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Breast Cancer

By Marnie Clark - Breast Cancer Coach

What you need to know


Almost every one of us knows a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Statistics tell us that one out of every seven women today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. It is the most commonly diagnosed disease today for women.

While that sounds scary, there are a lot of things you can do to help reduce your chances of getting diagnosed with this disease and I will cover those things in this article. But first, some basic information about breast cancer.

What is Breast Cancer?

The female breast is full of ducts and lobules - it is not just a mass of fatty tissue. Lobules are where a mother’s milk is produced for her baby, and the ducts are the vessels through which the milk travels to the nipple.

Normally, the cells that line the ducts or lobules of the breast grow at a normal rate and the breast is healthy. But if they begin growing at an abnormal rate, and no one quite knows for certain what makes this happen, this collection of abnormal cells can form a lump known as a lesion or tumour.

Tumours that are non-invasive stay within the milk ducts or lobules in the breast. They do not grow into or invade normal healthy tissues within or beyond the breast. Non-invasive cancers are called “in situ” or pre-cancers.

If the tumour has grown into normal healthy tissues, it is called invasive. Most breast cancers are invasive. Sometimes cancer cells spread to other parts of the body through the blood or lymphatic system. When this happens, it is called metastatic breast cancer. In some cases, a tumour may be both invasive and non-invasive.

There are a Number of Types of Breast Cancer

DCIS - ductal carcinoma in situ - and LCIS - lobular carcinoma in situ - also referred to as stage 0, pre-invasive breast cancer. This is when abnormal cells or cancer cells stay inside the milk ducts or lobules of the breast. Some doctors and women’s health groups are lobbying to stop calling this form of breast disease “breast cancer”, because it can usually be treated with simple good nutrition and other natural therapies, without the need for disfiguring mastectomies, chemotherapy and/or radiation. Some doctors believe DCIS is vastly overtreated, but that is a subject for another article!

IDC - infiltrating ductal carcinoma - this is invasive breast cancer which begins in the milk ducts but has grown into the surrounding healthy tissue inside the breast. This is the most common type of breast cancer.

ILC - invasive lobular carcinoma - this is a cancer that starts inside the lobules (the milk-producing glands of the breast), but grows into the surrounding healthy tissue.

Inflammatory breast cancer - a rather more rare type of breast cancer, the first signs of which is a breast that is red, warm to the touch, swollen and tender. This type of breast cancer occurs when cancer cells block the lymphatic vessels in the skin covering the breast.

Phyllodes tumour - also a more rare type of breast tumour that starts in the connective (stromal) tissue of the breast, rather than the ducts or glands. Most phyllodes tumours are benign, only a small number are malignant.

Paget’s Disease - this type of breast cancer begins in the milk ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola, the darker coloured area around the nipple.

Breast Changes to Watch Out For

It is a very good thing to be body aware, whether you are a woman or a man (because men can get breast cancer too!). When things are not as they should be, the body produces certain warning signs and it is important that you do not ignore them.

- The most common sign of breast cancer is a lump, which may be located anywhere in the breast, or the chest wall up to and including under the armpit. The lump may feel harder than the surrounding tissue, or it may feel soft and rubbery

- Nipple changes such as bleeding, discharge, scaly appearance or itchiness - Persistent pain in the breast (although this is not always a sign of breast cancer)
- Redness, swelling, heat in the breast

- Nipple appearance changes like inversion (pressed in) or flatter than usual
- Breast appearance changes like different size or shape, dimpling or puckering, or visual thickening of the skin (may look like it has an orange-peel texture)

- Skin changes such as redness or flaking - Ulcer on the breast or nipple
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit

How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

If you have any of the above breast changes, make sure to get yourself to your doctor and get it checked out.

Your doctor will check both of your breasts and the lymph nodes in the armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities. If something is found, you will be recommended to have other tests, such as mammogram, ultrasound or even a breast MRI.

Mammogram - the most common type of breast screening tool, where the breast is pressed flat between two compressed plates and then x-rayed. If an abnormality is detected on a mammogram, your doctor may recommend further diagnostic testing to evaluate the abnormality.

Breast ultrasound - a non-invasive method which uses sound waves to produce images of structures deep within the body. Ultrasound can be useful for determining whether a breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.

Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) An MRI machine utilizes a magnet and radio waves to create pictures of the interior of the breast. While less invasive than the mammogram, you will receive an injection of dye - this makes certain that tissues and blood vessels in the area show up more clearly and in greater detail. There is no radiation used during an MRI, but some people report feeling a little unwell after the dye, which is gadolinium-based. Some people have reported health problems subsequent to receiving it, so this is something to be aware of.

Biopsy - If any of the foregoing methods reveal something suspicious, you will be recommended to have a biopsy. During the biopsy, a sample of breast cells from the suspicious lump will be taken using a very fine aspiration needle. The cells will be taken to laboratory for testing to see whether the lump is cancerous. Although it doesn’t sound pleasant, a biopsy is the most definitive way to determine whether the lump is breast cancer.

The sample of cells taken during the biopsy is also analyzed to determine the type of cells involved in the tumour, the aggressiveness (grade) of the cancer, and whether the cancer cells have hormone receptors or other receptors that may influence some of your options for treatments.

What Causes Breast Cancer?

Research is ongoing but no one has come up with the definitive answer to this question yet, despite years and years worth of searching.

As a breast cancer coach, I consider breast cancer to be a multifactorial disease. There are many contributing factors including poor nutrition, environmental toxins, hormonal imbalances, but most of all, STRESS.

I can tell you that fully 95% of the people I work with were under a huge amount of stress prior to their diagnosis. While we cannot say that stress causes cancer, it is obvious to me that it has a huge part to play.

For one thing, stress undermines the immune system, the very system of the body you are relying upon to stay well.

Stress also increases the amount of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and cortisol flowing through the body, and this has been shown to stimulate the growth of cancer cells.

Chronic stress, quite simply, can make you feel like you are living a life completely out of balance, and it can make you feel anxious and depressed. This has a cascading effect - a poor outlook on life definitely takes a toll on the mind and body.

Marnie's 14 Breast Cancer Risk Reduction Tips

Here’s the good part - the things I mentioned earlier that can help you reduce your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Each one of the 14 items listed here is covered in greater detail in my course here - Toxic Free Me . I created Toxic Free Me to help women either going through breast cancer or looking to avoid it. This is a very brief discussion as to how each of these items can help to keep you well and/or help you to heal if you have a breast cancer diagnosis.

1. Eat Real Food Research [1] [2] shows that a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables (and yes, they are much better if they are organic), radically reduces your breast cancer risk.

2. Improve Your Immune System - as noted above, stress and other factors negatively impact the immune system, so keeping it strong and healthy is something we should all strive to be doing. Be sure to work with a naturopath, a herbalist, or an integrative oncologist to discover the best ways of boosting your immunity.

3. Reduce Your Viral Load - viruses like Epstein Barr, long COVID and other opportunistic viruses reduce your body’s capacity to kill cancer cells. It’s important to know how to effectively deal with viruses using natural medicine.

4. Take Awesome Supplements - specific vitamins and supplements have the ability to help you get/stay well. I have a list of them on my website for more information - Marnie’s Must-Have Supplements for Breast Health 

5. Detox Your Personal Care Products and Cleaning Products - this is one of the most insidious ways that hormone-disrupting chemicals get into your body. If you are using the average body lotion, deodorant, moisturizer or cleaning products that you obtained from the grocery store,

chances are you are slathering on a cocktail of

chemicals that can put you at a higher risk for cancer.

Check out every single ingredient you put on your body.

There are phone apps and websites that will help you do this.

6. Use Essential Oils Daily - the daily use of high quality

essential oils can vastly improve your breast health.

There are hundreds of studies showing how beneficial

certain essential oils are against cancer processes.

While we cannot say that essential oils (or anything

else listed here) can cure or treat cancer, it certainly

does not hurt you to use them (and use your Breast

Balm daily!).

