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Posts Tagged ‘Holistic alternatives to Tamoxifen’

Recommended Reading List for People with Breast Cancer

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Alternatives to Tamoxifen, Breast Cancer, Healing Cancer Naturally, Hormone Balance, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized on September 26, 2014 at 9:15 am

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and because I strive to spread the word that there are many options, but no one magic bullet for cancer, I would like to share some books that will empower you to be an active participant in your healing.  No one treatment is right for all, and there are options well beyond what we are hearing from our doctors. There is no ‘best’ diet; it is not a question of trying to follow some ideal way of living based on other people’s experiences or insistence.  Each of us is our own unique person, with our very own DNA, mutations, illnesses and restrictions, therefore each of us must find our own solution—a lifestyle and protocol that works for us. We each had our own path to cancer and therefore need our own path to wellness. While you will find that there are many common factors empowered patients have used to recover from cancer, you will find that the ‘answers’ to cancer vary tremendously. The goal is to find a protocol that gives you confidence that you will beat your cancer, survive and live well.

Breast cancer booksThe following books are loaded with useful information and will aid you in your healing:

Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, by Dr Kelly Turner, PhD.  This is a much overdue book, one that brings awareness and validity to the true extent of radical remissions—remission achieved without the use of conventional medicine or even after conventional medicine has failed. Turner shows that there really is hope, even in situations that seem hopeless.  You will learn that there are options well beyond the ‘white coat’, and that the possibilities for healing are more abundant than we have been told.    I love that Turner explains that there are a vast variety of paths to wellness. She also lists the 9 commonalities that people have used to heal from their cancer–factors such as diet, stress, emotions, spirituality, and others that profoundly affect our health and well-being.  Listen to Dr Turner on my radio show.

Not surprising, my all-time most popular post is the one I wrote a few years ago on Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen—and there is a reason for this—people want safer options. Never overlook the power of nature’s medicine chest.  You may also want to view my discussion on natural alternatives with Dr Kelly Turner: 

In Waking the Warrior Goddess, Third Edition: Dr. Christine Horner’s Program to Protect Against & Fight Breast Cancer, Dr Horner explores the various foods, supplements and health promoting strategies that can help women to successfully treat and prevent breast cancer. This is an excellent resource book that includes the best explanations of phytoestrogens I have ever read.  Dr Horner explains how many natural substances have been proven to be as effective as or even more effective than pharmaceuticals such as aromatase inhibitors.  Listen to Dr Horner on my radio show–Neglected Breast Cancer Discoveries that Could Save Your Life.

The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors: A Nutritional Approach to Preventing Recurrence , by Helayne Waldman and Edward Bauman, is an excellent guide for anyone seeking to understand the effect of nutritional and environmental factors on our risk for cancer and its recurrence.  In this book you will learn how to incorporate cancer-fighting foods into your diet, clean up your self-care products, nourish your immune system, detoxify your body, and more. After I first heard Helayne speak at a conference, I immediately purchased this book–and it is fantastic. Listen to Helayne on my show: Modulating Hormones with Diet and Supplements.

More Favorites:

Anticancer-a New Way of Life

Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment

The Iodine Crisis: What You Don’t Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life

The Etiology of Breast Cancer: Endogenous and Exogenous Causes

The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of Your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle

Miracle Survivors: Beating the Odds of Incurable Cancer

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Breast Cancer Tip: Have you tried rebounding? Rebounding benefits lymphatic circulation by stimulating the millions of one-way valves in the lymphatic system. This benefits the body’s immune capacity for fighting current disease, destroying cancer cells, eliminating antigens and preventing future illness. Rebounding also circulates more oxygen to the tissues (cancer hates oxygen), boosts the production of red blood cells, improves digestion and elimination, aids mental clarity, curtails fatigue and provides a host of other benefits.  Plus, it’s good exercise, fun, and doesn’t have to be expensive–I have this one and it’s only about $60: Sunny Health & Fitness 40″ Foldable Trampoline with Bar.

I honestly do not believe that there is anyone out there who is not aware of breast cancer.  We’ve all been affected in some way—mother, brother, sister, aunt, self—sadly the statistics are now that one in every three women will face breast cancer. Dedicating a month won’t change this much, but I do feel it helps people to bond, and I am sure that helps some to heal.  And while the hype for all these ‘months’ is likely generated to bring in more donations—little of which will go towards bringing us the elusive cure, my hope is that the money gets to the right organizations where it can be effective.
Elyn

~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Magazine. Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project.  Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. https://elynjacobs.com/about/

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Is Tamoxifen Right for Me? Is There an Alternative?

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Tamoxifen has been successfully used in the management of breast cancer for over twenty years.  However, as with any drug, Tamoxifen has benefits and risks associated with its use. The general opinion seems to be that the benefits outweigh the risks. For many men and women, choosing Tamoxifen may be the right choice for them.

For others the side effects are very real, and the risk is too high– namely the risk of developing uterine cancer, blood clots, muscle pain, mental fogginess and cataracts.  This can be especially true for those with certain early stage breast cancers.  Such concerns have led many to seek alternatives to hormone therapy.

pills tamoxifenHow can you know which is the right choice for you?  Be informed; empower yourself to educate yourself with information and options.  You may want to take advantage of one the risk/benefit calculators such as www.lifemath.net  to help you gain a better understanding of your individual risk for declining Tamoxifen, and weigh those risks against your concerns and reservations of taking the drug.

