3 Medicinal Fall Flower Suggestions For Breast Cancer

This fall use Echinacea, Lavender and Sage for your medicinal infusions to relieve anxiety and tension. These three medicinal garden flower suggestions are tailored to breast cancer health concerns. Our hope is that the information below inspires you, as jumping board of sorts, in creating your own unique dream medicinal healing garden. Each plant was picked based on its ease of cultivation and medicinal usefulness and versatility.

Echinacea
Purple coneflower is one of the most popular garden ornamentals with its showy purple flowers that attract all manner of butterflies and bees. Not only is it gorgeous, it is easy to grow—Echinacea is a decidedly unfussy plant, withstanding drought, disease and insect infestations. Purple coneflower (another name for Echinacea) roots, seeds, and fresh flowers are all medicinal, and can be made into a tingly tasting, immune-stimulating tea or tincture.

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Lavender
Lavender aromatherapy to help reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia and mild depression. It is often referred to as a mood balancing herb that possesses a sedative and calming effect. It can also have an uplifting, refreshing and rejuvenating effect on the psyche.

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Sage
Growing the medicinal herb sage can be fun and emotionally therapeutic. Learn how to grow, harvest and dry sage as a breast cancer gardening therapy. Another therapeutic benefit of sage is smudging. Sage smudging is a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition in which herbs are burned for emotional, psychic and spiritual purification.

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Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices: Self Care Tools For Treatment & Recovery

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Breast Cancer Yoga DVD: A Restorative Yoga Therapy with Specialized Breathing Exercises

It is our pleasure to share this flowing restorative yoga practice with you. It is very important to start right where you are, and build up slowly. This will help in supporting and maintaining a positive attitude and a healing foundation. In time, with practice there will be improvement to sleeping patterns, a decrease in joint pain and an increase in range of motion. You will begin to experience less fatigue and gain more energy, strength and stamina. A calmness, along with mental clarity are some of the benefits of building your own yoga practice. Start with 10 minutes AND then begin to expand the time.

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This DVD introduces three breaths to train the mind to focus, complete, cleansing and ujjayi breaths also 12 restorative poses for breast cancer recovery, lymphedema management and cancer related fatigue.

Make sure your props ready. They can be household items, blankets, pillows, cushions and ties. Props are instrumental in your support and comfort.

We will finish with deep relaxation. It is Here all the benefits of this yoga practice will be absorbed into the body. We hope yoga will become part of your life.

This instructional video is intended to aid in post-surgical recovery from breast cancer
•to help relieve pain and manage lymphedema
•to reduce stress and anxiety
•to decrease fatigue and increase energy
•and to promote breast health

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

6 Reasons To Be Mindful And Use Your Breath During Breast Cancer

What Does Mindful Mean?

Mindful Means “being conscious or aware of something directly.” Once mindful, you then can then foster positive change through the development of a mindful practice, like yoga or breathing. Mindfulness, whereby combining the breath consciously with yoga movements brings this awareness of the mind right into the present moment. Right where it needs to be in order to move forward and heal.

Why It is so Important to be Mindful

  1. Because it stops the negative chatter of a restless and wandering mind.
  2. Stress and anxiety are some of the byproducts of this unmindfulness.
  3. We may also become careless and lack clarity in making good decisions, especially health decisions. It is right now, here where you become “present” to whatever is, or isn’t.
  4. Learning how to stay in a mindful state allows you to get past that which may cause undo stress or harm. This can be attained through the proper training of the breath, focus of the mind and movement of the body.
  5. When both the breath, mind and body come together, consciously, the ability to create relaxation and a new-found state of clarity is then realized.
  6. Here you can tackle recovery head on and with deep purpose.

How Does the Breath Make us Mindful?

“When the mind wonders; the breath is sure to follow.” It is stated in yogic practices  that when the mind jumps all over it is called “the monkey mind.” This unfocused mind can create a lot of stress and anxiety, all of which has a negative impact on the mind and body causing a profound effect on the autonomic nervous system which then increases stress hormones and overall emotional responses.

How Does it Help Breast Cancer Recovery?

The reason being mindful is so valuable is that the mind is deeply incorporated with the breath.  A mindful practice is cultivated through learning how to use the breath positively,  or in partnership with the mind.  It is an intentional act of unity, whereby unconscious thoughts and feelings of the mind are then brought to a single point of attention. This is achieved one way by focusing fully on the breath.  Through rhythmically breathing (inhale and exhale of the same duration) we tap into our deepest inner resources for healing, and for relaxation. By flowing through a series of breaths, the body experiences an inner calm which then awakens the prana (life energy) and moves the mind towards a higher level of understanding.  It is through the control of the breath, that the mind will reflect a higher knowledge and a positive state of confidence and self esteem.  It is  emotionally  challenging to learn you have cancer.  A natural response is “Can I do this? “ Let this be the yoga practice of self-understanding.

