71145members
373796posts
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

ChoccieMuffin
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

No, Sophie, I don't think it sounds silly at all.

The life expectancy of humans say, 5,000 years ago (a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms) must have been a lot shorter than it is now, and as you say the females would have been having or feeding children for most of their adult life. I suspect that menopause was rare and older women probably died of other things before the menopause even had a chance to happen.

The way we live today is so far outside what we were "designed" for by evolution that I don't think we'd ever be able to get to the bottom of the causes of our cancers, because the causes are just too complex and deep-seated in our evolution.

So I'm going to get on and deal with it and not beat myself up for having been very stressed over the last 10 years. After all, the stress was not something I put myself through on purpose, and in between the stress I was LIVING, which is what counts really. And I intend to carry on LIVING rather than just existing, which would be a danger if I were to cut out everything that might have possibly contributed to the cancer starting.

triphazard99
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

This is really fascinating, if only to show that this bloody bc hits women (and men) with all sorts of lifestyles/diets/vices/none of the aforementioned.

I just heard of yet another woman I know who has had bc in her early 40's (I childminded her children ten years ago, and just bumped into one of them!) - and it did make me wonder if there was just something in that we are all living so much longer these days? I'm not meaning to sound trite, at all - but what if our breasts have a tendency to time out?

I am terribly aware that there are some exceedingly young women with bc, but there are also a frightening amount at around the age of 40ish - back when life expectancy was being a brood mare from early teens til you popped off in your late 30's... maybe our breasts were programmed for that sort of lifestyle?

I think there will prob. be a million factors, but this is one that has honestly just popped into my head. Feel free to laugh me off the thread!!! It does sound silly now I've written it down...

Sophie xxx

topsymo
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Lindyloo- I think this thread is really interesting - but it does seem that the ONLY commonality from those who have contributed thus far, is that we all have BC

My daughter was diagnosed at 32 & again at 36 with a primary in her other breast.
12 months later, aged 65, I was picked up on a routine mammo- no symptoms or lumps but already Grade 3,stage 3.

We do not have a genetic link (at least not one so far isolated) and there has been absolutely NO BC or other cancer history in my family or my husband's for the past 2 generations (like you Lindyloo, I think) We have been a family of very long- livers, especially on my side.

I had a late menarche, breast-fed 4 children before I was 30, had excellent health, not overweight, didn't drink or smoke after my 20s, slept like a top, happy marriage, happy home, good job, no stress (other than concern re my daughter.)

The only 'unusual ' factor (which is absolutely nothing to do with any 'common' thread) is that I have had 20+ friends and acquaintances with BC ........some of whom lived near me for many years - but a number of others who didn't. Several of them are now dead including one in her thirties, one in her forties and 4 in their 50s. Maybe figures like this are not unusual in someone of my age- or maybe I just know a lot of people? ( None of these 20 women are people I met during my own 10 months of treatment.)

My only 'predisposing factors' that I maybe have myself ( and I'm dubious about the latter one) ) are that I was 65 at diagnosis and had taken the dreaded (or wonderful in my case!) HRT for 10 years.

I am hopeful that a mega survey like Breakthrough Generations may one day be able to suggest what really predisposes us to certain diseases, why others with apparently similar lifestyles and health histories, don't get them-....and more importantly, what we can do about it.

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I have been drinking bottled water for about a year I used to have a filter but it broke.I live in the greater london area and the tap water is very hard and when you turn the tap on there is a smell like chlorine (spelling) in it.and I also read somewhere about hormone levels in tap water.So the bottled water is bad because of the plastic bottles and a filter is bad because that is also plastic and the tap water's not that great either lol.Maybe boil the water then let it cool in the fridge or is that bad too coz the kettle is plastic lol.

Melxx

cherub
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I was interested in BWs post re drinking water in London. In the 20 years I lived there I never drank tap water as it was so disgusting (I lived in Essex/E London and the water was hard with a film on it). Even when I worked in a modern office block in the City there were notices up in the office kitchenettes about the tap water being unfit for drinking. I guess I must have got through an awful lot of the bottled stuff.

