Tests To Help With Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions

When you’ve just received a diagnosis of breast cancer, you are faced with many different treatment options. Your mind is in a whirl with fear, confusion, and disbelief. While none of these feelings help decision making, there are some tests that can help: Oncotype DX and Mammaprint. 

These tests are genomic tests that analyze the activity of specific genes in the breast tumor. They can help you determine if your risk of breast cancer coming back is high or low, which can help you in making a decision about whether to have chemotherapy, radiation, or other therapies to reduce risk after surgery.

There are two main types of tests – Oncotype DX and Mammaprint.

Oncotype Dx has two tests for breast cancer – one for Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) – Oncotype DX DCIS and one for invasive breast cancer – Oncotype DX.  Mammaprint has one test for invasive breast cancer. Let’s look at these in greater detail.

What are genomic tests?

Genomic tests look at specific genes in your individual tumor and try to determine what is driving its growth. This is different from genetic tests which look at your inherited risk or predisposition for cancer. Genomic tests provide information that can help tailor your treatment plan to you as an individual. They are a type of personalized medicine. This is really important, because not all breast cancers are the same and, in fact, some breast cancers might have more in common with a prostate cancer than they do with another type of breast cancer. One size treatment definitely does not fit all.

Oncotype DX DCIS

Image showing the incidence of DCIS from blog on CALMERme.comThis test is only for people diagnosed with DCIS or, as it is often called, “stage zero” breast cancer. In addition to general information such as tumor size, margins, and grade, Oncotype DX DCIS helps determine the likelihood of DCIS recurring or invasive breast cancer occurring within the next 10 years.

It examines a sample of the tumor tissue that has already been removed during the lumpectomy for DCIS. By looking at the expression of 21 different genes in the tumor, it provides a DCIS score of between 0-100. The lower the score, the lower the risk of recurrence. Two scores are given, one to determine the risk of recurrence of DCIS and another for the risk of occurrence of an invasive breast cancer.

Knowing the DCIS score can help you decide whether to have radiation treatment  following the lumpectomy. If your risk of recurrence is low, then maybe you can spare yourself further treatment and the possible side effects that go with it.

To be eligible for Oncotype DX DCIS, you need to have recently been diagnosed with DCIS and had lumpectomy surgery. The decision should be made in discussion with your doctor/oncologist.

In the US, insurance might cover the cost of this test; the testing company will help you determine if this is the case and provide information to your insurers, as necessary. In the UK, these tests can be conducted under the NHS or privately.

Many oncologists are now familiar with these tests for invasive breast cancer; sadly, the Oncotype DX DCIS test does not appear to be known by all oncologists, so it’s good for you to be proactive and start the discussion. Here is a link to the validation work done on the test that you can forward to your oncologist, and further links are given at the bottom of this post:

Clinical validation of oncotype DX DCIS

I definitely think it is worth having a discussion with your oncologist, sharing the references as necessary, and if you don’t get anywhere with the oncologist, talk to your family doctor or surgeon.

Oncotype DX and Mammaprint

Both Oncotype DX and Mammaprint are genomic tests suitable for early stage invasive breast cancer. They both predict the benefit of chemotherapy or other types of treatment, as well as the likelihood of 10 year recurrence.

They are similar tests but have some differences, as outlined below:

Comparison of oncotype DX and mammaprint for invasive breast cancer

Looking at this table can help determine if you are eligible for either of these tests.

As with Oncotype DX DCIS, some insurance companies in the US will pay for these tests whereas some don’t include them in coverage. Both testing companies offer financial assistance or guidance, so it’s worth calling them to discuss if you are interested and want to check coverage. In the UK, these tests can be conducted under the NHS or privately.

These tests are important because some of the cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, can have many side effects and are hard to get through. If there is little to no benefit in these treatments for you as an individual, then these genomic tests give you the confidence to not have a treatment that has greater potential for risk than for benefit.

Obviously the decision of further treatment is based on more than just these results. It involves detailed discussion with your oncologist, but also personal consideration of what you want and how you feel. Remember, you can take your time over treatment decisions. You might feel rushed, but take adequate time until you feel comfortable that you are making the right personal decision. These tests can go a long way in giving you confidence in your decision, but it is still a personal choice that needs to be right for you as an individual based on your mind and spirit, as well as your body.

Here are links to each of these three tests for more information

Patient information on Oncotype DX DCIS

Oncologist information on Oncotype DX DCIS

Patient information on Oncotype DX

Oncologist information on Oncotype DX

Patient information on Mammaprint

Oncologist information on Mammaprint

Let me know if you’ve had any of these tests and how they helped you.

