Apart from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in women and it affects approximately one out of every eight women in some point or the other in their life. Interestingly enough, breast cancer also strikes men, but the rate of occurrence is extremely low. The symptoms of breast cancer may include formation of a lump or congealing in the breast; a transparent, yellowish or bloody secretion of pus from the nipple, and, in extremely unusual cases, pain in the breast. Breast lumps that are carcinogenic are solid and never shrivel or get bigger along with the menstruation cycle. Although majority of the breast lumps are not carcinogenic, it is advisable that whenever you notice any abnormality in your breast, you should immediately visit your physician for a check-up.
A number of the main risk factors involved in development of breast cancer may include age, alcohol consumption, smoking, family history, exposure to radiation, obesity and post-menopausal stage in women. However, in the case of women who do not smoke, exposure to estrogen, the female hormone, during the course of their life is the most important risk factor for developing this condition. According to rough estimates, estrogen stimulates about 75 per cent of the entire breast cancers. This type of breast cancer is known as estrogen-dependent. A womanís exposure to estrogen during her course of life is utmost provided her menstruation commenced at a tender age; if she gives birth very later into her life or never has babies, her menopause starts at a later stage; and if she makes use of estrogen replacement therapy.
Typically, breast cancer is categorized in accordance with a multi-stage system that gauges the size of the tumor, the extent to which the lymph-node is involved as well as the presence or absence of metastases to more organs like the lungs, bones and the liver. Surgery is the primary treatment for breast cancer and it may vary from lumpectomy, wherein the lump is removed along with some adjacent tissues, through further wide-ranging operations to the fundamental mastectomy, wherein the breast, portions of the muscles in the chest as well as the lymph-nodes in the armpit are eliminated. Following a surgery, the patient may also undergo radiation therapy, chemotherapy and a variety of other treatments.
Hormonal therapy including the drug tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is amongst the most effective treatments for breast cancer. It is worth mentioning here that estrogen interacts with gene p53, an anti-cancer gene which is basically a Ďmolecular patrolmaní that prevents all flawed cells from reproducing. Nevertheless, estrogen is capable of encouraging cell growth to such an extent in the breast that it virtually becomes impossible for gene p53 to keep up with the flawed cells. In such conditions, the cell growth can be restricted by removing estrogen and this helps gene p53 to accomplish its task. However, gene p53 is not the only gene that controls the cancer cells. One more gene called gene p21 acts to prevent the normal cells being transformed into cancerous cells much before they are able to set off the distress signal for gene p53 to act. At the same time, it is fortunate that isoflavones obtained from kudzu as well as soy trigger gene p21.
There are a number of herbs as well as formulas, which help to counterbalance the side effects of undergoing radiation therapy and chemotherapy and, at the same time, offer additional health benefits. It is advisable that you should all the times use herbal remedies as a part of your total therapeutic program for treating breast cancer.
Supplements and herbs
Taking the capsule form of the herb astragalus in dosage of 500 mg to 1,000 mg thrice every day helps in putting off the spread of cancers that are receptive to gene p53. However, this herb should not be used if you are suffering from a fever or have any skin infection.
Take the herb catís claw in tincture form according to the instructions on the product label with half a cup (125 ml) of water and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Catís claw is a very powerful stimulant for the immune system. Nevertheless, avoid using this herb if you are already taking insulin for treating diabetes. In addition, catís claw should not be used during pregnancy, by nursing mothers and children below the age of six years.
In you have breast cancer and are undergoing hormonal therapy, you would benefit by taking garlic in the form of enteric-coated tablets and in dosage of 900 mg every day. These tablets prevent the proliferation of cancer cells activated by estrogen, thereby harmonizing the use of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). In addition, garlic is known to neutralize the adverse effects of lactobacillus and bifidus cultures that are taken in the form of digestive aids. It is important to consult a physician before you start using garlic regularly provided you are already taking any anti-coagulant medicine, such as warfarin (Coumadin). Also talk to your physician/ surgeon regarding the use of garlic prior to undergoing any operation.