7. Cleansing - knowing how to effectively cleanse your

inner body is of paramount importance these days, in

our increasingly toxic world. Knowing how to properly

do a liver cleanse, a colon cleanse, and a kidney cleanse

on a regular basis is going to put you miles ahead.

We need to dump those toxins - our bodies are very

good at doing this for the most part, however, we all

need help with this because of our toxic environment

which is putting us at a higher risk for breast cancer.

8. Learn How to Effectively Deal with Stress - as I mentioned above, stress is definitely implicated in many illnesses. Whether you choose meditation, prayer, Emotional Freedom Technique, massage - or a combination of all - make sure that you see to your emotional health. This is as important as anything else on this list.

9. Drink Clean Water and Hydrate - you absolutely do need to filter your drinking water, especially if it’s city-derived. Make sure your water is as clean as it can be, because your body is 75-80% water. Most of us are walking around completely dehydrated and this causes huge problems for our health, especially as we age.

10. Move Your Body - we have several studies [3] [4] that indicate that just a few hours of exercise per week radically reduces breast cancer risk. Other studies have indicated exercise helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues, so let’s get out there and move - whether it’s walking, bicycle riding, golf, tennis, dancing - whatever you love to do, make time for it!

11. Intermittent Fasting - when you are not eating, your body has a chance to do many other things like undergo repairs, mend damaged DNA, improve your immune system, reset hormones, etc. Just a simple 13-hour fast, the bulk of which can be done in your sleep, has been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors.

12. See To Your Emotional Health - this is often put on the back burner in favour of so many other things that seem more important, but if you are not living a joyful and contented life, if you feel like you are not living your purpose

or your passion, this absolutely can increase your cancer risk. I counsel my clients to look after their emotional health as if it were their actual job. It’s that important. If you are living with a toxic partner, or feeling like you’re backed into a corner you can’t escape from, you are effectively sending a “die” message to the cells of your body. Get yourself out of those situations, however you can.

13. Electromagnetic Frequency Detox - we have so many devices in our homes now that emit harmful EMFs and these can be impacting our health in a hugely negative way. There are many ways to protect yourself from EMFs, and I would suggest you find out how to go about doing that as a matter of high priority.

14. Energy Healing - balancing your body’s energy field may seem rather woo-woo and out there but this is cutting edge stuff and is increasingly being spoken about and utilized as a method for healing current diseases and avoiding others. We are energetic beings, the Universe and everything in it is made from energy. Energy practices like Reiki and Therapeutic Touch can be accessed quite easily these days, and they are quite beneficial. I also recommend obtaining your own biofrequency device that can read your energetic field using a quantum sensor. The device has the ability to let you know what is out of balance in your body, such as immunity, hormones, chakras, meridians, mental health (and so much more) and can be programmed to deliver the frequencies your body needs to help address any imbalances it picks up.

These are some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your risk of breast cancer. It seems like a lot of things, right? But as the old saying goes - “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s so true. Better to look after yourself now and avoid hearing those words “I’m sorry but you have breast cancer.”

Recently Diagnosed?

If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, I have some wonderful resources on my website for you. Please see this page: Newly diagnosed with Breast Cancer? Start Here

It is my absolute honour and passion to help you through your breast cancer journey so that you can be healthy and thriving on the other side.

About Marnie Clark

Marnie Clark has studied natural medicine for over 25 years. She is also a breast cancer survivor of 19 years, and a breast cancer coach for the past 11 years. Marnie is passionate about empowering others going through breast cancer with information about how to make their bodies hostile terrain for cancer development through nutrition, detoxification, mind/body techniques, energy medicine and other lifestyle alterations she has found crucial to the healing process.

Visit her website HERE

Marnie Clark Breast Cancer Coach


[1] Influence of a diet very high in vegetables, fruit, and fiber and low in fat on prognosis following treatment for breast cancer: the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) randomized trial –
[2] Breast Cancer Primary Prevention and Diet: An Umbrella Review –
[3] Recreational Physical Activity and the Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal WomenThe Women's Health Initiative Cohort Study –
[4] Influence of a diet very high in vegetables, fruit, and fiber and low in fat on prognosis following treatment for breast cancer: the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) randomized trial –

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