Ruth BaillieRuth Baillie is originally from the UK and now lives most of the year in Northern California. She holds two Master’s degrees, one in Personalized Nutrition (distinction), and another in Health Psychology. She is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Certified Professional Cancer Coach, and Cancer Guide, and has undertaken considerable post-graduate studies in integrative naturopathic oncology. She is the author of “Choices in mind-body medicine for cancer patients in Sonoma County, California” and her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Spring Opportunities of Joy for Breast Cancer Survivors

Winter may have been especially long, cold and dark for many; but as winter turned a corner on March 20, 2017, spring caused a shift in sunlight, brightening the corners of darkness. As breast cancer survivors’ know, not all changes bring light into the darkness. Life feels permanently changed when those words resounded in your ears, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” What do you know about the word, permanently? Maybe it is that all things are truly impermanent (not permanent). Like the four seasons, we realize the idea of impermanence as one season rolls into the next, ever changing. The concept of impermanence becomes a useful tool for living our lives vibrantly. Increasingly important, using ALL of our tools to keep us moving forward and staying positive. As Bell Ruth Naparstek explained in one of her affirmations in many of her healing CDs, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.”

Spring is a time when many things begin anew again. Grass appears greener than usual, blossoms on trees dance in the sunlight and bunnies are being born. Birds even seem to border on the obnoxious side late at night and early morning hours. The birds are so happy to be alive and so happy to create what comes natural that they do not attempt to restrain their song. You too, can be like the birds. Letting the cancer be like a winter season in your life, and chose to move into spring with the light, and the birds.

It is March 20, 2017 and you are still here. What do you want to plant? What to do you want to create? All of us reading this today are still here. All of us are going to die, yes, but what are we going to do with this day to make it a song from our heart? What if we feel tired? What if we feel weak? What is it that we can do to make today a day of spring-filled blessings? The choice is ours. We are not the same person before those words, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” We are different now. Think about when Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was hit upside the head with window, her life changed. She went on an unplanned journey that had many perils. When she returned to Kansas, no one or nothing had changed. However, Dorothy was different. She had been on the journey while everyone else stayed in their own comfort zone. Cancer changes us because it throws us out of our comfort zone and into the battle with the wicked witch of the west. We begin to see the path is up to us, not the Wizard, to survive the ordeals. We must get the witches broom. The season of spring gives us many opportunities to sweep out things not working, pack up things that are no longer useful and create new and bright happy changes in our life.

Make that affirmation, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.” Regardless of your situation, stage, grade, or prognosis, create some joy in each day. Whether it is the ecstasy of the softness of ice cream in your mouth or a cool washcloth against your hot skin, push yourself to move toward joy just as a flower pushes out of the dormant cold frozen dirt toward the warmth and light of the newly arrived sunlight. Life is simple. It is what it is. You get to create joy and you can do that. Cancer did not steal that ability.

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Hydrogel Sheets and Cooler Rolls for Radiation Burn Care and Comfort

By Margot Malin, Founder and CEO, Lots To Live For, Inc.

There are a number of products to help heal and soothe radiation burns. Most people are acquainted with ointments, lotions and sprays. Flying under the radar are another set of items in the tool box: hydrogel sheets and cooler rolls. We will educate you about these products in this post.

Gel sheets are a handy and noninvasive product that can be used for radiation burn care. They help to soothe and calm radiation burns. Some of our customers tell us they provide incredible relief from pain and itching and that allows them to continue with daily chores and especially to sleep at night! The great thing about gel sheets is that they can be left on for long periods of time (for some people, up to 3 days though most people change them more frequently) and they provide continuous relief. They can also be used in conjunction with lotions and sprays.

Two different types of hydrogel products are CoolMagic Gel Sheets and Lindiskin Cooler Rolls.

CoolMagic Hydrogel Sheets come in 2 sizes: 3.75 inches x 3.75 inches OR 6 inches x 8 inches (10 per box) and they can be trimmed to the appropriate size.

  • This light-weight, see-through polymer sheet provides instant cooling to burns, abrasions, skin tears, radiation reactions and sensitive wounds, effectively reducing pain.
  • The sterile hydrogel polymer sheet consists of 90% water, 10% inactive crosslinked polyethylene oxide matrix, and it transfers heat away from the wound, providing a cooling effect.
  • Cooling action relieves pain of burning, itching, or sore skin
  • Can be refrigerated for greater cooling capacity
  • Allows oxygen flow while preventing bacteria or foreign material from entering wound.

