90% of breast cancer could likely be prevented if everyone did some of these 12 things


By Dr. Mercola

Breast cancer is probably one of the most feared diagnoses a woman can get. The mere mention of it conjures up images of death, despair, or at best, disfigurement.

According to breastcancer.org,1 one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and nearly 40,000 women lose their lives to the disease each year.

With such odds stacked against you, what, if anything, can you do to prevent becoming a statistic? In truth, there are many measures you can take—each of which will help decrease your risk.

It’s important to realize that less than 10 percent of all breast cancer cases are thought to be related to genetic risk factors.2 The remainder—90 percent—appear to be triggered by environmental factors.

I strongly believe that cancer is preventable through appropriate lifestyle changes, such as cleaning up your diet, optimizing your vitamin D levels, exercising, and avoiding toxins from every source you can.

This means taking careful inventory of the household and personal care products you use, and the furnishings and other potentially toxic items you get into contact with on a daily basis. Toxic overexposure undoubtedly play a major role in cancer development, and recent studies are finally starting to shed light on the worst offenders.

Scientists Identify ‘Highest Priority’ Toxins for Breast Cancer Prevention

According to recent research published in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) journal, Environmental Health Perspectives,3 you can reduce your risk of breast cancer by avoiding certain chemicals found in common, everyday products. As reported by Rodale:4

“Because the study found that animal tests are able to predict likely human breast carcinogens, the new report could serve as a major step forward in breast cancer prevention, expanding the list of possible breast cancer triggers. That’s especially important because only about 10 percent of breast cancers are genetic in nature—scientists believe environment plays a huge role…

‘Every woman in America has been exposed to chemicals that may increase her risk of getting breast cancer. Unfortunately, the link between toxic chemicals and breast cancer has largely been ignored,’ says Julia Brody, PhD, study author and executive director at Silent Spring Institute. ‘Reducing chemical exposures could save many, many women’s lives.’”

In a previous study, the researchers had identified 216 chemicals that increase mammary gland tumors in rodents. In this paper, they narrowed the focus to 102 chemicals that large numbers of women are exposed to on a regular basis, through food, medications, air pollution, or consumer products.

They then prioritized the chemicals, and grouped them based on exposure, carcinogenic potential, and chemical structure. This sorting resulted in 17 chemical groups of related chemicals, which were flagged as “high priority” due to their ability to consistently produce mammary tumors in animal tests.

Top Offenders

Their list of cancer-causing chemical groups to avoid, and their most common sources of exposure, includes the following. Another 27 different carcinogens that do not fit into the chemical categories listed below are also considered high priority. These chemicals include certain ones found in pesticides, consumer products, and food.

Two examples of the latter are methyl eugenol, which is used in processed food as a natural and artificial flavoring, and nitrosamines in smoked meats. The researchers also list obesity and medical radiation as preventable risk factors, the latter of which would include unnecessary mammograms.

High Priority Chemicals to Avoid for Breast Cancer Prevention

Flame retardants: Flame retardant products, polyester resins, plastic polymers, and rigid polyurethane foams Acrylamide: Diet (especially starchy foods, such as French fries, cooked at high temperatures), tobacco smoke, and polyacrylamide gels in consumer products, such as diapers
Aromatic amines: Polyurethane, pesticides, Azo dyes, and many other products Benzene: Gasoline (riding in a car, pumping gasoline, and storing gasoline in a basement or attached garage), tobacco smoke, adhesive removers, paints, sealants, finishers, and engine fuel and oils
Halogenated organic solvents: Dry cleaning, hair spray propellant, soil fumigants, food processing, gasoline additives, and paint and spot removers Ethylene (EtO) and propylene oxide (PO): EtO is a gas used to sterilize medical equipment, food and spices, clothing, and musical instruments. Also found in tobacco smoke and auto exhaust. PO is a sterilant and fumigant. Also found in automotive and paint products
1,3-Butadiene: Cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, gasoline fumes, and emissions from industrial facilities Heterocyclic amines: Meat cooked at high temperatures, and tobacco smoke
Endogenous and pharmaceutical hormones and other endocrine disrupting chemicals:Estrogens, progesterone, and DES, along with other hormones Non-hormonal pharmaceuticals that have hormonal activity: These include four chemotherapeutic agents, two veterinary drugs possibly present in food, the diuretic furosemide, the anti-fungal griseofulvin, and several anti-infective agents
MX: One of hundreds of genotoxic by-products of drinking water disinfection Perfluorooctanoic acid PFOA: Non-stick and stain-resistant coatings on rugs, furniture, clothes and cookware; fire-fighting applications, cosmetics, lubricants, paints, and adhesives
Nitro-PAHs: Air pollution, primarily from diesel exhaust PAHs: Tobacco smoke, air pollution, and charred foods
Ochratoxin A (a naturally occurring mycotoxin): Contaminated grain, nuts, and pork products Styrene: Food that has been in contact with polystyrene; consumer products and building materials, including polystyrene, carpets, adhesives, hobby and craft supplies, and home maintenance products

Flame Retardants Do FAR More Harm Than Good…

While it’s difficult to single out any particular chemical grouping as being “the worst,” fire retardants may fit the bill by the fact that they are used in so many furnishings, including your mattress, where you spend a significant portion of your life. Last year, I wrote about the deceptive campaigns that led to the proliferation of fire retardant chemicals. As reported in an investigative series “Playing With Fire” by the Chicago Tribune:5

“The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes and the highest recorded levels of flame retardants among infants in the world. The toxic chemicals are present in nearly every home, packed into couches, chairs and many other products. Two powerful industries — Big Tobacco and chemical manufacturers — waged deceptive campaigns that led to the proliferation of these chemicals, which don’t even work as promised.”

An estimated 90 percent of Americans have flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies, and many studies have linked them to human health risks, including infertility, birth defects, lower IQ scores, behavioral problems in children, as well as liver, kidney, testicular, and breast cancers.

