The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (REF) estimates that roughly 50 million Americans have some form of autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system mistakenly turns on itself.
Seventy-five percent of those suffering from autoimmune conditions are women. If you are one of them, are you at greater risk for developing breast cancer? The answer, according to recent research, could be yes. The upside to this news, however, is that the same natural healing modalities that will help turn your autoimmune condition around can also help you prevent breast cancer.
Research Confirms the Cancer/Autoimmune Connection
Studies that look at the link between autoimmune disease and cancer are often complicated by the fact that conventional treatments (such as low-dose chemo drugs) for some autoimmune conditions add dramatically to a body’s toxic load and, therefore, add to the risk of developing cancer. Nevertheless, several studies over the years have come to the basic conclusion that a history of autoimmune disease increases the risk of cancer. A 1998 study found that lupus patients have a two-fold risk of cancer. A 1997 Chinese study found the same ratio for esophageal cancer and autoimmune disease sufferers in general and a similar study around that same time discovered similar results for pancreatic cancer.
A more recent 2012 study done at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte took a look at the link between breast cancer and autoimmune arthritis, with the same basic conclusion.
“We confirmed the relationship we suspected between autoimmune disease and breast cancer cells,” said Pinku Mukherjee, Irwin Blek Distinguished Scholar of Cancer Research at UNC Charlotte. “This is an exciting result for us because it confirms an interesting interdependence between cancer metastasis and a specific component of the immune system.” The experiment, conducted with mice, points to a definite relationship between “mast cells,” immune system cells that can cause inflammation, and metastatic tumors.
Cancer and Autoimmunity: It’s About More Than Just Genes
Studies that examine the link between cancer and autoimmune conditions tend to myopically focus on genetic similarities between patients who have the two conditions. For example, GSTs (glutathione S-transferases) are a particular family of genes that code for enzymes that help metabolize potentially toxic compounds. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University discovered that when a GSTT1 gene is missing, a woman has a 1.5-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer. The health and availability of GSTs have also been shown to be key factors in the development of autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Others within the scientific community, however, are making a point to emphasize environmental stressors that could affect gene expression.
“How is it that a group of genes are cropping up in all these different diseases — how do we rationalize that?” asks Richard Strange PhD, professor of clinical biochemistry at Keele University in Staffordshire, England. Strange has published widely on the topic of autoimmunity. “I think the link comes in oxidative stress. So many genes are expressed or not, depending on the level of physiological stress.”
Kathy Helzlsouer, MD, professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, reiterates Strange’s point: “The piece we’d like to put into the puzzle is- what are the environmental factors involved? Everyone talks about the gene-environment interaction, but they tend to concentrate on the gene.”
Heal the Total Body, Naturally
If oxidation, physiological stress and environment are common elements that link autoimmune disease and cancer, this is very good news. These are factors you have control over every day. What you eat, how you manage emotional stress, what toxins you are exposed to and what supplements you choose to ingest can (and according to these experts, DO) play vital roles in how your body reacts─ in the case of autoimmunity─ or doesn’t react─ in the case of breast cancer─ to threats in the body.
These links also mean that the same basic protocols you would use to prevent or help heal breast cancer will be beneficial for calming or perhaps even healing your autoimmune condition. Anti-inflammatory diets, for example, will be of benefit to healing the body in both cases. In addition, adding supplements such as Vitamin D (with corresponding amounts of K1&2) may do the same.
Nothing can replace healthy eating, healthy stress management, healthy supplementation and the removal of toxins from your immediate environment for total body healing. According to the principles of natural healing, and the principals of “ The 7 Essentials System™” for healing the body naturally, the body is an integrated, interconnected organism that simply wants to be in balance. Your job is to help it to do just that─ naturally.
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and founder of breastcancerconqueror.com. She specializes in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe.