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Risk, Prevention, Treatment
Anthony Chapdelaine, Jr., MD, MSPH, Exec. Dir./Sec.*
A promising method called “Photodynamic Immunotherapy” (PDIT) can destroy breast cancer cells (with minimal damage to normal cells). Doctors use a “photosensitizing” chemical compound which they deliver to the breast tissue and is absorbed mainly by cancer cells. When laser light is applied it causes a reaction in the cancer cells which shrinks and destroys them and leaving the normal breast tissue unharmed. By breaking open the cancer cells, it also stimulates the patient’s immune system to hunt down metastatic cancer cells and destroy them. Conventional chemotherapy and radiation cannot do this.3, 4, 5
In the late eighteen hundreds this method was proved to work for the first time, but it wasn’t until 1995 that the FDA finally approved the first photosensitizing drug, Photofrin II. Unfortunately, it is still considered “experimental” in the US, except for a few indications (end-of-life care for esophageal and endobronchial cancers, and pre-cancerous Barrett’s esophagus).3
Meanwhile, several photosensitizers are being used in Europe and Asia to treat a number of cancers, and a recent small (but well-done) study in the Caribbean using PDIT for patients with Stage IV breast cancer the five-year survival (which includes both those partially treated and the six who completed the trial) is over 73%. Compare those results with the expected five-year survival of only 25% using conventional chemotherapy, radiation, and/or hormone therapy!6
A similar method using ultrasound in combination with laser, called “Sonophotodynamic Therapy,” (SPDT), which is not well-known to most oncologists, promises even better results. An initial Chinese study by Dr. Wang and others using SPDT to determine the clinical effects for twenty women with advanced breast cancer in 2008 reported encouraging results overall, and Dr. Wang presented a detailed report for three of these women with total-body metastatic breast cancer who had failed all conventional treatments showing either tumor remission after three years or partial response with considerable extension of life.7,8
Although PDIT, and certainly SPDT, can be effective in treating late-stage breast cancer (and is being used in other countries for a number of other cancers), the earlier the stage the better the results. For further information about PDT and clinical opportunities abroad, contact the ISCA: firstname.lastname@example.org, 610-628-3419.
A Woman’s Risk for Breast Cancer Increases Depending on Occupation
Women’s exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens in the workplace increase their risk of breast cancer, a new report reveals.7
For certain occupations (hair dressers and cosmetologists; food and beverage production workers) breast cancer risk is as much as five times that of the general public. Breast cancer risk for librarians, journalists and lawyers is up to four times greater. First responders, manufacturing and machinery workers, and doctors and other medical workers (excluding nurses, who have 50% greater risk than the general population) are at between 2.5 to 3.5 times greater risk of breast cancer.
These estimates were calculated despite many gaps in the scientific studies of the link between occupation and breast cancer. Several proposed recommendations to improve studies, their interpretation, and ongoing monitoring are: to include working women, more precise exposure measurements, and improving data collection on non-occupational risks such as menopausal status, socioeconomic factors and reproductive history.
For high-risk occupations, consider taking two capsules of ALA (alpha lipoic acid) or milk thistle extract daily to help protect the liver.
The comprehensive report can be found at:
Breast Cancer Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy Prevention
Analysis of data from an ongoing breast cancer trial indicated that taking a multivitamin regularly prior to a diagnosis of breast cancer appears to reduce the likelihood of experiencing the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy for patients undergoing taxane-based chemotherapy, according to research presented at the 2016 annual American Association for Cancer Research meeting.8 Taxane-based chemotherapy agents are known for inducing potentially long-lasting nerve problems, making this a simple preventive measure for breast cancer patients treated with taxane-based drugs. [Ed: Typical advertised vitamins such as Centrum™ and One-A-Day™ brands are not optimal, although they may work for this purpose. Daily, take a well-formulated, well-absorbed multivitamin capsule which does not have to be expensive to be good.]
