Interesting Article on Breast Reconstruction & My Thoughts

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I have not had implants and if you have been following me you know I, myself, have not had breast cancer so do not have first hand experience with reconstruction. I have, however, been witness to my mothers journey with it and prior to her getting cancer in her liver and bones 5 1/2 years later we went through quite a bit with her reconstruction.

The first thing I can say is, ALWAYS check out the surgeon you have chosen. Ask them for references of patients willing to share their experience. Whether you are getting your surgery done with the NHS or privately you certainly have the choice and don’t let them tell you otherwise. I learned through my mothers experience the price we pay for making a hasty choice. My mother did not do any research and chose the very first surgeon on the list. This later turned out to be a massive problem. That surgeon was very bad at his craft and proved to make the implant look considerably different than the natural side, notable even when wearing her clothes.

When my mother called me sobbing uncontrollably about being ‘deformed’ I thought she was being dramatic but when I arrived to her home a few days later (I lived 9 hours away and needed to arrange leave from my military job as an aircraft mechanic) I realised that she was very accurate in her description. My mum later described it as having a water balloon on one side and a natural breast on the other. So if you take away anything from this post, please make your decision carefully and look for these surgeons on a Google search. You’d be surprised how much you can find out about a surgeon gone wrong that way!

I am posting a link to an article by my, of late, a popular article writer:
St George’s Hospital, The Princess Grace Hospital. He has written some very helpful articles on breast health and surgery. Have a look at this article: http://www.totalhealth.co.uk/clinical-experts/professor-kefah-mokbel/reconstructive-surgery-following-mastectomy-breast-cancer

He has a very simple way of explaining and I like that. I work with breast cancer survivors one to one helping them regain confidence after having been through mastectomy. At any stage during or after. Please feel free to comment, share or even contact me if you would like to speak further about my offering. I am very very focused on helping women to feel confident and vibrant again. Have a wonderful day!

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New Skin Sparing Mastectomy!

Really exciting new technology going on around skin-sparing mastectomies. See the article Professor Mokbel has written below and the link to his site and referencing the article is below. I find this new technique to be very interesting and his article is thorough. See what you think and please comment below, and share if you would like.

Introducing skin-sparing mastectomy

Article written by
St George’s Hospital, The Princess Grace Hospital

Both immediate and delayed breast reconstruction provide enormous benefits for women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer. Skin-sparing mastectomy (SSM) has become a valid option for women who are undergoing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction for early breast cancer. The reason for this is that conventional non skin-sparing mastectomy (NSSM) often results in prominent scars on the new breast and a paddle of skin that is of a different colour and texture to the natural skin. With SSM most of the natural skin envelope is preserved during the immediate breast reconstruction leading to a much better aesthetic outcome. It also reduces the need for surgery on the other breast, which may otherwise be required to give a symmetrical appearance.

Is it safe?

Compared to NSSM the procedure of SSM seems to be safe for women undergoing mastectomy for invasive breast cancer smaller than 5cm in size and non-invasive breast cancer (known as DCIS), or risk reduction. However with more advanced cancers, there is probably less of a role for SSM due to the high probability of the need for post-mastectomy radiotherapy and the lack of medical data covering this.

Can the nipple be saved during mastectomy?

The nipple can be saved during skin-sparing mastectomy in selected cases. If the tumour is more than 2cm away from the nipple and the tissue behind the nipple is free from tumour then it is safe to save the nipple.

Radiotherapy after skin-sparing mastectomy

Most women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer do not require radiotherapy following their surgery. However, patients with several positive regional lymph nodes and/or large tumours are offered radiotherapy in view of the proven reduction in recurrence and improved survival that it gives. The use of post-mastectomy radiotherapy has recently been on the increase and this has raised questions concerning both the effects of radiotherapy on a reconstructed breast and also the potential for the reconstructed breast to interfere with radiotherapy delivery. There are currently a lack of medical trials concerning the use of radiotherapy after SSM and immediate breast reconstruction and the published data that exist are based on very small numbers and vary quite considerably. It is accepted however, that radiotherapy following immediate breast reconstruction is associated with a higher rate of complications. The other concern regarding radiotherapy in the reconstructed breast is related to the use of implants. The scar tissue in particular often causes subsequent shrinkage of the reconstructed breast around the implant. One medical study compared 39 patients who received radiotherapy following implant and reconstruction, with 338 non-radiotherapy reconstructions and found that there was a significant negative impact on the reconstructive outcome with implants. The main complications were shrinkage and pain. Shrinkage results in poor appearance and sometimes requires further surgery. This has led some surgeons to recommend that immediate breast reconstruction be avoided if it is known that a patient is likely to require post-operative radiotherapy.

