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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at www.debilynsmith.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Surprise

I can't believe it is raining out? That's very unusual for us at this time of year. The snow is determined to cling to the grass though so there will be white for Christmas, although not nearly as much as usual. Enough to keep that Christmas feeling. Some of us don't go to Mexico during the Holidays for a reason.

We arrived in Terrace last week for the hysteroscopy. The gynecologist performing the procedure had met with me six weeks prior and we discussed the options of getting to the bottom of the continual menstrual-like cramping that has been on-going since taking the Tamoxifen. A side effect of taking Tamoxifen is uterine cancer. I kid you not!

Signs of uterine cancer are cramping , back pain and spotting. I do have the cramping and the lower back pain (from skiing the hard bumps at the ski hill possibly, or is it something else)The fear of growing more cancer was eating me up.  So to be sure, the doctor was going to go in with a camera and take pictures to assure both himself and me that all was clear.
When he asked to examine me, I politely opted out , telling him my regular doctor and girlfriend Dr. V was very thorough and had just examined me days before. He smiled at my ploy and let it go, saying there had better not be any "surprises" once I was on the operating table. I assured him there wouldn't be.

 I haven't had to flash the old wahzoo at a man other than my husband for over twenty years and was not looking forward to it. Fortunately when this doctor would get to look at it, I would be under a general anesthetic and not having to grin and bear the moment.

That's why I decided to decorate my south pole, complete with a Santa cap, white beard, red mittens on the inside thighs and plenty of Christmas stickers wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I hear it was a hit and a good laugh for everyone.

The good news is that the pictures looked excellent, with no other surprises. Now we await results from the samples taken.

I went off the Tamoxifen the day after the procedure. The Zoladex that I take by injection every three months should be wearing off and my oncologist and other two doctors want to take me off everything to see if I am in menopause yet. After the chemotherapy and the drugs I should be by now. If I am, they can take me off the Tamoxifen and put me on something far less carcinogenic for the rest of the five folllow-up years. That would be VERY comforting. Although like with everything else I have been through, this comes as a trade-off. It means I am not protected from feeding my estrogen-receptive cells and so I am avoiding all soy products, all alcohol, as much sugar as is humanely impossible during Christmas and hoping I don't do what I've done all through my life and do harm to myself. It's easier this time because there is more than myself at stake these days. There are my children's children to live for. It's funny to love people that haven't even been conceived yet, that much, but I feel it. It's real and I need to do all that I can to make sure I'm around to welcome them all to this amazingly complex but wonderful world.

Wishing everyone a few good surprises for your Christmas as well!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Life In The Fast Lane.......Zoom

It was with relief and not just a bit of joy that I celebrated my 52nd birthday this week. As usual, I was spoiled, even more so this year with people trying hard to make sure I knew how much I was loved. I get it everyone, although I always did know. I'm sorry about the depression and sinking as low as I got.  The anti-depressants are working wonderfully. I seem to be able to be myself, while maintaining a sunnier disposition. They don't seem to mess with my mind, I'm not walking around numb or in a bubble. I am able to sweep aside any darkness that gathers and in some moments, stay in the darkness to sort a few things out before retreating again.
2011 had to have been the worst year of my life. But that is changing!
We spent the last week in November visiting good friends in Victoria and meeting my daughter's fellow for the first time before heading to Vancouver to watch the BC Lions capture the coveted Grey Cup! What a weekend. While down there I had my first breast MRI since getting the news I had breast cancer. A week later we got the results. Not the green light I had hoped for, but not a red one either. I'm to have a follow-up MRI in 6 months, not a year due to some fibrous tissue that is a little "suspect." There is also some fluid still floating around which we'll be talking to the surgeon about. Hmmm. So I don't get to pass "go'" and collect the $200 . Fudge.
I am leaving in the morning for Terrace for a hysteroscopy- a procedure where they knock you out and insert a telescope-like device into the uterus where they can take pictures and samples to rule out any cancerous tissue. There has been a constant cramping since being on the Tamoxifen- a known carcinogen that causes uterine cancer. Just another precaution...
 Once bitten, twice shy, as they say. I am thankful for the thoroughness of our medical system.
But I also wonder if it will ever end? Maybe I was too quick to think I would be "over this" in a year. I blew that deadline in August. Maybe we could set my 55th birthday as a deadline.
SPEAKING of, the deadlines for the next alphabetical blog is once again on hold. There are simply too many other things happening at once- you know the drill. The Christmas shopping, getting the parcels and cards out, decorating the house, baking for sales and then for yourself. My time is not my own these days, but I will try and get back to you again in the next week...or so.
Happy running around to you, as well!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"E" is For More Excuses

