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Can Shingles LEAD to breast cancer????

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Ok ladies I need some insight. I am 36 years old and you can see my signature below. I have currently completed double mastectomy 5/21/2009. Waited three weeks and started chemo. The cocktail was 12 weekly Taxol and 4 FAC done once every three weeks. I am currently doing Radiation. I just completed #18 of 30 scheduled treatments yesterday. I have not done any reconstruction.

OK here is what has been on my mind. I have NEVER been sick. FELT I was strong and healthy until NOW of course. OH YEA and NO family history. I had my three kids young and nursed my youngest.

I went to see a Holistic Doctor BEFORE I started radiation. I was skeptical but hey what do I have to loose??? He was VERY unique. I went in and he asked me to sit down and asked me HOW HE COULD HELP ME. I said well.....and gave him the above story.

He sat there with a blank card and a pen in his hand. With what looked like tears in his eyes he looked away from me for what seemed like five LONG minutes. I was like OK what is going on? Again NEW to Holistic.....

He looked back at me and said FIRST of all CANCER is a word that describes MANY forms of stuff they know nothing ABOUT. He said they have been TRYING for years to figure it out without much success. He said I want you to get that word out of your mouth. DO NOT USE THE C WORD.....I said...OK......

He talked a great deal about the Lord and Scriptures......Which was good because I am a Christian.

He says NOT CANCER.....He said I will go to the root of the problem.....Over the last 10 years you break out in a rash on your arms or legs....He said it stings and hurts....starts to itch and then breaks out in to blisters....after a while it clusters and clears up. He said you have been trying to figure this out for a long time.....I WAS THINKING......OMG......that DOES Happen. I NEVER new what is was......

He said I am gonna go to the ROOT of this problem in the breast.......He said I am going back to OCTOBER  21st when you were four years old......YOU HAD A HORRIBLE CASE OF CHICKENPOX....I thought well maybe....I know at sometime I DID have chickenpox....HE said the problem is shingles......IF YOU STOP THOSE then it CANT hit the liver or any other organs....

I was SO amazed and really STUNNED of course thinking.....I am here about what they call BREAST CANCER.....When he first brought up about shingles....I THOUGHT what does this have to do with THE C WORD....

He told me to SHUT THE SHINGLES DOWN....with a product called BHT....some long word I have written down but short form is BHT.

I said OK I will buy it..I said do you have it here???? He said yes but I am not gonna sell it to you today...YOU ARE FEARED and will buy anything from me....He said you go home research it and PRAY about it and if you then want it...I WILL sell it to you.....

Of course I left there and IMMEDIATELY called my mom and asked.....How old was I when I had Chickenpox and do you remember WHEN.....She said I was four....Then she said WHY??? I told her and she said mmmmm wow....I then called my dad and asked him....(They r divorced) he said he remembered it was a month or so BEFORE Christmas and I was FOUR....I then told him WHY I wanted to know.....HE TOO WAS LIKE .....HOW STRANGE......

Everyone that knows me is very aware of the strange breakouts on my arm every few years....Even my oldest son told me a few years ago when it happened....MOM THAT LOOKS LIKE SHINGLES....I said no that is for OLDER people....Just a rash.....I never went to Doctor about it because it always cleared up and was just a small area.....

I went to see my Oncologist for a end of CHEMO follow up and shared this experience with her nurse....She KNEW who he was and said well.....all I can say is he is VERY INQUISITIVE about our patients....I said OH....others have gone and she said YES..

I asked My Oncologist and she said THAT is not her field of study....She did say she does not think anything he offers me would interfere with anything I was doing with her....Which chemo is over....

I need help....I am so confused about this BHT stuff......Please give me some insight. How do we know WHAT to do.....

MAY GOD BLESS US ALL 

Oh yea....did the genetic testing and it was NEGATIVE....Thank GOD for my 16 year old daughter.... 

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Comments

  • Nan
    Nan Member Posts: 49
    edited January 2010
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    Dear angelsabove,

    While I feel this holistic doctors approach is a bit unconventional, I strongly believe that shingles are at times and for some people, a precursor to being dx with cancer. Notice I say for some people. When my daughter Lori had tests run in May it showed that she had the herpes virus in her system and it was very abnormal. It also showed where she had been exposed to mono, and believe it or not, this was from her son when he was 2 years old. He is now 17 years old. How he ever got mono at 2 we will never know. If you have a really good lab they can test for many things, and if at any time in your life you have been exposed to any disease, it will show in the blood. Did you have any blood work ordered by this doctor?

