Breast Cancer Prevention in the United States

By Christina Justice & JP Saleeby, MD

One in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime according to the breastcancer.org web site. Due to these high rates of cancer, the majority of women are recommended to get their first mammogram between the ages of 40 and 50, depending on their risk status.  This is the recommendation of conventional western medicine associations and colleges such as the American Cancer Society, the colleges of OB/GYN and Oncology.  However, even among these highly regarded societies there is really no consensus on when to start screening and how often.  There are also issues with regard to radiation exposure and breast compression (trauma) that can actually increase cancer risk.  More on this and alternatives and screening at the bottom of this article.  Risk factors for breast cancer include family history, genetics, past screenings, medical history, weight, race, age, smoking and drinking behaviors, and many other variables. Screening for breast cancer has become a normalized part of aging for women to ensure the cancer can be caught early enough for successful treatment. Mammograms have been the main screening tool used to identify masses in breast tissue in conventional medicine and have been considered “standard of care’’, however, thermography has been used over the past 20 years or longer as an adjoining exam to fortify and expand on results.

A mammogram is an exam that looks for abnormal changes in breast tissue that could indicate breast cancer.   Mammograms don’t diagnose breast cancer, but do make clinicians aware of a problem that needs further investigation such as manual examination, ultrasound, MRI, breast biopsy, etc.  Mammograms first flatten a person’s breast, and then use a low dose of an ionizing (x-ray) radiation to detect abnormal tissues. A mammogram does not detect breast cancer, but changes in the breast tissue that could indicate breast cancer. The main benefit of mammograms is the ability for medical professionals to catch aggressive breast cancer in the early stages in order for the patient to seek proper treatment. In order to diagnose breast cancer, a biopsy needs to be examined.   There is a myth that all breast cancers are aggressive and that seems to be a scare tactic to push for mammography on an annual basis.  Fact is that most breast cancers are not aggressive or terminal.  Fact is that Lung Cancer kills more women that Breast Cancer.  Fact is that more cardiovascular disease kills more women than all cancers combine.  Just to put things into perspective but we are not trying to downplay the importance of breast cancer screening here, just wanting to address alternatives that are safer and may also screen for other oncological issues.

In current research, there is a push to get away from traditional mammograms to detect breast cancer for people with average risk. Some people believe there are too many false positives, as well as patients seeking treatment when it is not medically necessary. The argument here mainly states that many of the masses detected would have never developed into life threatening cancer, and are just a normal part of a breast’s life. On the other side of this argument, researchers show that mammograms still detect breast cancer and decrease these rates of death with aggressive tumors nationwide. It is important to talk with your physician about what screening and treatment plans are best for you.

In recent times there are more people advocating for other forms of testing for breast cancers such as thermography. Thermography is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), but only as an accompanying test with a mammogram or ultrasound. Thermography looks for a difference in temperatures within the breast tissue in order to determine if there are any tumors or growths present. According to breastthermography.com, thermography is 10% more sensitive to changes in breast tissue than a traditional mammogram. This means thermography only misses 10% of breast cancer, while mammograms miss about 20% of cancers. Hopefully, in the future thermography will be a stand-alone test that is an approved method to detect changes in breast tissue. The advantage to thermography is that it uses no ionizing radiation, no compression or breast trauma, only a heat signature radiating out from a person’s body to the sensitive heat measuring cameras.  Other screening tools are self-breast exam, doctor exams, MRI and Ultrasound.

It is important to talk to your physician about what options work best for you. Breast cancer is a unique disease that requires different strategies for different cases and individualization or personalization.  A one-size-fits-all approach to breast cancer screening is just not optimal.

Christina Justice is a recent graduate from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in health promotion.

JP Saleeby, MD is founder and medical director for the Carolina Holistic Medicine centers.  Focused on Functional Medicine they provide advanced cardiovascular and cancer screenings to prevent chronic disease.  For more visit www.CarolinaHolisticMedicine.com

Bra-Free for Healthy Breasts

By Noemia Strapazzon & Shana Rivera

Breast health is a hot topic in the public and in the scientific community. PubMed alone offers more than 340,000 studies related to the breast and cancer. The topic brings fear and anxiety to almost every woman. So much of the media attention on breasts is about cancer and not necessarily about breast health. There are a variety of lifestyle changes we can employ for our overall health, but what about breast health? Something most women do every day specific to the breast is wearing a bra, but does this practice support breast health?

A 1991 study conducted at Harvard University showed premenopausal women who do not wear bras had half the risk of breast cancer compared with bra users. Then in 1995, medical anthropologist Sydney Ross Singer and his wife, Soma Grismaijer, conducted an epidemiological study with 5,000 women and wrote their findings in a book called Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. Their research showed breast cancer risk dramatically increased in women who wore their bras more than 12 hours a day.[TC1]  Important to note, this was an epidemiological study and therefore only shows a correlation, not causation.