I am pleased to say the Grey Cup adventure was so much fun that we arrived home hoarse from shouting "Hurray!" and exhausted from all that excitement. Yet, still on a roll,, we unloaded the BC Lion paraphernalia and donned our skis and gear to head up to the beautifully snow-submerged Hudson Bay Mountain. Alas, while visions of steep and deep danced in our heads, the winds outside our cozy abode decided to turn cyclonic and bash and crash and bang every hanging snow shovel, every wooden sign or flag pole rope. It was hard to sleep and even harder to ski in the wind crusted crud left behind. Only the brave or downright foolhardy made their way down the ungroomed slopes that morning. Once broken up by people ahead of you, you could make some turns, but your ankles were continually getting grabbed hard enough to break them. So we called it an early day, only to return to it in the morning well after the sun poked its head out. Slightly softened, the skiing improved as did the sheer grin of ecstasy crossing my face. My thighs burned in protest, my lungs sounded like I was a 3-pack a day hardcore, but I was back doing what makes me feel more alive than anything I have ever done in my entire life. I was free. I was a rocket. Unstoppable, feeling like I was one with the mountain and the snow beneath me. It held me up as I threw my knees left and right and left and right, riding the hard snow and drifts like  waves on an ocean.
But because of all that, I am pooped and am trying to sit here and write my latest blog in the alphabetical series. It IS half done, but I need some rest. Tomorrow will be the typical whirlwind Monday. I accidentally blew my blood test appointment so will have to try and get in for that as well as do the last of the Christmas shopping list for those far away. I set my birthday as the deadline for parcels to go out- and that's Thursday where we will be back up the mountain. What better way to spend a day getting older than doing what makes you feel so young and so downright healthy?
 So hopefully Monday night I can get the next blog done done. Because Tuesday I'm wrapping prezzies all day before boxing, addressing and shipping.
"E" is for exercise (as well as excuses.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"E" is for EEEKKK in The Alphabetical Cancer Prevention Series

EEEEEEKKKKKKKKK! It's Sunday and I not only don't have the blog done for this week, but am on holidays next week as well.
"E" is for Exercise, and I am exercising my right to I.O.U. the blog until December 4th.

Tonight I have company that helped cheer on the BC Lions to win the Western Finals.Dinner is over as is the game and I excused myself to fill you in on the excitement in my life.

The win tonight means we get to watch the BC Lions live on the 27th as they play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Grey Cup. We bought tickets months ago, hoping but not sure if BC would be playing. It's a dream come true! We watched the Lions beat the Montreal Alloettes in 2006 in Winnipeg and we would be ecstatic to see them do it again in 2011 right in Vancouver. Watch for me- I'll be holding a bright orange sign saying "We Believe" on it.

I'll also be having my second breast MRI while in Vancouver. If this one comes up clean, I think I will finally be able to relax a bit. I'm having a uterine scope done with a camera December 13th which will also get me over the anxiety hurdle I've been stuck on. I seem to have lost all faith that I am well. These tests will give it back to me.
But while we wait for results, we will be whooping it up in Vancouver and Victoria with friends, eating well, cheering and having the best of times, all without a sip of alcohol for me. I don't even think that's strange anymore, or even worry that it won't be any fun. I am PUMPED and ready to rock on for the Lions!