However, more recently, in an analysis that my colleagues carried out to evaluate unilateral postoperative chest wall radiotherapy in patients who had bilateral tissue expander/implant reconstruction, it was observed that in most patients although the shrinkage was higher on the irradiated side, overall symmetry, appearance and patient satisfaction remained high. In only 10% of the patients was shrinkage of the irradiated breast clinically significant. These observations are consistent with our experience, and support the notion that immediate breast reconstruction using tissue expansion and implants is an acceptable option for women undergoing mastectomy for breast cancer. Moreover, any clinically significant scarring around the implant known as capsule formation can be treated with surgery.

Despite the higher incidence of complications associated with post-mastectomy radiotherapy, most patients remain highly satisfied with immediate breast reconstruction. In addition, the adverse effects of radiotherapy on skin-sparing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction can be minimised by optimising radiotherapy delivery and by placing a saline filled tissue expander under the pectoral muscles in the chest in order to help delayed revision of reconstruction using an implant. This new concept, known as immediate-delayed reconstruction, can avoid the aesthetic and radiation delivery problems that can occur after immediate breast reconstruction.

We have recently conducted a study to evaluate the clinical outcome and patient’s satisfaction in approximately 100 women who had SSM and immediate reconstruction at The London Breast Institute. Our study confirmed the safety of this technique and showed a very high level of patient’s satisfaction (average score 9.5 out of 10). The complication rate was low and post-mastectomy radiotherapy did not compromise the high level of patient’s satisfaction.

Conclusions

The current evidence suggests that post-mastectomy radiotherapy is an acceptable option with skin-sparing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction in the multi-disciplinary setting. Although post-mastectomy radiotherapy is associated with a higher rate of complications, a satisfactory cosmetic outcome can be achieved in most patients.  However, until better methods of radiotherapy delivery are developed to minimise complications, women at high risk of requiring post-mastectomy radiotherapy can be safely offered skin sparing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction using a saline-filled tissue expander and this can be replaced with a permanent prosthesis or converted into a flap reconstruction after the completion of the radiotherapy. Any scarring tissue formation around the implant can be surgically treated at this stage. This new concept, known as immediate-delayed reconstruction, can avoid the cosmetic and radiotherapy delivery problems that can occur after immediate breast reconstruction. Furthermore, prior radiotherapy does not represent a problem to skin-sparing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction, it does however increase the incidence of complications.

http://www.totalhealth.co.uk/clinical-experts/professor-kefah-mokbel/skin-sparing-mastectomy-breast-cancer

BRCA 1 & BRCA 2, What Does It Mean?

Somber tales

The news this week has been quite compelling for people as Angelina Jolie announced her undergoing a prophylactic double mastectomy to better her chances of not getting breast cancer as she tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene. There has been a lot of back and forth opinion pieces made about the choice she has made and as interesting and compelling as both sides have made it, it still comes down to this, having power to make the decisions YOU yourself have made for YOUR body. We cannot condemn someone for making a choice that was the best choice they made for themselves given the information they had presented to them.

 

It’s interesting, in the research that I have made there have been a lot of  amazing and astonishing stories of women who chose to have double mastectomies as a preventative measure without even knowing if they had BRAC 1 or 2! At first, I can honestly say I was quite shocked and thought it was really crazy to do that but then as I see people writing about how avidly against preventative surgery they are I considered one thing, if it were me, what would I do? Honestly, I can say this, when faced with the possibility that I would have BRCA 1 &2 I did decide if my test came back positive that I would go through with the double mastectomy with reconstruction to ensure that I lowered my chances.

