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My Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Breast Cancer

Thoughts on Breast Cancer

My Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Breast Cancer

(Here’s a newer post: Are the pink ribbons a big scam?)

My bulldozer tendencies get me into trouble at times, and I did something bad recently. I emailed a friend who survived breast cancer and now helps to raise money for breast cancer research, and shared the below article from Kate at the Modern Alternative Mama blog. I was curious if she had ever heard “the other side”, thinking we might have a good conversation about it, because I find myself somewhat on the fence and value her opinions. I ended up offending her and feel really bad about it. She said, among other things (including questioning the conclusions of someone who isn’t a doctor), “I would’ve preferred a simple, ‘I can’t donate’.” My life is full of situations where I believe differently than my friends and family do, whether it’s about issues of faith or health and nutrition, and a conversation where my beliefs are challenged or where I disagree with someone is no big deal for me. I forget that everyone isn’t comfortable with that, and since she is a breast cancer survivor, I now see that sending the article wasn’t being very sensitive to all that she’s been through. (I apologized and hope she’ll forgive me.)

Fence sitting

Articles like Kate’s (the link is below) make enough sense (along with the whole KFC fiasco) that I don’t give money to those organizations anymore, or very little anyway. You see, we live in a small town that has one of the largest fundraisers for Relay for Life, so it’s hard to avoid. No one ‘gets it’ either, if I dare mention (which I rarely do) that I’m not sure about where the Relay money goes (I’d prefer more went to prevention education or alternative options!), I get looks and comments like these:

“Who could not want more cancer research?!”

“But your own Mom survived breast cancer!”

“Didn’t your 13-year-old niece die of brain cancer?!”

I’d dare to say that this stance is more politically incorrect than telling people to eat more butter.

On the other hand…

As I told my friend who was mortified that the blogger who wrote the article is against mammograms, I actually did have a mammogram done, mostly because I know that’s what saved her life: a chance mammogram that she was just going along with another friend for because she didn’t want to go alone. (Read more about how I made that very difficult decision…and I won’t be having them every year as the docs recommend.)

If myself, Kent, or the kids got cancer, would I go along with the conventional treatments?

I have no idea, but it’s quite possible if that’s where our research takes us, and it’s also possible that I end up thankful for some of the research that Relay for Life helped fund as well. I’d be praying and researching like crazy, though, to make sure that the treatment wouldn’t kill me before the cancer did, and you can bet I’d also be thoroughly researching all the NON-conventional treatments out there.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Do you give to the Relay for Life type fundraisers?

Here’s the recent post from Kate that led to all this:

My related posts:


  1. Sometimes I’ll support a cause just to keep peace or because it’s a social event that my friends want me to be a part of. Kinda like buying Girl Scout cookies. I won’t eat them (ok, I sneak a few) because they’re all sugar and processed flour but I buy them anyway cuz I know the kid or the kid’s parent.

    When I DO believe in a cause, I’ll give more, more whole heartedly and then I’ll talk about it all over the place online to increase awareness.

    Speculative cures are no match for hardcore prevention in the case of cancers. Just my humble opinion.

  2. I’ve been fighting this one for years. 2 years ago last week, my mom lost her second battle with breast cancer. SOOO many of the things I know about health and nutrition (& I was just starting to learn them when she first got sick) had me screaming inside when she chose to go the mainstream route. And, now, the more I learn, the more I wonder if simply having had her vitamin D levels checked and taking care of them about 6 or 7 years ago wouldn’t have saved her life–and how many other women are in the same place! I can’t bring myself to donate to any of “those” charities, or even join some of the groups on facebook, even when my relatives send them to me with my mom in mind.

  3. Several of the women in my life that I love more than life itself are breast cancer survivors. One is my mother and the other the lady I should have married more than 36 years ago, if I had only been able to find her again so long ago.
    Life sometimes gives you a second chance, one that you can not ignore except at your own peril.

    Live life as if it was too soon to end, the fates may rob you if you fail.
    Learn all you can for there are those that would prefer the faceless victims fail, falling and loosing life’s struggle to survive only to enrich their own wealth heedless of the suffering endured in the name of their lies and deception.

  4. As a healthcare provider, I am for most of the organizations that support breast cancer. Susan G. Komen is the main organization. Going to the website you can see that in addition to research (of which approximately 25% of that budget goes to prevention) they spend 25% of their total expenditures on other services. These services include getting health care, both diagnostic (mammograms) and treatment to low income women. Many of my patients are low income women. You can’t imagine the joy and surprise that many of the women have when thinking they may be kicked out of their apartment, they get a check that covers the rent. No strings.

    I support these organizations because they are providing a social service safety net for women who may have tried to follow nutrition guidelines that are hopeless messed up or who may not even have tried because they had no money.

    I do not agree with everything they do. I’d love to see more research into alternative therapies. I’d love to see more research comparing dietary therapies against pharmaceutical treatments. However, no one is doing that. I’d happily donate to those organizations instead.

    I have worked with independent acupuncturists seeking grants, assisting them in refining their protocols for the study as my area of specialty is internal medicine. I see a lot of really sick out patient people. I do that part of things as well as donating.

    Susan G. Komen is the best organization I can find for cancer, although I do donate to the American Cancer Society as well. They do a lot of education for people in the moment–keeping informed about the different chemo drugs and options a standard oncologist may propose and offering booklets to help people keep this information in front of them. These services are invaluable for people who don’t have time to wait for society to come around to the idea of prevention and the best way to prevent.

    The support and love that abound at the walks and gatherings are amazing. Women who have survived are held in such esteem that energetically that has to be as healing as any good diet. The community around this is amazing.

    Also, cancer prevention is a misnomer. My acupuncture classics are thousands of years old. People normally at the foods we think of as traditional, but cancer is still described. It may not have been common but people will always get it. I think it’s important to realize that just because we may eat a “better” diet than many others this doesn’t mean we won’t get sick. It minimizes the chances, but doesn’t negate them. There are too many factors at work and to suggest otherwise, suggests that we are something more than human.

    These organizations are not even human. They have all the failings of a human and all the failings of a large group. However, some of these are worth supporting because they are working with compassion with the best information they have for the greatest number of women. I can’t ever say that’s a bad thing.

  5. Kelly, I agree with all your ‘on the fence’ thoughts! I thought Kate’s article was very thought-provoking, and made enough sense to me, for sure. I lost my mother to breast cancer… she also had Multiple Sclerosis. The more I study nutrition, the more I wish she had known these things… Whenever I read ‘such and such’ can lead to cancer (or auto-immune diseases like MS) you can be sure the ‘such and such’ describes my mom’s eating perfectly. It does make me distrust mainstream medicine b/c she was following their recommendations. However, there is always extra fear when you decide to do something ‘out there’ – hence I’m confused about the immunization issue, too. I almost always have my mind made up based on research not to immunize, and then the fear kicks in. These are hard decisions, that’s for sure.

  6. I am also a healthcare professional. I do not donate to any organization. Instead I donate to individual research projects, patients or prevention campaigns. I lose out on a lot of the tax advantages of donation, but that is not why I give. I give because I believe there is a lot of promise in what I support even if the mainstream groups do not. Despite their flaws, these groups do good and thankfully so many others do support them. However, their flaws are why I seek out other individual situations to support.

    I’m glad so many people find a place in their heart to support such groups. There is no cause greater than to ease human suffering. Medicine has made huge strides because of the public outpouring of support. Unfortunately such advancements are limited when the conversation is limited. Peoples very much deserved emotions cause them to dismiss viewpoints other than what they are familiar and comfortable with. This is nothing new, it happens in every area of life. It is just magnified greatly when you are talking about things like cancer. If we dismiss what makes us uncomfortable we risk never making that next, big breakthrough that could finally end the suffering.

    Until people are ready for truly open discussion we (myself included) may need to leave the bulldozer tendencies on the shelf and try more subtle conversation starters. However we must be prepared for those not to work either. Hopefully your friend will realize your intention and forgive your tactics. It would be a shame to lose a friend over such a misunderstanding.

  7. Sorry Kelly! I am sure many of us, I included, at points wish we had just kept our mouths shut, and forget others aren’t as open to “alternatives” as we are.

    I personally am totally on board with alternative lifestlye changes to prevent cancer. I truly believe that if we would all lower our sugar/carbs then cancer would not grow so quickly. As another reader mentioned, I don’t think cancer would be irradicated, but it would not be allowed to overtake us.

    I also really believe that if one us, including any of my family or friends was diagnosed with cancer, Then I would almost definetly be pushing/educating about alternative therapies. I read recently about a woman who was doing alternative breast cancer treatment using radiactive rocks/jewelry instead of radiation. The alternative treatment came from a previous radialogist who was now helping others do this instead. WOW!

    As far as the whole donations and the Cancer Research. I do remember reading how the ACS is not being run well and is politically involved in a bad way. So we do not donate. We won’t donate to many places though for various reasons (united way, girl scouts, etc. etc.) We probably wouldn’t donate anyway – because we spend all of our money on eating properly! LOL.


  8. My daughter just finished a 2 year treatment for non-hodgkins lymphoma. She had just turned 6 years old when she was diagnosed. I have always been interested in nutrition, and our family’s diet far surpassed that of nearly everyone we knew. It was not perfect though, and it was not organic. Her diagnosis propelled me to make huge nutritional changes to my family’s diet, so that now — 2 years later — we are eating an almost completely whole foods, organic diet. My daughter is doing well, and just had her port removed.

    Kids’ cancer is a little different from adult cancer. Care providers go through amazing lengths to save a child’s life, and they don’t give up easily. It is hard to let a child die. The problem is with the wholesale disregard for the role in diet. The doctors only care whether the child eats, not what he/she eats. There were many times when a dr. would come into my daughter’s hospital room and ask her if she had had ice cream or french fries that day yet. grrrrr.

    I’ve learned that many parents also are not open to nutritional advice. I think they are just so stressed out about the situation, that any other change becomes extremely overwhelming. And most of them are just sheep anyway, totally willing to do anything that the dr. recommends.

    We didn’t have an opportunity to seek alternative care for my daughter. God knows that I would have! We do not vaccinate, I homebirth my chidren, and we simply don’t go to the doctor! When Grace was diagnosed, she had a tumor in her left lung cavity that collapsed her lung and had pushed her heart and trachea aside. I shudder to think of how much longer it would have been before her body systems started to shut down. She was very sick. We accepted the risks of the chemo treatment they proposed, and the tumor was gone within 2 weeks. I learned what each chemo agent did, and much to my surprise learned that the agents were highly sophisticated to either deprive cancerous cells of nutrients they need (and thus depriving ordinary cells too) or by killing cells in the act of cell-division (her cancer had very fast dividing cells and therby responded well to this treatment). When I hear others say that they think our cancer treatment is barbaric, my response NOW is that it has to be barbaric to kill something that is very pernicious. That’s a consequence of having cancer! It’s not like the common cold, for goodness sake! Most people suggest treatment idiology that is actually what exists: targeting the “food” of cancer cells; targetting cancer cells, etc. At least in childhood cancer, that is what the chemo does.

    I still would explore alternative treatment methods if another member of my family falls ill to cancer. I also will not delude myself into thinking diet will completely prevent cancer or serious disease. What I intend to do is to keep our bodies strong through good nutrition so that it can more effectively fight cancer.

