Wellness has been defined as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.” Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. The World Health Organization says, “It is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Wellness and health go hand-in-hand and that is why your Doctor of Chiropractic takes the time to discuss all health issues with you, including breast health.
It is impossible to write authoritatively about breast health without addressing the issue of breast cancer. Second only to skin cancer, it is the most-commonly diagnosed cancer in women. It begins with a malignant tumor or group of cancer cells that can grow into nearby tissues or metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. They also report that breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, with lung cancer being the leading cause of cancer death in women.
While breast cancer predominately affects women, men can also be affected. The National Cancer Institute reports that there are over 2,000 men newly diagnosed with breast cancer each year, in the United States, compared to about 230,000 new cases in women.
Breast cancer in men may be caused by inherited genetic mutations but other risk factors can include radiation exposure, high levels of estrogen or a family history of the disease.
In both men and women hormones definitely play a role in breast related problems, however, as with most health issues, there are preventative measures that can be taken.
While debated among healthcare professionals, several doctors and researchers have suggested a link between bras (especially underwire bras) and a potential increased risk of breast cysts and cancer. The theory being that wearing a snug-fitting bra can restrict lymph flow and impede the body’s ability to remove toxins from this part of the body.
Michael Schachter, M.D., postulates that over 85% of the lymph fluid flowing from the breast drains to the armpit lymph nodes and the rest to the lymph nodes near the breast bone. The nature of a bra, the tightness, the length of time worn, etc. will all influence the degree of blockage.
Dr. Joseph Mercola suggests a link between bras and their effect on melatonin levels. A group of Japanese researchers discovered, “Wearing a girdle or bra can lower your levels of melatonin by 60 percent. The hormone melatonin is intimately involved with the regulation of your sleep cycles, and numerous studies have shown that melatonin has anti-cancer activities. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, and can prevent DNA damage and bind to T-helper cells. Furthermore, researchers in Spain published a study detailing the possible use of melatonin in breast cancer prevention and “treatment.”
While the link between breast cancer and tight-fitting bras will remain a controversial topic, it can’t hurt to find a wire-free, comfortable, less tight-fitting bra option. For instance, consider the Coobie Seamless Scoop Neck Bra available at retailers such as Amazon.
Thermography vs Mammography
Breast cancer screening options are debatable, however, as Dr. Joseph Mercola points out, since x-rays and other classes of ionizing radiation have been recognized for decades to be the cause of virtually all biological mutations, it seems clear that this is an issue worth discussing. He notes that x-rays are an established cause of genomic instability, often a characteristic of the most aggressive cancers, and that radiation risks are about four times greater for the 1 to 2 percent of women who are silent carriers of the ataxia-telangiectasia gene, which by some estimates accounts for up to 20% of all breast cancers diagnosed annually. When considering all of this, clearly reducing exposure to medical radiation (such as that associated with mammography) could reduce mortality rates.
Of additional concern is the common false-positive diagnosis, which is reportedly as high as 89%, resulting in even more exposure to radiation as they undergo second and sometimes even a third mammogram to confirm (or disprove) the results.
While many physicians continue to recommend mammograms, there are safer alternatives; the arguably safest alternative being thermography. Simply stated, it measures the radiation of infrared heat from the body and translates that into anatomical images.
Thermography uses no mechanical pressure or radiation and may detect signs of breast cancer as much as 10 years earlier than a mammogram or a physical exam. Since it is actually mapping out the body, a mass doesn’t have to be growing for years and reach a certain size before being detected (as with mammography). Thermography can detect the potential for cancer before any tumors have formed.
You can go to www.breastthermography.com and click on “Find a Center Near You” or Google “Breast Thermography Center near me” to find the nearest Breast Thermography Center.
While science has yet to definitively determine if there is a link between cancer and cell phone use, Dr. Devra Davis has been researching the safety hazards of radiation emanating from cell phones and she, along with other researchers, recommend as a general rule to avoid carrying a cell phone anywhere on your person. Specifically, women should never put a phone in their bra. Dr. Davis suggests that it’s not the power of the cell phone that causes a risk but instead the erratic nature of its signal and the ability of that signal to disrupt resonance and interfere with DNA repair.
An interesting case is that of a young woman with no other predisposed risk factor for cancer that was diagnosed with multi-focal breast cancer. Published in the May issue of the Environmental Health Trust’s newsletter, the article reveals that she had a habit of tucking her cell phone into her bra.
Robert Nagourney and John West, cancer specialists, concluded there was no other explanation for the cause as the pattern of the cancer and the distribution of the cancer cells lined up with the shape of her cell phone. While her doctor can’t prove the cell phone caused her cancer, this justifies as a general rule of thumb to not carry your phone on your body.
As a doctor that is preventative-minded, your Family Wellness Chiropractor wants you to be aware of what you can do to be proactive in breast health. Making healthier choices will always be a preventative measure. For instance, avoid sugar, especially fructose and processed foods as all forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Other dietary recommendations include health omega-3 options and good healthy fats as well as healthy protein sources.
Regular and routine exercise works to lower your cancer risk as it helps to regulate your insulin levels and balance other vital hormones.
Finally, be sure to optimize your vitamin D levels by spending more time outdoors (Get Creative Ideas) in the fresh air and sun.
The Chiropractic Factor
Research is now showing that 30% of breast tumors go away on their own, because healthy immunity helps the body fight all foreign invaders. This makes your immune system your greatest weapon against breast cancer.
Since the central nervous system (which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves) is the master controller of all your body’s other systems, the immune system will function at its best when the central nervous system is optimally functioning.
Your Doctor of Chiropractic is the only healthcare professional trained to remove interference to the nervous system, so be sure to make routine chiropractic care an important part of your family’s wellness lifestyle. A spine free of interference means your immune system will function at its best.