Taking extracts of green tea catechin in dosage of 240 mg thrice every day helps to block the estrogen receptors, thereby fortifying the action of the drug tamoxifen (Nolvadex).
You may also take kudzu in the form of tablets in dosage of 10 mg thrice every day, as it helps to stimulate gene p21.
Lentinan injection (intramuscular) should always be administered by a competent healthcare professional. Taking lentinan intramuscular injections helps in stimulating the natural killer (NK) and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells in the immune system to combat cancer.
People with breast cancer would benefit if they take the herb milk thistle in the form of silymarin gel-caps in dosage of 120 mg to 320 mg once every day. These gel-caps attache to the estrogen receptor sites present on the cancer cells. However, people taking milk thistle should be aware of the fact that this herb result in mild diarrhea and if you suffer from this side effect, you should either lower the dosage of the remedy or discontinue it.
Mulberry mistletoe should strictly be used under the supervision of a medical professional. Using this herb counterbalances the side effects of undergoing chemotherapy by putting off the suppression of the immune system.
Taking quercetin tablets in dosage of 125 mg to 250 mg thrice every day between your meals helps to hasten the death of cancer cells while treating cancers that are multi-medication-resistant. However, this herb should not be used in case you are already taking nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat) or cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral).
Taking red wine catechins resveratrol tablets in dosage of 125 mg to 250 mg thrice every day helps to put off cellular processes which result in the development as well as growth of cancer cells.
People with breast cancer would benefit if they take the tablet form of soy isoflavone concentrate in dosage of 3,000 mg every day. These tablets help in blocking estrogen from carcinogenic cells and, at the same time, stimulate gene p21.
Taking the capsule form of St. Johnís wort in dosage of 300 mg thrice every day puts off the cancer from spreading to the tissues located between the lungs and chest. However, never use this herb in case you are taking any prescription anti-depressant drug or any other medicament that interacts with MAO (monoamine-oxidase) inhibitors. Pregnant women should exercise caution while using this herb. St. Johnís wort has the potential to augment the risk of formation of sun blisters provided you are outdoors in the sun for a prolonged period.
Take turmeric curcumin tablets in dosage of 250 mg to 500 mg two times every day between your meals to help stimulate gene p53. In addition, these tablets also help to repress additional genes that also promote cancer.
You may take chaste tree in tincture, capsule or tablet form according to the instructions on the product label, as it may slow down the development of breast cancer cells.
Taking 2,000 mg of maitake-D thrice daily, before your meals stimulates the immune system and slows the growth of tumours.
Breast cancer in men
While breast cancer is very common in women, this disease also affects men. Precisely speaking this disease strikes men just about 1 per cent of the number of women having breast cancer. Since we do not suspect breast cancer as frequently in men by gauging the symptoms, this disease is more often detected in men at a very advanced stage. The risk factors involved for developing breast cancer in men are family history, ailments wherein the body makes excessive estrogen, exposure to radiation as well as coming in contact with the tropical malady organism called Schistosoma. In most cases, men and women having breast cancer undergo the same treatment, with the only exception being that in the case of men the disease may be stopped from spreading by removing the patientís testes through surgery. Getting rid of the testes will help in doing away with the hormone that promotes the growth of cancerous cells.
It is advisable that men with breast cancer ought to talk to their physicians regarding the pertinence of using herbs or formulations that are generally recommended for women suffering from the same disease with a view to lessen the production of estrogen. In fact, men as well as women having breast cancer and who have come in contact with the tropical malady schistosomiasis are likely to be benefitted from using agrimony. It has been found that schistosomiasis has the potential to promote the development of breast tumors as well as benign calcified cysts that resemble cancers on mammograms. Agrimony actually comprises compounds that break off the parasiteís life cycle. In addition, it also invigorates the B cells, one of the various cells of the immune system that make antibodies to combat cancer as well as a variety of infections. It is advisable that you take one cup (250 ml) of agrimony tea twice or thrice every day for a maximum period of three months.
Other beneficial herbs