The Alarming Increase In Double Mastectomies
A recent study that was released in October by the Journal of Clinical Oncology stated
that there was a 150% increase in the number of Double Mastectomies between the
years 1998 to 2003. In an age where medical science is looking more towards breast
conservation. There is a segment of the population that is electing to not only amputate
the cancerous breast but also the healthy breast.
Now let me throw out some statistics that were used by this study. They identified
152,755 women with stage I, II, or III cancer - of that number, 4,969 patients chose
contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (meaning that these women chose to amputate
their healthy breast along with the cancerous breast) . The rate was 3.3% for all
surgically treated women; 7.7% for patients undergoing mastectomy. The overall rate
was a significant increase from 1.8% in 1998 to 4.5% in 2003. And during the same
period of 1998 to 2003, the contralateral prophylactic mastectomy rate for patients
undergoing mastectomy significantly increased from 4.2% in 1998 to 11.0% in 2003.
What was also surprising was that younger women were making this decision and
women who had stage one cancer were making the decision far more frequently than
those in advance stages. The women who were mostly white, with a previous cancer
diagnosis, were more likely to opt for a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, the study
found, as were women who had lobular histology, meaning the cancer started in the
lobules or milk-making glands of the breast.
The study's lead author, Dr. Todd M. Tuttle, chief of surgical oncology at the University of
Minnesota Medical School, stated in a report that was published by the Associated Press
and in USA Today on October 23, 2007: "I'm afraid that women believe having their
opposite breast removed is somehow going to improve their breast cancer survival. In
fact, it probably will not affect their survival." Dr. Tuttle went on to explain, "The initial
tumor already may have sent out seeds that have spread to key organs."(1)
The Other Disturbing Trend
The other disturbing trend was young women who had genetic testing for the mutation of
gene BRCA 1 or BRCA 2. I read in a New York Times article published on September 16,
2007 of a thirty-three year old woman agonizing over whether she should have a double
mastectomy because she was found with the mutated gene, but not yet with cancer. Her
63 year-old mom was a breast cancer survivor.
Yet, a Cochrane Review published in 2004 on women with BRCA mutations concluded:
"Published observational studies demonstrated that bilateral prophylactic mastectomy
(BPM) was effective in reducing both the incidence of, and death from, breast cancer,
more rigorous prospective studies (ideally randomized trials) are needed... By one
estimate, most of the women deemed high risk by family history (but not necessarily
BRCA 1 or 2 mutation carriers) who underwent these procedures would not have died
from breast cancer, even without prophylactic surgery... Of the psychosocial outcomes
measured, body image and feelings of femininity were the most adversely affected."(2)
What is disturbing about this trend seems like the more "enlightened" the medical
community is, the further we are going back to the dark ages. Breast cancer is the most
studied disease in the world. Back in the 1950's and 60's, radical mastectomies (where
both breasts were removed with part of the chest wall) were the trend. And then in the
later part of the 20th Century, we found out that that type of treatment was not increasing
the life span of a woman any more than partial removal or lumpectomy. Now here in the
21st Century, we are going back to the 1950's.
The removal of both breasts because of a possible genetic defect is almost akin to
removing both your legs; because your grandfather had diabetes and he lost his legs,
and your mother had diabetes and she lost her legs. There is a history of diabetes in my
family so let me cut off my legs before I have to face the inevitability. In both cases this
does not have to be so.
There are hundreds of studies showing that no matter what type of cancer you have,
there is a natural alternative to overcoming it or, if you do not have a degenerative
disease, you can prevent it. This can be done by eating large quantities of raw fresh
vegetables and fruits with nuts, seeds and legumes (preferably organic); by staying away
from animal products of all kinds and all processed foods that cause an acidic system.
When your body is acidic (on a pH scale) you are more prone to all sorts of diseases.
Your body needs to be maintained at a slightly alkaline level of about 7.4 .
There are studies showing that by getting omega-3 fatty acids in your system (preferably
from flax seed), you will stop the growth of breast cancer in its tracks. Even if you have
the mutated gene BRCA 1 or BRCA 2. It has also been found that by getting curcumin in
your system, if you have cancer, this is just as or more effective in destroying cancer
cells than chemotherapy agents, and without all the side effects. That study was
conducted by M.D. Anderson in Houston and shelved because it was unpatentable, even
though the process to extract curcumin was.
These are just a few suggestions that will help you be proactive in preventing cancer, and
if you have it, these will greatly help you in overcoming cancer, like I did almost seven
The medical profession has had a history of mutilating women for the sake of science
whether mentally or physically. They want to do radical things to your bodies. And they
are not willing to give women the full information of what is truly available to them. They
believe that if they tell people that a radical change in their lifestyle and eating habits
would help save their lives, it would be a complete waste of time.
Yet their are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of stories of just that, people healing
themselves by changing their eating habits and lifestyles. By doing that, they are walking
testimonies of true healing and of leading fully active lives. So stop looking at mutilating
your body, and start looking at getting a radical healing from changing your lifestyle and
eating habits in a radical way (and in some cases it may not be that radical). By doing
that, not only are you going to have a better outlook on your life, but you will be doing
something wonderful for the planet that we all live on.
(1) Tuttle TM, Habermann EB, Grund EH, Morris TJ, Virnig BA. Increasing Use of
Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy for Breast Cancer Patients: A Trend Toward More
Aggressive Surgical Treatment. J Clin Oncol. 2007 Oct 22; [Epub ahead of print]
(2) Lostumbo L, Carbine N, Wallace J, Ezzo J. Prophylactic mastectomy for the
prevention of breast cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD002748
About the author
Dr. John F. Montalvo, Jr. of The Genesis Health Connection. "Getting You Connected to
Dr. John is a Naturopath, Master Herbalist, Voice Bio Sound Therapist, Certified Natural
Health Professional, Doctor of Naturopathic Ministry, Health Minister and Cancer
Overcomer. He currently has a teaching ministry and does house visitations to bring the
Good News of Natural Health from God's Garden.