    As for fundraising, I also prefer to support individuals first rather than organizations. Cancer treatment is EXPENSIVE. Even with insurance, our share was $45,000 over 3 calendar years (2008-2010). Much of that money went to the pharmaceutical companies who make the drugs. Combined wiith what I think of pharmaceutical companies anyway, I think they get plenty enough money to do honest research and marketing, and I will not feed their system. I will choose to support organizations that provide for the needs of families undergoing cancer treatment. And, obviously, I will choose to support childhood cancer organizations. Very little government money goes into childhood cancer research and treatment. Most promising research is almost completely funded by parent groups. I highly encourage readers here to support local childhood cancer families and organizations. The needs are unique and often overlooked. In our case, we asked for no assistance from friends and family, and we got pretty much none. Coming out from the 2 grueling years of treatment and being isolated, I found that not one of my old friends remained. So, my advice to everyone is to foremost be a friend to those in trial. Please offer to pray, commit to pray daily, and remember to be the arms, legs, hands, and feet of Jesus too. The only family to assist our family sent me $100 gift cards to Whole Foods every 6 weeks for the entire duration. They single-handedly gave me the support I needed to change to a responsible diet. We need to pray for those in need, but we also need to find areas where we can tangibly support them too. What I would have given for a friend to have called me up and asked me to go out for a cup of coffee just ONCE in the 2 years of Grace’s treatment.

    I know this is not about breast cancer, but I couldn’t resist writing about a topic close to my heart. September was pediatric cancer awareness month, and you may have seen a few gold ribbons around, but nothing like the pink that even football players wear! Susan Komen foundation has really done their marketing job well.


  9. Amy, I’m so glad to hear how well Grace is doing, but it breaks my heart that you had so little support as you went through such a tough time in your life! I wish you lived closer, I’d have love to have been that friend to make you meals, watch your other kids, and take you to coffee!!

  10. I had the same attitude as you do until I read some of these posts. Bonnie and Amy Floyd opened my eyes. It sounds like some of those organizations are worthy. The Whole Foods gift card idea is brilliant. I think it is still easier to donate to something that I’m sure I support. There’s no lack of places to give.

    I look forward to reading more responses.

  11. Oh Amy… I can’t even imagine what you went through. My heart breaks for you and your family. I know it’s past the crisis now, thankfully, but Hugs to you all the same. I LOVE the fact that someone sent you gift cards for organic food access. That is such a wonderful, caring gift. We’ve been struggling locally to establish and support an organic farmer’s market in our town and work on our school cafeteria having access to fresh, local, organic foods. We have a school garden we’ve been working on as well. Your post gave me such encouragement to continue with those efforts. I have three children aged 6-almost 10 and pray every day that they stay safe and healthy. We thought we had a clean diet also, did cook lots of real food etc, but fell into the gov’t suggested food pyramid, Ped recommended nutrition and so on. All three of our children have allergies, two have asthma. We
    have been working on their diet, following GAPS, WAP foundation etc. Our diet is much better, and their symptoms much improved so I hope the diet change has helped.
    I really like your perspective on areas to focus donations on- makes perfect sense.

    Kelly, I’ve been on the fence for a long while when it comes to cancer support as well. I have such compassion for anyone dealing with any disease, and cancer has struck our family several times. I don’t necessarily agree with where the money goes for research either. I’m not entirely sure big Pharm really wants to find a cure, doesn’t fit in their economic plan really. I just posted an article regarding pinkwashing- it says it well. Does it really make sense to buy products supposedly supporting cancer research when those said products are actually known carcinogens? It all goes back to cancer awareness vs cancer prevention. You are what you eat, know what you eat, know where it came from and know what is on it.

    Our bodies are only as good as the fuel we use for them, and our immune system won’t work well if we don’t take care of that first.
    I think there needs to be more research on diet and chronic disease, but of course there isn’t an economic incentive to do that really…

    Anyway, off my box, just wanted to lend you a bit of support-

  12. I am not a fence sitter. I believe firmly in my heart that cancer comes mostly from what we eat, drink and put on our skin. I also believe that supporting the race/walks for a cure, telathons etc. are not doing anything but lining the pockets of big pharma.

    I quit having mammograms and now do thermograms.

    We all have choices to make.

  13. in the excellent nutrition/science book Good Calories, Bad Calories, the author, Gary Taubes, has a brief chapter on the effects of insulin (and therefore high-carb/refined food diets) increasing cancer and actually helping cancer cells propagate. also i recently found an article on brain cancer in lab rats being cured by a ketogenic (ie. very high fat, almost no carb) diet. epilepsy is also known to be cured sometimes by a ketogenic diet. this doet is not popular, nor politically correct but if i had a friend or family member who had cancer i would gently and kindly suggest they research it.

  14. I do give to a local “find a cure” group. I added the website below. They were started 10 years ago by the daughter of a woman who is a breast cancer survivor. Ironically enough, that same daughter came down with cervical cancer and is now a survivor. RFTC is a family run 501c3, non for profit, group. This family has been close friends of ours since childhood. RFTC looks carefully at groups, organizations, and research projects before they donate their money. You can see who they donated to in 2009 on their website.
    Like I said, this is a small group, their website isn’t flashy or promptly updated, they run a couple events a year, and they don’t raise tons of money, but they enjoy every moment of it.
    If one doesn’t want to give to one of the large “cure cancer” groups, seek out a small group in your area. You may be surprised what you find.

  15. Is breast thermography maybe an option over mammograms? Maybe I missed a discussion above or somewhere on the blog, but I would like to know more about it. Maybe a blog from you on thermography would be great Kelly!

  16. id love to know more about the vit d and cancer connection you refer to. just curious and interested in more info please. ie. published studies, experts etc. thanks!

  17. Chelsea, yes, thermography is an alternative to mammograms. Check out the comments at the link up in comment #13 – I’m pretty sure there was a big discussion on those there…

  18. The “CURE” for cancer is eating real food. God gave us all that we needed (not Kraft, Nestle, and all the other processed food corporations).

    WHEN cancer does happen, check the book Outsmart Your Cancer and Suzanne Sommers book about cancer. Both very good books that my highly respected Chicago area nutritionist recommends. Also Dr. Nick Gonzalez in NY treats cancer holistically, mainly using food and protealytic enzymes.

  19. I share your concerns. I wish more time and attention was given to prevention, and those nasty government diet guidelines should be burned in effigy. I put together a post this week on Natural Breast Health:

    I found a lot of great info when I started researching, and included links to many of my favorites. Hopefully this will be use to others who have questions.

  20. People talk about the whole pink washing thing as if it’s bad. I don’t know what’s pink and bad, largely because those are products I don’t buy. I don’t know anyone who buys a product just because it has a pink ribbon. However, given the numbers of women who have had breast cancer, the organizations need money in levels that individuals can’t donate–only corporations get that much money. I am happy to take their money.

    Organizations like SGK are behemoths. While they may do some of their own research, much of their research is giving grants. They are limited by the types of studies being proposed. Then they need to look at how the study is set up. They are limited by the mainstream scientists and as such, I think it’s important to keep speaking out about the type of research that needs to be done. When someone sets up a study, maybe they’ll be willing to help fund it. Additionally, there are volunteers within the organization to look a research talk about what sorts of research can be done. Another reason to be involved because you have to be involved to be able to do that.

    Our LMP had cancer this last year. We all gave to her as individuals, but even with fund raising in a small town and having lots of freebies, she was still short. SGK made the difference for her because the rest of us were out of money. I won’t say that donating to individuals is bad, but if the money that we got for our LMP came from Kellogg’s, I don’t care. Something needs to be done with all that money and better it go to an organization like SGK than into the pockets of the CEO who will only start coming up with other ways to say his food like items are good for people…

    There are many things to protest against and consider but I just don’t get the whole anti breast cancer community thing. SGK isn’t a pharmaceutical company. They help women.

  21. @bonnie
    This is what is wrong with SGK:
    Komen for the Cure Donated $7.5M to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz in 2009

    I believe in promoting knowledge about the cause of cancer – what you eat, drink and put on your skin. The Jerry Lewis telethon for MD started how many years ago? Is there a “cure” yet? NO! There will not be a “cure” or PILL as you think of a “cure” to be. The “cure” will be when people wake up and become nutritionally conscious. If there were “cures” for any of these diseases, big pharma would be out of business. Yes, all these “donate for a cure” causes contribute in some way, shape or form to line the pockets of big pharma.

  22. @ nancy I donated to planned parenthood too–just not that much. As a pro-choice person I think they’re great and I support them.

    Don’t suggest that I think of a cure as a pill. I’m an acupuncturist. Pills don’t cure anything they suppress symptoms. However, I do believe in compassion and taking care of people who are sick. They didn’t make the choice to be sick.

    I realize that some money from SGK goes to big pharma. But some money went to save the lives of my patients, by politically lobbying so they could get on medicaid and get the help the needed when they needed it. I can’t put a price tag on their lives. They didn’t have the money to make the nutritional changes they needed AND to find the alternatives after having fairly invasive breast cancer. They got into a medical program that gave them the best choices they could make at that time. They are alive today because of that. I have had about six patients in this situation. They got medicaid and money from SGK. Their lives are invaluable to me and the people around them. There is no price. If billions are spend and some is lost to places we don’t care for, I won’t argue. Their lives were worth it. Who do you care enough about to say that?

  23. I’ve told my mom’s story several times, but I’m going to do it again. And again. And again.

    At age 30, my mother was told she couldn’t nurse her two daughters because she was too high strung. She had a total hysterectomy at age 40 because of painful periods and was started on Premarin immediately. At age 55, the tech performing her annual mammogram had her positioned incorrectly at the machine and the resulting torn ligaments required surgery to correct. At age 60 she developed an “allergy” to sunshine: she would suffer an anaphylactic reaction if the sun hit her skin for even a few moments.

    At age 70 they found cancer on her annual mammogram. By that point, she had been on hormone replacement therapy for 30 years and had not been exposed to sunlight at all for 10 years. When I discussed these two points with her oncologist, his jaw dropped and he turned pale.

    I can’t keep Mom from having a soy protein bar every morning for breakfast. I can’t convince her to eat grassfed beef which requires a trip to the farmers market instead of buying the commodity beef at the grocery store. I can’t convince her to follow up with her doctor for vitamin D testing and supplementation. I can’t convince her to do her own research about hormone replacement therapy; she continues to beg her doctor for a refill on her Premarin every single month when she visits him. And she can’t convince me to have an annual mammogram.

  24. Bonnie, studies are being done that are set up better and focus on things discussed here. SGK has denied funding to them. I have given to several of them after SGK, ACS and other mainstream organizations have turned them down. I was approached by people who at one time worked within those organizations because their speaking up got them ostricised and called whacko by their so-called peers. Because of lack of funding these studies remain small and can’t get published or media attention. Still they produce valuable information that hopefully will be the inspiration for larger, better funded studies. Unfortunately it does not appear that SGK or ACS will be funding those larger studies any time in the next decade. At least not according to those inside the organizations I’ve talked to.

    Yes, SGK has helped an incredible number of people. You have testified to that. Because of that they will never lack donor support. However, the implication that those who do not support them are somehow failing to support women because they would like to support causes that fall better in line with their own personal beliefs, that is how the phrase “pinkwashing” has come about. While some are willing to engage in honest, open conversation most are not. Kelly listed some of the reactions she has received for saying she doesn’t give to them. I have received much worse, being told my medical license should be revoked because I must want women to die, as well as other similar sentiments. The politics of giving to cancer research is much the same as the politics of food. If you dare do something beyond the norm, or worse suggest something is better than the norm, you have committed treason. That attitude doesn’t help cure anything.

