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Breast cancer overview - symptoms, causes and treatments (orthodox, complementary, alternative)

A comprehensive overview of Breast Cancer - symptoms, diagnosis, causes and alternative treatments


This breast cancer overview and the many associated articles on our website will give you everything you need to know to help you increase your personal odds of beating breast cancer; from the symptoms of breast cancer to its diagnosis plus all the latest information on possible breast cancer causes and breast cancer treatment options. We cover everything from breast cancer drugs to the latest alternative breast cancer treatments. 


Can I beat breast cancer?

Yes you can. But you need to correctly define the word ´beat´. Other charities are talking statistics - by ´beat´ they mean survive for 5 years or 10 years. 

About 8.5 out of ten women who are diagnosed with the disease in the UK survive more than five years. However, the interesting thing is that in other European countries like Sweden this figure can be ten women in every hundred higher!

So there clearly are factors that can improve the odds for your personal survival. This article will help point you in their direction and increase your personal odds of complete survival.


Who gets breast cancer?

It is often claimed by the major charities and health bodies that despite the high profile cases of Pop Stars contracting the disease in their twenties and thirties, breast cancer is an ´old persons´ cancer´.  As a result and with an ageing population, numbers developing the disease will get worse.

It is true that you are more at risk of breast cancer the older you get. Sadly, with ageing comes increased deficiency in cellular replication systems, more chances of genetic mistakes, reduced protective hormone levels and a build up of toxins.

BUT - In the UK, currently 40 per cent of breast cancers newly diagnosed are in women below the age of 60. Breast cancer as a middle age phenomenon has increased by 40 per cent or more in the last two decades. It is quite clear that there is more to this cancer than mere ageing.

Breast Cancer - quick links

CANCERactive is easily the UK number 1 website on breast cancer. Quite simply, we have more highly useable information than any other website.

Because this disease is so complex, and because there is so much you can do to help yourself, we have inserted this list of quick links right up front. It will help you navigate the CANCERactive website more easily. In no particular order - 

1. Go to: an excellent breast cancer drug overview, ´The Truth about Tamoxifen´, which also covers drugs like Letrazole, Arimidex, Herceptin, Pertuzumab, Taxol, benefits and side-effects; oestrogen (estrogen) driven cancers and natural treatments you can use to help yourself.

2. Go to: 10 ways to reduce your oestrogen levels naturally

3. Go to: Melatonin - self defence against cancer,
and, Melatonin increases survival and helps chemo work better

4. Go to: Aluminium in everyday products linked to breast cancer

5. Go to: Bad gut bacteria may well play role in breast cancer,
and,
All cancer begins in the gut

6. Go to: Epigenetics, reversing cancer and why you are not doomed

7. Go to: Epigenetics, breast cancer and Triple Negative breast cancer (TNBC)

8. Go to: Vitamin D supplementation increases breast cancer survival

9. Go to: Foods that fight HER2+ breast cancer

10. Go to: Foods that fight Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

11. Go to: Breast Cancer risk ´slashed´ by Rainbow Diet

12. Go to: Gene mutations BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2 and your increased risk of cancer

We have far, far more on this website! 

Why not, Sign up for Chris Woollams´ newsletter (look in the left column) or

Go to: CANCERactive ´Latest News´ - you will find brand new research stories like 

New Form of Photodynamic Therapy working with breast cancer. (Olivia Newton-John used it!!)

As you can see, at CANCERactive, we bring you more information on more subjects than any other cancer charity!

Breast tissue structure and breast cancer type

The breasts are made up of ducts connecting the nipples to glandular tissue containing the lobes. Some of the breast tissue extends into the armpit, the home of some of your lymph nodes.

Diagnosis by mammogram shows about 50% of the anomalies in the Ducts - Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) and the other 50% in the Lobes - Lobular breast cancer. If the ductal cancer has spread into the lobes it will be called ´Invasive Ductal Carcinoma´. Below we will explain to you that the majority of DCIS is caused by calcium deposits in the ducts, and you need to remove this as fast as possible.

The ducts and the lobes are surrounded by fat and herein lies some possible clues to the causes of breast cancer.

Fat is a wonderful solvent and will dissolve and hold all those environmental chemicals, toxins and hormones (your own and ingested ones) that you really should be avoiding and/or excreting. Being overweight will worsen the problem as that will increase the percentage of fat in the breast. The good news is that Northwestern University Medical School in America showed that women who deliberately shed the pounds after developing breast cancer improved their odds of survival over those who did not.

