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.

These questions then led me to remember something in regards to myself when diagnosed with breast cancer but till now have not looked up on the internet. That is the link between breast feeding and the likelihood of developing breast cancer. I had breast fed two children for nine years. So I googled ‘Does breast feeding reduce cancer?’ and I was faced with many of the cancer websites claiming this to be so and there had in fact been a report published just that day in the Mail online:

Breast-feeding reduces cancer risk Mail Online, 25 July, 20162

Sir Richard and his team at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Studies Unit, at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, discovered that ‘the relative risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.1 per cent for every 12 months of breastfeeding.’

The study also confirmed earlier reports that women who have children have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, which claims 13,000 lives in Britain every year.

A woman’s risk of developing the disease fell by just over 8 per cent for every birth.

Last night Dr Richard Sullivan, of the Cancer Research Campaign, said: ‘We know breastfeeding is good for babies, but this important piece of research shows just how good it is for women too.’ “

This is not new information, as similar findings from previous studies are published in The Lancet in 20023 and other reputable sources since, so it is a report of confirmation.

This new report is claiming that for every year of breast feeding the risk of breast cancer is decreased by 4.1% (in 2002 the Lancet used the figures 4.3%) and the Lancet also claimed for each child born the risk is lowered by a further 7%, though this one claims 8%.

So I have given birth to two children and breastfed for nine years, so this should mean the risk of developing this disease is lowered by 35-48%. AND I had stopped drinking alcohol 2 years before being diagnosed with breast cancer. If I bought into what this research is claiming, I could be left feeling quite bitter and cross, thinking I had breastfed for that long to reduce my risk (this was never my reason but if it had been) and ‘given up’ alcohol, as well as having a gluten and dairy free diet so was also food aware, yet still I developed the disease. There is the potential here to feel more of a victim to this disease that’s ‘happened to me’ and to not look any further into myself to feel what is really going on, as according to research I was not so likely to develop cancer. Could there more at play than all this research is showing us?

In hindsight and with all I have learnt and connected to within myself through the work and support of Esoteric Medicine from Universal Medicine, I would say continuing to breast feed was actually contributory to developing the disease, not because of the breast feeding itself but because of my reason driving me to continue. I consistently put my children’s needs (and anyone else’s) before my own, as I was so set on the picture I was holding of being a perfect mother to breast feed which led at times to me compromising my own health and well being.

As a woman, before I had children I had very little, if any, connection with my body, let alone my breasts, other than for sexual pleasure and then once I became a mother my breasts had a purpose to feed, nurture and nourish my babies. However, I was absolutely absorbed in this role and paid no attention to my own well being through the process nor had any relationship with myself as a woman. I continuously suffered with mastitis (at the time I could feel this was telling me something, yet I overrode it and still continued). Interestingly the mastitis flared up most in the breast with DCIS.

In regards to alcohol I drank very, very little, if any, up to becoming pregnant and none throughout my pregnancy or after my first child. It was only after the birth of my second child that I started drinking occasionally and this slowly increased to the point that five years later I was drinking every day. By now my second child was reaching five, my first was aged eight and I was exhausted, emotional, and run down in my health, yet I was still breast feeding and continued this until my second child was just over five.

Was I really helping to reduce the risk of breast cancer?

It is not that women should or should not breast feed, but rather that the consideration is what is true and supportive for them and their own self care and nurturing, not just their babies. I came to see after the diagnosis how I had to be nurturing and caring towards myself before I can truly nurture another, and it became clear to see this pattern had been running way before I had children.

So what is the purpose of all this research? Is it just buying time away from Truth? And if we keep believing and accepting the latest research this and research that, is it possible that all we are doing is delaying finding the truth of why breast cancer, or any other disease, is on the increase?

Our lifestyle choices do make a huge difference to our health and wellbeing, but these have to come from the place of choosing to self-love and self-care rather than because I am living in fear of developing a terminal illness or disease. This is what matters. When self-love and self-care are in place, we feel worthy of caring for our bodies and the knowing to not drink alcohol, or eat this or that, whether to breast feed or not, or for how long, is naturally there. Our choice to love, nourish and cherish ourselves and our bodies first, takes care of the answers.

I have come to learn how breast cancer was a gift. Through seeking healing with various Universal Medicine Therapies, which supported me to develop a reconnection to myself and my body, I could look at why I was choosing to not nurture myself first before any other. I came to see I was being offered an opportunity to look at ALL  aspects of my life not just lifestyle choices, so I could make caring and nurturing choices in regard of my body, thus affecting the health of my breasts.