Flame-retardant chemicals belong to the same class of chemicals as DDT and PCBs (organohalogens), and like the former, they, too, build up in the environment. These chemicals also react with other toxins as they burn to produce cancer-causing dioxins and furans. The chemical industry claims that fire-retardant furniture increases escape time in a fire by 15-fold.

In reality, this claim came from a study using powerful, NASA-style flame retardants, which provided an extra 15 seconds of escape time. But this is not the same type of chemical used in most furniture, and government and independent studies show that the most widely used flame-retardant chemicals provide no benefit for people while increasing the amounts of toxic chemicals in smoke.

A flame-retardant chemical known as chlorinated tris (TDCPP) was removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s amid concerns that it may cause cancer, but now it’s a ubiquitous addition to couch cushions across the United States. As for your mattress, I recommend getting one that’s either made of 100% wool or Kevlar, both of which are natural flame retardant without added chemicals.

Antiperspirants and Cosmetics—Other Major Culprits

Parabens are chemicals that serve as preservatives in antiperspirants and many cosmetics, as well as sun lotions. Previous studies have shown that all parabens have estrogenic activity in human breast cancer cells. Research published in 20126 found one or more paraben esters in 99 percent of the 160 tissue samples collected from 40 mastectomies. The consistent presence of parabens in cancerous human breast tissue suggests antiperspirants and other cosmetics may also increase your risk of breast cancer.

While antiperspirants are a common source of parabens, the authors note that the source of the parabens cannot be established and that seven of the 40 patients reportedly never used deodorants or antiperspirants in their lifetime. What this tells us is that parabens, regardless of the source, can bioaccumulate in breast tissue. And the sources are many. Parabens can be found in a wide variety of personal care products, cosmetics, as well as drugs. That said, it appears the dermal route is the most significant form of exposure. Another component of antiperspirants, aluminum chloride, has been found to act similarly to the way oncogenes work to provide molecular transformations in cancer cells.

Other Breast Cancer Prevention Strategies

In the largest review of research into lifestyle and breast cancer, the American Institute of Cancer Research estimated that about 40 percent of US breast cancer cases could be prevented if people made wiser lifestyle choices. I believe these are low-ball estimates. More than likely, 75 percent to 90 percent of breast cancers could be avoided by strictly applying the lifestyle modifications recommended below.

Key Dietary Guidelines

Avoid sugar, especially fructose. Reduce or eliminate processed foods, sugar/fructose, and grain-based foods from your diet. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful. As a general guideline, limit your total fructose intake to less than 25 grams daily. If you have cancer or are insulin resistant, you would be wise to restrict it to 15 grams or less.
Limit protein and increase healthy fat: Consider reducing your protein levels to one gram per kilogram of lean body weight. It would be unusual for most adults to need more than 100 grams of protein and most likely close to half of that amount. Replace the eliminated protein and carbs with high-quality fats, such as organic eggs from pastured hens, high-quality meats, avocados, and coconut oil. There’s compelling evidence that a ketogenic diet helps prevent and treat many forms of cancer.
Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A plays a role in helping prevent breast cancer.7 It’s best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver. However, beware of supplementing as there’s some evidence that excessive vitamin A can negate the benefits of vitamin D. Since appropriate vitamin D levels are crucial for your health in general, not to mention cancer prevention, this means that it’s essential to have the proper ratio of vitamin D to vitamin A in your body.Ideally, you’ll want to provide all the vitamin A and vitamin D substrate your body needs in such a way that your body can regulate both systems naturally. This is best done by eating colorful vegetables (for vitamin A) and by exposing your skin to safe amounts of sunshine every day (for vitamin D).
Get sufficient amounts of iodine. Iodine is an essential trace element required for the synthesis of hormones, and the lack of it can also cause or contribute to the development of a number of health problems, including breast cancer. This is because your breasts absorb and use a lot of iodine, which they need for proper cellular function. Iodine deficiency or insufficiency in any of tissue will lead to dysfunction of that tissue, and tumors are one possibility.However, there’s significant controversy over the appropriate dosage, so you need to use caution here. There’s evidence indicating that taking mega-doses, in the tens of milligram range may be counterproductive. One recent study suggests it might not be wise to get more than about 800 mcg of iodine per day, and supplementing with as much as 12-13 mg (12,000-13,000 mcgs) could potentially have some adverse health effects.8
Nourish your gut: Optimizing your gut flora will reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune response. Researchers have found a microbe-dependent mechanism through which some cancers mount an inflammatory response that fuels their development and growth. They suggest that inhibiting inflammatory cytokines might slow cancer progression and improve the response to chemotherapy. Adding naturally fermented food to your daily diet is an easy way to prevent cancer or speed recovery. You can always add a high-quality probiotic supplement as well, but naturally fermented foods are the best.
Avoid GMOs: Avoid genetically engineered foods as they are typically treated with herbicides such as Roundup (glyphosate), which are likely to be carcinogenic. A French research team that has extensively studied Roundup concluded it’s toxic to human cells, and likely carcinogenic to humans. Choose fresh, organic, preferably locally growth foods.
Avoid charring your meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk. Acrylamide—a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, or fried—has been found to increase breast cancer risk as well.
Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
Drink a quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information.
Add cancer-fighting whole foods, herbs, and spices to your diet, such as broccoli. To learn more about how anti-angiogenetic foods fight cancer, please see our previous article: “Dramatically Effective New Natural Way to Starve Cancer and Obesity.”
Curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis.9 To learn more about its use for the prevention of cancer, please see my interview with Dr. William LaValley.
Avoid drinking alcohol, or at least limit your alcoholic drinks to one per day.