Having excess body fat is not helpful in breast cancer. Dangerous estrogen is made by aromatase enzymes in your fat stores. Eating too much saturated fat is not helpful either - a fatty liver can build up - this lowers the ability of both the liver and the pancreas to do their important jobs in the body. High saturated fat in the blood stream weakens the immune system. And research on saturated fat shows excess levels of fat in the blood stream are linked to greater metastases and lowered survival.

 Go to: Metastases increases the higher your blood fat levels. 

´80% of Breast cancer can be driven by oestrogen ...  

Go To: our easy guide on ´How to control your oestrogen levels naturally´


A lack of exercise will compound a fatty liver, as exercise normally helps stimulate lymph flow and the removal of toxins, whilst helping provide more cancer-killing oxygen to the tissues.

Certain deficiencies in minerals have been found in women with breast cancer, as have vitamin deficiencies. We will explore this below.

Want help? Find it all too much? Too confusing. Chris Woollams can help you build your own Personal Programme tailored to you, your cancer, your needs, your lifestyle.

Go to: Personal Prescriptions with Chris Woollams 
 

Although still small numbers, increasingly men are being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Can breast cancer run in families?

Another concern you often hear is that Breast Cancer runs in families. Some people do have a genetic weakness - you may have heard of BRCA1 and BRCA2. These were originally thought to be specifically BReast CAncer causing genes but are now known to be a gene that weakens the immune systems ability to spot a cancer cell, and a gene that prevent the cells ability to repair its own DNA; and these can be found in both men and women and lie behind many cancers. Other genes linked to a higher incidence of breast cancer are still being discovered for example, PALB-2 but, again, these seem more to do with the repair and immune systems than the breast tissue itself. Importantly, only approximately 7 per cent of women carry a genetic mutation, although it is thought that these account for at least 25 per cent of breast cancers diagnosed. 

Genes come in pairs, one from your mother, one from your father. The weak gene is masked by a normally functioning healthy gene. Even if you have one of these mutations you are not 100% doomed - estimates suggest that the risk of getting breast cancer is still less than 70 per cent. More clues here - estimates suggest this figure has risen from about 20 per cent 50 years ago, quite probably along with increased levels of environmental toxins around us, poorer diets and less healthy lifestyles.

By and large breast cancer prevention (you can download a leaflet for your daughters and friends HERE) is still largely in your own hands and, if you have had breast cancer and been given the all clear, there is so very much you can do to prevent a recurrence.
 
Causes of breast cancer that you can do something about

Basically, you build a body conducive to cancer over a six to ten year period. Then something tips you over the edge.

You will find mainstream charities and the press frequently level the blame on you - you eat badly, don´t take enough exercise, smoke, drink too much and so on. Yes, it is true; there are ´Lifestyle factors´ - Various epidemiology studies have shown that smoking increases risk, as does increasing levels of regular alcohol consumption. An extra glass of wine a day will increase risk by about 7 per cent.  




Self-help for breast cancer survival

At CANCERactive we believe in ´self-empowerment´ - you, yourself, can make a massive difference to your survival - as a start point to your self-help mission, read this:

Go to: Six Steps to building your own cancer fighting programme

You can build a body conducive to health and this will make you much stronger to fight the cancer. The American Cancer Society have conducted research on people with Stage 3 cancer - all had chemo and surgery. Those who stuck closet to their guidelines on Diet and exercise had 31% less recurrence and 42% less death over the 7-year trial. That is a massive difference. No drugs can achieve those levels.

The CANCERactive Diet and exercise guidelines are the same:

Go to: CANCERactive guidelines on Diet and exercise  

We will look at some of the major contributors to breast cancer here:

Poor diet is obviously a factor
- Various global studies show that women with breast cancer have much lowered blood levels of vitamin C, vitamin B-12 and long-chain omega-3. Research shows that tocotrienol vitamin E, fish oils and garlic appear to be particularly protective. (Look for a vitamin E that contains all 4 tocopherols and all 4 tocotrienols.) Studies have shown that women with a history of breast cancer have lowered levels of the mammalian lignans, enterodiol and enterolactone, which are made from plant lignans in the intestine. This means that they simply did not eat enough natural fibre. One very good source is flaxseed. Phytoestrogen levels (from green plants and pulses like lentils, red kidney beans, chick peas etc.) are also low.

