Healthy Breasts

Ladies our boobs are beautiful. Men, I’m sure you would agree.

They are life giving and nurturing, soft for hugging, pillows for sleeping babes, pleasure for our lovers. In art they have been celebrated through the ages and across cultures.

They are dynamic changing tissue with immense networks of ducts, lymphatic flow, and fat filled. Young women have dense bouncy ones, and as we age the connective tissue starts to soften, they become less dense more fatty, and we see them often heading south!

How are yours? Are you worried?  Have you noticed lumps, shape or skin changes, pain or tenderness?  When is it the right time to bother your doctor and get some answers?

RIGHT NOW TODAY!

I commonly talk to women who tell me they are scared of the risks of having a mammogram, they want to avoid the radiation exposure that can come from imaging. They often feel they would not choose to have invasive procedures such as needle aspirations or biopsies. Is that how you feel?

I wanted to write this post to reassure you today, to give you the tools to take the right action, to be powerful and confident. And not delay critical tests due to uncertainty.  There are simple safe options.  There are lots of lumps and bumps that ARE NOT cancer.

Here are the facts.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Aussie women and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. (2010) 1,2

Here is the key.

The five-year relative survival for breast cancer is 98.2 per cent for women with 0–10 mm tumours, 94.7 per cent for women with 11–15 mm tumours, 93 per cent for women with 16–19 mm tumours, 87.9 per cent for women with 20–29 mm tumours, and 73.1 per cent for women with tumours 30 mm or greater.

So the sooner any change is detected the greater the chance of effective treatment and survival.  Weeks, even days, make a critical difference.

To Mammogram or not to Mammogram – that is a common question.

Those of us who know the value of clean eating, detox, and chemical free living.  Who live with the faith that the body has an amazing ability to self heal, may like to take a less mainstream approach to our health.  Everyday you have cancer cells in your body.  The brilliant power of the immune system finds these mutant cells, sends in the armed forces and blasts those suckers – always monitoring, scanning, eliminating.  But when the enemy becomes too numerous, powerful and our army slow confused and suppressed – cancer can take hold.

Mammograms have their faults, they are a screening tool used to assess a large number of healthy women and try to find early evidence of a cancer.  They are not very specific, meaning if something is seen further testing will be needed, this can cause unnecessary worry, but better to find those few that would have progressed to potentially deadly disease.

Ultrasound, is safe, no radiation. Ultrasound is operator dependent so the quality of the result can vary with different technicians.  It is a good guide and can easily reassure when a cyst or benign lump is the only problem. This can be covered by medicare for patients who have symptoms or high risk. It is not a standard screening tool.

MRI is an excellent image. Very precise. Expensive and not covered by medicare. Noisy and uncomfortable, but no radiation so safe (unless you are claustrophobic!)

CT scan. Good image. Exposes to radiation. I like to remind patients that the radiation exposure from a CT scan is equivalent to that of being in an aircraft on a long haul flight.  You need to consider the risk vs the benefit. I am still flying to Paris! If i was worried about a lump, and risk to my life. I think I would accept the exposure.

 What can you do today?

The message is always the same. Simple principles of clean eating, reducing chemical load, rest/peace for the mind, sleep, movement, deep breathing fresh air, sunshine and pure water.

Know your family history and/or your genetic risk. Don’t take excessive estrogen or phytoestrogenic substance (plants that behave like hormones). Some plants, nutrients, and foods that are especially good for breast health and cancer prevention are: Evening Primrose Oil,  Nettle, and Antioxidants in fresh fruit and veggies. For all you lovely ‘foodies’ and clever cooks check out Jenine Parkinson’s recipe of the week at www.foodness.com.au

 TO DO LIST

Join our tribe

See your GP

Have an examination

Do the appropriate scans

Be reassured – then live well.

Follow the ‘seven doctors’ – simple ways to wellness that work.

I would love to hear from you. Post a comment below.

 

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  1. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) Books – Breast cancer for Australia (ICD10 C50). http://www.aihw.gov.au/acim-books/  [Accessed March 2014].
  2. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) Books – All Cancers combined for Australia (ICD10 C00-C97, D45-46, D47.1, D47.3).www.aihw.gov.au/cancer/data/acim_books  [Accessed March 2014]
Disclaimer: This information is given in good faith to educate. This is not medical advice each individual has different needs and must see their own medical practitioner.

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