  25. @ Michelle Lee I do not mean to imply that anyone has to give to these places. I think we do need to look at the bigger picture–if you don’t like them, come up with something better. Don’t tell me that I’m foolish for supporting them. Certainly Kelly brings up a lot of questions. However, asking people around me and patients these same questions over the years, I feel that SGK and ACS are good organizations that have done a lot of good.

    I think the focus should be less on why we SHOULDN’T support the large cancer organizations and more on the organizations (like say Price-Pottenger) that we SHOULD support.

    My initial comment was about why I continue to support this organization even though I have a lot of disagreements with them. Many of Kelly’s questions have been mine over the years and I had hoped to answer them with some of the information I came up with. Also, the pink washing issue is one that people have talked about too–and I think it’s funny. There is an irony for me in being able to take some of that money for something good. I think it’s a GREAT thing if we can do that!

    Perhaps people think I am trying to convince them of something but I am trying to put out my point of view. I will admit that my response to Nancy was angry and probably much more of a “convincing” type of post, but pro choice is a huge hot button for me and I have no patience for those who think that a fetus has more rights than a human being–I am sorry that that crossed over into my views on the cancer organizations.

    I think the questions and points I have made NEED to be thought about. If we toss out the larger organizations, how DO you get the word out? As you’ve said, no one is noticing the results that have been very intriguing. There are people here who don’t like the big organizations–maybe they have a new idea and if they think in terms of what do we NEED rather than what do I not LIKE they will come to a unique and creative solution that allows those studies to get out there. How do we get people EXCITED about living a healthy life style when it can be so much easier to run through the drive thru?

    Most arguments against are the things that should be done, but no one is doing them. So who IS doing them? Sites–links, places to donate for that. I’ll give to that too–I live to donate my money ;). I don’t have time to take that on, nor is it my interest. But someone needs to. Someone needs to get that word out.

    While I don’t have an issue with Kelly not promoting Relay for Life–everyone in our town does to and most years I give but this year I couldn’t. One of my office mates never does for many of the same reasons Kelly has discussed (which is why I have talked about my thinking) However, can she support by getting table (I’ve done that) and promoting what she does? Can she get some WAPF converts? If enough of us do that can we subvert that organization to our goals? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Here is another question, is it easier to subvert and existing organization to our goals or is it easier to start a new one? Do we have enough people and enough inclination to do such things? If the answer is no, which is a fair one–it has to be a passion, well okay, but where do we go from there?

    I keep waiting to see in some of the posts and responses, better alternatives to what is there. My husband is very political and I understand political realities. So if someone likes part of something but not all, I tend to be well jump in and make change. DO something. Don’t expect us to come up with all the ideas–I most certainly don’t have them. I guess that’s what I hoped that people would get out of my comments.

  26. To clarify my point because I was rambling and seem to accuse Bonnie of things I don’t believe her guilty of:

    Pinkwashing is bad because:
    1) People who in no way are normally concerned with matters of health or curing anything get a soapbox from which to accuse those who make choices other than to support big name organizations of not caring, or worse wishing harm on people.
    2) Corporations that clearly harm people INCREASE their profits by sticking a pink ribbon on things. While no one here would fall for such a marketing pitch, market analysis shows it makes companies A LOT more additional profit than they donate.
    3) It supresses the conversation and thus the possiblity of finding a real cure.
    4) (similar to #3) Large organizations tend to overlook smaller or non-mainstream research projects and fail to support research that has as much if not more promise than mainstream projects.
    5) (similar to #1) People are ostrised for expecting more from where their money is given, particularly that the groups they give money to share the same values as they do.

    I’m glad Bonnie is here to champion the pink ribbon side. Hopefully more people like her will join in honest conversation here and in real life so we may see some real advancement in healthcare.

  27. I agree that many people won’t go out of their way to buy grass-fed beef….
    But – they can make better choices. I know we can’t make people make those better choices too. That’s also why i mentioned the 2 books that I did. There are much better choices out there than conventional TOXIC poisoning of chemotherapy!

  28. I don’t know the whole story, but there was a huge push to fundraise for the polio cure. When they found the “cure” for polio, the polio charities were out of business or they had to refocus their effort to stay in business (i.e. raise money to vaccinate poor people). I think a lot was learned in that experience. It is not in a charity’s best interest to cure the disease they are focused on.
    IMHO, cancer has been cured many times. I know a woman who is free from ovarian cancer because she ate a ketogenic diet and had some kind of hydrogen peroxide treatment. The Orthomolecular Journal has published studies showing that vitamin megadosing is a promising area of cancer research. (ask PubMed why they don’t include this journal. No good answer.) Some people have been successful with essiac tea. Some healings happened through a change in thought patterns. As other people have commented already, the “cure” must come in a drug form in order to be recognized. It’s frustrating that the other modalities can’t be recognized as valid.

    That being said, I value the input from people who have a different perspective. I like hearing about the gray area that challenges me to think outside what I thought I already knew. Real people are being helped by the charities. That’s a good thing to know. I still prefer to put my donations where I think they will help the most. I think this post is also about feeling misunderstood and this being just one more way we have to push against the tide of conventional thinking. I’m getting used to that.

  29. Please be compassionate and realize that not everyone has the time to research alternative treatments, the money to pursue them, or the knowledge to make wise choices. Cancer education must necessarily begin BEFORE a cancer diagnosis, or else you will just be overwhelmed. When Grace was first diagnosed, I was inundated with conflicting advice from well-meaning people. I must give her this supplement or that. I had to kindly ask a “friend” who sold a particular supplement that I would not be buying her product for my daughter until I could research it fully. I came to the place where I had to give my daughter’s treatment into God’s hand, prayerfully asking Him to bless anything that we did. He provided in, what I think, were miraculous ways. One way was this: after diagnosis, my daughter did not eat for 4 days, no matter what we did to entice her (which did not include offering her ice cream or french fries!). Friends were bringing in bags and bags of great, natural things for her, and she wouldn’t touch anything. I read a month or so later that fasting prior to starting chemotherapy increases its initial effectiveness. I certainly did not know that before, but God did, if that is indeed true. Anyway, chemotherapy *is* toxic. So is blood pressure medication, cholesteral medication, and even iron pills! In my book, most every pill is toxic, so my family chooses to avoid them at all cost. But when you are faced with a fast-growing cancer, you may have to make decisions that you don’t want to. I don’t know of anyone who would choose chemotherapy if they KNEW of another treatment with few to no side effects and with a decent success rate, and when push comes to shove, most are not willing to gamble with time to “try out” such a therapy. It is truly a shame that alternative approaches are not more available and better advertised. But everyone has to admit that there are a ton of wackos out there advertising cure-alls for cancer. Again, if you haven’t done your homework beforehand, you may not have time after a diagnosis. In my daughter’s case, we had maybe a day or so at the most. On the other hand, my dad didn’t even start treatment for his cancer until a couple of months AFTER his diagnosis. In his case, a prudent search for an effective alternative treatment would have been time well spent. As it was, he suffered horribly from his cancer and the after-effects of his treatment and subsequent relapse for 2 years before he died.

    Incidentally, a respected natural health provider in our area suggested to an adult friend of ours who had lymphoma that the most effective course of treatment for his cancer was the conventional chemotherapy, but to supplement his body with stuff to help it fight and to keep it strong. We are all different, and different cancers are very… well.. different. Just like chemotherapy may work in different ways in different people, alternative treatment may work in different ways in different people. Trust me, I’ve seen children die from cancer; I’ve known children to die from the treatment itself; I’ve known people to die even after alternative treatment. In fact, I’m sad to say, everyone that I’ve ever heard that has followed an alternative treatment plan, died. As an educated, thoughtful person, I know that does not adequately reflect the success rates of those therapies, but it certainly puts some doubt in my mind.

    I guess my bottom-line is to keep my family healthy, feeding them a top-notch diet, avoiding as many toxins as I possibly can, and giving the rest to God. We can control our diets, but we can’t control what we breathe, and I’m convinced diet is only one of the hazards of our modern lives, but it’s not the whole culprit.

  30. @Amy–I think that was most beautifully said. I wish I could write with that clarity.

    I have had the same experience with many different naturopaths.

  31. Such entertaining comments here today! Thanks Kelly, for sharing my posts and your story. :)

    The other day I saw a package of mushrooms with a pink ribbon on it. Upon closer inspection, the package said it donates money to a small organization that is doing research into the anticancer properties of mushrooms/selenium. That I will support!

    But, writing posts like the ones that I did — against the big organizations, and alternative ideas — is what I’m doing about it. I’m trying to do the research myself (to help my readers, as well as, God forbid, my own family if we’d ever need it) so that I can put the options out there for people who might be looking for it. I’m trying to explain and make the real-food lifestyle accessible. Kelly is too. That’s what we can do right now.

    Perhaps others can donate to personal, small charities or individual people. Perhaps others can come alongside someone with cancer to be an emotional support. We all do what we can to help, because people who are sick do NEED support. I just don’t believe that on a real level, these organizations are capable of giving it. I think that in most cases they give the illusion of support, by promising a “cure” and other false hopes. That is the bottom line for me.

    I’m interested to see what else people have to say though!

  32. Google vitamin D breast cancer–there have been a few studies in the past few years that suggest that treating vitamin D deficiency plays a BIG role in breast cancer prevention (maybe even as big as a role as breastfeeding does!). Thinking back, my Mom had other systems of long-term vitamin D deficiency, as well, despite being an “outdoor person”–Mom was an amateur naturalist, gave monarch butterfly presentations for the DNR and the schools, ran an at-home day care for decades, and never did sunscreen. But she did live in WI–so sunshine-provided vitamin D was just not all that plentiful, no matter what.

  33. THANK YOU Kelly for posting about this. Over the past few weeks, I have seen more facebook posts about this than pretty much anything else, and it’s getting harder and harder to keep my mouth shut. Both my mom and my aunt (her sister) are breast cancer survivors, so I feel like I very much have a vested interest in trying to prevent getting it myself. However, with what I’ve learned over the past year or so with regards to food and nutrition, I have developed a VERY different outlook on the subject, wanting to do what I can in changing my diet and really questioning everything, from what I put in my mouth or on my body to the mammogram issue.
    So, when I see countless posts (there’s something every day, from a person changing her profile pic pink to the recent “I like it on the ….” promotion) about this, I just want to scream! I mean, it’s great that people are wanting to promote awareness of the topic and try to find a cure, but I just feel like it’s all backwards. The SGK Foundation was started decades ago, and not only have we not found a cure, the rates of women getting it are increasing all the time at a truly staggering rate. Not only that, but ALL types of cancer are increasing dramatically (I recently read a statistic about skin cancer which is being diagnosed at almost the same rate as breast cancer!). So, when I start to look at the bigger picture, it just seems like something is drastically wrong with this picture, especially when cancer foundations are using places like KFC to promote their cause.
    It’s so hard to know what to say about all of this, though, especially to friends, as I feel like they’ll think I don’t care about curing cancer, or what kind of a heartless person I must be to not want to support a cause like SGK, when really, it’s just that my worldview has changed when it comes to stuff like this, and I just can’t look at it the same way any more. Obviously, we need to do what we can to try and help patients who are currently being diagnosed with these illnesses, but we really HAVE to start reevaluating our gameplan and wake up to the fact that some drastic changes need to be made, especially when it comes to targeting PREVENTION rather than just finding some magical cure.

  34. Robin, go ahead and put it out there — what you feel. Gently at first. But you can kind of “test the waters” and see if people are receptive. And if they’re going to post what they think, you can certainly post what you think! I posted on Facebook “This month, let’s support PREVENTION, rather than a CURE!” and some people really liked it! Some ignored it. It’s okay though. And that’s not an inflammatory statement, you know? I think most people, in their hearts, really want to prevent cancer all together, they just don’t know where to begin.

    Believe me, I’ve been where you are. But more and more I just speak my mind, gently — because my heart is in the right place. I WANT people to be healthier and better! And they all know what I think now and some will entertain reasonable discussions with me at times, most just ignore it if they disagree. But they all respect my right to my beliefs. I can’t say it was always that way, but it is now. Be willing to stand up — ALWAYS GENTLY, lol — but do it.

  35. Great topic (but a hot-potato!). Great reader comments too.

    Saw some questions about thermography. This is off topic from BC research support, but does relate to the confusion about thermograms vs. mammograms.

    I’ve been doing some homework on thermography for the past couple years because I have really dense breast tissue, the kind that doesn’t “read” well on mammograms. Dense breast tissue really has to be compressed hard during mammograms for a better image, ouch! (btw my husband says thats a problem if there IS cancer, because the tumors are very delicate and can burst – yikes). Also, I can’t remember what it is titled, but there is a Univ of California medical lecture on iTunes (UTunes) podcasts about detection of BC in younger women and in women with dense breast tissue – it is well worth listening to, though it doesn’t address thermography per se, but it does clearly discuss the limitations of mammography in these women – they recommend MRI instead for women at high risk – but MRIs have even more radiation exposure than mammograms, which stinks).

    My gynecologist sent me for ultrasound imaging and diagnostic-level mammography for two years in a row because of some “suspicious” lumpy tender areas on my breasts. I did the mammograms but was concerned about the repetition of higher radiation diagnostic level mammography two years in a row.

    I was also experiencing a lot of breast tenderness in the week-10 days prior to my periods. In my late 40s, I have been perimenopausal for several years so my cycles are typically more frequent, sometimes as often as 15-24 days after the previous one (yuck). I don’t have hot flashes (yet) but the painful breasts (& lack of hugging 😉 ) has been awful. This is symptomatic of low progesterone levels relative to estrogen (which was confirmed many times in my lab tests) – it’s often called “estrogen dominance”. My estrogen levels were very high, even higher than in pregnancy some months, though generally tended to be somewhat low, so it isn’t necessarily a chronically high estrogen issue, but rather that the progesterone is chronically very low, esp in relation to the roller coast estrogen.

    Anyway, back to the thermograms. I sought them out as an alternative to mammograms, which I find very painful and concerning because of the repeated radiation exposure.

    The first thermogram I did was done by a mobile service. A friend arranged it at her house for her female family members and some friends, so it was very convenient. The image showed a lot of abnormal inflammation and they recommended progesterone cream, which I had just started to use anyway. They also recommended a repeat image in 6 mos to see if there were changes. Well, I kind of figured the progesterone cream was helping to extend the short cycles and the breast tenderness had improved so I was lazy about doing another thermogram.

    Then I had my next gyn annual and again my doctor was concerned about those same areas (& compared her detailed notes from the previous year. She wanted another diagnostic level mammogram and an U/S at a particular time in my cycle. I had my earlier thermogram image report with me and asked about doing that instead. She didn’t know anything about thermography, but she said at if I insist on thermography instead of mammography, then when they recommend a repeat image because the first one indicated abnormal breast images (which concerned her, too), then at least do the followup imaging, which is a valid point. I decided to do the diagnostic level mammography and U/S as she recommended. Plus, since my breast tissue is so sensitive to my hormone levels on different days, I scheduled them for same day so the different imaging technologies “see” the same conditions ( 😉 this is what happens when you are married nearly 15 years to a research scientist (biochemistry). I also scheduled the thermogram first, before the compression of the mammogram. Just trying to eliminate variables to be scientific, ya know.

    I had some reservations about the thermography service that had done my first image (the people were a bit too “woo-woo” overall for me based on some of the other services they offered, plus I didn’t want to gather up other women friends to book a mobile visit), so I looked into another service and found another one which had a MUCH higher resolution camera, and they adhered to the skin pre-cooling protocol better than the mobile service (room must be kept cool to lower skin surface temp, so temps from deeper tissues register correctly).

    It turns out the man who invented the high resolution thermography camera is the father of the thermography imager’s partner, and that they were both trained to read the images by the first doctor (Hobbins) to use these cameras for detecting abnormal breast tissue changes. Their high res camera also takes B & W images that show vascularization, something the first service couldn’t do with their camera.

    So I do think it is important to choose the best service possible (not necessarily the cheapest or most convenient), with the highest resolution camera that will also image vascularity. A lot of alternative healthcare people are getting into thermography, but with lower resolution (cheaper) cameras, and they don’t always do the right cool room protocol nor are all image readers fully trained and qualified. So choose the thermography service carefully and make sure they are accredited by BOTH of the thermography accrediting agencies.

    I did both imaging techniques the same day. U/S and mammography found nothing at all, but the thermography image again was abnormal and indicated elevated risk of future BC, plus excess vascularity which aslo represents risk (keep in mind angiogenesis is something cancer tumors influence, to ensure the tumor has a good blood supply).

    So this experience illustrates the difference between thermography and mammography. They image two different things. Thermography images breast *physiology* and can be safely used as often as necessary to track changes from a baseline image over time. The problem is – it can detect physiology that is abnormal but is not yet cancerous, and may or may not lead to cancer (that is the huge question – what do we do with the abnormal info?). Conventional medicine has few answers to that question – and the ACS advice to eat soy, lowfat, high carb, and lots of fiber isn’t a good answer.

    Cancer tumors can take years to develop before they are visible with mammography (esp with post-menopausal women, however in younger women they can be be much more aggressive – even between annual mammograms, yet the conditions that lead to tumor development may have been brewing for many years). Mammography images *anatomy* (remember, this is structures, not physiology), so it can’t detect cancer until there is an actual tumor to image – which is when conventional medicine has a way to treat it.

    In my opinion (at this point), *it isn’t an either/or decision*, but which one is appropriate for which circumstance, and perhaps both are sometimes appropriate. Certainly there is no risk from radiation or compression with thermography (the only discomfort is holding the arms up in a cool room which may be a problem for elderly or unwell women), so thermography can be a useful tool for monitoring change or lack of change in the breasts over time. Thermography also does a great job on dense breast tissue and breasts with implants (I live in So Cal so this is a HUGE issue here – no pun indented). If changes in breast physiology occur, then mammography is a logical next step to use to detect and diagnose tumors.

    This is becoming a long story, sorry. The woman who did my thermography images and I have talked a lot about these issues, and since I am a curious sort who is already following the diet and lifestyle they recommend (NO soy/flax phytoestrogens, fairly paleo/primal, etc.) I agreed to do a sort of “study” for them, as my first image with this service was “abnormal” and indicated high risk, just like the first one. I was just in the early stages of using progesterone cream for perimenopause symptoms, just as they recommend, but on their recommendation I changed from applying it to my belly & inner thighs to directly to the breasts (there are progesterone receptors in breast tissue).

    I get quarterly thermography images to track the changes in my breast tissue. The second image showed a slight increase in inflammation/risk relative to the earlier image, but I was starting to see improvement in the pre-menstrual breast tenderness and my cycles were not nearly so frequent, so I was patient about this. By the third image, there were no further neg changes, which corresponded with my perimenopause symptoms. The 4th image showed a slight decrease in the risk factors. I am waiting for the results of the latest quarterly image (#5).

    One additional thing that could be going on (mentioned by my gyn at the last annual appt) is my estrogen level seems to have dipped and stayed fairly low instead of fluctuating wildly (still enough estrogen to cycle regularly, though), so that may also be part of the improvement in my symptoms and images/risks, not just from the use of the prog cream on my breasts. Valid point.

    When I had my latest annual gyn exam she noted on her manual breast exam that those areas that had concerned her before had improved. I did do the regular mammogram as she still recommends, but I also did a thermogram image earlier on the same day. If the thermogram image indicates no further progression in an abnormal direction or even regression of abnormality, I may curtail mammograms for a while, but will still get regular thermograms, as I think they track changes in the breast tissue earlier and than mammograms do.

    This is the service I use: and yes, one of the abnormal images up there is mine ;-).

    • @Anna,
      I think it’s great you told your story. I get thermographies too. The great thing about them is that they do show changes which could eventually turn into cancer. This allows someone time to change their life style. At my appointments, they talk about different things to do to lesson the risk of cancer. I too have some problematic areas. I look as these as huge reminders that I need to take better care of myself.

      Did you ever have a thermography? You might still want one to get a baseline of that.

  36. This may be a little off topic… links from breast health websites I have recently found

    I purchased an eBook about breasts called Female Breasts: The Taboo

  37. I could not agree more on learning about cancer treatments before/if it happens! I have the book Outsmart Your Cancer and plan to read it soon. Fortunately I also have a great nutritionist as well to consult.

    Prevention is best…especially the deoderant used. I loved the blog at Common Sense Homesteading about breast health care. Dry skin brushing is a good thing to get the lymph fluids moving – especially in the upper arms and breast area. I do it right before I shower. I’m just trying to do my best nutritionally and what I put on my skin. Baby steps for those just starting out and making better choices.

  38. I’m on a prickly fence myself. What I have decided is that I’ll forgo my next mammogram and have thermography, instead. I’ve had a few mammograms, but my spidey senses definitely started tingling when the AMA suddenly changed their recommendations for annual mammograms for women 40+ to bi-annual right as the nation was considering footing the bill for all of the mammograms across the land. If we needed them before, why don’t we need them now? Hmmm…definitely doing more research before I’m blithely going along with their recommendations these days.

  39. Hi Kelly,

    I haven’t visited your blog in awhile but just happened to pop in today and I’m sure glad I did! I thought I was the only one to be skeptical of all the cancer “cure” foundations out there, and I see I’m far from being alone (and feel less hard-hearted, too!)

    After reading Devra Davis’s powerful “The Secret History of the War on Cancer” in early 2009, something really clicked for me in regards to how we Americans view cancer. Reading this book, along with the introduction to nourishing foods and alternative ways of living at the same time, made me re-examine my attitude toward cancer in particular. Both of my grandmothers died of breast cancer and the disease seemed so unfair and arbitrary. I believe that’s how many people view this disease: who knows when that sneaky old Cancer is going to leap out of the shadows and snatch us or our loved ones?

    Dr. Davis’s book particularly opened my eyes to the fact that cancer is rather preventable–largely through the food we eat and the chemical exposures in our environments. (Plus, she outlined with stark frankness the revolving door of the FDA and Big Pharma…wow, was my naive self rudely awakened!) Suddenly, organizations like Relay for Life and SGK seemed ridiculous to me. Yes, they do some good, I’m not saying they’re utterly worthless, but their premise is absolutely faulty because there’s no cure for cancer, people! We can only work to prevent it! And while we can’t limit all of the carcinogenic exposures that are bound to happen, we can get off the SAD, eat more nourishing foods, stop slathering our bodies in unregulated poisons and seek to eliminate as many unnecessary chemicals is reasonable from our homes and lives.

