Breast cancer: does medical research really bring us the truth or just a part of it?

By Julie Snelgrove, Nursery Nurse, Somerset, UK


A little while ago on my facebook newsfeed there was an article titled:

“Alcohol is a direct cause of seven forms of cancer, finds studyThe Guardian. 22 July, 20161

There is now enough credible evidence to say conclusively that drinking is a direct cause of the disease…”

One of the cancers mentioned was Breast Cancer. I was interested in what was being said as a few years ago I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), which is a pre-breast cancer condition that is treated in the same way as breast cancer. The question that came to mind was “Ok it’s good these links are being made as we need to know this, but isn’t the next and real question: ‘Why do we choose to drink alcohol in the first place’?” Are we not short changing ourselves when we simply read and take on only what these studies say, rather than coming back to what our bodies have been telling us for a long time?

So ok, I can be responsible, and listen to what the research tells us and choose to not drink alcohol, but does this mean I change any other behaviours in my life?

Do I look at my stress levels?

My emotional state?

The quality of my relationships?

Does it mean I will then deeply care for myself?

It might be we then actually eat more to numb ourselves, drink other stimulating drinks or eat more sugar. I know when I stopped alcohol I found other ways to bring stimulation and numbness to my body just as alcohol used to. There was no self-responsibility present in my life to look any deeper.

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Lifestyle choices and responsibility for our healthcare – whose hands is it in?

by Jane Keep, Phd, Mphil, MSc, FCIPD, MIC, CMgr, FCMI, London

A while ago, a healthcare organisation in the UK made a decision that it would no longer treat patients who are obese or who smoke – unless they have been/are on a programme to do something about it. This caused quite a disturbance at the time, in that many felt this was unfair and discriminatory. This tactic has been tried before, and each time it causes a bristle of comments, discussion and reactions.

The NHS in England has always been ‘free to patients at the point of delivery’ so whilst there is no charge for treatment, there has always been struggles to resource the NHS to be able to treat all the patients that need treating. In recent years the numbers of those needing care have escalated, and the NHS is now bursting at the seams and in financial deficit.

If we look at this further – ‘according to the Hippocratic tradition, the guiding principle for physicians is “first do no harm,” or non-maleficence, which is closely followed by the obligation to “do good,” or beneficence’.(1) It has been stated that ‘irrespective of the “rightness” of smoking behavior, physicians have a duty to offer all patients appropriate care and supportive care and to help their patients become tobacco free.’(1) This means that ‘physicians are discouraged from refusing treatment simply because they disagree with their patients’ decisions or lifestyles’.(1)

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Chronic Fatigue – it doesn’t have to be this way.

By Ruth Ketnor, Customer Advisor, London

In 1997 I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. I had had the symptoms for several years before diagnosis but it wasn’t recognized. Even when diagnosed, there was little known about how to manage or treat it and to a large part this remains the case today.

At this time in 1997, I had a trauma that I felt I couldn’t cope with, my trust plummeted, with little awareness I withdrew … I gave up and my day to day living with the ‘normal’ exhaustion of life became fatigue, then … Chronic Fatigue. My body became depleted and my lymph glands enlarged. I dropped lots of weight in a short amount of time and became very thin. I stopped trusting the world and more importantly myself.

My energy was on the floor way beyond exhaustion, my body ached deeply all over, as did my joints. I regularly had intense stinging in my muscles such that I just had to lie still because any slight movement made it worse, they would feel stiff and as if they were full of something that shouldn’t be there. It was difficult to breathe as even this would make it worse. My sleep pattern was very disturbed and I had intense anxiety. My lymph glands were swollen and painful a lot of the time and I often had a sore throat. I had regular infections and viruses. My mind was very dull, I was unable to think straight or keep up with anyone, physically or mentally. I couldn’t listen to the radio or watch TV as my mind was too dull to process the information. My senses were heightened, so most of the time I had the curtains shut because I was sensitive to light, and I couldn’t tolerate sounds, smells or many foods.

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Missing periods – it’s not normal

 Gyl Rae, Teacher, Scotland

Last year I visited the doctor, after not having my periods for three months. During our conversation I was told to ‘not worry’ about it, and this was normal.

