Best of Breast: news for week ending 25 April 2014

The weekly catch-up from Google Alerts for Breast Cancer and Cancer for the week ending 25 April 2014.


Good bacteria: good for the guts … and the breasts. Image credit:

This week’s lead article is a study showing the link between gut bacteria and breast cancer.

It’s hard to believe that the breast, which is considered a sterile environment, can contain gut bacteria.  And more significantly, that certain gut bacteria may exist in the breast, and play a role in preventing breast tumours.

I like the idea of hopefully one day being able to ingest a food product, like a yoghurt, knowing that it can help to prevent breast cancer.  Unfortunately, there’s no mention in the study of where to get this “breast probiotic” – I don’t think it’s something that’s on the supermarket shelves yet.

In other developments this week, scientists find (yet another) way of sensitising cells that are resistant to chemotherapy; discover why some people are resistant to anti-estrogenic treatments and in yet another study show that Vitamin C can decrease breast cancer mortality risk.


Image credit:

1.  Scientists may have found a link between bacteria and breast cancer

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Mastectomy #8C: When disaster strikes … confusion reigns (Part 3) …


The days following the mastectomy were filled with confusion.

Even the nurses couldn’t believe what had happened.

Every morning the nurses would ask the same question:  “How’s the arm” and when I replied “the same”, they would say “have you tried moving it?”  I am sure they meant well, and there is an innate tendency in nurses to want to fix things, but even though I told someone to tell the nurses to stop asking me the same question, they still persisted.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 18 April 2014

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

New developments on Breast Cancer and Cancer, culled from Google Alerts, for the week ending 18 April 2014.

Well, I was all geared-up for a glut of news developments because the American Association for Cancer Research recently held its annual conference, and was disappointed.  Maybe the doctors are still partying away in San Diego!


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For me, the top two eyecatchers this week is a study being done on spontaneous remissions – whether there is any genetic basis behind these miracle cures – and a blood test that has been developed that can predict recurrences.  The final item is an editorial in Nature Journal about how we need a new approach to studying the genetics of cancer, it’s a long article about the Cancer Genome Atlas.  What the article is saying is that the Cancer Genome Atlas has done a great job in amassing huge amounts of data, but simply cataloguing cancer mutations in the hope of finding a pattern isn’t delivering much-anticipated breakthroughs – we need to focus on the function of these genes as well.

Five people I’ve met who’ve had spontaneous remissions …

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What to say/what not to say to someone with cancer … 7 characters in search of a T-shirt!

Most cancer blogs seem to have posts devoted to the topic of the things that people say to people with cancer.  I’ve come across some brilliant posts that made me laugh and groan because they made me realise that dealing with uncomfortable reactions and comments, is alas, an occupational hazard for every cancer patient.

I’ve written my own variations on “what to say … what not to say”:

Those two posts were a long list of “don’ts” written with the cancer patient on the indignant moral high ground, and must have made readers feel that they have to tip-toe around the cancer patient for fear of saying the wrong thing, or that cancer patients have no sense of humour!


Typical response to “I’ve got cancer”

The fact is: cancer seems to inspire foot-in-mouth disease-type responses.  At the end of the day, we’re all imperfect.  The words “sorry if what I said upset you” go a long way to patching things up, and people on the cancer journey are really very grateful for (and need) all the support (and kind words) we get.

Here is a summary of the posts (with a lighter touch) of some of the characters I’ve met, in response to “I’ve got cancer”.  (I’m tempted to get these made up into T-shirts!)


The Chemo Saint. Never sick, never lost her hair, ran a marathon, worked through chemo

1.  The Chemo Saint

It’s meant to be reassuring, but we’ve all been told of the person who sailed through chemotherapy.  She/he was never sick, never lost her hair, ran a fund-raising marathon every day, and worked through all 36 cycles of chemotherapy!  I call her the Chemo Saint.  The fact is, chemotherapy is a very individual thing – people have different types of chemo, and different reactions.  We all hope and pray we sail through it, but the reality is, it’s a grim treatment.  There is a tendency to want to romanticise cancer treatments because they’re so awful and in the real world, no one would volunteer for them.  It’s nice to have reassurance, but on the other hand, it may make the cancer patient feel inferior if she doesn’t sail through chemotherapy.  Please leave the Chemo Saint in the cupboard where she belongs!

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Mastectomy #8B – when disaster strikes … swan with a broken wing … a friend’s support

I had a mastectomy.

The unexpected happens.

I suffer nerve damage. I lose the use of my left arm.

It’s too painful to write about the experience.


Swan with a broken wing

Please read this post by Peter Trayhurn who tells it better.

To be understood at this level and to have such a public show of sympathy … thank you, Peter!

Best of Breast: news for week ending 11 April 2014

A summary of news for the week ending 11 April 2014 from Google Alerts – Breast Cancer and Cancer. ZombieAttack Sometimes I feel as if this whole cancer-fighting business is like a bad B-horror-movie.  There were two articles this week which made me marvel about how ingenious and indestructible cancer cells appear to be.

