Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The surprising answer is "quite possibly".  Although we know that genetics does play a role in developing breast cancer, we also know that genes affecting such seem to have a biological switch that can be turned on or off with exposure to certain positive or negative factors. Some of the negative factors are contained in products we use everyday. Other things that influence development of breast cancer are: emotional stress, environmental elements, chemicals, diet, lifestyle and degree of wellness.


Being that October is breast cancer awareness month, ad campaigns have flooded the market with products adorning pink ribbons in the name of breast cancer research. Naysayers and many researchers have condemned these tactics and have even coined such events as "pink washing" or using the friendly color pink to whitewash underlying monetary gains and/or bad intentions.
It might intrigue you to know that prevention of breast cancer is not in the best interest of some very powerful corporate giants.  On the contrary, breast cancer is making them lots of money. There is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that certain pesticides and chemicals play a factor in development of breast cancer.  Chemical producers like Mosanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical are deemed to have financial interests in companies that develop treatment for cancer. At the same time, some of the chemicals they produce are known to cause cancer. Do you see the irony here?
Parabens are chemicals that function as preservatives and anti-fungals and are often used in shampoos, deodorants, and cosmetics like lipstick. They are easily absorbed through the skin or by way of the gastro-intestinal tract.  Problem is that they act like estrogen in the body (often called "estrogen mimickers") and modern medicine has proven that excess estrogen plays a role in breast cancer. I find it interesting that more than 75% of breast tumor biopsies contain significant amounts of parabens.
Parabens are ubiquitous because they offer a relatively inexpensive way of preserving products used on the body.  Perhaps some companies may actually feel guilty. One example - Avon sold make-up containing parabens and formaldehyde, while at the same time contributing a portion of their sales to cancer research.  This is pink-washing in action.  One might suggest that the so-called charitable portion may better be spent on a safer preservative alternative.
This may not be as well as one might think. Through the years there is no doubt that mammograms have detected breast cancer and saved lives. That’s the god news, yet the overall impact may not be as favorable as touted by medical community; nor are the reliability of integrity of the results women have spent years relying upon. Several reliable sources document a high rate of performance of unnecessary surgeries, due to false positive on mammograms.
Although this author would suggest that focus on prevention is at least as important, if not more important than early detection, reliance on detection by mammogram may be less than prudent.  One reason I say this is because regular bi-yearly doses of radiation from mammograms, regardless how low the dose, seem counterintuitive. The dose received in a typical mammogram is approximately 75 times the amount of radiation we typically receive in a normal day. Although a spinal X-ray delivers about twice as much radiation, most people don’t have spinal X-rays every two years.  Being that radiation is cumulative and known to cause cancer, repeated exposure to radiation in the same area is a little disheartening because ionizing radiation has the ability to alter our DNA.
Certainly, breast self-examinations and yearly physical exams are prudent preventive measures.
When it comes to high tech diagnostics, look to solutions that do not use “ionizing radiation”, or perhaps completely non-invasive diagnostics, such as “thermograms”.  Thermograms sense heat in areas with fast growing cells like cancerous tumors, and give us a map of such. This is likened to those heat-sensing infrared scopes that function to pick out humans or animals in military operations.  Sonograms use ultrasound, a form of non-ionizing radiation that can find abnormalities in the breast. Neither of these procedures offer the perfect diagnostic solution, but they may be a prudent tool worth discussing with your physician.
As I would say about health care reform, there is no better insurance for good health than a patient who takes accountability for making sure they offer their body the best chance to maintain, rejuvenate and repair itself. The greatest healing power exists in our own innate powers of recuperation and maintenance of homeostasis or everything in balance. Cancer cells are merely normal cells that are no longer being recognized or regulated by our own physiology. Here are wellness and prevention suggestions for your consideration:
  • “Breath is life” and our breathing capacity is the first thing to go as we age. Learn to oxygenate with good Yoga-like breathing techniques. Most cancers develop in areas of the body that have poor oxygenation.
  • Breathe healthy non-polluted air ( may want to use a good whole house HEPA filter in your home and change filters when indicated)
  • Have your home checked for radon, the most common source of unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation
  • YOUR DIET: Eat a diet that WILL NOT increase inflammation in the body.  Eat healthy, live (vs. all cooked food), unprocessed and organic foods grown without hormones, pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Make sure to have a minimum of 5 servings of organic fruits and veggies every day (all different colors with lots of reds and purples), with at least some of them raw. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts are wonderful and proven to help female hormone balance.  Use organic, unpasturized apple cider vinegar in place of white vinegar. Use olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil vs. corn oil, canola oil or other polyunsaturated oils. Oils should be cold-pressed.
  • If you have gluten sensitivity stay away from it. Brown rice (GF) is better than white rice and quinoa (GF) or brown rice based pastas are wonderful tasting and much better for you than white flour or semolina.  
  • If it comes from a plant, that’s great; if it’s made in a plant, stay away from it.
  • Substitute well-planned vegetarian meals for animal proteins and limit your intake of red meats, pork and poultry to not more than three meals per week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and balanced blood sugar (5-6 small healthy meals throughout the day rather than 2-3 big meals).
  • Take a good natural comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement and extra Vitamin C containing bioflavonoids. Total vitamin C daily dose should be a minimum of 2000 mg per day
  • Exercise 6 days per week
  • Drink lots of well purified or distilled water daily. Avoid drinking or cooking with tap water.
  • Don’t use anything on your skin or as make-up  that you couldn’t actually eat without hurting you. Particularly avoid anything with parabens, formaldehydes, or sodium lauryl sulfates. Check your hand soaps, body cleansers, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, make-up, lipstick, etc.
  • Clean your home and do pest control with healthy alternatives to harsh chemicals. The vapors and residues from chemical can remain harmful for a long time
  • Laugh a lot, live in the moment with positivity and remember platitudes like: “Attitude is everything, so pick a good one”; AND “happiness is not found upon reaching your destination, but making a decision to enjoy the journey”.   Our attitudes literally change our physiology and that is proven science.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Swim for Back Pain Relief: How Swimming Helps Your Back