Every cell in my body knows truth ­­– this is not normal.

Our bodies are intrinsically made up in a way that is in divine order with God, working in natural rhythms and cycles, just like nature and the Universe. Every month a woman’s body creates and releases an egg, which, if not fertilized, results in her having a period – this is normal.

For some women this may not be the case, and missing our periods is a clear sign from our body, telling us that how we are choosing to live is out of rhythm; it’s not ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ for us. So why is it we choose to ignore or override our body and believe that we can make something that is not our natural divine order and rhythm our normal?

Could it be a way we avoid responsibility? I know it was for me.

The reason my period stopped is because I chose to not deeply connect to, and live from the stillness in my body.

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Tooth wisdom

by Joseph Barker, Web designer, writer and doodler, Melbourne, Australia

As I lay back in the seat, a nurse placed a cover over me. I took one last look at the picturesque scene of the sun setting out the window before a great big screen was moved in front of my face. “I don’t want to disturb you, but what you see next may make you upset” said Doctor Max. Then he switched on the screen to display the full uncensored, gruesome scene. What was in front of me was a close up of my teeth. Bacteria and build up was everywhere, all over the inside of my mouth, in between the gums bubbling away like some Icelandic water spa.

This made me sit up a little stiff in my seat. How had this happened? After all they looked good to me, and hey, don’t you know, I don’t even eat sweets! But as Doctor Max asked me a few further questions, it became clear my teeth regime was not quite as squeaky clean as it seemed. “Do you brush inside and out every tooth?” “Do you methodically floss in between?” “Do you spend an equal time in every spot?” “Do you you always brush with care?” Well…no. I had to admit, that I did not, more often settling for a quick scrub around whilst thinking of something that happened to me that day.
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The Test of Life

by Leigh Matson, London, UK 

In life, we are always presented with opportunities to test ourselves and to learn from the results of these experiments. The quality of the experiments will vary, depending on how willing we are to be aware of what we are feeling.

For example, finding out if we have a food intolerance can be quite simple.

If we eat a certain food – we may get a reaction.

If we don’t eat that certain food – there is no reaction.

It simply requires us to stop for a moment to clock our body’s communication in response or reaction to this food.

If we were to eliminate the foods we react to for a period of time, we could then see and feel the results by feeling the effects in our bodies.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are taught to override and ignore these reactions, or messages from our bodies. So even though we may have a bodily reaction, we have been taught how to override these messages, so we can eat ‘normally’ and appear to be normal.

When I was young I could not eat gluten, because it caused various reactions such as a reddening of my face and a number of mood and behavioral disorders and 20 years ago gluten free food was not as readily available as it is now. So over time I learnt how to override and ‘grow out of’ being gluten intolerant. But what if we don’t ‘grow out of’ being intolerant, we just get better at masking the reaction?

Since I have eliminated gluten (and also dairy and sugar) from my diet, I have found that my energy levels, general health and wellbeing have increased.

So then what if we could apply this method of experimenting with ourselves to other areas of life?

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To pee or not to pee – should that even be a question?

By Coleen Hensey

I was recently advised by my GP to keep an eye on my blood pressure as we worked together to find the causes of some health issues that had arisen.

After attending a specialist appointment one lovely, warm day, I took myself for a rainforest walk and then walked my gorgeous labradoodle to the local dog park. We were both thirsty from our walks so I shared my water with my dog, who was most appreciative. I was feeling lovely – connected with nature and purposeful in having started to attend to these matters of personal health.

I felt so good that I decided to pop into the local pharmacy before going home and have my blood pressure measured, so that I would have a reference for ‘feeling lovely.’

My friendly pharmacist welcomed me warmly, as always, and we attached the sleeve to my arm to measure my current blood pressure. As the sleeve deflated and the reading appeared on the screen, I observed how the pharmacist had started to mask a sense of alarm: the diastolic reading (the bottom number) was registering a reading of hypertensive crisis – 124. (1) My usual reading is around 75-80. The systolic pressure was also higher than usual for me, but not alarmingly so.
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