I did a little research to see what people are saying about breast cancer. I wanted to understand something about perceptions and misconceptions.
The general thinking is that cancer was far more prevalent in times past and now, because of longer life expectancies, cancer rates must be down.
Figuring out the truth about cancer rates is complex and requires a lot of public health data that isn’t that easy to get. Longer life expectancies have more to do with control of infections like pneumonia than reduced rates of cancers.
The CDC data indicates that cancer rates in general increased between 1975 and 1992. Rates then began to stabilize and then slightly decrease. Some think this decrease is due to better awareness of environmental factors such as smoking, pesticide exposure, reduced exposure to asbestos and others.
Breast cancer incident and mortality rates, like those for lung, kidney, prostate, liver, esophagus, brain and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have stubbornly resisted improvement. So breast cancer rates of incident and mortality seem to have leveled out over the last 20 years or so but have not improved, either. Some researchers think that the slowing of the rise in breast cancer rate is due to less aggressive HRT or hormone replacement therapy. For a time, HRT was used without much thought to long-term consequences. Some controversial studies began appearing about 2001 that linked estrogen therapy with an increase in invasive breast cancer.
Despite popular breast cancer groups and untold millions spent on research, 1 in 8 women still contract invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. That is not a happy statistic, and one that I am sure strikes fear in the heart of every woman (Men are not immune to breast cancer, but the rate is only about 1 in a 1000 so we will spend most of our time talking about women).
The mortality rate of a woman with a breast cancer diagnosis is still about 20%. Of course this mortality statistic doesn’t say anything about the emotional, social and other costs of battling this type of cancer due to surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, time lost from work, family and other pleasures of life.
So what are the risk factors you can control?
- As mentioned before, be cautious of HRT. Estrogen therapy may be necessary but you should be well informed and use it only as your body needs it.
- A diet high in animal products can also increase estrogen production. Part of this problem may be reduced by selecting only organic meats and dairy products to avoid exposure to additional hormones often given to livestock.
- Keep alcohol consumption to a very moderate level.
- Having a child or two decreases breast cancer incidence. I am sure you will agree that choosing to have children just to knock a couple of percentage points off your breast cancer risk doesn’t make too much sense, however.
- Working the night shift increases your breast cancer risk. This may be due to increased exposure to electric lights and reduced exposure to sunlight causing a reduced level of vitamin D and also a disruption of the production of melatonin.
As you know, the body produces vitamin D when exposed to the UV rays of the sun. Good vitamin D levels have been shown to be breast cancer protective.
Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland and is sensitive to bright blue light. At night when there is no bright blue light, the pineal gland produces melatonin that aids in sleep and also can help maintain health with a reduced risk of breast cancer.
This leads to one important factor that affects the body’s ability to make vitamin D and melatonin and that is Roundup. Yes, I am talking about the herbicide that you have been told is totally safe for people.
The active ingredient of Roundup is glyphosate and has been shown to interfere with several key pathways in the human body including the production and utilization of vitamin D. Glyphosates are found virtually all over the globe now, in our water, air, soil and food. I have a couple of articles that go into much more detail for those who wish to know more.
This could help explain why so many people are now vitamin D deficient in spite of time in the sun. We are currently recommending 50,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 once a week for most people. We have a couple of favorite options includingThorne D-25,000 and Protocol Vitamins D3-K2 Liposomal Spray.
Glyphosates also interfere with beneficial intestinal bacteria to produce essential amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin and then to melatonin.
Therefore glyphosates (Roundup) can contribute to breast cancer in two important ways, lowering your vitamin D levels and lowering melatonin levels. You can help yourself by avoiding glyphosates by using other methods of weed control, avoiding GMO foods and eating organically grown meats, fruits and vegetables. French researcher Seralini found that 80% of female rats developed breast cancer when fed a diet of Monsanto GMO corn. Remember your most powerful vote is with your dollars.
Breast cancer remains a clear and present danger, to quote the late Tom Clancy. You can reduce your risk by taking some basic steps starting today. Take your vitamin D, avoid known toxins including Roundup glyphosates and, choose organic, non-GMO foods.