BE AWARE! It’s Breast cancer month!

Vitamin D is vital for good health but did you know it plays a role in protecting you from cancer. WE discuss the link between vitamin d and breast cancer

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Mammography Day is the third Friday of October, which this year was on the 19th.

There are many reminders that mammograms save lives, but little effort is made to educate women about actual prevention. Detecting cancer has nothing to do with prevention, and at this point, it’s already too late. Many doctors now say that mammograms have serious health risks which are ignored by conventional breast awareness campaigns.

Importantly, vitamin D optimisation could potentially eliminate a vast majority of breast cancers, yet this key information is being completely ignored!

Research shows most cancers occur in people with a vitamin D blood level between 10 and 40 nanograms per millilitre (ng/mL), and the optimal level for cancer protection has been identified as being between 60 and 80 ng/mL. Once you reach a minimum serum vitamin D level of 40 ng/mL, your risk for cancer diminishes by 67 percent, compared to having a level of 20 ng/ml or less. Vitamin D also increases your chances of surviving cancer if you do get it, and evidence suggests adding vitamin D to the conventional treatment for cancer can boost the effectiveness of the treatment.

Just last month, research published in the journal Menopause found that postmenopausal women who receive a diagnosis of breast cancer are more likely to be vitamin D deficient and overweight than women who receive a negative diagnosis. Overall, breast cancer patients were one and a half  times more likely to have low vitamin D.

This year, do your breast health a real favour and get your vitamin D level checked.

The best way is through sensible sun exposure, but many of us will need oral supplementation, especially in the dark days of winter!

Just remember that if you take high-dose oral vitamin D, you may also need to increase your intake of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K2 as well, as these four nutrients work together, and rely on sufficient amounts of each to work properly. Low levels of vitamin K2 in combination with high vitamin D intake may cause over absorption of calcium, which in turn can result in calcium deposits in your heart and kidneys.

Calcium-to-magnesium is also important, as magnesium helps keep calcium in your cells so they can function better, a ratio of 1-to-1 appears to be ideal.

Magnesium is also required for the activation of vitamin D, as without sufficient magnesium, taking a vitamin D supplement may be ineffective, making it appear you need unnecessarily high amounts. If your magnesium level is too low, the vitamin D will simply get stored in its inactive form, doing you absolutely no good.

If you’ve been taking a certain amount of vitamin D3 for a number of months and re-testing reveals you’re still not within the recommended range, then you know you need to increase your dosage. Over time, with continued testing, you’ll find your individual sweet spot and have a good idea of how much you need to take to maintain a healthy level year-round.

should you or shouldn’t you….?

Vitamin D is vital for good health but did you know it plays a role in protecting you from cancer. WE discuss the link between vitamin d and breast cancer

Following the news that hundreds of women missed out on having routine mammograms due to an NHS oversight, the process has been under scrutiny with different opinions on how effective/harmful they are.

Breast cancer screening scandal: Doctors warn against catch up scans

In an open letter, 15 medical professionals claim the breast screening programme “causes more unintended harm than good”.

Women who did not undergo routine breast cancer screening because of a computer glitch should not attend catch-up appointments, a group of doctors say.

They are being told to “carry on with their lives” as the programme can do “more harm than good”.

In a letter published in The Times, 15 medical professionals including GPs and university professors said women aged 70 to 79 who have been offered the checks “would be well advised to look this gift horse in the mouth” and should only seek medical help if they notice symptoms.

The letter, which includes the signatures of Susan Bewley, professor of women’s health at King’s College London, and Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery at University College London, warns that women should not be subjected to worry or “fear-mongering”.

More harm than good

The doctors write: “The breast screening programme mostly causes more unintended harm than good, which is slowly being recognised internationally.

Many women and doctors now avoid breast screening because it has no impact on all-cause death.”

Obviously it’s up to you to decide whether or not to go the mammogram route. Just make sure you read all the pros and cons before you make a decision. Other options to detect breast cancer include breast self-examinations, physical breast exams by a doctor, ultrasound, MRI, thermography, and other tests that may be ordered by your doctor.

