Breast Health Series- 5 Screening Tools for Breast Health
Today in our breast health series we’re going to discuss some tests that can be very helpful for monitoring your health. These tests are valuable because they allow you to take a proactive approach to your health and well-being and give you a preventative look into your body before a health issue takes place.
Remember before a lump or a bump is diagnosed, it has probably been growing in your body for 8-10 years. One cancer cell to a tumor takes about 10 years. It did not just show up overnight. You don’t just catch cancer like you do a virus or flu. It takes years to develop.
The entire body works as a whole, body, mind, and spirit. Not one of these can be separated; all of them must be looked at closely to see what interventions need to be made for optimal healing. These tests are available for you to find out if there are potential health issues that can be found and healed before an illness or health problem occurs down the road.
These tests are not diagnostic tests. They are screening tools used for preventative purposes and to evaluate health.
The following information is used for educational purposes only and not to replace medical care or diagnostic tests. You are in charge of your health and you have the right to decide what tests or tools to choose on your healing journey.
There are 5 screening tests that will be discussed in today’s article. There are more available but I wanted to highlight the 5 that are usually recommended for breast health and prevention.
*Please notice the picture at the top of the screen. This is a thermography scan of breast tissue. Check the color differences from the left to the right breast. See how the left breast has a reddish color in the upper portion of the breast. The color of red in a thermography scan is usually because of inflammation or an area of congestion or toxicity in that specific point. Please keep reading how thermography can be a very important tool in breast health and awareness of any possible areas of concern.
Thermography is an FDA approved screening tool. It has been available since 1957 in this country, which is one decade older than mammography. The FDA considers thermography an alternative screening option for breast cancer and recommends not replacing it with other medical procedures. Thermography has been shown to have a 97% sensitivity rating for discovering malignancies, according to a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Surgery.
Thermography is a 15 minute, non-invasive screening test that looks at the physiology of the breasts, or whatever part of the body that is being visualized for screening. Physiology always changes before the anatomy. This tool looks at any vascular changes in the breast, detecting blood flow patterns and inflammation. It also checks for asymmetries as well. Mammography checks the anatomy of the breast and is used for detecting cysts, lumps or masses in the breast tissue. Mammography also exposes a woman to radiation. One mammogram has 1,000 times greater the radiation levels than a chest x-ray and is equivalent to placing a 50lb weight on your breast. Thermography does not touch your breast or body and is radiation free and completely safe.
*If you would like to read further into the concerns of mammograms, I have included some links for you to read that are much more in depth;
Thermography gives us a chance to look at changes before a tumor can occur. This screening tool is able to look at the physiological changes of the breast or body by using a type of infrared imaging. The use of infrared imaging absorbs the heat given from the body, detecting blood vessels, heat patterns, and problematic versus healthy normal tissue patterns. It can also detect an increase or decrease in the amount of infrared radiation being emitted from the surface of the body, because even small subtle changes in the physiology can alert to possible concerning changes in the breast, whether it is from a benign cyst to a cancerous tumor.
Thermography of the breast is used for improving the chances of early detection of breast changes and also for the detection of fast growing or active tumors in between mammography screenings. It is also useful for women who are under 40-50 years of age that are not in the age range for annual or biennial mammography screenings.
Please read the following statement from Dr. Philip Getson D.O. regarding thermography. He is a board certified Medical Thermologist and has reviewed more than 15,000 Thermographic studies of the breast, thyroid, and neuromuscular system.
Dr. Philip Getson D.O. (medical thermographer since 1982) states:
“It is widely acknowledged that cancers, even in their earliest stages, need nutrients to maintain or accelerate their growth. In order to facilitate this process, blood vessels are caused to remain open, inactive blood vessels are activated, and new ones are formed through a process known as neoangiogenesis. This vascular process causes an increase in surface temperature in the affected regions, which can be viewed with infrared imaging cameras. Additionally, the newly formed or activated blood vessels have a distinct appearance, which thermography can detect. Since thermal imaging detects changes at the cellular level, studies suggest that this test can detect activity eight to ten years before any other test. This makes it unique in that it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor. Studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for about seven years achieving more than twenty-five doublings of the malignant cell colony. At 90 days there are two cells, at one year there are 16 cells, and at five years there are 1,048,576 cells—an amount that is still undetectable by a mammogram. (At 8 years, there are almost 4 billion cells.)”
Heat is an indication that inflammation exists, and typically inflammation is present in precancerous and cancerous cells which thermography can detect. Inflammation is the trigger to almost all health problems, including cancer. Thermography can detect inflammation of the breast and body long before symptoms occur.
Thermography can be a very important screening test in the early detection of breast disease and prevention of potential health concerns.
There are several places in our area (Lancaster, Mechanicsburg, Columbia, York, and Harrisburg, PA) that do thermography screenings. There links are below:
Also, there are many informative links below that you can read more in depth about thermography and breast cancer screening.
2. Urine Iodine.
Did you know that 1/3 of the world’s population is iodine deficient? Iodine deficiencies can occur because of inadequate intake of iodine and because of toxin exposure. A specific toxin known as bromine and bromide found in pesticides, medications, plastics, baked goods, soda, flame retardants, and bromine based hot tub and swimming pool treatments, can deplete our iodine stores. Bromine and bromide are endocrine disruptors and compete with iodine in our body tissues. Chlorinated and fluoridated water has also been shown to deplete iodine in our body too. This is why it is so important to drink and shower in filtered water that has had the chlorine and fluoride removed.
