mcl-1, and Survivin
  • Downregulation of cell cycle-regulating proteins, including cyclin D1 and cyclin-dependent kinase-4 (CDK-4). (cancer-associated)
  • Increased expression of CDK inhibitor, p21 (anti-cancer associated)
  • Inhibition of c-Myc, hTERT (cancer-associated)
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Eating Flaxseed May Reduce Breast Cancer Mortality By Up To 70%

Flaxseeds Reduce Breast Cancer Mortality By Up To 70%

Mainstream medicine continues to push women to get yearly mammograms as a way to defend themselves against the epidemic of deadly breast cancer.  However, mammograms do nothing to prevent the disease or improve survival rates. But the amazing little flaxseed does.

Scores of studies reveal the anticancer effects of flaxseed. Researchers from the University of Toronto recently reviewed the literature to answer questions about the compounds found in flaxseed and how effective they are in reducing breast cancer risk and tumor growth, and whether flaxseeds interact beneficially with breast cancer drugs.

They reviewed in vitro, animal, observational, and clinical studies on flaxseed and flaxseed oil, as well as lignans found in flaxseed.

Lignans are a class of phytoestrogens or plant estrogens that also act as antioxidants. Other foods also contain lignans including sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, grains (rye, barley, wheat and oats), broccoli and beans.   But flaxseed has hundreds of times the amount of lignans as any of the others.

The University of Toronto review documents the amazing power of flaxseed to prevent and slow the growth of breast cancer.   Here’s what the studies tell us:

  • The majority of animal studies show a diet of 2.5%-10% flaxseed or the equivalent amount of lignan or flaxseed oil reduces tumor growth.
  • Diets consisting of 10% flaxseed and the equivalent amount of lignans do not interfere with but rather increase the effectiveness of tamoxifen.  A diet of 4% flaxseed oil increases trastuzumab/Herceptin effectiveness.
  • Observational studies show flaxseed and lignan intake, urinary excretion, or serum levels are associated with reduced breast cancer risk, particularly in postmenopausal women.
  • Lignans reduce breast cancer mortality by 33% to 70%.  They also reduce all-cause mortality by 40%-53%.  In both cases, lignans do not reduce the effectiveness of Tamoxifen.
  • Clinical trials show that taking 25 grams per day of flaxseed (containing 50 mg lignans) for 32 days reduces tumor growth in breast cancer patients.
  • Taking 50 mg of lignans for one year reduces breast cancer risk in premenopausal women.

Flaxseeds protect women from breast cancer in a variety of ways.  Here are just a few:

  1. Flaxseeds decrease tumor cell proliferation.  When eaten, lignans in flaxseeds are broken down by bacteria in the gut into 2 estrogen-like compounds that circulate through the liver. These compounds have been proven in animal studies to help prevent breast cancer by preventing tumor growth.
  2. Lignans block tumor blood supply.  Tumors need angiogenesis – new blood vessels – to supply oxygen and nutrients for growth.  Flaxseeds inhibit the growth factor needed to stimulate angiogenesis according to animal studies.
  3. Lignans lower estrogen production. Lignans block aromatase, the enzyme involved in the production of estrogen.  Blocking the enzyme lowers estrogen production.  High estrogen levels have been linked to the growth of breast cancer.

 

Read More Here

 

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Turmeric Extract Strikes To The Root Cause of Cancer Malignancy

A new turmeric study published in Cancer Letters is paving the way for a revolution in the way that we both understand and treat cancer. Titled, “Targeting cancer stem cells by curcumin and clinical applications,” U.S. researchers evaluated the primary polyphenol in the Indian spice known as curcumin for its ability to target cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are believed to be at the root cause of tumor formation and malignancy.

Whereas conventional models of cancer assumed that the majority of the cancer cells within a tumor possess self-renewal capacity to differing degrees, the CSC model proposes that, “[T]he initiation, maintenance, and growth of a tumor is driven by a minor population of cancer cells termed cancer stem cells (CSCs),” and that “These CSCs undergo continuous self-renewal and differentiate to heterogeneous cancer cells, yielding new tumors recapitulating the parental tumors, while the majority of cancer cells lack self-renewal capacity.”