A Chinese study in 2009 revealed that sleeping without a bra dropped a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 60 percent. In 2011, a study in Venezuela found bras that left indentations or red marks on the body, especially underwire and push-up bras, were a risk, particularly in fibrocystic breast disease. In 2015, another study in Africa, where a segment of the population wears bras only on important occasions, found a significant correlation between cancer and tight-fitting bras and duration of wear.

Later that year, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) performed its own research in the U.S. and concluded no relationship. This study only included women 55 and older, all of whom wore bras; therefore, the study did not have a good control group to compare the data. NCI and Susan G. Komen reference this one study when they deny the link between bra wearing and cancer. Even the most skeptical would not jump to a conclusion so quickly based on only one study.

While we wait for more research, it is a good idea to take a look at the breast physiology to understand it. Wearing bras, especially tight bras, will restrict circulation in the breast area. The breast tissue is normally flushed by clear lymph fluid into large clusters of lymph nodes residing in the armpits and upper chest. Lymphatic vessels are very thin and therefore sensitive to pressure. By compressing them with bras, less oxygen and fewer nutrients are delivered to the cells, while waste products are not able to be flushed out, which can lead to inflammation in the area. Therefore, it is good practice not to restrict this area for long periods of the day, and especially at night.

Shana Rivera has seen proof of the relationship between wearing tight bras and inflammation in her thermography practice. Thermography is a safe screening tool used to assess heat signatures and inflammation in the body. It may lead to possible early cancer detection, and early detection can save lives.

Shana Rivera is a certified thermographic technician and owner of Flow Well. For more information, call 877-315-7226, ext. 447, or visit FlowWell.org (click the “prevention” tab).

 

 

Flow Well a member of Breast Thermography International performs full body imaging for men and women!

With Medical Thermography, one can determine what areas you need to improve on now to possibly avoid cancer and other diseases. Monitoring yourself with Medical Thermography is a safe, accurate and an essential way to screen your entire body. Due to the number of thermographic findings that you can’t see with the naked eye, it’s ideal to have a full body scan as your baseline screening. Find out what areas you can improve on now for optimal health.

Medical Thermography cancer detection: no contact, no compression and its radiation free! An infrared camera takes images of your body checking for heat discrepancies. Early detection is your best defense and may save your life!

Medical Thermography is safe at any age and ideal for prevention.  Medical Thermography is 97% sensitive for Breast Cancer Screenings. Mammography is 83.3% sensitive. Full body thermography screenings are available for men, women and children. Don’t delay! Know what areas you need to work on now to achieve optimal health.

How to discuss Thermography with your doctor, family, and friends.

Patients are always asking me if their doctor will understand their thermography report. There’s a large spectrum of responses I’ve heard from my patients’ doctors. Some doctors support thermography so much they require all their patients to have an annual full body scan from me. The full body scan will assess an individual’s current health status by listing any abnormal hot or cold spots throughout the entire body. Medical thermography is infrared imaging.  Ideally, you would use thermography for cancer prevention, but it can also be early cancer detection which could save your life (70% of those who have diagnosed cancers from anatomical testing, could have been found up to 10 years earlier on a thermography). Other doctors have never heard of thermography. Most are somewhere in between.

Let your doctor know that “we are not looking to replace the traditional tests, only add to them*”. You can e-mail your report to your doctor and ask for a consult appointment to review your results. A thermologist will compose your thermography report much like how a radiologist will write a report on an X-ray or ultrasound. These reports are meant for your primary care physician to offer you further recommendations based on your results if any are needed. If you’d like a sample report to review with a Breast Thermography International (BTI) member, we’d be happy to discuss it with you or your doctor. E-mail us at shanna@flowwell.org to set up a review.

There are a wide range of suggestions your doctor could give you to improve your next thermography report. For example, you may be recommended to change parts of your diet. You may be instructed to relieve muscle and joint tension with Yoga or other forms of exercise.  Since most diseases can be caused by stress, you may be advised to meditate with calming music.  Perhaps you may need to improve your circulation with BEMER and chiropractic adjustments.  Sometimes, although we try our best to live a healthy life, we still may need to reduce toxins with a detox program of your choice.  These are just some of the many recommendations you and your physician can discuss in order to work toward a healthier life.

Share your thermography report with your family and friends. This might encourage them to include thermography into their own annual health regiment. Remember, early detection saves lives and prevention is ideal.

Be Well!

~ Shanna Rivera, CTT

*To learn more about communicating with your doctor about your thermography report, and much more, visit the Professional Academy of Clinical Thermology (PACT) website www.medicalthermology.org. Check out our ad in the Community Resource Guide.