Research has its place and it is certainly raising our awareness, like showing the links between alcohol and cancer, however, there is more which needs to be considered and we have a body that is giving us feedback all the time.

It is time to question and become our own researchers with our body.

The Why or What?of our choices is what counts.

Would some true research be, to look at the lifestyles of the women who have had breast cancer as well as those who have not, but may have other women’s health issues, and ask questions regarding:

  • What does nurturing mean?
  • What does breast care mean?
  • Have they had children and how many?
  • Did/do they breastfeed? How was this experience?
  • How is their self worth on a day-to-day basis?
  • Are they driven in their career/ being a mother or both?
  • Their menstruation history and other health issues pre-diagnosis?
  • Their relationships, and quality of, with themselves, with their breasts, with their bodies, with others?
  • Their connection with themselves as a woman?
  • The quality of their thoughts?

Breast Cancer does not just happen – it has a history and additional research and discovering the possible similarities in women’s behaviours may start to unravel what is really going on and be the beginning of then living in a way that reduces the incidence of the disease. And even if it is not prevented and we are diagnosed, we are more likely to understand what is happening and feel equipped to heal ourselves in full.

We all have a body, which very clearly shows us the result of what we choose.

We do not have to wait for scientists to confirm what we can feel in our own bodies.

By living in a True Way, we are our own research and every day can be an experiment.

 

 

References:

 

1) The Guardian 22 July 2016

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/22/alcohol-direct-cause-seven-forms-of-cancer-study?CMP=share_btn_fb

2) The Mail online. 25 July 2016

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-88785/Breast-feeding-reduces-cancer-risk.html

3) The Lancet 20 July 2002

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09454-0

 

Read more:

  1. Superb site on breast care and the esoteric breast massage – foundational breast care. 
  2. Breast cancer awareness month: is there more to current breast awareness?
  3. What do you mean – do I have a relationship with my breasts? 

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

  1. “we have a body that is giving us feedback all the time.” The end result of statistics depends on the data that is used for the study. Our own body is not selective but gives us feedback on every aspect of the choices we make in life.

    1. It is astonishing how our intelligence ignores the feedback and prompting from the body that we live in and which is with us 24/7, yet we pay so much attention to facts and figures that often have no bearing or immediacy to our experience of life, and at times even state what is opposite to our awareness.

    2. The point you make here, Mary is so true -“Our own body is not selective”. The results of our choices are always there. Is it that the shock we often feel upon receiving a diagnosis is because inside we know we have been caught out and can no longer keep ignoring ourselves? For many this ignoring does happen but only till the next time. Lovingly we are constantly offered the opportunity to pay attention and stop in our loveless choices.

      1. So true Julie, it’s devastating to feel a momentum of lovelessness, as a mother of 3 I am constantly checking in with myself: for example is it more important that the kitchen is spotless or that I soak in hot bath?

  2. Breast cancer is so prolific in our society today, when is it that we are going to say all the research that is being done is just not working. There must be more to it. Only when we are open to this, will those statistics come down.

  3. Good question.. Does research look at the emotional state (stress, self care practices, personality traits) of a woman and breast cancer as well as the lifestyle choices of drinking, smoking, diet, socioeconomic or family history?

  4. I know people who have breast cancer and they are convinced it is because they have a genetic disposition in the family to contract it. And so there is no reason for them to look at life style choices that could be a contributing factor and so they feel hard done by that they have the gene. Their ears are totally deaf to anything other than they have been told it’s genetic and therefore they just have to suck it up. It’s as though they have thrown up a wall and no one can get in even to support them to discuss how they are feeling they have shut down from feeling anything at all and interestingly enough the families concerned are acting as though it’s not happening too.

  5. Hi Julie, what is true for me is that whenever I lived my live (or do live my life) focused on one part and forgetting the all, then I am or quickly become completely lost. It is only when I am open to the all with the all that life makes sense. For me this is the same as cancer and medical research – if it is viewed in part then it misses out on the whole truth and that is why the conditions are on the rise.

  6. Julie you raise a great point here – the fact is alcohol is the end result of a relief of tension in our bodies, so would it not be more true to say ‘numbing our bodies contributes to breast cancer’ – that makes so much more sense as I know that when I stopped drinking, I found other ways to escape and became a master of experimenting. But all the while I am letting the same energy run through my body, and yet to the outside it looks like I am making better choices. How poisonous.

