October is breast cancer awareness month…thankfully we have come a long way in terms of understanding and evaluating breast cancer. We still, however, have areas of confusion and controversy surrounding the disease.

In conventional medicine, the focus on breast cancer lies in early detection followed by aggressive management. This is the mainstay of therapy.

Keeping that in mind…
Early detection

Detection varies for women with a family hx of breast cancer and those without a family history. All women need monthly breast self exams. These are easy to do, cost effective and a non aggrressive way to direct changes in breast tissue.

Mammogram recs vary depending on a patient’s risk factors. In general, baseline mammograms are done at 40, with subsequent mammograms done every 1-2 years. Mammogram frequency increases as a woman’ risk factors increase.

Many of our patients are hesitant to do mammograms due to the radiation exposure. I am frequently asked about thermograms as an alternative. Again, our practice belief is that it is difficult to generalize recommendations for all women. While thermograms are helpful, in situations where there are a
Lot of risk factors or sting previous history of breast cancer, depending on thermograms alone may be risky.

What are a woman’ risk factors for breast cancer?

The strongest risk factor is family history. We know that having a pri ary relative with breast cancer increases the risk. Following that, smoking,obesity, lack of childbearing or breast feeding, and hormone replacement therapy in post menopausal women all seem to increase the risks. Hormone replacement therapy in perimenopausal women does not appear to increase risks of breast cancer. Again, it is synthetic hormone replacement therapy, not bio-iodentical that seems to confer the risks.

Our practice focuses on breast cancer prevention and supportive care once breast cancer is diagnosed. On of the key concepts in Breast cancer prevention that gets overlooked is the concept of estrogen detoxification. Breast cancer is related to a build up of estrogen in the various tissues of the body, including fat. It is too simplistic to talk only about withholding estrogen from women…we also need to talk about helping women understand that estrogen has tto be broken down and eliminated in the body to prevent estrogen build up.

What is estrogen detoxification?

Estrogen detoxification involves breaking down estrogen into individual metabolites that the body can eliminate. This is the best prevention for breast cancer.

Detoxification is accomplished through proper diet, first. Fiber, in the form of fruits and vegetables, low saturated fats but plenty of health fats improve estrogen detoxification. Exercise is critical in metabolizing excess estrogen. Stress reduction also plays a role in minimizing hormonal variations that can trigger or activate a breast cancer gene.

Genetic testing is helpful upon diagnosis of breast cancer to help determine course of treatment and future detection regimens. Many women get genetic testing if a family member has had breast cancer to help them determine their risks.

our practice is dedicated to helping prevent breast cancer in women. Diet counseling, immune system evaluations, optimizing nutrients through vitamins and optimizing detoxification and hormone balance are all key concepts.
If diagnosed, we offer supportive counseling, acupuncture for chemotherapy and stress management, nutrition therapy and mind body assistance through hypnosis, meditation, massage and exercise counseling

We also serve the critical role in helping coordinate care for the patient. This may involve consulting with several oncologists locally and around the country.

Hopefully this is helpful.
Dr. Bhatia

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