CoolMagic is mentioned enthusiastically in several cancer blogs by cancer patients who have used these dressings and received relief. (ie. cancercompass.com)

Suggestions for use of CoolMagic gel sheets:

  1. Apply over wound for a cool, soothing effect.
  2. Change the dressing every 24 to 36 hours. They should be discarded after use.
  3. Hold in place with tape or stretch gauze (you may or may not need tape or gauze).

CoolMagic gel sheets receive rave customer reviews. Here are 2 sample reviews from customers:
perfect wound dressing for radiation burns 5 Star Review (2/2015)

“I only wish we had found this website and this product earlier in my father’s skin cancer journey. The large burned area was very difficult to protect and even soft cotton handkerchiefs stuck to the wound or creams. The 6×8 hydrogel dressing is easy to apply and comes away easily without sticking to the wound. Dad finds relief the minute this dressing is applied. I wish I had known about this when treating pressure sores some months ago. This will be a vital part of my first aid kit from now on.”

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product, expensive, but well worth it. (8/2016)

“Recovering from radiation burns I was so fortunate to have found these pads available online.”

DO NOT USE CoolMagic FOR: Full Thickness Wounds, Infected Wounds or 3rd Degree Burns.

Another option is the LindiSkin Cooler Roll, which are more economical.

LindiSkin Coolers provide intense relief to areas that are burned or dehydrated. They are designed to soothe compromised skin with the natural cooling and moisturizing effects of water and aloe vera in gentle non-adhesive dressings designed to be applied after radiation therapy.

Skin Coolers are especially effective on hyper-sensitive, compromised skin. They can be used on radiation dermatitis, sunburn, “hot flashes”, or itchy, dry skin. During radiation therapy, skin should always be washed and free of any product. Skin Coolers should be used after each treatment.

To relieve areas that are burned or dehydrated, look to the immediate cooling comfort and intense hydration of the LindiSkin Cooler Roll. The natural properties of water and aloe vera combine to help soothe any compromised area and promote a moist, healing environment for healthy skin. Leave on area for 20-45 minutes. LindiSkin Cooler Roll is designed to be custom cut for your needs and conform to the size and shape of the wound. Simply cut, apply to skin and then discard after one-time use.

The size of the LindiSkin Cooler Roll is – 1 roll (4 in x 60 in)

Both products can be refrigerated before use, but they don’t have to be. They will naturally adhere to the skin, and peel off easily when you want to remove them. Neither product is suggested for use on broken skin.

Additional creams. lotions and sprays which are very popular and can be used in conjunction with gel sheets include: RADX Radiation Therapy Cream (contains 2% lidocaine for pain relief), MPM Regenecare Gel or Spray (also contains lidocaine), CV Skinlabs Rescue & Relief Spray (no lidocaine) or My Girls Cream (no lidocaine).

Lots To Live For, Inc. was created with the belief that everyone should be as comfortable as possible during cancer treatment. We offer you the tools to provide relief and enhance your comfort. “Patients are naturally more satisfied when they are empowered through knowledge,” says Rodney Ganey. We hope the information about, and the knowledge and use of these products during treatment will help to satisfy and empower you during your treatment.

There is so Much to Recovery

breast-cancer-recoveryAs I am sitting by the fireplace in the midst of the Catskill region and reflecting on what to write for this breast cancer blog, I am reminded of my yogic learning. In yoga we try not to think that which we do not want. This is a blog for any recovery.

Recovery requires us look at more than the physical body
If I only focus on the disease, then my recovery is limited. Recovery requires us look at more than the physical body. Recovery cannot occur unless we are willing to look at the complexity of our being. We need to heal our physical body but that also includes our emotional, mental and spiritual being. Doctors and treatments do not heal us; they facilitate our process of healing. They are very necessary. They give us the strength and physical ability to enable the healing that comes from within us.

Our body when balanced has the power to heal
Working in hospitals as a student, I could not understand when doctors would say; “I can not do anything for this patient, she does not have the will to live.” We as patients must become partners with the doctors in the healing process. Our body when balanced has the power to heal according to yoga. Therefore yogis do exercises and breath work to enable the body to balance.

When the body has dis-ease, it is out of balance. With the wonderful work of science, doctors now have the ability to attack most dis-eases, and to give us the strength to begin the healing process. These blogs are here to assist us in this healing process.

The word yoga means to “yoke our individual self with the universal self.” We believe that eventually all of us will join our creator. To do so, we need to purify this physical, mental and emotional body. Our soul is universal, we are universal, but having a human experience. It is everyone’s destiny to return to the source. It matters not what you call the source, God, Allah, Krishna, there is only ONE but we all take different paths. When we are on the path towards our goals, we feel more balanced.

