Your Breasts Don’t Lie: Using Thermography to Monitor Estrogenic Foods and ProductsOct 29, 2014
Tired of the pinkwashing yet? Breast Cancer Awareness Month is winding down, and it’s high time to think about ways to prevent breast cancer — not just detect it early on but prevent it altogether. One of the best ways to monitor breast health could be thermograms. While most people think of them as a safe and natural way alternative to mammograms, they are that . . . and much, much more. They can help us test diet and supplements too.
Indeed Wendy Sellens, a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Pink Image Thermography in Solana Beach, CA, thinks thermography can be your “new breast friend.”
For every woman who wants to know the state of her breast health or whether those cancer-preventing supplements are working, Sellens’ answer is simple: “Your breasts can’t lie.”
I talked with Sellens to discuss vascularization and other adverse effects on the breasts from birth control pills, hormone replacement therapies (including bioidentical hormone replacement), soy, flax, black cohosh and other supposedly “healthy” estrogenic foods and herbs. Most of these products come highly recommended by alternative doctors and other health care practitioners, yet promote angiogenesis in the breast, a known risk factor for breast cancer.
Angiogenesis refers to the formation of new blood vessels. It is crucial to form new blood vessels in the placenta during pregnancy and to replace blood vessels during recovery from an injury. Angiogenesis has a dark side, however, when it helps fuel cancer growth. Because thermograms —unlike mammograms or breast ultrasound — show vascularization, they are highly useful for breast health screening and monitoring.
To learn more, get her book Breast Cancer Boot Camp which contains the compelling evidence of more than 100 before and after photos. Sellens coauthored the book with William B. Hobbins MD, her mentor and the 90-year old former surgeon who pioneered breast cancer detection through both mammography and thermography. Dr. Hobbins urges widespread use of thermography for initial screening and prevention.
Sellens is a licensed acupuncturist, president and cofounder of the Women’s Academy of Breast Thermography, president of the non-profit Pink Bow Breast Thermography research and education, and an advocate for rigorous nationwide certification standards for thermography.
Thermography is an imaging technique that can detect abnormalities based on patterns of bodily heat. Because cell proliferation and cancer rarely develops without a vascular process that increases the surface temperature, thermography can identify women at risk for breast cancer or who have breast cancer in a very early stage.
In color thermograms, the cooler areas appear dark blue, purple and black, while the warmer areas are yellow, orange, red and white. Gray scale thermographs show the vascularization itself. For highest diagnostic accuracy, Hobbins and Sellens recommend both types of thermograms be done and in high resolution.
Many alternative health professionals today recommend thermography as a safe alternative to mammograms, which are not only painful and expensive but can increase breast cancer risk through radiation exposure and breast tissue compression. Thermograms are particularly helpful for the screening of women with young, dense breast tissue, and those with fibrocystic breast disease, breast implants or scars.
Unlike mammograms, thermograms are useful for detecting changes in the armpit area. Thermography is also safe for women who are pregnant or lactating.
Thermography can help women see the effects on their breasts of the many foods, herbs, supplements and other products commonly recommended to support breast health.
They’ve consistently seen ill effects from the following:
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapies (including bioidentical hormone replacement therapies)
- Soy, flax, red clover, alfalfa and other foods high in phytoestrogens
- Black cohosh, red clover, xiang fu and other herbs high in phytoestrogens
- Supplements such as DIM and calcium D-glucorate.
Particularly worrisome is their finding of unhealthy, vascularized breasts even in young women.
Exposure to environmental estrogens from pesticides, plastics, factory-farmed meats and tap water is part of the problem. So is birth control pill usage. “Breasts do not fully mature until age 25,” explains Sellens. “Breast development is adversely affected by unopposed estrogen . . . The younger the age, the higher the risk.” Birth control pills are widely dispensed today not only for contraceptive use but to regulate and mitigate the pain of menstrual periods.
For older women, advocates of hormone replacement therapies not only promise an easy menopause but the fountain of youth. While the dangers of pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy have been widely publicized, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is widely promoted as safe and natural. Sadly, thermographic evidence does not bear this out. Bio-identical pills, pellets, patches, creams, all lead to increased vascularization.
