Breast Cancer Risk
by Dr. Bruce West
The bottom line in evaluating the laundry lists of risk factors for diseases, such as breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, or any other potentially fatal disease, is to be very skeptical. And if the risk factors are likely to lead you to prescription drugs or a screening test, be even more skeptical.
If you are a typical older woman, you are painfully aware of what experts have taught you are critical risk factors for breast cancer. Some of the classics are: over age 50, started menstruation early, delayed childbirth or no children, immediate relative with breast cancer, one or more breast biopsies, “lumpy breasts,” and any diagnosis of atypical hyperplasia.
These medical classics have been deemed so important that they have caused healthy women to take the anti–breast cancer drug, tamoxifen, for five years or more. They have sent tens of thousands of women scurrying for mammography screenings and classes in breast self-examination. Some women, with several of these risk factors, have even submitted to single and double mastectomies!
Weak Risk Factors
But hold everything. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (December 2006) has identified these risk factors as weak and not effective in predicting who will get breast cancer. Has anyone told the women? Evidently not yet. Even the most classic risk factor of benign breast disease (fibrocystic or lumpy breasts) has been dumped as a true risk factor for breast cancer.
But thousands of women still continue to be scared out of their minds. In fact, some insurance companies will actually cancel health insurance when a diagnosis of fibrocystic breast “disease” is noted. In fact fibrocystic breast disease is not a disease at all. It is found in half of all women. And it is found in half of the remaining women on microscopic examination. That means that 75% of all women have some form of lumpy breasts—ensuring that, indeed, it is not a disease or risk factor at all.
So if you have been scared out of your mind, please find peace. These risk factors are “weak and not good at predicting who will get breast cancer” at all. But they do indeed function perfectly as moneymakers. Drug companies, medical equipment makers, doctors, nurses, technicians, and surgeons all make part of their annual incomes by treating women who have been found “at risk.”
Real Breast Cancer Data
For starters, let’s not forget that tamoxifen is—as I predicted—a wash. The new analysis of all the data—more than 10 years after tamoxifen was introduced with all the fanfare of a lunar landing—is published in Cancer (September 2006). After a decade—with millions of dollars spent, tens of thousands of women poisoned by numerous and horrific side effects, and proclamations by dozens of cancer “experts” that tamoxifen is the ultimate prevention drug for breast cancer—it has been shown to keep few women from dying. According to the analysis, the lifesaving benefits of tamoxifen are “very small or nonexistent “
In addition, the newest “targeted” breast cancer drug, Herceptin, has been touted as cutting the risk of breast cancer recurrence in half. But when the real analysis was done, the risk was cut by only 5.5%. And that reduction in risk was offset by the fact that Herceptin is cardiotoxic, causing heart disease and death in a small number of women, which essentially brings the benefits of this drug to another wash.
And up until recently, a breast mass discovered to be lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) was aggressively ‘treated as cancer, often with the removal of one or both breasts. It is now known to be only a risk factor. In fact, the Annals of Surgical Oncology reports that LCIS appears to be an “incidental finding on biopsy.” How would you feel if you had a mastectomy over an “incidental finding?!”
So it goes in the world of cancer screenings, risk factors, and treatments. But there is good news. Here are positive steps you can take to actually lower your risk of developing or having a recurrence of breast cancer:
- Stay off hormones altogether—natural or synthetic. Estrogen is the worst, but all hormones have problems. Antidepressants and beta-blockers can also increase your cancer risk.
- Quit smoking and start exercising. You can cut your odds of getting breast cancer by 35% by simply exercising regularly.
- Stop using all hydrogenated and processed oils, margarines, spreads, and store-bought salad dressings. These wreak havoc on your hormonal system.
- Instead use raw butter; extra-virgin, first-pressed olive oil; raw flax oil; and cod liver oil.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat a quarter of these raw.
- Get the chlorine out of your bathing, showering, and drinking water. If you need information on the best water purification units, send us a self-addressed, stamped (with two stamps) envelope and say PURE WATER.
- Wear a bra for less than 12 hours daily. This alone will cut the odds of getting breast cancer in half!’
- Drink less alcohol to preserve your liver—the premier organ of cancer prevention.
- Eat plenty of the super anticancer foods: kale, beets, carrots, collard greens, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
- Get out in the sun. High levels of vitamin D (not from supplements) are powerful anticancer agents.
These steps are more powerful than all the tamoxifen in the world. And just when will women be told this? If you are waiting on your doctor, it may be a long time. Most physicians maintain a strict silence about natural health information. And the adverse effects of drugs, medical testing, and screening are usually disclosed to the public years after they are discovered. But I will continue to ferret this information out and get it to you immediately.