by Dr. Harvey Kaltsas, Acupuncture Physician
V.P. (FL), the National Guild for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, OPEIU Guild #62, AFL-CIO
News Flash to Angelina:
Selenium and Vitamin D Help Prevent Breast CancerThe world is now abuzz with the news that Angela Jolie had her breasts removed to avoid the risks she faced of developing breast cancer because she carries the BRCA-1 gene mutation, risks she thought amounted to 87%. Before most women get too fearful about having their own BRCA-1 gene mutation, first understand that on average only 1 women in 600 suffers from this problem. One in six hundred!
The BRCA-1 gene suppresses tumor development in the body, especially tumors of the breast. When this gene is mutated it can lose that ability. The most likely source of genetic mutation is exposure to radiation. What are the principal sources of radiation? In America they are from medical imaging devices such as X-rays and CT scans, cigarette smoke (yes, tobacco contains the radioactive trace minerals Polonium 210 and lead 210), and natural sources such as cosmic gamma rays and radon gas from the earth.
Apparently one of Angelina's ancestors was exposed to radiation that mutated the BRCA-1 gene, and this mutation was passed on to Angelina. But was her risk of developing breast cancer really as high 87%? Here's what the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says about it at the National Cancer Institute website link: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA :
"It is important to note, however, that most research related to BRCA1 and BRCA2 has been done on large families with many individuals affected by cancer. Estimates of breast and ovarian cancer risk associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have been calculated from studies of these families. Because family members share a proportion of their genes and, often, their environment, it is possible that the large number of cancer cases seen in these families may be due in part to other genetic or environmental factors. Therefore, risk estimates that are based on families with many affected members may not accurately reflect the levels of risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers in the general population. In addition, no data are available from long-term studies of the general population comparing cancer risk in women who have harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations with women who do not have such mutations. Therefore, the percentages given above are estimates that may change as more data become available."
In other words, the NCI is saying that the high risk Angelina Jolie thought she faced from her BRCA-1 gene mutation may very well have been overstated, and other environmental factors possibly contribute to the onset of breast cancer.
Genes with the BRCA1 mutation do not always express themselves into breast cancer at the 87% rate Angelina Jolie assumed. Why not? John Aspley, MD(E), ND, DC had this to say about our genes and cancer prevention:
"What folks need to know is that genes can only express what they are fed. If they are fed a polluted diet from a toxic immediate environment (milieu), they will express disease."
"With proper diet and a detoxified milieu, genes will almost always express resilient, thriving cells, never cancerous cells. Unless we learn this, we will end-up amputating most body parts by the end of this century. My heart aches for Angelina, and I wish her the best."
There are natural ways to prevent breast cancer.Look at this map of where breast cancer strikes: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/state.htm -
It is easy to see that women in most places with plenty of sunlight get less breast cancer than those in places with less sunlight. Much evidence points to increased levels of Vitamin D as a reason why. This even holds true for those with the BRCA-1 gene mutation.
In research reported in the Jan. 23, 2013 issue of Science Digest, a team led by Susana Gonzalo, Ph.D. at Saint Louis University, has discovered that vitamin D can be an effective way to prevent breast cancer - even for those with a BRCA1 gene mutation.
Another safe and effective approach is to take selenium supplements.
Research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention October 20, 2009 documented that women who have mutations in the BRCA1 gene clearly benefit from supplementation with selenium.
Compared to than those who did not have the BRCA-1 gene mutation, those women with the BRCA-1 gene mutation who did not take selenium stood a 43% higher chance of developing breaks in genetic material which led to breast cancer (43% - not 87%). However, when women with the BRCA-1 gene took added selenium in the 200 mcg./day range, their risk of developing precursors to breast cancer was only 2.5% more! Now that's something to write home about. I doubt Ms. Jolie was aware of these odds.