2008-11-07 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

DR. NANCY GAHLES DR. NANCY GAHLES Avoidance of hormone mimicking chemicals in our foods has been discussed but what about those same chemicals that are absorbed into our bodies through our skin.

They are also present in our cosmetics, soaps, body lotions, shampoos, bath products, sun screens and deodorants.

And don't forget the lipstick that we EAT.

Here is where you need to be ultra conscious and proactive.

READ the labels!

Do not purchase ANY product that has these ingredients: Parabens, (polyparaben, methlyparaben) anything ending in - paraben is an estrogen mimicking preservative and closely associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

One research study found traces of parabens in every tissue sample taken from 20 different breast tumors. This is the cosmetic industry, ladies! They are not looking out for you. They are banking on the fact that you want to look better on the outside than on the inside.

There is a process that beauty product manufacturers use in order to lessen the effects of harsh ingredients called ethoxylation.

This causes a carcinogenic and groundwater contaminant, 1,4-Dioxane. Products that have been exposed to this process will have these ingredients that you must avoid: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth (most words ending in "eth" for ethoxylate), PEG, polyethylene, polyoxyethalene, oxynol and the word "fragrance" which is a non-regulated catch all term for "other" toxic ingredients. This may well be the hardest piece of the selection process as most cosmetic products contain one or some of these ingredients.

Even if they are labeled as "natural" it doesn't make it so.

You must read the label and choose alternatives. Dr. Bonner soaps, Avalon organics and Dr. Hauscka make-up are some safe bets. Use the Internet for other options.

Proactive is the key!

Last but certainly not the least is the effect that stress has on lowering immunity and increasing risk factors for breast cancer. Stress is any thought, action, word, feeling or gesture that makes you feel bad. Feelings are your monitor of health. If it feels good, it is good. If it feels bad, it is bad. Listen to your intuition. Feelings are healing.

Accumulation of stress creates chemical reactions in the body that signal alarm, danger or threat and pose an increased risk of fatigue to the adrenal gland, our fight or flight reaction mechanism.

When the adrenal glands are depleted, so is the hormone they produce called cortisol. According to the Journal of the American Cancer Institute, June 21, 2000, cortisol levels that remained "flat" were predictive of a decrease in survival rates among

patients with metastatic breast cancer. We must take a proactive stance in recognizing what our stressors are, who they are and where they are. Conscious awareness of how we react to these stressors is the first step to creating a strategy on how to react differently. We can control our thoughts. We

can control our responses. We can control our lives. We can control our risk factors for breast cancer.

The highly acclaimed author Frans Vermeulen, in his book, Prisma, discusses the topic of suppressed emotions. "One characteristic of lung cancer patients, noted by many clinicians, is that they suppress their emotions. Cancer patients also seem to ignore their negative feelings, such as hostility, depression and guilt…

Long term survivors [of breast cancer] express much higher levels of anxiety, hostility, alienation and other negative moods than short-term survivors.

They have more negative moods and expressed more negative attitudes toward their illness…In an early study S. Greer and T. Morris found that women who were later diagnosed as having breast cancer differed from women with benign breast disease in how they expressed anger.

Those women who had breast cancer exhibited a greater amount of anger suppression and then extreme anger expression during their interviews. People who habitually suppress their anger have significantly higher levels of salivary IgA which seems to correlate positively with the spread of breast cancer."

Suppression of anger and other negative feelings can cause depression. The American Journal of Epidemiology, May 15, 2000, said that antidepressant (SSRI's) such as Paxil, had a seven fold increased risk of breast cancer associated with its use. The 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research, Seattle, June 2000, reported that women taking tricyclic anti-depressants (TCA's), had two times the risk factor.

My best advice is to be your own best advocate. You don't simply "catch" cancer. You can actively create a lifestyle that prevents cancer. So, ladies, kick off your shoes, wash the makeup off your face, dance and howl at the moon and then sit down to a wonderful naturally healthy meal (oh, yes, only 1-2 glasses of wine … alcohol is a risk factor too) with loved ones and good friends, have meaningful and heartfelt communication and laugh, my dears, laugh out loud!
"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be-
The last of life
For which the first was made.
Our times are in His hand
Who saith," A whole I planned.
Youth shows but half:
Trust God, see all,
Nor be afraid!"
- Robert Browning
May The Blessings Be!

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