Thursday, April 16, 2009
My plastic surgeon, Gareth Edwards, injected some more saline into my breast tissue expanders again today.
This was my 3rd saline fill. I was going every 10 days and can now go every week because the scar and surrounding tissue has healed well after surgery and so can now be stretched more.
I am seeing the oncologist, Deven Moodley, again tomorrow to discuss Tamoxifen some more.
Gareth is concerned that a breast cancer cell has strayed to somewhere else in the body. These cells still operate like breast cells so are still stimulated to grow by estrogen.
I will say this again: the breast surgery was a walk in the park compared to the decisions and years ahead.
Gareth is concerned that because I am still only 35 yrs old and so have normal / higher than normal / unopposed (by progesterone) estrogen, these breast cells can be stimulated to grow and the chance of a recurrence could be higher or sooner than someone postmenopause with the same diagnosis.
He does have a point so I am going to investigate some more before making my final decision. One can only take Tamoxifen for 5 yrs. I will then be 40yrs old. I may still not fully be postmenopausal by then so what is Deven's back up plan?
I am studying the intergrative medicine course nightly - it is fascinating! the first module is on the endocrine system.
I am learning all about natural ways to help prevent breast cancer and treatment protocols post diagnosis. I am still waiting for adaquate research trials from the USA that show where natural protocols have showed compariable results compared to Tamoxifen etc.
The manufacturers of Tamoxifen just have so much data because they stand to make so much money from their drug if it is shown to work in any way. I am still furiously searching the natural side though!
What I found that is most interesting is that women without breast cancer can have their estrogen and progesterone levels tested using saliva, blood and urine tests.
If the woman's progesterone is low, which can happen towards menopause (can even start in early 30's), her estrogen then becomes unopposed, even if it too is low.
Estrogen causes breast cells to grow and divide. Progesterone halts their growth. So both hormones work together to keep a balance and keep cells dividing at a normal rate.
When progesterone is low, estrogen is then unopposed and it's cell growth effect continues unchecked by progesterone. The risk for breast cancer then rises.
Women could have their hormones tested as early as in their 20's or 30's and start to take bioidentical progesterone (tabs or creasm depending on person's symptoms) and this could help lower their breast cancer risk!
What is even more interesting is how stress increases the risk of breast cancer. As a woman's stress levels rise so does her cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Cortisol, among other things, suppresses her immune system (the very system supposed to detect cancer cells) and it reduces her progesterone (leaving her estrogen unopposed)!
Finding ways to reduce stress levels is esential in prevention and treatment of breast cancer.