In other words, the CSCs are at the apex of a hierarchy of cells within the tumor, and are the “mother” of the various daughter cells that make it up, most of which are intrinsically benign. Conventional treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, based on a rodent model with a 2-year experimental window to evaluate treatment efficacy and safety, was incapable of comprehending the CSC-mediated cause of post-treatment tumor recurrence, which in humans can take decades after initial treatment to manifest. Although it was possible to debulk a tumor with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, CSC populations were often missed or even enriched as a result. When the tumor mass regrew it often became more invasive and treatment-resistant, resulting in the rapid demise and death of the patient — deaths which are often written off inaccurately or disingenuously as non-treatment related.

Given that conventional treatment can drive an intrinsically benign tumor (i.e., so-called indolent tumors) into greater invasiveness through increasing the number of intrinsically resilient cancer stem cells at the very same moment that it kills the less or non-harmful daughter cells, alternative treatment approaches are needed now more than ever.

 

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Research: Curcumin Is A Triple Negative Breast Cancer Killer

Research: Curcumin Is A Triple Negative Breast Cancer Killer

A new study from Zheijian Provincial People’s Hospital in Zheijiang, China indicates that a compound in turmeric known as curcumin, which gives the spice its characteristic saffron-like color, is capable of inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis) within triple negative breast cancer cells.1

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), so named because the cells do not have the characteristic receptors for estrogen, progesterone and Her2/neu, is considered the most treatment resistant, primarily because these ‘missing receptors’ are required for many of the most popular conventional treatments to work, e.g. Tamoxifen targets estrogen receptors. For this reason, TNBC is considered the most aggressive, the most likely to be treated with less-targeted (and therefore more toxic) forms of chemotherapy, and the soonest to return when treatment fails.

Approximately 15-25% of all breast cancer cases are triple negative. Unfortunately, however, the most visible non-profit foundation dedicated to bringing awareness to the condition, the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, is focused almost exclusively on raising awareness and money for a future pharmaceutical “cure”  – much in the same way as its partner, Susan G. Komen, and the larger breast cancer awareness organization, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, act as if removing and addressing the obvious causes of cancer, e.g. carcinogenic chemical and radiation exposures, were not the first priority.  For those suffering through or recovering from treatment right now, or trying to decide what to do with a new diagnosis, this latest Chinese study is promising.

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What we think we know about the BRCA (Breast Cancer Susceptibility Associated) genes causing cancer is patently false, according to a new meta-analysis on the extant literature on the subject of these gene variations on breast cancer survival prognosis.  

A groundbreaking new meta-analysis published in PLoS titled,”Worse Breast Cancer Prognosis of BRCA1/BRCA2 Mutation Carriers: What’s the Evidence? A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis“, calls into question the value of using BRCA1/2 gene status to determine breast cancer survival prognosis, as is common practice today. This implications of this research may have wide-ranging effects as the present climate, following Angelina Jolie’s high profile decision to have prophylactic breast, ovary and fallopian tube removed due to her perceived “genetic inheritance,” is to equate BRCA status with bona fide and mathematically calculable disease risk certainty.

Jolie’s decision to subject herself to multiple prophylactic organ removal was based on the premise that her BRCA mutations would result in an 87 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to 54 percent chance of ovarian cancer, as prognosticated by her doctors. The notion that BRCA genes have full or near full penetrance (the ability of a mutation to cause clinically identifiable disease) has profound implications for the health of millions of women who rely on these predictions to make life and death medical decisions.

Because of a wide range of conflicting conclusions on the subject of BRCA’s role in determining cancer risk and prognosis, researchers in the new study attempted a systematic and quantitative synthesis of evidence using the following method:

“Eligible publications were observational studies assessing the survival of breast cancer patients carrying a BRCA1/2 mutation compared to non-carriers or the general breast cancer population. We performed meta-analyses and best-evidence syntheses for survival outcomes taking into account study quality assessed by selection bias, misclassification bias and confounding.”