 

Other Lifestyle Strategies for the Prevention of Breast Cancer

Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. There are well over 800 references in the medical literature showing vitamin Ds effectiveness against cancerVitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). Research has shown vitamin D kills cancer cells as effectively as the toxic breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, without any of the detrimental side effects and at a tiny fraction of the cost. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I’m aware of, with no adverse effects.According to Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, as much as 90 percent of ordinary breast cancer may in fact be related to vitamin D deficiency. Most recently, a meta-analysis of five studies published in the March 2014 issue of Anticancer Research10 found that patients diagnosed with breast cancer who had high vitamin D levels were twice as likely to survive compared to women with low levels.11, 12, 13 The high serum group had an average vitamin D level of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Women in the low serum group averaged 17 ng/ml, which is the average vitamin D level found in American breast cancer patients.14

The researchers urge physicians to make vitamin D monitoring and optimization part of standard breast cancer care. According to the featured findings, you need at least 30 ng/ml of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) to prevent cancer from spreading. That said, other research suggests you’d be better off with levels as high as 80 ng/ml. One 2011 study15, 16 found that a vitamin D level of 50 ng/ml is associated with a 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer.

Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally when you begin eating right for your nutritional type and exercising. It’s important to lose excess body fat because fat produces estrogen, which can fuel breast cancer.
Improve your insulin/leptin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar and grains and making sure you are exercising regularly, ideally by incorporating the principles of Peak Fitness.
Avoid xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic natural estrogens. They have been linked to a wide range of human health effects, including reduced sperm counts in men and increased risk of breast cancer in women. There are a large number of xenoestrogens, such as bovine growth hormones in commercial dairy, plastics like bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and parabens in personal care products, and chemicals used in non-stick materials, just to name a few.
Breastfeed exclusively for up to six months. Research shows this will reduce your breast cancer risk.17
Avoid wearing underwire bras. There is a good deal of data that metal underwire bras increase your breast cancer risk.
Avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible. Limit your exposure and protect yourself from radiation produced by cell phones, towers, base stations, and Wi-Fi stations, as well as minimizing your exposure from radiation-based medical scans, including dental x-rays, CT scans, and mammograms. Items such as electric blankets can be particularly troublesome and increase your cancer risk.
Get enough sleep: Make sure you are getting enough restorative sleep. Poor sleep can interfere with your melatonin production, which is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and weight gain, both of which contribute to cancer’s virility.
Employ effective stress management tools: Stress from all causes is a major contributor to disease. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is driven by emotional factors. It is likely that stress and unresolved emotional issues may be more important than the physical ones, so make sure this is addressed. My favorite tool for resolving emotional challenges is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Taking Control of Your Lifestyle Can Significantly Reduce Your Odds of Cancer

Preventing breast cancer is far more important and powerful than simply trying to detect it, and avoiding chemical hazards such as those reviewed above are a big part of any cancer prevention strategy. The question is, how do you avoid them when there are so many? My answer is to clean up your life to where your food, water, clothes, furnishings, and other products you come into regular contact with are as close to natural and unprocessed as possible.

This means seeking out organically-produced items—be it a piece of food, clothing, bed linens, laundry detergent, or shampoo. All of it counts, as it’s the accumulated exposure from all these varied sources that end up wreaking havoc. In the case of household cleansers and personal care items, you can inexpensively replace most or all of them with just a few simple, non-toxic ingredients. Coconut oil, for example, has countless uses around the house. Ditto for baking soda and vinegar. Many of the recommendations listed above will also automatically reduce your exposure to cancer-causing toxins.

Breast Cancer Info Scrubbed From Government Website


Why did WomensHealth.gov delete its breast cancer web pages?

This question is now being asked because breast cancer content has been greatly reduced on the site, which belongs to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

While there is still a single page with rudimentary information on mammograms and breast cancer, most of the seven-page content was taken down.

The WomensHealth.gov site is well-trafficked, being visited approximately 700,000 times a month, according to a report.

Critics of the action emphasize that information for low-income women and other vulnerable populations was among the removed content and that its removal appears to reflect a broader agenda from the current administration.

For example, under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act, breast cancer screening is offered free of charge for women meeting certain financial criteria, but that information has been deleted from WomensHealth.gov. Now, the information must be accessed on the site via a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which, in turn, requires a click through to yet another link.

Also, the “Government in Action” section of WomensHealth.gov previously contained information on federal programs that provide free or low-cost cancer screening, including clinical breast exams and mammograms. Known as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, the entity offers screening to all “low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women.” That entire section of the site is now removed.

This information cannot be found elsewhere on the OWH website, or anywhere on the HHS site, despite the agency’s contention that it has been integrated into other parts of the HHS website.

The deletion of most of the breast cancer content on WomensHealth.gov is startling, said an expert.

“Because breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the US, affecting 250,000 annually resulting in 40,000 deaths a year, it is astonishing that important information about risks, prevention and treatment of breast cancer has been eliminated from the Office on Women’s Health site,” Joyce Bichler, deputy director of Breast Cancer Action in San Francisco, California, told Medscape Medical News.

Government Answer: It’s Audit Related

According to a report from the Sunlight Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog, the bulk of the breast cancer–related pages were removed in the second half of 2017 from within the OWH’s WomensHealth.gov site.

The government contends that the pages were removed for lack of use and the content is being reviewed. An HHS spokesperson told the news site ThinkProgress that the “pages were removed on December 6, 2017, because content was not mobile-friendly and very rarely used. Before we update any of the information…we engage in a comprehensive audit and use analysis process that includes reviewing other federal consumer health websites to ensure we are not duplicating efforts or presenting redundant information.”

The spokesperson also explained that users should go to WomensHealth.gov/cancer. This page does not have a dedicated section for breast cancer, but the spokesperson said “sister HHS agencies…have the same information in a much more user-friendly format on their websites.”

Unexplained Censorship

However, the Sunlight Foundation disputes the HHS explanation. They point out that this isn’t the first time that important health information has vanished without notice or explanation. The removal of breast cancer information is part of “wider changes to the OWH website that include the removal of resources related to lesbian and bisexual health, minority women’s health, and other topics.”