Our spiritual body is also required in the healing process
All beings on this planet rely on life force. This life force we call praana, others may call it chi or adamantine particles. Praana is the essence of life. It is the essence of creation coming from the Heart Core of our Supreme Creator. Therefore, our spiritual body is also required in the healing process.

How much praana we are able to absorb is dependent on our physical, mental and emotional vessel? I like to compare it with the electricity in our homes. It is always there to give us 120 volt. The refrigerator takes all of the voltage; whereas the transistor radio can only take 12 volts. Similarly our body utilizes praana according to the state of our being. The goal is to be able to absorb more and more praana. More life force in the physical body will affect the mental and emotional body. Similarly the emotional body affects the physical. When we are happy or in love, we have an abundant amount of energy. When we are sad and depressed our energy is low. When our mind creates tension, the flow of praana is obstructed within the physical vessel. So we must constantly try to increase the praana within us, through any method available, either physical, mental or emotional.

For any healing to occur we need to increase our intake of praana
Praana is life force that will aid all healing processes. The easiest way to increase praana is through the breath. Yoga states that by the regular practice of praanayaam or breathing exercises we can maintain a higher standard of health, vigor and vitality. For any healing to occur we need to increase our intake of praana.

For this blog post I would like YOU to start taking long deep breaths
Let the exhalation be as long as the inhalation, break the breath between both for a short while. We call this rhythmical breathing. This can be done at any time of the day, and as many times as possible. Practice daily, and slowly the body will get accustomed to taking in more oxygen.

When life becomes overwhelming and tense, take a deep breath and allow the exhalation to be twice as long as the inhalation, and the body will quiet down immediately. Put this tool in the back pocket and draw it out whenever necessary. Life gives us much tension.

With Love and Respect
Ma Mokshapriya

MokshaPriya Breast Cancer Authority Blog ContributorMokshapriya is ordained as Swami Ma Mokshapriya Shakti Saraswati and has taught yoga, meditation and philosophy for over 40 years. She currently teaches and gives guidance in Queens NY at the Yogashakti Yoga Center. She is the co-founder of the Yoga Teachers Training Institute and has trained over 250 yoga teachers in Long Island and New York. Mokshapriya has a Ph.D.in Education by researching and writing a “Comprehensive Eclectic Yoga Program: A Strategy for Self-Improvement” Curriculum for College. She is very direct, but approachable. You may contact her at info@teachyoga.org or www.teachyoga.org.

Learn How Breast Cancer Patients Benefit From Forest Bathing

forest-bathing-for-breast-cancer-patients

Try forest bathing to support your immune system

In 1982, the Forest Agency of Japan first proposed that ‘forest bathing,’ was good for your health. No, forest bathing is not dragging a bathtub into the woods and having a soak – although that does sound good! Rather it is visiting a forest or wood for relaxation, and gentle recreation, and breathing in the volatile substances from the trees. When did you last forest bathe?

Since 1982, forest bathing (aka ‘forest therapy’ and ‘Shinrin yoku’) has become a cornerstone of preventive health and healing in Japanese medicine. Many research studies, mainly from Japan and South Korea, have looked at how forest bathing creates positive effects. One of the key benefits is that it is seen to improve our immune function by increasing the number and activity of natural killer cells.

Natural Killer Cells

Natural killer (NK) cells are a type of white blood cells that provide a rapid response to viral-infected cells and cancer cells. These immune cells don’t rely on antibodies so are able to produce a much faster immune reaction than other immune cells. They have a tumor immunosurveillance role, directly killing tumor cells. Take a look at this brief video which shows you how they work:

Natural killer cells are therefore of prime importance to destroying cancer cells in our body. Thus we can see that using lifestyle approaches like forest bathing to improve our natural killer cell activity can help in both prevention of cancer – by killing those rogue tumor cells formed everyday – and in the prevention of metastasis of tumors.

Phytoncides

One of the factors that has been identified as causing these immune improvements is our breathing-in of phytoncides – the natural chemicals secreted by evergreen trees, such as a-pinen and limonene. The levels of phytoncide in the air seem to correlate with the improvements in immune functioning. If we look back in history, these health effects were recognized then; in the 1800s, many tuberculosis clinics were set up in pine forests. Patients’ outcomes were reported as them having a “forest cure.”

Health benefits of Forest Bathing

In addition to the benefits of increased NK cells and their activity, bathing ourselves in the forest environment has been shown to also:

  • reduce blood pressure
  • reduce stress
  • improve mood
  • increase energy
  • improve sleep
  • support deeper and clearer intuition
  • decrease adrenaline levels
  • reduce pain
  • ease mental fatigue

Image of the concept of forest bathing – immersing in the forest environment for immune support, from CALMERme.com

Incorporating forest bathing into your life

Trees, sunshine, grass, and wildlife all too frequently take a backseat in our busy city or urban lives.