They summarized their findings:

“Our review shows that, in contrast to currently held beliefs of many oncologists and despite 66 published studies, it is not yet possible to draw evidence-based conclusions about the association between BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutation carriership and breast cancer prognosis. We only found sufficient evidence for a 10% worse unadjusted recurrence-free survival for BRCA1 mutation carriers. For all the other outcomes the evidence was judged to be indecisive.”

In their concluding remarks, the researchers state, “In contrast to currently held beliefs of some oncologists, current evidence does not support worse breast cancer survival of BRCA1/2 mutation carriers in the adjuvant setting; differences if any are likely to be small. More well-designed studies are awaited.”

Read More Here

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Study Finds Women Still Suffering 3 Years After Breast Cancer False-Positive

Millions of women undergo them annually, but few are even remotely aware of just how many dangers they are exposing themselves to in the name of prevention, not the least of which are misdiagnosis, overdiagnosis and the promotion of breast cancer itself. 

A new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine titled, Long-term psychosocial consequences of false-positive screening mammography, brings to the forefront a major underreported harm of breast screening programs: the very real and lasting trauma associated with a false-positive diagnosis of breast cancer.[1]

The study found that women with false-positive diagnoses of breast cancer, even three years after being declared free of cancer, “consistently reported greater negative psychosocial consequences compared with women who had normal findings in all 12 psychosocial outcomes.”

The psychosocial and existential parameters adversely affected were:

  • Sense of dejection
  • Anxiety
  • Negative impact on behavior
  • Negative impact on sleep
  • Degree of breast self-examination
  • Negative impact on sexuality
  • Feeling of attractiveness
  • Ability to keep ‘mind off things’
  • Worries about breast cancer
  • Inner calm
  • Social network
  • Existential values

What is even more concerning is that “[S]ix months after final diagnosis, women with false-positive findings reported changes in existential values and inner calmness as great as those reported by women with a diagnosis of breast cancer.”

In other words, even after being “cleared of cancer,” the measurable adverse psychospiritual effects of the trauma of diagnosis were equivalent to actually having breast cancer.

Given that the cumulative probability of false-positive recall or biopsy recommendation after 10 years of screening mammography is at least 50%,[2] this is an issue that will affect the health of millions of women undergoing routine breast screening.

Read More Here

NutritionFacts.org

Published on Sep 30, 2013

Subscribe for free to Dr. Greger’s videos at:
http://bit.ly/nutritionfactsupdates

DESCRIPTION: Simple changes in diet and lifestyle may quadruple a woman’s survival rate from breast cancer.

I recommend that all women with breast cancer eat broccoli sprouts. See my 8-part video series:

1. DNA Protection from Broccoli (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dna-p…)
2. Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/sulfo…)
3. Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/brocc…)
4. Liver Toxicity Due to Broccoli Juice? (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/liver…)
5. How Much Broccoli Is Too Much? (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-m…)
6. The Best Detox (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-b…)
7. Sometimes the Enzyme Myth Is True (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/somet…)
8. Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/bigge…)

They may also help out with other cancers (Lung Cancer Metastases and Broccoli, http://nutritionfacts.org/video/lung-…, and Raw Broccoli and Bladder Cancer Survival, http://nutritionfacts.org/video/raw-b…).

For more on breast cancer survival, see:

• Breast Cancer Survival, Butterfat, and Chicken (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breas…)
• Breast Cancer Survival and Trans Fat (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breas…)
• Breast Cancer Survival and Soy (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breas…)
• Breast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breas…)
• Flaxseeds & Breast Cancer Survival: Epidemiological Evidence (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxs…)
• Flaxseeds & Breast Cancer Survival: Clinical Evidence (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxs…)

And even better, preventing it in the first place. Here are the last 10 videos, but there are 81 other videos on breast cancer (http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/brea…

• Fiber vs. Breast Cancer (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fiber…)
• Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much is Safe? (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breas…)
• Which Seaweed is Most Protective Against Breast Cancer? (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which…)
• Breast Cancer Risk: Red Wine vs. White Wine (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breas…)
• PhIP: The Three Strikes Breast Carcinogen (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phip-…)
• Preventing Breast Cancer By Any Greens Necessary (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preve…)
• Cancer, Interrupted: Green Tea (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cance…)
• PhIP: The Three Strikes Breast Carcinogen (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/phip-…)
• Estrogenic Cooked Meat Carcinogens (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/estro…)
• Cancer Risk From CT Scan Radiation (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cance…)

Some of this video may sound familiar—I included it in my 2013 live presentation, which you can watch here (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/more-…).