Vitamin D is crucial - Vitamin D arms the immune system´s ´attack´ cells, or T-cells. Without a vitamin D molecule, they are impotent. Research has shown that 82 per cent of women in the UK, on diagnosis, have low plasma levels of vitamin D and this must be addressed as it is indicative of survival times. Low? Around 20 ng/ml. The NHS states that 35-40 ng/ml is acceptable. At CANCERactive we think it should be 75-150ng/ml, because that is what experts Boston Medical School think too.

Professor Michael Holick of Boston Medical School once stated that 25 per cent fewer women would die of breast cancer if they had adequate blood levels of vitamin D, the vitamin developed under your skin by the action of sunlight. Unfortunately, women in Britain do not see too much of the sun in winter. D3 is a supplement often used and 5000IU´s a day the level recommended by Holick´s team.

However, there is research showing that chemotherapy drugs destroy vitamin D levels. You should consider taking a double dose while having chemo. 

Go to: Vitamin D - are you getting enough?

Most importantly, while low vitamin D levels lead to more breast cancer cases, women with breast cancer and low vitamin D levels survive least. In fact, research shows vitamin D supplementation increases survival. 

Vitamin K seems to aid the action of vitamin D. It is found in a daily helping of ´greens´. But......
 
Your Gut bacteria are crucial - It is important to note that various protective natural compounds and vitamins cannot be released from your food unless you have good levels of beneficial bacteria in your intestine. One study showed that women who had a history of taking antibiotics were twice as likely to develop breast cancer (Journal of the American Med Assn 2004, Feb 18; 291).  Yeasts and E.coli have been found detrimental to the health of women and can weaken the body.

One research study in 2016 showed E. coli in every sample of breast tissue; another in 2017 showed good bacteria had ´gone missing´.  

Go to: All cancer begins in the gut

We also find a large number of women with breast cancer have been exposed to antibiotics, or drugs for other conditions, and/or parasites. It is very important to fix your gut. Especially after taking chemo drugs!

Go to: Chris Woollams´ book, ´Heal your Gut, Heal your Body´

Major research studies (like the American Microbiome Project) show that having a full and diverse microbiome - the bacteria populating the gut - are essential to your good health.  Helpful bacteria make key vitamins (for example: K, B-12, folic acid, biotin), they control the development of your immune system, and they produce crucial chemicals like melatonin, glutathione, and anti-inflammatory molecules, whilst helping to bind to and remove heavy metals and oestrogenic chemicals from the body.  

Diet and exercise are crucial: Women who exercise regularly (the best is light to moderate daily exercise for 45 minutes, where you get out of breath) have less breast cancer and those with it have 50 per cent less mortality if they take daily exercise as part of their cancer-fighting regime.

Although on Colorectal cancer rather than breast cancer, the American Cancer Society have conducted a 7-year study showing those who most closely followed a good diet and exercise programme prevented recurrence and had 42% less deaths during the 7 year period - a staggering figure!

Go To: Diet and exercise increase survival

Perhaps the most interesting studies have come in breast cancer with a Rainbow Diet - in prevention or in survival. One 15-year study on women between the ages of 50 and 70 across the globe, showed that those who adhered most closely to a Rainbow Diet were free of 11 chronic illnesses at the end of the study. Another showed that a Rainbow Diet ´slashed´ breast cancer mortality.

Exercise is important - it will increase your oxygen levels, increase levels of happy hormones (endorphins) which reduce stress hormones and metastases, and it will strengthen your body and particularly your bones. Exercise even makes tumours less aggressive and improves treatments!

Go to: Moderate exercise makes tumours less aggressive, improves treatments

Reducing your estrogen naturally - However by far the biggest risk factor is a heightened level of the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen-driven cancer may well account for over 80 per cent of all breast cancers. Cancer Research UK has stated that Breast Cancer rates are rising at 2 per cent per year, while oestrogen levels are rising in women by 7 per cent.

There are a number of possible reasons for this. For example:

Women are having less children and breast-feeding them for shorter periods. Both factors (more children and breast feeding for 9 months or more) decrease risk. This may well be due to decreases in the lifetime levels of natural progesterone, a known oestrogen balancer.

Women are starting their periods earlier and ending them later. Modern woman has almost twice the number of periods of her 16th century predecessors.
    