In a tweet, Sunlight’s Web Integrity Project policy director Andrew Bergman noted that “Our new Sun Web Integrity reports document the removal of breast cancer and LGBT health info from HHSGov’s @womenshealth website. This censorship sows real doubt about health considerations for populations of vulnerable women throughout the country.”

On their website, the Sunlight Foundation similarly noted that the “unexplained censorship” raises questions about the current administration’s commitment to public health. They note that other media outlets have been documenting the broad overhaul of the OWH website since the release of their report and are “delving” into the removal of web pages relating to lesbian and bisexual women’s health. WomensHealth.gov was visited nearly three quarters of a million times in a recent month’s time, said Sunlight.

“The specificity of these removals adds more evidence to a growing concern: that public information for vulnerable populations is being targeted for removal or simply hidden,” says Sunlight. “As we have highlighted before, the absence of transparent process around removing this information, which was done without notice, has sown further confusion.”

Breast Cancer Is Political

Breast Cancer Action’s Bichler placed the events in a larger context.

“Breast cancer is a public health crisis and social justice issue, and we know that communities of color have higher rates of uninsured people and that access to healthcare is incredibly important for managing illness and obtaining preventative health services,” she said.

Bichler emphasized that it is very concerning that important information intended to assist low-income individuals and people of color access healthcare has been removed from the website. “And although mammography information is left on the site, when women don’t know how to access affordable healthcare, including medical treatment, we’re talking about life and death.”

Bichler also pointed out that in the current climate, breast cancer has become “political because women’s bodies are political.”

This is a step back from addressing and ending the breast cancer epidemic, not a step forward. Joyce Bichler

She concluded that “this is a step back from addressing and ending the breast cancer epidemic, not a step forward.”

The oncology community and the public at large should also not be standing by and allowing vital information to be removed and hidden away, Bichler said. “Since this is the government site for the Office on Women’s Health, all women, as well as the oncology community, should be demanding an explanation and a return to comprehensive information,” she emphasized. “Again — the most common cancer in women is breast cancer and this is all the OWH has to say about it?”

 

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Breast Biopsy Intensity and Findings Following Breast Cancer Screening in Women With and Without a Personal History of Breast Cancer


Key Points

Question  What are biopsy rates and yield in the 90 days following screening among women with and without a personal history of breast cancer (PHBC)?

Findings  In this population-based cohort including 812 164 women undergoing screening (mammography vs magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] with or without mammography), there were 2-fold higher and 5-fold higher core and surgical biopsy rates following MRI compared with mammography among women with and without a PHBC, respectively, resulting in lower invasive cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ yield for both groups.

Meaning  Women with and without PHBC who undergo screening MRI experience higher biopsy rates coupled with significantly lower cancer yield compared with mammography alone.

Abstract

Importance  There is little evidence on population-based harms and benefits of screening breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in women with and without a personal history of breast cancer (PHBC).

Objective  To evaluate biopsy rates and yield in the 90 days following screening (mammography vs magnetic resonance imaging with or without mammography) among women with and without a PHBC.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Observational cohort study of 6 Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) registries. Population-based sample of 812 164 women undergoing screening, 2003 through 2013.

Exposures  A total of 2 048 994 digital mammography and/or breast MRI screening episodes (mammogram alone vs MRI with or without screening mammogram within 30 days).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Biopsy intensity (surgical greater than core greater than fine-needle aspiration) and yield (invasive cancer greater than ductal carcinoma in situ greater than high-risk benign greater than benign) within 90 days of a screening episode. We computed age-adjusted rates of biopsy intensity (per 1000 screening episodes) and biopsy yield (per 1000 screening episodes with biopsies). Outcomes were stratified by PHBC and by BCSC 5-year breast cancer risk among women without PHBC.

Results  We included 101 103 and 1 939 455 mammogram screening episodes in women with and without PHBC, respectively; MRI screening episodes included 3763 with PHBC and 4673 without PHBC. Age-adjusted core and surgical biopsy rates (per 1000 episodes) doubled (57.1; 95% CI, 50.3-65.1) following MRI compared with mammography (23.6; 95% CI, 22.4-24.8) in women with PHBC. Differences (per 1000 episodes) were even larger in women without PHBC: 84.7 (95% CI, 75.9-94.9) following MRI and 14.9 (95% CI, 14.7-15.0) following mammography episodes. Ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive biopsy yield (per 1000 episodes) was significantly higher following mammography compared with MRI episodes in women with PHBC (mammography, 404.6; 95% CI, 381.2-428.8; MRI, 267.6; 95% CI, 208.0-337.8) and nonsignificantly higher, but in the same direction, in women without PHBC (mammography, 279.3; 95% CI, 274.2-284.4; MRI, 214.6; 95% CI, 158.7-280.8). High-risk benign lesions were more commonly identified following MRI regardless of PHBC. Higher biopsy rates and lower cancer yield following MRI were not explained by increasing age or higher 5-year breast cancer risk.

Conclusions and Relevance  Women with and without PHBC who undergo screening MRI experience higher biopsy rates coupled with significantly lower cancer yield findings following biopsy compared with screening mammography alone. Further work is needed to identify women who will benefit from screening MRI to ensure an acceptable benefit-to-harm ratio.

Diet May Influence the Spread of a Deadly Type of Breast Cancer, Study Finds


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/diet-may-influence-the-spread-of-a-deadly-type-of-breast-cancer-study-finds/

Diet may influence the spread of a deadly type of breast cancer, study finds


Diet may influence the spread of a deadly type of breast cancer, study finds
Three-dimensional cell culture of breast cancer cells.

A single protein building block commonly found in food may hold a key to preventing the spread of an often-deadly type of breast cancer, according to a new multicenter study published today in the medical journal Nature.

Investigators found that by limiting an amino acid called asparagine in laboratory mice with triple-negative breast cancer, they could dramatically reduce the ability of the cancer to travel to distant sites in the body. Among other techniques, the team used dietary restrictions to limit asparagine.

