Breast Health Bombshell: What Every Woman Should Know
Our breasts: mythologized, scandalized and politicized; kept under wraps and veiled from view. These cherished, tender tissues that embody both sensuality and sustenance have, for many, become a burden. Our A, B, C and double-D cups are lifted, separated, inflated, examined and enshrined. Breasts ebb and flow with the moon and the tides of birth. They are strapped down and pushed up – all while being discouraged from their biological calling.
For many who live in fear of breast density, fibroids and tumors, breasts have become a liability. There is an estrogenic-epidemic in our erogenous zone, and our breasts are reacting; worldwide, every 23 seconds a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
As girls, we are taught that respectable young ladies make their bodies “polite” by applying antiperspirant, primping with perfume and popping contraceptive pills. These preening, paraben-laden products create artificial estrogens that accumulate in the soft, lymphatic, fat-filled tissue of our glandular orbs. This altar of our apocrine glands pulls in pollutants like a pair of sponges, recording the history of our diet, drug use, dentistry, drinking water, deodorant, dry-cleaning, home décor, and decades of DDT residue. They accrue with bromide, benzene, chloride, radiation, and parts per million of pesticide and fluoride.
In the last century, our mothers’ bodies have experienced disastrous experimental medicine. In attempts to control the wily hormones of the feminine mystique, our mothers’ bodies trialed new drugs including thalidomide for nausea. To prevent miscarriages, doctors prescribed off-label use of DES, diethylstilbestrol, to 5 million pregnant women, 46% of these women developed breast cancer and a decade later, their daughters developed vaginal cancer. For years after, DES continued to be supplemented in livestock feed. Our mothers were over-prescribed and anesthetized; their generation swallowed the first birth control pills, valium and crude hormone-replacement therapy. They received increased cesareans, episiotomies, lumpectomies, hysterectomies and mastectomies.
Encouraged to feed their babies with formula, some mothers were injected with estrogen to dry up their breast milk. We now know breastfeeding helps prevent breast cancer. It contributes to the full development of breasts and builds a child’s immune system. In a perfect harmony of giving and receiving, breastfeeding gives beneficial strains of bacteria to our babies and to our breasts because we receive the benefit of good bacteria passing through our breast ductal passages as well.
Our breasts receive misguided Las Vegas adulation while their biological purpose gets shrouded. Breasts, along with their undervalued role of sustaining life, are also canaries in a coal-mine. They detect our environmental invasions and store the toxins of our trespasses for decades. Our breasts are barometers for the changing atmosphere of our planet, and for women’s health overall.
Women’s health professionals report increased infertility, miscarriages, record-breaking breast sizes, earlier menopause and earlier puberty. Gold, glittery maxi-pads are now marketed to 8 year olds. Moisturizers, pasteurized milk and sunscreens all prompt earlier puberty. There is a delicate time in prepubescent girls to which chemical exposure from pesticides, processed-food, and estrogen-mimics greatly influences breast health and gene expression later on. All of this is linked to the residual results of marinating in the industrial flotsam of manmade chemicals.
Breast health is a deeply personal issue for me. My mother died of breast cancer in 2014. I co-created a free online summit called Rethink Pink. Here’s what you might not know about women’s health exams and, based on the most recent insights, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind for your health…
Screenings are changing:
Ignore fear-based “public service” campaigns and outdated medical opinions about breast cancer screening. Take an active role in your health care and think carefully about mammograms and screening. Proactively talk over your concerns with a trusted health care provider.
Widespread mammography screening has not contributed to a significant decline in the incidence of metastatic, late-stage cancer. It may also lead to over-diagnosis, wrong diagnosis and over-treatment of the disease.
The over-diagnosis of breast cancer turns many women, needlessly, into breast cancer patients. Yet widespread screening has made only a small impact on the number of women dying from breast cancer. In 2014, the British Journal of Medicine published the results of a 25-year-long follow up study on breast cancer screening in Canada. The authors of the report stated that annual mammograms in women aged 40-59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of routine manual breast examination. Also, they found a 22% rate of over-diagnosis of mammogram-detected invasive breast cancers.
A Swedish clinical trial concluded that there was no benefit for women younger than 55 years old to get mammograms. The United States Preventative Services Task Force has revised its screening recommendations and now advises women to delay getting mammograms until age 50. European guidelines advise women aged 50-69 to have a mammogram only every 2 years, and there is no mammogram screening program in place for younger women.
The predisposing genetic link to breast cancer is now only believed to be 5% -10%. Thus, the majority of breast cancers are not inherited, but rather are from acquired cell mutations. If a person carries the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene linked to cancer, it is important to note that the person only inherits the risk, not the disease itself.
While the etiology of breast cancer is yet unknown, there are factors that potentially contribute to its development and avoidance that we can regulate. Cancer-contributors that increase a woman’s risk include:
Estrogen, through use of postmenopausal HRT and the pill
Exposure to ionizing radiation, which includes mammograms and CT scans. Breast cells are second only to fetal tissues in sensitivity to radiation, and glands absorb radiation more than other tissues.
Controlling Your Risks:
Controllable factors that may lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer include:
A colorful diet full of organic vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins and fats and pure, clear water.
The Promise of Essential Oils:
Recent research on women’s health suggests that monoterpenes prevent both the initiation and progression of cancer. Monoterpene influence cancer and cancer cells in multiple ways by inhibiting particular cell-signaling pathways and by counteracting metabolic changes that occur in breast disease.
Monoterpenes are found abundantly in essential oils produced by a variety of plants, especially conifers, and can offer, at the very least, cancer prevention benefits to us today – and maybe a cancer treatment one day soon.
In the realm of scientific study on women’s health, monoterpene research is still nascent. Yet, the safety, efficacy, and availability of monoterpene-rich essential oils invites us to be plant-pioneers.
Massaging our way to healthy breast tissue is a simple strategy. Breast massage lubricated with essential oils regenerates our cells and supplies monoterpene-medicine to where it is needed most. Frankincense, grapefruit, cypress, and rose otto are some of my favorite monoterpene-rich oils for massage.
Buy a Better Bra:
We must boost our busts by wearing better bras! Circulation and lymphatic flow can be obstructed by tight bras. Breasts contain an abundance of lymph vessels that support the circulatory system in maintaining proper fluid balance. Tight bras may impede our body’s natural removal of fluids that become trapped in the breasts glands. The health of our lymphatic systems is intimately connected to our breast health. Look for red marks on your skin after removing your bra and consider wearing no bra, a softer bra, or yoga tops.
Our breast health is a barometer. Breasts are pranic channels: They give and receive life-force. Take these things into consideration for your breasts, and your whole being will benefit.
Nadine Artemis, the founder of Living Libations, is the author of Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, and Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance, which was named one of “The Top 10 Books on Skin Care” by The Strategist of New York Magazine. She is a respected media guest and contributor, and her products have received rave reviews in the New York Times, LA Times, Elle, People, Vogue, and Hollywood Reporter. Described by Alanis Morissette as “a true-sense visionary,” Nadine crafts elegant formulations and healing creations from rare botanicals that have skin glowing around the world. Her concept of Renegade Beauty encourages effortlessness and inspires people to rethink conventional notions of beauty and wellness.