    In 2005, and just two years before Lori's dx of TNBC (just like you), , she was dx with shingles. I was dx a few days later, but Lori was fortunate to get Valtrex so that hers never got to the point of the blisters.We had not seen each other for weeks, as she was busy doing her student teaching. Then in the Spring of this year Lori was dx once again with shingles. That's when she knew she had to do something and quickly, and researched BHRT...biodentical hormone replacement therapy, and went to an antiaging specialist.

    BTW...Lori's older sister had shingles when she was 19 years old, so shingles is not exclusively for the elderly.Usualy shingles follows the nerve endings, and Lori's was in the groin area and mine at the bra line in the back. I was dx once again when Lori was dx with bc.

    Also...it is wonderful to hear that you are negative for the BRCA gene mutation, as is Lori.Smile I do not know very much about holistic doctors, but I am sure someone else will post to you also.

    You need to get healthy now after going through chemo and now rads. Another woman I know took 8000 IU's of D3 every day while going through radiation, and her onc was extremely pleased at how well she did. No burns, no fatigue...nothing, and he was going to document her regimen.

    Take a look here on the alternative forum for recommendations and suggestions as to supplements/vitamins, and above all your diet!! Eliminate the sugar, and all processed foods.

    Did you know that chocolate and nuts can contribute to shingles? Two of my favorite thingsCry

    http://www.healingwithnutrition.com/sdisease/shingles/pplan.html

    http://www.healthywaymagazine.com/WebIssue45/Shingles.html

  • angelsabove
    angelsabove Member Posts: 39
    edited January 2010
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    Nan,

    Thanks so much for the insight. I DID NOT KNOW that about chocolate and nuts. DANG I love those things too. No I did not schedule any blood test. I am going to though. This product he was talking about is called (BHT) Butylated Hydroxytoluene. I am not sure if it safe to take.

    I do many supplements and have started juicing daily. I am drinking alot of water also.

    Thank you so much for your response and I AM gonna schedule some blood work. I DO NOT DO SUGAR. I am now eating as NATURAL as possible.

     MAY GOD BLESS US ALL 

  • CrunchyPoodleMama
    CrunchyPoodleMama Member Posts: 312
    edited January 2010
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    Yikes, that is scary! I know a friend who got shingles last year. Hers was precipitated by a period of major stress in her life... just as (I feel certain) my breast cancer was triggered by a major stress/depression in mine. Interesting how emotional factors play into so many physical conditions.... in any case, I'm glad you're on the road to great health now!!

  • Nan
    Nan Member Posts: 49
    edited January 2010
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    Dear angelsabove,

    When I wrote that  shingles is a precursor to being dx with cancer for some people, I should have also stated that shingles are a sign of a compromised immune system, and a compromised immune system leads to many illnesses and diseases. That should have been my reply to you. I doubt that many ....if any conventional doctors ask their patients dx with cancer if they have ever been dx with shingles.

    I have a friend who is very informed on many alternative meds, and I will ask her about the BHT, and I bet many here on the forum will know also.

  • BettyeE
    BettyeE Member Posts: 136
    edited January 2010
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    My Onc. told me I had probably had this cancer for 8 to 10 years.  Never missed a mammogram.  But, in my research I have read that shingles is a predictor of cancer.  About 10 years ago I had my first outbreak of shingles.  It starts right inside my nose and travels the nerve through my brain..  I have such a headache I cannot function.  It takes a month for it to cycle.  I had outbreaks about every 6 to 8 weeks.  It was almost like it was following my cycle. 

    I took valtrex all during Chemo and then last summer I had the shingles vaccine.  So far so good.  But I am convinced the two are related.

  • angelsabove
    angelsabove Member Posts: 39
    edited January 2010
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    Thank you all SO much. That helps me so much. I was feeling like I was the ONLY one that MAY just have this connection. Ya know shingles and breast cancer. 

    Betty...can you get the shingles vaccine if you have already had shingles. Again so confused about all this.....

    Nan....REALLY working on building this immune system. Everyone including ME was so shocked with this diagnosis. Other than the break out on my arm every few years I have been so healthy.

    My kids and Hubby would always get sick....I was ALWAYS well......Now guess things have changed. They now take care of MOMMY more....lol

    Crunchy....yes they say NO MORE STRESS. It is amazing what ALL stress can do.... 