Sellens and Dr. Hobbins particularly want to debunk the myth of “weak” estrogens as found in soy, black cohosh and other plant-based products. Although less potent than pharmaceutical estrogens, “weak” estrogens are not anti-estrogens and can still feed a cancer.
The Dark Side of Soy and Flax
Back in the early 1980s Dr. Hobbins linked increased amounts of soy in the food supply to increased rates of breast cancer. While correlation doesn’t equal causation, thermograms confirmed his suspicions as he compared the breasts of women consuming soy to those who did not. In time, other scientific evidence emerged as well, much of which is discussed in my book The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food.
By 2005 the Israeli Health Ministry had seen enough evidence to warn women to “exercise caution” regarding soy consumption, particularly if they’ve been diagnosed with, or have a family history of, breast cancer. The French Food Agency, German Institute of Risk Assessment and Cornell University’s Center for Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors soon followed. Yet soy is still widely promoted as the ticket to breast cancer prevention, and manufacturers even give it out every October in pink containers — known as “pinkies” — at many Komen Races for the Cure.
Soybeans — both organic and GMO — are high in the phytoestrogens known as isoflavones. Clover and alfalfa sprouts are rich in the type known as coumestans, while flaxseeds and flax oil are rich in lignans. Although these phytoestrogenic foods are widely touted as cancer-preventing, thermograms show adverse effects on the breasts.
“Dr. Hobbins and I have gotten thousands of women off soy and flax,” says Sellen. “These estrogenic foods are not our friends, but foes.”
Similarly, black cohosh, red clover, evening primrose and xiang fu (cyperus rhizome) are estrogenic herbs.
“Thermograms show how strong these phytoestrogens really are,” says Sellens. “We see many women who start taking these supposedly healthy products go from ‘at risk’ thermograms to abnormal ones in three months or less. If these weakly estrogenic substances were ‘healthy’ for the breasts, we could expect women who regularly consume them to have non-vascular breasts, which would be evidence of a lack of stimulation and a protective effect.” Having analyzed thousands of thermograms, Sellens reports, “This is just not the case.”
If this all this seems too hard to believe, Sellens’ advice is simple: “Get a certified breast thermogram from an accredited clinic and take a look for yourself.”
Given that many naturopathic doctors and alternative health care practitioners regularly recommend these products, this is a sobering reminder to us all that “natural” is not necessarily “safe.” Get a certified breast thermogram from an accredited clinic and see the truth staring back at you on the screen.
Stop believing flax, soy and bioidentical estrogen are healthy because they come from a plant. Stop believing they are weak estrogens because they are natural.
Calcium D-Glucarate, DIM and Green Drink Powders
But what about Calcium D-Glucarate? Can’t this bind and eliminate excess estrogen?
Calcium D-glucarate is a chemical. It is similar to a naturally occurring chemical called glucaric acid. Glucaric acid is found in our bodies as well as in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, apples, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage. Calcium D-glucarate is made by combining glucaric acid with calcium to make supplements that people use for medicine.
Calcium D-glucarate is used for preventing breast, prostate, and colon cancer. It also helps remove cancer-causing agents, toxins, and steroid hormones from the body.
Calcium D-glucarate might lower estrogen levels, and this is thought to be helpful in treating some people with hormone-dependent cancers. However, the truth is that there isn’t enough evidence to support the use of calcium D-glucarate for preventing cancer in humans.
Beware as well of DIM (Diindolylmethane) and other supplements said to bind excess estrogen or regulate estrogen metabolism. While doctors cite some science to support that, thermographic evidence suggests that in many cases they act like estrogens and worsen vascularity.
Given that DIM and similar supplements derive from compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. it should not be surprising that some brands of green drink concentrate powders have proven problematic as well.
Here are a few of the photos from the book Breast Cancer Boot Camp.
Normal Thermogram. Non vascularized breasts.
Effect of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Effect of a diet high in soyfoods.
Effect of soy food consumption.
Effects of using the herb red clover for 3 months.
Effect of flax after six months.
Effect of black cohosh
For more information about quality thermography, click here to visit Wendy Sellens’ website.
To learn more about this controversial topic and see more images, buy Wendy Sellens’ book by clicking on the Amazon image to the left.