Have a question for Dr. Greger about this video? Leave it in the comment section at http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breas… and he’ll try to answer it!

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Broccoli Versus Breast Cancer Stem Cells

NutritionFacts.org

Published on Mar 12, 2012

Subscribe for free to Dr. Greger’s videos at http://bit.ly/nutritionfactsupdates
Donate at http://bit.ly/nutritionfactsdonation
DESCRIPTION: A new theory of cancer biology—cancer stem cells—and the role played by sulforaphane, a phytonutrient produced by cruciferous vegetables. Have a question about this video? Leave it in the comment section at http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/broc… and I’ll try to answer it! Broccoli also protects our DNA. See the preceding video-of-the-day, DNA Protection From Broccoli (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dna-p…), and my other 35 videos on greens (http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/greens/) and 98 videos on cancer (http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cancer/). And those are two of the 1,290 topics (http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/) I cover here at NutritionFacts.org (http://nutritionfacts.org/). Note that most of the sources for this video are all open access, so you can click on them above in the Sources Cited section and read them full-text for free.

Please also check out my associated blog post: http://nutritionfacts.org/blog/2012/0…

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Watercress Turns Off Breast Cancer Cell Growth

Long associated with tea sandwiches and white gloves, watercress contains a powerful plant compound that may help fight breast cancer.

According to a study conducted at the University of Southampton and published in the British Journal of Nutrition and Biochemical Pharmacology, the plant compound known as phenylethyl isothiocyanate, may suppress breast cancer cell development.  It works by turning off a signal in the cells which is necessary to cancer cell growth.

When cancerous tumors outgrow their blood supply, they send out signals to normal tissues to feed them oxygen and nutrients. This compound in watercress interferes with those signals.  That results in the starvation of the cancerous growth by blocking essential blood and oxygen.

Prior studies had found the same plant compound to be effective in blocking the growth of prostate and colon cancer cells.

In the current study a small group of breast cancer survivors ate a bowl of watercress and then had their blood tested over the next 24 hours. The researchers found significant levels of the plant compound in the blood following the watercress meal.  The signaling function was also measurably affected in the blood cells of the women.

 

Read More Here

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Still of Devon Melton - Fox 2 Now, http://aka.ms/devonmelton

A 12-year-old boy from Ferguson, Mo., has blown us away with his courage and sacrifice.

Devon Melton’s mother, Christina Craig, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and his parents are struggling with the financial burden of her illness.

I overheard her talking on the phone,” Devon told KTVI. “I just asked her are you ok, because her tears were running down her face. She said she was failing me as a parent because she’s always sick, and I had to help.”

That’s when Melton decided to step in.

He got the idea of holding a garage sale, but he didn’t have much of his own to give away. So he began reaching out to potential donors on Craiglist’s ‘Free’ section with a moving email that soon went viral.

He wrote:

Hi this is Devon. I am the one that messaged you on Craigslist. My mom is amazing she and my dad take care of my two brothers, me and my sister. She has breast cancer and I heard her crying one day after she had her surgery. I thought she was hurt so I went to her door. I heard her say I’m losing everything because I am sick. We are about to lose our home, electric, gas and dad lost his job..I went to my preacher and asked how can I help. He said to do a garage sale. I went to every house on my road getting donations for the garage sale..

My mom deserves the best and I want to help her because she helps everyone. Even with her sick she still works at the food pantry at our church. She says people have to eat and God blessed us to be part of a ministry that can feed people. I just wish it was mom’s turn to be blessed with a timeout like she says she needs. I hope we can get things together and I can really help my mom.

The post inspired a slew of donations from Craigslisters. KTVI reports that he’s received over 200 emails from people wanting to help and has recently had to expand the sale to a bigger location.

