Last month was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “Think Pink,” “Run For The Cure.” There are all of these different campaigns aimed at bringing awareness to breast cancer, which is not a bad thing.
We want to bring awareness to cancer. Today, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will have cancer.
But there are a lot of lies and deceptions associated with cancer. Sickness is the biggest business on earth.
My grandmother had breast cancer. I have very vivid memories of her and the one side of her clothing that always laid flat against the mastectomy she had to undergo. So naturally, I was a huge supporter of the “Pink Movement.”
Me at 5, with my grandma and grandpa.
There was always that fear that lived inside of me that I may one day have breast cancer.
When I was 19, I had surgery on my left breast. I remember the night I found the lump like it was just yesterday. I was 18 and it was mid November and, as per my nightly routine, felt around for lumps before I went to sleep. For those of you who have had these “this could never happen to me” situations, have an idea of the emotions coursing through me when I made this discovery. Needless to say, I hardly got any sleep that night.
The doctors told me not to worry about it, that it will most likely just go away. Something didn’t feel right though and I pushed it. My mother was in the medical field and she was able to get me a second opinion with the top surgeon in the field. I made them do a biopsy. It was tiny, about the size of a nickel. It wasn’t cancerous and they wanted to leave it but you know that feeling you get sometimes? The one that taps you on the shoulder and tells you that something isn’t right? I wanted it taken out.
My surgery was scheduled 8 months later. A week before my wedding.
I woke up during my surgery. It was suppose to be a quick one, but when they cut me open they found it had grown quite large. The size of a softball. So the surgery went longer then expected and not enough anesthesia was administered. “Doctor, she’s awake… ”
I had a benign, yet aggressive fibroadenoma. I was advised to have yearly mammograms after that. I’m now 31 and still have not had one. Once I had all the facts and a better understanding of cancer and prevention, I was able to make a more well-rounded decision.
Today, 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer.
A couple of years ago, there was a lot of Hollywood hype around the BRCA gene. Angelina Jolie had this gene and she thought that they only way for prevention was to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy.
She should have been told that our genes do not control our life. You can activate genes and deactivate them. What her doctor should have told her is that the way she lives her life will alter the expression of those genes and her risk of cancer. If we deactivate our genes with our healthy lifestyle, we do not get cancer.
She removed healthy breasts. The BRCA genes are actually cancer-protective genes. They are tumor suppressive, protective genes. They help to repair DNA damage, but if it mutates, then it can cause a problem possibly. But what causes it to mutate?
So do you inherit breast cancer genes? Is it genetic?
“Well, my mother/grandmother had breast cancer so I’m probably going to have breast cancer.”
But we now know through the study of epigenetics, which is the science of looking into gene expression, and nutrigenomics, which is the study of food, we know that we can change our gene expression by what we eat, how we sleep or don’t sleep, and how we manage or don’t manage our stress.
We should not be dying of cancer. The body knows what it’s doing. Nobody believes this anymore. Our bodies are designed to thrive, if we give it half the chance.
First of all, what is cancer? We’ll dive into that next week.