How to Enhance Your Breast Health in Only 2 Minutes a Day
I Don’t Get Mammograms.
Yes, you read that correctly. Nor do I perform monthly self-breast exams or wear sexy underwire bras. Not only will I reveal my reasons for being such a fashion rebel – I’ll also share my proactive action plan for keeping your breasts healthy and happy during your journey into the years beyond 50.
Just last month, one of my sweet, dear patients Marie suffered through a painful breast biopsy, only to find out her mammogram test had revealed a false positive.
A few days after the biopsy, Marie came by the clinic to pick up a few supplements. She’s a fit, 58 year old, and one of the most giving, compassionate women I’ve ever met. She showed me her “battle scars,” her bruised breast, sutures still in place.
Even though a local anesthesia had been administered, the pain was intense. Her breast was in the mammography machine and the needle was in deep. The mass was near her chest wall. At one point, she cried out, “I don’t think I can take this.” The doctor replied, “We’re almost done.” Sometimes that’s the best clinical judgment – not to stop, just get it over and done – but the pain, along with her anxiety, was too much for Marie, and Marie passed out. Fortunately, the nurse caught her before she hit the ground.
You know this: detection – even EARLY detection – is NOT the same as prevention!
So, when I mention to a female friend or a patient that I don’t get mammograms, well… I get “The Look.” Most of the women I know aren’t shy about speaking up about whatever’s on their mind, and I like that! 🙂
Most often, they don’t say anything. And they don’t need to because I know what they are thinking. I’m highly sensitive, intuitive, and very tuned in to picking up on nonverbal signals.
I can see it in their eyes. I can feel their fear.
This is kind of Stupid… Perhaps even Ignorant.
Seems like she’s living DANGEROUSLY.
Okay, so I did have one mammogram… Over ten years ago. I wanted to experience what it felt like, and now I know what millions of women endure.
So, what DO I do?
I get Thermograms … and I Lovingly “Phluff My Girls.”
Did You Know That There’s a Safer Way to Test Your Breasts?
Not only is it SAFER than mammography, it’s also extremely Accurate and Reliable.
What is Thermography?
Breast thermography, or Digital Infrared Imaging (DDI), utilizes ultra-sensitive infrared cameras to create an image of your breasts and underarm region. The data is entered into sophisticated computers to detect, analyze, and produce high-resolution images of temperature variations. A personal “map” is created, as in the image below.
How Does Breast Thermography Work?
Even in their earliest stages of formation, all tumors, including cancerous ones, require fuel or energy sources in order to survive. Without creating their own blood supply, they cannot grow. Neoangiogenesis is the process by which tumors increase circulation to their cells. This process occurs by holding open existing blood vessels, opening dormant vessels, and creating new ones to acquire the needed blood supply. As you might suspect, this process of angiogenesis (and the increased metabolic activity surrounding tumors) frequently results in an increase in regional surface temperatures of the breast.
Because of DII’s extreme sensitivity, it can detect subtle temperature variations. These changes may be among the earliest signs of abnormal cellular activity, a precancerous state of the breast, and breast cancer.
Breast Thermography Facts
- Safe, easy, pain-free, and radiation-free
- FDA approved and registered
- No contact or compression of breast tissue
- Identifies Inflammatory Breast Cancer, one of the most aggressive breast cancers, missed by other tests
- Entire breast can be imaged, including underarms
- Identifies fibrocystic breast disease and tumor inflammation
- Effectively and safely screens breasts of all sizes (and breasts with implants)
- Useful for evaluating chest wall after breast surgery
- Used to safely and objectively monitor effectiveness of breast cancer treatments
- Especially helpful for women whose denser breast tissue lowers the effectiveness of mammography
- Provides a more comprehensive view of your breast health and breast cancer risk assessment, allowing you to be aware of worrisome physiological changes before there is a diagnosable cancer and empowering you to make the lifestyle changes necessary to reduce your risk – with the goal of avoiding breast cancer altogether
What are the Risks of Mammography?
