October is Breast cancer awareness month.
I have a big beef with all this ‘Run for the Cure’ and wear pink ribbons and donate to Susan G. Komen etc.
Everyone is so focused on finding a cure for this awful disease. A disease that touches the lives of everyone – both men and women.
Only 3% of breast cancer occurs in women, however for every woman afflicted with breast cancer, there are sons, husbands/ partners/ nephews or grandsons and friends whose lives change through the loss of their loved one. What does it matter that it is predominantly a disease of women, when a ripple effect into so many other lives occurs?
What is so surprising is the amount of denial that exists even at a time when Breast Cancer is rising at epidemic proportions.
I survey my patients often, and they are ‘sure’ it’s not going to happen to them; so they don’t need to pay attention or do anything about it….
Are you surprised?
Have you noticed that it is people affected by the disease either personally or through the loss of a loved one from Breast Cancer that ‘run’ for the cure’?
Let me tell you some things that no-one else will….
Before I do that – let me tell you about my family.
My mother had breast cancer. When I found out, it was the first time I ever had to face her mortality. That she wouldn’t always be there. That maybe I ran out of time to do things and say things and….
Her sister (my aunt) had cancer at age 40. While her baby was barely 2 years old.
This was my only surviving maternal aunt, having lost my other 2 aunts earlier to that diagnosis, both to tragic circumstances.
Their mother died of ‘pelvic’ cancer – likely ovarian, based on the speed and early age of her cancer.
And their mother’s sister also died of breast cancer.
You would think I would run for the cure and spend a lot of energy and time on that sort of cause.
In medical school we are trained to look at certain ‘risk factors’ for cancer.
- age of first pregnancy: earlier pregnancy is more protective.
(I’m in trouble I guess because I had my first at age 32)
- breast feeding (Whew! I did)
- taking oral contraceptive pills: who didn’t?
- family history – see above!!!
You must have heard that Angelina Jolie elected to have her breasts and ovaries removed because of the BRCA gene.
Only 5-10% of breast cancer occurs in people with this gene.
Did you know that there are people with the gene that don’t get cancer?
And that this epidemic of cancer is not occurring because of this gene – since it is not present in as much of the population in correlation to the amount of breast cancer.
What this means is that there is so much more than just the BRCA gene to know about.
And what else goes on in those families where there are many relatives with Breast Cancer and no BRCA gene?
I certainly wouldn’t elect radical surgery to remove body parts as an approach to avoid cancer…because there is so much one can do to reduce risk.
In Functional and Metabolic Medicine we have a saying “Your Genes are not your Destiny”.
In this interview I talk about some of the things you can do to stay safe. You have 80% control over your genes. There is a LOT you can do.
It really bothers me that all these places collecting money for cancer CURE don’t spend a lot of time or effort talking to people about safe and effective daily practices.
Simple lifestyle additions and subtractions.
There is even more current science to support other measures to stay safe – I will write again with this information. It will be timely after you listen to this segment above.
In the meantime, I have to get back to plan the launch of my project that I can’t wait to share with you when it’s ready. I know you will LOVE it.
I’d love to hear back from you and hear what else you want to know about.
Dr. Natasha Iyer MD