Think back to the last time you were surrounded by nature – maybe a walk when you noticed the fresh, vibrant green of a new leaf, or an insect, or the color of the bark of a tree, or saw a rabbit hop past. These moments of discovery and fascination are spontaneous and effortless kinds of attention, not like the attention we have to use at work or during most of our day. As we follow our curiosity from the leaf to a flower to a butterfly, we relax in an exploration of nature which gives our attention-driven brain a break. The sounds of nature are also important, for example, the calming sound of water helps to balance our hormones. Forest bathing doesn’t involve going for a strenuous hike in the woods; rather, it has a gentleness and awareness to it – a sensory experience.

So consider giving yourself a break, and find some time this week to be in nature. Let that effortless attention and fascination take over. And if you aren’t up for that, try bringing some nature indoors to you – open the windows, look at the trees, listen to the sound of a waterfall on your computer, put a nature screensaver on your computer screen, watch a nature DVD…. Yes, even looking at a scene of a forest has been found to reduce cortisol levels (stress hormone) 13% compared to looking at an urban scene.

Resources

For more information on forest bathing, take a look at this Shinrin-yoku website and the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy. Many of the research studies are shown on the Association website too. These resources also include information about guides, local walks, and training to become a forest therapist. The walks are short in distance and focus on breathing, relaxing, listening, healing, wandering, and touch.

Ruth BaillieRuth Baillie is originally from the UK and now lives most of the year in Northern California. She holds two Master’s degrees, one in Personalized Nutrition (distinction), and another in Health Psychology. She is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Certified Professional Cancer Coach, and Cancer Guide, and has undertaken considerable post-graduate studies in integrative naturopathic oncology. She is the author of “Choices in mind-body medicine for cancer patients in Sonoma County, California” and her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Super Poopers Appear To Cut Their Risk Of Breast Cancer In Half

Breast Cancer and ConstipationWhy do constipated women appear to be at higher risk for breast cancer? Results suggest a slight increased risk of breast cancer for both decreased frequency of bowel movements and firm stool consistency, whereas women who have three or more bowel movements a day—super poopers—appeared to cut their risk of breast cancer in half. This could be because constipation means a greater contact time between our waste and our intestinal wall, which may increase the formation and absorption of fecal mutagens—substances that cause DNA mutations and cancer—into the circulation, and they could end up in breast tissue.

This concept dates back more than a century where severe constipation, so-called chronic intestinal stasis, was sometimes dealt with surgically. Figuring the colon was an inessential part of the human anatomy, why not cure constipation by just cutting it out? What they noted, though, was that potentially precancerous changes in the breasts of constipated women seemed to disappear after the surgery.

It would take another 70 years, though, before researchers followed up on the clues by those distinguished surgeons who claimed breast pathology cleared when constipation was corrected. So they investigated the relation between potentially precancerous changes in the breast and the frequency of bowl movements in nearly 1500 women. They found four times the risk in women reporting two or fewer bowel movements a week compared to more than once daily, who had the lowest risk.

We know that even the non-lactating breast actively takes up chemical substances from the blood, so maybe substances originating in the colon might enter the bloodstream and reach the breast. We know there are mutagens in feces, so it is not unreasonable to suggest that potentially toxic substances derived from the colon have damaging or even carcinogenic effects upon the lining of the breast. And those toxic substances may be bile acids.

First shown to promote tumors in mice in 1940, subsequent experiments on rats led to the mistaken belief that bile acids just promoted existing cancers but couldn’t actually initiate tumors themselves. However, there is a fundamental difference between the rodent models and human cancer. Rats only live a few years, and so the opportunity for cancer causing mutations may be at least 30 times greater in humans. Now we have at least 15 studies that show that bile acids can damage DNA, strongly suggesting they can initiate new cancers as well.

Bile acids are formed as a way of getting rid of excess cholesterol. Our liver dumps bile acids into the intestine for disposal, assuming our intestines will be packed with fiber to trap it and flush it out of the body, but if we haven’t been eating enough whole plant foods, bile acids can be reabsorbed back into the body, and build up in the breast.

Carcinogenic bile acids are found concentrated in the fluid of breast cysts at up to a hundred times the level found in the bloodstream. By radioactively tagging bile acids they were able to show that intestinal bile acids rapidly gain access to the breast, where they can exert an estrogen-like cancer-promoting effect on breast tumor cells. This would explain why we see 50% higher bile acid levels in the bloodstream of newly diagnosed breast cancer victims. These findings support the concept of a relationship between intestinally derived bile acids and risk of breast cancer. So how can we facilitate the removal of bile acids from our body?

