The rate of breast cancer is increasing exponentially even though the cancers themselves are being diagnosed sooner. Various factors have been suggested by medical physicians and researchers that increase the risk of breast cancer. Factors include a family history of the problem but 85% of breast cancers have had no family history. About 5-10% of breast cancers have a genetic component. Age is also a factor and women 55 and older are at higher risk. Women who started their menstrual cycle earlier in life or continued their cycles past the common menopausal age are also at risk according to research. Having no children or having children later in life has been shown statistically to increase breast cancer risk.
Tamoxifen has been used for over 10 years in the aim to reduce breast cancer risk. The National Cancer Institute states that there is no evidence that this medication, Tamoxifen has any net benefit for women who do not have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
In fact, Tamoxifen also has been shown to actually increase the risk of developing uterine cancer.
The American Cancer Society also warns that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) increases the chances of developing breast cancer as well as clots, stroke and heart disease.
Tamoxifen also causes night sweats, hot flashes, excessive sweating and flushing. This is known as vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients. To treat the undesirable heat symptoms associated with Tamoxifen, another drug Venlafaxine is prescribed which in turn has over 100 other side effects including loss of libido, blurred vision, dizziness, tiredness, insomnia, weakness and nausea.
Venlafaxine is actually an anti depressant marketed by Pfizer and by law in the United States must carry a black label warning because it poses a high risk of patients taking it committing suicide. A study in Finland confirmed that the risk of patients committing suicide taking this drug was significantly higher than patients taking no medication.
Acupuncture has been proven to an effective treatment for reducing vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients.
The Journal of Clinical Onocology stated that acupuncture was safe and effective in the treatment of the heat symptoms such as heat flashes. Dr Eleanor M. Walker feels that acupuncture should be offered as an alternative treatment.
In addition, the research has shown that acupuncture as a side effect, boosted libido and increased mental clarity. Dr Walker also stated that many patients no longer want to take the pharmaceutical medications because of their undesirable side effects.
The 12 week course of acupuncture was followed up 1 year later and the patients were still found to have retained the benefits of the acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture is also being used for post prostate cancer treatment.