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I am also a very light sleeper, can't remember the last time I had a full nights sleep I think I can honestly say that I have had about a handful of all night sleeps over the past 20 years. and its even worse now with the night sweats from tamoxifen up and down a few times through the night.I also have fair skin and used to avoid sitting in the sun.I had low calcium levels when diagnosed, is it right that you need calcium to absorb VIT D or is it the other way round.

melxx

juliet66
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Forgot to say......I am also very affected by sleep/light (possible vit D connection) and wondered if others are ??

I know there is research about night workers and bc. I sleep very lightly and never have a night when i am not up at least twice, tripping to the loo (with a light on).I realise that lots of people are but it could be just the combination load on hormones for people that are already sensitive.

More significantly, I suffer very badly from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I always have struggled in darker months in terms of depression, lethargy and low mood. My mood always lifts in about April/May. I also have very pale skin and always need to wear a high factor sunscreen. I have never had my vit D levels tested....Mmm

Julie x

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Barbara,
Am hopeing we may see some trends by sharing our expierences,find a pattern as it were into possible cancer contributeing events that may have led up to our cancer DX, seeing if we can fit any pieces in this complicated puzzle,DNA damage is of course key , but what causes the damage?i think that Xenoestrogen proberly play a huge role , but stress seems to be a common factor for quite a few of us too, family history is quite high also so far, so a faulty gene possibily hereditary,though not for all of us , glad that you mentioned "water" though, as of course all the drugs we all take and many enviroment chemicals are filtered back through our water system ,cleaned ect but there was a story a few years back that some rivers up in the north east where all the fish had started turning female, so another example of the leaching of oestrogens into our enviroment giving us all this oestrogen overload.
But of course not all breast cancers are oestrogen dependent either.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026111613.htm
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/male-fish-are-being-feminised-by-river-pollution-1446...
Thanks for shareing your expierence

Linda x

Daisy_do
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I thought I would add here that being a teacher of disaffected youth (16yrs) and going through a lot of stress that I didnt realise I had my onc told me that there is a high percentage of teachers with BC because of the stress of the job. So think twice about going back there!

I no longer teach but work 4 days a week in retail - tedious but can cope with tamoxifen brain lol. Money is awful
but I am happier and with 3 days off a week I have never been so free. I always worked 7 days a week and prepared lessons etc., even on a #sunday!

I do believe that stress can be lived with so much so that we do not notice that we have already gone past the danger zone - how many of us put up with a pain somewhere and three months down the line say "I must see the doctor about this)

Stress lingers on and we feel we are over it but it can still affect us later on.

Divert your stressed thoughts, dont think about it just relax. We can have the life we want if we smile, think happy thoughts and relax. Why not!!!

emmy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I too swear it is stress that can store up trouble! We were rolling towards retirement in that comfortable place of the kids married with partners happy, loving where we live and enjoying the grandchildren, when we went for a long weekend on (yep!) Friday 13th last where we had a car accident , Hit by 3 cars in the rear whilst waiting to make a right turn, handbrake on and indicating! I found out later I had caused some damage to neck and shoulder in fact lost 40% strength in left arm! in Dec my mother died and we had family rows about funeral (long messy story) but we got there then in Feb I got new job so spent the next 6 months showing them how good I am working my socks off so all in all a very stressful year! I still think stress plays a big role in this illness! Have spoken to nurses, other patients and it is the one thing we all agree on! We may be programed in some way but stress is the trigger!!!!

BWD
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

...Tamoxifen brain twice over - thought I'd sent message re my history but it's not up - sorry.

Briefly - Diagnosed last Sep, following stadard MOT m'gram aged 65 - E+++. Father died at age 68 of colon cancer, mother 86 - never been in hpl but autopsy showed ischaemic heart disease and tumour in gall bladder. All 4 children (incl male) of my mother's elder sister have had breast cancer but cousin has done research and thinks it's Sephardi gene from her father's side. I had ovarian cysts in early 20's - ended up with only part of one. 2 children, breastfed. Few yrs on pill and later HRT for menopause - didn;t like this, so stopped. So, we could have a hormonal factor here.