I'll be back in December. Until then, be well, be safe and think before you drink too much.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"D" is For Dairy In The Alphabetical Cancer Prevention Blog Series

This week's food blog is: "D" is for Dairy:
To eat dairy products or not is such a huge debate between health food magazines and dairy farmers. When I found out I had breast cancer, the nutritionist advised I skip the 4 glasses of skim a day and try to avoid dairy products.  He said there were dangerous growth hormones and antibiotics in milk and so, sadly I took up the torturous path of trying to find substitute rice and soy cheeses. Suffice to say they all tasted like ...well, not like cheese to say the least!
Recently, Cracker Barrel cheese has been running commercials that state their products are hormone and anti-biotic free because they are made from good old Canadian cows. What the heck did that mean and how did it affect me, I wondered.
When it comes to dairy and breast cancer, be grateful that you live in a country as health conscious as Canada instead of in the United States where manufactured hormones may have been injected into the cow.
 Dairy cows in the rest of the world (except EU, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) are allowed to inject their cows with a recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) which stimulates growth production up to 10 times the  normal rate.. The use of this hormone causes a large upsurge in udder mastitis and lameness which means antibiotics also have to be used on the cows.
 But by far the largest controversy is the milk from cows that have been injected with genetically engineered rBGH  which contains 2 to 10 times IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) than normal cow's milk. This is significant, because studies have found the risk of prostate cancer for men over 60 years of age with high levels of IGF-1 to be eight times greater than for men with low levels. And the risk of breast cancer for premenopausal women with increased blood levels of IGF-1 to be up to seven times greater. 
Consultants paid by Monsanto, the rBGH manufacturer, say that milk from injected cows is absolutely safe for human consumption because IGF-1 is destroyed by pasteurization. FDA researchers, on the other hand, report that IGF-1 is not destroyed by pasteurization. 

Monsanto also says the hormone is safe because IGF-1 is completely broken down by digestive enzymes and does not enter the human intestinal tract. But researchers not paid by Monsanto say that IGF-1 may not be totally digested, and that some does make its way into the colon and cross the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. 
So I am glad to say that I am a proud Canadian and back to eating a bit of cheese, yogurt and sour cream (if they have been made from good old Canadian cows). I'm still using almond milk on my morning oatmeal though because if you have read any of the Health Food magazines, they say that drinking any milk from an animal just isn't a natural thing to do. When you think about it, what other animal continues to consume milk long after infancy? Not only milk, but milk intended for babies of that species?
Like everything else in life, I think the key is moderation. Unless you are lactose intolerant, some dairy in your life is probably not going to harm you. Drinking gallons of milk a day might not be advisable- growth hormones or not.

"D" is for Detection in The Alphabetical Cancer Prevention Series

The following blog on Breast Self Examination (BSE),  was going along fine, until I went to my faithful Wikipedia, which surprised me to read the following:


BSE was once promoted heavily as a means of finding cancer at a more curable stage, but large randomized controlled studies found that it was not effective in preventing death, and actually caused harm through needless biopsies and surgery.
Breast awareness is an informal alternative to structured breast self-examinations.According to a meta-analysis in the Cochrane Collaboration, two large trials in Russia and Shanghai found no beneficial effects of screening by breast self-examination "but do suggest increased harm in terms of increased numbers of benign lesions identified and an increased number of biopsies performed." They concluded, "At present, screening by breast self-examination or physical examination cannot be recommended."[1]
Although breast self-examination increases the number of biopsies performed on women, and thus revenue for the breast cancer industry, it does not reduce mortality from breast cancer. In a large clinical trial involving more than 260,000 female Chinese factory workers, half were carefully taught by nurses at their factories to perform monthly breast self-exam, and the other half were not. The women taught self-exam detected more benign (normal or harmless lumps) or early-stage breast disease, but equal numbers of women died from breast cancer in each group.[2]
I only know that in my case, a self discovered lump in my left breast was reason enough to be sent for more tests which resulted in finding a  cancerous lump  in the right breast that was never felt by self-examination. My girlfriend, a doctor who has female clinics, strongly suggests that women self examine. I still perform BSE monthly.If you want to know more about it, keep reading:


  • In 2010, an estimated 23,200 women in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer, an increase of (500) from 2009. On average, 445 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every week.
  • Estimated number of new cases of breast cancer in females by age:

    • 6,600 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 70+

    • 5, 800 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 60-69

    • 6,200 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 50-59

    • 3, 500 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women 40-49

    • 950 breast cancer cases diagnosed in women under the age of 40  
 Those numbers should concern anyone who has breasts. It's getting scary out there! Take heart. Nothing gives you a better chance of beating breast cancer than early detection can. While self examination, mammograms, thermal imaging and MRI's are not actually preventive measures for the disease,  they can prevent the ultimate worst outlook for a patient, which is losing their life.



If breast cancer is found at an early stage there is usually a better chance of successful treatment. Finding cancer early may also allow for more treatment options such as less aggressive treatment or breast conserving surgery.

Breast screening is the regular examination of a woman’s breasts to detect breast cancer  when she has no signs or symptoms of breast problems.

Two common methods of breast screening are:

Although not a screening method, something you can do on your own is to be breast aware. Being breast aware means knowing how your breasts normally look and feel. That way, if there are any significant changes, you'll be more likely to notice them and can have them checked by a doctor. 


Still, it is possible for breast cancer to develop without any changes that can be easily noticed, which is why breast screening with mammograms or other methods are so important. 


The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A mass that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important that any new mass, lump, or breast change is checked by a health care professional with experience in diagnosing breast diseases.
Other possible signs of breast cancer include:
Lump. A lump or hard knot in the breast or armpit
Lumpy area. Bumpiness or unusual thickening that doesn’t go away after your period
Pain.Pain in  one spot that’s not associated with your period
Swelling. Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
Size and shape. One breast might become larger or lower than the other
Skin texture. Puckering or dimpling of the skin
Appearance or direction of nipple. One nipple might become inverted (turned in)
Discharge. Nipple excretes a blood-stained liquid (in one or both breasts)
Rash or crusting. An itchy sore or scaling area on or around the nipple

Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt. Swollen lymph nodes should be reported to your doctor.
Unusual lumps found in the breasts often turn out to be cysts or fat necrosis, which are no threat to your health. But remember, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice anything unusual .It could save your life.

For more information on how to self examine your breasts, watch this quick, very informative video at:
If you're interested in getting a monthly reminder to self-examine, go to this site:



To BSE or not, it's up to you. The more aware we are of our bodies, the better, when it comes to our health.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"C is for Carcinogens and(a Lovely Bunch of") Coconuts

The Alphabetical Breast Cancer Prevention Series
“C” Is For Carcinogens  and Coconuts

A carcinogen is something that causes or produces cancer. Cut and dried. I once told my husband he was a carcinogen after he managed to once again make smoke come out of me ears. I consider anything that makes me upset like that cancer causing. It's called Stress. But the truth is, stress alone can't cause cancer. It's all the other bonafide pollutants that will get you first.


Top carcinogens include tobacco, asbestos, alcohol, acid mists, Hepatitis  B&C, coal-tar, soot, solar radiation, sunlamps and sunbeds, Tamoxifen (an anti-cancer drug I just happen to be on), wood dust, ultraviolet radiation and x-rays.

Carcinogens accumulate in fatty tissues. Breasts, unfortunately, are made up of, mostly, fatty tissues. The average woman comes into contact with innumerable carcinogens and toxins daily, from the soaps she washes with to the makeup she uses, not to mention pesticide residues, smoke and exhaust fumes, solvents, and cleaning compounds.

