Preventative Breast Removal??

May 2013, Xtend-Life Expert

Summary

Health-related choices made recently by Angelina Jolie have caught a lot of attention and made the news around the world. There is much debate about the real motivations behind her decision and message to women. Some have even said her acknowledgement that "there are some wonderful holistic doctors working on alternatives to surgery" is a 'smoke screen'.

What Would You Do If… ?

Imagine…

What would you do if you were healthy, yet told by medical experts that you carried a BRCA1 gene, which increases your chance of breast cancer by 87%? Note the words: “increases a chance of breast cancer” NOT that you have signs of it currently.

Would you panic, run to your Doc and ask for breast cancer screening tests? Tests which happen to be patented by only one company costing $3,000 - $4,000 each. And what about the horrible costs for the invasive surgical procedures?

So you become worried, depressed and frightened at the thought of medical costs, insurance, your friends, family, job…

Or would you act like celebrity Angelina Jolie?

She recently announced1 that she had both breasts surgically removed (double mastectomy) and reconstructed. She said this reduced her risk to just 5%. She also encouraged women everywhere to know that in such situations, they have “options”, by implication, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Problem solved, right?

In my opinion… Wrong.

Let’s look at the facts, and please note that many of them are publicly admitted by the National Cancer Institute as shown in the references below:

1. What are BRCA1 and BRCA2 and do they cause cancer?

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes known as tumor suppressors. This means that in normal healthy cells, BRCA1 and BRCA2 help ensure the stability of the cell’s genetic material (DNA) and help prevent uncontrolled cell growth. Therefore, by nature, they can suppress mutations2.

Only IF something in their environment triggers them, can they become potentially harmful.

2. How do BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations affect a person's risk of cancer?

Not all gene changes, or mutations, are harmful. Some mutations may be beneficial3, whereas others may have no obvious effect (neutral).The likelihood that breast and/or ovarian cancer is associated with a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is highest in families with a history of multiple cases of breast cancer, cases of both breast and ovarian cancer, and one or more family members with two primary cancers (original tumors that develop at different sites in the body).

However:

  • Not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer2.
  • Estimates of breast and ovarian cancer risk associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations come from studies of large families with many members affected by cancer who also share similar lifestyles and environments. Those lifestyle / environmental factors were not removed or isolated from the study conditions2
  • There is no data available from long-term studies of the general population comparing cancer risk in women who have harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations with women who do not have such mutations (ref 2)
  • We all have cancer micro cells as well as the ability to detect and keep cancer cells in check4

Therefore, given the above, the key question to ask is: what causes potentially harmful gene mutations in the first place, and how can we prevent this?

3. What causes potentially harmful gene mutations and how can we prevent this?

Many studies5 show how it is usually not the genetic defect that causes the disease. Rather, it is lifestyle choices: nutrition, exercise, stress, relationships, and the damaging side effects from some cancer treatments, which cause the gene to mutate.

Critically, note this 2009 study by the University of Montreal6 which specifically showed how Women with the BRCA-1 or 2 genes reduce their risk by 73 % if they eat a balanced diet of wholesome foods especially fruits and veggies.

Perhaps, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are not really "breast cancer genes", but simply junk-food intolerance

In short, I believe that life-style choices trump genes.

4. How do life-style choices influence genes?

How do life-style choices influence genes when most of us have been taught that our genes are unchangeable? That we are ‘stuck’ with who we are, and there’s nothing we can do about it?

In my blog “The Genie in Your Genes”7 I show how your lifestyle choices can improve or damage your genes and thereby affect your chances of disease. Your health is determined by your genetics reacting to your lifestyle NOT just to your inherited genetics.

So while one may have a ‘pre-disposition’ to a certain cancer, you can maximize your chances of not developing that cancer through a healthy lifestyle.

Cancer is not just a matter of "chance" or "luck." It's a matter of cause and effect. Genes can be turned on or off by food and lifestyle choices. Cancer is not a disease you just "get" like being randomly struck by lightning. It's something you can influence with your lifestyle choices.

So when a doctor says you have a "chance" of getting cancer, the implication is that you have no influence over cancer.

That, as I hope you see, is not true.

