Many women across Australia have had their breast cancer missed during their mammogram screening, these women range from 42 years of age to 65 years and their tumors were up to 3.5cm when diagnosed.
How can this be?
According to BreastScreen, aggressive breast cancers in some women can emerge in the period between scheduled screening episodes and grow very rapidly, and therefore do not represent any failure in detection. Or, due to the characteristics of the cancer or the breast tissue, some cancers may be occult (not apparent) on screening mammography, and therefore not able to be detected by breast cancer screening. For example, dense breast tissue, which is the majority of women before menopause or those on HRT.
Breast cancers that are missed on a screening mammogram are called Interval Cancers. In 2002/03 approximately 17% of all breast cancer diagnoses in Australia were Interval Cancers. This is over 1,600 cases. The Screening Program did find 46% of new invasive breast cancers. (BreastScreen Australia Evaluation. Evaluation Final Report. Screening Monograph No 1/2009).
Are you up to date with your breast imaging? See clinics near you at: http://safebreastimaging.com.au/3.htm
Dr. Sherrill Sellman is the premier educational leader worldwide, when it comes to the issues of women's hormones. Sherrill's presentations and workshops empower women and encourage them to modify their diet and lifestyle to reduce their risk of hormonal imbalance and disease. For more information on Dr. Sherrill Sellman's tours please see: http://drsellmantour.com
What or who originally inspired you to begin your presentations and workshops?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: It was my body. I went through a time in my life, when I was really experiencing hormone havoc and as a result I was getting night sweats, anxiety attacks every morning, severe hayfever and I was starting to develop arthritis in my joints. I was in my 40's and everything was crashing down around me. When the night sweats started to appear on the scene, that would be every night about midnight, I would have to struggle with them for an hour of so, then I would get some sleep and wake up at about 3am with the anxiety attacks. The whole thing was really debilitating to my life.
I was living a busy life; I was 'successful', I was working 48 weeks out of a year and 50, 60 or even 70 hours a week and this was a great disadvantage to my body, hormones and overall health. The stress had a detrimental effect on my being.
The night sweats were the turning point that made me look at hormones, I had really paid no attention to hormones before that, it lead me on the path to find some answers, I was desperate to sort out what was happening. Suddenly, out of the blue, I had a hormone imbalance going on and out of the need to find a natural solution, for me, I encountered a world of health information and health advice, that I found was incorrect, flawed, totally wrong and was leading women into very dangerous decisions. That is how I found my cause.
What are the two major factors that increase our risk of disease and how we can avoid them?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: There are several key factors that increase our risk of disease; all the problems whether it be a hormonal imbalance or a more chronic illness or depression or being overweight or even all of the above, can be improved.
Number one is the diet, without a doubt eating a diet that is concentrated in tremendous amounts of sugar, refined carbohydrates and fatty foods including alcohol is proving to be an absolutely disaster. There is a very interesting study that shows that woman who eat a high carbohydrate diet have a 220% increase of developing breast cancer. A high gycemic diet includes foods that quickly turn into sugar such as refined carbohydrates, potatoes, high carbohydrate foods such as snacks, candy bars, those are high glycemic foods that cause the body to quickly, quickly use the sugar, rather than sustained energy. One recent study showed that 61 genes were switched on that promoted more chronic illness when you had a high gylcemic diet opposed to a low gylcemic diet.
We normally make the disconnection that how I'm feeling has nothing to do with what I am putting in my body; we need to make that connection. The greatest demons to our health lies within the foods that are sugar or turn into sugar, like carbohydrates.
Number two has to do with the fact that we have 80,000 chemicals in our environment and every child that is born is born with toxic chemicals in their body and these chemicals are hormone disrupters and they lead to carcinogenic effects and they lead to all sorts of chronic illnesses. There is a direct correlation now between this explosion of chronic illness, chronic hormonal imbalance and exposure to toxic chemicals. According to a United States National Cancer Institute 80-90% of all cancers are directly caused from toxins from our food or the environment.
In terms of helping our bodies prevent cancer we need to eat the right foods and implement a healthy lifestyle?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: When we say that, it doesn't mean a lot, we do need to get more specific. The two above problems directly impact our bodies and increase the risk of diseases. We have to address one of the major factors that I believe is behind all illnesses and that is our stress levels. There is a direct relationship between the stress that we carry in our life and our bodies ability to cope, to have a healthy immune system, a healthy detoxification system and a healthy energy system; all of these things are severely effected when we live a very compromised and stressed lifestyle.
