Updated: October 2022
It’s no wonder that with the toxic world we live in, breast health has become a hot topic. Each year, more and more women are getting breast cancer and having mastectomies or dying.
I want to say it right now before I forget: Men can also get breast cancer. So, males who read this article should read the entire article because you might learn something and make some changes that could save your life.
According to breastcancer.org: 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
The good news is that this means that 7 in 8 women won’t develop breast cancer. There is always a bright side to everything. Sometimes you have to look really hard to find it but it’s always there.
Obviously, with every disease or condition, prevention is the best option. I’ve said it a million times that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I decided to write this article so that those who are interested can do some “self help” and take action for themselves. A precursor to all cancer is inflammation. I know I talk about inflammation a lot but it truly is the cause of all disease.
How is the Lymphatic System involved with Breast Cancer?
The lymphatic system is involved with various forms of cancer. This is because the lymphatic system cleans out cellular debris and inflammation from the tissue spaces.
An example of lymphatic drainage would be when you get a bruise. A bruise is caused by leakage of blood and fluids from the blood vessels. The blood and fluid that accumulates under your skin needs to be cleaned out.
Your lymphatic vessels contain white blood cells which are part of your immune system. The lymphatic system is what cleans and removes the excess fluid to help a bruise heal over time.
The issue with cancer is that the lymphatic vessels are everywhere and when cancer cells get into the lymphatic vessels, they move to other parts of the body quite easily.
Lymph vessels are what carry the debris but the lymph nodes are where the “cleaning” is really done. Lymph nodes are located all over the body. The largest, most famous, and well known lymph node is the spleen but we have many other small lymph nodes throughout our bodies.
Most people fully understand what lymph nodes are but may not actually recognize it. You know that feeling that you get in your throat when you are getting sick? We all do.
At 7 or 8 o’clock at night, your throat gets scratchy and tenderness develops on the front side of your neck. Sometimes, you may feel little “lumpy” spots in your neck and when you touch them, they are very tender and even a little swollen.
Those little lumps are swollen lymph nodes. They are tender because they are swollen from all of the white blood cells that have collected in them. The white blood cells have seen something that doesn’t belong such as a virus or bacteria and they rush to kill off the foreign invader much the same as an army going to battle.
It’s the white blood cells that also clean up the bruise that we talked about earlier in this article. So, I guess you could think of the lymphatic system as the garbage collector, or in today’s society, the “Sanitation Specialist”. Good one!
I’ve spent the first part of this article discussing what the lymphatic system is and what it does. Now we are going to shift our focus on what can be done to aid in lymphatic drainage so that the lymphatic vessels won’t become as static and possible collection centers and hosts for chronic infection and possibly even cancer.
What can be done to aid in Lymphatic Drainage?
- Perform daily Whole Vibration Therapy such as the units made by Soloflex that we have here in the clinic. These units can be purchased for home use and are great in aiding lymphatic flow and cleaning up cellular debris. Additionally, whole body vibration therapy has been scientifically validated in helping increase bone density so it’s also good for people who have osteoporosis or osteopenia. We also use whole body vibration for nerve stimulation in patients who have nerve disorders or peripheral neuropathy.
- Deep Tissue Massage performed by a licensed massage therapist is a great way to help relax the body, loosen tight muscles and also stimulate good lymphatic flow and it feels good! Get a massage at least once a month. You’ll be healthier as a result.
- Drink a lot of water. Keep your lymphatic fluid from being viscous and thick by staying hydrated. This is just another reason why keeping water levels to half of your body weight (in ounces) is a good recommendation for daily water intake.
- Exercise keeps fluids of all types moving in the body. Even if it is working out with a couple of soup cans while watching t.v. or tracing the alphabet with your foot while sitting in a chair, anything you can do that involves some motion will aid in lymphatic flow.
- Eat a healthy and anti-inflammatory diet such as what I lay out in my 14 Day Blood Sugar Bootcamp and Liver Cleanse Protocol.
- Eliminate all dairy products including milk and cheese. Dairy products are mucogenic which means that they cause mucous production. Mucous can collect in the lymphatic vessels in the upper arms and chest and cause lymphatic stagnation. When waste products collect in an area (such as the breasts) there is an increased chance that the toxins can create inflammation which could ultimately lead to cancer.
What are some signs or Symptoms of Breast Cancer?
- Changes in the nipple such as inversion (where the nipple goes in instead of out)
- A change in the appearance or shape of the breast
- An “orange” like pitting of the skin of the breast
- Dimpling in the skin over the breast or other changes in the skin
- A lump or thickening in the breast that is unusual or different than the rest of the breast tissue
- Changes in the areola (the colored area around the nipple) such as flaking, crusting, peeling or scaling.
How to do a “Self” Lymphatic Breast Massage
- Visualize a clock all around the outside edges of the breast, with the nipple at the center of the clock/circle.
- Starting at the nipple, with 2 or 3 fingers, massage small circles from the nipple up to 12:00, then from the nipple to 1:00, and continuing around the clock.
- After going around the clock with each breast, place a hand over the upper quadrant of the breast, and push to armpit.
- Put a couple of drops of Biotics iodine on the breast 2x/week during the massage. Adequate iodine levels support breast tissue health as the breasts store more iodine than the thyroid gland. Even with our “enriched” diets and supplementation, breast tissue can often be depleted of iodine.
Another important function of the lymphatic system relates to gut health. The small intestine actually contains 3 layers of lymphatic vessels. I talk a lot about gut health and work with many gut health patients and people who have various gastrointestinal disorders.
I wanted to include a little information about the lymphatics and the gut because it is important to maintain gut health. I have 2 amazing probiotic products: Probiotic Select from Moss Nutrition and MegaSpore.
I have used both probiotics with many patients and have found nothing that works better when it comes to maintaining a healthy intestinal microbiome/flora.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you be the healthiest and happiest you that you can become.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie