Reducing Breast Cancer Risk in Celiacs and Others

Image: Dr. Vikki PetersenDecreasing Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Those with celiac disease, who are untreated or who haven’t fully healed their intestinal lining, are at increased risk for developing cancer. If you are a woman, you don’t want to compound that risk by annually subjecting your breasts to radiation.

Is this just my opinion? No. There is new research to support a concern I’ve had about mammograms for many, many years.


As a doctor, I typically caution my patients against mammograms, and instead advise them to look into ultrasound and thermography.

The facts are that radiation causes cancer. Repeated radiation increases your risk of cancer and delicate breast tissue is known to be particularly susceptible. Does it then make sense to perform such radiation annually and NOT think it’s going to increase your risk of developing breast cancer?

But isn’t it a ‘fact’ that mammograms protect us from cancer? Aren’t they the ‘answer’ to early detection?  It turns out they are not.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study out of Sweden that found mammograms to have little or no effect in reducing the number of women who died of breast cancer. Here’s a direct quote: “ mortality statistics in Sweden are consistent with studies that have reported limited or no impact of screening on mortality from breast cancer among women aged 40-69.”

The lead researcher Dr. Autier from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, had this to say: “Information to women on mammography screening should better reflect uncertainty on the effectiveness of that test, and underline the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.”

A different study from two years ago also found that reduction in mortality was all but nonexistent from mammograms. Their findings were that only 2.4 deaths per 100,000 women could be saved as a result of screening. Certainly we are not trying to make light of saving 2.4 lives, but unfortunately the downside far outweighs that meager benefit.

Some downsides were elucidated by the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen. After reviewing available research they distributed a leaflet explaining the benefits and potential downsides of mammograms the summation being that it was not reasonable for women to receive breast cancer screenings though mammography.

Here’s the quote: “If 2,000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, one [woman] will benefit from screening.” They further went on to say: “Therefore screening results in treatment of many women for a cancer disease they do not have, and that they will not get.”

Let’s look at that closer. They found that screening caused many women to be treated for a cancer they did not have. Why? Because over the course of those 10 years during which time 2,000 women are screened regularly, they estimated that 200 women will receive false positives. Of those 200, 10 will be treated unnecessarily with drastic techniques including having part of their breast or their entire breast removed while receiving radiotherapy [radiation], and sometimes chemotherapy. Treatment of these healthy women increased their risk of dying. E.g. from heart disease and cancer.”

Do you like the ratio of 10: 1? Ten women harmed with dangerous, cancer-causing treatment for every 1 who is saved? I know that I don’t.

Another study from The Lancet Oncology  (2011) evaluated a screening program of 650,000 women in Sweden. They found that those who received the most screenings had a higher incidence of invasive breast cancer than those who received much fewer screenings. In fact, they felt that over the natural course of time, many of the screening detected invasive breast cancers spontaneously regressed if left alone!

It is also well known that women with fibrocystic breasts, or dense breasts, are not good candidates for mammograms. I experienced this personally with my mother who received many repeated mammograms for a ‘suspicious’ area, only to end up with an ultrasound (a noninvasive procedure that utilizes no radiation) that proclaimed her to be fine.

Some states such as New York, Connecticut, Texas and Virginia have passed laws requiring that women with dense breasts be informed about alternative screening tools. Can we urge our Congressmen to have California (and the rest of the country) be next? What about federal legislation?

Do you have dense breasts? If so you are not alone. Half of all women are estimated to have them and that number increases to 75% when women are in their 40s. This means that half of all the women receiving mammograms are really not candidates for the procedure. The radiation they receive increases their risk of developing cancer while the test is ineffective at detecting breast cancer.

Does it make sense to you to continue this procedure?

Here are Some Prevention Steps You Can Take Right Now

  1. Limit sugar in your diet. We continue to discover the importance of diet as it relates to cancer prevention. Sugar and particularly high fructose corn sweeteners are increasing cancer risk.
  2. Move. Exercise that burns fat and maintains a healthy body weight is another factor in reducing cancer risk. If you have a ‘spare tire’ around your mid-section you are going to need to get rid of it.
  3. Eat plants. Consuming 7 to 9 servings of organic fruits and veggies each day along with supplementing powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants, including vitamins D and C, is another step you can take.
  4. Stay away from the man-made ‘Frankenfoods’. Avoid artificial sweeteners, preservatives and limit exposure to hormones, pesticides and environmental toxins as much as possible. This will help you to avoid dangerous inflammation that is the initiator of degenerative disease in general and cancer in specific.
  5. Get an oil change. Remember to ingest good oils such as fish oil that are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, along with flax seeds, walnuts, wild rice and enriched eggs. Omega -3s are anti-inflammatory and therefore protective against cancer as well as other degenerative diseases.
  6. Check your levels. You’ll need to find a doctor who works with evaluating the pros and cons of your immune system. On the plus side you want a strong level of vitamin D (somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml is a good level to shoot for) and robust probiotic levels that will keep your immune defending you against cancer. On the con side you want to ensure that you don’t have an overabundance of toxins that are overwhelming your system or the presence of any infectious organisms. Both will severely compromise your immune system making it less able to defend itself against cancer. Such testing can be done here at HealthNOW.

I hope you have found this informative. I urge you to share this post with every woman you know. The concept of mandatory mammograms needs to change, in my opinion. I’ve said for a long time that in the future we will look at the idea of radiating women’s breasts as barbaric and ill advised. I hope that day comes quickly so that fewer cancers are created with this dangerous procedure.

I’d love to hear from you and am happy to answer your questions.

Here at HealthNOW we are committed to discovering the underlying root cause of your health problems. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally, so you do not need to live locally to receive help. For a free health analysis call 408-733-0400. We are here to help you and those you care about!


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