Testing the body for iodine storage is a wonderful way to monitor your levels. This is done with a test called a Urine Iodine Loading Test. This test shows how much iodine your body tissues are using and eliminating within a 24 hour period. The research has shown that individuals that have low iodine stores in their body tissues excrete less urinary iodine than individuals that have healthy stores of iodine. This is because the body with lower stores holds onto and saturates the tissues with the iodine and has very little to release in the urine, which implies iodine deficiency.
Iodine is essential to every cell in our body and for living a healthy optimal life. Iodine has many effects on the body, such as; hormone production, nerve and muscle function, metabolism, tissue growth and repair, and cellular respiration.
Two years ago the Lancet reported that iodine deficiency can be a precipitating factor and create an increased risk to breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.
Iodine has been shown to reduce fibrocystic breast disease and can reduce estrogen production in overactive ovaries. It also desensitizes estrogen receptors in the breast and alters the genetic pathways, causing an anti-tumor effect by causing malignant cells to die off.
Iodine is a crucial mineral required in the fragile balance of the endocrine system. Research shows that a deficiency in iodine can increase our risk to diabetes, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), fibrocystic breast disease, goiter, and breast cancer.
Getting your iodine levels checked can be an important test to include in your breast health protocol.
*If you would like to read more in depth about the studies of iodine, please click on the links below:
3. Breast Self- Exam
Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who have performed self –breast exams on themselves. Doing a self- breast exam on yourself can help you to be familiar with your breast tissue. It is advisable to do a self-exam while in the shower, lying down, and in front of the mirror.
Self-breast exams should be done monthly.
Women who are menstruating should choose a day at the end of their cycle or period because the breast tissue is usually the least tender at this time. This will give the most accurate results. Hormonal fluctuations in a woman’s body can affect breast tissue. Post-menopausal women should choose a day of the month and continue doing the self-exam on that same day every month.
I am including the link again for My Breast Friend for self breast massage and how to spot healthy breast tissue from non healthy breast tissue:
*I also have included a link that shows you how to properly do a self -breast exam.
PDF]Breast Self-Examination (BSE)
4. RGCC Test (The Greece Test) RGCC (Research Genetic Cancer Center)
The RGCC Test, also known as the Greece test is a very sensitive test that shows how many CTC’s (circulating tumor cells) and CSC’s (cancer stem cells) are in your bloodstream. The blood sample test is sent to Greece and the testing is performed by Ioannis Papasotiriou, M.D., PhD, medical director of RGCC-Ltd.
Cancer stem cells (CSC’s) are cancer cells that are found within tumors. They are tumor forming cells. These cells are thought to persist in tumors as a distinct population and cause relapse and metastases by giving rise to new tumors.
Circulating tumor cells (CTC’s) are cells that have shed into the vasculature of the lymphatics from a primary tumor. They are carried around in the body by circulation and are cancer cells that have broken off from the primary tumor and found their way into the bloodstream. CTC’s are the seeds for continued growth of additional tumors, known as metastases. These triggering cells are responsible for the majority of cancer related deaths.
The RGCC test is an early detection test that determines if these CTC’s and CSC’s are present and what protocols may be best suited for different types of cancer. This test may find the CTC’s many years before a primary tumor can be found on a PET scan.
The RGCC test also checks the effectiveness of 50 natural biological therapies as well as 49 different chemotherapy agents with your particular blood sample to see what is most effective in targeting your specific cancer.
*Please read more in depth from the following links about this amazing and possibly lifesaving test:
5. Urine Hormones and Estrogen Metabolites
Over the past 30 years there has been an ample amount of research performed regarding the risk of estrogen sensitive cancers and the relationship between estrogens and its metabolites. When estrogen is correctly broken down in the body, it is properly eliminated from the body through the urine.
On the other hand, when there is an excessive amount of estrogens floating around in the body and it is not being properly broken down, the elimination process gets sluggish and problems can arise.
The body is bombarded with estrogen excess in today’s environment. We can be exposed to excess estrogens, (known as xenoestrogens) from environmental toxins, synthetic compounds, and chemicals, such as: pesticides, herbicides, PCB’s, Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, plastics, and conventional meat and dairy products. Conventional meat and dairy is pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. These hormones get into our bodies and convert to estrogen mimickers, creating hormonal imbalances and estrogen dominance (too much estrogen).
All of these extra circulating estrogens in our bloodstream and tissues can cause potential health issues and can increase cancers, especially estrogen positive cancers, such as; breast, ovarian, uterine, and prostate.
This test screens for how well your body is metabolizing and detoxifying the estrogen load in the body. It is meant to evaluate whether someone is a good or bad estrogen metabolizer. If this test shows the estrogen in your body is not being metabolized and detoxified properly, there are many things, such as: diet, nutritional supplementation, and detoxification practices, which can be done to correct this issue.
You can read further about this screening tool from the links below;
Thank you for joining me again tomorrow in our breast health awareness week for our last chapter in this series, which will be: How Our Emotions Can Affect Our Breast Health. There will also be a part in the article describing the personality type that is most prone to developing breast cancer.
*If you are dealing with any kind of breast health concerns or any other health concerns and would like a personalized nutritional protocol and targeted supplements based on your unique health situation, please feel free to call my office at 717-341-3916 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. I would love the opportunity to walk beside you and offer nutritional guidance for you on your healing journey!
Thank you so much and I hope you’ll join in again tomorrow!
Have a blessed and beautiful day!