    May God Bless Us All 

  • BettyeE
    BettyeE Member Posts: 136
    edited January 2010
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    Angel,

    Yes, you can have the vaccine after having shingles.  I was told that if you had had shingles in the last 2 years your were immune.  That is not true!!!  I had shingles several times in one year.  So far so good! No sign of shingles yet.

  • Fidelia
    Fidelia Member Posts: 8
    edited January 2010
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    angelsabove

    Your experience with the holistic healer was strange in that he knew so much about your early medical history. If he is known to your onc and she has had other patients go to him - it is reasonable to ask (no names) if anyone with a similar diagnosis to you was measurably helped by his advice and medicinals - there is no hard in asking if - in your onc's medicial opinion BHT is of any use - googling BHT doesn't help - your onc and anyone else's experience of taking this chemical might - I think there is a connection between a number of viruses and a number of forms of cancer but whether that connection is as direct as this man implies and whether BHT can assist in your tx and recovery need more research - starting with your onc and her honest assessment of whether or not her other patients - with the same diagnosis - benefited from this other therapy - you are not asking for an opinion that could cause trouble - but which may help you make very important decisions affecting your future health.

    Good luck - Fidelia

  • sweatyspice
    sweatyspice Member Posts: 13
    edited January 2010
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    Hmmmm.....I had one outbreak of shingles a little more than 20 years ago and never had a recurrence though I've had a lifetime of stress.  Maybe shingles is a predictor, but ... I find it hard to believe.  Overall stress as a predictor I'd believe.

  • terrij152
    terrij152 Member Posts: 63
    edited January 2010
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    I've had shingles twice in my life.  Once when I was 10 or 11 and again when I was 40.  I have never heard that shingles is a precursor to cancer, however as said above it does mean that your immune system is compromised or stressed.  I know both times when I had shingles I had major stresses in my life. 

  • diana50
    diana50 Member Posts: 253
    edited January 2010
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    my experience with shingles came after my treatment of chemo and rads. i have had chronic shingles the last 7 years; and i am still NED. it appears as if the shingles is a result of compromised immune system from my treatment. i take valtrex and manage them that way. i eat good and exercise regularly. had no problem with shingles until i had cancer and treatment. i also have a friend who also deals with shingles; she is NED but it is 10 years out from treatment. we were both in a clinical trial back in early 2000's. me in 2002 and i think the aggressive treatment most likely affected our immune system. however, no cancer...just shingles.

  • AnneW
    AnneW Member Posts: 612
    edited January 2010
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     Interesting experience with the holistic guy. When I read your account of the visit, it reminded me of Edgar Cayce, and how he'd channel readings about people's health. Many of today's alternative remedies are based on his healing. Like castor oil packs. Fascinating book about him called "There is a River."

     You may as well say that chicken pox is a precursor to cancer. It's the chicken pox virus that lies dormant in your nerve endings and erupts as herpes zoster/shingles for some people during times of stress (and a possible re-exposure to the virus.) I've seen more shingles in men than women, though that's nothing official. I wonder what cancer they can blame on shingles...

    Correlation is not the same as causation.

    Anne

  • angelsabove
    angelsabove Member Posts: 39
    edited January 2010
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    Betty......Thank you for the info on shingles vaccine. I want to get that. I also dont understand the whole (if you have shingles once then you are immune to it) 

    Why then do people continue to break out???? I guess more confusing stuff on the medical front.

    Fidelia.....Yes the experience was STRANGE to say the least.....I did not have an appointment. I just went on a whim.....he never even charged me a dime......

    Will ask my Oncologist some more information (no names of course)

    Diana....The strange thing about me is that I did NOT break out during Chemo......I wonder why. I saw other patients in the chemo room complaining of episodes of SHINGLES....

    Lots of Love Ladies.....May God Bless Us 

  • sweatyspice
    sweatyspice Member Posts: 13
    edited January 2010
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    I haven't looked into this in twenty years, but if I remember correctly, once you have it, you have it.  It goes dormant but can flare up again later.  I don't think "once you have it, you're immune to it" is true.

  • lucy88
    lucy88 Member Posts: 100
    edited January 2010
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    Are you suggesting your personal experience or your best friend's is proof of something?

  • lucy88
    lucy88 Member Posts: 100
    edited January 2010
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    Reread. I was asking for clarification.

    Innuendo is often challenging to figure out.

  • BettyeE
    BettyeE Member Posts: 136
    edited January 2010
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    I posted that I had shingles for years proir to having breast cancer.  I am not suggesting that shingles causes cancer.  I do believe it should be studied.  I believe that it is a problem with the immune system and that cancer is also.  Just stating an opinion deducted from reading articles on the subject. 

