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Angelina Jolie – is this really prevention?

I don’t ordinarily post on a Thursday but with all the hype around Angelina Jolie and her double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery I feel compelled to. I’m not here to judge, although personally I don’t believe the solution is chopping off your boobs. And in case you’ve been living in bliss or under a rock (I sure hope the earlier), Angelina has publicly announced she had her breasts removed in light of the fact she carries the breast cancer gene. Can I just say one thing right here. The media are suggesting she has a 87% of developing the cancer – this discovered by genetic testing however, these tests are not read this way – she is in fact, 87% more likely to develop breast cancer in comparison to the rest of the population. This doesn’t mean she will actually develop cancer – but rather, she just has a higher chance in comparison to the rest of the world.

The media are suggesting she is extremely brave – a hero even, and that she’s stepping up because she carries the faulty gene. I totally understand that she wants to be around for her children for years to come – we all do. To me, it seems a pretty drastic ‘prophylactic’ method considering there many other options that simply MUST be considered in reducing risk of breast cancer – regardless. Perhaps Angelina’s story being so public, is freaking women out all over the world. In some instances, women are being advised that this is their ONLY option. I even heard one woman’s story who was having a double mastectomy. She didn’t actually carry the gene what so ever, but because her mother and aunt had passed from breast cancer, she had been advised removal because there are potentially breast cancer genes that we are yet to discover. It provokes me to ponder – where do we draw the line? If I knew I carried the gene for blindness say, would I remove my eyes? Hell no. And whilst some of you may argue that blindness isn’t life threatening, there is a great chance that I can influence the way my body works to prevent cancer from developing in the first place meaning I can decreases my chances of any illness.

I’m forever sharing information here to help people gain a better understanding and make informed decisions. This is no different and before anybody get’s their knickers tied, please hear me out. Each of us are are made of up genes. Some are turned ‘on’ and others ‘off’ and lifestyle, environment, diet, habits etc will have a huge influence on how our bodies respond to this genetic material. Perhaps I can use the example of my son who I’ve shared about on here before – he has cystic fibrosis (CF). Now, I’m a carrier of CF, but I don’t have CF. Geordie on the other hand has CF. CF is characterised by lung difficulties, poor ability to cope with infection and partial or no function of the pancreas, lung degeneration – the list goes on. Basically people with CF can’t move mucus out of the body like the rest of us which is a perfect ground to grow bacteria in the body. Once infection starts, it is very difficult to get rid of and leads to all kinds of problems including scarring of the lungs which becomes a big problem long term. However, genetics, diet, lifestyle, environment etc play a major role in health of people with CF. My son Geordie is a very healthy boy with CF. He is unmedicated, he’s well and he is happy. CF is his genetic makeup but the symptoms and signs associated for him, are almost non existent. We ensure Geordie lives a particular lifestyle to seal the deal on this – probably a little more diligent that your average but for us, it is a near guarantee that he is like most other 18 month old children. That said, me as a carrier – I don’t have nor will I ever develop CF just as somebody who carries the breast cancer gene, doesn’t have breast cancer. Sure, if I’m unhealthy my lung function is substantially less, but I choose to live a certain way to make sure this isn’t an issue. What’s my point? You create your own health. You literally are in control of which genes are ‘switched’ on or off. You need to stand up and be accountable. If you’re unhealthy you are absolutely waaay more likely to develop any of the genetic imprints you own – be it blindness, heart disease, diabetes, cancer… you get it right?

Many of us are scared of cancer. One person who is fearless in this arena is my wellness sister and beauty, Jess Ainscough. She is a cancer surviver. Many of you know her as The Wellness Warrior and one of my past healthtalks hosts. I had to ask Jess what her take was on this. Here’s what she said;

While I don’t want to judge Angelina Jolie or deny her of her right to choose what she feels is right for her body, I’m terrified that her choice being so widely publicised and so glorified is going to lead to so many women having their breasts removed unnecessarily. We are misinformed, and it breaks my heart that women think that their only choice if they want to avoid breast cancer is to chop their boobs off. What’s next? Is Angelina also going to remove her ovaries? It’s all the same system, and removing the breasts in no way means that she will avoid cancer elsewhere. The study of epigenetics proves that our genes are controlled by our lifestyles. We have the power to switch off and switch on genes by the way we live, what we eat, what we drink, and how we think. This is the message that needs to be spread – to those who have the gene and to those who don’t. Taking responsibility for our health shouldn’t have to involve willingly mutilating our bodies.” Powerful stuff and something many of us may find hard to get our heads around.

On my way into work yesterday, I was listening to an interview on the radio. One women explained she was having EVERYTHING removed. Breasts, ovaries and uterus – the works. She shared about how she was a ‘breast cancer PRE-vivor” and went on to say “stuff you cancer I won.” Whoah! This woman assumed she was going to develop cancer. Perhaps the news alone, to her was possibly like she already had it. This story details a recent study that found there was up to a 26-fold increase risk of heart-related deaths within seven days of a cancer diagnosis. We must realise that factors far beyond the control of our genes shape our potential to develop disease. These epigenetic factors are mostly determined by nutrition, psychospiritual states that feed back to our physiology, lifestyle factors and environmental exposure which constitute as much as 95% of what determines any disease risk. I was so sad hearing this women (and many others stories) because we are being scared into believing our only option is breast removal when really it perhaps should be the last. And as Jess shared, just because you’ve had things removed, doesn’t say you can go and live the same lifestyle and your body won’t present some form of cancer or other disease somewhere else. To live in presumption creates another whole other set of issues.

Lara Wilson, my business mentor (and life coach) had a this to say when I asked her what she thought yesterday. Her answer was pretty simple. “It’s all about mindset. Our thoughts create our reality – if we believe we are going to develop cancer we probably will. If we use this information to our advantage (knowing our genetic make-up) to motivate us toward what we want, then that’s what we will focus on and create for ourselves.” One of Lara’s favourite phrases goes something lie this; “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.” Ha! How approprate is this in terms of how we must be ever mindful in understanding how we can think ourselves toward great health, a great life, a job or whatever our heart so desires. In light of information that we may carry a gene, if all we think about is the potential of developing illness or disease, we will look for evidence of disease and illness in our bodies and, yes, we can manifest ill health – just in the same way cancer survivors all share a strong common belief; cancer was never going to win, they were never afraid to fight and they never, for one minute believed they couldn’t fight it. But let me say – it’s one thing to say this, another to believe it. To truly believe is key. I know cancer survivors – they all have this unique mindset and it is far more than words – it was all in their mindset. Need to learn how to apply this to your life? Look Lara up. Seriously, just do it.

Lara gets how the mind works and the science behind thoughts, beliefs and how this shapes who we are, right down to switching on and off those genes. If we have the right mindset and attitude – anything is possible and I see examples of this in my own family with my son and in the clinic with families facing fertility battles. One absolute is that nothing ever is a one size fits all and I encourage all women to explore all their options, do their own research and be informed before jumping into radical ideas like breast removal when if fact it’s may only a temporary solution. If there is ever a time to get healthy – the time is now.

You might like to read a little more about research and the opposing side – this article shares about genetics, the efficacy of testing, and the over-diagnosis of breast cancer.

I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this. I know this is a sensitive topic and I’d love for us to share openly and honestly with courtesy, in the comment section below and create a healthy wholesome discussion.

To listen to the interviews from the Mat & Jo show click here and find the audio.

Leave a Comment

241 Responses to “Angelina Jolie – is this really prevention?”

  1. Liz

    I love this post and I love you for spreading the word. Knowledge is power and the more people know the truth about cancer and our genes and the ability to turn on and off good and bad genes the less people will be so terrified of cancer. I used to have such a cancer phobia. I thought it was just luck of the draw until I discovered the world of health and wellness (Jess Ainscough was my catalyst). Now I don’t fear cancer, I know that It’s nothing to do with the luck of the draw, and if I did happen to develop it I know it would be my body talking to me and pleading with me to listen and i also know how I would go about healing my body.

    People need to know that just because their mother or father or

    Grandma etc has an illness, be it cancer, heart disease or arthritis etc that doesn’t mean it’s their fate to have it as well!

    Good on you Nat 🙂

    Reply
    • Leoniew27

      That is so true, use the family’s history for your benefit, not to sit in the corner and say, “my life is doomed”. My husband has 6 siblings who all have diabetes, as does his mother, he does not. He ‘chooses’ not to have it.