Well we can speed up the so-called oroanal transit time, the speed at which food goes from mouth to toilet, because slowed colonic transit can increase bile acid levels. We can do that be eating lots of fiber. A diet packed with plants greatly increases bile acid losses.

Fiber can bind up and remove toxic elements like lead and mercury, as well as cholesterol and bile acids. But plants can bind bile acids even independent of fiber. Vegan diets bind significantly more bile acid than lacto-ovo or non-vegetarian diets even at the same fiber intake, which could explain why it appears that individuals eating vegetarian might excrete less mutagenic feces in the first place.

Doctor’s Note

I touched on this in my new live presentation From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food that just came out, but what I didn’t get to discuss is the relative bile acid binding abilities of different foods. I’ll cover that in my next video Which Vegetable Binds Bile Best?

What intestinal transit time should we be shooting for? See Food Mass Transit. That may be why Stool Size Matters. We can improve speed and size by Bulking Up on Antioxidants and eating lots of whole plant foods (Prunes vs. Metamucil vs. Vegan Diet).

Fiber may also help women remove excess estrogen from their body. See my video Fiber vs. Breast Cancer. For more on the wonders of fiber, see Dr. Burkitt’s F-Word Diet.

For more of my latest videos on breast cancer prevention and survival, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United

5 Easy Ways to Detox While in Cancer Recovery

5 Easy Ways to Detox While in Cancer RecoveryAuthor: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Posted By: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

I want to share 5 easy ways to detox your body while in recovery, or anytime. These are the things I did, and continue to do that makes a difference in my health and I hope will make a difference in your health.

It is nothing new to state that breast (cancer) has touch so many lives. Either a family member, friend or neighbor may fall on this list. It is also not uncommon that cancer patients choose allopathic medicines and treatments.

These treatments usually involve potent drugs, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, or both. These treatments can leave the patient exhausted and emotionally drained. The cause of this fatigue is from the body being subjected to poisons, which indiscriminately attacked all the body cells over time. Knowing that detoxing the body is so important for better health and for recovery; it would be very beneficial to adopt a detox routine.

You can do it once a month, once every two months or when you feel the need to detox. It is as simple as developing a routine. Here are my ideas for better health for mind, body and spirit.

Dry Brush Method -Dry brushing stimulates the skin and circulates lymph fluid which is vital for overall health. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for a quarter of the body’s detoxification. The ability of the skin to excrete toxins is of paramount importance. Dry skin brushing helps to shed dead skin cells, which improves skin texture and cell renewal. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas. Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into the colon, thereby purifying the entire system. This enables the lymph to perform its house-cleaning duties by keeping the blood and other vital tissues detoxified.

Drink Water -Water Detoxifies. The quality of your tissues, their performance, and their resistance to disease and injury are linked to the quality and quantity of water you drink. The daily cleansing of wastes from each cell, the flushing of the alimentary canal and the purifying of the blood are all dependent on our water consumption. This helps to scavenge free radicals and reduce the oxidation of your body, in turn slowing down the aging process and overall health. Drinking ionized, or alkaline water has smaller molecule clusters than regular water. These small clusters are able to permeate your body’s cells and hydrate much more effectively. This makes the water and minerals better able to be absorbed in your body and flood out the toxins within. Good quality steam distilled water can pickup mineral deposits accumulated in cells, joints, artery walls, and remove them out. Distilled water cleans out impurities and replenishes the essential nutrient required for human life.

1 to 3 Day Body Detox Diet -Our body is exposed to numerous toxins daily as in air pollution, over processed foods, chemical cleaners and pesticides. A detox diet is when you lighten your daily food intake and provide your body the opportunity to rest, which then helps release toxins. A one to three day detox diet may range from simply focusing on whole foods to an all-out fast. Most detox diets ask that you eliminate items like caffeine, alcohol, added sugar and refined flours. For example, a fresh fruit diet emphasizes a healthy and easy way to digest the fruit and to assist in elimination. You may add protein powder to the fresh fruit which offers a high content of water, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Eating just fruit, or just veggies help to dissolve toxins, enhance liver function and create better energy levels. Juicing is also a great way to feel light and to receive nutrients for the body which assist in detoxification.

