Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Whole Lot of Hoopla

As breast cancer awareness month comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on a month of grandstanding by an industry controlled by pharmaceutical drug companies designed to profit from women with disease. It is tragically a missed opportunity to provide real education on prevention, instead of merely promoting expensive diagnostic tools that some experts believe to be inadequate and even carcinogenic. The American Cancer Society remains fixated on damage control. If decreasing the number of fatalities is truly its first priority, why not prevent the disease before it starts? The use of the word “awareness” rather than the more appropriate word “prevention” is quite revealing. The big business of cancer is not about finding a cure.FACT: Since 1940, the incidence of breast cancer has risen by one to two percent every year. In the past five decades, the incidence of breast cancer in females over 65 rose nearly 40% in the United States.The American Cancer Society (ACS), held in such high esteem by so many, do more to squash legitimate natural approaches of cancer prevention and treatment than a room full of chain smokers – and they do this by using the FDA as their mighty hammer. The ACS is no friend to holistic medicine. In fact, this organization works directly against doctors offering viable natural options, placing their names on a blacklist without even verifying the efficacy of their treatment protocol. I realize this sort of talk is treading upon sacred ground and I have no doubt those responsible for passing out pink ribbons will be appalled at my beliefs but as a 41 year old woman at risk of developing this disease and active in the holistic community, I have a right to be disgusted with this obvious lack of progress and hypocrisy.FACT: Fewer than one in 10 cases of breast cancer occurs in women born with a genetic predisposition for the disease and as many as 50% of breast cancer cases remain unexplained by traditionally-accepted risk factors.So what is causing the substantial increase in breast cancer? Epidemiologists and other scientists increasingly believe many cases of breast cancer are linked to environmental factors. If the ACS would call on both government and industry to rethink the process by which new chemicals are authorized for use and call for accountability, we could make some real headway with regards to prevention.For decades the ACS has spun tales of victories, so small in reality they have done virtually nothing to alter the course of this deadly disease. Meanwhile, chemical companies continue to develop insidious mixtures of cancer causing agents, spraying these chemicals on our food, adding these chemicals to the water supply, and the air we breathe. The ACS’s financial ties with industry clearly influence its policies pertaining to environmental causes of cancer and in some cases have willfully suppressed information about environmental causes of cancer and is often silent on this issue, as is its accomplice, the FDA.FACT: 9 out of 10 women will receive a false positive when screened for cancer, leading to anxiety, unnecessary surgical procedures, and toxic drugs.A study performed on 500,000 women by researchers at the Nordic Chochrane Center in Denmark to determine whether or not cancer screening offers any benefit, determined that for every one woman helped by breast cancer screening, ten were harmed through false diagnosis leading to unnecessary treatments, which could be devastating to their health. This is partly due to the irradiation of breasts caused by mammography, increasing a woman’s chance for cancer but also because the numerous false positives lead to unnecessary biopsies and toxic treatment.Since the introduction of mammographic screening, the incidence of a form of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) has increased by 328%. It is believed that as much as 200% of this increase is due to mammography. In addition to harmful radiation, mammography may also spread existing cancer cells due to the considerable pressure placed on the breast during the procedure. According to health practitioners, this compression could actually cause existing cancer cells to metastasize from the breast tissue.Before writing this article, I spent some time on the web site for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, [http://www.nbcam.com], and found absolutely no information on prevention. It would seem mammography is the cancer industry’s greatest achievement and yet if you look outside the information published by the ACS, you will find this particular diagnostic tool to be woefully inadequate. If you are pre-menopausal, it will provide you very little accuracy due to the density of the breasts. And yet it is women between the ages of 44 and 55 most at risk. Why is mammography such a great achievement?FACT: Mammography is prone to missing the most aggressive and life threatening types of breast cancer while picking up tumors often found to be benign.I am acquainted with a woman who was sick for a number of months but no doctor was able to diagnose what was wrong. She had a mammogram performed in an effort to rule out breast cancer and no tumor was found. Five weeks later when she was having difficulty raising her right arm because of severe pain she met with another doctor and was then diagnosed with breast cancer, advanced stage four.Since that time, about four months ago now, this woman has had countless chemotherapy sessions and I have watched her grow weaker with each passing day – not from the cancer but from the treatment. She is almost unrecognizable. Then she had a double mastectomy followed by countless radiation sessions. The next plan is to put her on a drug called tamoxifen, known to have serious side effects. In fact, a handful of studies demonstrate that the majority of women who take tamoxifen live no longer than women who refuse