To help you understand how these calculators can help you, Dr Gwen Stritter, MD, an expert in clinical advocacy, shared with me two different scenarios and how the use of Tamoxifen would play out in each:

● Let’s take the case of someone with a 1 cm, stage I ER-positive breast cancer.  The proportional reduction in breast cancer death from using Tamoxifen for 5 years in a woman < 50 years of age is about 32% (Early Breast Cancer Trialists Collaborative Group, Lancet 1998).  The typical stage I ER+, node-negative patient at 40 years of age has a 6.3% risk of cancer death in the next 15 years without treatment (www.lifemath.net).  Adding Tamoxifen would decrease the mortality rate by 32% which means it would decrease to 4.3%, an absolute gain of only 2 percentage points of survival.  In this situation, it could make a lot of sense for someone to decline Tamoxifen and use only alternative approaches if they were getting uncomfortable side effects.

● Now let’s take another hypothetical example:  someone with a stage II, ER-positive, node-negative breast cancer.  The same calculation shows that there is a 20% chance of death in the next 15 years without treatment.  Adding Tamoxifen would decrease the mortality rate to 13.6%, an absolute gain of almost 7 percentage points.  If that seems like only a small gain, remember that gain is more percentage points than the risk of actual death in the untreated stage I case.  And, that translates to, on average, an extra 3 years of survival because of the Tamoxifen therapy.  If it were a stage II node-positive case, Tamoxifen would add on average 4 years of life.  If it were a stage III cancer, the benefits of Tamoxifen would be even greater – almost 6 years of life gained, on average.  Many men and women would tolerate more side effects for such a gain of survival.

For the stage I BC example, the worst-case scenario is only a 2% increased risk of death – avoiding Tamoxifen and using only alternative approaches with a reasonable clinical track record does not seem to be such a risk.  In higher stage examples, the risk of death would more than triple causing an average loss of 3 – 6 years of life.  Dr Gwen Stritter, MD

We can gain valuable information on our risk/reward by using one of these calculators, as well as by gathering information from our medical team– every bit of information you can gather will help you to make the most informed choice possible. However, while statistics can be useful for treatment recommendations, they do not always predict the outcome of an individual.  Every person and every cancer is unique with its own set of circumstances based on genetic and physiological characteristics associated with them.  The calculated results and other statistics do not factor in quality of life or the lifestyle choices and factors of the patient, so use such information to help you make choices, not to put a timeline on your life.

We also do not have any side-by-side studies that compare the use of hormone therapy versus holistic approaches.  Part of the reason is lack of funding—drug companies have little to no reason to fund such studies and there is comparatively little profit from the alternative approach.  So until the day comes when this scenario changes (don’t hold your breath), we are left to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for us, our cancer, and our own individual needs.

I just tried this out on myself, giving the information at diagnosis (as it was not available to me then). At 45 year old, I would have a 1.8% risk of cancer death in the next 15 years without treatment, and it would be expected that this cancer would shorten my life expectancy by 0.8 years (from 37.3 year to 36.5 years.)  Therefore the therapy would give me an additional 96 days.  In my case Tamoxifen might not be worth the risk.  Remember too…these are just averages—my actual risk could be higher or lower depending on my own unique circumstances. ej

If you choose Tamoxifen, you may want to consult an integrative or alternative doctor or a qualified coach for advice on nutrients that can help boost the efficacy and reduce the side effects of the drug—as well as improve your survival.  I am happy to help you or assist you with a referral; please leave a request here.

If you choose not to take hormone therapy, please know that managing estrogen and your breast cancer requires a comprehensive approach encompassing diet, exercise, stress reduction and other mind-body-spirit therapies. For more information on an alternative approach to hormone therapy, please read Natural Alternatives to Tamoxifen and view my video with Dr Kelly Turner, PhD, author and founder of The Radical Remission Project. To discuss options or for a referral, please leave a request here.

Please remember that managing cancer is not just about managing estrogen.  If you do not change the environment in which your cancer was permitted to grow, you may increase your risk of recurrence.   Addressing stress issues, diet, sleep habits, exposure to toxins, adrenal fatigue, thyroid and iodine deficiencies and other cancer responsive imbalances may make your terrain less hospitable to cancer.

Elyn

             ~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER:  Reading the information in this post does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. The information included in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding a medical condition or any treatments.

 Gwen Stritter, MD is a physician and clinical advocate/navigator who has been practicing intensive, personalized research and advocacy for those with life-threatening health problems for the past 13 years.  Her area of special expertise is integrative breast oncology. 

She is coauthor of the chapter on clinical advocacy (chapter 19) in the textbook, Patient Advocacy for Healthcare Quality: Strategies for Achieving Patient Centered Care (2007) and a frequent speaker at integrative oncology and breast cancer conferences.

While side effects of breast cancer therapy have recently caused Dr. Stritter to close her clinical practice, she has since committed herself to studying the effect of active integrative approaches on metastatic breast cancer survival and sharing this information with those whose lives have been touched by it.  With several other women living with breast cancer, she has started a non-profit, People-Powered Research, to do the clinical research that highly interests patients but is a not focus for the academic-pharma complex.

 Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Newsletter.  Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. https://elynjacobs.wordpress.com/about/

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