    I write this post more as an affirmation of my own beliefs but I do believe this is a topic that merits further discussion and exposure. Since early 2009, I have cringed–just like fellow commenters–when I would see Relay for Life posters or advertisements for the big SGK 5K in my state’s capital (one that I participated in just 4 short years ago, in fact!) and then think to myself, “People have it all backwards. Prevention is the key to this, but no one gets that.” Now, I will take the next step to start educating others on approaching cancer from the angle prevention, rather than simply reacting to it.

    Thanks as always for your thought-provoking posts,

  40. I am not on the fence when it comes to giving to Susan G Komen – they give a portion of the money raised to Planned Parenthood – it is proven that artificial birth control and abortions increase dramatically women’s chances of contracting breast cancer. How in the world does supporting PP have ANYTHING to do with cancer research????

  41. How about thermography for screening? I had one mammogram 20 years ago, and said ‘never again’. I get a thermogram every year, and I’ve educated myself about the differences between them and mammography. The radiation risk alone of having a mammogram every year is enough to make intelligent women think twice. I agree with the writer of the blog…prevention is key, not clean-up afterwards. Why aren’t we addressing all the toxic chemicals in the environment, as well as processed food? When was the last time you heard a doctor tell you to avoid environmental toxins to prevent cancer? Not likely. I also won’t give money to conventional charities that pay huge salaries to their staff and that don’t focus on prevention. Thanks for speaking up, Kelly.

  42. Kris, as a leader of two girl scout troops, I would be interested to hear your reasoning behind not wanting to donate to girl scouts. I can understand not wanting to buy cookies or nuts or magazines, but fan club is a straight money donation that goes to support at risk girls and get them into troops at no cost to their parents. If its only the cookie issue, I completely understand. I dont even sell them anymore and I have two troops, but I do make a monetary in kind donation to my troops and many other people do. i have seen girl scouts raise up MANY girls and i am graduating 15 seniors this year with their Gold awards, akin to the Eagle scout award it is the highest award in scouting and they worked hard doing leadership, community service, outreach and many other hours of service towards building international friendship and communication among all women.

    We as a family have lost many people to cancer, and both my parents are in the medical profession. We support the relay for life as an honorarium to those we have lost and those who are survivors. It is the time we put in to the relay and the very small amount of fund raising, but mostly, we go and spend time, thinking of our loved ones and praying for those going through these hard times.

    I worked in advertising for many years and did a few tie-ins with ADA, Juvenile Diabetes, Susan Komen, etc. Do not EVER think they are not serious corporations making SERIOUS money and getting a tax break. Today I saw energizer batteries in pink. Its disgusting and to me DISHONORING to the memory of so many women. It has become tacky to the extreme.

    That said I do not in any way begrudge someone donating if it MAKES them FEEL better in some way. We all know that very little of the money is ever going to find its way to the cure–and truth be told, I have heard it said, that is there WAS a cure, there goes their meal ticket….

    As for your friend. I know it is difficult to understand because thank GOD you have never been there yourself personally, but cancer changes you in ways you cannot even imagine. My best friend had bone cancer this past year and thank God she is free and clear this year. When I told her we walked a the relay for life in her honor it meant so much to her. THAT is the reason to participate–to give people hope.

  43. A big thank you to Kelly and all you other ladies for bringing up so many valid points and opinions. Cancer is big business, plain and simple. I look at all these large non-profits in a whole new light. That said, we have so much control over our health and we need to regain the confidence and wisdom we have lost. I have witnessed the power of the Nourishing Traditions diet in my families life, but feel awkward about sharing it with most of the people I know – I mean, tell people to load up on butter, eggs and organ meats and you’ll be sure to get some looks.

    However, my best friend will start chemo for breast cancer next week. So, rather than bombarding her with too much information, I will be delivering the most nourishing soups I can possibly make for the next 18 weeks. You better believe I will share the recipes if she asks!

    “Let food by thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food’ – Hippocrates

  44. Kelly,

    I’ve been reading (and loving!) your blog for a while but this is my first time leaving a comment. I’m was surprised to find this topic on your blog today because just a few days ago, my mum and I had a lengthy discussion about just this.
    For the past few years my mum has begun to volunteer and be a chair for the Relay For Life in our city. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor and ended up having to have a double-mastectomy the second time. I’m 31 years old and in the past I was quite concerned about the possibility of getting breast cancer one day. But now that I know what I know about prevention, and know that my diet is super-clean, I feel much more safe. Also, I started getting thermograms last year and it was such a good experience, I plan on doing this every year as a wonderful alternative to dangerous mammograms.
    I’ve helped out the last few years at RFL because I desire to support my mum in her quest to “fight back.” But from the get-go, I found myself bothered by the way the event was run and had a conflict in my spirit about it. Here we were, “walking for a cure” when I KNOW from all of my research that there will never be a “cure” for cancer in the form of some new super-drug or therapy. Once you know what we know, it is quite plain that the CURE is in the PREVENTION. We KNOW the things that cause cancer, yet few people heed the warnings and CHANGE their lifestyles! Now I know that there are others out there who already HAVE aggressive cancers and may need the use of drugs to save their lives NOW. I get that. And I’m all for that if that is what’s necessary to save someone’s life. But I want to contribute to a cause that is for EDUCATION in PREVENTION of cancer, not giving money to make more drugs! Now, I must admit, I haven’t looked into exactly where the money goes of the funds raised from RFL, but my gut tells me it’s MOSTLY going to Big Pharma. I should actually look into it.
    Also, at these events they have complete JUNK FOOD they are feeding to participants and the children that come out since it is touted as a “family affair.” Candy, soda, popcorn, etc. Breakfasts of pancakes with Mrs. Butterworth’s sugary syrup. It made my stomach turn last year and I was deeply disturbed. On top of that, the water they were putting into ice chests out on the track for the walkers was WARM from sitting in the sun. I’m thinking, “We’re walking for cancer and at the same time these people are ingesting BPA. There’s something very wrong here!”
    I began to pray to God to show me how I could help the cancer problem in a more positive way that did not conflict my spirit.
    So just a few days ago, my mum mentioned it was time to start the RFL meetings and I kind of rolled my eyes (not in disrespect, understand, but in frustration). I began, very gently, to tell her how I felt about RFL and that I wanted to support her in her fight back but that I was having this conflict. She listened very politely, and asked some questions. We didn’t see eye to eye on EVERYTHING, but she did AGREE with me that it bothered her too, to see all the junk food that was around and stuff.
    We talked for quite a while and she came up with the idea of doing a nutrition and prevention education booth. I has thought of something similar in the past but didn’t think she would be interested in doing something like that. I was still a little leery about being associated with RFL but she made an excellent point: The very people who are uninformed and who might be willing to change BECAUSE their lives have been so closely touched by cancer are the people at this event! What a ripe harvest to really get a chance to talk to the people about this and speak the TRUTH!
    Now… I’m curious to see if we will meet opposition. So far, we plan on having a booth with stations, talking to people about the role nutrition plays in the prevention of cancer, education on cell phone radiation, and information on thermograms. I think there will be a good chance they could shut us down but BRING IT ON!!! As it is, our city’s even is so unorganized it’s likely we could fly under the radar. Hopefully. We shall see.
    Once we talked about this, I began to get excited about the relay, or the opportunity I should say, to possibly help educate people on some of this stuff. So that’s how we’re addressing this issue as of right now.

  45. Wow, thank you everyone for sharing what you do to support people without supporting groups that do things you don’t agree with. I’ve been anonymously donating money and Whole Foods gift cards to people in need I find through my church but I’ve been looking for other ways to help. I’m sorry to say I’m not the one to donate to Amy (you have a wonderful story that your daughter will inspire people with every time you and her tell it), but I’m glad someone stepped in to give a helping hand. I’m especially inspired by Tara Marie Rosas’ idea of creating a nutrition and prevention booth at a RFL event. I have a dear friend who is a marketer for a health and wellness magazine and heavily into real food and alternative medicine. I can totally see her pulling together her contacts to create a booth with books, food, and gift certificates to help participants prevent getting the disease. If the organizations won’t focus more on prevention it really is up to us to help guide people, even if it is only one at a time.

  46. I wrote a post about this very subject on my web site in May, and I feel very strongly that the main goal of fundraisers is to generate more $$ for drugs, procedures, and surgery. I know there are some people who vehemently disagree with this viewpoint, and that’s okay with me. But I have had some very negative experiences in relation to breast health that I shared on another post I wrote last fall about mammograms. I had and still have a breast lump that I have been unable to remedy, and the doctors I saw for this problem starting 6 years ago never had any solutions for me except to keep sending me back for more mammograms. The findings were not cancerous, at the time I was under 40, and had no history of breast cancer in my family, and yet they insisted that I continue to have mammograms done. Since that time I have stopped seeking the care of allopathic medicine and have completely switched to alternative and complimentary care, and although I’m still looking for a way to solve my breast cyst problem, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life due to my diet and lifestyle choices.

    Here is my fund-raising post, which received a number of comments:

    And the mammogram post:

    Thanks, Kelly, for covering this important topic! :)

  47. One of the evolutions that I would like to see in the Real Foods movement and the Weston Price Foundation is the development of ways for noobs like me to objectively measure the health of our immune systems. Immune systems that can effectively resist cancer, heart disease, colds, flu, & etc.

    Sure, I do the Real Food stuff, but I still get colds (I have one now). If I get colds, then I have no basis for believing I can resist worse.

    Make sense?

  48. @Pavil:
    1. We shrug at colds because they are more of an aggravation than a major malady–but that does not mean that some of the viruses that cause them aren’t very aggressive ones!
    2. Even if you still catch colds, you may well catch fewer of them.
    3. Many viruses and bacteria that cause more severe problems are simply not as easy to catch as cold viruses (they are less aggressive). Otherwise, we would ALL get them. For example: a year and a half ago, my husband, run down from working 2 jobs and not eating properly, managed to catch MRSA, which put him in the hospital for a week and kept him laid up for about another 6. But everyone else in the house, including me, the 20 month-old, and the 4 month-old, was eating better & not burning the candle at both ends–and did not get sick.

  49. I had the benefit of working for a doctor at the forefront of Naturopathic Oncology. Her specialty was breast cancer & she ran a research center at Bastyr. The vast majority of her patients received chemo and/or radiation. It was the exception when a patient refused conventional treatment. I watched patients die who refused to augment their care with conventional treatment and I watched her frustration at the situation. That isn’t to say that patients who chose a blended course of treatment didn’t die because they did, but those that I saw who refused chemo/radiation had an exceptionally difficult time. She cared very deeply for every one of her patients (like I said, it was an absolute honor to work for her). She believed that her role was to supplement the job of chemo and to repair the patient’s body of the inevitable damage left behind. And of course to prevent a recurrence (her patients make at least annual visits once they’ve been in a long period of remission). She did a lot of work with mushrooms (visit
    However, something that should be noted about cancer among certain demographics: there has been an astounding rate of Naturopathic Oncologists that contracted (yes, I used the word contracted because many believe there may be a viral component to cancer) cancer. Them, their spouses, etc. All who have lived a textbook healthy life. Sadly one of the doctors I worked with passed from an extremely aggressive form of a rare cancer. She sought treatment from the best of the best in both western & natural medicine but she didn’t make it. Years ago we would have laughed at the suggestion that you could “catch” cancer but now we understand that HPV (contracted through sexual intercourse) is the virus responsible for cervical cancer. We are so far from knowing anything about cancer and the research, even though most charities that fund the research encourage chemo, are vital to learning what makes this plague tick. I coordinated care for patients that were apart of her research studies and some were getting their care, housing, gas, food, etc paid for in full by such funds. They would’ve died otherwise.
    I agree that education is a vital step in changing the pandemic that cancer has turned into. Unfortunately, I’ve read to many post by RF bloggers that “bulldoze”, bully, and look down upon people who aren’t as educated as them. It needs to be with a kind, loving hand that this message is spread. I’m newish to the ‘movement’, for lack of a better word, and I find it terribly off putting when I read post that make me feel ‘less than. Save the angst, anger, and “passion” for the corporations.
    That being said Kelly, I think you have done a terrific job at being honest and kind. I’m sorry you may have lost a friend by your misstep. Learn from this that there are hot button topics and that not everyone has had the benefit of hearing what you have. Especially in a situation like this when you’re basically telling her that she is probably responsible for giving herself cancer, made it worse by her choice of treatment, and her goal to help others isn’t worthwhile (major oops!). I want to encourage you to keep up the work you’re doing and I hope other bloggers will learn from your mistake and model themselves accordingly. All things aside you really are doing a good job.
    Best wishes,
    Morgan D.

  50. Wowser, are all these comments fascinating or WHAT?!! I hope they keep coming, I am learning SO much, and from both sides, too – love it.

    Morgan, you shared a lot of good points. I honestly don’t think I’ve lost my friend over this, at least I sure hope not, but I’m letting things go for a bit and will call her later and apologize again. I certainly hope she didn’t think I was saying any of those things you mentioned (“that she is probably responsible for giving herself cancer, made it worse by her choice of treatment, and her goal to help others isn

  51. HPV does NOT cause cervical cancer. There are many, many strains of it and only a few MIGHT be implicated. Primarily cervical cancer comes from other things, though.

    Also a lot of people DO know why cancer happens, and how. There’s plenty of research to suggest that the body being too acid, not allowing lymph fluids to flow and exit (constrictive bras, antiperspirants, lack of exercise), overconsumption of sugar/refined grains, and other facets of our modern lifestyle are what cause cancer. I read some articles on these today! So to say “We just have no idea,” well, that’s a mainstream thing. But it’s not true. There are many, many great books, articles and the like out there where real cancer research has been done. One person left a comment over at my site that her mother was cured of cancer using baking soda alone (well, and diet, but no chemo or radiation)! Yes — really!

    I think the reason people who seek complementary care seem to die is because they’re not going far enough. They’re not addressing the real underlying causes. If you’re using certain herbs but you’re not addressing the sugar/candida issue, no good. You know? There’s an entire world of alternative medicine out there and you have to study it thoroughly and go see someone who’s heavily trained in that area if you want to do any real good. Otherwise it’s the same as seeing any other doctor who is not well-versed: the outcome is not so good.

  52. I feel similarly; in fact, my husband and I have been having quite a few conversations lately, so how funny for you to post this now. I feel like these big non-profits are really not working toward a cure, but for management. I have the same problem with the JDRF; in fact, I read an article last year about how a researcher tried to get funding for them as he felt he had found a cure, and they shut him down! Type 1 diabetes is a cash cow for pHARMa, I guess, and these non-profits are riding the gravy train.

  53. @Kate
    It was my intention to imply that ALL strains of HPV cause cervical cancer, so if that’s how it was read then I apologize. I’m more than aware of the fact that there are many strains. I’m also aware that once infected with HPV a healthy immune system will eradicate the virus within 2 years. That’s not to say that there isn’t a viral component. There is, but we don’t know how extensive it is. My point was to illustrate that people, even Doctors, who lead exemplary lives are getting cancer. I’m of the opinion that research is important even though some of the avenues in which to contribute are flawed. I hope that people find a way to contribute in a way that makes them comfortable. I personally disagree with some of the actions of SGK so I choose to donate elsewhere.

    I believe the doctor’s I worked for wrote the book on being thorough, haha. The gamut of tests, many of which seems totally unrelated at first, is actually very impressive once you begin to understand how everything in the body is related. Their principle in treatment is always to discover and target the underlying cause of any illness. All the doctors that worked there went about that in very different ways. Some prescribed herbs, some acupuncture, some cranio-sacral therapy, some with medical Qigong, some solely through diet (focusing on food allergies, as well as deficiencies & toxicities), etc. What I learned is that there is no ONE right way. There are many paths to achieve healing and any ND worth their salt will tell you that half the battle is in the mind. I agree that chemo and other conventional therapies are horribly toxic poisons and if I find I have cancer I will seek an ND first but sometimes an aggressive approach is needed. I lost my Dad to cancer when I was 6 1/2 so I know first hand what it looks like to watch someone be eaten alive by tumors. I pray that a true cure will be discovered soon. I think that’s what is important and what we should focus on. I think we agree on that :)

  54. @Morgan, I loved your comment and I think it is very informative. I would liek to reiterate the esteem with which Bastyr is held in the naturopathic college community. It really is one of the best programs out there. I have long considered going back there for my OMD because of the oncology focus and the integration of Eastern and Western Medicine.

    What I find ironic is the one thing that bothers me most about Susan G. Komen (for all that will stand by what they do for low income women and continue to donate for that reason) has never been mentioned here.

  55. Hey guys, I just found a comment in my spam for this post (from you Alex – sorry, I don’t know why it went there!) and a couple more in my “pending” folder. Not sure why the snags, but I’ve got them all posted now!


  56. Kelly, you are doing a great job! I have followed your blog and many others for several months now, but have never felt the need to join in, until now. I have been in alternative and prevention medicine all of my life. The only doctor I ever really knew as a child was DOCTOR MOM. I am one of the lucky ones and have been married to a very progressive Chiropractor for 40 years. He has been in private practice 30 + years. The reason he chose this profession was because of me. I had a few health issues the we couldn’t seem to get under control (not bad ones, but they needed to be addressed or I’m sure they could have progressed into something major over time.) In our state he is allowed to do nutrition (not all states allow this). He is very dedicated to his patients and has continued to research and study anything he can get his hands on, this takes up most of his spare time. And of course in the process I have learned right along with him (side benefit). I must agree with Robin, if you want to lean more about cancer, please, please, study about vitamin D3. I have seen wonderful things happen in our office with the use of D3. It is worth anyone’s time to research and learn about. Yes it is very difficult to try to educate when there is so much propaganda out there against natural and preventive health. We have walked lightly for years trying to get this message out to who ever will listen. There are some great studies and research about Vitamin D3 and breast cancer and other cancers. I’m not saying that D3 is the only answer, but I am saying I will never go with out my daily dose. There is a multitude of different things that can cause cancers. For example estrogen dominance. Since estrogen is all around us all of the time it is hard to avoid. (plastics and etc.) Even though we eat healthy and exercise, our bodies still need a little help to push us over those bumps in the road that we encounter at times. I wish more people would get involved with learning how they can prevent disease instead of waiting until it is too late to do any thing about it. I truly applaud all of the blogs that are trying so hard to get the message out that there IS a better and healthier way to live, I’m sure that I won’t see it in my lifetime, but I am confident that the tide will turn hopefully for our children. And by the way I do not buy into mammograms. I don’t have much faith in western medicine, I have seen too much in the last 30 some years of the effects it has had on so very many people. And of course natural/preventive is my choice and I am not telling any one else that it is the only way to go, that must be their call. I know it has served me very well for over half of a century, and my quality of life has been excellent. Again Kelly thank you for all you do.

    P.S. Cancers really can be prevented with knowledge.

  57. Hi Kelly, coming in late to the conversation. I’ve read a few comments, haven’t yet checked out your links, but I’ve felt the same for a long time. I don’t donate to these places. I understand there are many approaches to which cancer treatment should be used for this or that situation, but I also know cancer isn’t something that will be cured with a pill, and I think that’s what these research efforts are about, finding a miracle pill. Also I am closely involved with the non-profit world, and may I, very non-politically correctly, say, it seems the people that run these things are rarely business minded, ie, the money doesn’t get handled well, and not much ends up getting done according to the goal for the fundraising.

    I would gladly give out of my means to support individual families, those going through the struggle, or for furthering education about natural healing and treatment options that have proven effective, but not these types of organizations that are trying to find miracle cures and throw away millions of dollars on fruitless research.

    But you didn’t hear it from me 😉 I too have been sorely misunderstood.


    I am sorry if this is out of place, I don’t have time to read this entire comment section, but for myself, I don’t believe in mammograms, I don’t believe in testing At All. “Seek and ye shall find”, means to me, if you go looking for cancer a few times a year, there is a good chance you will find it. And the degree to which the medical industry is Wrong in diagnosis and treatment !!

    Pursuing health is the answer in my opinion, and since I never see doctors, am never sick, and spend my time and money on God-given ‘medicine’, i.e. diet and exercise, I don’t live in fear that I am mistaken.

    oops, got excited there, but I am excited to have found your website and look forward to reading more. :o)

  59. I just wanted to say that our close family friend was recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, about 6 months ago, that hat metasticised into her bones. She had 4 and 5 inch long tumors removed from both femurs, and several removed from her breasts. She decided she did not want to do chemo or radiation, and visited a naturo-path, who had her radically change her diet. As of this past week, she is cancer free, her only “medicine” having been changing her diet, and it only took 6 months. If that doesn’t speak for its self, nothing will.

  60. Hi All,
    I’m going to be a bit cheeky and re-post something that I wrote on a previous post from Kelly (…/2009/03/hormone-replacement-and-breast-cancer-risks.html?, I hope that is OK.
    My mum (I

    Abortion and Breast Cancer:
    Scientific research does not support a link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer later in life, researchers at a National Cancer Institute concluded at the end of a special workshop on Feb. 26, 2003. Participants concluded that studies that claimed a connection between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer were “flawed.” Larger better-designed studies indicate NO link. more

    Swedish Study

    Since 1994, several exhaustive studies have found no tie between abortion and breast cancer. A 30-year Swedish study of 49,000 women indicated no link between abortion and breast cancer. Furthermore, the Swedish study did not suffer from an inaccurate reporting of medical histories because it was based on a national medical registry in Sweden and not based on interviews.

    Largest Study Ever in Denmark, 1997

    Published in 1997, a study from Denmark indicates no increased risk for women who had abortions when they analyzed medical histories of more than 1.5 million women. This larger more comprehensive study is persuasive because it does not rely upon interviews. Data came from Denmark’s national health records, thereby eliminating the possibility of “recall bias.” The study showed that even women who had two or more abortions were no more likely than those who never had an abortion to develop breast cancer.

    The Danish study analyzed the abortion histories of 10,246 women with breast cancer among 1,529,512 women. A total of 370,715 abortions occurred in 280,965 women. Among the 2.3% of women who had abortions after the first trimester (after 12 weeks), the researchers found a gradually increasing risk of breast cancer as the stage of pregnancy advanced. However, researchers concluded that the actual number of women with second trimester abortions was too small to warrant a firm conclusion. In Denmark, abortions are both legal and free, so there are fewer reasons for women to have abortions after 18 weeks unless there are other medical problems. These other problems might themselves be the cause of the increased cancer rate.

    Interestingly, women who had abortions prior to seven weeks of pregnancy actually showed a slightly decreased risk of developing breast cancer. But again, the actual number of women in this category is very small.

    Also in January 1997, a Netherlands Cancer Institute study documented the existence of “recall bias” and concluded it was a significant factor affecting early studies on the link between abortion and breast cancer.

    Other Published Reports: According to findings published in the January 2000 issue of Epidemiology, women who have had an induced abortion are at no more risk for breast cancer than their counterparts who did not have an abortion. Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health-Division of Epidemiology and the Mayo Clinic examined a study sample of 1986-1995 data from 37,247 Iowa Women’s Health Study participants ages 55-64, who, at the 1986 baseline, reported no history of breast cancer. Through 1995, 653 women underwent an induced abortion. The authors found that the age-adjusted relative risk of breast cancer among women with prior induced abortion was no greater than those who had never undergone an abortion, nor did the risk increase with increasing numbers of induced abortions. There were 438 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 person-years among women who reported they did have an abortion, compared to 392 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 person-years for women who did not have abortions. (Lazovich et al., Epidemiology, 1/00 issue). As reported by the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, Jan. 25, 2000.

    Political Fallout

    Anti-abortion groups are constantly searching for ways to frighten women away from choosing abortion. In fact, anti-abortion groups are the only ones actually telling women to avoid abortion as a means of protecting against breast cancer. They have even proposed legislation to require that women seeking abortion be informed of studies showing an increased risk for breast cancer. This legislation is particularly dangerous because it does nothing to help women understand the true causes of breast cancer, nor does it help an individual woman understand her own risk .

    The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society agree that concerns about breast cancer should not influence a women’s decision about abortion.

    See the NAF (National Abortion Federation) website for further analysis of the breast cancer studies.

    According to the New England Journal of Medicine, published in 1997, induced abortions have no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer, based upon a review of the study in Denmark of 1.5 million women.

    For more information about Breast Health

    Breast cancer is a serious health concern for women. We encourage women to learn all they can about breast cancer prevention and to practice regular self breast exam to know what is normal or what is a change for yourself. Loving our bodies, loving our breasts, and taking care of ourselves is a first step all women can take.

    Breast cancer and environmental toxins

    National Breast Cancer Coalition

    National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations

    Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization

    Cancer Prevention Ideas at

    Center for Reproductive Law and Policy – “Beyond the Cancer Myth” shows how the anti-choice movement is using an unproven and untrue theory in court cases and legislation restricting access to abortion.

    • Hi Valerie,

      Have you read “Unplanned”?

      Because any studies can always be skewed no matter what side you’re on, I only give limited credit to what this or that study says, and instead go more by common sense. Whether or not breast cancer is linked to women having abortions, one thing for sure is that it’s *always* fatal for the baby. :(

      Instead of going too far off-topic here, if anyone wants to discuss the topic of abortion, feel free to go to my post I recently wrote on the book, “Unplanned”, at my other blog:

      Thanks, Kelly

  62. I never support these types of charities, for reasons you and Kate mentioned, but for an additional reason. The vast majority of their medical research is done on mice or rats, which I’m sure is great for curing rodents of the cancer they’ve been artificially given, but just does not further a cure for humans. This has been shown time and time again in all aspects of medical research; the most telling fact is the huge percentage of drugs that are yanked from the market because they passed animals trials but didn’t work for humans. I believe it is high time we stopped wasting time experimenting on animals and got busy using the better alternatives that will actually cure humans. Until this happens (which will, unfortunately, have to involve action by Congress) I will only support alternative research companies like Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine.

  63. I would never do traditional cancer treatments. The chemo will kill you…toxins! There are many great alternative treatments…I’ve heard of the Gerson Therapy and others. Read Outsmart Your Cancer and Knockout – both books on alternative cancer treatments. I truly believe $$$ is wasted on “cancer research” because I believe it comes from what we eat, drink and put on our skin and what has been put in us from shots and vaccines! Big pharma will never “find a cure”!

  64. I did what you did, but I’m not on the fence. The world’s wisest cancer researchers and experts say that the conventional treatment doesn’t work. Here are some quotes I’ve gathered:

    “What has been happening to our ability to treat and cure cancers over all this time? In the 1960

    • Maria,

      I don’t doubt that all those quotes from that book are true, but here’s what keeps me on the fence: just as we all know people who have died from cancer after conventional treatments, most of us also know people who were healed using conventional treatments… It’s so confusing because like you said, non-conventional therapies are not accepted or studied, so for all we know, they probably COULD have a just as good or better success rate, but since the money isn’t there, we’ll probably never know. That’s why it’s so frustrating – if myself or someone close to me had cancer, I couldn’t listen to docs who only know about conventional treatments, and I couldn’t listen to all those saying “conventional treatments will kill you!” because there aren’t enough solid reports or studies on alternative therapies either! Our only choice would be to ask God for guidance and then start researching like crazy. To do this when your emotions are probably a wreck would likely be the biggest challenge I’d ever face.

  65. I know it is every one’s right to treatment of choice. But I can attest that the articles that Maria is quoting from in my opinion is sound. I have studied alternative medicine for years, and have seen first hand in our clinic the results of both medical and alternative medicine for cancer. I definitely chose alternative. With both treatments, life style MUST change. There is no magic bullet even tho every one thinks there should be. We must all take responsibility for our own actions and that includes the type of treatment that we chose. I have not been to a medical doctor in 50 years and I see no reason to start now. We all have our own time line and when it is up, it’s up no matter what you do. What I do know is that the quality of life is so much better for people that chose alternative over conventional treatment. Pin pointed radiation therapy is not quite as bad, although it still kills all of the cells it comes in contact with. But chemo is a whole different ball game. It touches every cell in your entire body nothing is left untouched. Chemo doesn’t care if the cell is cancer or not it just kills. Years ago they did studies and published reports stating that chemo did not work and was not effective in the treatment of cancer, but yet it continued to be used. $$$ That study seemed to just disappear. But I read it and so did a lot of other people.
    The reason there are not many solid reports or studies on alternative therapies is because they silence them. In Maria’s articles it even states this. This has been going on for years and years. Why do you think they would want the studies to be published? Follow the money trail and you will learn why. I have read tons of studies on the subject. Your local news isn’t going to tell you about them. And if by chance one slips through it will be silenced very quickly!! They played the same game with the great Homeopathic doctors. It was not in the best interest of the medical and pharmaceuticals to let them stay in business. So they silenced them. There are still some that buck the system, they are called quacks.
    No drug or doctor has ever cured any thing, the process can be slowed down or covered up be not cured. Those that say they were cured are deceived there is a lot more to it then the drug they took. Any doctor that claims they cure is lying to you. The disease is still there waiting to rear it’s ugly head given the right opportunity. My brother is a prime example he had cancer, they told him he was cured and he lived that magic number of 5 years. Guess what in the 6th year another cancer popped up in another area. He went through the whole surgery, chemo thing, it didn’t work, all it did is make him so miserable and sick all of the time. He continues to fight it to this day.
    I know when people get scared they will do almost any thing, but for me conventional treatment would definitely not be my choice. I am not a fence hanger on this, I have seen to much of it in my life time.
    Of course this is strictly just my opinion and my choice.
    Kudos to Maria for taking the time to share her research.

  66. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and I like the awareness it brings to a certain extent. I agree with most of what you said, not sure that I agree with everything, but that’s okay:) I love that this post chanllenges me to know what I stand for and why! Thank you for this!

  67. I’m so with you on this… it isn’t like we all aren’t aware of breast cancer. Wearing a pink ribbon doesn’t cure it. And honestly, it ruffles my feathers that cancers that affect men aren’t promoted equally. Reverse sexism in my opinion.

  68. I lost my mother to cancer five years ago. When she was diagnosed, I was against traditional treatment options, but ultimately let her make the decision. It was of course, hers to make. The doctors said she had 6 months to live without treatment and could probably double it by getting chemo and radiation. My mother died one week short of 6 months from her diagnosis, and she was miserable the entire time. She suffered horribly from the chemo treatments and couldn’t keep any food down, no matter how nourishing. Having watched her slowly poisoned by these “treatments,” I can say with some certainty that this is not the answer, and is certainly no “cure.”

    Personally I don’t really support any type of medical research. I believe in going back to traditional wisdom and treatments that have been used and tested for thousands of years, instead of just a few. If it weren’t for the modern food and drug industry, the rate of cancer would not be anywhere near as bad as it is now.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts on this sensitive subject. Let’s remember that although we all have different opinions and values, we are all one and our lives and actions touch the lives of everyone. Make the best choices you can for yourself. Slowly our world will change.

  69. I commented about this back when it was originally published (It was a very interesting conversation then and I’m sure it will prove the same if it picks up).
    I hope those that disagree with SGK would consider donating elsewhere. Here is a link to some of the current complimentary and alternative therapy studies being conducted. I hope one, if not more, piques your interest and you’d considering contributing. Another way to contribute is to specifically donate to the charities that cover other care cost such as housing, transportation, etc.

    Here’s a link to give those wanting to research CAM a good jumping off point,

    God bless!

  70. And I’m a bit biased because I’ve been fortunate enough to work with three of these lovely individuals for a few years (Standish, Sweet, and Seet), but trust me when I say that they’re completely vested in making a difference and saving lives! And if any of you are in the PNW and looking for cancer care-I HIGHLY recommended Bastyr.

  71. I’m so glad someone is willing to open this conversation. Just because there is a common foe (cancer) doesn’t mean there is an accepted way to go about treating it.

    Getting annual mammograms increases your risk of getting a cancer. Prostate PSA tests are known for giving a lot of false positives. These tests and procedures are not themselves without risk, and I’m sorry to say it, but the general public is not educated enough to make these decisions. I say that as someone who had to make a crazy medical decision while I was breastfeeding my daughter.

    Why isn’t anyone talking about dietary connections to cancers? Instead of slapping a #$%@ing pink ribbon on a cereal box, why isn’t anyone wondering why hunter-gatherer societies never knew breast cancer? Or how the Inuit now have breast cancers after being inundated by Western foods? Or how tumors use glucose from healthy cells to fuel themselves? Or how thermography is better at finding breast cancer tumors earlier than a mammogram?

    If you truly support breast cancer research, then get on board with prevention and what can actually address the root cause instead of some cutesy, hypocritical, bloated, bureaucratic campaign.

  72. I’ve seen numerous times in the comments things along the lines of “why is no one talking about nutrition or prevention?!?” People, that is NOT the case. There are TONS of people talking about those things-they just don’t have a ribbon on toilet paper or football players. Rather then spend our energy tearing down a flawed institution why don’t we uplift those who are trying to make a difference?!?! (see above links for a starting point) Isn’t that a more productive use of our time & resources? These men and women who are in the fights of their lives need hope! If you feel that hope is best delivered through nutrition or alternative means then PLEASE do something positive about it instead of just bitching about how screwed up everything else is. Check out the links I posted above, do your own research, volunteer, JUST DO SOMETHING! If you feel moved enough to criticize the current institutes then why not channel that into some good. We have the ability to make a difference!!! Otherwise might I suggest that you continue doing what works for you and your loved ones and allow those who are trying to make a difference do it to their best, albeit flawed, abilities.
    If your not going to vote, so to speak, then do you really have a right to criticize the current government? Don’t forget that you have power and can make a difference!

  73. I was directed to this post by Dynomom ( and figured I’d throw in my expert 2 cents.

    I used to research Planned Parenthood full time and still regularly write and speak about the organization. For those wondering, Komen absolutely gives money to Planned Parenthood each year.

    Here is a breakdown of the money that Komen gave to PP in 2010:

    The fact that hormonal contraception, something which makes up the great majority of PP’s business, is clearly identified by organizations such as the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society as highly carcinogenic should raise red flags for those seeking an end to cancer. Frankly its a stupid (let alone immoral) thing for Komen to give money to a business that dispenses cancer causing chemicals in an attempt to “find a cure.”