it. It is with great alarm that researchers are finding some breast cancers actually learn how to use tamoxifen to stimulate their growth.I would like to focus on tamoxifen, since it is touted by the cancer industry as a great accomplishment in preventing breast cancer. Here are just a few of the more serious adverse side effects associated with this drug: (1) some studies have found that pre-menopausal users are at risk of developing accelerated bone mineral loss and osteoporosis; (2) women using tamoxifen have experienced damaged retinas, increased corneal opacities, and decreased visual acuity as well as irreversible corneal and retinal changes; (3) several studies showed that the risk of developing life-threatening blood clots increased as much as seven times in women taking tamoxifen; (4) depression; (5) asthma; (6) vocal cord changes; (7) liver cancer and liver disease as tamoxifen is toxic to the liver and can cause acute hepatitis; (8) inducing a fast moving, lethal form of uterine cancer – uterine growths such as polyps, tumors, endometrial thickenings and cancers occur in a significant number of women. One study detected abnormal endometrial cells in subjects the day after the first tablet was taken! It is interesting to note that nearly every method of diagnosing and treating breast cancer is a known carcinogen.FACT: In a survey of 79 oncologists from McGill University Cancer Center in Canada, 64 said they would not consent to treatment with Cisplatin, a common chemotherapy drug, while 58 oncologists said they would reject all the current trials being carried out by their establishment. Why? “The ineffectiveness of chemotherapy and its unacceptable degree of toxicity.” Philip Day, Cancer: Why We’re Still Dying to Know the TruthMillions of women right now are developing undetectable, early-stage breast cancer, yet the cancer industry does nothing until the tumor is detectable. Once detectable, an authoritative cancer specialist will push chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and toxic drugs on a vulnerable patient. Never mind that these methods cause permanent, irreversible harm to the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and other organs. Does no one question the lunacy of poisoning cells in a person who needs their immune system to be strong?Why are we so caught up in diagnosis when the real key is prevention? Is it because prevention would pay so little to the gluttonous industry of pharmaceutical drugs? Is it because it would shut down the big business of cancer? Detection is not prevention and prevention requires personal responsibility. It requires very little money and that does not work for the drug companies.In an effort to reduce the risk of cancer, one should focus on strengthening the immune system because there needs to be a break down in the immune system in the first place for cancer cells to thrive. And as long as the FDA is unwilling to hold industry responsible, detoxification of harmful chemicals and heavy metals is of paramount importance and there are products available to help with this great challenge. It is also important to make valuable food and lifestyle choices, and avoid exposure to cancer causing chemicals. Do not wait until your doctor diagnoses you with cancer to make a radical change in your life. I encourage you to start protecting your health today.

Causes of Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland found only in men, which lies just below the bladder. The tube through which urine flows from the bladder when you pass water goes first through the prostate gland then out through the penis. The prostate gland can become enlarged in many men as they get older which then causes difficulty with urination.The job of the prostate gland is to produce fluid which forms part of semen and helps to nourish sperm. The prostate gland sits in front of the back passage or “rectum” which is why if a doctor wants to examine the prostate gland they feel it by putting a finger into your back passage. This is also called a “digital rectal examination” or DRE for short. From feeling the prostate gland the doctor can tell how enlarged the gland is and whether it feels normal or cancerous, this can then provide a picture of prostate cancer if it exists.Cells in the prostate gland are constantly turning over to replace old with new but sometimes this process can get out of control. Cancer is the name for cells which have lost control of their renewal process and start to grow unchecked. They grow into a group of cells called a “tumour”. As the cells grow they can start to invade surrounding tissues. This invading process is called acting in a “malignant” fashion. Cells can break off the tumour and spread to other sites in the body, usually via the blood stream. The cells can then grow where they have settled, often in distant parts of the body such as the bones or brain. These deposits are often called “secondaries” or “metastases”. These deposits are not new cancers but are groups of cancer cells spread from the original or “primary” cancer in the prostate gland.Most often in prostate cancer this process of tumour growth followed by invasion then metastasis is relatively slow and can occur over many months or years. This is why some men may have prostate cancer but never have a problem because of it i.e. their prostate cancer grows so slowly that other diseases or illnesses (e.g. heart attack or stroke) cause problems or even death before the prostate cancer has developed far enough to cause symptoms or spread from the prostate. With modern treatments many men with early prostate cancer can be cured and in many more the prostate cancer can be controlled and the invasion process slowed even more. Prostate cancer survival rates vary widely around the world, although detection in 3rd World countries is often poorly catalogued.The cause of prostate cancer is not known. What is known is the characteristics of those men who