Immediate Breast Reconstruction During Mastectomy Is Safe
A meta-analysis (a statistical study of multiple published studies) comparing women with breast cancer undergoing mastectomy only to those who also have breast reconstruction during their mastectomy (immediate breast reconstruction) showed there is no difference in postoperative cancer recurrence or death rates and therefore immediate breast reconstruction is safe.9
Removal of Normal Opposite Breast to Prevent Future Breast Cancer Is Unnecessary
There is no difference in breast cancer survival for women who get a lumpectomy for a cancer localized to one breast (invasive breast cancer Stages I to III) and women who undergo so-called “preventive or prophylactic” removal of both breasts for the same condition.10
Postmenopausal Exercise Decreases Breast Cancer Risk
Analysis of data from an ongoing study of 100,000 post-menopausal French women showed that for the women who exercised during the last four years by walking at least four hours a week (or doing more intense exercise like cycling for two hours a week) had a ten percent (10%) lower risk of breast cancer than those women who did less exercise during the last four years.11 Women who did the same intensity of exercise five or more years before the analysis but then stopped during the last four years did not show the same risk reduction in breast cancer. [Ed: Women should not stop exercising, or start exercising, after menopause to reduce breast cancer risk as well as other chronic disease risks such as heart and stroke risk.]
Folate Helps Decrease Breast Cancer Risk for Women Who Drink Alcohol Moderately
Women who drink alcohol are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. According to analysis of data from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study, there was a lower risk of developing breast cancer for women who consumed an average of at least one drink of alcohol daily and who had the highest blood levels of folate vitamin, compared to women drinking one or more alcohol drinks daily and having the lowest folate blood levels.12 The same trend was suggested for women having the highest levels of blood vitamin B6 compared to those women with the lowest blood vitamin B6 levels.
* The Coalition for Advanced Cancer Treatment and Prevention a project of The National Fund for Alternative Medicine
- Van Vilsteren FG, Bergman JJ, “Endoscopic Therapy Using Radiofrequency Ablation for Esophageal Dysplasia and Carcinoma in Barrett’s Esophagus,” Gastrointest Endosc Clin N Am, 2010, 20, Pgs 55-74.
- Apotosis, 2010 Sept, 15, Pgs 1050-1071.
- Breast Cancer Research, 2010, 12, Pg 310.
- Adelsteinsson O, “Laser-assisted Immunotherapy: A Novel Autologous Vaccine Strategy for Cancers with Solid Tumors Clinical Protocol #ISCA 0001, International Strategic Cancer Alliance, 2012.
- Yumita N, Nishigaki R, et al, “Hematoporphyrin as a Sensitizer of Cell-damaging Effect of Ultrasound,” Jpn J Cancer Res, 1989, 80, Pgs 219-222.
- Wang X, Zhang W, et al, “Sonodynamic and Photodynamic Therapy in Advanced Breast Carcinoma: A Report of 3 Cases,” Integr Cancer Ther, 2009, 8, Pgs 283-287.
- Working Women and Breast Cancer – State of the Evidence, Breast Cancer Fund, August 2015, http://www.breastcancerfund.org/
- Zirpoli GR, McCann SE, et al, “Supplement Use and Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Breast Cancer Patients Treated on SWOG Study S0221,” Abstract Number 3413, American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, 2016, April 16-20, New Orleans.
- Yang X, et al, “The Prognosis of Breast Cancer Patients after Mastectomy and Immediate Breast Reconstruction: A Meta-Analysis,” PLoS One, 2015, 10(5), DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125655.
- Wong SM, Freedman RA, et al, “Growing Use of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Despite no Improvement in Long-term Survival for Invasive Breast Cancer,” Annals of Surgery, 2017 March, 265(3), Pgs 581-589.
- Fournier A, Dos Santos G, et al, “Recent Recreational Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women in the E3N Cohort,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, AACR, 2014, 23(9), Pgs 1893–1902.
- Zhang SM, Willett WC, et al, “Plasma Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Homocysteine, and Risk of Breast Cancer,” J Natl Cancer Inst, 2003 March, 95(5), Pgs 373-380.