 

So, a little bit about these pesky genes. As reported in Wikipedia, Both BRCA genes are tumor suppressor genes that produce proteins that are used by the cell in an enzymatic pathway that makes very precise, perfectly matched repairs to DNA molecules that have double-stranded breaks.[7]:39-50[8] The pathway requires proteins produced by several other genes, including CHK2, FANCD2 and ATM.[9] Harmful mutations in any of these genes disable the gene or the protein that it produces.

 

Now, I know there is a lot of scientific speak there, so let me break it down for you, your family can carry this gene on either side or it can carry both genes and your percentages go higher for possibility of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Now here’s the jist of what I have gotten from it and I can honestly say that this is my take and not necessarily correct so if you are reading this and a science person, please correct me in the comments so I can not go further in life being misinformed as the purpose of this blog is to spread the information and not misinformation! OK, so, you have one of these 2 genes, it makes you more likely to be affected by a tumor that would have cancer in it. Now this is not to say that you are walking around with cancer in your body because that is not what these genes tell us, it tells us it gives you a lower chance of resisting a tumor, or suppressing it, as the Wiki reference states.

 

So the Wiki-reference goes on to say: Because humans have a diploid genome, each cell has two copies of the gene (one from each biological parent). Typically only one copy contains a disabling, inherited mutation, so the affected person is heterozygous for the mutation. If the functional copy is harmed, however, then the cell is forced to use alternate DNA repair mechanisms, which are more error-prone. The loss of the functional copy is called loss of heterozygosity (LOH).[11] Any resulting errors in DNA repair may result in cell death or a cancerous transformation of the cell.[7]:39-50

 

Yeah, I know, more science speak but it does help us get to the point. If your body comes in contact with a mutation, whether it be from environment, exposure in life, diet, etc. it is inherent that your body will resist as if there is an error code in your operating system. Kinda like when you go to a website and it says ‘File Not Found Error 404’. This means the body is not capable of giving it the good fight because it kind of goes into a hands-in-the-air screaming and running in circles mode and just does anything it can. Maybe even throwing oil on that kitchen fire making it worse, we really don’t know how it will react.

 

So, with all this science speak we come back to the decisions of women, and men, they do get breast cancer! What is the right choice for YOU if you are faced knowing you have both of these genes or even one? THAT my friend is up to you! YOU are the person who can best decide what that means you should do. After all, there are doctors out there on both sides of the fence on this one. All I can say is, I was worried enough with my family history to make the choice to get the genetic test done and move on from there. Never mind that none of the women in my family had the mutated genes, it was a sort of relief for me that I was not THAT much higher in the probabilities. I made my informed choice before I knew of the genetic mutation not even being in our family of breast cancer but it was MY choice to go forward and not have surgery simply because I felt it the best choice for me at that given time.

 

Another interesting point made from Ms. Jolie’s interview is the cost and patent on the genetic testing for women across the world. When I took the test in 2006 it was $3500.00 that was quite an expense and I can’t imagine it being a frivolous expense for anyone. The average person cannot afford this, and sorry, but the insurance companies will reject the test many times before it will agree to pay a portion of it. That was my experience. There was a Supreme Court case against Myriad, the company holding the patent to the BRCA 1&2 gene’s and the biggest message that this case brings to me is that a big company can actually be holding a patent, which by definition means:the exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/patent?s=t

 

So, how does a company own the right to a gene that naturally occurs in the body? How is it that, in this court case many other companies have testified to the fact that they can produce a cheaper test ($35-40) if allowed to use the technology that Myriad is controlling the rights to? I really get upset when big companies bully little companies because they are so scared of letting go of the reigns. A simple business tip? If you give stuff willingly you get things in return 10 times because you are doing the right thing.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that a company should give it all away, but when another company collaborates with you to create a newer and streamlined product for the betterment of man/womankind, HEY! Wake up call! I think it ends up being a win for all parties if you allow it. I would proudly use the name Myriad instead of how I feel now which is that they are mud. 😦

 

Let’s hope the news allows for a change in mindset. Let’s hope that Myriad stops grubbing money and allows for the change to happen, without a lawsuit! DO THE RIGHT THING! I can’t even get a copy of my gene test because Myriad will not send the results to anyone who is not a doctor! Cheers for that Myriad!