Himalayan Pink Salt For Breast Cancer DetoxTake a Himalayan Salt Bath -To feed the body with healthy minerals and trace minerals take a pink Himalayan crystal salt bath. This rock salt is fuel for balancing and increasing energy. Your skin is an excretive organ that mirrors the condition of your intestines. When you take a salt brine bath, the salt minerals penetrate your skin with ions. This ion absorption will stimulation natural cell growth in your living cell layers. Bio-energetic weak points will be balanced and your body’s energy flow will be made active. Bathing with Himalayan salts will stimulate overall circulation, hydrates the skin, increases moisture retention, promotes cellular regeneration, detoxifies the skin, and helps heal dry, scaling, irritated skin. Salt water bathing reduces inflammation of the muscles and joints, relaxes muscles and relieves pain and soreness.

Breath Properly –Breathing properly detoxifies and releases toxins. Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins, i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism. To improve overall well-being take 5 or 10 minutes a day to sit quietly and breath. This helps release toxins by full oxygen exchange. It also balances the stress hormone, cortisol and increases GABA levels.

Look at each of the 5 ways as opportunities to improve your lifestyle and diet. They will foster deep, and lasting transformation, and I promise you they will make you feel renewed.

Diana RossAbout Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

HOPE: How to Make Decisions From a Position of HOPE

How To Build Build Hope From The Inside OutCertainly at this time of your life HOPE is an important word. Traditional Christian and Jewish stories speak of HOPE ranging from the miraculous conception of the Christ child to the Jewish Hanukkah story of the one day supply of holy oil miraculously turning into the necessary eight day supply needed. Some schools of Buddhism caution about too much HOPE, believing that HOPE sets up expectations. That seems to be the case when people use HOPE in a passive way. One cannot just HOPE that things change. HOPE requires you align yourself with positive action. Be the captain of your ship and do not sit by idly, HOPING things will change. HOPE is needed especially when the chips are down, and it feels like every resource has been explored.

Hope and How to Make DecisionsDeath is not the enemy. We all will die. HOPE can assist us to execute what choices we have about dying. One gift in breast cancer is that you do not die suddenly. You get a chance to say good-bye and let people know how meaningful they have been in your life. It is a fine line walking the balance of HOPE and despair. Despair is never helpful or useful and HOPE helps you stay away from the brink of despair when life is looking fairly bleak. Taking positive action one step at a time helps build HOPE from the inside out. HOPE activates action and action activates HOPE. You have nothing to lose by investing in HOPE. Even if things don’t work out the way you want them to, HOPE helps your mood and keeps despair at bay. HOPE can be practiced and increased when you build positive resources around you.

HOPE is part of feeling empowered. Acting on that empowerment allows you to execute the choices that you have. It is very important you recognize that you do have choices in your treatment options and when you cultivate HOPE in your daily life, then you make decisions from a position of HOPE rather than despair. In the despairing moments it is important to use HOPE to just pass through the despair and move into gratitude and action about the options that you do have.

Reading other people’s stories that are going through what you are going through can fertilize HOPE. Watching biographical movies that tell stories of struggle and success can increase your HOPE thermometer. Going for a walk in nature can uplift your mood and help return HOPE.
HOPE is a tool of positive self-care and I wish you well on your journey with HOPE by your side.

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

GUIDED IMAGERY- Treatment Support

Questions To Help Guided Imagery For Cancer HealiongAs a person in treatment you will need as much support around you from many avenues. We have already talked about delegating as much as possible to other folks. Our “G” word is going to introduce you to Guided Imagery. Guided imagery is an avenue of training your brain to take to you to places of healing. For instance, I have a beautiful Bengal tiger that lives within me. I have developed a relationship with my tiger over the post years of treatment. Each morning my tiger goes through my body and gathers up all the mutant cells and takes them our of my body to an abyss where those cells cannot escape. The tiger is my ally.

Guided Imagery is a way to delegate healing to your body. Scientifically we know Guided Imagery is a powerful tool to help us live our lives in more meaningful ways. Use your Imagination to create imagery. Involve all of your senses in the imagery such as your visual, tactile, kinestetic (body awareness), olfactory and auditory channels. Take as much time as you need to make the guided imagery believable.

Here are a few guided questions to help you create your ally.

  1. What symbol, character, or animal have you been drawn to throughout your life?
  2. What symbol, character, or animal is strong enough to help you with your path to healing?
  3. Ideally, who would you like to accompany you in your mind’s eye or inner soul during this journey?

Now fully develop that image. What color is it? How big is it? Describe it fully by giving it characteristics, clothes, shape, smell, and voice. What does your ally have to say to you?

Ask this ally that you created this question. “Are you willing to accompany on a healing path during this treatment?” Journal this dialogue.