Stress - moved back to London in 2005 - loadsa stress(relationship not cancer) retired about 3yrs ago from v stressful job - never regretted it and so stress levels reduced. Did think last yr I was v tired and think that may have been a sympton.

Environment - one of the nurses I saw was full of info re this: drinking water in London has been thru' 7 people, plastic bottels produce oestragen.

Lindiloo - are you trying to correlate all this? Barbara

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hiya Fudge,
When you moving to Falmouth lol, great to hear about no ME and the mark on your liver disappearing since being on Herceptin, that is good news ,and no colds too! if you have any spare energy can you throw some my way please lol.
Realy good to hear your expierences in all this too.
glad you are keeping well.
Linda x

BWD
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

PS - Tamoxifen brain or something kicking in. The son of friends who works in genetic research told me that any autopsy of an 80yr old would show 200 tumours. I have a feeling that out of control, ageing cells are part of the equation but that offers no comfort to younger friends who are DX - sorry.

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Ladies,
Its interesting this one isnt it, a lady who i care for (shes 85) was dx with breast cancer 25rs ago,had a MX at the time but no other treatments, is convinced that what caused her BC was a bang to her chest after she fell on the bedpost , wonder if anymore ladies have had hard knocks to the chest?

xx

fudgeincornwal
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Lindiloo and everyone

Brilliant thread - sort of makes you aware of what your thoughts have been and how similar possibly to others. I was DX March 2009 with IBC aged 50. This was after left boob started swelling and getting lumpy and tender middle of Jan. The previous October I had come of the pill after many years as I developed phelibitis in my left leg! (I was told to stay on the pill till then as I had no side effects, I kept asking if it was ok.) I also had been DX with ME around 5 yrs before - stressful job in school contributed - and was off work for 3 months left there 4 years ago and went to work with OH. I also started periods aged 11 which apparently is a risk factor. Smoked at times and drank quite a bit of alchohol at times too! Always tried - amongst all this to eat sensibly and exercise - actually hit my all time heaviest while having chemo! I'm still on herceptin at the mo as sinister mark on liver at first scan, nothing there since and my onc. admits they really don't know what it was but as it disappeared after chemo he's keeping me on it for time being as a safety blanket - Advantage is I'm sure it boosts my inmune system - no cold etc. for ages! and I'm full of energy and no sign of ME!
I also only have one child born when I was 29.

Sorry seemed to have gone of subject a bit!!

saffronseed
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Cathie and vickies post made me remember something I had forgotton.

I have constantly 'knocked' the breast that had the cancer in, on a unusal top we have on our newel post at the bottom of our stairs as I walked down the stairs and into the hall. I know that I have knocked my breast regualarly since we moved in over 20 years ago. It did cross my mind when I was diagnosed that the tumour was in exactly the same place that I used to knock my breast but I didn't think anything of it. I just wander now whether that did have something to do with it after all, or whether is it just a coincidence.

Everton_babe
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi,
After reading Vicky's post about injuring the breast, I remembered a couple of things; For many years Id had an odd little hole on my BC breast which leaked white pus sometimes (sorry if that too much info !) and Id also had several years of horrible boils on the same breast and the surgeon mentioned them to me at the DX. I asked if this was significant but she said no-but I do wonder....
Cathie

Vixyliz
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Lindiloo,

I was diagnosed in Aug 2010 and consultant kept asking if i had banged my breast at some time as this can wake up the cancer?? strangley enough though i did have cancer in my mouth when I was 3yrs old and this was caused by me falling and knocking out my tooth had to attend hospital until I was 13yrs old? so I have been wondering if that is how mine has started but not sure if I have ever banged my boob hard enough to wake it up?? I have no family history of BC did stop smoking 5 yrs ago and really dont drink job not to stressful, so really not sure but love this thread does make you sit up and think.

