The world is abuzz about Angelina’s recent decision to have both breasts removed — a double mastectomy. Angelina does not have cancer. She has the genetic marker(BRCA1 or BRCA2) for a specific form of breast cancer, thus, presumably, increasing her genetic predisposition for getting breast cancer at some point in her life. Angelina stated that she hopes “that other women will benefit” from her experience.
As a result of Angelina’s decision, and the favorable publicity surrounding it, it is expected that, indeed, she will influence women to do as she did, and that there will be a rash of prophylactic mastectomies in the future. In my eyes, this will be seriously unfortunate.
Even the National Cancer Institute is not sure of the implications of Angelina’s having the gene for BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. This is a quote from their website:
“It is important to note, however, that most research related to BRCA1 and BRCA2 has been done on large families with many individuals affected by cancer. Estimates of breast and ovarian cancer risk associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have been calculated from studies of these families. Because family members share a proportion of their genes and, often, their environment, it is possible that the large number of cancer cases seen in these families may be due in part to other genetic or environmental factors. Therefore, risk estimates that are based on families with many affected members may not accurately reflect the levels of risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers in the general population. In addition, no data are available from long-term studies of the general population comparing cancer risk in women who have harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations with women who do not have such mutations. Therefore, the percentages given above are estimates that may change as more data become available.”
This bastion of orthodox thinking on cancer research is saying that the risk for breast cancer stems from a wide variety of “genetic or environmental factors.” They are admitting that they don’t really know what risk factor the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 yields.
It’s not that I don’t FEEL for Angelina. Like her, I have a substantially increased chance of developing breast cancer, as both my mother and sister were dead of cancer long before they would have reached the age I am now (67). When my sister developed breast cancer, she made the same decision Angelina made: after cancer in one breast, she had a preventative mastectomy in the other breast. Yet, it didn’t stop the cancer from showing up later in her lung, and that was the cancer that finally killed her.
In any case, Angelina, and so many other women, are unfortunately still thinking about cancer in a completely out-moded way with out-dated information. When I was Ruth Sackman’s assistant at the Foundation for Advancement of Cancer Therapies, I learned that cancer is a systematic disease reflecting whole-body toxicity as well as a de-activated immune system. Because lobbing off body parts only removes the cancer cells in that specific location, it makes no correction of the systemic aspects of the disease. Angelina’s doctor estimates that she reduced her cancer risk from 87% to 5%. What the good doc fails to say is that that statistic is specific only to breast cancer. Ummm. Makes sense. If she has no breasts, it is unlikely she would get cancer in her breast cavities. Here is the more complicated truth: a body that produces proliferating cancer cells to begin with is a body that will continue to produce proliferating cancer cells, no matter how many organs and tissues are removed. Cancer is smart: you take one of its homes away, it sometimes just finds a new home to settle into. To prevent or cure the disease, the biological/biochemical imbalance must be identified and corrected.
I myself have never had a mammogram, in spite of the increased risk I have of developing cancer. I have found an equally effective way of monitoring my breast wellness. It has several advantages over mammography: it doesn’t impart the radiation of mammograms; it’s not physically uncomfortable (as the mammogram is); it’s cheap; you can do it at home for a small investment.
This procedure is rooted in a procedure called Thermography, which is the use of heat for diagnostic purposes.
Thermo-diagnostics is a well researched diagnostic method. Practically every disease is accompanied by changes in microcirculation and thus, thermo-production: that is, an increase in heat temperature of the effected tissue or organ. The reason why every family has a mercury or digital thermometer is precisely because of these temperature changes in an afflicted body. But, the thermometers we use at home measure temperature only in three anatomic zones, the mouth, the ear or the anus.
There is now a thermodiagnostic that uses infra-red thermography. It allows the important advantage of assessing temperature distribution throughout the body. This six inch device will read the various points on your breast (or anywhere else you put it on your body), compare the locations thermograpically, and tell you precisely where there is an elevation in temperature. This rise in temperature is the first sign of inflammation. When this occurs in the breast, it is indicative of a lymphatic congestion. This is when you need to start being concerned about better breast health. This reading indicates potential and future problems with breast tissue long before a tumor would be evident on a mammogram. If the elevated temperature persists for a long enough period of time, the lymphatic disorder might well turn into cancer.
The thermagram device is extremely user friendly. A push of a button at the end of the device takes the reading for any placement on the body. The digital reading shows up in the window on the device. For the breasts, you take the readings in five different spots on each breast; you record the temperature; you submit the readings via email, and a computer software program stores, interprets and creates a thermagraphical imaging picture of your breasts.
Although this system of thermagraphic reading was developed many years ago, it wasn’t until Michael Pizhadze developed the software for the home unit that we are now able to take our own readings. The unit is every bit as accurate as the high-end theramogprachic diagnostic equipement used in medical offices. I have written about Michael and other technologies he has brought to this country — the Cem Tech and the Metatron – in past Musings. Michael first showed me this device shortly after I had broken my foot several years ago. We took readings from my foot; he submitted the information into the program, and viola, a second later, a picture of my foot appeared on my computer screen, with a big red spot on the fifth metatarsal. We compared the thermagraphic image to both the X-ray as well as to the place on my foot that hurt most acutely; it was an absolutely correct and specific placement on the location of the break.