Wikipedia reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRCA_mutation

A Quick Addition on BRCA 1 & 2 Genes

Read this article as it so eloquently puts the cost inefficiencies of one company, Myriad, owning the patent to our genes! What? Yes, they are currently the holders of the patent to the BRCA 1 & 2 genes and this is why I had to pay $3500 for my genetic testing! It is outrageous when so many companies are out there trying to, but being stopped by Myriad with the help of the courts, create a $30-40 option!!! I believe we have reached a whole new level of insanity with big Pharma. Get Myriad off the books and allow this patent to be cancelled so all women can be tested and given a sigh of relief or be able to use the facts to make informed decisions!
Get this information out there folks! It’s truly worth sharing to the masses!

http://bcaction.org/2013/05/14/celebrity-breasts-and-corporate-gene-patents/

Britain’s top surgeons for breast cancer reconstruction surgery

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1292354/Britains-surgeons-breast-cancer-reconstruction-surgery–voted-specialists-themselves.html

Revealed: Britain’s top surgeons for breast cancer

reconstruction surgery – as voted by the specialists

themselves

By Angela Brooks

Last month, breast cancer survivor Yvonne Laidlaw, 57, was awarded £37,000  compensation for reconstruction that left her feeling like a freak, with one breast higher and smaller than the other.

She said her joy at overcoming cancer was replaced for loathing of her body following this ‘cosmetic disaster’. She warned other women to see a consultant specialising in reconstructive techniques.

Clearing the cancer is naturally the priority. But when it comes to reconstruction, there are a host of other issues: do you go for breast reconstruction at the time of the cancer surgery – as Mrs Laidlaw did – or delayed reconstruction?

These decisions might be dictated by personal choice – some patients feel they want to put the cancer behind them and don’t want to be rushed into a decision about the type of breast reconstruction they want so soon after being diagnosed.

For others also undergoing radiotherapy, doctors might recommend postponing reconstruction, as treatment can harden tissues and damage the reconstruction.

More seriously, if the patient develops an infection or other complication following reconstruction, this could delay the start of chemotherapy. This is because chemotherapy works by hitting the fastest-growing cells, which, as well as cancer cells, include white blood cells that fight infection.

Finding the right surgeon might help resolve these issues. But working out your options can be difficult when removing the cancer and rebuilding the breasts can be carried out by three types of surgeons.

‘Breast surgeons are general surgeons whose job is tackling the cancer with a lumpectomy or mastectomy,’ says Adam Searle, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London.

‘Some have done further training in plastic surgery and are called oncoplastic surgeons – they clear the cancer and will do some reconstruction.’

Finally, there are plastic and reconstructive surgeons who offer the full range of reconstruction techniques, including the most challenging microsurgery where fat is taken from one part of the body to rebuild the breast.

‘When women want an immediate reconstruction, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon works in a team with a breast surgeon who removes the cancer, and then the plastic surgeon takes over,’ says Mr Searle.

So how do you navigate this course and do all you can to avoid Mrs Laidlaw’s experience?

That’s what the Daily Mail set out to do. Our object was to search out the top-rated surgeons across the spectrum in breast cancer surgery up and down the country.

We felt those best placed to rate the top practitioners would be other breast cancer and reconstructive surgeons. So we canvassed 50 leading surgeons and asked them: ‘If your nearest and dearest were to be diagnosed with breast cancer, to whom would you refer them?’

While the top ten surgeons are not evenly distributed around the country, this shouldn’t necessarily be an obstacle for patients.

Under NICE guidelines, all patients should be offered all reconstruction options, even if these aren’t available locally.

Patients are entitled to be referred farther afield on the NHS. Of course, this is only a guide and not a scientific study – there are countless highly skilled surgeons all over the country who didn’t make it into the top ten, yet who spend every day of their working lives rebuilding not just breasts, but shattered self-esteem, too.

OUR TOP 10

Here are Britain’s top ten reconstructive surgeons as voted for by their peers, in no particular order. All work in the NHS and privately.