  7. Fantastic blog Julie, opening the door to an aspect of breast cancer research that could reveal so much …”Breast Cancer does not ‘just happen’ – it has a history and additional research and discovering the possible similarities in women’s behaviours may start to unravel what is really going on and be the beginning of then living in a way that reduces the incidence of the disease…”

  8. I love the point about not waiting for science to tell us what we already know in our bodies. This for me debunks my tendency to irresponsibility and victimhood in the accepting that I do know what constitutes responsible, loving, supportive choices.

  9. Extremely wise words that our choices need to come from a place of self-care, self-love and nurturing, rather than as a stance laden with fear to avoid illness. Self-love has been touted by the spiritual new age as a goal to be achieved, an almost unachievable goal at that, but in truth the development of love within the body and the nurturing of the inner being is available to anyone. This is the wisdom offered by the Ageless Wisdom teachings and Serge Benhayon.

  10. Julie I really appreciate your honesty to take your understanding on how you are with yourself to a deeper level and then share that with everyone else. Is it possible that by nurturing ourselves deeply this can have a positive affect on our bodies and could this reduce the incidence of breast cancer in women? It’s a great question to ask, it’s a simple step and one so worth considering, as there is everything to gain.

    1. I agree Mary there is everything to be gained or at least observe for ourselves and possibly accept another Way of being with ourselves as I reckon we can safely say that the way most of us have been or are with bodies in how treat them and the relationship to our selves hasn’t worked, as seen by the continual increase in health statistics. Nothing to lose really?!

  11. It’s a great point Julie, we can easily accept research that say this or that, and change our habits to be in line with that, thinking we’re doing the right thing, and hence will gain the benefit. And to some degree we may, but if we don’t address why we do that in the first place, then we will just find another way to do the same thing. In your example of giving up alcohol, if we don’t address what the alcohol did for us, then chocolate, or eating more for dinner, or a bigger serving of dessert or a longer, harder stint at the gym after work etc will be a worthy substitute.

  12. Research can easily be manipulated to tell a convenient truth, and this is actually known and accepted as normal. And so we pay millions for something we know is not true, crazy really.

    1. If we knew it was not true, it would be simple. The issue is that the information is low quality, i.e. often wrong and, under certain circumstances like trials sponsored by interested parties, even lower quality but the worst part is that we and therefore science think that there is no other way.

      1. But all trials are quantitive based, surely we have the alternative of looking at qualitative data as well and seeing what can be learned from this? It seems to me that all qualitative data is simply dismissed as not being scientific almost by definition whereas perhaps this is where the real gold will be found?

  13. There are questions here that feel hugely pertinent for all women, Julie, opening up this conversation and understanding how vital this relationship with ourselves is, for as you have already said its imperative that the decision to self care comes from our own will and not from external factors such as fear or fashion.
    What does nurturing mean?
    What does breast care mean?
    How is their self worth on a day-to-day basis?
    Their connection with themselves as a woman?
    The quality of their thoughts?

  14. Science is only aware of parts of the reason why we develop breast cancer (men can get it too). Science is even able to calculate quite precisely what percentage of breast cancer incidences it can explain (the technical term is through a regression analysis) and that percentage is typically low, under 20%. It would make a huge difference if there is a way to explain even another 20%, still leaving 60% unaccounted for.

  15. In regards to the research the question that arises for me is, why are we so beholden to research. It’s like we won’t make a move without being backed up by research, and experience has told us that such research will tell us often what we want to hear. The real power lies in not ignoring what we know, like we all knew already that alcohol and cancer go hand in hand. For really how could they not when we consider what alcohol does in our bodies.

    1. Good points Stephen. Why we put so much faith into research when so much of it is flawed is a mystery to me. There is no one that drinks alcohol and doesn’t know that they are harming themselves. Our bodies show this and tell us in many different ways.

  16. How we live plays out in our bodies. We may choose to make lifestyle changes but if we have lived a life of disregard and recklessness it’s unsurprising that an illness may arise. I too have had breast cancer and now recognise the gift it gave me – the opportunity to seriously reconsider my lifestyle choices and the way I operate in my daily living. It isn’t just what I do but how I do what I do.

  17. I have just read Rebecca Briant’s blog: The prevention of breast cancer – the answer is in our bodies’ in which she explains how epigenetics is starting to reveal evidence that the environment of a cell affects the functioning of the cell which suggests, as you say Julie, that ‘Our lifestyle choices do make a huge difference to our health and wellbeing’.

