|Breasts - Educated and Innate
By Madeline Behrendt, D.C.
Breasts. Reflecting the beauty of the human form, breasts are celebrated, revered, painted, written about and envied by artists and other mortals, they carry the name to identify an entire class, Mammalia. Innate has organized breasts to express uniqueness, and there is healthy variation in size, shape and sensitivity...even within one woman.
Aesthetic yes, but breasts are also functional, they provide food and comfort to our young, they reflect the rhythm of our monthly cycles and pregnancy, and visibly signal a girl's ascent into puberty. Innate smiled, and the world has been smiling ever since.
Innate smiled. What has Educated done with our breasts and what happens to them "when we go where we ought not to be"?
Reports on the Symptom/Disease/Prevention culture:
1) John R. Lee, M.D. notes that because of the way statistics are compiled, a woman may be counted as a breast cancer survivor, but actually have died. Which points to:
2) Early Detection...Early Detection creates the opportunity for "survivor" statistics to be healthier, but does that confirm:
3) Greater success in extending life? - sadly, no, many reports indicate there is no correlation between Early Detection and greater life extension - so is there any success addressing risks and prevention...
4) 80% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer have none of the identified risk factors, beyond being female, yet...
5) A woman's candidacy for "preventive" measures relies on the shaky premise of risk factors that don't match profiles....leading to choices from a "prevention" menu of...
6) Elective "preventive" double mastectomy, studies show that women experiencing this trauma still die from breast cancer....gene tests, which have led to lawsuits because of their inaccuracy...tamoxifen, a drug recently officially listed as a human carcinogen.
Who's smiling now?
As part of the "Well Baby Visit When You Are 40" check-up, tests such as bone scans, vaccine booster shots and mammograms are promoted. Mammograms are x-rays of the breast, they do not diagnose cancer (only a biopsy can), their assumed value is in detecting areas of the breast that have increased density, density which may reflect normal breast tissue for that woman or be a sign of cancer. Mammograms do not prevent cancer, and cannot reduce the incidence of cancer, in fact it is acknowledged that women can develop breast cancer due to radiation exposure from mammograms.
Mammograms are a huge business, aggressively marketed; they are emotionally linked to everything female. This past Mother's Day, I received many offers to send my loved ones a mammogram in lieu of flowers. Mammograms are also a huge controversy, and more and more the press is reporting on this and new companies are sprouting up created off their limitations.
Although the Symptom/Disease/Prevention culture may present itself as "elite", it is a model affected by liability and litigation. A leading women's medical doctor who wrote "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom", explains that her medical malpractice insurers want doctors to push mammograms due to the m.d.'s responsibility. Yet, a cover story in USA TODAY (12/31/99) reports that when the tests are taken and liability then falls on the radiologists -mammograms are the leading cause of malpractice claims in the category of "errors of diagnosis", to the extent that the trend is for radiologists to chose another area.
To increase the chance of accuracy, a computer model at Harvard recently was used to determine the best screening interval, predicting results could increase by increasing the frequency of mammograms screenings to every 3 months. Does that mean that between 40 and 50 an individual woman would need to have 40 mammograms to be effective?
From USA TODAY, it also quotes a specialist from the University of California at San Francisco who "quips" "We lose money on every case, but we make up for it in volume."
While the Symptom/Disease/Prevention culture tumbles about liability, timing and volume, what about our lives?
Some women may fear not getting a mammogram, as there is an assumed security in the ritual, is this security a state of mind, or a state of reality?
...reports on the possibilities:
1) The result is negative and the test is accurate.
2) The result is positive and the test is accurate.
3) The test gives a false positive (8 out of 10 positives are false), no cancer is present
4) Breast cancer is present, but the test does not detect it ((up to 2/3 of tumors missed by a radiologist can be seen in retrospect)
Mammogram results are so notorious, businesses are now being created based on what is missed, recently, Whoopi Goldberg was promoting such a project: imammogram.com. This service allows your original mammogram to be evaluated digitally, referred to as a "closer look", which helps detect up to an additional 21%. This is sent back to your radiologist to read, all for a fee in addition to the cost of the original mammogram.
In essence, mammograms are an imperfect screening tool, they do not prevent or detect cancer, their reliability is impaired, they do not increase long term survival, their adopted security is not deliverable, and doctor liability is a factor in why they are recommended.
This evidence is not to be interpreted as being against the fight on breast cancer. Simply, their performance invites review, as women demand that those who profit from putting their hands on our bodies honor us, and we ask for more accurate, less toxic choices.
Breast cancer does need to be addressed, and from the standpoint of screenings, there are many respected medical doctors who confidently recommend to women monthly breast self-exams and regular exams by a professional, they do not push mammograms. And men?
It's summertime, and as our lives spill outdoors and the masses bolt to the beach and cineplex, the original badass "Shaft" returns, in interviews Richard Roundtreee speaks very touchingly of his experience with breast cancer. Breast cancer for men is a quiet, but growing problem...for more details see A.W.E. June newsletter.
Educated attempts to manipulate Innate are only as smart as Innate allows them to be. What does Innate ask of us?
That it be allowed to flow free of interference and that insult from stress and unnatural living be reduced in any way we have a choice.
The Chiropractic Textbook describes that our bodies accumulate survival values, and the cycle of construction and destruction always applies. When there is successful adaptation, there is no interruption in Innate's program, when there is a failure of adaptation or unusual adaptation to adverse conditions, this can result in injury, a set-back which must be regained with the loss of time and effort.
These conditions of constructive and destructive survival values have an important bearing on the next act of the tissue cell: whether or not it falls behind in the "race of life." In modern living, our internal environment has experienced many stresses from our external environment, including the excess of hormonal chemicals that are present in many areas including food sources and pesticides.
With hormonal insult how could we not expect to see hormonal changes in sperm count, and hormonal changes, including cancer for women and men?
The Chiropractic Textbook also describes a tumor as one cell too many, that Innate can attempt to "kick them out" but is prevented from by subluxations which caused them in the first place, and so "fences off" as they are functionless. Simply, subluxations must be addressed so that the body may increase it's ability to respond and adapt as it faces stress.
So much attention is put on what may go wrong with our bodies; we are drenched with a world that tells us to be fearful, as it depends on our fear for profit. That culture is like germs, constantly all around us, it's important to develop a great information immune system that supports health, boosts our response and reflects our responsibility.
We have resources that honor the subluxation-based community on topics regarding children's health, vaccines and antibiotics, etc. For information on constructive and destructive survival values related to breast health i.e. reducing excess environmental estrogen and addressing lifestyle factors (from night light to dry cleaning) see A WOMAN'S EXPERIENCE/A.W.E. - Volume 3: Breast Health.
Not all the world lives in fear. Subluxation-based chiropractic celebrates the maximum potential of the human experience, celebrates life and honors what we know to be true.
I absolutely celebrate what Innate has organized; the body is magical in the way that it works. While my care of it has not always done Innate justice, as I know better, I do better.
And that's why I choose chiropractic.
Dr. Madeline Behrendt is the author of A Woman's Experience/A.W.E.(TM) Reports On Women's Health Topics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.