Take care all
Vicky x x

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

You would certainly think it was all connected wouldnt you mel, i am the opposite though ,no one in my family neither mothers side or fathers side has had any sort of cancer , just me so god knows how that happened! all my family members either died of old age or heart attacks or in my dads case a stroke.My mum is still with me thank goodness, My sister who has been worried sick since my DX got called up for her national mammo screening a few mths back and was fine,all clear thank god,poor sis she burst into tears when she got the letter bless her.
x

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I have a few cancers in my family.Mum breast cancer,great aunt breast cancer in the 1930's had mastectomy and lived till a ripe old age. aunt also breast cancer.uncle had leukemia aunt had stomach cancer,all on my dads side of the family apart from my mum ofcourse.My mum had 2 sisters niether had breast cancer but my mums uncle and cousin had prostate cancer.is it all coincidence or conected I wonder.

Melxx

surfie
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Dx last year at 65 after routine mammo, 6mm IDC ER+, no familly history, 2 kids in my twenties breast fed a little while, pill for 3 years, HRT 3 years. Hysterectomy in my 30's and one ovary removed (without being asked) so I suspect oestrogen dominance.
Also found I was very caffeine sensitive so for 25 years I've not had tea or anything with much in the way of catechins in it. Always had loads of fruit and veg, brown rice and made own wholemeal bread since was 21.
As a big girl down under I swam in milk, butter and icecream. In my 30's I stuck to a Pritikin diet (no added sugar, very low fat) for 10 years and stayed at a proper weight.
Lot of stress since 2000 when my mum died far away, horrible contracting work and commuting 200 miles at weekends and then walking out of a permanent job it was so bad.

When I was diagnosed I thought I'd got over all that, I'd dieted off a stone and was only mildly overweight, but the year previous had been very stressful at work and I'd had to work more than my normal part time hours.
My jury is still out as to a possible cause.

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Cathie,
Definately all very nice lovely people just like yourself lol,its great that we can all talk about this stuff without any bitterness too, thanks for joining in ,debates like this can alert us sometimes to some things that we can pass on to our own daughters .
Linda x

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Thinking about the stress factor issue , i thought this recent finding from the Wellcome Trust sanger Institute was interesting, it talks about while most cancers can take 10ys or more sometimes to develope from a single cell, some cancers seem to grow very quickly which might explain why people are sometimes DX shortly after a clear Mammo, wonder what others thoughts on this ? they refer to it as chromosomes that basically explode.
http://www.sanger.ac.uk/about/press/2011/110106.html

x

Everton_babe
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Lindiloo

Just want to add, I def dont think this thread is about blame either. Its a great source of info.But as Tracy said, its great to see no hint of bitterness at 'our lot', so maybe the common denominator is that we're all such nice accepting people LOL !!!

Anyway, as I saw on another thread re:genetic BRAC1 status where a 'bonus' was the poster felt she had discovered the risk for her own daughter, Im glad in lots of ways to have flagged up the risk to my four sisters to be vigilant in their checking of the boobies!!
Love
cathie

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Gosh Me too, I absolutely agree about not looking for any blame in what we did or didnt do, i realy hope no one sees this thread like that cos i realy hate all that sort of stuff myself, ,its just about tossing ideas around and about everyones thoughts and personal expierences , gathering bits of info together , its good to learn from each other.
Thanks again everyone who has posted, it is realy intersting to have a broader view.
I gave up deorderant after dx ,i know there isnt any proof that its a factor in BC ,but once id read Dr Philippa Darbres study about the parabens found on breast tumours ,it bothered me a bit so i gave it up lol, know there isnt any proof about parabens either but just made me realise how all these things can get into the body. Luckily for me i dont seem sweat to much ,only when im having breast exams (why is that) poor doctors ,always keep the wet wipes handy lol.
Im realy enjoying this thread too , glad that others are finding it usefull and interesting too.
Linda xx

maltomlin
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

This is a really, really interesting thread. I find it strange that other people have the same risk factors etc but still don't develop BC.

