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Posted May 15, 2013: by Bill Sardi
Read the shocking report of women, as young as age 21, who are having both breasts removed solely because they have a gene mutation. They do not have breast cancer:
One of Hollywood’s goddesses, and undeniably one of the most beautiful women in the world, Angelina Jolie has announced she underwent double mastectomy surgery in February of this year. Knowing that what Hollywood stars do the public copies — expect a parade of double mastectomies to follow.
Similarly in 2005 when Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue announced she was undergoing cancer treatment, hundreds of thousands of women scheduled screenings, an unexpected outcome that was dubbed “the Kylie effect.”
CNN News anchor Zoraida Sambolin has also jumped on the bandwagon and announced she is undergoing a double mastectomy.
Of course, this is a bonanza for physicians and breast cancer clinics, but are women any healthier and will they survive longer? That is not likely. Nor are precious health care dollars being spent wisely.
In a news story, Angelina Jolie, age 37, is said to have a mutation in her BRCA1 gene that gave her an 87% of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Surgical removal of both of her breasts is said to reduce her risk for breast cancer to 5%.
The news report says “the brave star hopes that she can encourage other women to be informed and consider their options.” Bottom line, Jolie is going to become the poster girl for what is likely to become an epidemic of unnecessary screening and treatment.
Apparently actress Jolie appears to have elected to undergo surgery based solely on the results of genetic screening that showed she carries a mutated form of the BRCA-1 gene. News reports did not say she had any solid tumor in either breast.
Only an estimated 5-10% of American women have a faulty (mutated) BRCA-1 gene.
What we have here is a previously unthinkable situation. In private consultation with a surgeon (who certainly is not an unbiased party), a frightened woman can elect to undergo removal of her breasts even though she has no detectable cancer at all, just a BRCA gene mutation. Surgeons are all too happy to calm a woman’s fears and lop off her breasts before there is any sign of disease whatsoever.
Women whose close family members have succumbed to breast or ovarian cancer are the easiest to talk into lopping off their breasts. One study shows women whose mothers succumbed to ovarian cancer, like Angelina Jolie, are 7.9 times more likely to opt for surgical removal of their breasts and ovaries than women without a family history.
What is not disclosed now is that frightened women who have a family history of breast cancer, thanks to the misdirected encouragement of these celebrities, may unwittingly increase their risk to develop BRCA gene mutations in their zeal to get screened. Here’s how.
Ironically, radiation emitted from x-ray mammography is documented to induce the very mutations in BRCA-1 and 2 genes that are associated with progression of the disease. Researchers suggest mammography x-rays may not be the method of choice to detect breast cancer among women carrying the BRCA gene mutation. Now a sinister trick would be to subject women to x-ray mammography just prior to genetic testing, and fresh mutations in their BRCA-a DNA would be detected. Don’t think some enterprising breast clinic hasn’t thought of this.
Most women with a detected lump in a single breast are not likely to face the same situation as Angelina Jolie. That is because most will not carry a mutated form of the BRCA-1 gene.
Among women who have one breast removed and retain the other breast, there is a 0.4% risk of dying within 5 years and a 6.8% risk of dying within 20 years from first diagnosis. So women should not necessarily follow Angelina Jolie’s footsteps.
A bulletin just issued by The American Society of Breast Surgeons says women with diagnosed breast cancer in one cancerous breast that choose to undergo surgical removal of their healthy breast face unnecessary complications. This physician group says there is no strong evidence that suggests the removal of the second breast has a survival benefit. That advice applies to women without the BRCA-1 gene mutation.
The groundswell of women who are now likely to race to breast clinics for screening, science is pointing to fewer, not more, screening. A report published in the journal Breast Cancer Research asks: “Is the tide turning against breast screening?” The report says screening for detected cancers are unlikely to be cases that were “caught early” and more likely represent women who will receive harmful, unnecessary treatment.
Consumer Reports says: “The medical and public-health community has systematically exaggerated the benefits of screening for years and downplayed the harms. Their report quotes a leading physician to say in 2008 there were an estimated 70,000 women 40 and older who were found to have small, non-aggressive tumors that were treated even though “they probably wouldn’t be life-threatening.”
Lifetime risk for a woman developing breast cancer is ~10%. This in itself says 9 of 10 women screened for the disease will not benefit from screening and may be mistakenly diagnosed with cancer they don’t have.
What is known is that BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 are cancer suppressor genes. A mutation in these genes can spell trouble for women over their lifetime. Yet, death from breast cancer is not inevitable as it is admitted lifestyle choices reduce the risk considerably. This suggests these genes are repairable.
It is well known that certain small molecules can aid in DNA repair. One of the most promising molecules is resveratrol, known as a red wine molecule.
For example, resveratrol has been shown to target BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes and activate them to control breast cancer cell growth in a lab dish. Reduced activity of the BRCA-1 gene accompanies breast cancer. In a lab dish, resveratrol activated (increased gene expression) of the BRCA-1 gene human breast cancer cells.
Resveratrol contributes to the stability of the genome (library of genes) via repair of double-strand DNA breaks. DNA double-strand DNA breaks, the most severe type of mutation, if unrepaired cause ovarian tissues to age prematurely.
Living cells go through renewal cycles as old cells die and new ones replace them. Slowing the cell renewal cycle enhances DNA repair and, for example, slow or prevent the susceptibility of healthy ovarian tissues to progress into cancerous tissue. Low-dose resveratrol slows the cell renewal cycle (S-phase), thus facilitating DNA repair.
Breast cancers emanating from mutated BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes over-activate the hypoxia inducing-1 (HIF-1) gene. Hypoxia is a state where cancer cells no longer rely upon oxygen for cell energy and produce sugar. Resveratrol down-regulates the HIF-1 gene.
It is also well known that elevated estrogen levels are associated with BRCA gene mutations. Resveratrol has been identified as a natural molecule that serves as a safe replacement for estrogen and is a candidate for prevention of breast cancer.
Furthermore, resveratrol has also been shown to inhibit the movement and spread of cancer (metastasis) in advanced stages of breast cancer.
Resveratrol is considered a superior molecule in preventing the initiating step that turns healthy cells into cancer cells.
Physicians are not likely to know much about resveratrol in regard breast cancer and any advice to take resveratrol pills would fall outside the existing standard of care for this disease. However, most women would not be taking resveratrol as treatment but rather prevention.
Asking doctors about resveratrol pills is likely to be met with disfavor. However, given there is no proven or available breast cancer preventive agent available today, women may want to ask this question: “what harm could come from it?”
Because resveratrol is a natural molecule that is widely available dietary supplement it is not likely to undergo the drug approval process. If any brand of resveratrol pill would undergo successful testing that it prevents breast cancer it would be forced, by definition, into being a high-priced drug by the Food & Drug Administration. Even if clinical trials were started soon it would take years to prove resveratrol prevents BRCA-1 mutations that promote breast cancer. There is no financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies or physicians to submit resveratrol for clinical testing as a breast cancer preventive.
All what you have read here about resveratrol has been published for some time now but not one human clinical trial has been launched for breast cancer prevention. Modern medicine may be intentionally overlooking the most promising anti-cancer weapon ever conceived.
No brand of resveratrol pill can make any claim it cures, treats or prevents any disease. But consumers can read and learn about resveratrol and elect to take resveratrol on their own, despite the lack of studies that validate a specific brand.
It is important to recognize most brands of resveratrol pills have been found to be biologically inactive and it would be important to choose a brand that stabilizes resveratrol, as it is a molecule that is vulnerable to degradation once exposed to light, heat or oxygen, as well as a brand that has undergone safe and successful use in animals and humans. Low dose resveratrol is considered superior to high dose resveratrol.
Based upon the best available evidence today, resveratrol pills are unproven, but certainly not disproven, and are probably the most promising preventive measure against breast cancer that exists, BRCA-1 gene mutations included. ©2013 Bill Sardi, ResveratrolNews.com and KnowledgeOfHealth.com
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