Choices by Breast Cancer Survivors
by Dr. Sat
Dharma Kaur, N.D.,
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note: Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
At the time, there were few complementary practitioners and information
was scarce. I had an insatiable thirst to research and find all
that I could on complementary approaches to healing and wellness,
including taking a Holistic Nutrition Course through correspondence.
I believe that both modern medicine and complementary approaches
are valuable. I was fortunate enough to have complete trust in
all my modern medicine (allopathic) doctors. I truly was gifted
with the treatment and expertise that God sent my way. It is wonderful
to be able to share with you this article, as I feel that Dr.
Sat Dharam Kaur, ND, has presented the most inclusive complementary
view on breast health/breast cancer that I have seen. Up to this
point, I had come across only one researcher who talked about
the benefits of rebounding with respect to the lymphatic system.
Dr. Kaur is the only other researcher I've come across to include
this information. Times have changed. What took me years to research
on my own is now available through her book, which is nicely summarized
here. The Natural Choice Journal is proud to feature Dr. Kaur's
book, "A Call to Woman, The Healthy Breast Programme and
Workbook: A Naturopath's Guide to Preventing Breast Cancer"
and make it available to you.
of the things that sets humans apart from many other species is
our ability to understand cause and effect and to make conscious
choices regarding our well-being and our future. We set goals
for the coming years, we save for our children's education, we
plan for our retirement. It is with overwhelming sadness that
I reflect upon the unconscious choices we make every day that
undermine our planetary future and add to the plethora of risk
factors for breast cancer. Many of these are choices of convenience
- like using the birth control pill, spraying our lawns with pesticides,
packaging and storing food in plastic containers, and flushing
the toilet - which indirectly threaten the survival of our species
and many other glorious inhabitants of this ailing planet. We
live in denial of the effects of these and other daily actions.
We must make more conscious choices for our breast health and
for the planet.
cancer is the leading cause of death for women in Canada between
the ages of 35 and 55. It plucks us in the prime of our lives.
One of us will be diagnosed with the disease every 30 minutes.
In North America, one in nine of us will be diagnosed with it
at some point in our lifetimes. In the 1920's, when my grandmother
was a young woman, pregnant with my mother, and half of my cellular
DNA was present in the ovaries of the fetus in my grandmother's
belly, one in 20 women was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have
a daughter who is twelve. If the trend continues, her granddaughters
will face a risk of 1 in 3. Who will nourish the young?
milk ought to be one of the most prized and protected commodities
on the planet, certainly more precious than oil or gas, for our
survival depends on it. Without it, we forfeit the perfect food
for the next generation. When I nursed my three children and if
you nursed your children, our breast milk contained at least 17
pesticides, 13 furans, 65 PCBs, 10 dioxins and 30 other organochlorines.
In only six months of breast feeding, an infant in Canada, the
United States and Europe receives the maximum recommended lifetime
dose of dioxin and 5 times the allowable limit of PCBs set by
international standards for a 150 pound adult. A woman passes
half of her lifetime accumulation of dioxins and PCBs on to her
child when she nurses for just six months. These contaminants
in breast milk affect the neurological, glandular and immune health
of our children for life. PCBs alone are linked to immune deficiency,
chronic ear infections, learning disabilities, thyroid abnormalities
and attention deficit disorders in children. People who eat fish
regularly from the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec
have a mean PCB level of 6 parts per million, which is over 10
times higher than the average Canadian's. The St. Lawrence Estuary
contains one of the highest concentrations of PCBs in the world.
studies have shown that the chemicals released from one nursing
mother are still present in offspring 5 generations later. They
cross the placental barrier during pregnancy and are mobilized
from our bodies' fat store into breast milk when we nurse. What
does it mean when this perfect food has no laws that protect it,
no health practitioners who systematically test its purity, when
infant nutrition is laced with hormone-disrupting, cancer-producing
contaminants, and when the chemical industry is self-regulated
and supported by government? How did we go so wrong?
the last 10 years, it has been found that a certain class of environmental
chemicals called organochlorines are able to mimic estrogen. These
include many chemicals present in pesticides, plastics, PCBs,
pulp and paper manufacturing, sewage treatment and solvents. By
far the greatest amount is used in the production of PVC plastic.