DICK RAINSBURY

Consultant oncoplastic surgeon, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Respected and skilful surgeon who can combine cancer clearance with immediate breast reconstruction. Very firm beliefs on what is best for patients, but knows his own limitations. He will refer a patient to a plastic surgeon if he feels they will benefit from surgery such as DIEP-flaps, where spare fat is taken from the tummy to recreate the breast.

VENKAT RAMAKRISHNAN

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: He is technically excellent and has pushed the boundaries with the most challenging microsurgical techniques. Free flaps – pieces of tissue from, say, the tummy – are taken to recreate the breast. Microsurgons have to be able to plumb veins with the tiniest stitches to ensure that transplanted tissue survives in its new home in the breast.

EVA WEILER-MITHOFF

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Glasgow Royal Infirmary

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HER: Approachable, dedicated and highly skilled surgeon, rated among the top international breast reconstructive surgeons.

FAZEL FATEH

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, City Hospital, Birmingham

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Kind, sensible, experienced. Full range of microsurgery with good results.

STEPHEN McCULLEY

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Nottingham Breast Unit, Nottingham City Hospital

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Forward-thinking. Has training in oncoplastic techniques, so is able to clear cancer (as breast surgeons do)and carry out reconstruction.

ADAM SEARLE

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Royal Marsden, London

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Levelheaded, experienced, charming and thoughtful surgeon who achieves good results.

ELAINE SASSOON

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HER: A great innovator, who has helped pioneer the latest techniques and takes an artistic view of the breast and what can be done to create the best cosmetic result. Also has the psychological skills to support her patients and help them through a difficult time.

GRAHAM PERKS

Consultant plastic and reconstruction surgeon, Nottingham Breast Unit, Nottingham City Hospital

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Kind, down-to-earth and self-effacing – and a very good surgeon.

PAUL HARRIS

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Royal Marsden Hospital, London

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Skilful post-mastectomy reconstruction, including the most advanced free flap microsurgery operations.

CHARLES MALATA

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Slow, but meticulous, with good results.

ALSO HIGHLY RECOMMENDED…

DAVID FLOYD

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Royal Free Hospital, London

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Fine pair of hands and a good decision-maker.

DOUGLAS MACMILLAN

Oncoplastic surgeon, Nottingham Breast Unit, Nottingham City Hospital

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Often works as a team with Stephen McCulley. Regarded as good at determining what surgical approach to take in order to get the best results. Forward thinking.

RICHARD SUTTON

Oncoplastic surgeon, Royal United Hospital, Bath

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Highly skilled at skin and nipple-sparing mastectomy. Knows what he can do and does it well. Skin-sparing mastectomy is usually done with an incision around the areola, with the breast tissue then being shelled out through this hole. But it can also be done with an incision in the breast crease. It isn’t always possible to spare the nipple when the cancer is close by because it can be hard to ensure you’ve moved all traces of the disease. These women will go on to have nipple reconstruction and tattooing.

RICHARD HAYWOOD

Consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: Regarded as a very good microsurgeon.

ST JOHN COLLIER

Breast surgeon, Basildon University hospital

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT HIM: ‘Phenomenal and meticulous’ breast surgeon. Takes out all tissue without damaging the skin.

Timing Critical in Breast Cancer Surgery

Another really interesting article I read on Cancer Active’s website. Link is included. Next up I’ll have an article about the UK’s top reconstructive surgeons as voted by the people! Loving the input we are finally getting in the press!

Enjoy!

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=1255&Title=Timing%20Critical%20in%20Breast%20Cancer%20Surgery

Dr Paul Layman wrote to us to clear up an error in the Tony Howell interview. Paul writes, “An eighteen year study on the protective effect of natural progesterone has recently been confirmed. The oestrogen receptor status of breast cancer is now thought to be of significance in recurrence rates, but the Imperial College study seemed to suggest that the timing of breast surgery was more important than receptor status“.

 

And he is perfectly correct. Choosing the correct point in your monthly cycle to have a breast operation can increase your 10-year survival chances by two thirds! Every woman and their doctor should know this fact.

 

The Imperial Cancer Research Fund (Cancer, 15 Nov 1999) states clearly that “Women having breast tumours removed during the follicular phase of their cycle (that is days 3-12 when their oestrogen is high) have a 10-year survival rate of only 45 per cent, compared to a 10-year survival rate of 75 per cent for women having surgery during the luteal phase (when progesterone is high).”

 

Indeed the research also showed that oestrogen receptor positive and progesterone receptor positive tumours had the highest survival rates if surgery was performed in the second half of a woman’s cycle.

 

This work confirmed an earlier study from Guy’s Hospital by Cooper, Gillett, Patel, Barnes and Fentiman in August 1999 and yet earlier work by Hrushesky et al (Lancet 1989).

 

The Four Pillars Of Cancer

This article was in an issue of Icon, a magazine created by Cancer Active and they are an amazing resource for all things cancer. So if you’re looking for the newest research, some inspiring stories or alternative therapies they have it all! I highly recommend them.

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=644

Originally published in July 2002 icon, updated June 2006

icon magazine is just over 3 years old and, judging by readers´ comments, goes from strength to strength. One of the very first articles we ever ran was entitled ´The 4 Pillars of Cancer´. Over the last three years a great deal of new scientific research has been reported and we have learned far more about the ´4 Pillars´. So much so that it was the title for the talks I recently gave on my world tour in the USA, Australia, Japan, Ireland and the UK.

There are thousands of ways of approaching the subject of cancer – its prevention or its treatment. The ´4 Pillars´ is just one of them, but it is both a simple and all-embracing route to help both would-be preventers and those already afflicted with this terrible disease.

A few years ago the World Health Organisation opined that there were three overall causes of cancer, and tried to estimate the relevance of each:

50 per cent caused by POOR DIET

25 per cent caused by TOXINS

25 per cent caused by INFECTION

Many experts would argue that to this list of tangible reasons must be added a much harder area to estimate or quantify:

Unknown per cent caused by MENTAL STATE

Why Worry About The Causes?

50 years ago those people with genetic factors had a 40 per cent chance of developing the disease

Most people reading this have cancer. A number do not, and nor do they want it. Some, however, may feel cancer ´runs in their family´. Certainly 50 years ago those people with genetic factors (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) had a 40 per cent chance of developing the disease. With modern environments and modern lifestyle, that figure is now just over 70 per cent. However, before those people get too depressed, please be aware that a 2001 Swedish study of identical twins across Europe showed that just because one family member with the genes developed a disease, the identical sibling did not have to, providing he or she took important lifestyle and dietary steps for avoidance. There´s the good news.

To a great degree, the power is in your own hands. The US Chief Medical Officer said that, “this study should remove the ´fatalism´ that because it runs in my family, I must get it too.” You do not ´have´ to get cancer as long as you are prepared to make some effort, The ´4 Pillars hopefully tells you how to ´do´ the basics!

But understanding the causes is also crucial to the person already diagnosed with cancer.

For example, if you smoked and developed lung cancer, by and large whatever your doctor did you would expect the disease to return if you carried on smoking. What causes your cancer could well be the very thing that is maintaining it too.

Understanding Cause Is Crucial To Treatment

Take Professor Jane Plant, for example. Breast cancer was diagnosed, various orthodox treatments used and failed and with tumours behind her neck, she was told to go home and make a will. As a scientist herself, she decided to look for the cause, identified the possibility of dairy, cut this out and within six weeks the tumours had gone. But then, many breast cancers are hormonally driven and since 1991 (NCI, America) we have known that IGF1, found in dairy, can interfere with cell division causing cells to grow rapidly and even mutate.

Many such cancers are a result of ´toxins´, poisoning the system

Take Michael Gearin-Tosh, Oxford Don and multiple mycloma sufferer who, given the choice of extending his life expectancy from 18 months to 30 months by having chemotherapy, instead chose to use the Gerson Therapy and has survived and thrived for almost 10 years. But then, many such cancers are a result of ´toxins´, poisoning the system. For example, farmers have higher rates of multiple myeloma due to their use of pesticides. And the Gerson therapy is an excellent way of ´detoxifying´ the blood system and cells.

Changing The Odds

With every cancer there is an average 5-year survival rate. It´s a statistic. A rate that varies, often widely, by country. With prostrate cancer in Austria the 5-year figure is 83.6%, but in England it is only 53.8%. Clearly then the package of medical treatments, your lifestyle and diet can increase, or worsen, your odds of survival.