      Reply
  2. Lisa

    I applaude Angelina Jolie. She has done what I beleive she wanted us to do. Talk about it. That is certainly happening & I think by talking about it, we learn more – not only about the drastic measures that she has taken, but about prevention & the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

    Reply
    • Hannah

      I agree Lisa. What is so great about Angelina going public with this is that it’s getting people talking, the more attention that things like this get the better. That being said there are also many other issues that require our attention.

      What I want to ask is- if I am at a higher risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer than the rest of the population (which I am, strong family history), what are my other options apart from surgery?

      I’m a healthy person, I exercise regularly, eat healthily and I agree that there must be more options that surgery, but I have no idea what? Just because I lead a healthy lifestyle with a positive outlook doesn’t mean my sisters and I won’t get cancer. So where can we get more information?

      Reply
  3. Sarah M

    Thanks Nat for a great post on this issue. I have read many articles/posts on this topic since yesterday most heavily bias either way. This post is sensible, balanced and not senastionalised as many are.

    I’m also worried about these ‘preventative’ measures. As Jess said, sure it may prevent getting cancer in the breast because the breast is no longer there, but how is it preventing cancer in other areas of the body? To do this we need to look at our lifestyle, diet and mind; something I’ve learnt since discovering The Wellness Warrior, your blog and a whole new world of wellness.

    Thanks for this post, I’m sharing it 🙂

    Reply
    • JP

      It doesn’t reduce her risk of cancers elsewhere thats the whole point, it reduces her risk of cancers associated with the BRCA gene. The incidence rate of certain cancers are influenced by certain gene mutations, single nucleotide polymorphisms etc.. She was at a heightened risk of cancers associated with the BRCA gene (Breast, Ovarian) therefore her risk of breast only has been decreased, a cancer type she would have been highly likely to develop in her lifetime. Her chances of developing other types of cancers are no different from the rest of the population (assuming she has no other gene mutations)

      Reply
  4. Cass

    Love this post!!! X x

    Reply
  5. Bridget

    Thanks Nat – fabulous post.

    Reply
  6. Lyall & Kristine Sempf

    Very good posting Nat.

    Kind regards, Lyall

    .

    Good, my comment got uploaded – I must have gotten the security question correct (ha)

    Reply
  7. Jess

    I agree that women should do their research and decide for themselves what they think is best for their body. I also agree that removing parts of your body does not mean 100% prevention of all forms of cancer if you are living unhealthy lifestyle. I do however, have a concern about people who are not specialised in certain areas, providing what I believe opinion-based, as opposed to fact-based articles on the top. You cannot compare blindness to cancer, nor should someone comment on what makes a person suffering from cancer survive or not. Sadly, there are many people who have passed who truly believed that cancer would not win. Belief in winning is not a prerequisite for cancer survival. The fact that your references are your “business mentor” and an interview you heard on the radio, does not give you authority to “coach” women who are going through such experiences as Angelina Jolie. I think it’s good to talk about these topics, but please be careful with your words and always back them up with evidence or personal experiences.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks Jess – I appreciate your concern.
      Truth is – people who have survived cancer have something else very special going on in their brain. It’s not just an observation – there is sufficient scientific evidence that supports this which myself, many of my colleagues, coaches and practitioners base their philosophy and teachings on. That said, I’m a qualified health practitioner and Dr of Chinese Medicine with over 10 years of study under my belt and almost 10 years in clinic experience. I treat fertility but I also treat cancer. Unfortunately I can’t use personal cases in public so I drew on these interviews as what I had heard. My point here isn’t to coach people with cancer but merely open their eyes to then go and find somebody who can do so.

      Reply
      • Brendan

        A qualified practitioner of chinese medicine does not a doctor make! Chinese medicine has been consistently debunked as hocus pocus old wive’s tales. You may as well buy snake oil to treat cancer, it will achieve the same outcome as yours!

      • mnfadmin

        Brendan – I’d love for you to come in and see what we do here. I have hundreds of very happy well patients. Thanks for your input – it’s great to hear others views.

      • Amy

        Brendan, I currently attend Nat’s clinic and I am experiencing a wonderful state of health that can be attributed to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practices and the service offered by Nat and her dedicated, professional and informed team. The Hocus Pocus methods they use are clearly indeed quite magical for hundreds of people achieving the same level of success with their health and overall wellness.