Having said that I firmly believe that mine was due to stress (I'm sure that other factors combined with that). I was dx at 56 and must have been very low as far as risk factors go. Had my kids in my early twenties, only on the pill for a couple of years, menopause finished by 46, no HRT, good diet, exercise, no family history etc etc. Did have pills to dry up the milk though.

I had an extremely stressful job, but thrived on that. Then two years before my dx my dad was given a terminal prognosis and he wasn't told. It was so hard to watch him fighting hard to survive.I completely went to pieces - panic attacks, overdid the drinking etc. His treatment by GP, hospital compounded the stress. It was simply dreadful. Six months after his death I was dx.

I know it's too simplistic to blame the stress of the situation and also know that logically my 3cm lump took longer than a few months to grow, but I can't think of any other reason.

I also know that it does no good trying to find a reason (or something to blame). It is what it is.

Now, I've taken early retirement from the stressful job and just enjoy grandchildren and holidays (in that order!)

Mal

TSR
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I absolutely agree that we should not be thinking 'i should have, could have...'
Someone mentioned earlier that they were not looking to 'blame' something. But isn't it interesting that we all seem to feel like this, there is no bitterness coming through from everyone(and let's face it, we could be forgiven if we were). I think this is a great thread, very interesting and informative, and as someone with a sister and 2 daughters, the more we know about this the better, even if it just 'informal' at this stage,
Tracey
Ps switched to a zinc free deo, rather than anti-persperant last year. Also, have never wrapped my cheese in cling film!

cherub
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I firmly believe in my own case that stress played a big part as I had a nightmare 5 years leading up to my diagnosis. This started with my house being completely flooded and us living in hotels and temporary accommodation for months. We lost 75% of our possessions, the first house renovation the builders did was unsuccessful and it took nearly 2 years to put things right; this involved some very difficult meetings with the loss adjusters who were not helping by telling the builders to cut corners. The builders also needed access to my neighbour's house as the damp was affecting the party wall, but the neighbour refused this request. This held things up for months and it was stalemate.

Just prior to this my dad suffered heart failure and I was commuting between London and Scotland to handle his situation, this involved having to take time away from work. I eventually had to move to Scotland without my husband to be my dad's carer. He was then admitted to a secure hospital ward with the onset of dementia and he died in a care home 12 months before I found out I had BC. After he went into care I managed to get a new job, but it didn't work out and I had to leave. This 5 year period severely affected my confidence, and I think the cumulative effect affected my immune system - with hindsight I now remember being very, very tired in the lead up to my diagnosis, but I put it down to dad's death and the fact I was handling his estate as executor.

Everton_babe
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi folks,
My story is that my mum (76) died of lung cancer just before I was diagnosed in Oct 2009 (50). My mum is from a large family who have all died of a cancer of one sort or another, two being BC.
I agree I havn't helped myself. I'm overweight and have struggled with losses and gains since I was in my early 20's. I used to drink alcohol but tried to have a healthy diet and used to run several times a week.Dont/have never smoked.I too had a year where everything went wrong- son left home after a row, mum ill, job cr*p, lost a group of friends Id had for 25 years.I breast fed my only child for nearly 3 years.

I have mixed feelings about cause and effect of lifestyle. Of course it must play a part, but so does your genetic pre-disposition, as well as environmental factors and stress.

Anyway, I had it and can't change that now so don't want to add to my stress!!!! by getting fixated on 'what I 'coulda-shoulda' done.
My goal is to improve my life by not worrying or stressing so much, exercising more, and keep checking myself.
Hope all you are keeping as well as poss.
Cathie xx

Nottsgal
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Lindiloo

I've registered to do the Breakthrough Generations survey too and was also interested by some of the questions in it. For example, they ask about flying - myself (age 42 at dx) and my friend (age 39 at dx) were both flying every week for our jobs. She was flying to and from Italy each week, whilst I was flying to and from Northern Ireland each week.

I have 3 friends who have been dx in their late 30s shortly after having a 2nd child.

I don't have children. I was on the pill for 10 years but had been off the pill for 10 years when dx.