Temperature readings of breasts:
Thermagraphic image of breasts (red indicates inflammation):
Michael currently has available a number of the Thermagrams, and he is offering them for $69. The maintenance program, in which you take your own readings and submit for the computer analysis is $59 a month (he recommends a new reading every month). You will email the readings to Michael, and within 24 hours, you will receive a picture of your thermagraphical imaging which will show you where precisely the “hot spots” (if you have any) are in your breasts. Michael is offering a discounted price to all friends of La Casa. If you use the code word “La Casa,” you will get a $10 discount on each of the products. To purchase the system, email Michael at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are also things you can do at home to assist in breast health (besides eating healthily and detoxifying). These at-home habits reduce breast pain, breast swelling, PMS breast symptoms, cystic issues, and calcifications. The Breast health Project recommends four steps. To get precise insturctions on how to do each of these, go to: breast health project.
(1) Breathing Exercises:
Deep breathing exercises massage the thoracic duct, which is the largest lymph vessel in the body. This helps to move the lymphatic fluid. There is a direct connection between quality of breathing habits and healthy lymph glands. Deep breathing also changes our stress response towards a more relaxed response. This helps our system function the way it was intended to function. More than 80% of disease is stress related. Stopping your stress response is a crucial component in disease prevention.
(2) Movement Exercises:
Every study implicates the positive connection between exercise and good health. This relates to oxygen, energy and lymph because movement affects them all. There are many types of exercise that are effective for enhancing lymphatic function and energy movement. The Breast Health Project is promoting a set of very simple movements because they are specifically designed to open the energy channels in the chest. Because they are simple, it becomes easier to develop awareness of emotional patterns that may surface when energy begins to move in this area.
(3) Lymphatic Breast Massage:
Lymphatic massage is different than regular massage in that it mimics how lymph moves naturally and exaggerates that movement. There are a number of lymph nodes in the armpit area and around the collarbone, which help to clean and filter the breast tissue. We can learn to enhance lymph movement in our breast using simple massage techniques.
(4) Energy Exercises:
If your breast tissue and surrounding areas are sore, this is a sign that the energy in your chest area is not moving well. Keeping this area flowing and pain free is an important part of our breast health model. In Eastern medical theory, stagnant energy can create the condition in which disease can develop. The purpose of the energetic exercises that you’ll be taught in this model is to support continuous healthy flow of energy in the breast area. A premenstrual condition may cause breast tenderness. If this is the case and the area is too sore to touch, try these techniques after your period has started. These points stimulated regularly throughout the month will decrease premenstrual soreness.
So, take your pick: Would you rather have your breasts cut off, or would you rather perform simple breast health exercises, and monitor your breast wellness on a monthly basis so that IF your breasts begin to show inflammation, you have time to research all available options for treating your condition without unnecessary surgery. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
A final word about Angelina’s decision. Ever to the front lines of political relevance on holistic matters, Mike Adams has some interesting speculations about the meaning and timing of Angelina’s decision. If you want to read his take on it, referring to the up-coming Supreme Court decision on corporate ownership of genes, go to:
Will you own your own genes?
Embracing the Void:
La Casa got a write-up this week in Slate. The article chronicles Seth Stevenson’s introduction and subsequent devotion to the unique experience of floatation. To read the review, go to: Embracing the Void.
We have been floating clients for the whole 20 years that we have been alive as a spa. Our float clients are passionate about their float experiences. There’s been sufficient research on floatation to know the precise physiological and biochemical benefits, amongst which are:
* rejuvenative effect on the brain equivalent to five hours of sleep
* detoxifying effect on the body equivalent to a three-day fast
* drop in blood pressure
* slowing of pulse rate
* allows the blood to circulate more freely throughout the body
* increase in alpha and theta waves in the brain
* synchronous and symmetrical rhythms are achieved throughout the cortex
* decrease in levels of the hormones associated with stress, the “fight or flight” hormones of epinephrine, norepinephrine, ACTH and cortisol
* pH levels and electrolytes are balanced; reduction of acidity
* heavy metals detoxification
* improvement of skin elasticity
* re-mineralization of skin
The 800 pounds of Epsom salts in the floatation chamber is high in magnesium. It is thought that 68% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Floating regularly is one of the best ways to making sure that you have enough magnesium in your body. Deficiency in magnesium can result in the following health issues:
* Heart disease
* High cholesterol
* High blood pressure
* Muscle twitching
* Restless leg syndrome
* Sensitivity to light or sound
* Weak bones
Floating has become so popular that there is now an annual conference devoted to the experience. To hear illuminating information from float experts on the science behind it from last year’s conference, go to: Float Conference