Breast cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer according to American Cancer Society. The chance of getting breast cancer increases with age as well as genetic mutations, which contribute to 5-10% of cases. Other risk factors include exposure to radiation, early onset of menstruation (due to the increased exposure to circulating estrogen), alcohol use, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Smoking, eating charred red meat regularly, and exposure to pesticides, PCBs and other pollutants also increase the risk.
In the early stages, breast cancer is typically asymptomatic. The first symptom usually is a lump noticed in the breast tissue. With time, other symptoms may be present such as breast discharge, nipple inversion, an “orange peel’ appearance to the skin of the breast, and fatigue. In advanced stages, the nipple may change in appearance, and bleeding and discharge may be present.
The diagnosis is usually made through a screening mammogram, or an examination by a health-care practitioner, although a breast self-exam is often the first chance to recognize abnormal breast tissue.
Suspicious areas need to be biopsied. The tumor is evaluated for its grade of differentiation, proliferative activity and status regarding estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptors. All of these factors are considered for treatment and prognosis.
Conventional treatment usually includes surgery, followed by radiation. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are used in metastatic or advanced breast cancer.
As a Naturopathic Physician, my goal is to support all the above conventional treatments or offer options to the patient that are evidence-based, all by working along side their other healthcare providers. Some of the benefits of Naturopathic Medicine for Breast Cancer include:
- Naturopathic support before and after surgery helps to minimize complications and accelerate the recovery. Support may include dietary suggestions and recommendations for nutrient support.
- During Chemotherapy, a Naturopathic Physician’s advice may prevent negative herb/nutrient-drug interactions, maintain nutritional status, improve quality of life and minimize side effects and at the same time, improve efficacy, preventing discontinuation or cycle delays. There is a chance Naturopathic Medicine may reduce chemotherapy dose, increase chemosensitivity, prevent drug resistance and long-term sequelae.
- Patients undergoing hormone therapy may need help managing adverse effect such as hot flashes, and preventing undesired interactions with herbs and supplements.
Naturopathic support is made through different personalized modalities such as acupuncture, biological medicine, gemmotherapy, herbal and botanical preparations, lifestyle counselling and hydrotherapy. There are many physical symptoms that patient’s experience during cancer treatment, such as changes in appetite, mood, sleep patterns and sense of well-being.
As a Naturopathic Physician, my goal is to support you through current treatment practices and evidence-based approaches to that you may have the best outcome possible for you.
Call the clinic 604-929-5772 to book your appointment with Dr. Capera Belinda