Foods rich in asparagine include dairy, whey, beef, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood, asparagus, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy and whole grains. Foods low in asparagine include most fruits and vegetables.

“Our study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests diet can influence the course of the disease,” said Simon Knott, PhD, associate director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics at Cedars-Sinai and one of two first authors of the study. The research was conducted at more than a dozen institutions.

If further research confirms the findings in human cells, limiting the amount of asparagine cancer patients ingest could be a potential strategy to augment existing therapies and to prevent the spread of breast cancer, Knott added.

The researchers studied triple-negative breast cancer cells, which grow and spread faster than most other types of cancer cells. It is called triple negative because it lacks receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and makes little of a protein called HER2. As a result, it resists common treatments—which target these factors and has a higher-than-average mortality rate.

Research from past studies found that most tumor cells remain in the primary breast site, but a subset of cells leaves the breast and enters the bloodstream. Those cells colonize in the lungs, brain and liver, where they proliferate. The study team wanted to understand the particular traits of the tumor cells circulating in the blood and in the sites where the cancer has spread.

The researchers discovered that the appearance of asparagine synthetase—the enzyme cells used to make asparagine—in a primary tumor was strongly associated with later cancer spread.

The researchers also found that metastasis was greatly limited by reducing asparagine synthetase, treatment with the chemotherapy drug L-asparaginase, or dietary restriction. When the lab mice were given food rich in asparagine, the cancer cells spread more rapidly.

“The study results are extremely suggestive that changes in diet might impact both how an individual responds to primary therapy and their chances of lethal disease spreading later in life,” said the study’s senior author, Gregory J. Hannon, PhD, professor of Cancer Molecular Biology and director, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge in England.

Investigators now are considering conducting an early-phase clinical trial in which healthy participants would consume a low-asparagine diet. If the diet results in decreased levels of asparagine, the next scientific step would involve a clinical trial with cancer patients. That trial likely would employ dietary restrictions as well as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, Knott said.

Studying the effects of asparagine also could alter treatments for other types of cancer, investigators say.

“This study may have implications not only for breast cancer, but for many metastatic cancers,” said Ravi Thadhani, MD, MPH, vice dean, Research and Graduate Research Education, at Cedars-Sinai.

New drug on anvil for breast cancer patients


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/new-drug-on-anvil-for-breast-cancer-patients/

8 Health Conditions That Disproportionately Affect Black Women


And what you can do to prevent some of them
black-women-diseases-health-conditions

Although being black in this world certainly comes with its struggles, I wouldn’t trade that integral part of my identity for anything. Black-girl magic is real. But it’s a sad fact that black women are often plagued with disproportionately high incidences or mortality rates for various health conditions, like heart diseasebreast cancer, and more.

It sounds scary—and it can be—but knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your physical and mental health. Here are eight health conditions black women should be especially aware of, plus how to best prevent them.

1. Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes

These conditions often occur together or exacerbate each other, and they’re striking black women hard.

Around 7.6 percent of black women have heart disease, compared to 5.8 percent of white women and 5.6 percent of Mexican-American women, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2011-2013. In 2016, around 46 of every 100,000 black women died from strokes, while 35 of every 100,000 white women did. And while white women’s diabetes diagnosis rate is 5.4 per 100, that number is 9.9 per 100 for black women, according to CDC data from 1980-2014—almost double.

Infographic of the heart disease/stroke/diabetes racial disparities

A group of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome increases a person’s chance of getting these diseases. These risk factors include having a waist circumference above 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men, high levels of triglycerides (fat in the blood), a low HDL (“good”) cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar.

Someone must have at least three of these factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, but having even one can signal higher chances of getting heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Those first two are particularly lethal, killing one woman about every 80 seconds.

The black community’s obesity crisis is a symbol of just how at-risk this segment of the population is. “The vast majority of African-American adult women are either overweight or obese,” Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF. While 37.6 percent of black men ages 20 or over are obese according to the latest data, that number jumps to 56.9 percent for black women. It stands at 36.2 percent for white women.

Various genetic components are likely at play with metabolic syndrome—for instance, some research points to a gene that might make black people more sensitive to salt, thus influencing blood pressure—but much of this issue is societal.

“It’s the foods we eat—many communities don’t have easy access to healthier options,” Dr. Hutcherson says. A 2013 study in Preventive Medicine found that “poor, predominantly black neighborhoods face…the most limited access to quality food.” Dr. Hutcherson also cites stress and adds that a lack of exercise can be a problem, too, if it’s hard to get access to a gym or the neighborhood isn’t safe.

Lifestyle changes like eating better, exercising, and stopping smoking can prevent 80 percent of heart disease events and stroke and lower people’s chances of developing diabetes, according to the CDC. But clearly, that’s sometimes easier said than done.

2. Breast cancer

Black women have a 1 in 9 chance of developing breast cancer; for white women the odds are 1 in 8, according to the American Cancer Society. But black women are more likely to die from the disease: White women’s probability of dying from breast cancer is 1 in 37, while black women’s is 1 in 31.

“The reasons why black women are more likely to die [from breast cancer than other groups] are very complex,” Adrienne Phillips, M.D., oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, tells SELF, citing “an interplay between genetics, biology, and environment.”

Along with BRCA mutations (which may be higher in black women than experts previously thought), black women are more likely to get triple-negative breast cancer—a particularly aggressive form of the disease—than women of other races. Then there are the environmental factors Dr. Phillips mentions, like socioeconomic issues that lead to trouble accessing early diagnosis and treatment.

Much like metabolic syndrome, lowering your risk of getting breast cancer mainly comes down to exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, not going overboard on alcohol, and quitting smoking. And even though major organizations haven’t found a notable benefit from breast self-exams, many doctors strongly recommend you check your breasts monthly so you’re aware of any changes.

