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 study” The 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.
1) The Guardian 22 July 2016
2) The Mail online. 25 July 2016
3) The Lancet 20 July 2002
- Superb site on breast care and the esoteric breast massage – foundational breast care.
- Breast cancer awareness month: is there more to current breast awareness?
- What do you mean – do I have a relationship with my breasts?