Breast Cancer…. Once upon a Time…

Once upon a time, there was a lovely, thriving village situated beside a deep, swift river just a mile down stream from a tall, steep mountain. The mountain had a precipitous and dizzying cliff face which dropped 1000 feet straight down into the river. The view from the top of this mountain was spell-bindingly beautiful and the children of the village often climbed the mountain for that view.  The problem at this village, however, was that under the spell of the spectacular panorama, many children lost their balance and fell head first into the stream below.


The village elders noticed this pattern of tragic behavior and they proposed a solution. Funds were raised and the village was finally able to recruit and trained a team of talented water rescuers who would patrol beneath the cliff in their high-tech sensor boats and look through bow-mounted telescopes (with night vision capacity) for any falling kids. As soon as a child fell into the water, they would speed over to the splash, deploy the latest in water rescue techniques (including underwater traction splint devices for treatment of neck injuries) and gently remove the child from the water before administering the latest in FIRST AID to try to preserve the life of the child. Sometimes they were successful.  Sometimes, sadly, they were not.  As loss of life continued, the elders again met and proposed a hospital staffed by medical experts who knew how to manage both drowning and concussion injuries so typical of the water trauma sustained by the falling children. This hospital had the latest in sophisticated equipment and was staffed by highly trained technicians. Again, sometimes lives were saved and sometimes they were not.


……Of course, by now, you are thinking  “Why don’t they just put up a fence on top of the mountain so the kids wouldn’t fall off?”   


That story speaks to the essence of the paradigm shift from crisis medicine to preventive medicine and it highlights an opportunity every one of us now has to inform oneself of the risks and benefits of health care options before you fall in.


This column will be dedicated to sharing with the reader helpful and safe preventive complementary medicine tips to help you and your loved ones avoid getting soaked….


For example, do you or someone you know take antacids? Well, did you know that stomach acid is not only good for you but quite essential for health? That means that antacids, though they make you feel better temporarily by suppressing heart burn symptoms, are actually bad for your health and vitality because they do not address the underlying biochemical imbalance!


How about the relationship between what you drink and osteoporosis? You will be surprised to look with me closely at the research that, contrary to the media blitz, actually supports the fact that people who drink milk have a higher rate of osteoporosis than others.  We’ll explore the role of soda pop causing bone demineralization (osteoporosis in 25 year old girls!) as well as the problems with aspartame (artificial sweeteners). 


Would your spouse or partner like to see less of you? We’ll look closely at middle age weight gain and hyperinsulinemia. It is critically important to control blood sugar and avoid the epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Did you ever wonder why one diet is never right for everyone?


We’ll shine some light on the politics of health care in America and ask questions like: “Are we winning the war on cancer which Nixon declared some 30 years ago?” “What are we spending on this war?” “Where is the money going?” and “Why does cancer still inspire such fear when it, like all illnesses, it is the consequence of biochemical imbalances many of which can be identified, corrected and managed for the long term?”


The World Health Organization (WHO)  reports that half the 6 million deaths from cancer in 1996 were from breast, lung, colon-rectal, stomach and liver.  What can we do to prevent those predictable deaths?  Well, as far as lung cancer is concerned, let’s consider the role of smoking: 85% male and 46% female lung cancers are the result of smoking and tobacco accounts for 1 in 7 cancer deaths world-wide.


What about the role of infections?  We now know that 15% of cancers world-wide are consequence of infections – mostly hepatitis  B & C but human papilloma virus is found in 95% of cervical cancer cases world-wide and Helicobacter pylori bacterium is found to infect many patients with stomach cancer.


Since the initial epidemiological work on cancer in the 1950’s,  most cancers were  defined as a PREVENTABLE illness. Subsequent anti-oxidant research further confirmed cancer to be preventable and yet, the National Cancer Institute allocates only      5% of budget to cancer prevention and flying in the face of thousands of research papers, the American Cancer Society stated last year:  “At this time there is no way to prevent breast cancer.”

We’ll share how white sugar stuns the immune system and disrupts hormonal defenses against cancer by telling the pituitary gland to increase levels of LH relative to FSH. We’ll examine how high caloric diets create more tissue damage from more free radicals and thereby increase cancer risk. We’ll learn how pesticides on our food act as carcinogens and how radiation from cell phones stimulate cancer activity in our brains. We’ll learn about how pollution in the water, the air, and the soil poison our detoxification enzymes and tip our biochemical tendency towards cancer.

Meanwhile, we’ll look at the preventive options. For example, we’ll examine the benefits of exercise: The Harvard Nurses Study taught us that only 7 hours a week of moderate exercise gives a 20% reduction in cancer incidence. Harvard epidemiologist Graham Colditz demonstrated that a mere half hour walk each week cuts colon cancer risk. He claims: “What we have found in the study is that the more active women have half the colon cancer risk of the least active women.”

Closer to home, might I ask, “Is you brassiere too tight?” Watch out for lymphatic drainage obstruction and also try and avoid  anti-perspirants which inhibit healthy drainage. Choose instead a simple deodorant.  And while we are on delicate topics, do you really want your daughter taking oral contraceptives for her acne? Studies show that teenagers have a 3 fold increased risk of cancer if given birth control pills before age 18 due to the effect of progestins blocking the beneficial anti-cancer effect of real progesterone.

For the youngsters, turn off the night light. A nice bed time story might do the trick instead. We now know that night lights lower circulating brain melatonin levels which is a bad things since we rely upon melatonin to suppresses growth of cancer.

We have learned a lot about cancer since Nixon declared war. Cancer oncogenes and genetic risk factors get a lot of press. But in addition to the occasional need for xenobiotic substances (drugs) to fight cancer, we can use natural anti-cancer hormones. We’ll talk about the sparring between estrogen and progesterone. We now know that estrogen activates an oncogene Bcl-2 that slows apoptosis (cell death) and allows cancerous cells to flourish and become immortal (at your expense!). Nice to know that natural progesterone activates a different gene (p53) which restores apoptosis, down-regulates Bcl-2,  promotes cellular differentiation which is bad news for a cancer.  Talk about a knight in shinning armor! And you had it in your body all along!

To Your Health!

Bradford S. Weeks, M.D. (c)  2003



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