In the fight against breast cancer, early detection is crucial. When diagnosed in the early stages, breast cancer patients have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery than those whose cancer goes undetected for long periods of time.
The tricky part about catching breast cancer early are the wide variety of ways it can present itself.
Early Breast Cancer Signs
According to the American Cancer Society, there are several other symptoms or changes that can happen to your breasts that may be a sign of cancer besides just lumps. These early warning signs are:
Swelling of part or all of the breast
Skin irritation or dimpling
Nipple retraction (turning inwards)
Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Steps you can take to reduce your risk of Breast Cancer
While early detection is extremely important, breast cancer prevention is key! There are a number of measures you can take throughout your life to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, including:
Maintain a healthy weight
Breast feed your children as long as possible
Limit your dose and duration of hormone therapy (birth control, for menopause symptoms)
Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution
Eat a healthy diet: plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, lean hormone-free proteins, and whole-food sources of carbohydrates. Limit processed foods as much as possible.
The Bottom Line
If caught early, your chances of beating breast cancer are high. It is of critical importance that every woman does regular self-evaluations of her breasts to ensure that there are no changes, no matter how old you are. If you notice anything that is different than usual, consult your doctor; it is better to be safe than sorry.
Share this article with all the women in your life so that they, too, will be aware of this subtle warning sign of breast cancer.
If you have had a mastectomy for breast cancer or are considering one, you may also be considering what to do afterwards. As you explore your options, you owe it to yourself to learn the facts about breast reconstruction surgery as well. This is a very personal decision so take your time in weighing the cost, both emotional and physical. Always make an informed decision when it comes to your body and health.
What Does Reconstructive Surgery with Mastectomy Entail?
A mastectomy is a surgery that removes all tissue from the breast. In conventional medicine, it is done to prevent cancer spread (although this is somewhat of a misnomer since mastectomy does not remove breast cancer stem cells).
Reconstructive surgery after mastectomy can be done either at the time of mastectomy (called an “immediate” reconstructive surgery) or “delayed,” which means the surgery will occur at a later date. The materials used to recreate the breast vary and include silicon, saline or the person’s own tissue.
While reconstruction may help a woman feel more like “herself” after Breast Cancer, there are also quite a few risks associated with it, especially concerning the substances used.
Complications with Silicone Implants
In 1992, the United States Food and Drug administration announced a moratorium on silicon implants because of their possible link to rheumatic disease and Breast Cancer. However, as of 2013, certain kinds of silicone implants have been re-approved for use in the United States.
Part of why silicone implants are so harmful is because they don’t just contain silicon. In fact, there are dozens of other chemical substances that may be found in some gels, including formaldehyde and acetone. Silicon-caused nervous system disorders, especially neuropathy on the side where the implant is located, can occur when there is a rupture of the implant or leakage of the material. Silicon leakage can lead to inflammation, fibrosis, and “foreign body reaction,” according to a 2007 study published in Hong Kong Medical Journal. Leakage is so common that many experts recommend either removing or replacing the implant every 8 to 10 years.
Silicone can also be carcinogenic. According to the research, silicon leakage can increase your riskof other kinds of cancer, including lung, colon and pancreatic.
“It’s a neurotoxin,” said Dr. Susan Kolb M.D., F.A.C.S., A.B.I.H.M., an Atlanta-based holistic plastic surgeon and author of the book The Naked Truth About Breast Implants: From Harm to Healing, in arecent interviewon Mercola.com. Kolb knows firsthand about the dangers of silicone implants. She was once diagnosed withthoracic outlet syndrome as a result of silicone implant leakage. “Many of the chemicals that Dow Corning [maker of silicone implants] identified in the trials … are carcinogens, and many are neurotoxins. Oddly enough, the plastic surgeons don’t know the list of chemicals that are actually in the gel.”
All is not lost if you are experiencing the negative side effects of silicone implants. “Explantation surgery” can remove implants. In addition, immune system and detox protocols have a good track record for healing side effects once they are removed.
Complications with Saline Implants
Sadly, there are virtually no studies that have critically looked at complications associated with saline implants. According to many experts as well as anecdotal evidence, the problem with saline is not so much with the substance, but what could happen if the valve that is used to fill the implant is damaged through trauma to the chest, like in a car accident or other injury.
If valve malfunction occurs, certain bacteria and mold fungus can get into the implant. There, foreign substances can create biotoxins that can become neurotoxic and even carcinogenic. Symptoms can be similar to those who contract “sick building syndrome” caused by water-damaged buildings.
Another complication of both saline and silicone implants is called “capsular contracture.” This occurs when scar tissue forms around an implant and pulls at it. According to studies conducted at theUniversity of Ontario and others, capsular contracture happens in silicone implants roughly twice as much as it does in saline implants.
Complications with Autologous or “Flap” Reconstruction
Using your own tissue—usually from the belly, buttocks, and/or upper thighs—to reconstruct a breast is called autologous or “flap” reconstruction. Many individuals prefer this kind of reconstruction because the tissue feels most like a regular breast and, according to conventional medicine, it supposedly “lasts a lifetime.”
Complications can arise with flap reconstruction as well, however. According to Cancer Research UK, complications of autologous reconstructive surgery include infection, flap failure, fluid under the surgery wound, hardening, leakage, unequal breasts if weight changes, and abdominal hernia.
Some Final Thoughts
Now that you know some of the risks of breast reconstructive surgery, you can make your own decision about how you want to go forward. Remember that any kind of surgery comes with its own cancer metastasis risks. Most women we have coached who have had reconstructive surgery regret going down that road in the long run. I believe that the the best course is always the most natural one, and that means staying away from any kind of invasive procedure whenever possible.
And, if you are a reconstructive surgery candidate, don’t be afraid to consider no reconstruction. I encourage you to read this wonderful article , “Going Flat: Choosing No Reconstruction” posted on BreastCancer.org’s website. It encourages you to learn to be comfortable with your body if you choose no reconstruction. “I don’t care what they take from you as long as I can see your face,” is a common sentiment from partners of Breast Cancer Conquerors.
Written by Dr. Veronique Desaulniers.To see the original article, click here.