He’s raised $120 so far, and plans to continue holding the sale until all the donations are sold.

“I can give up a couple of my things and.. put the hard work in,” he told KDSK. “She takes care of me, so I thought I should take care of her for once.”

Watch Video Here

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 By
Waking Times

Chris Renzo, Contributing Writer
Waking Times 

American neuroscientist, Dr. Robert Sapolsky, states that there is a widespread and dangerous notion that has taken root in our dominant scientific understanding of human behavior. The notion is that we believe human behavior is genetically determined. This deterministic view of life suggests life is rooted in biology and genetics, that we are our genes, and that genes cannot be changed. This notion is used to support the view that human nature is governed by an innate self-interest, a trait we developed through evolution. This notion suggests that mental health conditions, addictions, most of our physical disease, and or violence could be explained in respect to our genetic inheritance. This is a dangerous notion because if we suppose this to be true we do not have to worry about changing the social pre-conditions that fosters social dysfunction.

Dr. Gabor Mate, a physician and addiction specialist, states that this is the “genetic argument.” It allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors as they relate to our modern day social ills.  Dr. Mate, Dr. Sapolsky, and others, believe that the genetic argument is a cop out.

“Most complex conditions might have a predisposition that has a genetic component, but a predisposition is not the same as a per-determination.” – Dr. Gabor Mate

Gabor Mate suggests that no condition is solely genetically determined. He understands that there is a genetic influence, but his claim is that the environment in which we live in and take part in determines, ultimately, which genes will express themselves and which will not. In support of this claim he highlighted a breast cancer study that found that for every 100 women with breast cancer, only 7 of these women will carry the breast cancer gene. And out of all the women who do have the breast cancer gene, not all of them will get breast cancer. It would seem logical then to state that the stressful and toxic environment in which we live has a greater influence over the development of breast cancer than the genetic influence itself.

Health And Wellness Report

Study spotlights high breast cancer risk for plastics workers

Breast cancer victim Carol Bristow, 54, has worked as a machine operator in a plastic auto parts factory in Windsor, Ontario, for 23 years. She believes on-the-job exposures to toxic fumes and dust played a role in her illness.

By Jim Morrisemail

 

WINDSOR, Ontario — For more than three decades, workers, most of them women, have complained of dreadful conditions in many of this city’s plastic automotive parts factories: Pungent fumes and dust that caused nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and dizziness. Blobs of smelly, smoldering plastic dumped directly onto the floor. “It was like hell,” says one woman who still works in the industry.

The women fretted, usually in private, about what seemed to be an excess of cancer and other diseases in the factories across the river from Detroit. “People were getting sick, but you never really thought about the plastic itself,” said Gina DeSantis, who has worked at a plant near Windsor for 25 years.

Now, workers like DeSantis are the focal point of a new study that appears to strengthen the tie between breast cancer and toxic exposures.

The sixyear study, conducted by a team of researchers from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, examined the occupational histories of 1,006 women from Ontario’s Essex and Kent counties who had the disease and 1,146 who didn’t. Adjustments were made for smoking, weight, alcohol use and other lifestyle and reproductive factors.

The results, published online today in the journal Environmental Health, are striking: Women employed in the automotive plastics industry were almost five times as likely to develop breast cancer, prior to menopause, as women in the control group.

These workers may handle an array of carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. They include the hardening agent bisphenol A (BPA) — whose presence in polycarbonate water bottles and other products has unnerved some consumers — plus solvents, heavy metals and flame retardants.

Sandy Knight, who worked at two Windsor plastics plants from 1978 to 1998, had a breast cancer scare in 2000, when she was 41. The cancer was at Stage III — “invasive and fast-growing,” said Knight, 53, who now works at a Ford parts distribution center near Toronto. She had a single mastectomy and, following 10 years of hormonal treatment, is in remission.

Asked if she believed her disease was work-related, Knight said, “I’m suspicious of it because of all the exposures we had.” She remembers the “nauseating kind of odor,” the burning eyes and headaches, all the women with cancer, sterility and miscarriages. She’s upset that little seems to have changed at some plants.

