During Breast Cancer Awareness Month that is held every October, people try to raise awareness for every type of breast cancer, to debunk myths linked to this issue, to discuss about the conventional treatments (chemotherapy, surgery and radiation), but most of all, to give support to breast cancer survivors and current patients.
When Joan Lunden from Today Show made an announcement about her triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), it created a lot of hype around this form of breast cancer in the media.
After being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, Joan went public about every detail, including 19 weeks of chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation therapy.
“Doctors found two tumors in my right breast, both triple negative breast cancer, which means it’s more aggressive and faster growing. From the moment you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. You are just propelled at this meteoric speed straight to a cancer surgeon” said Joan.
First of all, why is it widely accepted that TNBC must be terminal and incurable resulting with death, when in reality there are chances of recovering from this type of breast cancer, especially if the patient decides on adding natural evidence-based treatments to their healing protocol. The reason why conventional medicine makes TNBC so gloomy and scary is because conventional treatments mostly focus on hormone-positive cancers, and TNBC cells lack receptors for estrogen, progesterone, or Her2/neu proteins. This means there’s nothing that hormone-based treatments can “latch” on to.
When a patient who suffers from TNBC decides on undergoing chemotherapy, they are given less-targeted and more intense rounds. This treatment is highly toxic to the already fragile immune system and creates very resistive breast cancer stem cells which can potentially create a reoccurrence of cancer and metastasis.
TNBC patients can have hope in natural medicines. Nature-based protocols are designed to boost the immune system, and target only affected cells. Here are few (out of many) documented studies that support the effectiveness of natural products for TNBC patients:
- A discovery made by researchers at the NYU shows that caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a major component of bee propolis, has anti-tumor effects in TNBC-affected women.
- A joint study published in the Journal of Cancer Research(2010) found that blueberries contain phytochemicals that are able to inhibit the metastatic potential of TNBC by inhibiting tumor growth.
- Numerous studies have shown that curcumin found in turmeric root can also inhibit the growth of TNBC cells. It also induces a state of targeted apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
- During a study conducted by researchers at the University of Albany in New York, it was discovered that vitamin D, that was injected as a supplement in mice can suppress the proteins required for TNBC survival. D is actually a hormone that regulates over 100 genes in the human body. TNBC patients usually lack vitamin D, which is a defining characteristic of those who have this form of breast cancer.
- According to some studies, including ones published in January and February 2015, cannabinoids may lower the number of inflammatory cancer cell cytokines, reduce their proliferation, and induce programmed cell death.
Even though Lunden says that early detection is crucial for successfully dealing with breast cancer (and any other kind of cancer), and we all agree on that, mammography is not the only way as she highly suggests.
There is no hard evidence that early stage breast cancer detection through mammography has reduced the rate of late-stage cancers, while there are evidences that low dose ionizing radiation, which mammography uses, increases the risk of breast cancer among high-risk women. Irony at its finest, right?
In Lunden’s case, she has a dense, fibrous breast tissue, and for women like that there is a very harmless way for early detection called thermography.
This type of diagnosing works by detecting heightened areas of heat in the body to pinpoint where inflammation may be occurring, sometimes years before it develops into full-blown cancer!
A 2008 study has shown that breast thermography has a 97 percent sensitivity rating in discovering breast malignancies, sometimes even before a lump has formed.
Moreover, cancer cells secrete hormones and proteins. They determine if you have cancer (and where), even when it is the size of a pinhead. These hormones and proteins can be detected with the Oncoblot test.
Today, 63 to 83 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer go for alternative protocols because of their effectiveness. But, since each kind of cancer and each patient are different, before choosing which protocol you will be utilizing, study your cancer and get to know your body.