      • Lissa Robinson

        Ha. Amy, I suspect if you ever develop a truly serious illness or such as cancer, you’ll be straight off to an actual doctor to get treatment, and you won’t be relying on this new-agey rubbish. Or if not, you’ll suddenly find that all these “herbal remedies” aren’t so effective and “magical” anymore! It absolutely floors me how incredibly naive and deluded some people are. You’re probably also one of those parents that doesn’t vaccinate their kids. Ridiculous.

      • Liz

        Lisa, you are an idiot.

      • Amy

        Hi Lissa Robinson,

        As well as the team at The Pagoda Tree, I see a wonderful GP who specialises in Female Health in East Melbourne and have seen an excellent Gynaecologist at Frances Perry. My best friend is an Endocrinologist and I am a primary school teacher who is also studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine. I feel very lucky to have access to so much information and a varied education that helps me to make informed decisions about what I feel is best for my health and lifestyle. I believe in a balanced, informed approach to health. My great aunt had breast cancer, my aunty has breast cancer and another aunty was just diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. They all had the BRCA gene. My father was tested for it and does not have the gene so I am thankful that neither do I. He regularly participates in scientific research at the Peter Mcallum Centre to assist them in further BRCA gene research. I’m not sure what I would do if I developed a serious illness, probably a similar approach to the one I have now to my health and wellness: seeking as much information as possible from many different sources and using it in the ways I feel are best for me. I am not a parent so vaccination of my children is not currently on my agenda. So far, I have remained up to date with my vaccinations. I don’t feel naive or deluded but quite blessed to have access to so many wonderful health services.

      • Rebecca

        Lissa, sounds like you are actually the naive and deluded one. Be careful who you stereotype or you might actually get shown up.

      • sarah west

        The arrogance of western medicine – there are constant recalls of meds here – we have medicines with worse side effects that the illness they are treating!

        Chinese medicine is centuries old, and when we have pharmaceutical companies trying to patent herbs, you can bet your bottom dollar that they know how effective they are.

      • Sian Morton

        Perhaps you should sign up to the Therapeutic Drugs Administration (TGA) Newsletter and see which ‘medications’ are most subject to recalls. I can assure you it is not prescribed medications.

      • mnfadmin

        Unfortunately Sian – people self prescribe which is the biggest blunder.

        But for me personally as a practitioner, In my 10 years of practice, nothing I use as a Chinese Medicine Herbalist has ever been taken from my shelves.

        I’m totally confident in my methods and know how dangerous many medications are, including those prescribed.

      • Sian Morton

        So, tell me about Linda McCartney?

        Your comment is an outrageous insult to the many healthy and positive people who have dies from cancer related diseases.

      • Sian Morton

        *died

    • Jen

      I have to agree with Jess that these types of decisions are best left to the individuals who are experiencing these challenges. For example, Angelina Jolie watched her mother die from cancer, surely a substantial influencing factor in her decision. Especially considering that her main concern was for the future of her own children. And 87% more of a chance than everyone else would likely be enough for most people. To imply that she’s not stepping up and being accountable for her health is a bit arrogant. Being ‘healthy’ isn’t always the only remedy. I think we can all agree that she was pretty healthy to begin with considering her lifestyle, so for her it was probably an excellent preventative move. If you ‘chop’ off the area that is at risk as well, don’t you think that would drastically effect your ‘negative’ mindset toward getting cancer later on because you’re not having to constantly worry about it? Everyone looks at things in a different light.

      I absolutely love this article regardless of my own opinion. A very interesting topic that all women should think about with an open mind at some point.

      Reply
    • Jennifer

      JESS AINSCOUGH IS DEAD she is not a cancer survivor. You and your friends are not qualified to give medical advice and your not a medical doctor. Also Zjess mother died of Breast cancer all of would have been preventable if she had not rejected western medicine but instead chose her daughters hippie lifestyle. People like you need to stop promoting alternative lifestyles of which are not supported by science.

      Reply
      • Nat Kringoudis

        Wow – you really are insightful. Jennifer, I’ll leave your comment here but if you continue to post untrue information I’ll see the need to ban you. Please have some respect. It’s easy to slam people from behind your computer screen. It’s not easy however to be a voice that helps people. Be mindful that your thoughts create who you are.