“Why am I speaking to people today, in 2012, who are doing the same processes I did in 1980?” Knight asked. “It just seems like we’re fighting the same battle. A lot of these chemicals should be removed from the workplace.”

The study population included women who had worked at more than 40 plastics factories in the Windsor area. But the implications are broader: Workers in similar plants around the world are exposed to many of the same chemicals. So are members of the public, who encounter the substances — albeit in lower doses — in the course of their daily lives.

“These workplace chemicals are now present in our air, water, food and consumer products,” said one of the two principal investigators, James Brophy, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Windsor and a former occupational health clinic director. “If we fail to take heed then we are doing so at our own peril.”

Jeanne Rizzo, president of the Breast Cancer Fund, a San Francisco-based group that has pressed for more research into environmental causes of a disease that claimed nearly 40,000 lives in the United States last year, called the Windsor study “a very powerful piece of work. The piece that’s really been missing for female breast cancer is occupation.”

In the United States, an estimated 150,000 female workers in the plastics and synthetic rubber industries are likely exposed to many of the same chemicals as the women in Windsor, including polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, plastic; acrylonitrile; formaldehyde and styrene.

“I think the findings, although they’re clearly based on Canadian groups, go well beyond Canada,” said another of the Windsor study’s co-authors, Andrew Watterson, director of the Centre for Public Health and Population Health Research at the University of Stirling in Scotland. “They’re going to be significant for plastics workers in Europe, India, China, Africa, the United States. The chemicals will have the same toxic effects. The same diseases will develop.”

Even minuscule amounts of endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA can be worrisome, Watterson said. “This research is raising big questions both about what the [workplace] standards are and even about what happens if conditions are very good, with low-level exposures,” he said.

In a written statement, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said, “We look forward to reading this paper … and plan to explore how we may use the findings in protecting workers from hazardous exposures.”

The American Chemistry Council, the main chemical industry trade association in the United States, questioned the study’s conclusions, saying it includes “no actual determination of [worker] exposures.” The study’s estimates of risk seem to be based on a small sample and are “statistically very uncertain,” the council said in its statement.

“The well-established risk factors for breast cancer are not chemical exposures, but rather a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors,” the council wrote.

Barry Eisenberg, a spokesman for another U.S. trade group, the Society of the Plastics Industry, declined to comment on the study, saying, “We don’t have the expertise.” Eisenberg declined to answer general questions about worker and consumer health, although his group has had an Occupational Health and Environmental Issues Committee since 1985.

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association did not respond to requests for comment. The president of the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association declined to comment.

Life in the factories

Modern cars and trucks are loaded with plastics: bumpers, door panels, license-plate brackets. Dozens of factories in and around Windsor make these parts from plastic pellets melted and shaped in injection molding machines. The parts are then shipped to auto manufacturers.

The Big Three U.S. automakers expressed varying degrees of concern about conditions in the parts plants.

General Motors said its suppliers are “independent businesses which must meet the Health and Safety legislation in the jurisdictions in which they operate.” Ford said it “requires suppliers to ensure that our products — no matter where they are made — are manufactured under conditions that demonstrate respect for the people who make them.” And Chrysler said that while its suppliers are “responsible for their own legal compliance,” its policies “restrict us from using suppliers who we learn do not comply with our requirements or environmental and health and safety laws.”

Conditions in some of the Windsor plants have improved, workers say. In years past, for example, hot plastic would be removed from the molding machines and dumped on the floor, where it might lie for up to an hour. Some companies have altered this process, known as purging, requiring that the reeking muck be put into covered barrels.

Others have relocated grinding machines — bladed devices that chew up scrap plastic and spit out huge quantities of dust — to isolated areas to reduce worker exposures.

Workers say, however, that a lack of local ventilation — vacuums that can suck up fumes and dust straight from the molding and grinding machines and direct them outside — is still the norm at many facilities.

The machines disgorge “pretty toxic stuff – either carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting chemicals,” said Robert DeMatteo, a retired health and safety director for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and lead author of an article on the plastics industry scheduled for publication early next year in the journal New Solutions. “All you’re going to do with general ventilation is just dilute it.”

