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Breast Cancer Types
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women. The use of natural therapies can be a helpful step in overcoming and surviving a breast cancer diagnosis.
The most important thing to understand while undergoing treatment for the different breast cancer types is that no two breast tumors are alike; they can be influenced by hormones, environmental exposures, genetic mutations, and different cancer growth factors. Our naturopathic physicians understand your pathology reports, the uniqueness of your tumor type, and how best to apply natural therapies to help reduce the growth of your breast cancer.
The differences in the breast cancer types can be defined by looking at hormone receptors, growth factor receptors, location, size, and spread of the tumor.
- Hormone Receptors: Estrogen (ER), Progesterone (PR)
- Growth Factor Receptors: Her-2 Neu
- Location: Duct, Lobule, Beyond the Duct, Lymphnode
- Size: 0.5 cm – 1.0 cm, 1.0 – 2.0 cm, 2.0 cm and larger
- Spread: No spreading, Sentinel Lymph Node, Axillary Lymph Node, Liver, Brain, Bones
Hormones and Breast Cancer
Hormones do not influence some breast tumors at all (triple negative or estrogen receptor negative breast cancers), while others are highly influenced by estrogen and progesterone. It is important to work with someone who understands how to track hormones, uses natural therapies to reduce estrogen production, and addresses non-hormonally influenced breast cancer types.
Environmental Exposures and Breast Cancer
Several chemicals and heavy metals have been linked to the growth of breast cancer cells. They can include pthalates, Bisphenol A, cadmium, and much more. After the physicians review your health and exposure history, testing to assess these environmental toxins may be recommended. Environmental exposures are frequently treated with sauna, herbs, nutrients, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy.
Genetic Mutations and Breast Cancer
For women with a family history of any of the different breast cancer types or who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, naturopathic oncology can be used to help reduce your risk of cancer. By making diet changes, supplement selections, and lifestyle modifications, naturopathic medicine is here to support you in reducing your risk of breast cancer.
As we learn more and more about the BRCA1/2 genes, we understand many things that can influence these genes. Research studies are starting to reveal that certain nutrients, such as selenium, can turn off the BRCA genes. There are also studies looking into the use of turmeric and resveratrol for this function.
Breast Cancer Growth Factors
Several growth factors can influence the growth of all breast cancer types. Some of these markers are related to sugar intake, while others reflect an environment of inflammation and blood vessel formation. Testing for growth factor allows us to tailor a treatment plan that addresses your unique tumor environment.
Supporting the Body During and After Conventional Treatments
The most common treatments for breast cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Natural therapies can also be used to help reduce side effects from treatments, improve healing, and enhance the body’s response to conventional treatment.
Using naturopathic medicine to support surgical recovery can improve healing time, reduce your risk of infection, and supply essential nutrients needed for collagen formation. Therapies for surgical support include homeopathy, nutrients, and IV therapies.
The most common chemotherapies used in breast cancer treatment are taxotere, adriamycin, and cytoxan. Naturopathic medicine can help protect your nerves, intestines, mouth, and heart from these chemotherapeutic agents.
Radiation therapy can target breast cancer by brachytherapy, or whole breast radiation. Our natural therapies can help reduce the radiation “sun burn” and radiation-induced fatigue.
When using natural medicine alongside other cancer treatments, there are some main goals we have in mind:
- Inhibit microscopic spread
- Support wound healing
- Reduce risk of infection
- Reduce fatigue and side effects specific to area of surgery
- Promote healing
- Protect healthy tissues and skin
- Reduce scarring/fibrosis
- Reduce fatigue
- Prevent deficiencies
- Manage side effects
- Improve how well it works
Supporting Healing After Cancer Treatment
An important piece to healing breast cancer is supporting the body in healing beyond cancer treatments. Using the right combination of herbs, nutrients, and diet changes can help you get back on track while also reducing the risk of cancer recurrence.
Alternative Breast Cancer Treatments
Some women are seeking alternative therapies to the conventional chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery approach to the many breast cancer types. If this is the case for you, please give the office a call so we can talk about the variety of treatment options.