Conclusion

Love her or not, Angelina has a strong presence and is an inspirational role model for many women (some men too!). And there is much debate about the real motivations behind her decision and message to women. Some have even said her acknowledgement that “there are some wonderful holistic doctors working on alternatives to surgery” is a ‘smoke screen’.

I don’t want to go into that, or even to provide the publicly available debate references, because the facts become blurred by fiction. You can find them easily.

Rather, the real message women need to be hearing from influential people is risk of degenerative disease can be minimized through common sense, scientifically-backed dietary and lifestyle choices.

But also that, should you have breast cancer, and even the BRCA genes, there are many proven non-invasive alternative cancer treatments which may help heal the body8. These could be considered before embarking upon radical, potentially long term damaging cut and burn invasive techniques.

So please: don’t allow fear, greed, family history, or medical pressure to determine your life, health and well-being. Rather, be proactive and gather as much relevant information as possible from reputable sources. Cross check them. Discuss and debate.

Then sit quietly. Reflect. Listen to the quiet voice inside.

You are your best advisor, once you have done your own research and become informed. Then you can make better lifestyle choices for you.

Caramia Hartley

References

1 Angelina’s Story  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?hp

2 National Cancer Institute data on BRCA1 and BRCA2 http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA  

3 Beneficial Mutations http://bigthink.com/daylight-atheism/evolution-is-still-happening-beneficial-mutations-in-humans

4 We All Have Cancer Cells

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-servanschreiber-md-phd/we-can-all-fight-cancer-b_b_469718.html
  • http://cancersolutioncenter.com/?page_id=904
  • http://ecofrenfood.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/we-all-have-cancer-cells-in-our-body/

5 Diet/Lifestyle Cancer Link Studies

  • Stewart, B.W. and P. Kleihues, eds. World Cancer Report. 2003, W.H.O IARC Press: Lyon, France.
  • Sorensen, T.I.A., et al., Genetic and environmental influences on premature death in adult adoptees. New England Journal of Medicine, 1988. 318: p. 727-32.
  • Khaw, K.-T., et al., Combined Impact of Health Behaviours and Mortality in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study. PLoS Medicine, 2008. 5(1): p. e12.
  • Andersen, B.L., et al., Psychologic Intervention Improves Survival for Breast Cancer Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Cancer, 2008. 113: p. 3450-3458.
  • Ornish, D., et al., Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. The Lancet Oncology, 2008: p. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70234-1.
  • Ornish, D., et al., Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. Journal of Urology, 2005. 174(3): p. 1065-9; discussion 1069-70.
  • Sorensen, T.I.A., et al., Genetic and environmental influences on premature death in adult adoptees. New England Journal of Medicine, 1988. 318: p. 727-32.
  • http://www.dietandcancerreport.org/expert_report/index.php
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-servanschreiber-md-phd/we-can-all-fight-cancer-b_b_469718.html

6 Ghadirian, P., et al., Breast cancer risk in relation to the joint effect of BRCA mutations and diet diversity. Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, 2009. 117: p. 417-422.

7 Blog “The Genie in Your Genes” http://www.xtend-life.com/Blog/10-06-01/The_Genie_in_Your_Genes.aspx

8 Non-Invasive Cancer Treatments: http://www.cancertutor.com/

9 Comments

  • “Love your " …or to provide the publicly available debate references, because the facts become blurred by fiction."”

    Xtend-Life Expert - June 27 2013

  • “so if you had a bomb strapped to your chest and the bomb tech told you there was only an 87% chance that it would actually be activated in the next two decades (and maybe not at all if you make sure not to jostle it around too much) then how would you feel? Because I’m in the exact same situation. I’ve tested positive for a BRCA mutation with an 84% chance of cancer with a long family history of breast and ovarian cancer and now I can’t stop seeing my breasts as bombs waiting to explode.”

    mk - May 24 2013

  • “I agree, I believe epigenetics plays a huge role. What say you about vaccinations? That’s a big story now in Australia with the young boy who got very ill because his parents refused to vaccinate him.  http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/06/06/3776327.htm”