Mindful Yoga And Breathing Exercises For Breast Cancer

The deeper the commitment to a Mindful Yoga and Breathing practice, the deeper the relaxation response will manifest, healing the trauma of worry, anxiety and fear associated with the diagnosis of breast cancer. It is challenging to start a yoga practice when this the fear, stress, anxiety and depression surface. It is precisely at that time that we need support, not only from our doctors, families and friends, but most importantly from other women who have breast cancer or even another type of cancer. These personal connections help us to feel “part of” a community who understands our emotions and experiences. Unconditional love creates miracles!  Creating a strong support system and a safe place to be (oneself) are paramount to alleviating the stress that derives from breast cancer.  A clear mind, a full breath and a body in motion are paramount for recovery. YOU are responsible for your healing process and progress so breathe deeply and move freely.

 Breast Cancer Yoga has just announced their first mindful practices collaboration with Dr. Robin Dilley.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

 

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Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices: Self Care Tools For Treatment & Recovery

Learn What Locally Grown Vegetables Are In Season Plus Recipes

Use The Seasonal Food Guide to learn when & where locally grown produce is in season. Use this guide to pick the best cancer fighting superfoods and add them to your menu this week. Late September features Avocado as an in season superfood and we have included six avocado recipes featured in past on Breast Cancer Yoga Blog.

Avocado Cancer Fighting Information:
Antioxidants and Phytochemicals found in avocados include: Carotenoids: beta carotene, alpha carotene, zeaxanthin shown to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast and head and neck (oral) cancers. Vitamin E is an antioxidant. However, according to Food For Breast Cancer avocados may pose a risk for breast cancer.

Avocado Recipes For A Cancer Free Lifestyle Diet:

  1. Super Delicious Avocado Lime Cake – Dairy & Sugar Free Recipe
  2. Avocado Toast With Veggies & White Bean Salad
  3. Summer Salad Recipe – Quinoa, Spinach & Tomatoes Stuffed Avocados
  4. Easy Sweet Potato, Kale & Avocado Salad Recipe
  5. Kale and Avocado Salad Recipe
  6. Tomato Avocado Soup For Breast Cancer

Eat a Plant-Based Diet of Fruits and Vegetables For Breast Cancer:
make your diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables that are full of micronutrients and bioflavonoids which are duly noted to help prevent breast cancer or other cancers. Five or more servings per day is recommended by the American Cancer Institute. Red and blueberries hold a significant amount of the necessary cell builders and anti-cancerangetic properties that are a necessity on our tables.

  • Look for free recipes on the internet
  • Start by adding healthy food choices to diet –  http://www.healthranger.org/healthtips.html
  • Begin transition to a healthy diet with meatless Monday
  • Begin to eliminate cancer causing foods from your diet

A combination of a healthful diet and physical activity seems to be particularly important, as was shown in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study, which included 3,088 women previously diagnosed with breast cancer. Women who had at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and averaged 30 minutes of walking 6 days per week had roughly half the risk of dying from breast cancer, compared with women who ate fewer vegetables and fruits or who were less active.

So a healthful plant-based diet helps in many ways. It makes weight control easier, helps you avoid unhealthful fats, and keeps fruits and vegetables front and center. This combination, along with regular exercise, helps prevent cancer and also reduces the risk of recurrence.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

The Gap: An Important Mindfulness Technique

I had the pleasure of listening to Pema Chodron (Buddhist Monk and author) and KD Lang (Musician, singer, songwriter) in a conversation this morning on Live Stream. I was struck by several things, but the one that stood out for me is the concept of the Gap. I want to share the concept of the Gap with you, the reader.

The Gap is that in between space where you come to understand the presence of NOW. It is that moment when you look up from a hiking path and notices the sky, the tree, or the bird. The Gap is a sacred space within, when you realize you are part of the outer world.

It seems to me that as people living in the world of cancer, you can use the practice of the Gap regardless of where you are on your path. For instance, fall is my favorite time of the year and I am so excited about its arrival. that I know I will have many Gap moments when I see beautiful leaves dropping the magic of their colors on the ground as they leave naked branches ready for winter. What Gap moments might you look forward to this fall? What magical part of the day will you practice breathing into the Now. The Gap is that space within you that allows you to breathe deeply from the inside out.

