The Breast Cancer Prevention Program by Samuel E. Epstein, M.D.,
and David Steinman with Suzanne LeVert, Macmillian (c) 1997

The most important story that could be told about breast cancer today, one that could "truly save lives," is not being told by the mainstream medical establishment and media, state Emanuel Epstein, M.D., and David Steinman.

Breast cancer, though frightening, is rational. It usually does not strike at random, but requires certain preconditions, or contributing causes to produce it, state the authors. Breast cancer is a multifactorial disease process and, once one understands the causes, one can take steps to minimize or eliminate them.

There is a great deal of "medically sound and scientifically documented information currently available about known risk factors," the authors state.

The common thread running through the 12 breast cancer risk factors, identified by Epstein and Steinman, is the hormone estrogen. It is the common link among most breast cancer risk factors including genetic, reproductive, dietary, lifestyle, and environmental. Each of the 12 risk factors - "estrogenic pollutants" - has the potential to shift estrogen levels from natural to abnormal, setting the hormonal stage for breast cancer.

The authors divide the 12 breast cancer risk factors into three groups. The first, modern medical risks, encompasses medical technology such as oral contraceptives, hormone (estrogen) replacement therapy (HRT), mammograms, silicone breast implants, and certain prescription drugs.

Birth control pills and HRT increase woman's exposure to additional estrogen; "routine" mammograms actually contribute to the cancer process by introducing harmful radiation into breast tissue; silicone implants leak silicone which is degraded in the body into silica, a known carcinogen; and numerous drugs commonly given for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, bacterial infections, indigestion, high cholesterol, and ulcers have been linked with cancer.

The second major category of avoidable risk factors are dietary and environmental - "the damage industrial technology and modern lifestyles may inflict on the human body, and, specifically, on estrogen production and breast cells."

More specifically, these factors are: a diet high in animal fats and calories with all the attendant hormones, additives, "undisclosed carcinogens and estrogenic chemicals," and other contaminants of modern foods; and household and workplace exposure to carcinogenic chemicals and energies (such as electromagnetic fields and nuclear radiation).

Lifestyle factors, such as alcohol and tobacco use, a lack of physical activity, and the use of dark hair dyes, all linked with cancer, comprise the third group of risk factors.

Knowledge is power, Epstein and Steinman emphasize. Once you know the risks, you can rearrange your way of living to avoid them. This is the essence of the well-kept secret known as cancer prevention. "Contrary to popular belief, you do have significant control over your risks of breast and other types of cancer."

12 Preventable Breast Cancer Risks (not in order of importance):

1. Oral birth control pills
2. Estrogen replacement therapy
3. Premenopausal mammography
4. Nonhormonal prescription drugs
5. Silicone breast implants
6. High animal fat diets
7. Household chemical pollution
8. Workplace pollutants
9. Alcohol consumption
10. Tobacco use
11. Lack of physical activity
12. Dark hair dyes.

"Alternative Medicine," (800/990-9499) Issue 26, 1998>

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