  8. Mike Mather

    Well written, and more importantly, well thought. Cutting off your boobs despite your wellness seems a choice that Angelina has made but certainly one that needs no glorification.

    Love alwaz

    Mike

    Reply
  9. Daniella

    Thank s Nat for sharing your thoughts on this issue open & honestly! I agree with you 110% x

    Reply
  10. Ashley

    Great post! Not judge-y just insightful. I agree with what you’ve said. It reminds me to always make my decisions based on love rather than fear.

    Reply
  11. YWF

    As a colon cancer survivor this article offends me and breaks my heart. I lived a very healthy lifestyle full of a healthy diet, exercise, and all the right things to prevent cancer. At age 36 I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. While you believe you are well informed on this topic, you stand in a place of judgement and what you preach is offensive. Our genes are out of our control and while I do my best to live a healthy life I am not going to add further stress to my situation by feeling responsible for the fact that I got cancer.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks so much for your honest reply YWF. I’m sincerely sad to hear you choose to feel offended and judged by what I’ve written. You’re so right that you need to be mindful of how stress affects your situation – that’s a lesson we can all learn. I’d really encourage you to learn more about the science of genetics and how we can influences them – it is a really interesting and new realisation in the world of science. I congratulate you on fighting cancer – you are one strong person who can hep hundreds of others so thank you.

      Reply
      • D

        This kind of seems like a “sorry I’m not sorry” response. YWF says they’ve lived a healthy life and got cancer anyway, and then you propose they go and learn more about genes and how we influence them (inferring that even though they think they’ve lived a healthy life, they probably did something to mess with their genes anyway that they just don’t know about).

        I think it’s great to propose alternatives and different views, but why chastise Angelina Jolie for the media’s response to her story? She made a personal choice based on her circumstances and decided to share that story. She doesn’t suggest that anybody else should have a double mastectomy, just that genetic testing is available and should be capitalised on, and that there are options available that perhaps aren’t talked about. She also mentions that she’s working with holistic therapies, so she’s NOT saying that a mastectomy is THE solution, but it’s a measure that she decided to undertake because it was right for her and her family.

        Just like the mainstream media, you too should be more responsible with your “journalism”.

  12. MJ

    I really do think you have some valid information

    that was worth sharing. But couldn’t you have just

    informed people of your beliefs without critising

    someone else?

    I do believe that your mind has a great power over

    your body. I do not believe that you should judge

    that her choice based on the only information you have;

    the media.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      I can’t judge because I don’t know her full situation. We’re lucky to have an example in the media that can encourage us and allow us a platform to share from. Perhaps for Angelina the fear was so great that this was her best option. I’ve considered that too.

      Reply
  13. Amy

    Love what you have written Nat! I watched my Aunt die of breast cancer and there was so much focus on the cutting out and killing of the cancer and not nearly enough focus on wellness. She was so strongly advised on the Chemo and Radiation and surgery but not once did they really drill in information about diet change. I’m so grateful for people like yourself & Jess Ainscough who are providing information other than the strictly western approach, it allows people a different view and information that if they are faced with cancer in there life, they know they have other options to support their cancer treatment and ultimately wellness xx

    Reply
  14. Alice

    This is a pretty offensive piece on a number of levels. For one thing, Angelina’s mother died in her 50s after 10 years of fighting cancer. She must be incredibly traumatised by that and if this gave her peace of mind about her own life and about being there for her children, it was absolutely worth it, let alone if it actually does lower her risk of cancer. For another thing, we don’t “think our way” to good health, a good job, etc, like she suggests. That kind of think positive, “The Secret” bullshit is really offensive to people who do have bad things happen to them. I can see how it’s empowering for a cancer survivor to say that they fought it, they beat it, they won, but what about the people who die? Did they not fight hard enough? Not think positive enough? Did they lose? That’s pretty harsh. Some things in our life are under our control, but some things really aren’t. Her son who is currently feeling good with CF isn’t better or more deserving of good health than kids with CF who are really sick. He’s LUCKY, and so is she. It’s pretty obvious she has no actual medical qualificatins or understanding, and just wants to believe in putting what you want out into the universe and getting it.

