Here I am with my International Mission Board trustee friends at my home this past weekend. We have much in common including our Baptist lifestyles and love for missions. But unfortunately, we’ve not beaten the odds for breast cancer. Of the nine gals who attended, six are breast cancer survivors. Typically, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. To avoid being in this situation, you will need a new awareness of breast cancer in this changing world.
Colon cancer runs rampantly in my family. I was told at age 30 by a doctor, “If you’re not preventative with this cancer, I can tell you what will be on your tombstone!” He had my attention. I went beyond his expectations including colonoscopies every five years.
So I was shocked when diagnosed with both an estrogen-fed and an aggressive breast cancer. The nurse at CTCA painstakingly went over the seven risks for breast cancer. I had none of them! I nursed my three sons and gave birth to them before age 30, never took the birth control pill or estrogen hormones, am not overweight, abstain from smoking and drinking, and I exercise regularly. It made no sense. And I had yearly mammograms!
So my doctor ordered genetic testing. The results—none! This left me puzzled trying to figure out what could have possibly caused an aggressive, estrogen-fed cancer in a Baptist gal like me? That question sent me on a quest to discover the causes of my cancer. And thousands of hours of research later, I now know why I got this cancer and why we are all at risk—including men!
I attended a conference with many health practitioners and met a Canadian doctor who first opened my eyes. “We live in an estrogenic world,’ she said.
Really,” I pondered. This would be my first clue. Why I wasn’t taking estrogen and I was at a time in my life when estrogen production in my body was at an all time low. But she spoke the truth to me that day.
For this reason, we all need to be aware. Don’t fall for the “I don’t have any risks factors for breast cancer.” My journey has taught me WE ARE ALL AT RISK IN THIS ESTROGENIC CULTURE—even men!
Since it’s breast cancer awareness month, I want to encourage you to monitor your breasts monthly. Self-checking can save your life and enable you to catch your cancer at an early stage.
As for yearly checks, even though the ACS has reduced the number of mammograms to every other year for women 50 and up, I still recommend yearly checkups with your doctor, and using other screening devices such as ultrasounds and thermograms to reduce your risks in those in between years. For those not wanting radiation, you can alternate between ultrasounds and thermography.
Ultrasounds can be done by Herscan in mobile labs and are read by a radiologist at a cost of $235. They scan each breast and under each arm. The ultrasound is what your doctor orders after a mammogram detects something suspicious. In this way, you are skipping a step and avoiding radiation, but at a cost to you.
Thermography is a painless, non-invasive, clinical test without any exposure to radiation, which uses an infrared thermal camera to take a picture of the areas of different temperature in the breasts. The presence of a cancerous growth is associated with the excessive formation of blood vessel and inflammation in the breast tissue. These areas show up on the infrared image as areas with a higher temperature. Thermograms run between $149 to $189.
And here’s what ‘s new in breast cancer detection—3-D mammograms for the 40 percent of women like me who have dense breasts. If your insurance does not pay for this and you have dense breasts, offer to pay the extra. This new technology increases the chances your cancer will be detected.
Next week, we will look at where all these estrogens are coming from in this estrogenic world. I hope I’ve given you a new awareness about breast cancer in this changing world!
How many of you have heard of thermograms and mobile labs that do ultrasound scans?