Dr Rosy Daniel, former Head of the Bristol Cancer Help Centre says that by building a complete, integrated, holistic programme (using the best of orthodox and complementary, even alternative therapies), a patient can improve their odds of 5-year survival by as much as 60 per cent. And that sounds good enough to me!

But then, if only as a piece of logic, why cannot the orthodox medical world just consider this? ´If 50 per cent of all cancers are supposedly caused by a POOR DIET, couldn´t just some of these patients benefit – even be cured – by a GOOD DIET?´

Cause – An Approach To Treating Cancer?

I know it sounds a bit simplistic but if I were an oncologist, or merely a GP, with a newly diagnosed cancer patient, I´d be spending serious time with them asking:

Q: What may have caused this cancer and what might therefore be maintaining it?

Q: Is it hormonally driven? (Oestrogen drives far more than breast cancer!)

And then I´d be saying to the patient:

A: “Right, before we go near any surgery, radio or chemotherapy we are going to do everything in our power to boost your natural defences – your immune system.”

A: “And we will try and get more oxygen into your blood.”

Why? Well the evidence is quite clear; cancer is systemic – weak immune systems lead to more disease and more cancer. Lowered oxygen levels lead to more cancer. Look into Darkfield Microscopy or Russian algae/photscan diagnosis and this will become abundantly clear; or just read some of the research we´ve covered in Cancer Watch over the last three years.

Cancer is systemic – weak immune systems lead to more disease and more cancer

Cancer is a whole body disease. And this dictates a whole body treatment approach.

And so we come back to you, the reader and, if you have a cancer, how you might begin adding to your doctor´s orthodox expertise.

Poor Diet, Toxins, Infections, Mental State? Unlike the World Health Organisation, we urge you not to think of these as separate boxes.

For example, depression lowers your blood oxygen; poor diet weakens your immune system. This may be exacerbated by certain chemicals and toxins, increasing the chances of infection and ´tipping you over the edge´ into a cancer.

So don´t look for one cause, examine your whole lifestyle. Go with your doctor´s orthodox recommendations, but evaluate them fully and ask objective questions. Two recent studies showed that patients did not understand ´doctorspeak´ when it came to cancer and were also turning more and more to the web because it ´empowered them´ and put them back in charge of their own treatment programme. However, there are great dangers in chasing around the web; some sites talk complete rubbish! Be circumspect. And always get a second opinion, on anything you consider doing!

Read the following ´4 pillars´; copy it/photostat it. Take it with you when you see your oncologist and tell him clearly what you intend to do to increase your own chances of survival around his plans for you. Be open, be honest. But remember, it´s your life. And you must be happy with the final plan.

Managing Your Survival Plan

You are now entering a world largely outside your GP and oncologist´s medical training

The fundamental truth about building a complementary therapy programme, or about addressing the causes (and therefore any likely treatments) via the 4 Pillars of Cancer is that you are now entering a world largely outside your GP and oncologist´s medical training. Natural human nature can then sometimes play an unhelpful role.

Poor diet/good diet – we know oncologists who will confirm that they have never spent a single day studying nutrition or diet (nor supplements) and therefore are simply not qualified to express an opinion. However, despite this, some will reject all supplementation and diet therapies.

Toxins – the majority of these, and their links to cancer are way beyond your doctor´s knowledge or training.

Infection – here your doctor should be able to advise, although science is moving very quickly and they may not be completely up-to-date.

Mental State – almost certainly an area completely foreign to your oncologist. It is a new and very specialised area.

So he may encourage you, or he may try to dissuade you. All the more reason to photostat this whole article and give him a copy. Beating cancer is about RISK MANAGEMENT. And that´s all we are trying to do in this article: Improve your statistics and make you a well-above-average case.

Message To Doctors

And if you are a doctor reading this, please understand that we have research that supports these pages, almost all of it is readily available on our website. Please, please be open-minded, we are just trying to increase the odds of survival for your patient.

And if you want to amplify the possible causes and actions, try reading ´Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer´. It has been Britain´s No 1 selling cancer book for the last two years – the first 12 copies in Japan were all bought by doctors!