Forget coronavirus. What happened to breast cancer?
The coronavirus SARS-CoV2 has been devastating in countless ways—fatalities, social isolation, economic disaster, societal mistrust of the “science,” increased suicides, divorces, alcoholism, and individuals who lost their lives from serious disease they neglected because they feared getting COVID‑19.
While the world still battles SARS-CoV2—which has taken the limelight—it appears that we have lost sight of the major killers in this country. One is the second leading cause of death among women—breast cancer.
Have any of you noticed how breast cancer is not in the news this month, even though it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Have you noticed the streets aren’t jammed with pink oil trucks?
I have yet to see pink chin straps on the helmets of this year’s football teams.
SARS-CoV2 is still a threat to many people. So are cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, respiratory disorders, and the list of other chronic diseases.
Despite cancer killing 606,880 people last year, and heart disease killing 655,000 Americans in 2019, as well as medical errors killing 251,000 people a year, the supposed 207, 882 death total from Covid‑19 is still receiving headlines in the press.
Medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death
Yes, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country! Where are the protests, riots, and civil unrest for this crime that are the usual response when society brings to light much needed policy changes in this country?
Why aren’t politicians slamming their fists into the podium demanding restrictions and regulations to control the crap that causes diseases that kill us? Have they eliminated lobbyists yet?
Where are the self-righteous, self-serving politicians who are supposed to be the voice fighting for our rights?
During the pandemic, people are being punished and fined for not wearing masks, going to church, and meeting in groups. A restaurant owner in New York was recently given a citation for having his front door open. No joke!
On a warm Autumn day in Brooklyn NY, the owner of a small café decided to open the door to his establishment to some get fresh air. A coronavirus zealot walked in and proceeded to give the owner a citation for opening up his café. There was no one in the joint; he was just doing take out—following the “rules.”
Was he punished because he opened the door; did that release countless SARS-CoV2 viruses into the atmosphere, thus risking those walking by the opened door?
What’s the world coming to?
People are punished now for not wearing masks or opening their doors. But tobacco companies are still allowed to sell cancer sticks to the public, and evil agribusinesses like Monsanto are allowed to sell glyphosate (Roundup) known to cause lymphoma!
OK, sorry for the rant; back to my point about COVID.
Why do I say “supposedly” regarding COVID deaths?
Because the death numbers for COVID‑19 are not clear as multiple co-morbidities including a positive test for COVID‑19 in individuals with other diseases is designated as a COVID‑19 death. Based on death certificate guidelines, the number of fatalities due solely from SARS-CoV2 is no doubt skewed.
This said, I am not minimizing the potential threat of this virus.
Can we put COVID‑19 aside for a moment—at least for October— and shed some light on a major crisis still plaguing us . . . still killing women and men—breast cancer?
For years, the month of October has always been the month of breast cancer awareness. Pink trucks, pink USB devices, pink donuts and bagels and all things pink have been the signature color to remind us to be aware of breast cancer.
To be aware and to remind us all to get tested for the disease.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Despite the once-massive media hype over breast-cancer awareness—now overshadowed by the coronavirus and political chaos—breast-cancer incidence continues to rise.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, next to lung cancer.
In 2012, it was estimated that 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed; in 2020 that number rose to 276,480. Sadly, in 2012 approximately 39,920 women died from the disease; in 2020, so far, fatality went up to 42,170.
Breast Cancer is still on the Rise
Despite technology; despite chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy, the development of breast cancer continues to rise, and the fatality rate continues to rise!
Men are not immune to breast cancer. In 2017, roughly 2,470 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in men, and approximately 460 men were expected to die from the disease. Currently, in 2020, roughly 2,620 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men, and about 520 men will die from it.
Despite efforts to race for the cure, early detection through diagnostics and screenings has saved countless lives. However, using that approach alone has created a system of reactive medicine.
Awareness and early detection lead to standards of care consisting of toxic drugs, radical mastectomies, and estrogen-response modifiers (blockers), which can cause early menopause. It is not only reactive; it is crisis care, and it can save lives.
That much-needed cancer care takes out the immediate threat of a cancer diagnosis. However, it does nothing to provide education and actionable steps we can take to prevent its occurrence and return.
It does NOTHING to provide steps we can use to rebuild from the ravages of cancer care.
Perhaps this scenario resonates with you. Each year you are due for your annual OB/GYN exam and mammogram. You develop emotional anguish, worrying about ‘what if’ something is found.
After the scan and exam, when that questionable density found on the mammogram turns out to be something harmless, in your mind you think “Whew, I’m OK,” and you skate by another year.
This system has become the standard of care for the prevention and detection of breast cancer—screening and awareness. It also allows the person to continue the potentially unhealthful habits that create and drive breast cancer until there is a breast-cancer diagnosis.
In the last three decades, various organizations have raised billions of dollars. Their websites state they are working to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all, and energize researchers to find cures.
My questions are: Where is the education on the known causes of breast cancer? Where are the tools to help women become proactive in prevention instead of waiting for disease to set in?
Let’s not forget the issue of recurrence after treatment for breast cancer. What tools and education are given to prevent a recurrence and health to prevent a future crisis?