There is no family history and other than being overweight and exercising too little, I could only conclude stress. I changed jobs last March, which meant no more flying but I found the new job much more stressful. There was also a lot of stress before the job move as my old and new bosses both wanted me working for them in the handover period. I was dx in September 2010, ER+ (6 out of a possible 8).

Silver10
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi Linda,

I was dx at 41, no family history, 2 children both born in my 20’s and both breastfed. When my periods returned after my first child the bleeding would not stop and I was given pills to stop the bleeding and was also told that they would stop my breast milk. I have always exercised and eaten well and have never been hugely overweight or drunk alcohol to excess. I did take the contraceptive pill but my bc is triple negative.

This bc is my second cancer, I had a sarcoma removed when I was 20 and I now wonder whether you can have a susceptibility to developing cancer.

Jill

saffronseed
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

PS I was on the Pill too high Oestragen for around 6 years before we started trying for a family. x

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Thanks Mel ,thats interesting about your mum taking these pills too,it does make you wonder doesnt it? i also think a lot of these things may have a connection in the end, the question of these pills did signal a red light in me ,this is why i think it is very helpfull to try to get a bigger overall picture,we may never find all the answers but finding any possible connections may help us in understanding more. xx

Gretchen,
Its realy interesting to hear that you grew up on a Dairy Farm, can i ask you if it was Organic , or did your farm use chemicals too? im only asking as we know there are higher rates of cancer in farmers in particular. Thanks

Keep em coming ladies its all good stuff.
x

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I remember my mum telling me that she had to stop breast feeding me because she developed mastitis and had pills to dry her milk up then a few years later she got an abcess in the same breast then afew more years later got breast cancer so probably its all conected.When I was diagnosed I was asked if I had ever had an abcess or any problems with my breasts I told them that I hadn't but my mum had.I asked if mine and my mums cancer were hereditary and was told probably not it was just bad luck, but I'm not so sure I think there must be a link somewhere.

Melxx

Guest
Not applicable

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Thanks so much for all your imput ladies, its realy helpfull and very interesting to hear everyones expierences and to get all your views on some of the other possible contibuteing factors in cancer development, you never know we may just see a pattern forming along the way ,
Another question that i would like to ask some of you is
"was you given a pill to dry up your breast milk?" the reason i ask, is i am also taking part in the Generations Study ,and this was one of the questions in the extensive questionaire, i did take this pill, but had not realy given it much thought till asked this question, so they must also looking at this too, this particular study also had a lot of questions about night shift workers too,(to do with the exposure at night on levels of melatonin)so possibly more links there.
http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr132.pdf
Good to see everyone is interested in these issues too, thanks for keeping it on track.
Linda x

crazy_cat_lady
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I'm sure many of us questioned why we had bc after the initial dx, so its interesting to read of peoples reasoning into why.

I'm 36, no family history, never smoked, drank occasionally, had my babies when I was 18 and 23, breasted, didn't take the contraceptive pill or have the mirena coil, stayed same weight range (10/12), took moderate exercise, jobs not particularly stressful, eat a balanced diet.

Think I'm just one of the unlucky 1%.

Good to read all your experiences though xx

happyshopper
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Hi all, what an interesting thread this is. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, isn't it?
As for me- have 2 children at age of 32 and 34, breast-fed both for about 4-5 months (supposed to reduce risk).
Kept fit and BMI within normal limits (supposed to reduce risk)
Alcohol - Did drink over recommended amount of alcohol (now called binge- drinking as would often do this at weekend- a few glasses of wine or other, big measures )
Always had lumpy breasts(A cup) and had quite a few benign lumps before dx
Stress-A few years before dx had a lot of stress with work (I really feel that this could have been a trigger for sure)
Shift work- as a nurse, worked nights(there is some research about this link with breast cancer as it causes a hormone in-balance)
Also, I worked in a department where, rather worryingly, 10 (out of about 40) staff members have been dx with breast cancer over a 10 yr period. The only link is we all worked in the unit when they did a lot of portable xrays, and i believe there is some link to exposure to large amounts of radiation- who knows?
Lets hope that they find the triggers so that this disease can be prevented once and for all(for everyone, for all cancers) XX

elinda45
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

This is an interesting thread.