  • joyner1963
    joyner1963 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2010
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    Hello everyone,

    This thread is very interesting to me.  My first episode with shingles occured in the late 90's.

    I had two to three flare ups per year. Then, after the birth of my daughter in 2000, I came down with Epstein Barr Virus, a "cousin" if you will, to all of the chicken pox viruses {shingles, herpes, etc.}.The Epstein Barr Virus is "mono".  Anyway, adult mono is total hell, especially with a new baby to take care of.   Aparently, I am a magnet for all things relating to the chicken pox virus.

    After years of the annoying shingles, I finally went on daily suppresive therapy with Valtrex, 500 mg.daily.   The cost is between 7.00-10.00 per pill, but very worth it for me.   I was diagnosed with BC on 9/29/09.  I've had 4 chemo treatments and one flare up of shingles.   

    Over all these years, I've read many different things about shingles/herpes/epstein barr virus, etc.Many holistic folks believe in taking Lysine to supress flare ups.  I've also heard that eating almonds can flare up shingles.   But, to make a long story short, taking supressive therapy with Valtrex is the only thing that works for me. 

    What an interesting correlation between cancer & shingles.   I find everything that has been written very intriguing and interesting.   Best of luck to everyone on this site.

    Sincerely,

    Georgia Joyner, Huntsville ,AL

  • PS73
    PS73 Member Posts: 171
    edited January 2010
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    weird. 

    never had shingles but did have chicken pox and mono.  my girlfriend had excema/shingles and she has an auto immune disease that the drs cannot figure out but it's auto immune and that was her first indication was the outbreak on her arms.

    olive leaf extract was prescribed to me for yeast in my gut but while looking into it, it helps for shingles too - for anybody suffering at the moment.

    - so if bc is related to shingles or auto immune then we are saying that bc is viral - is this the case then?

  • Member_of_the_Club
    Member_of_the_Club Member Posts: 263
    edited January 2010
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    I think shingles and cancer can both be results of the same thing, a compromised immune system.  In which case one doesn't lead to the other but may be a sign of an underlying increased risk.

     I'm really curious about your oncologist's comment about how the guy is inquisitive about her (his?) patients.  I interpreted this to mean someone within your onc's office is feeding this guy information about patients.  Do you think that is possible? 

  • angelsabove
    angelsabove Member Posts: 39
    edited January 2010
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    Member.......----It was my Oncologist Nurse.....I told her about this experience and asked her if she had heard of this man....She said tell me your story....because I know HE IS VERY INQUISITIVE about our patients.....I said Really do u know him....She said no, I just know several of our patients like you have come back and shared their experience with him. She said she also had a friend who went to him that is NOT a cancer patient. She just had some other medical problems....She said it is just (WIERD) on some stories she has heard......

    I did not have an appointment with this man. I just showed up there. I only gave him my first name.....

    All of this (AUTO IMMUNE stuff is SO interesting to me....)

    I found my lump on 4/11/2009....It was on my left breast up HIGH....about 11 o'clock.....

    Prior to finding the lump.....the left side of my nose was horrible dry and continued to peel....and then scale over and over again.....I had already made an appointment with my regular Doctor about that issue. I kept that appointment and went on 4/14/2009....

    I told my regular Dr. while there that the past Saturday I found a lump on my left breast, but I called my OBGYN and she is getting me in tomorrow...4/15/2009...

    She said oh good...get that checked out...Then she started examining my face. She said..mmmmmm this looks like an Auto Immune thing going on....I said REALLY....what does that mean....she said LUPUS, MS.....but I am not sure....I am gonna send you to the lab and get some blood drawn to check this out...I said ok and off to the lab I went.

    The call came the next day from her office and they said.....NO LUPUS, NO MS, NO THYROID PROBLEMS.....BLOOD LOOKS GREAT......

    I got off the phone and thought...GREAT.....maybe this lump isnt anything either...Well went to OBGYN later that day and she recommended the Ultrasound and Mammo.....

    AND THE STORY BEGINS

    Oh and I did call yesterday and left a message to my REGULAR Doctors nurse....I am trying to get her to give me a referral to a Dermatologist because my face on the left side of the nose is STILL doing that.....Just delayed tending to it....KINDA got busy with Chemo and Double Mastectomy and of course DOING Radiation NOW..... 