Carol Bristow got into the industry in 1989, having grown impatient with a dead-end cashier’s job at the A&P. “I never felt working in a factory would be my calling,” Bristow said. “The first six months I would come home in tears and in pain, almost praying to God that I wouldn’t get my seniority because it seemed like the wrong place to be. But the money kept coming in, and you just adjusted.”

In 1992, when she was 34, Bristow was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast, which was removed along with about 20 lymph nodes. She kept working and developed endometriosis, a painful condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterine cavity. Some studies have linked endometriosis with exposure to chemicals such as dioxin, a byproduct of PVC incineration and chlorine production. Bristow underwent a hysterectomy in 2001.

As all of this was going on, Bristow was being tormented by bladder infections. Benign tumors were removed from her bladder in 2010 and again in August of this year. “I’ll have to be scoped every three months for the rest of my life,” she said, referring to a procedure called cystoscopy, in which a tube-like viewing device is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. One study found that women who had worked in the plastics industry had a more than threefold risk of developing bladder cancer.

Why does Bristow stay?

 

Read Full Article Here

Health And Wellness Report

 

 

Reflexology: Ancient Foot Massage Technique May Ease Cancer Symptoms

ScienceDaily

A study led by a Michigan State University researcher offers the strongest evidence yet that reflexology — a type of specialized foot massage practiced since the age of pharaohs — can help cancer patients manage their symptoms and perform daily tasks.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the latest issue of Oncology Nursing Forum, it is the first large-scale, randomized study of reflexology as a complement to standard cancer treatment, according to lead author Gwen Wyatt, a professor in the College of Nursing.

“It’s always been assumed that it’s a nice comfort measure, but to this point we really have not, in a rigorous way, documented the benefits,” Wyatt said. “This is the first step toward moving a complementary therapy from fringe care to mainstream care.”

Reflexology is based on the idea that stimulating specific points on the feet can improve the functioning of corresponding organs, glands and other parts of the body.

The study involved 385 women undergoing chemotherapy or hormonal therapy for advanced-stage breast cancer that had spread beyond the breast. The women were assigned randomly to three groups: Some received treatment by a certified reflexologist, others got a foot massage meant to act like a placebo, and the rest had only standard medical treatment and no foot manipulation.

Wyatt and colleagues surveyed participants about their symptoms at intake and then checked in with them after five weeks and 11 weeks.

They found that those in the reflexology group experienced significantly less shortness of breath, a common symptom in breast cancer patients. Perhaps as a result of their improved breathing, they also were better able to perform daily tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs, getting dressed or going grocery shopping.

Wyatt said she was surprised to find that reflexology’s effects appeared to be primarily physical, not psychological.

“We didn’t get the change we might have expected with the emotional symptoms like anxiety and depression,” she said. “The most significant changes were documented with the physical symptoms.”

Also unexpected was the reduced fatigue reported by those who received the “placebo” foot massage, particularly since the reflexology group did not show similarly significant improvement. Wyatt is now researching whether massage similar to reflexology performed by cancer patients’ friends and family, as opposed to certified reflexologists, might be a simple and inexpensive treatment option.

Reflexology did not appear to reduce pain or nausea, but Wyatt said that could be because the drugs for combating those symptoms are generally quite effective, so the women may not have reported them to begin with.

Although health researchers only recently have begun studying reflexology in a scientifically rigorous way, it’s widely practiced in many parts of the world and dates back thousands of years.

“Reflexology comes out of the Chinese tradition and out of Egypt,” Wyatt said. “In fact, it’s shown in hieroglyphics. It’s been around for a very long time.”

Wyatt’s co-authors include MSU statistics and probability professor Alla Sikorskii and College of Nursing research assistant Mei You, along with colleagues from Northwestern University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

 

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Michigan State University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mei You, David Victorson, Mohammad Hossein Rahbar, Alla Sikorskii, Gwen Wyatt. Health-Related Quality-of-Life Outcomes: A Reflexology Trial With Patients With Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 2012; 39 (6): 568 DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.568-577

Health And Wellness Report

Nutrition  :  Diseases – Holistic Health

Win the war

By Leslie Barrie
From Health magazine

 

berries-foods-fight-cancer

To reduce your risk of cancer, look no further than your fridge. “All the studies on cancer and nutrition point to eating plant-based foods for their phytonutrients and other special compounds,” says Richard Béliveau, PhD, chair in the prevention and treatment of cancer at the University of Québec at Montreal and author of Foods to Fight Cancer.

