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Topic: Diagnosed and worried about environment

Forum: Alternative Medicine —

This forum is a safe, judgement-free place to discuss Alternative medicine. Alternative medicine refers to treatments that are used INSTEAD of standard, evidence-based treatment. Breastcancer.org does NOT recommend or endorse alternative medicine.

Posted on: Mar 1, 2021 11:27PM - edited Mar 1, 2021 11:31PM by HopeHeal

HopeHeal wrote:

Hi, I have been lurking here for a while and many of your stories have fascinated me. I have been into health diets and natural therapies for years, but today I was diagnosed with IDC grade 3, with more details pending further workup. Now there are things that I could have done better in terms of taking care of myself recently, as covid and staying put in the house led to a lot of stress and less exercise. But I am becoming convinced, hearing about so many women being dx in my city, that there is something in the air/water. I have no family history of bc, one of the ancestry companies said I don't have the bc gene, my immune system is strong based on my autoimmune condition, therefore I am an unlikely candidate for such an assault. Just wondering if anyone here had that concern and has moved to another town because of it or how you handled it, and where the safest place is to move. At the same time the thought of moving is compounding the fact that I am facing treatment, and I just feel so trapped.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 1, 2021 11:54PM jhl wrote:

Hi Hope,

I think we all sit back and wonder 'what we did' when we are diagnosed with breast cancer. After all, 12% of us women will develop breast cancer in our lifetime. But, breast cancer is not a homogeneous disease. There are many forms and you will find out what types of cells predominate in your own IDC. Also, your cancer has probably been there for several years. As far as environment, those impacts are heterogeneous as well. Everything from lead in water to birth control pills to the age you began menstruating and when you had your first child as well as many many other factors influence the development of cancer. Sadly, we don't know exactly how influential each factor is.

I would encourage you to not disrupt your life unless you need some family or friend assistance. Whatever caused your cells, like mine, to become cancerous will never be found. We each of us must meet ourselves where we are right now. You did nothing to cause your development of IDC, as far as we know now. I have not moved nor have I significantly changed my life. I was diagnosed in October 2019. I had surgery, radiation and now I take an AI. I feel good most everyday. The knowledge I have had cancer still niggles my mind but I've been treated well throughout this whole ordeal. I have no plans to change my life.

Best of luck,

Jane

Dx 11/15/2019, IDC: Cribriform, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Mar 2, 2021 12:09AM HopeHeal wrote:

Hi Jane, thank you so much for responding. It is inspiring to hear you are doing well. This dx is such a shock. What is AI? My IDC is grade 3 which is fast growing so I am surmising it wasn't there long.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 2, 2021 12:20AM jhl wrote:

Hi Hope,

This cancer diagnosis is indeed a shock. It took me weeks to wrap my head around it and I was fortunate my health system had an excellent process in place so I could move from one step to the next easily. That helped my head catch up with the details. AI is aromatase inhibitor. I take Arimidex. It is normally given to women after surgery &/or rads & chemo to suppress the production of estrogen in post-menopausal women. Premenopausal women are usually given tamoxifen. They come with their own issues but don't get too bogged down.

One step at a time,

Jane

Dx 11/15/2019, IDC: Cribriform, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Mar 2, 2021 12:30AM Beesie wrote:

Could there be something in the air or water where you live? I suppose so.

But consider that 1 in 8 women develop breast cancer. That more than 12 women out of every 100 women. Most of those cases are not genetic; of those 12 women, only 2 may have a hereditary cancer. You are 56, which means you are likely post- menopausal (or just about there) which is when the risk goes up for all women. And yes, you've had an overall healthy diet and lifestyle - well, read this board and see how many women who've "done everything right" still develop breast cancer. So your situation is hardly unique. While you think that you are an unlikely candidate for breast cancer, in fact that's not true at all. The #1 risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman. The #2 risk factor is getting older. You check both boxes. Could it be the air or water? It's more likely just the luck of the draw that landed you as the 1 in 8. And it most likely would have happened wherever you lived.