  • PS73
    PS73 Member Posts: 171
    edited January 2010
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    Hang in there angels above.  Trying to get to the root cause will make you crazy but it is so interesting to me when there are similar anomalies between individuals.  ...like the lupus, I had a dr. tell me to watch out for it in 2005 - he told me to get tested because he thought I had it.  Its a long story but it turned out that everyone thought the man was mad (including me) - I didn't have it but I find it interesting that he mentioned that to me and now Im seeing it here along with other anomalies. 

    During chemo, my skin used to flair up.  This was my regimen:  For the red flared patches, I put organic vitamin e on my face and then a cold wet/frozen wash cloth and would let it sit and absorb the e.  For the red scaly patches where the skin actually flaked off, I did the same regimen but used a hot wet wash cloth.  I repeated this all day (for as long as I could), it happened to me twice and both times went away within a few days.

  • mollyann
    mollyann Member Posts: 148
    edited January 2010
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    I've had shingles and canker sores (at different times) three times per year in the last few years.

    Does anybody know anything about "post herpetic neuralgia," the pain that comes back without the blisters? Sorry if this is off topic.

  • Member_of_the_Club
    Member_of_the_Club Member Posts: 263
    edited January 2010
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    Remember autoimmune disorders are not the result of an underactive immune system but the opposite, an immune system on overdrive.  Shingles means reduced immunity.  

  • awb
    awb Member Posts: 213
    edited January 2010
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    I've recently had shingles and so have been doing a lot of research/talking to docs about it. Shingles is from the same varicella virus as chicken pox, anyone who has had chicken pox (or the vaccine for chicken pox) is at risk for shingles sometime in their life--basically 9 out of 10 people. The virus can lay dormant for years in our bodies; many people never get shingles. They don't know for sure what reactivates it, but it is thought to be brought on by stress or illness. (a lot of people with cancer develop shingles--I remember my grandmother having shingles when she had colon ca, but my mom didn't have her shingles until  7 or 8 years after her bc). If you have it, you need to be sure to stay away from anyone who hasn't had chickenpox or who is pregnant. But I've never heard anything that says that shingles is a risk for bc.

    anne

  • angelsabove
    angelsabove Member Posts: 39
    edited January 2010
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    Member....Thank you for that information.....

    Molly.....No but let me share some more information.....You guys are gonna think that I am crazy....

    Another problem I have been having...again (PRIOR) to tumor being found. Along with my face issue I was having a LEFT foot issue.....I had problems with my left foot. I was having SHOOTING pains in it. Doctor said HEEL PAD SYNDROME......no bone spurs (did foot xray)...Finished Chemo Nov. 16th and now....OM MY.....major foot pain....burning, pulling sensation that runs up the back of my heel...

    Saw radiation Dr. on Monday ....Told him about the pain....I said do u think it is neuropathy from chemo....he said sure dont sound like it.....NO TINGLING....I said NOPE.....burning and hurting....

    DANG...WHAT IS IT WITH THE LEFT SIDE OF MY BODY 

  • mollyann
    mollyann Member Posts: 148
    edited January 2010
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    How do you raise your immunity?

  • angelsabove
    angelsabove Member Posts: 39
    edited January 2010
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    Molly....from what they say....Vitamin C.....Garlic.....and Green Tea.....there are lots of ways....agian from what they say....I can tell you that I have started drinking Hot Green Tea instead of coffee. I gotta get ready to go get my kids but I will post later on what all I do on my (Daily Regimen)...cant tell ya if it all works....but heck TRYING

  • BettyeE
    BettyeE Member Posts: 136
    edited January 2010
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    Well, Angel I too have issues with my left side.  My shingles were always on my right nostril.  I had bc on left side.  Since Chemo my left side of my body is just WRONG.  My arm hurts, my shoulder blade hurts, my side hurts and my leg and my left foot just kill me.  I had a stress  fractor of the heel and wore a cast and a boot and now RX shoes.  Still I have a lot of pain in that leg and foot.  STRANGE!!

  • Sydney6
    Sydney6 Member Posts: 40
    edited January 2010
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    angelsabove - I have been dealing with a rash for the past 2 years.  It started about 9 months before I was diagnosed with BC.  My original surgery was scheduled for 12/18/09, but on 12/15/09 I wound up in the mergency room with shingles.  It is a rash like no other in terms of pain and when it strikes it only affects you on one half.  For example I had it on my face.  It was on the right side of my forehead and around my right eye and it felt like someone was stabbing me in the head.  If the rash on your arms was on both arms at the same time I seriously doubt it was shingles.  My dermatologist does feel though that the cancer can throw your whole immune system out of whack.

    Sue 

    Sue