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Breast cancer is defined as a malignant growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. Over the course of a lifetime, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Varieties of breast cancer can arise from the skin, fat, connective tissues, and other cells present in the breast.17

What is interesting to look is the comparison of Western Medicine’s causes of breast cancer in to those of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

The Risk Factors & Causes for Breast Cancer as stated by Western Medicine:
  • Age and Gender -- As with most cancers, age is a significant factor. In fact, 77% of new cases and 84% of breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older. More than 80% of breast cancer cases occur in women over 50. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
  • Genetic Factors and Family History of Breast Cancer -- Some families appear to have a genetic tendency for breast cancer. Two variant genes have been found that appear to account for this: BRCA1 and BRCA2. These suggest that breast cancer is caused by the growth of genetically damaged cells. Such genetic damage is known to gradually accumulate in the cells of the body over time. Women carrying mutated BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes have a "head start" in this process.

    Hormonal influences are important because they encourage cell growth. High levels of hormones during a woman's reproductive years, especially when they are not interrupted by the hormonal changes of pregnancy, appear to increase the chances that genetically damaged cells will grow and cause cancer.
  • Early Menstruation and Late Menopause -- Women who started menstrual periods early (before age 12) or went through menopause late (after age 55) are at higher risk. Also, women who have never had children or who had them only after the age of 30 have an increased risk.
  • Oral Contraceptives (birth control pills) -- Birth control pills may slightly increase the risk for breast cancer, depending on age, length of use, and other factors. No one knows how long the effects of the pill last after stopping it.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy -- Use of HRT for more than 5 years has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and risk increases with longer use.
  • Physical Characteristics -- Obesity is controversial as a risk factor. Some studies report obesity as a risk of breast cancer, possibly associated with higher levels of estrogen production in obese women.
  • Alcohol Consumption -- Excessive alcohol use (more than 1-2 drinks a day) has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Chemicals -- Some studies have pointed to exposure to estrogen-like chemicals that are found in pesticides and other industrial products as a possible increased risk of breast cancer.
  • DES -- Women who took diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Radiation -- People exposed to radiation, particularly during childhood may face an increased risk for breast cancer in adulthood. Especially at risk are those that received chest irradiation for prior cancers.
  • Additional Risk Factors -- Some studies show previous breast, uterine, ovarian, colon cancer, and a strong history of cancer in the family may increase the risk for breast cancer.

All of the above risk factors have a common denominator:
The beginning of aging is the process of metabolism. The oxidation (burning) of nutrients to get energy to function, creates residue acid waste products that the body has to get rid of.  The question is how well or how quickly are we getting rid of all these waste products?  The waste products we do not discard completely must be stored within our body somewhere.  The process of aging which starts from the very beginning of our life, is the accumulation of these non-disposed waste products.  Cells deteriorate because the waste products are being accumulated. It stands to reason therefore that there is a greater risk of cancer with progressing age.16

Fat is caused by fatty acid build-up.  Acid coagulates blood, and there is not much blood flow around fat.  Usually the capillaries around the acid accumulation are clogged up. These fatty acids generally form under the skin especially around hips, thighs and breasts for women.  Any organs or tissues near the acid accumulation get a smaller supply of blood and can get damaged in the long run.16

Herman Aihara, in his book “Acid and Alkaline” states that: “If the condition of our extracellular fluids especially the blood becomes acidic, our physical condition will first manifest tiredness, proneness to catching colds, etc.  When these fluids become more acidic, our condition then manifests pains and suffering such as headaches, chest pains, stomach aches, etc.  According to Keiichi Morishita in his Hidden Truth of Cancer, if the blood develops a more acidic condition, then our body inevitably deposits these excess acidic substances in some area of the body such so that the blood will be able to maintain an alkaline condition.16

As this tendency continues, such areas increase in  acidity and some cells die; then these dead cells themselves turn into acids.  Some other cells adapt to that environment and instead of dying as normal cells do in an acid environment – they become abnormal malignant cells that do not correspond with brain function or DNA memory.  They grow indefinitely without order.  These are cancer cells.”16

The common denominator in ageing, obesity, synthetic drugs taken in the form of oral contraceptives or HRT, alcohol consumption, chemicals, and radiation are that they cause an acidic build up of wastes within the body which then creates toxins, and may cause cells to mutate.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Breast Cancer:
TCM goes directly to the actual cause and common denominator of these said risks rather than listing each substance that may cause an imbalance in the body’s organs and then the breast tissue and so indirectly correlates with western medicine.

Four meridians cross the chest/breast area and depending where the tumour or cyst manifests it would be an indicator of which system in the body has an imbalance.

The Gallbladder Meridian runs on the very outer/lateral side of the breast and abnormalities in this area would indicate a gallbladder congestion. The gallbladder is responsible for bile production which is necessary for proper fat metabolism and for the elimination of wastes.

The Stomach Meridian runs over the very center of the nipple and problems with nipple discharge, inverted nipples or other problems here indicate a Stomach Meridian imbalance.  The Stomach in TCM  represents  acid/alkaline balance in the body and it would therefore be an indication that the acid/alkaline is out of balance.

The Spleen/Pancreas Meridian runs just outside the nipple to the lateral side of the body.  Abnormalities here in TCM would be indicative of imbalances in blood sugar balance and with the blood.

The Kidney Meridian passes on the inside of the breast towards the mid.  Abnormalities here would be indicative of sodium/potassium and water imbalances.

All of the above meridians have the ability to effect the body’s acidity levels and wastes, however in TCM the exact location of the congestion is indicated, thus enabling one to take specific action.  A problem shown with the gallbladder would enable one to lower fats in the diet and do an internal body cleansing to facilitate proper elimination of wastes.  A congestion with the Stomach Meridian and one would be more careful as to one’s intake of alkaline versus acid food and drinks ensuring that plenty of fresh alkaline food is eaten and alkaline liquids drunk.  The Spleen/Pancreas would indicate that a blood cleansing program and  more careful attention to ones blood sugar levels needs to be adhered to. The kidney Meridian if an organ of the Water element will indicate that one has to pay attention to one’s sodium/potassium balance as too much sodium depletes potassium and will effect the body’s water requirements.

References:
2.  www.lieske.com/5e.html.downloaded in April 2003
4.  International School of Reflexology & Meridian Therapy, Study Notes 2003
16. Reverse Aging, Sang Whang
17. www. nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency downloaded September 2003

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