You can help cut down the exposure and thus the risk of these carcinogens collecting and accumulating enough to kick-start a cancer problem by doing lots of little things.

The next time you go to buy a bottle of shampoo or conditioner, reach for something natural. Try Burt’s Bees or the Live Clean series which is pure vegan, eco-friendly and made from certified organic botanicals. Use Garnier pure clean styling gels and ammonia free hair dyes and beauty products.


 I became a Norwex salesperson recently because I am trying to switch over to their chemical-free house cleaning solutions. They have microfiber cloths with silver in them that you simply wet with water and wipe to kill 99.9% of all the germs they come into contact with. Clean your entire house with water: the floors, bathroom, walls, sinks and counters. When your house smells like a cleaning agent it's because that agent has left a residue on whatever it was you cleaned. How clean is that?
 If you want to know more about it, let me know!


Of course, it's not easy to quit smoking, but if anything will kill you, it's tobacco. It's a real no-brainer. And as we learned, our breasts accumulate carcinogens. They store them up, waiting for whatever level is enough for them to kick off a cancer growth. So that means your "odd cigarette" you have only when you're out drinking is remembered. Not by you, but by your boob. Go figure. Brainy boobs. They keep count of your drinks, your smokes, your falls, everything that can damage cells.


 More tips are to eat much less char-broiled foods (up there with the soot-factor I figure). Avoid the “fake and bake” booths before you head south this year. Use a self-tanner by a reputable company like Arbonne. 
Wear sunscreen always. And avoid having x-rays done if possible. I’ve had 2 CT scans in the past year- which has given me the same amount of radiation most people would get in four years. All in the name of trying to survive my breast cancer diagnosis. Does this make sense to anyone? Yes, we needed the information the CT scans gave us before we could proceed, but getting rid of one cancer by giving a patient something that could cause another cancer still mystifies me.

 Let’s not even go to the Tamoxifen issue! As I write this, I have a biopsy scheduled for December 13 in Terrace to see if the Tamoxifen is causing ovarian cancer, like it can. I have been dealing with daily cramping of the uterus area for months now. Like Japanese water torture, it never lets up. Good thing stress can't cause a cancer. Although it will help a cancer to grow once it starts.

Your best bet is to use your common sense and try to keep life as organic and healthy as possible.  Don’t get x rays every time you see the dentist if you don’t need to. Don’t have mammograms more than is recommended. And if you do have to have x rays, try to de-tox yourself immediately after. Soak in a warm bath of sea salt and baking soda or sit in an infra red sauna for 30 minutes. If nothing else, your skin will feel nice and soft after.


Our Food Topic This week is “C” for Coconuts.

Listed in the Top 10 Super Foods (foods that have a dozen or more unique healthy properties), coconuts can save your life. Used as alternative blood plasma during war times, coconut milk, oil and cream from young coconuts has fifteen pages of benefits listed in David Wolfe’s Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future.It says that coconut oil, due to its complete saturation,  is  superior to olive oil for cooking and can withstand being heated up to 170F. Coconut oil is a healing oil containing immune system enhancing properties. It regulates hormone production, increases the body’s metabolism (which helps with weight loss) and supports cardiovascular health, to name only a few attributes.
Recommended is one to four tablespoons a day, used in salad dressings, stir-frys, baking or straight up. Look for it at your health food store.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"B" Is For Breast Feeding and Berries (To Prevent Breast Cancer)

Women have boobs for more reasons other than to drive men wild. Sure, they look great under a t-shirt and keep you afloat in water, but they have a much higher purpose.
Breasts have the capability to feed babies, a very important first step for newborns. It's so natural, it's up there with breathing.A child is born and the mother can pass on anti-bodies through her breast milk to protect that baby right from the beginning of time.
 And, bonus, breast-feeding may also play a role in breast cancer prevention. According to the Mayo Clinic, the longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.