Now gently close your eyes and imagine your ally providing your body with healing in whatever way makes the most sense to you. Maybe you will see your ally breathing healing light into your body and lasering your cancer cells. Perhaps your ally will feed you healing ointment that attaches itself to the cancer cells and eliminates them from your body. One woman used the seven dwarfs mopping her cancer cells up. She was a first grade teacher so that imagery was believable to her. It is important to make the imagery as believable as possible. Use the images you create three to four times a day by finding a relaxing place, close your eyes and let yourself welcome the healing power of your ally. Especially use guided imagery when you become afraid.

Your mind is a capable ally in your healing process and the body mind connection helps our bodies transcend medical science. Use it wisely!

Photo source: Livestrong Relaxation Exercises

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

How To Write An Easter Love Letter To Yourself During Cancer Treatment & Recovery

Easter Love Letter For Cancer PatientsBY: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos is a published author, SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing.

Easter can be difficult to celebrate when you are in or recovering from cancer treatment.It is hard to fake happy after the loss of a lifestyle, friend or family to this disease. But remember, if you are reading this, YOU are a WINNER. Let’s celebrate! Take the first tiny step with a Love Letter to YOU.

Writing can help you be in the moment of triumph by putting abstract emotions into concrete words. You will celebrate with your inner-selves; those incredible aspects of yourself that you may not be aware of, but are always there for you. As you write, your thoughts and memories can also bring to light your life-purpose and help you stay on the correct path to your Life Destiny.East

Here are 6 steps to write your Easter Love Letter to Yourself:

1.) Remember—You may be holding the pen, but Inner Wisdom is guiding the words. Let them flow.

  • Although a hand written letter may be more therapeutic, a typed one works well, too.  The importance is not in HOW you connect with yourself but THAT you connect with yourself.
  • An Easter Love Letter to You is a simple letter to all the inner aspects of yourself — Inner Wisdom, Inner Knowing, Spirit, God, or the Higher Power of your choice.  Your letter can be addressed to any name that resonates with you.

2.) Start with a phrase of gratitude, Mantra, or Blessing at the top of your letter.

  • Write a phrase or mantra that has power for you. This is your letter heading.
  • It can be acknowledgment of your Inner Winner. Acknowledging gratitude is one of your most powerful healing and connecting energies. Your mantra/phrase will reflect that principle. If you do not have a personal phrase of gratitude, borrow one that most resonates with you.

3.) Today’s Date.

  • Dating your letter helps ground you in the moment while you visit the past.
  • The past is a great place to visit.  But, don’t live there.

4.)  Salutation

  • Dear, your name, or Inner Winner, etc.
  • Address the letter to whomever feels right to you.
  • Imagine sending a  private message or group email to all your best friends.  This can be one, many, or all your Inner-people who are responsible for helping you succeed.

5.)  The Body of the Letter

  • Write whatever feels right to you. Let it all out, but try to start and end on a positive note.
  • You may want to start with: “Thank you for all you have done for me.”

6.)  Sign your name.

  • Feel free to use a name you can embrace as the new you rather than your given name.
  • The Love Letter is to you. You’ll get it.

If you need more guidance for your letter, use my example of what your Easter Love Letter might look like and fill in the blanks:

March 26, 2016

Dear Inner Winner,

Thank you for all you have done for me.

I remember when ____________________________________

Then you helped me _________________________________

We worked together by _______________________________

Now, these positive things have happened to manifest the promise of a wonderful future ______

Love,

(sign your name) Super Kat

What to do with your Love Letter.

  1. Save the letter and read it whenever you need to reconnect with your Inner-winner.
  2. If you  save it, put it in a place that is easily accessible, like your wallet. Take it out and read it when you need it.
  3. Send it to yourself in a personal email.
  4. Post it on a blog where your love and gratitude can be shared with many.
  5. Burning is a ritual act of sharing. It uses fire to cleanse away any residual negativity and allows smoke to carry the message of gratitude to your Higher Power.

So, take a minute out of this busy time before the Easter Holiday to reflect on what you have done to leave a positive foot-print on someone’s heart or in the sands-of-time. Find that hidden gift in the form of an egg-of-love in your mind.  Write it in a love letter to YOU because you deserve it.Then watch for answers and validation from your Inner-winner in your dreams.

Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos Breast Cancer Authority ContributorKathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos is a published author, SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing (Cypress House, Jan 2014) http://tinyurl.com/p7cjfxa, survived three breast cancers diagnosed  by her dreams, Intuitive Dream Coach, & R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation Hotline Counselor, Radio host, blogger and columnist for magazines. Kat presents at Expos, Radio Shows, Health Events, Magazines, & TV. She’s represented by Steve Allen Media. Learn more @http://www.SurvivingCancerLand.com/

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