My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thoughts on Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By all means if you are breastfeeding and have a problem, a mammogram and ultrasound are compatible with breastfeeding. You don't have to wean. You don't have to pump and dump. If you have a good supply you may want to consider nursing just prior to the mammogram so you don't squirt. But if you do squirt, no big deal, really.

Now, I confess, I have not gotten into the pink ribbon campaign or other breast cancer awareness campaigns because I am not sure what we are suppose to be aware of?

1. Get your mammogram? Is that what the pink ribbon means? The current recommendation is baseline at 40 and every other year till 50, than once a year. Somewhere in 70's it becomes optional. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong or you disagree.) (1/2 my patients want annuals in their 40's, 1/2  delay or space apart)

2. Is the pink ribbon a reminder to donate to breast cancer research or cure?

3. Does it stand for something else or a combination of reminders.

I am not comfortable wearing something I am not quite sure what I know it stands for. Especially if there is a chance I might disagree with it.

Second confession, I have not had a mammogram or breast ultrasound, or any other alternative diagnostics. I missed my baseline, 42, and 44 yo mmgs. Wow! I would have had three by now.  And more if they called me back for additional views which is a very common request by Radiologists who over-read. And more if I had a doctor that ordered them annually without discussion.

In my last post, Jenny encouragingly  commented  that women who breastfeed for a long time (such as yourself) have about a 0% chance of ever getting breast cancer =). Her comment sparked me on to write this post.

Early in my professional breastfeeding career along term breastfeeding expert, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is hard for me to forget that. After reading the book, The China Study, I found a compelling argument that one of the increase risks for breast cancer (or any cancer is animal protein). The author actually feels we are in much better control of cancer than one would think we are by manipulating our diets to a plant-based diet. It's been a long time since I read the book, but this is what sticks with me. I continue to think of all the daily toxic and chronic exposures we pile up on our selves and never have any detox. That is why most of us should have cancer screening tests.  I am consuming a a high raw plant based diet, not exclusively plants, but very AWARE of high antioxident, anti-cancer types of foods. Because of my diet, I'd like to think I have reduced what little risk I had to even more minimal. I also think about how devastating breast cancer would be and it is no joke. I find peace knowing that my breasts have been used to their fullest capacity over the past 14 years.

That brings me to the next point. Like everything else, I individualize my recommendations for others. Some people may need an earlier baseline, some may be like me and want to delay the baseline (there is also risk to unnecessary exposure). Some may need annual mmgs in their 40's. Family history is an important consideration in the litigious community. Our 40th birthday milestone makes many of us aware of the damage we have done to our bodies and past damage may not always be able to be undone.  The greastest benenfit of screening mmgs is probably in our 50's.

In my personal breast cancer awareness outreach the suggestions I have:  lactate longer for your benefit, provide milk for your daughter for her risk reduction, eat more plants, less animal products, more wholefood, avoid nicotine and second hand smoke, and consider the other toxins in your life. Since I don't follow breast cancer awareness groups that close, let me know if there is a group who promotes the power of lactation and detoxification in their breastfeeding awareness campaign.

I've been meaning to write this out for a while and now my thoughts are flowing with more thoughts. I feel about an inch deep in a very broad topic. There is plenty I haven't touched on. Is this topic of interest to  my readers and is it worth writing more on?


be.wildered said...

Great post! I would love to read more cancer or diet related posts. Any thoughts on the pill, in relation to breast/ovarian cancer?

Tammie said...

Of course we are interested! I have heard about pink buckets of KFC and on alcoholic beverages and I'm starting to just get a little tired of what some people are now calling "pinkwashing" both of those things to me (Fried Chicken and Alcohol) could potential contribute to my getting breast cancer. Oh the irony! ;)

I think there is so much money behind it that why would they want to put themselves out of business by finding a cure. Of course like you said the "cure" is in prevention; Nursing our babies, eating plenty of anti-oxidant foods etc. And as far as testing goes I personally feel like mamograms potentially contribute more to the cause because of the radiation. Of course it is a personal choice as to when and how and IF we choose to get tested.

I for one do not plan to have any mamograms (let alone yearly)unless I feel I should. I won't be following someone elses idea of prevention for me. I will stick to self exams and actual PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION! Which of course as you know includes diet and lifestyle I feel this is barely given lip-service in part of the pinkwashing.

I can't wait to "hear" more of your thoughts!

Permission to Mother said...

Tammie, I love comments like yours. Your comment is a post in itself.

be.wildered, I do a lot of counseling on natural family planning. I am surrounded by lots of woman who are concerned about synthetic hormones and side effects. Perhaps another post, soon. Thanks for your comment. You would probably enjoy Tammie's blog also. All good nutrtition info.

Zaneta said...

It's great to read the other side of the story. I just recently heard about the fact how bad mammogram is. And ultrasound is almost as bad. :-(

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