Women in the Western World consume large amounts of saturated fats         
and especially cows´ dairy. Saturated fat can provide the building blocks         
for oestrogen in the body. Fat is also an excellent solvent and brings with it the animals hormones and pesticides from the fields.

Go to: 10 ways to reduce your oestrogen naturally 

Several research studies from the Swedish experts at the Karolinska Institute suggest that a critical factor is the cows´ hormone Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1), which seems to stimulate hormones such as oestrogen and other localised cell factors that make your cells grow rapidly. The more dairy you consume, the greater your breast cancer risk according to Karolinska. Another study, this time by researchers in Denmark, amongst 117,000 girls showed that those who put on a big growth spurt between ages 8 and 14 eventually had a higher risk. Again, a finger was pointed at dairy. We have an excellent article by expert Nutritionist and naturopath Gosia Desmond linking the level of saturated fat and cows´ dairy consumption during a girl´s growing years with the incidence of cancer later in life.

Go To: Childhood saturated fat consumption linked to breast cancer later in life?

Not all cows´ dairy is bad though!! Unpasteurised dairy will give you lots of different strains of Bifidobacterium, which help fight pathogens. Plus it will give you immunoglobulins which go to the gut lining and kick start your immune system. Cows that are kept permanently lactating in sheds produce linoleic acid which can be carcinogenic; but cows that run around freely eating grass make isomers of this - collectively called Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA. This is very protective against cancer and can build up in breast tissue, preventing a move to the other breast by the cancer.

Stress and loss of sleep - Emotional stress (the loss of your mother who was your friend and counsellor) can be the step that tips you ´over the edge´ to cancer. Stress has two major effects - it damages the pH (acidity) in the gut and stops the healthy bacteria growing and dividing at the correct rate. Your brain also sends a message to the adrenals and they produce stress hormones which can turn on an enzyme called Cox-2, and this causes inflammation throughout the body. Cancer loves inflammation - it helps cancer develop, and it helps cancer spread.

Endorphins (happy hormones produced by exercise, particularly yoga) can help reduce stress hormones; as can eating a Rainbow Diet, taking fish oils, curcumin and the Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha. There are two reports from UCLA, the experts in cancer and stress management; one on the benefits of a Rainbow Diet, fish oils, yoga and meditation and the other on the benefits of counselling in reducing stress.

Go to: a Rainbow diet - and how it can help you beat cancer

Women now have more stressful occupations; many of these lead to sleep irregularities and deprivation (e.g. Nurses and Air Hostesses). Research shows that this results in lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which seems to counter excess oestrogen under normal conditions. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland about 90 minutes after falling asleep. If the room is not completely dark when you sleep, melatonin production can be affected. (Blind women never develop breast cancer). Melatonin is also produced by many of your gut bacteria. It is an important part of your self-help programme. Hospitals in the USA, including Sloan-Kettering, recommend supplementing with 20mg per day if you have cancer.

Go to: Melatonin increases survival and helps chemo work better

But there are other reported causes you should be clear about:

Toxic chemicals, environmental pollution and breast cancer - The US State of Evidence report 2006 summarises the findings of more than 350 experimental, epidemiology and ecological studies and recommends new directions for the future in disease management. In particular it looks at the growing and vast amount of research on the effects of ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION - like toxic chemicals and EMFs on the risks of developing the disease.

Toxic chemicals - chemical oestrogens (xenoestrogens) abound. BPA, phthalates, herbicides, pesticides, in-home toiletries like toluene and perfumed products. Aldehydes, like Formaldehyde, and Dichlorobenzene. The list is endless.

Here are 2 recent reports:

Go to: Enough evidence exists to link BPA to breast cancer

Go to: Common chemicals called aldehydes linked to cancer

Boston University Medical School have actually shown that there is a receptor in cells prone to attack by environmental toxins and that this is expressed in breast cancer at 50 times the levels of healthy cells! Environmental toxins - from chemicals to EMFs are a big concern in breast cancer; a concern that is ignored by leading UK cancer charities despite the huge evidence. The biggest concern is your in-home chemical use, in personal care, toiletry and home care products. You must clean this up.

The use of synthetic oestrogens - CRUK has provided data on the increased risks of breast cancer when women take an oestrogen based contraceptive pill  especially if they take it after the age of 30. HRT is a huge risk factor and we have warned about this dangerous chemical for more than a decade over which time there has been repeated and negative research. HRT use causes a three-fold increased risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer levels declined by 7 per cent in 2005 in the USA as a direct result of women giving up HRT after the bad publicity over research findings. CRUK has, in 2017, finally spoken out against HRT.

