Well it is the last few days of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and if you are like me it seems every month of the year is Cancer Awareness Month.
I was glad to see in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 16, an article written by Denise Balkissoon. She, like me, brings to your attention the book written by Samantha King “Pink Ribbons Inc” as well as the documentary of the book released in 2011.
It is my goal that every breast cancer patient read this book or see the documentary to gain a deeper understanding of the “pinkwashing” campaign.
Ms. King states that pinkwashers are companies that don’t mention donations are capped no matter how many pink-ribboned trinkets you buy and that funding efforts are more likely to support drug research by billionaire pharmaceutical companies rather than to determine root causes. Ravida Din, the producer of the documentary, found that most of the funds raised during these campaigns went to drug research and awareness and only about 15 per cent was allocated to prevention. With 5,000 women dying per year in Canada from breast cancer I think more emphasis needs to be made that environmental toxins in our food and environment may be a real cause. I encourage women to use chemical-free makeup and skin care products, to avoid underarm deodorant, and to get the chemicals out of their homes and food. Just because it has a pink ribbon attached to it does not mean it is good for you.
I encourage my breast cancer patients to educate themselves on thriving after a cancer diagnosis and recommend the book “Five To Thrive” by Dr. Alschuler and Karolyn Gazella. There are some key nutrients that I recommend for any post cancer diagnosis and these include: high dose vitamin D, fish oils, green tea, probiotics and natural anti-inflammatories. Another source of education is the OICC website www.oicc.ca and the Inspire Health www.inspirehealth.ca where you can find monographs on such topics as the use of non GM soy to treat and prevent breast cancer.
At a recent conference, Paul Stamets gave us a fantastic presentation on the use of medicinal mushrooms and reminded us that Coriolus versicolor (Trametes versicolor) or Turkey Tail is a common therapy used in Japan to treat many cancers including breast cancer. Not only are all medicinal mushrooms great for the immune system but this one is well researched.
I encourage all my cancer patients to include cooked mushrooms in their treatment program including button mushrooms, shitake and enoki. It is well known in Japan that enoki growers have very low cancer rates as they eat them daily.
Some key lifestyle strategies to prevent recurrence include: exercise 3-5 hours per week, drink at least three cups of green or white tea daily, eat five servings of vegetables high in carotenes per day, eat one serving of soy per day, drink fewer than three alcohol beverages per week and reduce you body mass index.
If you would like to fund cancer research in the Naturopathic field contact OICC. (Ottawa Intergrative Cancer Center). Dr. Dugald Seeley ND, the Executive Director of OICC, is embarking on a research project called: Canadian/US Integrative Oncology Study (CUSIOS) — an observational study aimed at evaluating and documenting patients’ diagnoses and the treatment they are receiving both from conventional and naturopathic medicine.