    Thuy - June 12 2013

  • “Hi, just got both ovaries removed as i had big cyst on my left which became bigger in 2 years and i tired 2 month well known castor oil compress but if they say it coud be gone in 3 month and even 12 cm big cyst then i understood mine wasn`t even moving enywere in 2 month , not an inch, with that saying i got family history of ovarian and bloder cancer , bowel cancer and mine was peritoneal 4 years ago stage 3C , had 6 chemos but that was time when i just remmebered about juicing as kids when we all were sick @ least ones every season and dad just had enough and did some reasurch say 45 yeas ago and got the thing about carrot juice and we did had glass of it every day and all saddenly stopped for many years almost 4got what it was to get a temperature or cold untill cancer got me many years later at 49 just like my mom at 49 just she died / but i survived . So i dod juicing all the way to this day 4 years later and evert time on my 5.5h chemo i went with 2 liter fresh carrot / beet / apple / ginger juice and never felt sick or ill , never lie in a bed or felt dizzy , i still juicing . But im only 53 this month and my worry is sex drive as i lost my ovaries but i don`t want any hormon treatments or God knows chemicals again but i need to find some solution as i got partner and he is 3 years younger and i don`t want to give up my sex life ….not yet , but what do i do …. i herd about GInseng and ashwagandha …. but what is that i realy need ( i got womb still ) and all the limph nodes , gone both ovaries and appendix just incase . thanks”

    linda - October 04 2017

  • “Hello MK Yes I understand your anxiety. I urge you to research the many good non invasive cancer treatments as in ref 8 above. Meanwhile, please also ensure you are doing everything possible to avoid triggers of gene mutations. These typically are lifestyle choices: nutrition, exercise, stress, relationships, and the damaging side effects from some cancer treatments. Remember that this 2009 study by the University of Montreal (ref 6) specifically showed how Women with the BRCA-1 or 2 genes reduce their risk by 73 % if they eat a balanced diet of wholesome foods especially fruits and veggies. You can do this too. Please let us know if we can help  further Kindly,Caramia ”

    Xtend-Life Expert - May 24 2013

  • “Thanks for your question Thuy. I feel for the parents and young Alijah. I also know the hell of chronic cramps and spasms in the face and neck which I suffered from for many years. It appears that the parents made an informed choice after reviewing the pros and cons not to vaccinate. Does that mean that their decision caused Alijah to become very ill? We can’t know because we don’t know all the variables involved, specifically the health condition of Alijah before he was cut. For example, if his immune system was already very weak, would vaccinations have prevented Tetanus? Maybe. Maybe not. Some would argue that vaccinations compromise the immune system further! So what say I? I do not support vaccinations because of the proven negative side effects. My focus is on ensuring that the immune system is robust enough to withstand the many attacks it gets daily. So we’re back to epigenetics and lifestyle. For a youngster especially, the nutrition and love s/he received in the womb would be critical to developing that robust heath. I hope this addresses your question Thuy. Kindly, Caramia”

    Xtend-Life Expert - June 12 2013

  • “One can’t help but wonder why o why do they focus so much on this (its all over the internet) knowing she is a role model for many women. So her natural <currently-healthy> breasts were removed and she put plastic and fillers in there because some doctor said you MIGHT get cancer? Isn’t waiting for cancer to first occur (and detecting it early) then going through all this surgery horror a more sensible thing to do? Back to the original point, one has to wonder why this was given so much attention by the media, as if they are telling women "this is the right thing to do", when in fact its a disgusting act of self-mutilation. I hope I have not offended anyone, except the manipulative hidden-agenda media of course ;)”

    IllumiSlayer - June 23 2013

  • “Love your " …or to provide the publicly available debate references, because the facts become blurred by fiction."”

    Xtend-Life Expert - June 27 2013

  • “Hi Linda, thanks for your comment and for sharing your story. We are sorry to hear that you have had some major health issues to battle over the years but it is great to hear you have come through this. Our Hormone Support for Her may be helpful for you Linda. Not only does this support healthy hormonal balance but can also help with the symptoms of menopause and assist with natural libido and sexual desire. There is also another blog that may be of interest to you on our website called The Best Supplements for Women Over 50. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or when you are ready to order. To save 10% on all your orders, dont forget to join our free, no obligation Xtend-Life Club. In good health Jacqui”

    Customer Relations - October 04 2017

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