I have long thought that it is no coincidence that I had endometriosis which also is stimulated by oestrogen and then an ER+ breast cancer.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my twenties and also had enormous amounts of hormone treatment to try to keep it at bay. Finally I had radical surgery which included a hysterectomy, and removal of part of my bowel. Great endometriosis treated and then 18 months later a BC diagnosis!

New research from Sweden suggests that women who have had severe endometriosis for a long number of years are more likely to develop breast cancer (and other cancers). They do not understand why this is although they have a number of theories.

With regards to stress, it could be possible but then it might be a red herring entirely. Very few of us live stress-free lives so it is easy to link the diagnosis with a stressful situation. That said stress does change our body chemistry such as raising cortisol levels....

tors
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I was dx at 36, no family history, weakly er positive. I was on a career break from work so not overly stressed, except that my youngest son had had glue ear and two lots of grommets ops, the last being 8 weeks before my dx. I'm a solicitor and had been on a career break a year when dx, but before then had a very adrenalin pressure driven stressful job and had had similar jobs, if not more stressful, for 13 years. But I don't feel stress caused my bc, as most of my contemporaries have just as stressful jobs and they are ok.

I am size 10 to 12, was fit ( no planned exercise though, just day to day running round after children), didn't smoke, hardly drink. Food/drink wise I ate ok, but my main vice was diet cole, I could drink 4 or 5 cans a day! I worry about if that caused it.

My main feeling is that hormones had a big role. I was on the pill from 17 to 29. I had 2 children in my 30s, aged 2 and 4 at dx. I breast fed both. Thevpregnancy hormones caused smphysis pubis dysfunction, which is basically where the elvis gets to stretchy and unstable, v painful. I wonder whether the hormones also kick started bc. I have read on this forum numerous times that women in their first 3 years post pregnancy have an increased bc risk. If anyone has any evidence of this I'd love to read it .

Thanks, I really like this thread.

Vickie

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I'm not worried about it for myself just for my family.There are certain circumstances where stress and trauma are unavoidable and there is no dealing with it and the last thing on your mind is trying to deal with it, until I suppose such a time that you feel ready.Maybe i'm getting there.

threads getting a bit off track sorry Linda xx

crawfo64
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I was 38 at initial diagnosis. 7 years later I had a recurrence and was diagnosed with bone mets at that time. I've no family history, drink rarely, although like most people I probably drank more when I was younger but was never excessive. I don't smoke, and although I have struggled with my weight at times, it has for the most part, stayed within the normal range.

The one box I do tick is contraception. I was on the pill from the ages of about 22 to 28 then started having the depo provera injection for a further 7 years after the birth of my second child. The latter doesn't contain oestrogen but there has been some conflicting evidence linking it with breast and cervical cancer. If I had to hazard a guess as to what caused my cancer, I'd say it was either or both of the methods of contraception I used.

It's a difficult subject to tackle emotionally because once you start thinking about what caused your cancer, it raises all kinds of "what if" questions. However, I think it's really important someone does tackle the bigger picture. While I'm grateful for all the cancer research which has lead to the development of new drugs, a couple of which have given me the chance of a few extra years, I'd like to see much more research on finding out the causes of cancer so that future generations won't have to go through what we have been through.

Gretchen
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Oh no Mel, really sorry to hear that.

There are some great threads on here about diet, exercise and dealing with stress. If you are worried about re-occurance, maybe you should take a look at those. If nothing else, it will give you a feeling that you are doing something about risk-reduction.

xx

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

I do hope the stress factor is not a risk as I have been through the most stressful traumatic time in my life the last two years (not breast cancer related) so if stress is a risk for getting breat cancer or a recurrance I fear i'm doomed.

Melxx

Gretchen
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Nicky

I do think there is a strong link with stress. It may be that the stress is the straw that breaks the camel's back, so to speak. It lowers the immunity response and so, if we have a pre-disposition to bc it allows the cancer to grow, where normally any mutating cancer cells (everyone has them), would be mopped up by the healthy cells.