For me, I was working, working, working which we get rewarded for in our society, but for women that is a really toxic way to live life and it takes its toll on us. Our hormones are really reflecting the stress that we put in. We were never designed to go 24/7 without a break, without rest or nurturing; this along with throwing in the other factors of eating toxic food takes its toll on our health.
I call stress the number one disrupter that is really driving the major health problems that are facing woman, these days.
Is it possible to trigger the happy hormone? If so, how?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: When we talk about the happy hormone, we are talking about oxytocin. We know about estrogen and progesterone. Natural progesterone does stimulate the production of a neuro-transmitter, which is a brain chemical our body makes, that works like a natural valium. When we are able to balance our hormones or need to supplement with a natural progesterone product we are actually creating our own brain chemicals to relax us and help us chill.
There is another hormone, that is critical for women, that manages stress is called oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that is produced when women give birth to help bond mother and the baby. Oxytocin does have a bigger role and as women there are things that build oxytocin, in women, as high oxtyocin levels will give us the feeling of high wellbeing, we'll feel more peaceful, relaxed and connected whilst reducing stress levels. What builds oxytocin in women, are things like social networking and interacting. The physiology of a woman works best when she is in relationships with other woman, when she is sharing. Woman love to go and have coffee and we need this, we need our girlfriends and time out. It is turning out that manicures and pedicures are not just indulges but they are ways of building oxytocin. Shopping, having romantic times with your partner and getting a massage also builds oxytocin.
When we are in the work force which is a testosterone driven environment stress is increased. When we are in an oxytocin environment the stress is lowered. It is so important for woman to take time to nurture themselves, that builds oxytocin.
What are the effects of fatigue on our hormones and body?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: When you're fatigued you are out of balance and generally it means your little adrenal glands, which are the sources of energy in our life, are absolutely depleted. When we are adrenal glands are depleted they rule our hormones and we become what we call estrogen dominate we also get extra hypoglycemic and the stress hormones kill our short term memory, so we can't remember as well. This also means we wake up tired and we do not have the energy to keep going. All of this is a critical process going on compromising our hormones and leading to PMS, endometriosis, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, pre-menopausal symptoms all driven by the imbalance, this is an epidemic.
It is critical to get enough sleep, which means getting a good nine hours sleep.
Is it possible to active a hormone that burns fat?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: Our hormones are made by healthy functioning of our ovaries and our adrenal glands, these messenger molecules go throughout the body, getting the body to function. If your hormones are out of balance or depleted it is a sign that your system is exhausted, depleted, malnourished and too stressed to perform optimally. Pay attention get the message and start making changes by seeing a naturopath because you may have pushed your body over its ability to naturally functional optimally and it may need some extra assistance to target areas of our body that are particularly depleted and then everything can come back online again.
Why do woman get bloated?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: Bloating is a sign of serious gut problems and evidence of bad bacteria in our gut that can come from a course of antibiotics, steroids or the birth control pill by wiping out our good gut flora and potentially leading to an overgrowth of things. That is one cause of bloating; the other cause of bloating could be chronic inflammation in your digestive track or by gluten, which is the protein component in wheat, rye and barley grains that the body sees as a toxin. Up to 60% of people are gluten intolerant and when you eat wheat and you are gluten intolerant it will cause serious inflammation in your gut and bloating is a sign and symptom.
To fix this you need to look at having a good pro-biotic and cutting out the sugar, gluten and perhaps milk products. If we don't have a good strong and healthy digestive system we are not able to absorb our nutrition so we can have the meal and foods, on the planet, but if our ability to absorb the food is compromised we are not getting the nutrients we need to build and repair our body and restore these healthy functions.
How have you changed your body?
Dr. Sherrill Sellman: I was having panic attacks because of my exhausted adrenal glands. All of the things I mentioned that got me on this path, night sweat; anxiety attacks, allergies and arthritis are all gone. I healed all of my problems by changing everything we have talked about. I had to make major changes and that is the inspiring message I want to give to everybody: what's going on in your body is reflecting everything we have talked about from diet to stress levels and sleep levels. If you really want to be healthy, it's not about going to the doctors and taking a tablet, that will never get the body healthy, it will only drive the conditions deeper, and you have to take responsibility for your body and your health. Take a baby step at a time and start making changes. For me these illnesses were a message from my body.