  18. “Would some true research be, to look at the lifestyles of the women who have had breast cancer as well as those who have not”. Given that we know that how we live directly affects our health, I completely agree that more focus should be spent looking at this side of things, not just the day-to-day actions but the quality in which those movements were made.

  19. For almost any research that comes to one conclusion, you will be able to find scientific research that shows the exact opposite to be the case. I cannot understand why science is not more concerned than they seem to be about this inconsistency in results. It is undermining people’s faith in science which may be a good thing because so much of it is flawed.

  20. Among all of the amazing advances in medicine, and knowledge which we have to date, there is still a huge lack in the medical system, it is still not enough and is leaving a lot of people scratching their heads.

    1. And perhaps the main challenge for medicine at the moment may be how to deal with the behaviour of people that makes us more and more obese and acquire more and more lifestyle diseases.

  21. From my recollection breast cancer was quite rare before the 1960s, if this is true we could look at the life choices that women used to make back then and compare how those choices have changed over the decades. Then if we were to consider the possibility that the choices we make lead to illness and disease we might have some research that informs us what is really happening.

  22. What you describe here Julie, puts me in mind of a school student sitting exams, and getting back ‘bad’ marks – but then just re-sitting the test and repeating the same answers that they gave before. What is it about us that thinks this will work? For looking at the bigger picture – getting a ‘bad’ score, grade or assessment, or an illness if you will, is not a ‘bad’ thing at all, if we are willing to see what we need to learn. For in this situation lives the springboard to correction and correct alignment. To ignore our report card and blindly hope for ‘better luck’ is to arrogantly dismiss and willfully misunderstand the education and learning on offer to us.

  23. Absolutely agree Julie, it is not the fact of whether we breast feed or not or how long we do so but what makes us choose that in the first place. When we come to look deeper at our ways of behaving and what leads us to them we can get to a new level of honesty and see ways that we can look after ourselves. We can give our power away to self help books and people we consider know more than us without having a heartful dialogue with ourselves and actually letting our own deeper wisdom inform us.

    1. Great point you make here Elaine. We can far too easily rely on self help books or someone else’s opinion or even advice to make us ‘feel better’ or to convince us that we are doing the ‘right thing’. But if we were to really open ourselves up and connect to what we are really feeling inside, then we would learn that we have all the answers we need on how to take care of our bodies within us.

  24. The answer to the headline is that medical research can measure quite precisely what percentage of truth it can bring and what percentage it knows nothing about. That could be 1%, 16% or 90% – it depends on the circumstances. Technically that is known as the R-square statistic.

  25. Most answers to our problems are simple, so too it would make sense the answer to healing breast cancer is simple. So the fact that medical research has not found the true answer and healing for breast cancer shows they might be looking in the wrong way… Indeed what about the way we are living as women? Could this indeed have an effect in the end on our bodies? Breast cancer is a very intense disease so it would be at least wise to consider that this could be the case.

  26. Waiting for the next scientific research papers is never the answer, true power lies in bringing awareness to the way we are living or have lived.

  27. ‘In hindsight and with all I have learnt and connected to within myself through the work and support of Esoteric Medicine from Universal Medicine, I would say continuing to breast feed was actually contributory to developing the disease, not because of the breast feeding itself but because of my reason driving me to continue.’ This is a great insight and something that was never mentioned when I was breastfeeding – the wellbeing of the mother. By this, I don’t mean the obvious signs of posts natal depression, I mean the general vitality and wellness of the mother which so often gets overlooked.

    1. This is true, I remember as a new mother how it was only the signs of postnatal depression that were looked for and there was so much else that was accepted as ‘normal’ like exhaustion, feeling emotional or unsure and questioning and or not enjoying breastfeeding or the baby being stressed with feeding. These were all accepted as parts of being a mother and no support was given or talked about in regards to being a woman first and reading what the baby was actually telling us and how I was feeling.

  28. Ticking all the boxes, that is not smoking, not drinking, breastfeeding etc, yet still women get breast cancer. Looking more deeply at how we are living has to be key. Taking responsibility for our own health issues, rather than blaming our genes or family history. How are we truly living in our world today? Are we continually feeling stressed and overwhelmed, putting care for ourselves last on our to-do list? Or do we live harmonious loving self-nurturing lives? Which life is more likely to be cancer-prone?