As people experiencing cancer life can become very ugly and painful as rancid smells and nauseating waves of emotion run askew inside of your inner darkness. It is important that you do not live in the darkness. Pema Chodron might say something like, “Don’t run from the darkness, touch it, explore it and move on past it.” The practice of the Gap is a tool to help you move past the darkness into the NOW.

Looking for something good and magical in your day will help you practice the Gap and stay in the Now. If you can’t see magic in your day then create magic in your day. If you are irritated with not getting the results you want with your health care, then focus on something else that you have control over. For instance, purchase some fall flowers. Take time to have a Gap moment with those flowers. Smell them, touch them and notice how each one is uniquely different from every other one. Have you ever noticed that no two flowers are exactly alike? Notice the nuances in the shades of the colors, notice the stems. Notice each flower as you arrange it in the vase. These flowers traveled from rich fertile soil and were “harvested” for your delight. All cut flowers will die. But each flower has its own elegance, story, and purpose in your life today. That purpose is here to bring you joy and to put a gentle smile on your face. Enjoying flowers is a Gap moment. Take a breath and look up and see your room come to life because you placed a vase of flowers on your night stand or kitchen table. You took the time to create a Gap that brings you delight.

As you learn to experience Gap moments, be the Gap in someone else’s life today. Pick up the phone and call a friend and tell them how much they mean to you. Send a card to someone who needs a connection. Smile at the clerk in the grocery store and tell them, “I hope you have a really good day,” as you look them in the eye. Be the Gap in other people’s lives daily and you will experience more Gap moments in your day-to-day life that is full of the necessary medical appointments, follow-ups and tests. I even imagine your health care team will respond to you more positively if you are practicing Gap moments in your life.

See you are not cancer. You are not your disease. You are a person with many roles and facets to your life. Don’t let cancer define you. Smile, in spite, of the cancer. Bring smiles to other people’s lives. Make a difference today and you will be happier because you did.

For more information and exercises for cancer patients read Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices.

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.

Why To Use Integrative Medicine & Yoga During Breast Cancer

Healing truly begins when we acknowledge that it is our own responsibility, and not that of our doctors or the healthcare system to provide for our innate healing capacity.

When we are first diagnosed with cancer we feel our doctors should be there to help speed up the optimal function of our natural organic healing systems. Currently, our healthcare system in the United States is inadequate at contributing and supporting our health, and it is far too expensive, and unsustainable. The healthcare “debate” has focused primarily on insurance reform, but discussion on the content of optimal healthcare and the use of complementary therapies as part of integrative medicine has yet to begin in earnest. Many experts have weighed in, but I believe that integrative medicine with its emphasis on disease prevention and healthcare promotion is the only practical way to transform our healthcare system.

Integrative medicine, also known as Complementary Therapy is growing in acceptance but insurance companies are slow to follow, let alone advocate for them. This is why we need to advocate and educate ourself this way we ensure that doctors of the future will recognize their primary role in supporting the optimal functioning of their patients’ innate healing systems, and not just the management of a disease. Focusing on each individual’s innate nature, appropriately using inexpensive and non-invasive means like diet and lifestyle changes to both prevent and treat the root causes of disease, and only resorting to invasive and drug therapies to treat illness and suppress symptoms when absolutely necessary. Wouldn’t it be great to have the best of both worlds when treating our illnesses and diseases?

We are beginning to see a change prevailing in our healthcare system. Integrative medicine is a healing-oriented medicine takes into account the whole person (body, mind and spirit) which includes all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Therapy such as acupuncture is licensed in many states. Homeopathy, chiropractic and naturopathy are becoming more mainstream and frame the therapeutic relationship between patient and the healthcare practitioner. We want to have both a conventional and complementary holistic approach. We want to carefully incorporate conventional and complementary therapies to help us stay well and support our healing process. Therapies such as yoga, aromatherapy, and massage are great too in supporting the mind and body relationship.

Yoga Therapy attempts to bridge a gap between conventional medicine and a “5000” year old system of yoga. However, our “system” of medicine mainly treats the body, while the “system” of yoga supports healing on a physical, psychological and spiritual level simultaneously. The ultimate responsibility for staying healthy rests with us. We must educate ourselves and be active in our own wellness program.