Xeno-oestrogens, or chemical oestrogen mimics: Increasingly, chemicals that mimic the action of oestrogen in the body are believed to be a significant and modern link to risk. Pesticides like DDT and Lindane were linked to 4-fold increases in breast cancer in Israel. They are banned for use in Western countries, but still sold to Third world countries for use on vegetables we import. Chemicals contained in common in home products like Household Cleaners, toiletry and personal care products may act as oestrogen mimics. For example chemicals in perfumes (which do not have to be listed on labels) like DEHP and toluene, BPA from plastic bottles, white lined cans and even kiddies toys, Phthalates from plastic bottles and packaging, Parabens, often used as a preservative, are all thought by experts to be capable of mimicking the action of oestrogen in the body. Worse Dr Ana Soto of Tufts has shown in her research that such toxins and their effects ´are cumulative´. In 2013, The World Health Organisation report calls for BPA, Phthalates and Parabens to be banned.

Go to: Live clean - how to clean up your life

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) - There is increasing evidence that various Electromagnetic Forces can also reduce levels of melatonin whilst stimulating levels of IGF-1 and other hormones. This is not a modern myth. Scientists are growing increasingly worried by the electronic smog that surrounds us all from masts, to mobile phones, to WiFi even electric blankets! One study even showed that EMF´s could reduce the effect of the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen! All in all, there may be many factors that contributed to your breast cancer, and many are relatively easy to side-step. On this website we have an article from Eileen O´Connor who is so convinced EMFs from a local mast gave her breast cancer that she is now a leading campaigner against such EMFs.

Thyroxin and breast cancer - when 3 women, all on thyroxin, all with breast cancer and all in their 30s approached our charity in just one week, Chris Woollams started to research the subject and uncovered unacceptable links between the synthetic hormone and breast cancer.

Go to: The link between thyroxin and breast cancer

Now, the important point is that we are not listing the possible contributory factors so that you dwell on things that have happened in the past. We want you to understand what factors might still be present in your life and might still be contributing to the maintenance of your cancer, so you can deal with them and build the new ´You´.  

Breast cancer Diagnosis

About 54,000 cases of Breast cancer will be diagnosed in the UK in the next 12 months. Note we said diagnosed. Estimates suggest between 5,000 and 18,000 of those may be false positives! 

We have an extensive article on screening mammograms on our website. Up to 35 per cent of problems diagnosed can be false positives. Worse, there is increasing research evidence that those women particularly at risk of breast cancer who have a genetic issue, are more likely to develop breast cancer if they have a regular screening mammogram.
 
Many experts question the mammograms save lives story; 2013 research on mammograms showed it does not. One European breast cancer symposium in recent years included research showing mammograms were at best only 60 per cent accurate. Do not under any circumstances have any treatments until cancer has definitely been confirmed through a means other than mammography screening. (You could use Thermal Imaging, even Iridology as a back up). A biopsy is the most reliable method - but you should read our article on the dangers of any surgery and how you can prevent complications in advance.

Go to: Can surgery spread cancer? 



Breast cancer symptoms

1. Your breast skin changes, resembling an orange´s skin.
2. A lump or a thickening, different to the rest of the breast tissue
3. A newly inverted nipple
4. The breast changes size or shape
5. Scaling or peeling of the skin round the nipple 

You should check your own breasts regularly. You are looking for lumps, or thickenings especially behind the nipple, sudden inversion of a nipple, dimpling on the skin surface, a rash, or a swelling under the armpit.

Most lumps are not cancer and are benign. Most often they are cysts, which are sacs of liquid randomly appearing in the breast tissue, or they can be benign fibroadenomas. Either way they are easily treated and no cause for concern.

If a cancer is suspected, the normal procedure is to have a biopsy. This may take tissue from under your armpit as well as from your breast. Only after tissue has been taken can anyone correctly tell you the spread (the Stage) and aggressivity (the Grade) of the cancer. After analysing the biopsy tissue, the experts should be able to tell you clearly ...

      Whether the tumour is oestrogen and/or progesterone sensitive

B       Whether you are HER-2 positive

Other breast cancer causes
There have been research studies covered in icon on abortion and whether it increases risk of breast cancer. Absolutely no evidence of increased risk has been reported by expert studies.