Gretchen
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Interesting Mel.

I am fairly certain that he book did not say that the pill/smoking early was the primary cause of bc, but that it statistically it was a very high risk factor compared to some other risk factors and a fairly easy one to eliminate.

Nicky65
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Gretchen
Have just read your post and realised that at exactly the time of my primary diagnosis (my husband was on the phone arguing with his ex as I found the lump!) at in April last year when my mets materialised, we were going through a particularly stressful time with my husband's ex wife accusing us of all sorts and stopping us seeing the children (while demanding money, whilst we were paying out phenomenal amounts to solicitors etc) The 2 dates tie up exactly and both times it was all my husband and I talked, worried and argued about!

More evidence for the stress argument!!!

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

forgot to add my cancer was highly hormonal both ER PR 8/8

Melxx

stressy_messy
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Thats intresting about going on the pill and smoking being the worst things to do. They are two things I haven't done lol.I was advised not to take the pill because of my mum having breast cancer.

Melxx

Nicky65
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Apart from lots of bad luck! I guess I 'fit in' with the teacher(high stress levels) and IVF criteria, both of which have been discussed previously...surely too many of us to be a coincidence.

I have taught for 21 years a variety of ages, but mainly infants. My original diagnosis was 2006, just after I took on a particularly stressful mixed age class of 34 children!!!, whilst undergoing IVF!

My Mum was diagnosed in the Summer of 2006, I definately remember checking myself...possibly not correctly, but had a good feel and nothing was untoward. I began IVF in October, the hormone bit first to change the cycle, then in December felt a quite obvious lump when scratching my breast...I couldn't have missed one that size on my initial examination. Had to abandon IVF and begin treatment. I then began Zoladex before the chemo and had 'tumour flare' and it increased even more. This evidence strongly suggest a surge in hormones affected me. I am 100% ER+
(I took the pill for 8 years during my 20's)

In September last year I took a promotion at work which involved further study and more stress! and then found a few months later tht I had secondaries.

With regard to other factors, I have never smoked or dieted, have kept a constantish weight (until hormone treatments! ) and non-relevant family history, my Mum was over 70 and unlucky and I tested negative for any known BRCA genes. I only drink in moderation, odd glass of wine at weekends. Have always slept well. Had one child at 30 and breast fed.

Stress and excess hormones! could be a coincidence but as more people respond, I wonder if we'll see a pattern?

Gretchen
Member

Re: Breast Cancer (The Bigger Picture)

Good thread Linda

Hate to say it but I agree with you! lol

The plastics and xeno-oestrogens, the environment all the chemicals we ingest through food and cleaners and cosmetics etc must all play a part in the rapidly increasing rates of cancers especially bc.

The stress link is very interesting too. I had just had 2 extremely stressful years before dx, leaving an unhappy marriage, horrible, evil ex-husband trying to get custody of the kids, grieving for family members and just living with a constant shadow over my life with court cases etc. Ironically my life had just sorted itself out and I was the happiest I had ever been when I got my dx.

Additionally though, I grew up on a dairy farm so loads of milk and a lot of home-reared meat, started my periods early, very heavy periods so on the pill at only 15, smoked from about then too and had about 8 years of wild and crazy partying. After about 26 though, I was very healthy, not smoking or drinking (only occasionally nights out with the girls really) and ate a very healthy diet with a lot of fruit and veg, much of it organic.

I have read in the Cancer-active books that going on the pill and smoking early are about the worst things a young woman can do in relation to bc. So if any of you have daughters in their teens, it may be something to keep in mind.

Its funny though, I don't blame any thing and my only real regret is marrying my ex in the first place, but that is for other reasons, not just the bc. It may be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but for me I have made a lot of lifestyle changes (not just diet!), and a large part of those changes are about reducing and managing stress.

I do wish that the NHS had some sort of questionnaire/survey for every woman diagnosed and collated the data. My onc said that it was too much work to do it properly scientifically, but I am sure there would be some large trends coming through if they did.