Dawn - Breast Cancer Authority BlogAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices Book Review

This simple and colorful book is just what the doctor ordered for you during your treatment with breast cancer. Your oncologists and radiologists have given you hand-outs and booklets on what to expect during treatment. I would guess that some of you did not know what an oncologist was until you heard those words, “I am sorry, you have breast cancer.” You who live in rural areas are having to commute as much as four hours for treatment; a commute that makes you feel lonely, frightened, and hyper-vigilante. You have entered a foreign country of medical language and uncomfortable body procedures, driving into a big city that is so foreign to you to be treated by big city doctors who intimidate you. The loneliness and fear scale escalate, you might find yourself saying, “I can’t do this.” Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices: Self Care Tools For Treatment & Recovery is here to help you realize you can do this day by day. This strange journey into a strange land is here and you are going to face it head on (some-days); other days you are going to pull the covers up and scream, “NO!” There are going to be good days and bad days in this journey of yours. The truth is your life has been full of good days and bad days all along. That is the way of life.

This book is here to help you change your focus by beginning to practice the art of mindfulness, which is staying present to yourself. You will learn to stay present to your emotions and needs during difficult times. You have entered a land where awareness of what is going on with your body is the biggest gift in this process. This book will help you change your focus from the medical maze to focusing on words; words like abundance, breath, music, and resilience. This book guides you towards an oasis of positive thought-provoking words with simple explanations that help you gear up for the medical battle you are facing.
Another unique feature about this book are the simple coloring exercises for you to do while you focus on the mindful words. The coloring is not complex and you can take as long as you like. The beautiful flowers and simple designs invite you to bring your worries, concerns, fears, and hopes right into the creative art to create your own hope for the future. This book invites you to participate in your healing process as a true human being who is just putting one foot in front of the other. Trying to make the best decisions possible for yourself and your family as you move through this often lonely and sometimes terrorizing battle.

If you or a friend have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, this book is intended to be an oasis from the medical procedures, tough decisions, and daily chores of getting well. This book is here to give you a safe place in the middle of the storm, and to build your strength and courage along the way. Be hopeful, be safe, and be brave. Each day is a new adventure and the twenty-six words from the alphabet are here to be your ally.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

5 Ways To Support Our Bodies For Self Healing

Healthy self = Heal thy self | Supporting our bodies for self-healing
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. They have many self-healing capacities, so let’s look at how we can support these to reveal our healthy self. Healthy self = Heal thy self!

Imagine cutting your finger

Here’s a scenario to consider. You are chopping some food, and you cut your finger. If you take care of it, cleaning it immediately and keeping it clean after the bleeding stops, the cut will heal itself in a few days. If it’s really bad, you might need some additional support like stitches, but it will still heal and will just take a little longer.

If you don’t support that healing, you’ll get into trouble. For example, if you rub dirt into that fresh-cut instead of cleaning it, the healing will be delayed. We need to support the body, and then its natural healing capacity can work.

But what if you cut that same finger every day? That constant damage and injury will mean that your body can’t heal itself. It will try, but that constant insult will prohibit healing.

1. Diet as a repeated injury
The same applies to chronic illnesses, rather than physical injuries. Just like the scenario of cutting your finger every day and it not being able to heal, if we “injure” our body every day by the way we eat and live, then we aren’t giving the body the support it needs to heal itself.

A diet without adequate nutrients is damaging to our whole body every day. Every day that we don’t eat well or sleep well, we are depleting our bodies. We aren’t providing an environment in which our body can heal itself.

Consider eating food that is inflammatory to you every day. It’s just like cutting your finger every day – more damage is occurring, and there is no chance for healing. And this damage relates to much more than just inflammation in our digestive system. If we aren’t getting the nutrients we need every day, this can affect all of the biochemical reactions going on in our bodies. Those nutrients – and the lack of them – affect all the systems of our bodies.

Eating a diet that is lacking nutrients is like injuring yourself every day. Instead, we need to support the body.

2. Medications as a ‘band-aid’
We might be tempted to try some medications to cover up the symptoms of an illness and make us feel better, at least temporarily, but frequently they don’t support self-healing because they have side effects too.

Let’s say that you have the symptoms of a cold – a slightly high temperature, and just not feeling great. So you reach for Tylenol or Aspirin every few hours. By reducing your temperature, the medication might make you feel better for a short while. However, the medicine has also interfered with the natural healing process, because your body was using that high temperature as a means to get rid of the virus. What might have been better would have been to relax, drink plenty of fluids, take a warm Epsom salts bath, and have an early night.

3. Active, not passive
Taking medications or over-the-counter pills requires very little effort on our part – we are quite passive – just popping our pills. But as the title of this blog post says, for a healthy self, we need to heal ourselves. That is an active process. We need to feel empowered to provide a favorable environment for the body. That means DESS – diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction, along with love, good relationships, and spirituality. When we put these things in place, then we are no longer cutting our finger every day, and the body can start to heal.

