Thursday, February 4, 2010

Your Breast Health

          Eighty percent of the lumps in breast tissue are benign; however, they ought to be examined by a health care professional.  They can be fibrocystic growths, simple cysts, fibro adenomas, intraductal papillomas, or traumatic fat necrosis.  They might appear as firm or hard lumps, or rubbery nodules that can be moved around in the breast tissue.  They can be very painful, especially around the time of a woman’s period, and can cause a clear or slightly cloudy discharge from the nipple.  While these conditions are most often not cancerous, they can increase a woman’s chance of developing cancer later in life.  Inflammatory breast cancer in its early stages is often miss-diagnosed as an infection. 
          During a regular self-exam, Sally noticed a lump under her nipple, with thick bloody discharge, and went to the doctor right away.  A mammogram revealed a complex cyst, and a mammary duct that appeared full of blood.  Her breast surgeon told her that “clear discharge is never cancerous, 1% of bloody nipple discharge is cancerous, but 100% of cancerous discharges have blood”.  A lumpectomy was scheduled right away.  All of the suspicious matter was removed, and the pathology report showed fibrocyctic changes with stromal fibrosis, sclerosing adenosis, intraductal hyperplasia, and microcalcifications, all negative for carcinoma. 
          The American Cancer Society tells us that ductal carcinoma in situ is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer; this type of breast cancer is found only in the mammary ducts, and not spreading into the tissue of the rest of the breast.  Nearly all women with cancer at this stage can be cured.  Often the best way to find DCIS early is with a mammogram. If there are areas of dead or dying cancer cells (tumor necrosis) within a biopsy sample the tumor is likely to grow quickly and be more aggressive.  The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2009: 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer: 40,170 deaths from breast cancer. 
          Mary’s family has a history of breast cancer, so she was not surprised to find a pea sized rubbery lump in her breast during a regular self-exam.  Her mammogram showed micro-calcifications, and she was sent for a core-biopsy, which came back Comedoform DCIS.  The lump was removed, and pathology came back as IBC, Stage I, ER/PR-, Her2Neu-.   Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  Mary received 8 weeks of daily radiation and opted out of chemo.  Her hormone receptors came back negative - so all the great new drugs were of no use to her.  Despite a couple of setbacks, Mary has been cancer free from over 4 years now. 
          In order for tumors to grow and multiply, they must have a nutrition source and blood supply.  Thermography is a Digital Infrared Imaging method that can detect increased heat produced by the production and growth of new blood vessels concentrated in a particular area, often before the carcinoma can be detected.  Teamed with mammograms, breast self-exams, physician exams, and ultrasound, the rate of accurate early breast cancer detection increases greatly, and therefore hugely increases the chances of patient survival.  In addition, multiple diagnosis disciplines helps to reduce the large number of over, or miss, diagnosed cases each year. 
          Jennifer was diagnosed with “abnormal breast tissue” after a thermography in April 2009.  With this information, she was able to connect this to the concaving she had seen around one nipple during her regular self-examination, and had attributed to the natural aging process and having nursed four children!  Many alternative medicine doctors regard cancer as a systemic disease, the tumor being the byproduct, or symptom.  Jennifer and her doctors approached the process to address the underlying condition; they believed to be related to toxicity of some kind.  She began an immediate naturopathic life style change that began with a total body cleanse and detoxification.  Changing her diet to a completely organic, no acid/high alkaline, vegan lifestyle was a challenge, especially with four children and a husband to feed as well.  She also went through a five-stage system detoxification process that she does two times a year.  This includes: 1) Colon cleanse 2) Parasite cleanse 3) Kidney/bladder cleanse 4) Liver/gall bladder cleanse 5) Blood cleanse.  A follow up scan in October 2009 showed dramatic reduction in the reacting areas, and she will be watched and followed until her scans report clear breast tissue, or that more aggressive action is required.

          The moral of the story is that breast self exams are critically important, and ought to be performed on a monthly basis, and you can learn about how how to do that on the American Cancer Society web site.