I appreciate that you are looking for a reason why this happened. For most of us, we'll never know why our cells went rogue. It's most likely a combination of factors over our lives, including some that are biological (for example, how much estrogen we have and how our breast cells react to the estrogen, or whether we have dense breast tissue).

As for how long your cancer has been growing, with some exceptions (IBC mostly), breast cancers have been in the breast for 3-5 years or longer before they become large enough to be detected through imaging. Grade 3 is fast growing for a breast cancer, but breast cancer is not fast growing.



Dx 9/15/2005 Right, 7cm+, DCIS-Mi, Stage IA, Gr 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- ** Dx 01/16/2019 Left, 8mm, IDC, Stage IA, Gr 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) ** Surgery 11/30/2005 MX Right, 03/06/2019 MX Left ** Hormonal Therapy 05/2019 Letrozole
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Mar 2, 2021 01:27AM HopeHeal wrote:

I have been post menopausal since very early 50's. So yes that could be it, the estrogenic tissue & dense breasts, which I have. It is comforting to know bc is not a fast growing cancer overall & about the 3-5 year origin timeline, that gives me a better picture of things.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 2, 2021 10:10AM Beesie wrote:

HopeHeal, this graphic shows cancer cell growth based on the number of cells doubling every 100 days. For breast cancer, most estimates put the doubling rate at anywhere from 50 days for the most aggressive to 200 days for a less aggressive cancer.

Dx 9/15/2005 Right, 7cm+, DCIS-Mi, Stage IA, Gr 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- ** Dx 01/16/2019 Left, 8mm, IDC, Stage IA, Gr 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) ** Surgery 11/30/2005 MX Right, 03/06/2019 MX Left ** Hormonal Therapy 05/2019 Letrozole
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Mar 2, 2021 10:50AM edj3 wrote:

Yup, I'm one of the did everything right women and got breast cancer.

What I'd ask you to consider is this: how would your life and/or treatment plan change if you were to find the reason? Because so many times, it's just the random number generator and the treatment plan wouldn't change anyway.

I'm not great at acknowledging I've had this disease (or the other health issues I've had) but I do know that the why matters less at this point than me continuing to make good choices. KWIM?

Tried the tamoxifen, no thanks. Dx 4/9/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 5/5/2019 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Dx 5/6/2019, LCIS, Left, <1cm, 0/1 nodes Radiation Therapy 6/2/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 9/22/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Mar 2, 2021 06:28PM HopeHeal wrote:

That's a great graph. At least I know I may have to be worried about 50 days, not 3. Because my IDC has not been seen on the mammogram (except for the calcifications) as a mass & I have not felt a lump, I hope it is in the pre-clinical stage as the graph shows. Unless something is hiding. The next step is an MRI.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 2, 2021 06:44PM moth wrote:

I'm the only person I know who grows super fast tumors. I was diagnosed stage 1a few months after a clean mammo & the excised tumor was just under 2cm

My lung met grew 0 to ~2cm in 8 weeks (verified by CT) and kept growing fast because the radiation CT mapping a few weeks later measured it even larger.

I suspect the grade 1, 2, 3 have significant variations in them. Which would explain too how some lower grade tumors, even in metastatic setting, are so very slow to progress while others spread like wildfire.

I also suspect that the genetic damage or the environmental trigger (virus or chemical etc) that leads to failure of proper DNA replication and tumor suppression might have happened decades ago. Could have happened in utero.

As to moving...I'd say move only if moving gets you close to a state of art treatment center. Otherwise, stay where you're happy with friends, family, climate, life..

I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/13/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/18/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/25/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/8/2020 External Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 12/15/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/2/2021 External: Bone
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Mar 2, 2021 10:18PM HopeHeal wrote:

I think grade affects prognosis. I don't feel good about the grade 3. If it's aggressive after I've been taking care of myself for the most part, then it's angry.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 3, 2021 12:55AM Beesie wrote:

moth, according to two studies referenced here, triple negative cancers have the fastest growth rate, particularly those with high Ki-67.

Ki-67 and grade affect the growth rate of ER+ cancers but overall it appears that the growth rate of these Luminal A cancers is considerably slower.

How Fast Does Breast Cancer Start, Grow, and Spread? https://www.verywellhealth.com/breast-cancer-growt...