3. Cervical cancer

Research published in January in the journal Cancer found that not only are black women more likely to die of cervical cancer than women of other races, they’re also 77 percent more likely to die from it than experts previously thought. Prior estimates said 5.7 black women per 100,000 would die of the disease, but this new research puts the number at 10.1 per 100,000.

“Unlike breast cancer, cervical cancer is absolutely preventable in this day and age,” Dr. Phillips says. “In 2017, no woman should be diagnosed with cervical cancer.”

That’s partly because the HPV vaccine is excellent at preventing infection of certain strains of human papillomavirus that can go on to cause cancer. But as of August 2016, only 6 out of 10 girls ages 13 to 17 and 5 of 10 boys in the same age range had started the vaccine series, which doctors recommend getting before age 26 for optimal results. Racial disparities are relevant here—a 2014 report from the CDC showed that around 71 percent of white girls 13 to 17 had completed the three-shot series, compared with about 62 percent of black girls in that age group. (The CDC changed these recommendations in 2016: It now says only two doses are necessary for optimal protection if the patient is between 11 and 12, but three are still ideal if the patient is between 15 and 26.)

Timely Pap smears are also wonderfully effective at preventing full-blown cervical cancer. “A Pap smear will detect preinvasive cervical cancer, but…studies have shown women who are having Pap smears may not get appropriate follow-up,” Dr. Phillips says. “A number of barriers exist for proper follow-up, and African-American women may be more vulnerable.”

Another potential factor, though, may be racial disparities in cervical cancertreatment. A 2014 study published in Plos One found that black women in Maryland were significantly less likely than white women to get surgery for cervical cancer instead of radiation or chemotherapy.

“Equivalent treatments are not being administered to white and black patients with cervical cancer in Maryland,” the study authors concluded. “Differences in care may contribute to racial disparities in outcomes for women with cervical cancer.”

A 2016 study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reached a similar conclusion. The study looked at more than 16,000 patients who had received care for advanced cervical cancer, finding that white women received National Cancer Institute guideline–based care 58 percent of the time, black women 53 percent of the time, and Hispanic women 51.5 percent of the time.

4. Fibroids

Black women are three times more likely than women of other races to get uterine fibroids, noncancerous tumors in the walls of the uterus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. Fibroids are largely genetic, and there’s no known way to prevent them.

“Most of the time, women don’t know they have fibroids because they don’t have symptoms,” Dr. Hutcherson says. “But when [the fibroids] start to grow or increase in number, they can cause a large number of problems, from pain to bleeding to miscarriages, to problems with urination and problems with bowel movements.”

When fibroids do make themselves known, the first sign is often heavy bleedingor pelvic pain, Dr. Hutcherson says.

These symptoms can have a lot of other causes, but if you do have fibroids, you and your doctors can work on a treatment plan. To tackle heavy bleeding and pelvic pain, your doctor may recommend hormonal birth control. But doctors can also perform a myomectomy to remove the fibroids or use techniques like uterine artery embolization and radiofrequency ablation to either block the fibroid from getting nutrients or shrink it.

If you’re done having children or are not interested in having them in the first place, as a last resort, doctors can perform a hysterectomy to put a definitive end to fibroids. Since this makes it impossible to get pregnant, it’s an incredibly delicate decision that varies from woman to woman.

5. Premature delivery

Giving birth prematurely, or going into labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy, can predispose a child to breathing issues, digestive problems, brain bleeding, and long-term developmental delays. It can also lead to death—the earlier a baby is born, the higher this danger becomes.

Unfortunately, black women are particularly susceptible to going into labor too early. According to the CDC, the 2015 preterm birth rate in black women was 13 percent; for white women it was 9 percent.

Infographic of the preterm birth rate racial disparity

“This is multifactorial—it can be affected by obesity, by stress, by diet, by increased vaginal infections, and the decreased access to care in some of our populations,” Dr. Hutcherson says. Women having access to prenatal care is incredibly important for slashing the risk of preterm birth, but when socioeconomics come into the picture, it becomes a complex situation with too few solutions. However, the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health is working on a variety of state- and national-level initiatives to reduce preterm birth in all women.

6. Sickle cell disease

This is an umbrella term for a collection of inherited, lifelong blood disorders that around 1 of every 365 black babies is born with, according to the CDC. Sickle cell disease is caused by a sickle hemoglobin, which happens when the structure of a person’s hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to the red blood cells, is abnormal. Instead of being circular, their red blood cells can look like sickles, a C-shaped farming tool, Dr. Phillips explains.

Sickle-shaped red blood cells can get destroyed in the blood stream, so patients may become anemic. These cells can also clog blood vessels, which can lead to infection, chest pain, and even stroke. And if a pregnant woman has sickle cell disease, it increases the probability of miscarriage, premature birth, and having a baby with a low birth weight, according to the March of Dimes.

Black women who are considering children should get screened for sickle cell no matter what, Dr. Phillips says. It’s possible to not have the disease but have the sickle cell trait, meaning you inherited one sickle cell gene and one normal gene from your parents. If your partner also has sickle cell trait, there is a 25 percent chance your child will inherit sickle cell disease. According to a CDC estimate from 2014, 73 out of every 1,000 black newborns was born with sickle cell trait, compared with 3 out of every 1,000 white newborns.

With proper care and caution to avoid complications, kids with sickle cell disease can live healthy, happy lives, Phillips says—it’s essential for their parents to get the proper education about how to keep them safe.

7. Sexually transmitted diseases

Here’s a bit of good news: Rates of reported chlamydia cases in black people decreased 11.2 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to the CDC. There was a similar downward trend with gonorrhea, which declined 4 percent in that time frame. But black women still outpace other groups when it comes to new diagnoses of these diseases, along with new diagnoses of syphilis.

This problem also extends to HIV/AIDS. Besides black men, black women comprise a majority of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses per year (although the number is thankfully falling). For example, according to the CDC, in 2015, 4,524 black women were diagnosed with HIV in the United States, while 1,431 white women and 1,131 Hispanic/Latina women received the same diagnosis.

