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Pray for My Aunt, Olivia Newton-John: Telling Her She Had Cancer Again Was One of the Hardest Things I've Ever Done, But She's a Fighter and You Can Be Too
Pray for My Aunt, Olivia Newton-John: Telling Her She Had Cancer Again Was One of the Hardest Things I've Ever Done, But She's a Fighter and You Can Be Too
My Aunt Olivia
My Aunt Olivia and my Uncle John are both amazing people who will never retire because they love life and love making others smile. They both live a purpose driven life to make the world a better place and I am so blessed to have them in my life.
Aunt Olivia loves her animals and, of course, loves music. Her attitude has always been one with love and gratitude. Telling her she was facing cancer again last year was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Being there with her and seeing her expression was a powerful example of a person who is not ready to go without a fight to live.
This is how we should react when we face a storm and remember storms never last forever. In the midst of the storm, Just Breathe and seek peace. The sun doesn’t always have to be out to give thanks for what’s good in your life.
What storms are you facing today? By the time you are reading this a hurricane just passed through our city. I am a Carolina girl, born, raised, and now raising my three children here in North Carolina. We have had storms come and go through our state, but like many others, we stand together and grow as a community through this.
Many people face health storms in their families. One being Cancer. My first experience with cancer was with my grandfather. He had lung cancer and it took his life. Another death in my family was my mom with brain cancer. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer and now my aunt Olivia Newton-John is dealing with her third reoccurrence with breast cancer which is now in her spine. She has been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in three decades. She calls herself a ”cancer thriver” and not a cancer “survivor.” Please pray for her.
How do you react when a storm shows up in your life?
Cancer refers to a group of related diseases in which some of the body’s cells become abnormal, begin to unceasingly divide, and eventually enter into surrounding tissues. This can start almost anywhere within in the body. The abnormal cells that would have otherwise died off, survive, multiply, and initiate the growth of tumors. Tumors, also known as neoplasms, are swollen masses of tissue that have been a result of uncontrollable cell division. Malignant, also known as cancerous, tumors are classified by the type of cancer present as well as their state of development. Depending on the type of cancer, they can be either solid or fluid-filled. Tumors have the ability to invade other nearby tissues, facilitate further movement of cancer cells throughout the body, and in turn, encourage the growth of new tumors contributing to a very vicious cycle.
Non-cancerous tumors, or benign tumors, do not spread into surrounding tissues and usually do not cause further issues once removed.
The major differences between cancer cells and otherwise healthy cells include:
Normal cells stop reproducing, or growing, when there are enough cells present. However, cancer cells do not. They continue to grow which in turn, begins the formation of tumors.
Normal cells react and respond to nearby cells’ signals whereas cancer cells do not.
When a cell is damaged, a normal cell either is repaired or dies off. In contrast, cancer cells are unable to be repaired or go through apoptosis (controlled cell death).
COHESION AND SPREADING:
Normal cells secrete substances that help them stick together keeping them in their primary location of the body. Cancer cells fail to do this, increasing the rate these cells freely travel throughout the body, or metastasize.
Unlike normal cells, cancer cells vary in cell size and shape from one another. Also, the nucleus of cancer cells appears much larger and darker than that of normal cells.
Normal cells mature whereas cancer cells tend to rapidly grow and divide before cells are fully mature. This results in immature, or undifferentiated, cells.
IMMUNE SYSTEM RELATIONSHIP:
When normal cells are damaged, the immune system recognizes them and removes them. Conversely, cancer cells have the ability to trick the immune system by secreting chemicals that disable immune cells from coming to the scene of tumor growth.
Normal cells inherently function properly, or the function they are designed to perform. However, cancer cells may not be considered functional at all. In order for a normal cell to become cancerous, many changes must occur.
These factors include:
ALLOWANCE OF RAPID GROWTH:
The cells must possess a growth factor that prompts them to grow beyond what is necessary.
FAILURE TO STOP GROWTH:
The proteins that would otherwise instruct the cells to halt growth and die are inhibited and in turn, become abnormal.
DISREGARD FOR BODILY SIGNALS:
The cells also have to evade other signals received from other cells of the body.
LACK OF ADHESION:
The normal adhesion properties of the cells are lost. There are all attributed to gene mutations. It is overall difficult for a normal cell to become cancerous, but these are possible and necessary changes in order for it to occur.
Every month seems to have a cancer awareness. Since October is around the corner, I would like to discuss breast cancer today. The focus on breast cancer awareness should not just take place one month out of the year. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.1 Prevention of breast cancer, and any other cancer, is a life-long commitment to a healthy lifestyle. But, within our industrial society and with the very real problem of nutrition misinformation, it is well understood you will unwittingly get exposed to many harmful elements that effect one’s health and well-being. The main emphasis here will be placed on detection and what to do after it.
