Breast Cancer - over 40,000 deaths occur annually


By: Dr. S. Lawson

breast&doctor.jpgOne in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that over 200,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed annually. It makes breast cancer the most common cancer in women. It is estimated that over 40,000 deaths from breast cancer occur annually in the Unites States. This makes breast cancer the second most common cause of death in women ages 20-59.

The precise etiology is unknown. Risk factors include genetics, endocrine, and environmental/lifestyle. Family history may be the most significant factor for the development of breast cancer. Women whose mothers develop breast cancer less than sixty years old has twice the relative risk (risk of developing breast cancer in comparison to the general population). If a woman has two first degree relatives (mother/sister) with breast cancer, the relative risk increases four times. Women with atypical hyperplasia (benign breast disease) have a relative risk of three times. Women with lobular carcinoma In Situ (CIS) have a relative risk of seven times.

BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are tumor suppressor genes that when mutated increases the lifetime risk of breast cancer. Women who have these mutated genes tend to be diagnosed at a younger age and have an 80 to 90% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Women who express an increase in the P185HER2 receptor are more susceptible to develop breast malignancy. Estrogen dominance, early monarchy, late menopause, nulliparity, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and birth control pill (BCP) all have a one to two lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Environmental risk factors include alcohol use, radiation exposure, social economical factors, and an increase in age.

Breast cancer is highly treatable therefore it is recommended that screening be done for early detection. The ACS recommends monthly breast self-examination from the age of 20. This may lead to early diagnosis and an increase in survival. The 2nd screening recommendation is the physician’s annual breast examination. The reason for a physician’s breast examination is that 10% of palpable masses are missed by mammography. The ACS recommends annual screening mammography from age 40 onwards. Many women are asymptomatic when these tumors are found by screening mammograms.

There are 4 different stages at which breast cancer is diagnosed. Stage 1 is when the tumor is less than 2 cm. and has no lymph node involvement and no metastasis (5 yr. survival is 70-90%). Stage 2 is when the tumor is 2-5 cm. with lymph node involvement and no metastasis (5 yr. survival is 50-70%). Stage 3 is when the tumor size is greater than 5 cm. or fixed to the pectoral muscle (5 yr. survival is 20-30%). Stage 4 can be any size with lymph node involvement and metastasis (5 yr. survival is less than 10%).

The conventional treatment strategies for breast cancer includes lumpectomy (removal of the tumor), modified mastectomy (removal of the breast while sparing the pectoral muscle) and neoadjuvant therapy (involves radiation treatment prior to surgery in order to shrink the tumor making it more resectable). Malignant lymph nodes are removed during these surgeries. As the number of lymph node involvement increases survival decreases. Adjuvant therapy (hormonal and chemotherapy) is given after surgery to kill micrometastasis in order to improve survival. Examples of hormonal therapy include tamoxifen (blocks estrogen receptor sites so that estrogen cannot bind to the site and cause excessive growth) and fulvestrant (given once a month intramuscularly) acts by the same mechanism as tamoxifen. Other hormonal regulatory drugs are anastrozol, exemestane, and letrozole. They block the enzyme aromatase in the fat cells that convert androgens (produced in the adrenal gland) to estrogen. The treatment strategy is to switch from one drug to another because they are effective for only a limited amount of time.

Women who have estrogen receptor breast cancer will benefit from drugs that block these receptors. When there is no response from hormonal therapy, polychemotherapy is the treatment modality that is used. Doxorubicin (cardiotoxic) and Paclitaxil are examples of chemotherapeutic drugs but because of their side effects (bone marrow suppression) they are given with Filgraftin (G-CSF) to support the bone marrow. Trastuzumab (side effect is heart failure) is a monoclonal antibody directed against HER2 receptors to reduce the over expression of these receptors.

Bilateral mastectomy is a prophylactic therapy (treatment prior to the development of breast cancer) that is an option being offered to women with the BRAC1& 2 genes. Palliative therapy (is given only for symptom improvement not for cure) is usually given at stage 4.

Although the precise etiology of breast cancer is not known, research has linked breast cancer with excessive estrogen, diabetes, hypothyroidism, constipation, heavy metal toxicity and depression. The thyroid hormone is the permissive hormone that determines how other cells function at the DNA level. Weight gain is a sign of hypothyroidism. The body will hold on to fat when toxin (i.e. DDT, PCB, mercury, aluminum, and lead) level gets high. Fat cells have the enzyme aromatase that converts androgen into estrogen. Consequently, estrogen causes proliferation of mutated DNA that result in tumor growth. Mercury is another culprit found in the nucleus of all cancer cells.

Cancer cell have 4 times more the number of insulin receptors than normal cells. Obesity leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to excessive insulin production. Insulin is a growth factor that promotes cell division in malignant cells. Lower levels of insulin will inhibit the enzyme (delta-5-desaturase) that produces arachidonic acid. Consummation of right dose of pharmaceutical-graded fish oil will increase the levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a beneficial fatty acid that inhibits the same enzyme (delta-5-desaturase). Arachidonic acid produces hydroxylated fatty acids that allow malignant cells to metastasize from the primary site. Apoptosis (programmed cell death) is a defense mechanism by which malignant cell is destroyed.

Hypothyroidism and excessive estrogen can cause constipation. Constipation has been linked to breast cancer. Constipation means that harmful bacteria, yeast, and parasites are producing carcinogens, gases and toxins in the gut. These carcinogens have the potential to induce mutations in breast tissue especially when the immune system is suppressed (during depression). There are phytonutrients (antioxidants, chlorophyll, and plant enzymes) that work at the DNA level to allow the body’s anti-cancer mechanism to function efficiently. Substances such as coenzyme Q-10, lycopene, and alpha lipoic acid can be used to reduce the side effects of radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Herbs such as parsley and cilantro can be used to rid the body of heavy metals toxicity. Essential oils such as frankincense, lavender, and clove can be used to inhibit tumor growth.

Organisms such as Chlamydia, Microbacteria tuberculosis, and Herpes are usually present in malignant tissues at a sub clinical level. Rishi and shiitake mushrooms extracts can be used to enhance Natural Killer cell activity. Astralagus can be used to enhance the immune system. As we aged our enzyme levels, DHEA levels and growth hormones
level decrease, cell replication malfunction and our ability to cope with stress deteriorates, this makes us more susceptible to cancer.

Cancer Prophylactic Substances
*Broccoli, Green Tea, Brazil Nut
*B Pollen, Garlic, Lemon, Sardines
*Herring, Spinach, Flax Seed, Spirulina,Kale, Onion, Turmeric,

Cancer Inducing Substances
*Cigarettes, Hot Tap Water, Boiled Tap Water, Micro waved Food, Micro Waved Exposure, Hair Dyes,
*Makeup, Anti-Perspirant, Sugar,
*Hennessey, Hypnotiq, Dyed Meat,

E-mail Address:
Dr. S. Lawson, MD