    Reply
    • Meagan

      Alice, I agree 100%. As someone who has been faced with the terrifying reality of being a “breast cancer gene” carrier, I was personally offended by this. I got dealt a crappy hand by the genetics committee, and no amount of “positive thinking” will prevent or cause an outcome in this case. Taking care of myself, which may mean taking drastic LIFE SAVING measures, is what will cause an outcome. Oh and by the way, this is my body, my life, and my choice – as it was Angelina’s. The decisions I, or any other woman make regarding our own health have exactly zero effect on you. If the author really wants to empower women, she should take a stab at being more supportive and less judgmental.

      Reply
    • Smudge

      Alice….we make our own luck through our choices, how we want to look, feel, act, react etc. If you care about your health, you eat fresh, whole foods, exercise regularly, work at something you love, surround yourself with people who support you etc.

      It’s all in the mindset also….if you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t! Whichever way you think, you’re right!

      Reply
      • Meagan

        Wait… so are you seriously saying that if I have cancer, and I convince myself “I can beat this” there is no way I can die?! Oh my god, halt the research! Stop the funding! We have a cure! THANK GOD for you and your medical genius.

    • Ha

      Thank you! This winner/ loser discourse on health is so destructive. Usually espoused by those fortunate enough to not be touched by terminal illness.

      If the author believes there is good evidence for her views, can she produce this? Belief is good, science is good, but please don’t mix the two up.

      Reply
    • Jennifer

      So true Jess Ainscough just died and her mother died of breast cancer following hippie crap.

      Reply
  15. reader1

    your assessment of the information regarding the BRCA breat cancer genes is not correct, and in fact i think that you are the one who is misleading your readers. yes, genes alone don’t always cause the expression of disease in people, but sometimes they sure do! in some instances genes play a much larger role than environemt and lifestyle choices do. for example, heart disease is mainly caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, genes (family history) and smoking. however, in some people that have a VERY strong genetic disposition to develop heart disease – clogging of their coronary arteries – none of the other factors really matter. if a man has 4 first and seocnd degree male relatives that all had heart attacks in their early 40’s then his risk is very high, regardless of how well he takes care of himself.

    it is very true that 80% of breast cancer in the population is not associated in fact with any of the known risk factors, such as never being pregnant, obesity, or smoking. but the BRCA gene is different. if you have it, your chances of getting breast cancer is very high. it IS a smart choice to have a double mastectomy in this case. it is NOT a smart choice to have a double mastectomy if your mother had breast cancer at age 60 but you do not carry the BRCA gene, or to have the double mastectomy even if you have, say, five risk factors for developing breast cancer. in these instances, it is better to just be vigilant – get yearly screens with a breast exam done by a thorough physician along with mammograms every two to three years.

    your example of “the gene for blindness” is misleading. breasts, though very important to a woman’s sense of femininity and the self, are not organs that are vital/semi vital for life beyond the child bearing years. and, blindness is confined to the eyes, where as breast cancer will spread to the rest of the body and will kill you (i know you touched on this point).

    point is, although i am not a fan of pop culture and the general drive in our society to run like a herd of sheep after a celebrity-driven trend, i think that what angelina jolie did in this case is definitely the right choice, and, with the current means that we have to treat cancer, was the right choice. hopefully in the future we will have better ways to treat cancer, at any stage, early or late. but for now, this sort of prevention in this unique, small group of peple, is the sensible, albeit difficult, thing to do.

    Reply
    • JP

      I completely agree – I don’t see a lot of evidence based medicine in this article. Also agree the analogy to blindness was just nonsensical I thought. Also with regard to CF you are an unaffected carrier of the gene only by the sounds of it, therefore you will categorically not develop the illness – as you only have 1 copy of the mutated gene. However a carrier of a gene mutation associated with cancer can and may well likely develop the disease as it is inherited in a completely different manner than say CF. Are you saying for example a person with the faulty Huntington’s Disease gene can through diet and positive thinking avoid disease progression..? I think not.

      Too many dodgy comparisons and not well thought out analogy’s here.

      Reply
  16. Addy

    Ooooooh… I just wasted 5 minutes of my life reading this….

    Reply
  17. Julie

    Did you seriously just insinuate that anyone who dies of cancer is to blame because they did not “believe” enough? That is an incredibly misguided and dangerous belief. It is apparent from your article that you have little knowledge of the BRCA genes and how they operate.