tend to develop prostate problems. These are known as “risk factors” i.e. men with these characteristics are at greater risk of developing the cancer. However it is important to realise that ALL men are at risk of prostate cancer and even young men who have no history of cancer in their family can develop prostate cancer.AgeAge is the main risk factor for developing prostate cancer. As men get older they have a higher chance of developing all types of cancer including cancer of the prostate. Prostate cancer is quite uncommon below the age of 50 years however four out of every ten men who are 70 years or older will have the illness. Many of these men will live normally without knowing they have prostate cancer and without it giving them any symptoms or shortening their life span.HormonesWe know that the male hormones tend to stimulate the development of prostate cancers and prostate cancer is very rare in men who have been castrated before the age of 40 years. This is likely to be because the normal prostate gland is affected by male hormones when carrying out its normal functions in the body. Prostate cancer cells originate and have some features similar to these normal prostate cells including being influenced by male hormones.RaceProstate cancer is seen more commonly in certain ethnic groups e.g. African-Americans.DietDiet may have an influence on the development of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is more common in men who have a “western” diet high in saturated fats. Saturated fats are found in red meats such as beef, lamb etc and in some dairy produce e.g. butter and things made with butter e.g. cakes, biscuits etc., and also in highly processed foods e.g. ready meals. It seems that men who have a diet high in saturated fat are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer. It is also widely believed that a diet high in fruit and vegetables helps to prevent many cancers. This may be through the action of cancer protective chemicals found in many fruit and vegetables known as “anti-oxidants”. This is one of the reasons it is recommended that we include five portions of fruit and vegetables in our diet every single day.GeneticProstate problems also tend to run in some families which could suggest part of the cause of some prostate cancers is genetic or hereditary. If your father or brother has prostate cancer your chance of developing it is about double that of the general population. However only a small number of all prostate cancers are caused by a known faulty gene and most occur at random.SUMMARY OF PROSTATE CANCER CAUSESAge (prostate cancer is more common as men get older)Male hormones (prostate cancers uncommon in castrated men)Ethnic group (prostate cancer more common in African-Americans)Genetic (prostate cancer can run in families)Diet

Cancer Insurance Plans – Who Needs One And How Do You Choose The One That Is Right For You?

During the past 25 years, cancer plans have become increasingly popular. I applied for my first one about 21 years ago, right after I had my daughter. I was a single parent and wanted to be financially responsible. Since I had a new addition in my life, I also took out a new universal life insurance policyBeing young and naive myself, after a couple years I dropped the cancer plan thinking the money could be better spent on other needs for my little family. I did not take into consideration that my Grandmother, whom I’d never met, because she had died before I was born was a cancer victim. She died from colon cancer after a long fight and surgery to remove most of her colon which left her with a stoma and an ostomy bag to take care of for the remainder of her life.Around the same time that I dropped my cancer plan, my UNCLE was diagnosed with BREAST CANCER and had a mastectomy. During this time his wife was also diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double radical mastectomy.Several years later another aunt came down with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. She is now a big advocate for breast cancer cures and treatment and she spends a lot of time doing volunteer work at her local cancer treatment facility.I am happy to say that both my aunt and my uncle have remained cancer free after their first bout with the disease, but unfortunately they do spend time taking care of my uncle’s wife who has not been so lucky. Her breast cancer has metastasized and turned into a stage 4 lung cancer, which is inoperable.I also had another aunt by marriage, one that I looked up to so very much that I went into nursing because she WAS a nurse and an inspiration to me. I watched her go through the pain of chemotherapy and radiation. I saw my aunt, who was usually an outgoing and vibrant person, lying in that hospital bed covered with burns from the radiation and weak from the chemotherapy fighting for her life. Her cancer, which started out as lung cancer had metastasized into her liver and eventually took her from us.Seeing all of this cancer in my family, some blood relatives and some not, I started to think about cancer and not only the devastating EFFECTS of cancer treatment on the patient, but also the FINANCIAL BURDENS that were created for family members. I learned this through personal family experience and later on as a nurse, seeing the effects and pressure the disease was putting on the families of the patients in my care.While still in nursing school:As a student nurse, my first patient was a cancer patient. When my instructor assigned her to me I was told that she was dying of cancer. I was scared, really scared. I was not sure if I was scared of her dying or scared of the cancer! I was terrified when I walked into her room, but there she was, aside from being a little frail she didn’t even look sick. She had colon cancer, the same cancer that killed my grandmother. She was so nice and funny and pleasant. I worked with her week after week in my clinical training and came to really care about