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Cancer > Breast Cancer

Is breast cancer a life style disease?

Facts and Statistics

From the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and Statistics New Zealand:

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of all cancer deaths for women in the U.S. between the ages of 20 and 59.

Every year about 1500 New Zealand Women are diagnosed with breast cancer which kills about six hundred women and various sources say that as many as one in six women die of breast cancer although the true figure is ambiguous due to the nature of reporting and assessment.

Actually about ten times more women die from breast cancer than cervical cancer.

It is predicted that if New Zealand trends continue to follow those of other countries then a greater numbers of women will be diagnosed with this disease every year.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women worldwide.

A woman in the United States has a 1 in 7 chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime which has increased from 1 in 11 in 1975.

Approximately 3 million women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer: There are two million who have been diagnosed and an estimated one million don't know they have the disease.

In 2004, it is estimated that 266,471 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States: 215,990 invasive breast cancers and 50,481 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and approximately 40,110 women in the U.S. will die from the disease.

Older women are much more likely to get breast cancer than younger women. Most breast cancers -- about 77% -- occur in women ages 50 and older. Less than 5% of all breast cancer cases occur in women under the age of 40. Combining all age groups, white (non-Hispanic) women are more likely to develop breast cancer than black women.

Black women have a higher breast cancer mortality rate at every age, and a lower survival rate than white women because overall, their diet, education and lifestyle lags behind the white population.

The conventional methods of treatment in use in the United States and the Western world are surgery (mastectomy and lumpectomy), radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy (including, monoclonal antibody therapy).

Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer; however, it may detect the disease before symptoms occur. Breast cancer tumours can exist for six to ten years before they grow large enough to be detected by mammography whereas the latest ultrasound is more accurate and revealing.

All women are at risk for breast cancer. About 90% of women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

Factors that increase a woman's risk of breast cancer include older age, earlier age at menarche, later age at menopause, nulliparity (having no children), later age at first full-term pregnancy, daily alcohol consumption, use of hormonal replacement therapy, use of the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), postmenopausal obesity, ionizing radiation, genetic factors and family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Factors that decrease a woman's risk of breast cancer include breast-feeding and physical activity (exercise).

There are no proven interventions to prevent breast cancer and there is no cure.

Breast Cancer and Its Causes

We now know that most breast cancers begin in the lining of the milk ducts and then spread through the lymphatic system. This is perhaps the reason why women who birth children in their 20's and who breastfeed for six months or more are less likely to suffer from breast cancer. Whereas in women who put off having children until in their late 30's or even 40's and women who do not breast feed are more susceptible to cancer.

Established facts
Breast cancer risk increases with age.
Breast feeding for six months or more reduces the risk
Breast cancers begin in the lining of the milk ducts

So where are you in your life right now and what can you do to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer? Now you don't want to just have a baby so you can breast feed, that would be foolish. So lets explore and look at modern life.

The chances are that you are Miss or Mrs. average, you work and have a social life and generally you conform to the ideals and expectation within your community. This means you eat what everyone around you eats, you get some exercise, wear a bra and consider yourself normal.

Prevention of Breast Cancer 

To initiate a prevention program, you need to have a basic understanding of the breast which may be defined as:

  • A mass of glandular, fatty, and fibrous tissues positioned over the pectoral muscles of the chest wall and attached to the chest wall by fibrous strands called Cooper’s ligaments.
  • A layer of fatty tissue gives the breast a soft consistency and surrounds the breast glands and milk ducts.
  • The breast glands produce milk and the ducts transport milk to the nipples.

Breast cancer typically begins in the lining of the milk ducts which means that there is some material in the milk ducts that becomes cancerous or something may even be dormant or pre-cancerous material. What ever it is, it is just sitting there waiting and you will never know.

So lets assume that all women have some latent material in the lining of their milk ducts, so why is it not removed by normal circulation? Think of it as a little water in a hose, fresh and clean, but over many years, it stagnates. Inside the duct, there is no blood or lymphatic fluid circulation to refresh or remove it and eventually it becomes toxic and initiates a cancerous growth.

So why would a drop of fluid stagnate in the milk ducts?

You exercise and to keep your breasts from smacking you in the face and to avoid the wandering eyes, you wear a bra which holds your breasts against your chest creating a degree of comfort. This restricts normal breast circulation and many experts consider this to a significant cause of cancer and you can read more in cancer and the bra.

Are you ready to stop wearing a bra? Probably not. Women did this back in the 60's but this new freedom was short lived. So why do you wear a bra?

If you have a small bust, chances are you only wear a bra to conform to social expectations rather from any physiological need. If you have an average bust, you wear a bra for appearance and if you have a larger bust you actually need a bra for support and to limit the wandering eyes.

But for what ever reason you wear a bra, do yourself a favor and go without it at every opportunity to allow free movement and circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid within your breasts. But this is not enough. We recommend that every woman practice a daily self massage similar to the video below. This will help to remove accumulated toxins and support general breast health. The massage is best performed using a lubricant, i.e. soap while taking a shower.

Massage for Breast Cancer
Massage therapy reduced anxiety and depression and improved immune function including increased natural killer cell number.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Ironsor, G., Field, T., Hurley, J., Katz, G., Diego, M., Weiss, S., Fletcher, MA., Shanberg, S and Kuhn, C. (2003) Breast cancer patients have improve immune and neuroendocrine function following massage therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57,45-52. massage facts

Self Care Breast Massage

The purpose of these techniques is to flush fluids from the breast, (both veinous and intercellular), bring nutrition to the tissues and specifically remove the toxins via the lymphatic system. Also, these techniques will enhance the health and elasticity of the support ligaments, which will in turn provide you with better breast support.

More specifically, steps number One and Two are to assist in the movement of veinous fluids. Feel free to experiment with these to movements and find what is comfortable for you. Step Three is simply to help keep your support ligaments in good health and assist in the fight against gravity. Step Four is a gentle draining motion designed to drain the breasts lymphatic system and is possibly the most important of the four steps.

This procedure should be done at least twice a week. It can be done on bare skin, but you may find that using some vegetable oil or powder may be more comfortable. You could also use some soft material like silk.

Step One:

  • Use both hands to apply comfortable pressure compressions to squeeze out veinous fluids.

Step Two:

  • Gently massage the breast with a kneading-like motion, using lifting and pressing movements.

Step Three:

  • Slowly and carefully use your hands to rotate and twist the breast in a clock wise and counter clockwise directions, being careful not to put too much tension on the breast.

Step Four:

  • Use your fingers to gently smooth away from the nipple. These movements travel from the nipple and directly away using no more pressure than what you would apply to your eyelids as any more pressure will flatten the lymphatic vessels and stop the flow of toxins and fluids.

Breast cancer and your bra
A survey revealed that women who wear bras over 12 hours daily have a dramatically increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to bra-free women. In fact, bra-free women have about the same chances of developing breast cancer as men have, and this is over 100 times less than that for women wearing bras 18-24 hours daily. When you consider that smoking increases the incidence of lung cancer 20-30 times, this makes the link between breast cancer and bras 4-5 times greater than the link between cigarettes and lung cancer! Read more..

Further reading:
Breast health
Breast massage
Breast Augmentation
Breast exams
Healing oils
Massage facts
Your Bra and You

Breast massage
Massage therapists directory



Cancer Index
Breast cancer
Anti perspirants and breast cancer
Ayurveda and cancer
Breast cancer and your bra
Breast cancer myths
Breast cancers progress
Halt breast cancer
Prostate cancer

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