Recent studies are investigating the role of Vitamin D in cancer prevention. Up to 98% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are also Vitamin D deficient, (while almost 70% of our population is estimated to be Vitamin D deficient.)
We now know that women who receive less sunlight living in northern latitudes are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those living in the south who receive more sunlight. Sources of Vitamin D include the sun (15 minutes a day without sunscreen) and foods such as salmon, tuna, cod liver oil and Vitamin D fortified milk.
Any woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer should have her Vitamin D levels checked regularly (annually but if low, every 3 months). Some studies are indicating that Vitamin D may promote the death of cancer cells. If this occurs in the body the way it occurs under laboratory conditions, then every Vitamin D deficient cancer patient should be taking Vitamin D3.
Iodine deficiency in women will also predispose them to breast cancer as iodine has a critical role in breast health. Iodine deficiency may result in T4 deficiency causing symptoms of hypothyroidism. If these iodine deficient women are treated with T4 (synthroid), they may further increase their breast cancer risk. Today’s physicians still aren’t looking at iodine for either thyroid or breast health issues, yet testing for iodine deficiency involves a simple, inexpensive blood test or a 24 hour urine test that are both covered by insurance.
Iodine is so important for breast health, that the female body will pull iodine from the thyroid to keep levels high enough in breast tissue. The body protects breast tissue at the expense of thyroid function. With 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) developing invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, monitoring iodine is a simple way to reduce breast cancer risk. Japanese women have 65% lower risk of breast cancer than American women because they consume a lot of iodine containing foods such as sea vegetables (seaweed, kelp etc), and other seafood, dairy and eggs.
Have your doctor check your iodine levels. If they are low, you will need monitored supplementation as an iodine excess can also produce the symptoms of hypothyroidism, so it is best to retest iodine levels periodically while on an iodine supplement.
Basically, getting regular checks of your Vitamin D and iodine levels are two critical ways you can help minimize your breast cancer risk.
If a diagnosis of breast cancer has been made, it is critically important at the time of diagnosis to get both Vitamin D and iodine levels tested. For a woman with extremely low levels of Vitamin D or iodine, the long term outcome may not be as positive as it would be for a woman with normal levels of both.
In addition to ensuring that Vitamin D levels and iodine levels are adequate, acupuncture is an effectively used treatment for breast cancer and cancer related disorders.
While most women feel that surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are only treatment options, acupuncture should be considered as an important additional treatment.
Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years, and while only approved as a healthcare treatment in the United States since 1996, it has been practiced here for almost 200 years. While used to treat a wide range of illnesses and ailments, acupuncture is also effective for side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting and impaired immunity. It is also effective for post-surgical healing and for the burns associated with radiation.
In 1997, the National Institute of Health concluded that “there is clear evidence that needle acupuncture treatment is effective for postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting” and that there are “a number of pain related conditions for which acupuncture may be effective as an adjunct therapy, an acceptable alternative, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.” In fact, acupuncture for pain is now being showed to produce natural pain killers which work like morphine (opiods) which are highly effective and can be safely used for the post surgical component of cancer care.
Whether for post-operative care, or to minimize the nausea associated with chemotherapy, acupuncture should be an integral component of a breast cancer patients care plan.
Crosby Chiropractic has five chiropractors who are licensed to perform acupuncture who understand the nutritional needs also associated with women’s health issues. If you have a friend or family member that you believe we can help, please contact (636)928-5588 to set up an appointment today.