her and her husband. When her husband would leave the room, she would tell me that all she really wanted was to go home, but she didn’t want to burden her husband with her care.When I told my instructor this, she told me to find out about hospice care. At that time I had never heard of hospice care and so I had a lot of learning to do. I did all the research and the following week presented my findings to her husband and told him that I would arrange for a hospice nurse to come talk to them. Two days later when I came back to the hospital, she was gone–not deceased–but had gone home to live out the rest of her life, where she wanted to be. I never saw her again. This was a bitter-sweet feeling that I will never forget. I had been with this patient through surgery, through chemo, and we spent many hours just talking.Getting to know her was one of the reasons that I chose to go into long-term care as a nurse. I didn’t want to see patients for 10 minutes and then they leave until the next sniffle brought them back to the doctor’s office, and I didn’t want to see them in hospitals where they were only there for a couple of days and then sent home.As a nurse working in a long-term care facility, many of my patients had gone through cancer treatment and many still were in treatment. Many of them were hospice patients who were just being kept comfortable in their last few days.This was a very hard job, both physically and mentally. There were days when I would leave work and cry in my car all the way home, then try to be a good wife and mother and act as if nothing were wrong. Many nurses go through that and it does take a toll on family life. Remember that!–and thank a nurse next time you meet one.Leaving nursing for another career:Several years later, I left nursing in pursuit of another way to not only make a living, but to help others. After all, helping people is the main reason I became a nurse. After a couple of years, and a couple jobs later, I found what I was looking for. I got a job that the public perceives as one step above a used car salesman. Yep!… I became an insurance agent!I went to work with an internationally recognized supplemental insurance company (Aflac) and started selling mainly cancer plans. (I even sold one to myself!) I continued reading and researching everything I could find about cancer and then one day my mom called me. She needed me to take her to see an oncologist. She had a bad pap and was recommended to see a specialist. I was REALLY scared now! This is not an aunt or uncle, THIS IS MY MOTHER!At the appointment, the doctor ran some tests and then we had to come back the following week for the results. That was a VERY long week. The waiting and wondering and not knowing was about to drive me crazy. Finally, the day came for the results. My mother was cleared of cancer, but the oncologist sat me down and told me to pass this along also to my sister. She told me that having cancer in your family can be genetic, but having a male in your family with breast cancer makes the risk even greater. She told me to have my cancer testing done yearly and to make sure my sister does also. She also told me something that I always tell my clients when I am talking about the cancer plans that I offer. “Testing, early detection and treatment can save your life.” Just because you do not have a family history of cancer, does not make you immune to the disease. After all SOMEONE has to be FIRST and that someone could be you or a loved one. It is not just genetics that is a determining factor in cancer. At least once a week you hear of something new that causes cancer.Now that I have related why you NEED a cancer plan, let me tell you how to choose the right plan!Since not everyone has the same needs, there are different plans available. Here are a few basic questions you should ask when shopping for a cancer plan.
Where is the insurance company ranked on the National Underwriters list?
Is the company ranked “A” or higher with A.M. Best?
What kind of rate increases have they had in the past?
Do I like the representative of the company?
Why are these questions important?National Underwriters rank companies by their assets, amount of paid premiums and amount of claims paid. This is important because a company who is paying out more than they are taking in may not be around in your time of need or they may be forced to increase rates to stay solvent. The financial security of a company you are going to be doing business with is very important!A.M. Best is another objective look at the insurance company’s financial strength. You should always look to make sure they are at least an “A” or an “A+” or higher rated company with A.M. Best. They set the “benchmark” in the international market.Many companies have increased the rate of their cancer plans over the years. (I found out just how important this was when my mother asked my aunt “Do you still have your cancer plan with….” And she said NO because they had raised the rate too much.) Make sure that the company you choose has rate stability and does not continually raise rates. Most companies have the right to raise rates by class, but that does not single you out as an individual to increase rates and some companies have NEVER raised the rates on their current policyholders.It is also important to like the representative of the company you do business with, since that may be the person you speak with to make any changes to your plan or at the time of a claim. This may be someone with whom you will need to share personal information, so trust is important.When you are searching for a cancer plan, I hope you remember the tips I have given you. You can learn more about cancer at our website, then click on the cancer page.Also, to help fund free mammograms, please visit The Breast Cancer SiteAnd click on the Fund Free Mammograms Button. You can also sign up for email reminders on that site. Their sponsors donate everyday that you click.