4. Inflammation is the language of discontent with our environment
We know that most chronic illnesses have inflammation at the root of them. This inflammation in our bodies – wherever it might appear – is the body trying to tell us that our environment is not conducive to self healing. It’s like a warning light coming on in our car. If that warning light comes on, we take the car to the garage to get it checked. When we have inflammation or symptoms somewhere in our body, how often do we either do nothing or just pop a pill? What we should do instead is…think that we aren’t providing what the body needs to heal. Think that there is something wrong with our environment. Think about what our body and our environment need instead of what we are providing…

Sometimes, it might be necessary to work with someone to figure this out. It might be that you need some tests to determine that, for example, you are deficient in Vitamin A, or that your hormones are out of balance. A natural health care provider (such as a nutritionist, lifestyle medicine practitioner, naturopath) might be able to help you find out what is out of balance in your environment. Is too much stress making those hormones out of balance? Is a polymorphism creating that vitamin A deficiency? They can then educate you in what seems to be going on. That knowledge can be very empowering.

5. Be empowered
When you understand the workings of the body, and what might be lacking in the body’s environment, then you can make changes and see improvement. Then you are ready to heal thy self. You take an active role and work to rebalance your hormones or eat foods containing vitamin A.

So if you are ill, take some time to look at what might be out of balance in your environment. Is something lacking, is something in excess? It could be nutrition, sleep, stress, difficult relationships – these can all prevent our body from healing itself. We need that good environment. Nurture yourself and be at least as good to your body as you are to your car when its engine light comes on! Take action. Don’t be passive. Let the body do what it is designed to do – heal itself.

Of course, I’m not suggesting we should never use pharmaceuticals. In some instances, especially acute illnesses, they are very important. Yet even if we do use pharmaceuticals, we should still check to see if they deplete the body of certain nutrients/vitamins/minerals, and continue to work to support our self-healing.

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.

Lymphedema After Mastectomy: Learn About Breathing Exercises & Restorative Yoga

It is not unusual for a woman to develop lymphedema after a mastectomy. Lymphedema is a sometimes-painful swelling in the soft tissues.  This can be due to the removal of lymph nodes, scar tissue, strictures, and other factors.

Manual lymph drainage massage is the usual recommended technique to treat this swelling.  It may be surprising to know that another therapy that benefits lymphedema is yoga, especially restorative yoga. When the lymphatic system is at its optimum, it is like a free flowing river, running without obstacles.  However, when the lymph nodes are removed or damaged, that same river meets obstacles and begins to slow down and this creates a pooling of fluids.  This build up in the tissues can cause swelling and inflammation and reduce oxygen in the lymphatic tissues. The white blood cells, or immune soldiers of the body, can be impaired in their function in this situation.  This may increase the risk of infection and create a possible permanent disability.  Edema is often found in the arms and legs, but can be found in other parts of the body.

Knowing how important it is to keep this fluid running like a free flowing river, we need to foster relaxation and gentle movements that encourage its increased flow.  This is especially important after breast surgery or removal of nodes, when it is paramount to undertake new activities to increase impaired lymphatic function.

The need to develop a deeper state of relaxation to counter the mental and physical stress of illness and its treatment is critically important to our health and well-being.

Practicing yoga, especially Restorative Yoga which targets the pectoral area, keeps the fluid moving through the body rather than slowing down and creating a back up.  This benefits the breasts by promoting drainage and healing and creating a sense of safety when expanding the chest.

Practicing Restorative Yoga daily will undo the harmful effects of too much sitting or inactivity.  Starting yoga practice with a knowledgeable Restorative Yoga teacher is as important as wearing a bandage or support garment.

An important thing to understand in your practice of Restorative Yoga is that you must to slow down enough to listen to what your body is telling you.  Any time you overwork your muscles or strain your healing tissues,  you run the risk of fluid build up.

Let this be the yoga practice of self-understanding.

More Great Articles

  1. How Breathing Exercises Can Raise Energy Levels For Breast Cancer Patients
  2. Breathing, Yoga and Cancer
  3. Breast Cancer Breathing Guidelines & Techniques During Exercise
  4. Diaphragmatic Breathing for Cancer Survivors
  5. Learn Natural Breath Breathing Exercise For Breast Cancer Treatment
  6. Yoga Pose for Breast Cancer – Root Lock KRIYA Breathing
  7. 4 Benefits of Breathing Exercises For Breast Cancer Treatment
  8. Why Start A Breathing Practice For Breast Cancer Recovery? Good Health!

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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.

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.

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