US research on Swedish women with silicone breast implants showed that, while they had no higher risk of breast cancer, cases of lung cancer were higher than expected (Journal of the Nat. Cancer Inst. 2006; 98; 557).

DCIS and LCIS

We told you above how 50 per cent of the anomalies shown up by mammograms are Ductal and 50% are Lobular.

Ductal starts usually as calcium deposits in the ducts. These cause irritation and inflammation and can lead to cancer. If this is confined to the ducts it is Ductal Carcinoma in Situ, or DCIS. If it has broken from the ducts and invaded the lobes it is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Chris Woollams told the audience in one speech how he had two ladies diagnosed with calcium deposits in their ducts in January 2017. The Doctors decided to ´watch and wait´ - so they watched and waited. Sure enough by September, they both had DCIS.  It´s crazy. Clearly, as soon as you are shown to have calcium deposits in the ducts (often showing as cysts), GET THEM OUT!! Take fish/krill oils, magnesium (25 mg) and vitamin D (5,000IUs).
 
Breast cancer orthodox treatment

Surgery
: If you are pre-menopausal, you must try to have your operation in the second part of your cycle not the first, for then progesterone, not oestrogen, dominates. Two studies from Guy´s Hospital Medical School in the mid-nineties reported significant long-term survival benefits.

We have a very important article on this website on how to prepare yourself for surgery there are a number of American and UK studies that suggest surgery may possibly spread cancer, but there are clear ways to reduce this possibility.

Oncologists are mindful of the risks of cancer spread and where possible now prefer lumpectomy to full breast mastectomy. (You may be advised to have chemotherapy prior to surgery to reduce the size of the tumour and increase your chances of a lumpectomy rather than full-blown breast removal). If you have lymph node removal you should find out about lymphatic drainage and lymphodaema. We have articles on these too.

Reconstructive surgery may be proposed and effected at the same time, although US research suggests waiting gives better results.

If your cancer is a solid tumour with no spread or metastatic activity, you need to know that, in 2011, the Karolinska Institute have reported on three studies involving 80 women all treated with a form of localised hyperthermia, called Ablatherm. The treatment can take as little as 10 minutes and involves heating the cancer cells to kill them, using electrodes under local anaesthetic. A similar treatment, called HIFU, has been used with prostate cancer in 60 centres in Europe for over 7 years. The cancer tumour ´melts´ away according to the team at the Karolinska. Read our articles under Hyperthermia. This is a real alternative breast cancer treatment of potential.

In the USA, this methodology is called The Nanoknife IRE - a current punches ´nanoholes´ in the breast cancer cells. However, politics has stepped in. The Karolinska removed their research from their website, and the backers of Nanoknife are only taking about using it on ´inoperable cancers´. So a quick fix in your lunch break may have disappeared, ladies.

Radiotherapy
: Most commonly used after surgery to kill off any localised and remaining cancer cells. It may also be used on the lymph glands under the armpit if they were infected. The Lancet has warned that the side-effects of radiotherapy are not insignificant  women should ask their doctor about possible effects on lung and heart tissue. Modern radiotherapy is much more targeted and has reduced risks, but they are still there. A good and safer alternative is Proton Beam Therapy.

We have a good article on how to maximise the effectiveness of your radiotherapy there are a number of research findings on astragalus, selenium and isoflavones from around the world. (Look under Treatments radiotherapy.) Reports from MD Anderson and UCLA suggest that you can continue to take all anti-oxidants and supplements during this time and that they increase the effectiveness of Radiotherapy.

It is very important that you attend all your radiotherapy appointments as the dose of radiotherapy you need has been carefully worked out. Up to 80 per cent of women miss one or more treatment!


Breast cancer Chemotherapy
: The actual programme of chemotherapy supposedly depends totally upon the individual (age, health etc.) and the state of the cancer. However, several drugs may be suggested to everybody at the very outset, before a very specific plan is drawn up. These may be before or after surgery.

In Britain, best practice is now a bit of a mess. Women used to be given three rounds of FEC (5-Fluorouracil, Epirubicin, Cyclophosphamide), then T (Taxotere or Docetaxel) was added for another three rounds. This could come after surgery, or before, if the oncologist wanted to reduce the tumour size first.

Now, in the North of England, the 5-FU, a 1956-approved drug is dropped leaving just EC. In the South, the T drug might be dropped for Paclitaxel or Taxol. Sometimes this is used in quite high doses for 10-12 weeks; on other occasions it is used in low doses every other week for longer.