(This is a well- known fact, even back in 1984 and 1985 when my kids were born. So imagine my shock to discover I had breast cancer after having breast-fed both of them!  I always figured breast cancer the one cancer I was safe from because I had done what was recommended.)

 “Experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommend that new mothers breastfeed their children for at least the first six months. They cite convincing evidence that this practice offers cancer protection to both mother and child.

(Well isn’t that so “me?” I only made it to five months, with both of my children. As I recall, I was in a hurry to get back to the party, party, party. Flowers sent to me on the occasion of my daughter being born had a card in them which read: “The margaritas are chilling.”
Had I known that another four weeks would make such a difference, you can bet I would have stayed on the program!)

According to AICR, new mothers can directly lower their own risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer by breastfeeding. And children who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight or obese, which in turn lowers their risk of several common cancers that have now been convincingly linked to excess body fat.” 

"The landmark AICR report concludes with 10 recommendations for cancer prevention, one of which deals exclusively with breastfeeding," said Karen Collins, MS, RD, AICR Nutrition Advisor. "AICR is the first major cancer organization to issue an official recommendation about breastfeeding." 

The full AICR recommendation reads: It's best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and then add other liquids and foods. 

Clinically speaking, the kind of breast cancer women get before menopause is different than the kind women get after menopause. Researchers now know that the two kinds of breast cancer have different root causes which are influenced by things like diet, body composition and physical activity in different ways.

"The fact that any single factor protects against both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer is big news," said Collins. "The AICR expert panel looked at a host of variables associated with diet, 
nutrition, weight and activity, and lactation was the only one found to lower risk of breast cancer throughout a woman's life."
 How Does Breastfeeding Help Prevent Breast Cancer?
There are several theories about how breastfeeding protects you from developing breast cancer:
·         Your lifetime exposure to estrogen is reduced, which decreases the possibility of developing estrogen-fueled breast cancer.
·         Your hormone balances are different during lactation, resulting in fewer menstrual cycles and less estrogen exposure.
·         Environmental carcinogens that are stored in fat, which makes up a great part of the breast, cannot be efficiently stored in lactating breasts.
·         Breastfeeding may cause changes to breast cells that make them more resistant to cancer-related mutations.


Finding this out now reminds me of one of my favourite sayings by Catherine Aird,
“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”  And so I am.
There never are any guarantees in life. Having breast tissue puts you at risk for developing breast cancer. It’s as simple as that. Working on prevention is the key and I’ll make sure all the young girls in my life get a copy of this!


“B” is also for Berries.
 Especially the darker ones like blue and blackberries, Huckle and Saskatoon berries. High in anti-oxidants to promote optimum health, they are on the top five "Super Foods" list of what you should eat to avoid diseases. 
Sprinkle them on your cereal, grind them in a smoothie, eat them by the handful, make a fruit salad out of them, whatever it takes, get them into you as often as possible.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

"A" is For Alcohol

It’s talked about in women’s magazines and on the television and radio, but it isn’t really news. Like the fact that smoking can cause lung cancer, the fact that there is a relationship between women drinking alcohol and breast cancer has existed for some time now. As with smoking, it takes a while to open everyone’s eyes about how dangerous playing with that weekend cigarette or that second or third drink in one day can really be. Will we have to resort to pictures of mastectomies on wine bottles to get the point across? Hopefully not.
The number of breast cancer cases has been rising sharply, possibly due to the amount of Baby Boomers approaching or being in menopause. All those hormone levels fluctuating. The majority of breast cancers are fed by hormones like estrogen or progesterone. When I read this, I thought, “Bingo!” I had been peri-menopausal for months, meaning my periods were becoming unreliable in length, timing and appearance. I used to think PMS was bad. This next phase had me humming like a mental patient. Nothing was right in my life. My friends all drove me crazy, my husband intentionally, I was sure, did everything wrong and the entire world was stacked against me. It was easy to slip into drinking three glasses of wine in one evening. It happened lots. On weekends, there were glasses of wine at lunch. More at the lounge after skiing, then more with dinner and socializing. Little did I know they were fueling a cancer that had decided to grow within my breast.
I have since discovered:


