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BLOG: June 2010 - December 2013
I - Breast cancer risk factors
1. Is it more of a risk not to have risk factors?
Minimizing breast cancer (BC) risk is inherently drug-free, since it is not tamoxifen or raloxifene deficiency that causes it. Like any other cancer, breast cancer stems from the complex interaction of individual exposures and vulnerabilities, following this common path:
▶ unrepaired genetic damage inflicted by carcinogens, leading to
▶ unopposed malignant transformation of damaged breast cells into living entities disassociated from the body, due to
▶ inefficient body's defense lines against this type of threat.
In other words, it takes three for breast cancer to develop: exposure to a carcinogen resulting in cellular (DNA) damage, malignant transformation (not every genetic damage results in malignant transformation), and a glitch in body's control of its cell population.
This simple scheme has many levels and interactions, but can be related to - again - three complex body functions:
(1) detox system, including body's oxidative protection, whose efficacy determines the extent of DNA damage,
(2) integrity of intra-cellular function, from repairing genetic material to maintaining normal cell cycle, and
(3) immune system, which is supposed to step in and destroy malignant cells if the previous two functions fail.
Needless to say, which side will prevail is vitally dependant on the quality of body's nutrient intake and, on the opposite end, the magnitude of its exposure to carcinogens and other toxins.
While no one can predict which specific internal and external elements will create breast cancer risk in an individual, or to what extent, a number of risk factors, both predisposing and causative, have been recognized and linked to its development.
On the other hand, there are factors generally recognized as enhancing body's protective mechanisms. Combining avoidance of the former with embracing the latter is the most effective way to minimize breast cancer risk.
It is very important to understand that breast cancer is
heterogeneous in its forms,
This means that the importance of any given breast cancer factor - be it positive or negative in general - can vary very much in any individual case.
Some of these factors are commonly cited; some others, not necessarily less, and possibly more significant, are not, or their importance tend to be downplayed. Breast cancer is a huge social issue, and by that a market as well, with some information inevitably distorted by political, career and monetary interests.
Probably mostly due to the fact that our official medicine is not cause-oriented, we have that
2 out of 3 women who do get breast cancer
(Goldberg, Definitive Guide to Cancer, p607). This is, of course, directly related to the official medicine recognizing as the risk factors mainly those coming from ovarian hormone level, familial history and DNA inheritance. The three causative factors - radiation, chemical carcinogens and viral infections - are plainly ignored, and so is the factor of the efficacy of body functions that are our only protection from them: the detox system (including body's oxidative protection) and body's immune system.
More than anything else, that illustrates the choice made by the money-infested modern medicine. Why should they understand the disease, so that they can efficiently prevent and cure it, if they can (try to) kill it with chemo, radiation, or surgery, and make much more money for themselves and the whole of mighty pharmaceutical industry in the process?
It is important for you to know how limited in scope is the official medicine's insight into the causes of breast cancer - and, for that matter, any other degenerative disease - in order to understand all the confusion and incompetence surrounding this problem.
Most of the commonly cited breast cancer risk factors are related to the female's life exposure to her own sex hormones. Those that increase the exposure include aging, early menstruation, late menopause, not having baby, or having first baby after the age of 30, no breastfeeding, and family history of breast cancer.
The role of inherent genetic vulnerability has been brought into the spotlight, but with very little effort to connect this vulnerability with the actual breast cancer causes, other than direct inheritance.
A few other risk factors, like regular alcohol consumption, habitually wearing bra for long hours, smoking, high-calorie diets, weight gain and obesity often get mentioned.
Then there is a set of external breast cancer risk factors related to female (ovarian) hormones - primarily estrogen and progesterone - which either tend to be downplayed (when medical-treatment-related) or neglected (environmental).
Finally, some critical, or potentially significant breast cancer risk factors, like radiation exposure, toxic exposure/load, viral infections or low melatonin get mentioned only rarely, and
nearly never by the "official" sources.
This chaotic pile of breast cancer risk factors can be grasped much better if organized into three groups, according to their predominant actual role:
∎ predisposing for
∎ initiating, and
∎ promoting breast cancer growth
Factors predisposing for breast cancer are those increasing vulnerability to a genetic malfunction, such as inherited inefficiency in the metabolism of endogenous and exogenous (environmental) carcinogens, damage control (e.g. DNA repair), cellular transduction (signaling/response processes) and cell cycle control.
Factors initiating breast cancer are carcinogens, which may and may not be breast-cancer-specific. These are compounds capable of inflicting damage to the DNA, or altering gene expression to the extent of turning a cell into malignant entity. Many enter the body from the environment (air, food, water), or are produced within the body during detoxification and cellular respiration.
Once the cancerous cells form, how fast they will multiply depends on the presence (level and/or balance) of factors that stimulate cell proliferation, such as estrogens, progesterone, epidermal growth factor (EGF) or insulin, as well as toxic load in the body interfering with normal body functions.
Another way of looking at it is as the aggregate breast cancer risk factor, which includes multiplicity of factors typical of a culture, lifestyle, genome and geographic region. Its unmistakable barometer is breast cancer incidence rate, which varies dramatically throughout the world.
The bad news is: this aggregate, "total" breast cancer risk factor is by far the highest in the developed Western counties, and particularly in the U.S. More on next page.
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