Aim for five to nine daily servings of all kinds of fruits and vegetables—especially these six superstars.

 

broccoli-fights-cancer

 

Broccoli

All cruciferous veggies (think cauliflower, cabbage, kale) contain cancer-fighting properties, but broccoli is the only one with a sizable amount of sulforaphane, a particularly potent compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals, says Jed Fahey, ScD. A recent University of Michigan study on mice found that sulforaphane also targets cancer stem cells—those that aid in tumor growth.

Helps fight: breast, liver, lung, prostate, skin, stomach, and bladder cancers

Your Rx: The more broccoli, the better, research suggests—so add it wherever you can, from salads to omelets to the top of your pizza.

 

 

berries-phytonutrients-fight-cancer

 

Berries

All berries are packed with cancer-fighting phytonutrients. But black raspberries, in particular, contain very high concentrations of phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which slow down the growth of premalignant cells and keep new blood vessels from forming (and potentially feeding a cancerous tumor), according to Gary D. Stoner, PhD, a professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Helps fight: colon, esophageal, oral, and skin cancers

Your Rx: Stoner uses a concentrated berry powder in his studies but says a half-cup serving of berries a day may help your health, too.

 

 

tomatoes-lycopene-cancer

 

Tomatoes

This juicy fruit is the best dietary source of lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red hue, Béliveau says. And that’s good news, because lycopene was found to stop endometrial cancer cell growth in a study in Nutrition and Cancer. Endometrial cancer causes nearly 8,000 deaths a year.

Helps fight: endometrial, lung, prostate, and stomach cancers

Your Rx: The biggest benefits come from cooked tomatoes (think pasta sauce!), since the heating process increases the amount of lycopene your body is able to absorb.

 

 

walnuts-fight-cancer

 

Walnuts

Walnuts Their phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules found in plants) have been shown to block estrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, possibly slowing the cells’ growth, says Elaine Hardman, PhD, associate professor at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia.

Helps fight: breast and prostate cancers

Your Rx: Munching on an ounce of walnuts a day may yield the best benefits, Hardman’s research found.

 

 

garlic-fight-cancer

 

Garlic

Phytochemicals in garlic have been found to halt the formation of nitrosamines, carcinogens formed in the stomach (and in the intestines, in certain conditions) when you consume nitrates, a common food preservative, Béliveau says. In fact, the Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women with the highest amounts of garlic in their diets had a 50 percent lower risk of certain colon cancers than women who ate the least.

Helps fight: breast, colon, esophageal, and stomach cancers

Your Rx: Chop a clove of fresh, crushed garlic (crushing helps release beneficial enzymes), and sprinkle it into that lycopene-rich tomato sauce while it simmers.

 

 

black-navy-beans-fight-cancer

 

Beans

A study out of Michigan State University found that black and navy beans significantly reduced colon cancer incidence in rats, in part because a diet rich in the legumes increased levels of the fatty acid butyrate, which in high concentrations has protective effects against cancer growth. Another study, in the journal Crop Science, found dried beans particularly effective in preventing breast cancer in rats.

Helps fight: breast and colon cancers

Your Rx: Add a serving—a half-cup—of legumes a few times a week (either from a can or dry beans that’ve been soaked and cooked) to your usual rotation of greens or other veggies.

 

 

 

What not to eat

processed-foods-cancer-risk

 

What not to eat: Processed meats

A ballpark hot dog or a few slices of bacon once in a while won’t kill you, but don’t make them a staple of your diet. Some cured meats tend to be high in nitrites and nitrates, preservatives that can, in large amounts, potentially increase your risk of stomach and other cancers.

 

 

excessive-drinking-cancer-risk

 

What not to drink: Excessive alcohol

Stop after one drink! Too much tippling is associated with an increased risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and breast.