It’s time we shift the paradigm from awareness to education. In fact, if we don’t push for more education derived from real science, more women—and men—will suffer needlessly.
The Causes of Breast Cancer
The reality is this: breast cancer develops not because of bad luck or being dealt a bad hand of cards. The majority of breast cancer cases—as with most other cancers—is linked to an unhealthful lifestyle.
According to the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, “Genetic inheritance is an infrequent, not the main, cause of breast cancer.” The consensus is that breast-cancer susceptibility or cancer-predisposition genes are associated with only 4%–8% of breast-cancer cases.
It is apparent, therefore, that 92%–96% of cases are sporadic.
The New England Journal of Medicine states that only 7% of women from families with a history of breast cancer had BRCA1 mutations. Furthermore, according to the journal Carcinogenesis, mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for 5% of breast cancer in the U.S. annually.
That being said, having the genes that may spark the onset of breast cancer doesn’t mean you will develop cancer.
Genes are sets of codes that cells use to regulate function. When these codes are damaged or influenced by potential carcinogens, the genes create disease.
It is becoming well known in the scientific community that the majority of cancers, including breast cancer, are created by an unhealthful internal environment within the body.
Is Cancer Self-inflicted?
Can we say that disease occurs because of innocent and ignorant self-affliction?
From unresolved stress, toxins like BPAs (found in most plastics), and the widespread consumption of cows’ milk, to the standard American diet consisting of nutrient-deficient, high-calorie, processed, refined, and synthetic foods – these unhealthful lifestyle choices seem to be the culprits in triggering the onset and return of disease.
In fact, data out of the Journal of Nature and Science indicates up to 70% of total cancer is attributed to diet!
Think of it this way. If genetics played a role in the development of breast cancer, why don’t adolescent girls develop it? Why does disease happen at 30-40-50-60 years old?
Thirty, forty, fifty years of an unhealthy internal terrain in the body becomes caustic to genes, pushing them to a create disease. The research is clear: factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer are under our control.
Dr. Bruce Ames, professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, found that deficiencies of the micronutrients folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and zinc cause DNA damage that will contribute to the formation of cancer.
Deficiencies of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, in particular, were found to cause breaks in certain parts of chromosomes in the same manner as radiation would. So, nutrient deficiency mimics radiation as a cause of cancer.
Calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D) was found to turn off cell proliferation and tumor growth. Studies published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that vitamin D shut down tumor growth in the breast and interfered with the anabolic effects of insulin and IGF1 on breast-cancer cells.
Vitamin D Could Prevent Breast Cancer
Another study, published in Annals of Epidemiology, found that raising blood levels of vitamin D from 30 ng/ml to a therapeutic level of 40 to 60 ng/ml would prevent 58,000 new cases of breast cancer (and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer) each year.
Let me emphasize that 58,000 people could be spared the emotional anguish of a cancer diagnosis, as well as the often-devastating effects of cancer care, just by getting their vitamin D to a healthy level in the blood. Why don’t we see this posted on billboards and widespread through online education websites and resources? Why don’t we hear it from the organizations that raise countless dollars racing for the cure?
Other factors linked to the development of breast cancer include elevated stress hormones like cortisol and a high-sugar/refined-carb diet; both have been shown to wipe out Natural Killer cells—a type of white blood cell programmed to kill cancer cells and cells infected by viruses.
These are factors we control!
However, if the public is not provided this information, another year passes by with a questionable mammogram, MRI, or ultrasound until disease is detectable.
If these risk factors are known in the research community, why are they not known to us—the people who are being diagnosed and treated for cancer?
Did you know that “health authorities” are now classifying estrogen as a carcinogen?
Is Estrogen Dangerous?
Calling estrogen a cancer-causing compound is just as ludicrous as blaming heart disease on cholesterol.
Using that rationale, if estrogen caused cancer, all people with estrogen would develop breast and other reproductive cancers. However, it’s not that simple.
Our cells have a checks-and-balance system to regulate cell growth and differentiation, and they even have programmed suicide when a cell malfunctions.
Breast cancer, along with other types of cancer, is caused by a malfunction in these control mechanisms that then leads to uncontrolled cell growth and tumor formation—not because of a naturally occurring hormone. When cells become compromised, estrogen then acts like a fuel on a fire to increase the progression of breast cancer. Estrogen itself does not cause cancer.
So, I ask: What is really done to educate, prevent, and honor women during Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Does the month get us closer to the cure, however far off in the future that may be? Perhaps awareness reminds the public to have screening and exams done, with the hope of finding breast cancer in its early stages.
The gap between awareness and education encourages people to continue unhealthful lifestyles until the disease has progressed enough to be detectable. Sometimes, it is then too late for a cure.
The month of October should be renamed Breast Cancer Education Month, not Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This might have more of an impact on curing breast cancer and bring us closer to ending the epidemic.
The real cure will come from empowering women with specific prevention strategies and education, based on solid research and facts, and fueled by the motivation to make change.
If we shift the paradigm from awareness to education, we will significantly diminish the need for crisis care and allow women a measure of control and longevity.
For more information on the causes of breast cancer and what you can do to rebuild from it, please get yourself a copy of REBUILD