The first is a study which showed how cancer cells eat themselves at times of stress and come back to life … just like zombies.  The second is research which shows how different types of cancer cells can cooperate to grow tumours.  It’s almost like cancer cells have an intelligence and life of their own, and aren’t just rogue cells.

The more I investigate, the more I realise why cancer is such a badass to deal with.

On a positive note, even zombies can be killed … we just have to be smarter to outwit them.  And you know how in movies where zombies are blasted to pieces with an anti-zombie gun that’s invented by the wacky scientist … well, there’s been research into using magnetic nanoparticles that get eaten up by cancer cells and which then explode when exposed to magnetic fields!

There was an article on how copper can fuel the growth of tumours, so removing it from the body could starve the tumours.  This is not a new development, as a reader, J, has pointed out – please refer to the comments and see the studies that J has sent, dating from 2000.  It’s such a shame that this information has been around, but the treatment is not part of standard-of-care.

There’s been a glut this week in new developments and drugs (and I apologise for using the zombie article which is admittedly sensationalist) … I was intrigued by the blip, until I realised that it’s the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in San Diego which was held this week – so tune in for more amazing anti-zombie cures in the weeks to come!


Cancer cells at work. Image credit:

1.  Zombie cancer cells eat themselves to live

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 4 April 2014

A summary of the weekly news for week ending 4 April 2014, for breast cancer and cancer, culled from Google Alerts.

Please watch this video.  It’s about a dog who sniffed out its owner’s breast cancer AFTER it was missed by a mammogram.  It is a heartwarming demonstration of the love between an owner and her dog, which just happens to save the owner’s life.

And yes, I’ve posted similar incidents previously with Daisy the Springer Spaniel in Best of Breast w/e 30 August 2013, Troy the Doberman in Best of Breast 7 February 2014, and dogs being trained to sniff out ovarian cancer.

The more I read about such amazing cancer-detection faculties from man’s best friend, the more I wish I had a dog.  I’ve got three cats, and comforting as they are, they’ve never once sniffed pointedly at my breasts and indicated things weren’t quite right.  I think there should be more research into dog scans – imagine, detecting early breast cancer that’s missed by mammograms, without a blood draw or biopsy!  With the millions that’s being poured into chemotherapy and radiotherapy with their concomitant side effects, aren’t scientists missing something very obvious and cheaper here?

[on the other hand, maybe it’s best if Big Pharma doesn’t get involved in patenting a breed of dog that can sniff out breast cancer – can you imagine how much they would charge for such a dog?]

Other items of interest:  (1) fatigue in patients who’ve had chemotherapy could be caused by latent Epstein-Barr Virus or cytomegalovirus.  Epstein-Barr is the fancy name for glandular fever, and is one of the most common viruses in humans.   In the United States, about half of all five-year-old children and 90 to 95 percent of adults have evidence of previous infection. (2) With the summer season coming, people will be dusting off their BBQs, so find out how to minimise the carcinogenic effects of BBQ food (3) why estrogen-blocking treatments (like Tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors) fail (4) chemotherapy contributes to early-ageing [I know we’re supposed to feel grateful for such treatments saving lives, but it’s hard when they add up to 15 years to the ageing process – thanks, cancer!]

1.  Dog Saved Owner’s Life By Detecting Breast Cancer That Mammogram Missed

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Fulda 2013 conference #7: Heavy metals and shift in redox potential in tumours (Dr John G Ionescu) – also why cancer patients should not have glutathione


The Christmas Market at Fulda:  German Schokokuss (chocolate-covered marshmallows)

This is one of a series of 10 talks given at an integrative conference held in Fulda, German in December 2013.  The conference was organised and sponsored by Dr Reinwald of Dr Reinwald Healthcare GmBH and manufacturers of Master Amino Acid Pattern (MAP-Product Info-Basic-E-Web (1) Copy), a nutritional supplement.

Dr John Ionescu graduated with a doctoral degree in medical biochemistry from the University of Saabrucken in 1983.  He was research director in a German dermatology clinic in 1985.  In 1986, he was the director of a clinic for nutritional and environmental medicine in Neukirchen.  He holds memberships in the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, German Society of Anti-Aging Medicine, European Academy of Environmental Medicine.  He is Associate Professor for integrative medicine and gerontology at the Carol Davila University (Bucharest), and lecturer in clinical nutrition at the Danube University Krems (Vienna).  Since 2009 he has been a member of the task force for environmental medicine at the German Ministry of Health (Berlin).,


I found this talk a steep learning curve in terms of technical knowledge, and had to dredge up my memories of ‘O’ level chemistry on chemical reactions – reduction and oxidation – and also to go onto YouTube for some refreshers.  I’m not sure if I’ve got to the bottom of the talk yet, so it’s a work-in-progress.

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