"A 2019 study estimated doubling time by looking at serial ultrasounds between diagnosis and surgery. It was found that growth varied significantly based on the estrogen receptor status of the breast tumors.

During an average interval of 57 days, 36 percent of tumors did not change in size, while 64 percent grew. Of those tumors that increased in size, the average gain in volume was 34.5 percent.

Tumors that were triple negative had greater increases in volume and shorter doubling times than those that were estrogen receptor positive and HER2 negative tumors.

In a 2016 study that similarly looked at growth based on ultrasound between diagnosis and surgery over a 31 day period, tumors increased from 1.47 centimeters to 1.56 centimeters in diameter. Daily growth rate based on type was:

  • 1.003 percent per day increase for triple negative tumors
  • 0.859 percent per day for HER2 positive/estrogen receptor negative tumors
  • 0.208 percent per day increase for estrogen receptor-positive tumors"


Dx 9/15/2005 Right, 7cm+, DCIS-Mi, Stage IA, Gr 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- ** Dx 01/16/2019 Left, 8mm, IDC, Stage IA, Gr 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) ** Surgery 11/30/2005 MX Right, 03/06/2019 MX Left ** Hormonal Therapy 05/2019 Letrozole
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Mar 3, 2021 08:29AM mightlybird01 wrote:

If you are really worried about the environment, you can always look at the air quality data for your region on your governmental website. But as others have said just because you know some people who have been diagnosed recently with cancer is not a good way to look at it, as, as has been said, the risk increases with age and all sorts of confounding factors could skew your perception.


If you are worried about your water you could test it. If you are on well water as I am you should do it anyway every year. I found this a great company:

https://mytapscore.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium...


For your piece of mind, you could also install an air quality monitor, and or look at the map and choose your location that is close by you.

https://www2.purpleair.com/


If you live near major factories, fossil fuel industry and such it may be that your risk of cancer is increased, but usually it is by a tiny tiny fraction. Most of the time, it is simply chance, or a combination of many things, some of which could have happened a long time ago.

Dx 4/12/2019, IDC/IDC: Medullary, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 5/21/2019 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 11/8/2019 Mastectomy: Right
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Mar 3, 2021 09:12AM MelissaDallas wrote:

You know, there is ample evidence of cancer, including breast cancer in mummies, in ancient people where presumably air quality and chemicals didn’t enter into it at all.

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor. Dx 5/20/2012, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes
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Mar 3, 2021 09:40AM AngieB92 wrote:

Hope-

I often think how unfair cancer is in its selection process. I can almost reconcile my poor eating habits and lack of really continuous exercise as the reason for my bc but I especially find it puzzling that women like you - healthy, exercisers - still get it too. That would be very frustrating had I been in that category.

I agree with the women posting above that you need to continue living how you are because it’s not a guarantee that your environment played into any of this. We have upended our lives enough with treatments and surgeries that we should allow ourselves the luxury and comfort of familiarity- be that in where we live or what we do.

Dx 8/8/2019, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2019 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/17/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 3/3/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Targeted Therapy 4/10/2020 Kadcyla (T-DM1, ado-trastuzumab)
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Mar 3, 2021 01:10PM - edited Mar 3, 2021 02:49PM by HopeHeal

Thank you for your helpful post & links, Mightybird. AngieB92 I am not an exerciser, so I think it is less random that this occurred. I was, however, careful about the foods I chose & products I put on my body. The punishment does not fit the crime of simply not being a gym rat.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 3, 2021 01:27PM - edited Mar 3, 2021 03:44PM by wrenn

I was nervous to hear I was grade 3 (triple negative metaplastic to boot) but my tumour was estimated to be 1.5cm to touch on June 15th and was the same later on with scans. When it was removed 2 months later it was the same size. My only treatment was mastectomy and I am fine 7 years later with no indication of any recurrence.

I am old, obese, sedentary, like crap food (although I am behaving the last few months), and live in the middle of the city with high traffic out my window.

My theory on cause and outcome is 'crap shoot' for the most part.

