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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"H" is For Hereditary Factors and Hemp Seeds

"Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canadian women. Many women believe that heredity is the most important factor in developing breast cancer; however, genetic factors account for only five to ten percent of diagnoses. Conversely, nearly half of all breast cancer diagnoses are due to preventable, non-genetic factors. The Breast Cancer Prevention & Risk Assessment Clinic that opened in Vancouver, October 2010 provides women with concrete tools to help them improve their risk profile, particularly by focusing on weight management, increased physical activity, good nutrition and limited alcohol consumption."

I got the above from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation website @

If breast cancer does run in your family, you might want to read this:

There are three 'faulty' genes that have been identified which are particularly associated with breast cancer. These are the BRCA1 gene, the BRCA2 gene and the TP53 gene. If you carry one or more of these genes you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer (and certain other cancers such as ovarian cancer). Also, the cancer tends to develop at an earlier age than usual. These faulty genes are just the main ones so far identified which are related to breast cancer. There are probably others which cause a smaller increased risk which have not yet been identified.

About 1 in 20 women are likely to carry a faulty gene that gives them a higher risk than the general population of developing breast cancer. This may vary from a moderate increase in risk to a high risk. You inherit half of your genes from your mother and half of your genes from your father. So, if you carry a faulty gene there is a 50:50 chance that you will pass it on to each child that you have. Because of these faulty genes, breast cancer does occur more often than usual in some families. This is sometimes called 'familial breast cancer' or 'hereditary breast cancer'.

Note: not all women with these faulty genes will develop breast cancer. It is just that the risk is increased.

Assessing Your Risk:
As breast cancer is common, many of us will have a relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This is not usually due to any of the 'faulty genes' mentioned above, but is more often 'by chance'. Most women with a family history of breast cancer do not have a greatly increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with the normal risk of the general population. However, some women are at greater risk than usual.

In general, your risk becomes greater:
·         The more blood relatives you have who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
·         The closer the blood relationship to you of the person with breast cancer.
·         The younger your relatives were when they were first diagnosed with breast cancer, especially if they were under the age of 40.
·         If a relative had breast cancer which affected both breasts.
·         If a male relative developed breast cancer.
·         If both breast and ovarian cancer run in the family.
·         If certain other uncommon cancers have developed in family members. For example: ovarian cancer, a sarcoma under the age of 45, a glioma, or childhood adrenal cancer.
·         If you come from certain ethnic backgrounds. For example, the Ashkenazi Jewish community have a higher incidence of genes which increase the risk.

If Your Risk is Confirmed as Moderately High:

You are likely to be offered mammography screening to commence at the age of 40 (rather than the usual age of 50). Also, mammography is likely to be every year rather than the usual three-yearly.
If Your Risk is High:

You are likely to be offered genetic testing and counselling. This is usually done in a specialist genetics clinic. This may involve tests to see if you carry one or more of the faulty genes mentioned above. A blood test may also be taken from your family member who has breast cancer. Depending on the outcome of the tests and assessment of the risk, some women are offered regular mammography screening from an early age.

If you are aged 30-49 years and have BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, or are over 20 years and have TP53 gene then you may be offered yearly MRI and mammograms. An MRI scan may be a more sensitive test than mammograms for younger women. When mammography is recommended in women younger than 50 years of age, digital mammography may be used in preference to conventional mammography. Digital mammography takes an electronic picture of your breast and stores it directly in a computer. Digital mammography uses less radiation than film mammography.

For a very small number of women, whose risk is very high, surgery to remove the breasts and/or ovaries before cancer develops may be an option. This is not an option which is taken lightly and is only done after full risk assessment and counselling.

Personally, I didn't look that far into my family and figure I have no-one else to blame but myself for my breast cancer. The number one thing I keep reading and finding over and over is about alcohol consumption for women. There's no way around it. No way to sugar coat it. Women need to cut way back on those glasses of wine. One a day or LESS.

 Of course you're free to do  what I did: continue the Russian Roulette and hope you're  one of the lucky ones that doesn't "win" the cancer lottery.

I have to tell you though, you won't feel much like a winner when it happens to you!


A powerful alternative to meat and meat products is hempseed. Hempseeds are considered a Super Food and nothing short of miraculous when it comes to being a source of protein and essential fatty acids.

Shelled hempseed is 35% protein, 47% good fat and 12 % carbohydrate. It's a complete meal in a tiny palm kernel that you can substitute a small tablespoon for your mid day snack or the protein for your meal

Yes, marijuana and hemp are both classified as Cannabis sativa, the difference being hemp is bred to maximize fiber, seed and oil while marijuana is bred to raise its psychoactive substance known as THC. For that reason, marijuana is illegal to grow while hemp is not. You could smoke twenty rolled hemp-leaf cigarettes in a row and not get high.

Hemp is used for clothing, body care products, paper, plastics, building materials and fuel. But researchers still find that its greatest quality is being one of the most nutritious food sources on our planet. Only algae such as spirulina or phytoplankton exceed hemp in protein.

While not readily available in regular supermarkets as of yet, you will find it at any good health food store.

Buy a big bag and save money. Sprinkle it on salads, in baking but best ever- pop a handful into your mouth whenever you get hungry.

Filling, satisfying and super healthy for you.

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