    I’m not outright opposed to donating to cancer research organizations etc. but, as with all things, you’ve got to do your homework. And I for one will not be giving any of my money to Komen just so it can be passed on to Planned Parenthood, a big business that makes money by selling drugs that have been clearly identified as causing cancer.

  74. One of the reasons I don’t donate to the breast cancer research stuff is because of all of the experimentation done, by big pharmaceutical companies, on women in developing countries. Many women in other nations have been treated so horribly. They’ve even been left with Norplant birth control in their bodies, long after Norplant was deemed unsafe. I fear for my fellow women in the world. I fear for their safety so that my own can be ensured.

  75. I am a big fan of Suzanne Somers. This chick knows her stuff. She has been researching health with the most advanced, forward thinking docs in the world. She knows that the Western standard of health care is killing us and goes out and finds doctors who think outside the box for superior health. She also eats like us! If you are not familiar with her work then I suggest you borrow “Ageless” or “Breakthrough” from the library. I guarantee you will end up buying a copy for yourself. There is that much info packed into these books.

    As a breast cancer survivor, Suzanne is often asked why she never participates in “The Race for the Cure.” But the reason she doesn’t support it is because she thinks that the millions of dollars being thrown into it are going towards the wrong thing. Of course, she wants a cure, but her research has made her think a step further: What the hell is the CAUSE of any kind of cancer? She has been called many names for not supporting the whole Komen cause, but I have to agree with her. No one is ever going to find a cure because cancer makes $200 billion dollars a year. Suzanne would rather support those who will search for the cause because she believes that is how we will finally help so many people. Suzanne, BTW, is now cancer free from using Iscador (mistletoe) and still uses it to this day. It is a superior immune system builder. Thomas Cowan from the WPF is also a believer in Isacdor’s efficiency.

    And lastly, watch the movie, “Cut, Poison, Burn.” It is a REAL eye opener on what is happeing in the current cancer industry.

  76. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone with my politically incorrect thoughts. I’m a “breast cancer survivor” and by that I mean that I managed to survive the treatment of breast cancer. 2 years ago I had bilateral mastectomy, then started taking the chemo pills I was supposed to take for 5 years. In 5 months, I could no longer get up off the floor without help. After doing considerable research, I discovered that those pills were likely to kill me long before the cancer. So I stopped and have not gone back to a doctor that would suggest I take that poison again. I do what I can with diet/exercise and never get stressed about anything. Quality has become more important to me than quantity. I had my d3 levels checked on my own, and they were a 21. duh. I’m a little angry not one of the docs ever suggested checking them.

    I think that breast cancer will go down as one of the biggest scams of our time. They are not interested in finding a “cure” as there is way too much money involved. If they knew tomorrow that grapefruit cured cancer they would never tell us. I often wonder how many women die of breast cancer vs how many die from the treatment of breast cancer. I believe that Dr. Gerson had the answer 40 years ago, and they know it.

    I suppose I’m bitter, and this has tainted my view of doctors, big pharma and western medicine in general. I fight to find some balance and pray for the wisdom to accept when there is something they might help me with.. but with vaccines, flu shots, prozac and all the other nonsense they push on us, it’s not easy.

    I also know that everyone is entitled to, and should make their own decisions about what treatment they want/need, and try to be respectful of that. Usually, I just try to keep my mouth shut and keep my feelings about it all to myself, so thank you for letting me get this off my chest.. my husband typically advises me not to take my rant to the facebook wall, or to the people that think because of my situation I want to contribute to the Pink Ribbon causes that I have such an aversion to… it’s not easy.

  77. Very interesting…. This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately as I have a cousin that is dying from metastisized breast cancer – she went the chemo route.

  78. I couldn’t agree more with you, Jana! I am a cancer survivor who will never have another mammogram and encourage my friends to reconsider the archaic process. Six months after a ‘clean’ mammogram at the age of 42 I discovered a lemon-sized mass in my left breast. After three invasive procedures my breast was removed. If I had only known then what I know now I never would have let them cut a part of my body away to ‘cure’ me.

    I am of the camp that the mammogram was the actual irritant that aggravated a small area of compromised cells and resulted in the diagnosis of carcinoma-in situ, a non-invasive form of cancer that I now believe could have been resolved by correcting vitamin/mineral deficiencies. There research on the net that affirm this thought, yet the medical community is focused on therapies that destroy more than they heal.

    My distaste for the ‘pink’ campaign and other ‘pro’ cancer efforts is the fear they instill. Thank you, Kelly, and your blogger friends for encouraging us to take control of our own health and educating us on ways to avoid the mainstream ways of manipulating us for $$.

  79. I want to add my 2 cents before I read what everyone else has written. This is such a difficult topic, and I think a lot of the issue comes from fear. We hear about breast cancer for a whole month every year as well as seeing it all around us for the other 11 months of the year. There is so much fear about getting breast cancer or other types of cancer.

    If getting a mammogram made you feel more secure then great. I just asked my new doctor about them and she said she thinks that they give them too often. Although she said thermography also has its downfall, she still likes that route too. In your other post, you mentioned the expense, but really, it’s worth it, and I think it does give piece of mind.

    I can’t stand the Susan B. Komen organization because of how it’s a money maker. There is a documentary about it called Pink, Inc. I think.

    Anyway, we all have to make our choices; I just wish that fear didn’t drive so many, especially around this issue.

  80. Drop “ALL” sugars and grains from your diet… “NO” carbs… none… Eat only alkaline producing foods… cancer can not live in an alkaline environment and if you go on a cationic diet it will starve the cancer out. The cancer needs food and lives off of carbs.

  81. My mom has breast cancer and has been treating herself since diagnosed 5 years ago. What type of breast cancer is it? Look into iodine. <3

  82. Check out the fb page Alternative Health Solutions. Also read her book Defeat Cancer Now.

  83. Don’t eat sugar in any form. Cancer needs sugar to grow. Eat only vegetables, fish, brown rice, miso, organic chicken, fish oil, flax, chia, nuts and fermented foods and some low glycemic fruits.. etc. Also do some online research on 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide. It’s amazing! Good luck!

  84. No sugar any limit fruit off the bat. I suggest reading Suzanne Somers book Knockout!!

    Also, do not wear deodorant and use bentonite clay masks under arms. It’s a start….my heart goes out to you.
    Trust Jesus as your savior. If we must leave this life at some time, what could be more comforting than knowing you are entering into His heaven. Be absolutely sure you are sure. Even If you live another 50 years this will be the only assurance your family can be comforted by. Praying for you.

  85. Oh I forgot….take bentonite clay internally it is the best at making you alkaline. But you must drink ALOT of water.

  86. I just finished reading Dr. Fuhrman’s “Super Immunity” and found it very interesting. The overall message is more about prevention than treatment, but he does address reversal of disease states, including breast cancer, throughout the book.

  87. The dietary suggestions are awesome, so I’m going to skip that and move to dietary supplement suggestions: Selenium methionine: turns on tumor suppressing genes, 300% per day. Blue Violet leaf tea: Used traditionally to treat breast lumps and tumors, 4 cups per day. Calc Flour 6x homeopathic Cell Salt: Chief mineral combination that rules that breast tissue, 4 tablets, 4 times per day. IODINE FROM KELP: regulates potassium in the body, great for breast tumors and lumps: 2000 – 3000% per day, rub on breast tissue and arm pits. Essiac Tea: Anti-cancer tea, look up on-line and find directions on how to make: take 4 cups per day, or take it in herbal/capsule form. There is a root cause to the cancer, it could be metals (do you or have you ever had mercury fillings, have you used aluminum based products?- if so get the fillings out by a dentist who understands the dangers of mercury, and do a heavy metal detox), or estrogen like compounds from plastic/shampoos/birth control pills etc – Indole 3 Carbinol can pull these out of the system. Red Clover herb will clean the blood and allow nutrition to get into the area that needs healing, it is also used by traditional herbalist to heal cancer of the breast tissue. Stick to a HIGH FAT DIET. Super ORAC by Natures Sunshine, or another high anti-oxidant supplement would greatly benefit your body. Frankincense essential oil – rub onto breast tissue. Find a Naturopath that can help you sort through things :)

  88. For sure, drop ALL sugar from your diet and don’t jump into treatment too soon. Check out all avenues, especially holistic. Maybe read Suzanne Somers book, “Knockout.” In it, she talks about her own cancer battle and also speaks with numerous holistic doctors about what they are doing for their patients…

  89. Soy is bad for breast cancer patients too. I don’t remember the science of it, but it it has something to do with estrogen receptors.

  90. If it was me, I’d be taking genuine Frankincense essential oil. I can get you more information, if you pm me.

  91. A good book on Breast Cancer alternative and complimentary medicine is “Breast Cancer: Beyond Convention” Edited by Mary Tagliaferri, MD, LAc, Issac Cohen, OMD,LAc, and Debu Tripathy, MD. I learned much and the naturopath I saw was impressed with my knowledge of what suppliments were essential to take during the biopsy process, treatment, and for prevention, etc. Sadly, I didn’t know about the book until I had a diagnosis and was reading everything I could put my hands on…..In this day and age, it is no longer ‘daddy doctor knows best’ you need to know what you want and need to become informed of what is out there treatment-wise.

  92. Books…. One In Three, Real Hope For Cancer by Kathleen Austin….. Living Proof by John Cirocco…. You Can Cure Cancer by Ian Gawler…. Cancer Proof Your Body by Ross Horne….. The Breuss Cancer Cure by Rudolph Breuss…… The Sir Jason Winters Story by Jason Winters….. The Holistic Approach to Cancer by Ian Pearce… The Cure for All Cancers by Hulda Clark…. The Grape Cure by Joanna Brandt…. The Complete Cancer Cleanse by Calbom & Mahaffey…. Heal Cancer by Dr Ruth Cilento… Shattering the Cancer Myth by Katrina Ellis… Cancer, Causes and Cure by Percy Weston… How to Fight Cancer and Win by William L Fischer….. A Cancer Therapy by Max Gerson…. Outsmart Your Cancer by Tanya Harter Pierce….

  93. Not sure if vitamin D was mentioned or not, but that is hugely important when it comes to preventing and treating cancers, including breast cancer. has a lot of info on it. Including therapeutic blood levels to try to reach if dealing with cancer. I know that recently there has been some discussion on the need for balancing vitamin D with K2, so high vitamin butter oil combined with fermented cod liver oil is one idea for getting all of that at once. Also, sunshine is free and far more abundant this time of year, and is of course sort of the ultimate source as long as you’re not covered in sunscreen. I would also look into medicinal mushrooms, as some have extremely potent anti-cancer components. Maitake mushrooms are used for breast cancer specifically, but my understanding is that combinations of mushrooms work synergistically. Some can also help reduce effects if chemo and radiation, if that becomes an issue too. Paul Stamets is one of the world’s leading mycologists and founder of Fungi Perfecti ( The website has some great info and products as well.

  94. Just recently my wife had a breast thermography done because she had a palpable lump on her right breast outer quadrant. The results were negative no signs of inflammation or lumps. She had an ultrasound on her right breast 6 days later results at this time are bi rads 5 with a 1.8 cm highly probable malignancy and possible multiple lymph node metastasis. The thermography technician did not want to send us the photos only the results, but she eventually did, and a naturopath said he wouldn’t do anything about the lump because the thermo was negative – that was before the ultrasound. My wife eats healthy and is in to natural approaches but this has left her very upset. Thermography is not good for breast cancer. Have a breast ultrasound done instead.

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