I have heard that stress can deplete immune function so try to find ways to calm yourself. My Apple watch (no doubt sending EMFs up my node removal arm) reminds me to breathe periodically.

Covid is scarier to me. Take care and stay safe.

Metaplastic IDC Triple negative...Tumour is 1.5cm. BMX Aug. 16th. Chemo cancelled after one dose due to complications. Dx 7/25/2013, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 8/16/2013 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Mar 3, 2021 02:58PM HopeHeal wrote:

Wrenn you post made me laugh in a good way. Very inspiring to hear you had the fastest growing & most aggressive tumor and that it stayed the same & that you're ok! You make it seem better to just let things be than to try so hard to protect oneself as I do; it's creates worry. You had a good outcome without the chemo so didn't need it after all; your complication was a stroke of luck it seems.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 3, 2021 04:03PM Beesie wrote:

HopeHeal, as far as I'm concerned, the best way to approach diet & lifestyle after a cancer diagnosis is to do what is most comfortable for you. If you would be stressed because you feel you aren't doing enough and making changes, then make those changes. But if you would be stressed by having to think about the implications of everything you put in your mouth, then forcing yourself to make a lot of diet changes probably isn't for you.

I certainly put more focus on exercise and both my DH and I are better at eating a healthier, more fruit & veggie based diet - although honestly, a lot of that has to do with our overall health, since we are both getting older and we simply can't consume what we could when we were younger. But my philosophy is "everything in moderation" and I don't believe in depriving myself. I figure that breast cancer has taken enough from me; I'm not going to offer up more, not when the evidence isn't overwhelming and in some cases is suspect. If I had to give up wine or cheese or chocolate, I would be a very unhappy person. So I continue to consume those items, but I limit the quantities and/or keep them to when I really have the craving. That's what works for me. I'm by no means suggesting that this is what you should do - you need to find what works for you. Just don't feel that you have to do something because you read somewhere that it reduces risk.... because there probably is another article or study that says that it doesn't reduce risk. Remember that there is no silver bullet and there are no "you must do this" rules after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Dx 9/15/2005 Right, 7cm+, DCIS-Mi, Stage IA, Gr 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- ** Dx 01/16/2019 Left, 8mm, IDC, Stage IA, Gr 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) ** Surgery 11/30/2005 MX Right, 03/06/2019 MX Left ** Hormonal Therapy 05/2019 Letrozole
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Mar 3, 2021 11:08PM HopeHeal wrote:

I would like to add to that that happiness plays a role in cancer healing, so culinary enjoyment is important.

Dx 3/1/2021, DCIS/IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Chemotherapy 12/16/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Mar 4, 2021 12:05AM exbrnxgrl wrote:

I’m in complete agreement with beesie! I tried a rigid diet regimen and other lifestyle revamping for about 4 weeks. I was miserable and the reality is that I didn’t have an unhealthy lifestyle to begin with! I also realized fairly quickly I couldn’t control every minute aspect of my life in an effort to “fight” cancer. I also wouldn’t have enjoyed my life if a huge chunk of my time was devoted to compulsively focusing on bc. But, that’s what’s worked for me while others find doing more to be comforting. I am stage IV and will be hitting the 10 year mark soon, progression free

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Mar 4, 2021 09:07PM MinusTwo wrote:

I too was insanely healthy before diagnosis. Luck of the draw.

Here's my watch word now & forever - MODERATION. It works!!!

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Mar 6, 2021 05:27PM wallycat wrote:

The only issue with relocation is knowing where an ideal spot is. I don't think in today's world there is such a thing.

Genetic testing is good but as Beesie pointed out, many women get breast cancer without having genetic markers (or family history)...and not enough is known about epigenetics and how that influences what happens to us. Imagine that what your great grandmother ate could affect you....and you see how difficult that is to do anything about.

I wish you well on this journey. I don't blame you wanting to know the "why" of this ugly disease but sometimes, spending energy on other things makes for a better quality of life.

Dx 4/07 1 month before turning 50; ILC 1.8cm, ER+/PR+, HER2 neg., Stage 1, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes. Onco score 20, Bilateral Mast., tamoxifen 3-1/2 years, arimidex-completed 4/20/2012

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