“It’s not like black women are having more sex than anyone else,” Dr. Hutcherson says. “Access to good preventive care is the crux of it—if [women] could see health care providers on a regular basis and be educated about what they should be doing to take care of themselves, we probably wouldn’t have as much of a problem.”

Economic insecurity is also an element—condoms and dental dams cost money, after all—as is a general reticence to discuss safe sex.

“There’s a stigma around talking about sex, so people engage in risky sexual activity without protection,” Dr. Hutcherson says.

8. Mental health issues

In addition to the usual biological culprits that can contribute to mental illnessissues, economic insecurity and racism can negatively impact mental health status in the black community.

Overall, black people are 10 percent more likely to report experiencing serious psychological distress than white people, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

“In 2017, we still face a lot of economic insecurity and racism in general. It’s a problem that causes stress and anxiety, which then can lead into depression, and that’s something we never discuss,” Dr. Hutcherson says. “I wish we could make it more acceptable to talk about this and seek care.” Just like in many other cultures, the black community is wrestling with the stigma of seeking help for mental distress. There’s also the reduced access to this kind of counseling in the first place, and the fact that mental health care can be prohibitively expensive. Many counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists don’t take health insurance, which may deter people from getting the help they need. Combined, these factors resulted in 9.4 percent of black adults getting mental health treatment or some form of counseling in 2014 versus 18.8 percent of white people age 18 and older, per the Office of Minority Health.

Black women are especially vulnerable to wrestling with their mental health, consistently reporting higher feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and the sense that everything is an effort than white women do. “Black women are frequently the pillars of our community, taking care of everyone’s health but our own,” Dr. Phillips says. “But it’s very important for women to practice self-care and not forget about themselves when trying to be so strong.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, help is out there. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a comprehensive page about mental health concerns in the black community and a help line that operates Monday through Friday, 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. NAMI also provides a list of 25 different help lines people can turn to when they need support.

FDA approves first treatment for breast cancer with a certain inherited genetic mutation


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/fda-approves-first-treatment-for-breast-cancer-with-a-certain-inherited-genetic-mutation/

Covering Up The Causes of Breast Cancer Since 1985: AstraZeneca’s BCAM


Covering Up The Causes of Breast Cancer Since 1985: AstraZeneca's BCAM

Did you know that AstraZeneca, manufacturer of two blockbuster breast cancer drugs (one of which is classified as a known human carcinogen), is behind Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Why is it, do you think, that during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) you never hear the word “carcinogen” mentioned, but are barraged a million times over by the word “cure”?

Truth be told, BCAM should be renamed Breast Cancer Un-Awareness Month, as it has nothing to do with generating awareness about the true causes and solutions for the breast cancer epidemic and everything to do with making the public focus on a presumably not-yet-existent “cure” to be produced through the pharmaceutical pipeline somewhere off in the future only after enough money is raised.

Instead of identifying and addressing the known causes of cancer, like the many mammary carcinogens now identified in body care products, GMO and processed foods, and our polluted environment, the mission of BCAM is to make people think that the best way to prevent breast cancer is to “detect it early.”

And how?

By subjecting their breasts to radiation-based diagnostic screening that we now know actually causes breast cancer, and which has lead to over one million cases of falsely diagnosed and unnecessarily treated breast cancers in the past 30 years in U.S. women alone. One recent review on the topic of mammography concluded that they are harmful and should be avoided, and yet you will hear countless messages this month that breast screenings are safe and effective for reducing breast cancer mortality — technically, a lie.

This viral meme describes the underlying agenda succinctly:

Back in 2012, when we first wrote “The Dark Side of Breast Cancer [Un]Awareness Month,” in order to shed light on this travesty, the real history of Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s origins was still relatively unknown despite the fact that it was a matter of public record. According to the Wikipedia page on the topic:

“NBCAM was founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs). The aim of the NBCAM from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.”

The reference link listed on Wikipedia for the paragraph above comes from the BCAM website, but is now dead. For reasons that remain a mystery, the BCAM website was taken offline by AstraZeneca in the intervening years. Despite this, the BCAM domain name — www.nbcam.org — still links directly to AtraZeneca’s HealthCare Foundation page;astounding evidence that AstraZeneca owned and controlled BCAM and still does. You can still view the WayBackMachine’s archived NBCAM website here if you are curious.

And so why is this connection so important? 

What is so disturbing about AstraZeneca’s founding role in BCAM is that it “just happens” to make two blockbuster breast cancer drugs, Tamoxifen and Arimidex — a conflict of interest so flagrant, its hard to ignore. Even more disturbing is that Tamoxifen is actually classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a known human carcinogen! A carcinogenic “treatment” for breast cancer?  No wonder BCAM won’t allow the word “carcinogen” mentioned in any of its campaigns. 

Back when AstraZeneca kept the BCAM website functioning, it was easy to prove how BCAM and AstraZeneca had pinkwashed the concept of the true causes of cancer (carcinogens) from the public mind. You used to be able to plop the word “carcinogen” into the site’s search engine feature and you would retrieve the following highly suspect results:

Your search – carcinogen – did not match any documents. No pages were found containing “carcinogen”.

Likewise, back in 2012, on Susan G. Komen’s website, the term “carcinogen” only emerged twice, and both in the context of denying the likelihood of there being a connection between smoking and breast cancer. If you search the site today, the term has been further scrubbed, with no informative results retrieved with the term.

Pinkwashing

Clearly this is strategic. There are literally thousands of possible and known carcinogens identified in various public databases, such as Toxnet.gov. Roundup herbicide, for instance, was recently reclassified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. If the goal is really to protect women and reduce breast cancer morbidity and mortality, shouldn’t Breast Cancer Awareness Month focus on identifying and reducing exposure to probable and/or known carcinogens?  Failing to do so is equivalent to deceit, if not malfeasance, is it not?