Because many women halfheartedly go for their annual mammogram without thinking about what they would do if something was found, many women do not understand their options and the statistics that follow them. Let’s first discuss different methods of detection.
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical Center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.2” Self-exams help you be familiar with how your breasts look and feel. My aunt Olivia found her first breast cancer lump in 1992. If you feel a lump when doing your self-exam keep in mind the following information:
- Benign (non-cancerous) adenomas are round, firm, mobile, and have true borders.
- Malignant tumors may feel stony hard, have an irregular shape, and non-mobile or fixed.
- Women with fibrocystic breasts usually get lumps in both breasts that increase in size and tenderness just before they get their period.
Studies show that up to 80% of all breast lumps are harmless3, however you may still feel scared and will want to know you'll be OK. Olivia knew when she found hers something was not right.
If you find a lump, what do you do next?
Explore your options: Always remember that not one test is 100% accurate. You are better off using your options in conjunction with one another for the best outcome. Sensitivity and specificity are often used as scientific terms to describe the accuracy of testing devices and methods. Sensitivity describes a true positive result, or, if a person has a disease, how often the test will be positive. Specificity describes a true negative result, or, if a person does not have the disease, how often the test will be negative. For both measurements, the higher the percentage, the more accurate.
Mammography: Sensitivity is dependent on the quality of the equipment, competence of the radiology staff, and the density of the breast tissue. Estimates of mammography sensitivity range from 75% to 90% with specificity from 90% to 95%.4 There are many limitations to mammography that one must acknowledge and be comfortable speaking about with their primary care physician. The false positives of mammography are becoming more of a concern for women because they cause anxiety and unnecessary follow-up procedures. About half the women getting annual mammograms over a 10-year period will have a false-positive finding.5 Effectiveness of mammograms for women with dense breast tissue is also a concern. Dense breast tissue and cancer both appear white on an X-ray, making it nearly impossible for a radiologist to detect cancer in these women. It's like trying to find a snowflake in a blizzard. In fact, many states have passed laws that make it mandatory for radiologists to inform their patients who have dense breast tissue that mammograms are basically useless for them.6 Breast density can decrease as one ages.
Ultrasound: Since there is no radiation or compression with ultrasound it usually sounds more appealing to many patients. Ultrasounds are usually recommended as a follow-up procedure if your mammogram comes back with suspicious abnormality. Sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound is known to be statistically greater than mammography in patients with breast symptoms for the detection of breast cancer and benign lesions particularly in dense breast and in young women.7 Ultrasound cannot image the entire breast at once, so it's used for a diagnostic spot check of areas that a screening mammogram has already revealed. Other limitations are that the procedure may not be covered by your insurance plan, the facility’s and technician’s expertise, and the equipment.
MRI: Studies show that MRI offers a significantly higher sensitivity of 91% and specificity of 97.2% compared to mammography.8 Research presented by the Journal of Clinical Oncology concluded that mammography alone, and also mammography combined with breast ultrasound, seems insufficient for early diagnosis of breast cancer in women who are at increased familial risk with or without documented BRCA mutation. If MRI is used for surveillance, diagnosis of intraductal and invasive familial or hereditary cancer is achieved with a significantly higher sensitivity and at an earlier stage.8
There are many limitations of MRI though. Historically, MRI has been known to be unable to effectively image calcifications that are often associated with DCIS.9 Time is another factor. The test takes up to 60 minutes in a confined space. Patients often complain of the claustrophobic feeling. Another drawback is that it is a very expensive exam costing approximately $1000. If getting an MRI is an absolute must, shop around first. Freestanding diagnostic centers are alternative places to obtain services at a fraction of the cost charged by hospitals. Let’s also not forget the contrast agent called “gadolinium” that is used to enhance abnormal tissue. This chemical is injected intravenously and is known to be toxic. The majority of the gadolinium is removed from the body within the first 24 hours, mostly by the kidneys. It's important to drink as much water as you can during that first 24 hours, maybe even 48 hours, to eliminate the contrast dye from the kidneys quickly. You can refuse the contrast but accuracy of the MRI may be affected.
Thermography: Breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%.10 It has been documented by a well published study that Thermography is able to detect up to 88% of tumors two cm or smaller while mammography detected 80% .11 However, when used as part of a multimodal approach (clinical examination + mammography + thermography) 95% of early stage cancers will be detected.10 Approved by the FDA since 1982 for the use in detection of breast cancer, this tool provides a physiological view of the underlying tissue. This means that it has the possibility of detecting angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels that feed a tumor, which occurs long before the tumor can actually be detected by a mammogram. There is no radiation and no compression when this test is performed. Breast thermography offers younger women a valuable imaging tool that they can add to their regular breast health check-ups beginning with baseline imaging at age twenty.