Extreme compression is painful, and can damage delicate breast tissue.
You know about ionizing radiation. According to Dr. Joe Mercola,
— “mammogram radiation is much more damaging than a chest x-ray.”
He also writes that
— “mammograms are NOT really saving lives.” (link below for the research he refers to)
…And since your immune system is always working for you, his article says that,
— “thirty percent of breast tumors go away on their own.”
What About Those Traumatic False Positives?
Sometimes a woman is told that her mammogram has detected a tumor, when in fact there is no cancer in her breast. Most statistics suggest that the incidence of false positive results is extremely high, as much as 50-60%. This happens much more frequently later in life. So, the more mammograms a woman has, the more likely she will have a false positive that will require follow-up tests. The chance of having a false positive result after 10 yearly mammograms is about 50-60%.
Just like my sweet Marie, I bet you know several women, if not you yourself, who have suffered through a repeat mammogram, or perhaps an ultrasound, then a painful biopsy… Plus the agony of waiting for results… All that needless anxiety and stress. Ultimately, the findings show that the mass turns out to be benign or noncancerous, well after biopsies and even needless lumpectomies and mastectomies.
So, Should You Have Regular Mammograms?
As with every health choice you make, this is a personal decision. I just want you to be making your decision armed with good information – and I want you to be aware of other options.
How Do You Make the Best Choice?
Know your options. It’s up to you! Educate yourself! Just because “everyone does it,” and nearly every conventional doctor advises annual mammograms, that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. I know it can be a very difficult conversation to have with your doctor, stating that you are choosing not to have a mammogram every year. Unfortunately, most doctors are familiar with the “gold standard” of annual mammography for women over a certain age or women with certain “risk factors.” Remember though, your doctor works for you – not the other way around.
Are Mammograms the Best Choice for Certain Women?
Here’s what I tell the women I work with: if you are going to feel stressed-out, constantly worry, or have fear and anxiety lurking in the background of your mind if you don’t have regular mammograms, then by all means, I’d advise that you DO have them. Feelings of anxiety are definitely not good for your breasts… Or for any part of your body, mind, heart, and soul.
You Could Consider LESS Frequent Mammograms
A good friend and colleague of mine is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in the care of midlife women. She recommends that most of her patients alternate each year between thermography and mammography. It’s an option that feels comfortable for many of the women I work with.
Why Don’t I Perform Self-Breast Exams?
Okay, so I bet I can guess exactly you’re thinking. She’s into Natural Health, and self-exams are non-invasive, right? So what’s the problem with a monthly self-breast exam?
It’s not that I don’t touch my breasts, or that I don’t take an interested look at them.
I DO Love my Ladies.
I’m just not “on the hunt” for something that could be WRONG with them. I use my hands, my heart, and my thought to send my breasts LOVING energy on a regular basis. And in the process, I’m certain I’d discover anything going on that might warrant further investigation. It’s one way I deeply connect my mind to my body.
In her book, The Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert says:
“Every thought we think creates a molecule called a neuropeptide,
that connects to a cell receptor site and manifests as our physical reality.”
Love transmits healing energy to every cell in your body.
So, I’m repeating myself, because this key point is critical:
Detection – even EARLY detection – is NOT the same as prevention!
I take a strong stand for empowering women to be proactive (versus reactive) with their breast health. And after nearly 30 years of working with thousands of women, I know that’s what women want: safe, effective solutions to health that are natural… Solutions that create wellbeing, vitality, and are preventative.
When it comes to your health, I believe that a good offense (being proactive) is the best defense. So yes, I still recommend testing and health screenings, but these strategies do nothing to prevent disharmony or disease, and nothing to foster health or promote wellbeing.
So, What CAN You Do to Enhance Breast Health?