  29. We sink so much money into Cancer Research, yet very little into researching how the quality of our lives impacts on our health and creates cancer in the first place. The way we live, what we eat, drink and how we treat ourselves and one another holds such rich clues as to how not only treat cancer successfully, but prevent it occurring in the first place.

  30. i do love how you are including in depth lifestyle about how women have actually lived in this study. It is crucial we make the connection between how we live and our health outcomes. The spiralling rates show us its needed, as what we are currently doing isn’t stemming the tide that is becoming ‘normal.’

  31. I like how this article puts cancer research into perspective and offers to the reader to use it not as gospel, but as a part in the pathway to understanding cancer and our relationship with this and other diseases.

    1. Cancer research is deeply flawed and for all the billions spent on it has little to show in any progress in understanding the causes of these diseases and how to best live to avoid contracting them. I don’t think I am being cynical to make the point that most research is geared at finding a drug that can keep someone alive as long as possible with the disease. Universal Medicine has given us the causes of the different flavours of cancer and how to live to avoid them, it is sad that so few are listening.

  32. “By living in a True Way, we are our own research and every day can be an experiment.” And hence we can resume responsibility for our health through the way we live each day, trialling the effects of every choice and observing the effects on our bodies, living science that in time will provide us with the most awesome answers about the purpose of disease and our responsibility within it.

  33. I think you raise a really great point here that we can just switch one harming behaviour for another if we don’t heal what the drive was behind the original behaviour…

  34. Great points made here, that research alone into a disease, no matter what it is, isn’t going to cure people on its own. Knowing that genes are affecting an organ in the body, also isn’t going to cure a cancer. But understanding the medical side in collaboration and coordination with how we are living, now that is where were will finally see some results.

  35. Alcohol has been linked by medical research to many medical conditions, so we need to ask why is it still so easily available for so many people to damage themselves with? I cannot preach on this because I drank alcohol almost every day for 40 years taking myself into heart disease and dementia. One of the best things I ever did was quitting alcohol for good.

  36. It is worthwhile regularly reviewing every aspect of our life, much like an audit on a business, to check in to see if what we are living is actually working or if there are signs from our body that it is not.

  37. ‘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’?”’ Great question Julie but how many people are willing to undertake this kind of self-examination? Not many, at this stage I suspect: even cancer is often not enough to provoke a thorough appraisal. The impetus, if the cancer isn’t terminal, is usually ‘just get me back to my old life’ – in which case the body will need to conduct another clearing via another illness at a later stage, be it in the current life, or in a subsequent life.

  38. A powerful blog and reference to research buying time when the truth is waiting patiently for all to see. I have been to a number of funerals where the cause of death has been breast cancer and the comments from the family and friends always comes back to the selfless actions of the deceased and how they always put everyones needs ahead of their own.

  39. Your comment about making lifestyle choices from self-love rather than from fear of being ill, or from a dogma of doing the right thing is huge. No two bodies are the same, and so the foods or exercise needed by one person might not be what the next person needs. The only way to truly know what is right for each person is from the inner knowing, which is fostered by self-love.

  40. I am learning that all illness and disease deserves our focus and attention when it comes to self-responsibility. Previously I was in the belief that if it won’t kill me then don’t worry. But that attitude in itself is accepting a lesser quality of life. Saying thank you to my body, however it presents helps drop the reaction to my condition and start to understand my part in all of it.

  41. The pressure women are under to perform when they become a mother, perform the role that they need to be everything to their children. That they need to give so much of themselves and not keep enough for them. This causes disharmony in the body and then can lead to other types of illness and disease.

  42. It’s fascinating that prior to becoming a mother we don’t even realise that there are many ideals and beliefs of what it means to be a mother, and then it feels like we are at the mercy of all of those once the child is born. So it is no surprise that we have a tendency to look after our babies more than ourselves, and often at the expense of our own health and well-being.

  43. One of the many powerful aspects revealed in this article… One of the many I might add, is that it is our choices that contribute enormously to our well-being and health, and that as the wisdom firmly embedded in our ancient history reveals, it is essential that we view everything as a whole when it comes to health and our body.

    1. I agree and beyond that it is how every choice made contributes to every part of our lives, so the accidents we encounter, the state of relationships, the work we do, the food we eat, activities and hobbies we undergo…the list is endless. Nothing ever just happens or to be accepted as ‘that is just how it is’ we are always responsible for the outcomes we experience.

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