Taxol is regularly used with breast cancer - there are concerns that it can cause metastases though.

Sometimes Avastin may be suggested - but its clinical trials were poor and the FDA took it off the breast cancer drugs list.

Pembrolizumab is now increasingly being used in later stages of the cancer and seems to perform well, especially when HIFU is simultaneously given

It seems that we are still not tailoring treatment to women very much in reality, despite the hype and the claims. The only area is HER-2 positive patients who do have their own drugs.

One of the biggest issues patients write to us about is the booklets advocating cancer patients consume cheeseburgers, milky sugary tea and sticky doughnuts and cake in hospitals. We have a highly regarded article entitled A Diet for Chemotherapy - so click that link to go straight to it.

Be clear. The purpose of the chemotherapy drugs is to reduce the risk of the cancer returning. However, several important research studies on cancer stem cells appeared in 2012. The basic conclusions were that cancer stem cells lay at the heart of a great many cancer tumours. And, although chemo could reduce a tumour significantly, no current drugs can kill off cancer stem cells. Below you will see that NCI researchers were talking about natural compounds in certain foods that could stop re-growth.

Women need tailored treatments and are not getting them as yet. A 2012 Cancer Research study covered in Cancer Watch concluded that there were 10 different ´types´ of breast cancer and treatments only existed for two of them. An American study on DCIS reviewed 1407 cases of DCIS and showed each one was histologically different. Your breast cancer is as unique as you are.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer
 
Triple negative breast cancer cannot be cured by existing drugs. However, they are still used!! Arguably, there are foods that do a better job. We have a separate article on this form of breast cancer.

Go to: Overview of TNBC

We also have a detailed review of drugs, including all the latest research, of over a hundred cancer drugs on our website. The two standard therapies that are most commonly talked about are:

1. Tamoxifen for five years, followed by three years of an Aromatase Inhibitor (e.g. Arimidex).

CRUK has opined that by the end of the 8 years your cancer will have gone away. (We think it may, but only if you have altered the factors that gave it to you in the first place). Tamoxifen is not really chemotherapy, in that it is not trying to kill cancer cells but aims to sit on, and therefore block, cellular receptor sites that in breast cancers are attacked by oestradiol, an aggressive form of human oestrogen . Blocked sites means no attack is the theory; and the oestradiol could turn the cell cancerous. You can see why some oncologists think of Tamoxifen as preventative.
Since over 20,000 women in the UK are currently taking Tamoxifen, we thought it wise to say a few words here about this drug:


When told the possible side effects less than 1 in 5 US women want to take the drug (Cancer 2005: 103; 1996-2005). For example: Recent research by CRUK on cancer of the womb, which has risen by 30 per cent in a decade and is now twice as common as cervical cancer, implicates a number of factors like being overweight and not having had children but also Tamoxifen usage. Dr Bushnell of Dukes, USA reviewed 9 studies on Tamoxifen and concluded that it more than doubles a womans risk of ischemic stroke.

Research results carried in icon (Vol 3 Issue 4) from the University of North Carolina showed that it had a minor effect (6-8 per cent) in breast cancer prevention in women with no cancer but at higher risk; however the conclusion was that side-effect risks outweighed the benefits.

US research has shown clearly that the use of natural vitamin E in its total 8 forms reduces the need for Tamoxifen doseage by 25 per cent as it increases its effectiveness. Research also indicates that EMFs can reduce the effectiveness of Tamoxifen.

It is however the first line drug, the Gold Standard, in oestrogen-driven Breast cancer and blocks sites on cells that oestradiol would normally bind to, and then cause havoc inside the cell. Recent US research shows that its effects continue for 5 years after the last dose. 

Normally prescribed for 5 years, followed by an Aromatase Inhibitor for three years, many of the makers of these latter drugs are questioning why the patient is not moved more quickly from Tamoxifen to their drug. But then they would, wouldnt they? There has already been a study (American Soc. Clin. Onc) which suggests better long-term survival results if women come off Tamoxifen and go onto the Aromatase Inhibitor Exemestane earlier.



There is much a woman can do to naturally reduce her oestrogen levels and help the oncologists treatment strategy. For example, losing weight and maintaining a good weight, stopping cows´ dairy consumption, sleeping in a darkened room, avoiding toxic oestrogen-mimic chemicals, avoiding pesticides, phthalates, BPA, parabens and toluene, taking daily light exercise, lignans, indole 3 carbinol, vitamin D, medicinal mushrooms and so on it´s all on our website. 