There are many problems associated with the use of these chemicals.
One is that they are persistent. They are stable molecules that
resist breakdown in the environment or by our detoxification mechanisms,
persisting for decades or centuries. Because they don't easily
break down, organochlorines steadily accumulate in the global
environment and are dispersed worldwide through air and water.
They concentrate in the fatty tissues of animals and humans and
move up the food chain. The more dairy, fish and meat we eat,
the higher our load of persistent chemicals that mimic estrogen
in our bodies. They remain in our tissues for life and we pass
them on to each successive generation in increasing amounts. The
effects of many of these chemicals are synergistic. Two different
pesticides together in minute doses have been found to be 1000
times more potent in affecting human estrogen receptors than either
chemical alone. Unless we eat organic food, we ingest these every
can make conscious choices to protect ourselves and future generations
from the cumulative effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals. We
can eat lower on the food chain, consuming a primarily vegetarian
diet, and avoiding or minimizing meat, fish and dairy. We can
choose to exercise our power as consumers and stop buying plastic,
particularly PVC plastic and food stored in plastic. We can grow
or buy organic food and ask our supermarket to stock it. We can
educate our neighbours who spray their lawns about the effects
of pesticides on health and find alternatives to chemical sprays.
We can become activists and demand that government and industry
phase out PVC plastic and other hormone-disrupting chemicals.
We can support the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace
and other organizations that are trying to make a difference.
We can maintain a weekly schedule of saunas, through which we
will sweat out many toxic chemicals. Intense sauna programs can
eliminate more than 90 percent of the chemicals stored in our
fat cells when done in a particular way, preceded by exercise
and ingestion of a few supplements. With a supervised program,
this could be accomplished in as little as three weeks. Breast
cancer prevention begins before conception. Whether you are a
man or a woman, if you plan to have children one day, do an intense
sauna detoxification at least 6 months before conceiving. If you
have children, take them into the sauna with you at least once
weekly. There is evidence that certain homeopathic products designed
specifically for cellular detoxification, such as the Phonix brand,
are also effective in eliminating nearly 80 percent of our body
burden of chemicals when taken over a 2 month period.
protect ourselves from the damage caused by nuclear radiation,
we can consume at least 2 tablespoons of seaweed daily such as
dulse, kelp or nori, and learn to cook with them. Sea vegetables
contain sodium alginate, which is able to bind to radioactive
substances which can then be excreted. A diet rich in antioxidants
or supplements containing vitamin E, and C, beta carotene, grape
seed, coenzyme Q10 and the minerals zinc and selenium are also
protective. Pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts provide us with food
sources of zinc and selenium. We can investigate the possibility
of using solar or wind power, design our houses to be more energy
efficient and use fewer electrical devices to decrease our reliance
on nuclear power. We can protest the use of radioactive weapons
by all countries. This is dealing with the cause.
who are chronically exposed to electromagnetic fields have an
increased breast cancer risk. Electromagnetic fields affect the
pineal gland, lowering the production of melatonin. Melatonin
exerts a protective effect against breast cancer. We can limit
our exposure to electromagnetic fields by keeping a distance of
at least two and one half feet from electrical currents and appliances,
particularly where we sleep or spend most of our waking hours.
Move your clock radio further away from your bed and spend less
time in front of your computer.
are many other preventable causes of breast cancer, including
several hormonal factors. Estrogen is a hormone produced by the
ovaries from puberty through to menopause. Estrogen acts only
on tissues that have receptors for it. The hormone attaches to
the receptor and then is able to activate the DNA or genetic material
of the cell. Receptors for estrogen are present in our breasts,
uterus, ovaries, vagina, bone, skin, brain and other tissues.
Estrogen promotes cell division, especially in tissues that have
a high number of estrogen receptors, such as the breasts and uterus.