This all makes greater sense when you understand the history behind BCAM’s founder AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca was formed through the merger of Astra AB and Zeneca Group (a pharmaceutical subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries) in 1999. Imperial Chemical Industries, a multinational corporation responsible for producing breast cancer causing petrochemical derivatives such as vinyl chloride and pesticides, founded National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, in order to promote the widespread adoption of x-ray mammography, whose failings if not horrors we have documented extensively elsewhere.

This means the very corporation that contributed significantly to accelerating the breast cancer epidemic also profited and still profits from new diagnoses of breast cancer and their treatment.

fracking for the cure

Sadly, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time of increasing awareness not of the preventable causes of breast cancer, but of the breast cancer industry’s insatiable need to both raise money for research into a would-be “pharmaceutical cure,” and to promote its primary means of “prevention”: early detection via x-ray mammography.’It’s also a cause-marketing feeding frenzy with a disturbingly vast array of carcinogen-containing products sporting Susan G. Komen’s pink ribbon, presumably “in support” of raising awareness, including the hot pink fracking drill bit pictured above.

Please, before you consider going on a march, donating to the “cause,” or buying a pink-ribbon-bedecked product this month, consider the true origins of the year’s most widespread brainwashing event. For real information on the real causes and solutions for cancer watch the upcoming Truth about Cancer Presentation series in Orlando, FL, which goes live in only a few days. It promises to be the much needed antidote to the propaganda that has spread as viciously as cancer itself. You can also use our Cancer Research database with thousands of articles and study abstracts on treating cancer naturally.

Finally, please share the meme below (save to desktop and re-upload to Facebook and other social media platforms), with the link to this article: http://tinyurl.com/pinkwashed.

These Sexy Mastectomy Patches Are for Women Who ‘Go Flat’ After Breast Cancer


After her unilateral mastectomy, Noelia Morales created a lingerie line inspired by pirates.
Version 2

When Noelia Morales was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma at the age of 42, she had her right breast removed as a part of treatment. After her unilateral mastectomy, she decided against getting a breast reconstruction.

“Everyone around you assumes reconstruction is the way forward,” says Morales. “Reconstruction is a valid option, but it comes with its own set of difficulties and not always with satisfactory results.”

Instead of wearing a prosthesis to mimic a natural breast, Morales, inspired by a photo of a woman with an eye patch, created a patch to wear over her mastectomy scar. It was designed to capture the flirty feel of lingerie for women who choose not to get breast reconstruction, and now she’s selling them to other breast cancer survivors.

Morales created her company, Anna Bonny, for women, like herself, who chose to “go flat” after a mastectomy.

The decision to have breast reconstruction or not is a highly personal one, and there are a variety of reasons someone might choose to go flat—whether they’re wary of the recovery time or simply don’t want an implant. Others choose to mark their journey with an amazing mastectomy tattoo instead of breast implants. These women congregate in Facebook groups like Flat & Fabulous, sharing their stories.

One small study of about 400 women found that of the women who decided against reconstruction, 48 percent wanted to avoid more surgeries, and another 33 percent didn’t think it was important to have a new breast.

Daniel Maman, M.D. a board-certified plastic surgeon at 740 Park Plastic Surgeryin NYC, tells SELF the average reconstruction takes six months and multiple surgeries from mastectomy to reconstruction recovery (and it can be longer if patients are still getting chemotherapy treatment), and future touchups are often required. And, as with any surgery, there are risks. “Any time you’re putting a foreign material, whether it’s a breast implant or a cardiac valve or a Pacemaker, there’s always a risk of implant infection or mechanical failure,” says Dr. Maman.

For these and other reasons, Morales knew that reconstruction was not for her. “I couldn’t find a good reason to reconstruct,” Morales says. “I asked, ‘Why would I run more risk and go through more surgeries?’ The answer was always your femininity or everything related to being a woman, but my femininity is still there. I’m still a woman.”

She also wasn’t up for the possibly longer recovery process. “I was in a hurry to be OK,” she says. “When you’re diagnosed with cancer, it’s a very long disease, and, for me, it was like ‘OK, when is this going to be over?’”

Even so, it wasn’t easy for Morales to accept the changes to her body. Once she recovered from her mastectomy, she began searching for things to wear over her scar.

“I missed my boob. The mastectomy left me in front of the mirror with no joy, wondering how to get back to the woman that enjoyed being naked and enjoyed sex.”

Morales traveled to orthopedic stores, searching for something that suited her style, but everywhere she went the message was that a mastectomy was something to be hidden or disguised with prosthetics.

And at first, Morales did hide. She avoided mirrors and stopped being naked, which affected her sex life. “I started wondering how other women do it. If you Tinder someone, are you going to explain? Are you going to appear with your prosthesis and take your bra off, and there’s no boob?”

Then she saw a photo of a woman wearing an eye patch. “When you see a person wearing a patch, you know there is something wrong behind it, but you are in front of someone strong, a rebel and that’s seductive,” she says. “I went to a shop, bought a bra, cut it in half, and put it over the scar.” That was the first Anna Bonny mastectomy patch.

The first time she wore the patch, Morales stood in front of the mirror for 10 minutes.

The patch made her feel sexy and flirty. It restored her self esteem. Her partner was the one who encouraged her to make this patch available for other women. “The idea of the patch is to wear it when you are naked, in intimacy, kind of like erotic lingerie,” Morales says. Now her company, Anna Bonny (a nod to the female Irish pirate of the same name), sells many different versions in silky prints, lace fabrics, and even a few with fun rhinestone designs.

Anna Bonny’s designer patches range from $53 (for the basic design) to $850 (for a fully bedazzled look) and are made from fine silks and imported fabrics. If you want to create your own patch, Morales has made her mastectomy patch pattern downloadable for all. For her, the most important part is that it exists for every woman who is on her cancer journey.

“The metaphor of cancer I liked the most was an adventure rather than a fight, a path life brings with risks and without knowing the end,” she says. “Patches, pirates, and adventures made total sense to me.”

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