Go to: ´The Truth about Tamoxifen´

2. Herceptin. Let´s be clear: About 20 per cent of women are HER-2 positive and this drug will work well for about half of them. Yes, and it does cost 20,000 pounds per year. A recent trial (Lancet 2006) confirms that Herceptin offers benefit with early stage breast cancer patients too.

Roche next launched a second drug Pertuzumab, or Perjeta, to help Herceptin work for longer. But many doctors have been prescribing the two drugs together. In June 2017, poor results were reported for the combined therapy and the Roche share price even took a hit.

The side-effects of any chemotherapy are very individual and depend upon your
condition and the drug. You should also ask whether the combination you are on has actually been through clinical trials. Sometimes only the individual drugs have been.

Treatment for anaemia: Managing and counteracting anaemia can reducedeath from anaemia by 50 per cent. Research published by the Cochrane Collaboration showed that epoetins (alfa and beta epoetin) show significant survival benefits. Particularly striking were the results for patients with solid tumours (Breast, lung, colon) where risk of death decreased by 51 per cent). In a second study (European Soc. For Medical Oncology- 31st Oct 2005) epotin beta was shown to reduce risk of tumour progression in patients with anaemia. 

Treatment for fatigue: icon
has run several pieces on fatigue. A qualified naturopath will be able to suggest dietary changes to boost energy levels. Qualified homeopaths may be able to suggest ways to counter fatigue. Energy therapists (e.g. acupuncture, cranial osteopaths, Reiki Masters) may well be able to help. Italian research showed a lack of acetyl-carnitine, which supplementation could correct. UCLA scientist report that a series of genetic markers become blocked either due to the cancer or due to the chemotherapy treatment. The California team note promising results with Etanercept. Apparently 30 per cent of women who have had chemo for breast cancer have long-term fatigue, even after the cancer has gone. This may well be true for other cancers.


Complementary therapies for breast cancer; Alternative therapies for breast cancer 


CANCERactive is Europe´s Number 1 Integrative Cancer Charity. This website alone has more than 4,000 pages of information on it, either as articles or as news stories. More than 10,000 people visit our websites every day. We know from the feed-back we receive just how much we are valued by people trying to beat cancer. 

We believe you can increase your personal odds of cancer survival by taking simple health-enhancing steps and adding both complementary cancer therapies and alternative cancer therapies into your mix of treatments. 

For example, Hyperbaric Oxygen, curcumin, calorie restriction, melatonin, probiotics and whole body hyperthermia have all been shown in research to make chemotherapy work better. It then kills more cells! The research is covered on this website. Surely it makes a lot of sense to use them in your personal cancer treatment programme?

Go to: How to improve your chemotherapy

We cover how to improve your radiotherapy (and reduce side-effects) too.

Go to: Improve your Radiotherapy, and reduce side-effects

We have a complete review of Immunotherapy telling you the accurate figures and what to watch out for. We tell you what is working and when two new drugs have been used, rather than one. It´s a new, emerging and alternative cancer therapy, but not fully there yet!

Go to: A complete review of Immunotherapy  

Then we have an article on how to improve the success of your radiotherapy (and reduce the potential side-effects) – all by adding complementary therapies. Our Guidelines on Diet and Exercise can be found through this link:

Go to: CANCERactive Guidelines on Diet and exercise 

Our recommended anti-cancer diet is the colourful Mediterranean Diet (with its focus on the French paradox):  

Go to: The Rainbow Diet

Like Hippocrates, we believe all cancer begins in the gut and that gut problems, yeast, viral and parasite infections are common constituents of cancer.

Go to: All cancer begins in the gut

But if you just want to look at the most comprehensive list of Complementary Therapies you can find it here:

Go to: CANCERactive Complementary and Integrative cancer therapies

And if you want alternative cancer therapies start here:

Go to: CANCERactive Alternative cancer therapies 

Finally, if you want all this put together for you in one simple plan, why not look into having a Personal Prescription?

Go to: Personal Prescriptions with Chris Woollams

We don’t take one penny from any Pharmaceutical company, cancer clinic or supplements company. We have no vested interest. We just want to see you beat cancer. 

"If you are already thinking of supplementing with any of the above products, why not take a look at Our Natural Selection by clicking here."

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