As more cell division occurs, more mistakes can be made in DNA
replication. If a carcinogen such as a chemical, excess radiation,
toxic metals like cadmium or lead, or heated oils have damaged
the DNA to begin with, estrogen multiplies the damage, promoting
a cancerous growth. The more estrogen a woman is exposed to during
the course of her lifetime, the greater her risk of breast cancer.
early onset of puberty, before age 11, and late menopause, say
after age 53, each double a woman's risk of breast cancer. So
does a menstrual cycle that occurs every 24 days rather than 28
days. The body makes several forms of estrogen. Some of them promote
breast cancer and others are protective. The liver will convert
the promoters into the protectors if we help it along. The extent
to which the large intestine eliminates estrogen depends to a
large degree on what we eat and how frequent our bowel movements
order to prevent breast cancer, we can be taught to manage our
estrogen levels to send it down the protective pathways and eliminate
it efficiently, just as we are taught to manage our bank account
or our mutual funds. Estrogen in itself is not bad - it's the
metabolism of it that needs to be corrected. It needs careful
how do we manage our estrogen? We can stall puberty in our daughters
by keeping them on an exercise program from ages 9 through 16
and by encouraging weight loss if they are overweight. Before
puberty, we can feed our daughters plenty of ground up flaxseeds
and soy products. These foods have what are known as phytoestrogens
in them - estrogens that can bind to the receptors on breast cells
but are too weak to promote cell division and cancer. They prevent
the body's stronger estrogens from attaching to the receptors.
Other phytoestrogens include mung bean sprouts, red clover sprouts
and pumpkin seeds.
can help the liver convert the strong estrogens into protective
estrogens through the foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs we use,
and through avoiding common substances that interfere with liver
function, such as coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, car exhaust, pesticides,
the birth control pill and other drugs. All of these things, so
much a part of our lives, will interfere with the metabolism of
estrogen. One third of a raw cabbage daily, perhaps as coleslaw
or juice, pushes one of the strong estrogens into a protective
one. So do other raw foods in the brassica family - which include
broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale. Other liver protecting
foods include turmeric powder, rosemary, flaxseed oil, soy products,
legumes, oatmeal and spirulina. The liver relies on the B complex,
particularly B6, and the vitamins E, A, C, folic acid, zinc, copper,
calcium and magnesium to function well. Some of the herbs that
regenerate the liver and assist in estrogen metabolism are milk
thistle, dandelion, bupleurum, schizandra and chelidonium. We
can take these in a tincture form to decrease our susceptibility
to breast cancer.
can help our colons eliminate estrogen through maintaining a vegetarian
or almost vegetarian diet that is low in fat, using only unheated
olive oil and flaxseed oil on our foods. Women who consume meat
regularly have estrogen levels three times higher than vegetarian
women. A diet high in meat and fat causes a specific bacteria
to be formed in the large intestine that helps estrogen to be
reabsorbed and recycled rather than eliminated. We can consume
a high fibre diet, taking in at least 30 grams of fibre daily,
as they do in Africa where the breast cancer incidence is the
lowest in the world. We can accomplish this by using a tablespoon
each of wheat bran and psyllium seed powder daily, using beans
and whole grains regularly and eating six to nine servings of
fruits and vegetables each day. A diet high in fibre reduces our
breast cancer risk by 30 percent, as the fibre helps to eliminate
estrogen. Women who have less than 2 bowel movements per week
increase their breast cancer risk fourfold as estrogen is recycled.
We should aim for at least two bowel movements per day.
improves the metabolism of estrogen. Women who do aerobic exercise
at least 4 hours a week, or 35 minutes per day, decrease their
breast cancer risk by between 30 to 60 percent. We can alter our
lifestyles so that we do exercise daily - walking, rebounding,
fitness classes - whatever we find enjoyable and can maintain
for life is best.
need to support one another in their efforts to prevent or recover
from breast cancer and work together towards planetary healing.
Think of helping out an environmental group in your area that
is active in decreasing the use of pesticides and/or PVC plastic.
Join a support group or start your own to encourage lifestyle
changes to improve your breast health. Link up with other sauna
goers to make the sauna experience fun. For more ideas or information,
you can view the website www.healthybreastprogram.on.ca or purchase
a copy of my book, "A Call to Women: The Healthy Breast Program
and Workbook," recently published by Quarry Press which is
available through the Natural Choice Journal's Website.
Sat Dharma Kaur, N.D., practices Naturopath Medicine in Ontario.
To see where her next workshops are happening, see our Natural
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