News About (Breast) Cancer Awareness Month: Part One

Recently I posted information about Time Magazine’s excellent article on being more cautious about surgical treatments for breast cancer. (Link: http://www.menupause.info/archives/17302). I posted the following stats from the article:

“How Deadly is Breast Cancer” offers these statistics:

Roughly 1.3 million women in the US die each year and some of the leading causes are listed as:
22% heart disease,
18% cancer (excluding breast cancer),
5% Alzheimer’s,                                                   
and 3% breast cancer.

Looking at the 18% of women dying from cancers other than breast cancer, I think we need to expand October to include all cancers. For example, September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Why can’t all the cancers that affect women be put into an overriding category that can be addressed with lifestyle and diet changes, since most doctors now agree that diet, exercise, reduced stress, and a positive outlook are helpful for any ailment. The particular medicines or alternative remedies may change, but I am not sure why breast cancer is singled out.

However, having said that and because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am posting some links to articles that are too important not to share, in case you have not seen them. They are about breast cancer as well as skin cancer and environmental cancers. While heart disease kills more women than breast cancer, I will focus on that issue in another posting.

First, the groundbreaking book, Pink Ribbon Blues by Gayle Sulik, which I reviewed several years ago, continues to write about issues that are important to learn about. But in her most recent posting, she reviews a breast book that all of us can read to learn about breast cancer. It is an updated edition of Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, which is updated about every 5 years. Here is the link: http://breastcancerconsortium.net/dr-susan-loves-breast-book/.

Here is an excerpt from Gayle’s review:
There is a lot to like about this book. It is extensive, readable, well-organized, and contains solid references. In fact, whenever a person asks me for information about breast cancer decision-making, I advise them to get this book before they do anything else. It is the best available first stop in one’s journey to learn about the healthy breast and common breast problems as well as varied aspects of breast cancer risk and diagnosis, the details of treatment options for different types of breast cancer, issues related to aftercare and follow-up, dealing with cancer recurrence, and living with what Dr. Love calls “the collateral damage” of treatment.

Another good posting by blogger Anna Brones, who seems to be in a similar “camp” as Gayle Sulik is: Beware of Pinkwashing in Your Food: Foodie Underground Posted on October 12, 2015: http://ecosalon.com/beware-of-pinkwashing-in-your-food-foodie-underground/. Brones notes that Breast Cancer Action, my favorite organization in the cancer arena (www.bca.org) because it goes after companies that produce products that are carcinogenic, coined the term to mean “a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.” (Taken from Anna Brones post.)

The article notes that companies like Proctor and Gamble and KFC who climb on the pink ribbon platform, while at the same time many of the products they produce actually have chemicals that can cause cancer, especially companies that produce skin products.

This is a perfect segue to the Environmental Working Group’s (ewg.org) Personal Care Products campaign. They mailed me a small fold-up brochure that lists problem products and their concerns, such as hair straighteners causing cancer, allergies, hair damage and loss, etc. or which chemical ingredients to avoid because that have harmful contaminants. (Link to this issue specifically: www.ewg.org/skindeep.)


The ewg’s list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen foods has long been on my ‘frig as a reminder to buying only organic foods listed in the Dirty Dozen because they are heavily sprayed with pesticides, some of which are considered carcinogenic, that is cancer-producing, and not necessarily just breast cancer. (If you go to the website, you will see photos and links to all their topics.)

In the September issue of Nutrition Action Magazine is a tidbit gleaned from the Journal of Clinical Ecology stating that those who consume more orange juice and grapefruits have a higher risk of melanoma skin cancer, according to a new study. Oddly, people who ate oranges or drank grapefruit juice had no increased risk.  The magazine recommends eating a variety of fruit because it is still to early to know if you should stop eating whole grapefruits or drinking orange  juice. (Play it safe and choose other fruits like berries, melons, etc. along with your citrus fruits.) The magazine is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.(www.cspinet.org).


Finally, the Jewish Exponent has an interesting article on genetic Testing and Breast Cancer Prevention. There is a new debate going on about the possibility of preventing breast cancer with genetic testing. The article notes that about 12% of women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes, but if they carry the mutated BR-CAI or BRCA2 gene, their chances for cancer jumps to 50% by the time they are 50 and more by the time they reach 80. So, genetic testing can possibly be a source for prevention. Link: http://www.jewishexponent.com/lifestyle/2015/10/breast-cancer-prevention-has-a-friend-in-genetic-testing.

Cancer is a complicated disease with so many aspects. I am happy that we have Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I think we need to expand it to include all cancers, so that our awareness is more encompassing.


Leave a Reply

Subscribe