From Wikipedia:



Alcohol is a risk factor for breast cancer in women.[3][12]
A study of more than one million middle-aged British women concluded that each daily alcoholic beverage increases the incidence of breast cancer by 11 cases per 1000 women.[13] This means that among a group of 1000 women who have one drink per day, they will have 11 extra cases of breast cancer when compared to a group of women who drink less than one alcoholic beverage per week; a group of 1000 women who have four drinks per day will have an extra 44 cases of breast cancer compared to non-drinkers. One or two drinks each day increases the relative risk to 150% of normal, and six drinks per day increases the risk to 330% of normal. 
                  **********************************************************


Alcohol may contribute to breast cancer in a number of ways. One of its metabolic byproducts, acetaldehyde, is thought to be carcinogenic. Alcohol may also boost blood estrogen levels, which can feed cancer growth.
As well, alcohol may inhibit the ability of cells to repair faulty genes and make breast cells more vulnerable to carcinogens.
What’s recommended? A maximum of three alcoholic drinks a week for women, seven to fourteen for men. While a glass of wine a day may decrease the risk of heart disease, another major killer of women, there are better ways to lower the bad cholesterols or LDLs in your blood that can cause a plaque build-up. We’re talking about those 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day again, eating 100% whole grains and low or no-fat dairy and meats. Getting exercise a minimum of three times a week. Getting rest, drinking water. These all contribute to ensuring you don’t have to mess with disease.
The worst of the bad news is for women who have already been through breast cancer. For them, playing with any alcohol can be detrimental, especially if they have a hormone-fed type of cancer (ie: estrogen or progesterone). I found this from a Dr. Ruddy’s blog at
It states:
Alcohol and estrogen are both metabolized in the liver using similar biochemical pathways.  So if the liver is busy clearing alcohol from the bloodstream, estrogen levels will rise as they wait their turn through the liver.
Therefore, women who drink regularly, like every day, will have chronically elevated levels of estrogen circulating in their bloodstream.  And since estrogen is the equivalent of light, sweet crude for the breast cancer engine, it’s easy to see why regular alcohol consumption is directly linked to an increased risk for breast cancer.  In fact, there does not appear to be any “safe” level of alcohol use:  even 1/2 glass of wine per day increases the risk for breast cancer.
Avoid alcohol if you want to avoid breast cancer.
The preponderance of data confirms that drinking alcohol on a regular basis increases the risk for breast cancer by approximately 40%.  Therefore, my advice is to drink only occasionally and in moderation.  
Alcohol increases the risk for breast cancer, specifically estrogen-positive breast cancer.  Furthermore, in women with estrogen-positive breast cancer, drinking alcohol increases the risk of a new cancer in the opposite breast a jaw-dropping90%.
TAKE HOME LESSON
Avoid alcohol – save it for special occasions.
If you have estrogen-positive breast cancer, avoid it like the plague.
And, please, take and stay the course with your anti-estrogen medication
                            ************************************



Whew…Scary stuff! I would question the numbers Dr. Ruddy rattled off- they seem liberally high, but the point is, do you want to take the risk that she is dead -on or not?
Drinking alcohol is a personal choice, one I chose each and every time. Now that I’ve seen where that choice has led me, I am going to treat it like the game of Russian Roulette that it is.
As I’ve said before, cancer is one big lottery. We all have a ticket just by being born. And like with any lottery, the more tickets you have, the better your chance of “winning.”
If you smoke, you have yourself another ticket for cancer. Drink? Get another one. Bad diet, avoid exercise, over-weight and don’t care? Come and get your tickets.
For me, winning once was enough. I’m going to do everything I can not to do it again.