by Katherine Willow ND
(Katherine can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-839-1198)
Q: My mother got breast cancer and had a double mastectomy when she was just 43 years old and died at 48. My sister and I have been told that regular mammograms could save our lives. Do you agree? Is there anything we could do to help prevent getting cancer? ~ Kathy
Let’s consider various angles, with references for further research, because I believe that going into a topic on one’s own and making a decision that has been well thought through helps make us more resilient to disease by strengthening our sense of self.
Mainstream medicine in Canada recommends that women between the ages of 50-69 get a mammogram every two years because statistics say that this will decrease the risk of death from breast cancer by one third due to catching a cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat. For women with a family history of breast cancer, it is probable that their medical doctor will advise starting this screening at age 40 to offset the increased risk. The thing to know about mammograms is that there is a high incidence of false positives and associated stress, so if you are called back after a test, try to keep this in mind. . .
From a holistic perspective, there is still nothing wrong with getting a mammogram, it’s more a matter of how one would respond emotionally and treat a breast cancer if one is diagnosed. The radiation from a mammogram is quite low, the number of cells damaged is easily repaired by the body and there are many things you can do to offset the radiation effects.
For women who prefer an alternative, there is the possibility of using one of two types of thermography for breast cancer screening, infra red and point testing for temperatures. I prefer the latter as it gives a lot of other information about the body that is useful in developing a health plan (regulation thermography). We have one of these devises at our clinic and love it!
Personally, I had one mammogram around age 40 out of curiosity and in the meantime (I’m now 53) have gotten a regutherm test annually, feeling fully confident in this technology. I also do my own breast exams while giving myself a quick daily breast massage to decongest after wearing a bra all day.
Things you can do to decrease your risk of breast cancer:
- Lifestyle: exercise regularly, go to sleep early, and eat a clean and nutritious diet, all appropriate for your body type.
- Tune into your emotions and resolve old emotional issues. The issues identified by German New Medicine that are directly related to breast cancer are: intense worry about the health of a loved one (glandular breast cancer) and after healing a separation shock (ductal breast cancer). Other issues intersect with these to make them hard to resolve ie low self esteem and reluctance to slow down and take care of ourselves…
- Gently and compassionately address excess weight.
- Decrease excess alcohol (over 2 drinks/day according to stats; I would say much less).
- Learn how to do seasonal, weekly and daily cleansing practices.
- Minimize extra hormones, ie, birth control and hormone replacement therapy; check out natural alternatives.
- Read up on German New Medicine while healthy— it could save your life if you ever get any type of disease.
- Figure out what you believe in and cultivate strong faith while you are well; it’s hard to do after being diagnosed with something we think is scary.
Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra for lifestyle suggestions and spirituality according to body types.
www.decisionaid.ohri.ca, a website helping women decide about mammograms without pressure
Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elston Haas, a great book for cleansing, among many other things.
Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre for free monthly talks on natural healing and monthly intros on GNM.