True breast health comes from giving your cells TLC in the form of:
- Foundational nutrition via a healing, whole foods eating plan
- Direct exposure of skin to sunshine
- Supplemental Vitamin D3, if needed
- Self Love… i.e., self-breast massage
- Rest, relaxation, and stress management
- Movement and exercise
- Gentle detox protocols (skin brushing)
- Peaceful thoughts
Your thoughts have been proven to affect every cell in your body. Emotions impact your physiology. It’s measurable… Love creates a healing atmosphere, and fear creates quite the opposite.
I learned about the following technique several years ago. I hope you’ll give it a try.
Have You Ever Heard of Phluffing Your Girls?
If you’re a woman over 50 (like those I work with), you’re BEYOND the age of needing permission to “get in touch” with your body. I’m here to encourage you to make (or STEAL, if necessary) time out of your day to give attention, listen, and connect with your body.
I first discovered this technique several years ago. Created by Cheryl Chapman, PHLUFF is an acronym for Personal Hand Lymphatic Undulation Flow Facilitation. Your immune system circulates lymph fluid through your body. The purpose of the lymphatic system is to destroy cancer cells, viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms. It also functions to clear away waste material. If you wear a bra, the flow of lymph fluid is restricted, limiting its circulation throughout your breasts. But when you PHLUFF, your breast tissue is softened, allowing blood and lymph to flow more freely. The procedure can aid in decreasing fibrosis and lumpiness.
Here’s how to Phluff Your Girls (I’ve also provided a link below):
- Cup hands under each breast. Bend forward at the waist. Gently move your hands up and down. Imagine fluffing a pillow. Repeat for 1 minute.
- When you are wearing a bra, you can gently lift up on the straps and then release, repeating several times.
- With the palms of your hands, press lightly on each breast, imaging (lovingly) beeping your car’s horn.
Perform these exercises daily!
Your Breasts Deserve as Much Attention as Your Face
One of my dearest patients just turned 70. She’s Italian. Whenever she cleanses and moisturizes her face, she always gives equal attention to her decollete and breasts. Essential Oils have become so popular, and massaging oil or a blend of oils on “The Girls” would be a fabulous way to give them some special attention.
Why Not Phluff Your Girls Everyday?
You won’t lose anything by giving your breast tissue some daily, loving attention. It’s so much more loving than a Monthly Self-Breast Exam, especially if the intention you bring is that you are scanning for problems.
So, I’d say that Phluffing IS indeed a type breast self-exam. You’re just going about it with an entirely different mindset: LOVE not FEAR.
…And there’s no better way to PREVENT disease than by providing your breasts with frequent nurturing. Touching your breasts, especially the nipples, causes your body to release Oxytocin. I doubt much of this “love hormone” is released when you are performing an exam of your breasts with the mindset that says, “I sure hope I don’t find a mass!”
I Don’t Wear Underwire Bras.
Bras compress breast tissue, restricting the flow of lymph fluid. Your lymphatic system removes dead cells and toxins, so it needs to flow freely throughout your breast tissue.
When I’m relaxing around the house, I typically don’t wear a bra at all.
Ahhhh… Freedom for “The Ladies.”
Please remember: This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care practitioner with any questions you have regarding your medical condition or concerns.
- Phluff Your Girls: http://www.cherylchapman.com/pdf/phluff.pdf
- lmore JG, Barton MB, Moceri VM, et al. Ten-year risk of false positive screening mammograms and clinical breast examinations. N Engl J Med. 338: 1089-96, 1998.
- Hubbard RA, Kerlikowske K, Flowers CI, Yankaskas BC, Zhu W, Miglioretti DL. Cumulative probability of false-positive recall or biopsy recommendation after 10 years of screening mammography: a cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 155(8):481-92, 2011.
- Independent UK Panel on Breast Cancer Screening. The benefits and harms of breast cancer screening: an independent review. Lancet. 380(9855):1778-86, 2012.
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