Dr. Taz MD, Solutions for Living Healthy Naturally: Finding your personal keys to breast cancer prevention

Dr. Taz MD: Solutions for Living Healthy Naturally

Finding your personal keys to breast cancer prevention

Every year, thousands of young women are diagnosed with breast cancer. These women face unique challenges with their cancer treatment. Unlike older women, younger women tend to have more aggressive cancers and lower survival rates1. Additionally, since breast cancer occurs less frequently in women under forty, very little research is aimed at this group2. Cancer treatments also carry more weight for younger women since they can affect fertility and cause early menopause3. One treatment that is becoming more popular is the mastectomy (complete removal of the breast.) This trend is raising some alarm in the medical community because it often involves the removal of healthy tissue. One study recently reported that out of women who were candidates for lumpectomy (removal of tumor), 60% elected to undergo a mastectomy4. Even more interesting, between 11% and 25% of women undergoing mastectomies for early-stage breast cancer, also choose to have contralateral prophylactic mastectomies (CPM) performed5. A CPM is the complete removal of both the cancerous breast and the healthy breast.

The frequency of CPM today is 3-4 times that of the late 1990’s. A study published last month suggested that women are opting for complete removal of their breasts because they want to reduce the likelihood of cancer in the opposite breast and to increase survival5. CPM is usually only recommended for women with a genetic mutation predisposing them to breast cancer and a woman without a mutation has only a 2-4% chance of developing cancer in the healthy breast within five years6. Despite those odds, women are still willing to cut off normal body parts to avoid cancer. Have we caused so much fear and made so little progress that this is the best we can do? If bone cancer was the most common cancer in women, would we begin removing bones? Or would we do everything to stop women from getting the disease? Currently, very little of the money donated to cancer research goes towards cancer prevention studies7. Since

we do not know definitively how to stop breast cancer, women keep getting sick and they see removing their breasts as the only prevention.

We have to do better. We need to know how to stop cancer from happening and then we need to act. There are so many carcinogens in our environment today but we are not willing to do what is necessary to get rid of them. These days, it takes irrefutable evidence to have a dangerous chemical controlled and kept from our environment. Why are we willing to risk lives for the convenience of a deadly chemical? How long are we going to let women dissect their bodies before we find a better solution?

This October, with Breast Cancer Awareness in the national spotlight, I urge all women to focus on finding their personal keys to cancer prevention, beyond mutations and genetics. Diet, lifestyle, toxin exposure, and detoxification mechanisms all play important roles in cancer prevention. Take time and energy this October to understand the chemistry of your body and the factors that may be increasing your cancer risk.

1.American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2011- 2012. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-030975.pdf

2.Ann H. Partridge et al., “Breast Cancer in Younger Women,” Diseases of the Breast (4th ed.,), In J. Harris (Ed.) (2010): 1073-1083.

3.Young Survival Coalition. Statistics and Disparities. Available at: http://www.youngsurvival.org/breast-cancer-in-young-women/learn/statistics-and-disparities/

4.Warshaw, Robin. (2013). Young Women More Often Choose Mastectomy Over Lumpectomy. Living Beyond breast Cancer. Retrieved from

5.Rosenberg, S. M., Tracy, M. S., Meyer, M. E., Sepucha, K., Gelber, S., Hirshfield-Bartek, J., & … Partridge, A. H. (2013). Perceptions, Knowledge, and Satisfaction With Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Among Young Women With Breast Cancer. Annals Of Internal Medicine, 159(6), 373-381.

6.Doheny, Kathleen. Unfounded Fear Prompts Young Women to Get Preventive Mastectomies. Health. Retrieved from:http://news.health.com/2013/09/17/unfounded-fear-prompts-some-preventive-mastectomies-study/

7.Dreisbach, Shaun. 7 Things No One Ever Tells You About Breast Cancer. Glamour. Retrieved from: http://goo.gl/cxGzkS