Improve range of motion, cushion stiff joints or fragile bones and alleviate stiffness and pain with a few laps across a pool. The body only bears 50 percent of its weight when immersed in water to the waist, 25 to 35 percent when immersed to the chest and just 10 percent when immersed to the neck, according to exercise physiologist Robert A. Robergs. Swimming may be the ultimate low-impact activity for easing back pain with minimal stress on the joints. Swimming and aquatic exercises also strengthen the back and core muscles.

Water Walking

Water walking takes pressure off your muscles, joints and bones as a low-impact activity. Even in a fairly large above ground pool like those from In The Swim or simply the pool at a local YMCA or fitness club that has water deep enough to reach your waist, walk back and forth across the pool swinging your arms in the same manner as you would on land. Keep your back straight, tighten your abdominal muscles and avoid walking on your tip toes. Wear web hands or other pool devices to increase resistance.

Pull Freestyle

Rotating your body in a freestyle pull can result in reduced back pain. Pulling freestyle means to swim with your legs trailing behind. Keep the body high in the water with the help of a pull buoy. Concentrate on keeping your head steady, your body elongated and the muscles in your back stretched.


Swimmers of all skill levels use the breaststroke because of its simplicity and it is one of the swimming strokes that is very easy on the spine. Control the swimming pace for a low-impact or more intense workout. During the breaststroke, the swimmer remains above the surface of the water, arms extended straight in front and the legs in the back. Push your arms apart to create a diagonal with your body. Face your palms outward and keep the elbows straight. Pull your elbows into the sides of the body, and bring your hands together in front of your chest. Lift your head, neck and upper chest out of the water while bending your knees and bringing your feet toward your torso. Gently glide across the surface of the water.


The butterfly stroke targets your chest, shoulders and back. It builds powerful upper body and abdominal strength, but is not the stroke most advisable for those with severe back ailments.

Swimming Frequency

Swimming should begin gradually. Practice twice a week at first and progress to four to six times a week as your body adapts to the techniques. In a study performed by the Department of Surgery at Kyoritsu Hospital in Kitakyusya, Japan, 35 people with lower back pain were enrolled in an aquatic exercise program. Nearly all the patients showed low-back pain improvements after six months, but the patients who participated a minimum of twice a week showed significant improvements over those who swam just once a week.