BHRT and Breast Cancer

BHRT and Breast Cancer

Using BHRT when you have breast cancer

I have been asked by lots of women about using natural progesterone (BHRT)  when you have, or have had breast cancer, so I wanted to clarify what’s best.

Dame Dr Shirley Bond MB BS, LRCP MRCS, FFARCS

Dr Bond is a Harley Street general practitioner. She was one of the very first doctors in the UK, over 25 years ago, to use bio-identical hormones, including natural progesterone, to enable women of all ages to balance their hormones naturally. She was also involved in the development of methods for diagnosing and treating osteoporosis in its early stages, before it becomes severe enough to lead to fractures.

During my research, I came across some answers to questions women had asked  about progesterone and breast cancer:

Can taking natural progesterone cause breast cancer?

Progesterone never causes breast cancer. If a breast cancer is described as being progesterone-sensitive, it does not mean that the progesterone caused the cancer or that the administration of progesterone will make it recur. What it means is that the breast cancer has receptors that are sensitive to progesterone. The effect of progesterone on the breast is to reduce proliferation of the tissues, and it is this proliferation that makes cancer more likely, so by using progesterone you are positively protecting your breasts against the risk of cancer.

I have been told that natural progesterone inhibits oestrogen, so can it be used instead of Tamoxifen following breast cancer? 

It is not true that natural progesterone inhibits oestrogen. Oestrogen and progesterone are female hormones that occur naturally in the body and should occur in quantities that balance each other out. The importance of progesterone is that it balances out the effects of oestrogen. Breast cancer is usually an effect of oestrogen dominance. If this dominance can be counteracted, then the activity of breast cancer cells should be inhibited. It is claimed that tamoxifen does this. However, it is a very potent drug (actually a weak oestrogen) with unpleasant side effects of its own and, in the opinion of many people, is best avoided. As natural progesterone prevents oestrogen dominance and has no reported side effects, it is preferable to use it.

I had breast cancer 15 years ago and now have osteoporosis. I believe I can’t have HRT,  what else can I do?

No, you will not be prescribed HRT as you would be a prime risk for further cancer if you were to be given it. However, there is still a great deal that can be done to help your osteoporosis; taking natural progesterone will enable you to build up new bone and will  be protective against any further breast cancer risk.

Hormones and Breast Cancer The findings from the Women’s Health Initiative by Dr David Zava

Hormones and Breast Cancer The findings from the Women's Health Initiative by Dr David Zava

Natural progesterone has a much safer profile than all forms of synthetic progestins, not only for the breasts, but for nearly all tissues of the body, including the reproductive tissues, the cardiovascular systems, and the brain. There is a plethora of published literature on this subject.

For those who are unsure about the striking differences in safety profiles of synthetic progestins versus natural progesterone as regards breast cancer risk, several clinical trials have clearly shown the superiority of natural progesterone. In a 2005 review of clinical studies comparing synthetic progestins to natural progesterone, Campagnoli and co-authors concluded that: “The balance of the in-vivo evidence is that progesterone does not have a cancer-promoting effect on breast tissue. …..We therefore suggest that when hormone therapy is indicated, preparations containing progesterone and not a synthetic progestin should be used. In this way the risk of endometrial cancer is minimised without increasing the risk of breast cancer.”
So why are the news media confusing synthetic progestins with natural progesterone? Too often information such as this is streamlined in mainstream media by those who have power, money and the ability to shout the loudest. Large pharmaceutical companies have a strangle hold on funding for universities, who gets grants, what gets published, whose opinions get press, the success of women’s health organisations and journals they represent.
 
“The decision on natural hormone therapy is one between a patient and physician; natural hormones, when properly balanced, allow the body to function at its optimal level.”

 
P.S. Any queries, ideas or if you would just like to say Hi, email me at  info@menopausematters.guru