One of the biggest limitations of thermography is that it may not be covered under your health care policy. This all depends on your individual insurance coverage. Thermography is performed under a very controlled environment. If the facility does not follow exact procedures such as controlling the temperature of the room, calibration of equipment, and acclimation procedures, the results of the patient’s images can be affected. Another drawback of the thermography procedure is that the patient is given very specific instructions to follow 24 hours before the test. If the patient fails to follow these guidelines then the accuracy of the images is effected, which can cause a false impression of inflammation.
Blood tests are another way to detect inflammation in the body which can be caused by cancer or other serious diseases. A comprehensive blood test can indicate deficiencies and toxicities that may be affecting the body’s ability to health and repair. The C-Reactive Protein (CRP), CBC, Ferritin, and Alkaline Phosphatase are a few markers that are monitored, depending on the type of cancer or infection one has. For breast cancer, the specific tumor marker, CA 27.29, can be tested as an indicator associated with measuring the antigen in the blood. The FDA approved the CA 27.29 in 1996 as the first and only blood test specific for breast cancer. However, this test should be looked at in conjunction with other inflammatory markers for better accuracy. The CA 27.29 breast cancer tumor marker is not specific or sensitive enough to determine if metastasis has occurred. The normal range for the CA 27.29 is under 38. However, it will never be zero for anyone. Other conditions that may cause the CA 27.29 to rise are Endometriosis, ovarian cysts, first-trimester pregnancy, benign breast disease, and kidney and liver disease.12
After establishing that the lump is not just a cyst, most doctors will recommend following up with a biopsy. Most of the time, the in-office procedure is done by using ultrasound to guide the needle to the suspicious tissue. What patients don’t realize is that they also have the option to get a lumpectomy, or remove the tumor rather than needle biopsy. With the potential risk of malignant cells breaking away from the tumor during a biopsy, why wouldn’t one just remove the whole tumor, or get the lumpectomy, from the very beginning? The tissue removed, whether via biopsy or lumpectomy, will still be tested by a pathologist to determine if it is cancerous. According to studies, needle biopsies may increase the spread of cancer by 50 percent compared to patients who receive lumpectomies.13
After a clear diagnosis is made, the treatment plan can be discussed. After the surgery, treatments depend on individual situations. Some may choose radiation only while others may choose chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal therapy. One concerning note is that many doctors do not follow up with prevention strategies such as nutrition, exercise, and supplementing the diet to improve deficiencies and toxicities and thus potentially preventive cancer reoccurrence.
By testing a comprehensive blood panel and doing a tissue mineral analysis, individualized dietary and lifestyle strategies can be formulated and monitored to determine effectiveness of these preventive strategies. This baseline testing can also can help determine the best course of cancer treatment and monitor the patient’s response to cancer treatment and prevention of reoccurrence. Many times, patients compliment breast cancer medical treatment plans with nutritional protocols and achieve better outcomes. It’s not easy knowing where to start. That is where your experienced nutritional healthcare provider can help you by analyzing your comprehensive test results and maybe even giving you a second opinion.
The prevention of cancer is truly a holistic process. While it is incredibly important to eat nutritious food, drop unhealthy habits, adopt an exercise routine, and get adequate sleep, none of this would be effective without proper stress management.
Stress is the primarily driver for chronic inflammation and in turn, disease. In my book called, Learning How to Breathe I explain this. I also have a stress recovery kit that has helped many people manage their stress and smile more. You can purchase it here https://mybodysite.com/dr-corinne/stress-recovery-kit. It normally sells for $240 but I will reduce the price to $197 for the next week so more people can enjoy. The essential oils that come in this kit are my favorite blends. Revive includes lemongrass, orange, pine, nutmeg, and black pepper. Relax includes chamomile, frankincense, sandalwood, lavender, orange, and juniper berry.
Some ways to relieve to stress include:
- Deep Breathing techniques
- Taking A Walk
- Spending Time With Loved Ones
- Listening To Calming Music
- Getting A Massage
- Reading A Good Book
- Cooking A Yummy Meal
And So Much More!
If you want more healthy tips you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/drcorinneweaver. Like and comment on my channel so I will know what tips and topics you want to know about. I am forming a community of people who want to take action in their own health with my social media channels and I want to know what health topics you want to hear.
I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing His gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! For more information you can go to www.nomoremedsmovement.com and sign up for my closed Facebook group #NoMoreMeds-Community for more healthy tips.
Dr. Corinne Weaver
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was recently named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.