As young girls grow up, they are keenly aware of the development of their breasts and their first bra is a landmark in the whole process. Little do they realise that, quite apart from the fun and pleasure to be had, both breasts and bras can involve serious health risks.
In his book Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer, Chris Woollams is clear. ‘Breast cancer is largely due to one factor – excess oestrogen,’ he writes at the start of the chapter. In his view, overweight women and women who over-eat – not the same thing at all – both increase their risk of breast cancer. Animal fats, excessive carbohydrates and regular consumption of alcohol, all stimulate oestrogen production. Eating refined sugar and salt have the same effect through their influence on other hormone levels such as insulin. Hormone replacement therapy and the pill increase the risk of breast cancer according to duration of use and the age of the woman.
Lynne McTaggart – of What Doctors Don’t Tell You fame – has a slightly different view in The Cancer File. For her, milk and dairy products are major culprits. She cites Japanese women, who traditionally have very low dairy diets and little, if any breast cancer. If they move to a western country and adopt a diet rich in dairy products, their rates of breast cancer soon rise. It has been shown that frequent consumption of whole milk is a definite risk factor in cancers of the lung, bladder, breast and cervix. She also cites sugar and processed flour as being implicated in breast cancer research.
What have bras got to do with it? Quite a lot, it would seem. In their 1995 book Dressed to Kill, authors Sydney Singer and Soma Grismaijer quoted results of their research into bras and the incidence of breast cancer. They found that women wearing bras for more than 12 hours a day have a 21-fold higher risk of breast cancer than women wearing them for less time. Women who wear a bra for 24 hours a day have a 125-fold higher incidence of breast cancer than women who don’t wear a bra at all do. Underwired bras can interfere with the flow of energy through the meridian points. Such blocks can cause stagnation and, therefore, disease. Those feminists who burned their bras decades ago were actually achieving more than they realised!
Baring all comes back to the question of examinations and how reliable they are. Both Woollams and McTaggart cite increasing and consistent evidence that screening and mammograms can actually worsen the overall risk of breast cancer. American research in 2002, casts serious doubt on the validity of the results of mammograms. McTaggart puts particular emphasis on DCIS. She explains that the first stage of one particular type of cancer is when a milk duct or lobule in a breast is invaded by microscopic calcifications. These are usually so tiny that they are only detectable by a mammogram. While these calcifications are believed to be precursors of cancer, they are not in themselves cancerous. However, they have been called – very misleadingly – carcinomas in situ (CIS). If these calcifications are in a duct they are called DCIS (and those in lobules LCIS). Before mammograms, DCIS was virtually unknown – now it accounts for up to half of breast cancer diagnoses. The fact is that most DCIS never become cancerous, as has been proved by autopsies performed on women who died of other causes. Only if DCIS breaks out of the duct can it stimulate cancer, but many women have DCIS for years without knowing it and experience no problems at all.
McTaggart quotes leading UK cancer expert Professor Michael Baum, who has over 30 years of experience as a breast cancer surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital in London, as saying that, in his view, as many as 80 per cent of DCIS cases will never become cancerous if left untreated. American statistician Dr Virginia Ernster at the University of California studied the death statistics of over 7,000 women who had been diagnosed with DCIS, both before and after screening had become popular. Before screening, only 3.4 per cent of women died of breast cancer and the rate dropped to 1.8 per cent, after screening became widespread. Modern reports show that there is no treatment for DCIS, and leaving well alone is just as effective as going through the ‘cut, burn and poison’ route.
With the huge amount of research that both Chris Woollams and Lynne McTaggart have done, they come to the same conclusions – prevention is better than cure, and diet and nutrition play vital roles. They both advise the following:
1.Cut down on animal fats and excessive carbohydrates
2.Cut down (or cut out) dairy products
3.Keep your weight under control
4.Take regular, moderate exercise
5. Eat wholefoods, fresh fruit and vegetables, organic if possible
6.Cut down (or cut out) smoking and alcohol consumption
7.Avoid where possible the pill and HRT
8.Avoid sausages and hot dogs that contain nitrite preservatives
9.Avoid tap water which may be infected with oestrogen and/or toxic pollutants
10. Take Tocopherol (found in palm oil), vitamin A, Omega 3, vitamin C and strong antioxidants to boost your body’s immune system.
Prevention is always better than cure – and some bare facts like these could just help women from losing their breasts.