    Reply
  18. Amanda

    I think Angelina made the right decision for her. It is her body and her choice and I really don’t think anybody else has the right to judge her. How do any of us know what we’d do if we were in her situation? No one is suggesting we all go crazy on our bodies and start mutilating them but if after extensive testing you were told you had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer or an 87% chance in comparison to the rest of the population (which is a very high percentage either way), wouldn’t you at least consider doing what you could to save your own life? After all, breasts are something we can live and function without.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Yes but we can’t dismiss the fact that the reproductive system is in fact a ‘system’ not limited to the breasts.

      Reply
  19. Toni

    Interesting piece – but the eyeballs analogy isn’t really useful. Cutting out your eyes to avoid going blind would be the equivalent of giving yourself breast cancer to avoid breast cancer. Removing the eyes IS the disease you’re trying to avoid.

    Also the CF thing is different too – that’s more of a question of having/not having a baby because you carry a CF gene but don’t have CF.

    And finally, breasts like only a few other organs are parts of your body that you can indeed live without quite easily… well, PHYSIOLOGICALLY easy, though body-identity issues are profound.

    If a woman is facing a choice of “no breasts and extremely ill, lots of other body damage from chemo and radio, miss years of work, nearly dead” and “no breasts”, well, I’ll support her second choice!

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Oh for sure Toni – I used the CF analogy for two reasons – one he has the illness but our lifestyle, diet, environment etc are a big part of that and two I believe I can to a degree understand what it is like to have a family member in a potential state of illness and facing death. Not as a comparison.

      Reply
      • D

        This is truly an excellent thing that your son is not suffering as greatly from CF as are other children with CF. But you cannot prove that it is because of diet and exercise. No one can prove that it is not either, and it’s great to hear that whatever you are doing is working for you and your son. However, I think it’s dangerous to attribute it solely to diet and exercise (if you have the qualifications you say you do, you would know that you cannot prove causation without experimental conditions) and to suggest that any child who is experiencing more significant effects of CF should blame their parents for just not feeding them right, or perhaps not believing hard enough. There is a spectrum of the severity of CF, like anything, and though I do personally think that diet and exercise contribute, there are probably many people whose children wouldn’t particularly benefit from any kind of diet and exercise.

        Anyway, I’m done improving your SEO. Shan’t be back.

      • mnfadmin

        Thanks D for taking the time to comment. Please re read my post – I hope you will find that I talk about far more than diet and exercise. You are indeed right in saying it is much more than that. x

  20. mnfadmin

    Thanks Alice for your input. I am in fact a qualified practitioner with 3 health science degrees – I’ve studied for over 10 years full time. I would never write information here that didn’t have the support of my studies as well as 10 years clinic experience. I’d love to invite you to take a look around my blog – I offer so much information for people to make informed choices which is what I was also doing with this post. Obviously this post triggers emotions for you and I’m grateful you’ve taken the time to write what these may be.

    Reply
    • no

      A 30 second internet search proves that your ‘3 degrees and 10 years of studying’ fell on deaf ears (i.e. you). If you actually read the scientific literature, you would have learned:

      “Women with an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene have up to a 80% risk of developing breast cancer by age 90; increased risk of developing ovarian cancer is about 55% for women with BRCA1 mutations”

      *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRCA1

      *http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/genetics

      YOU MISREPRESENTED THE INFORMATION TO SUITE YOUR NEEDS, YOU LYING BITCH. PEOPLE CAN DIE BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU WROTE.

      Reply
      • no

        And if you really knew what you were talking about, you would have cited the ‘studies’ you claim support your position

      • mnfadmin

        Oh dear. I’ve only asked for respective conversation. If you have read the blog with an open heart from start to finish, perhaps your choice of words could have been nicer. Thanks for your input all the same but this kind of language is really uncalled for.

      • no

        I read the entire article…. there are no citations. And your response, again, no citations or actual evidence. Your perspective is from your imagination, and has very little basis in reality.

      • Tathra

        I soooo Agree with you! I hate biased statistics! And liars. They try and manipulate innocent people with their opinions, and are responsible for countless deaths, yet somehow dont have to take responsibility.

      • Jennifer

        It’s people like her and Jess Ainscough that make people believe they can survive on happy thoughts and carrot juice. That’s why Jess is dead and her mother died of breast cancer when she could have been saved using western medicine this advise is absolutely dangerous.

      • Nat Kringoudis

        Jennifer – bless you but nothing is a one size fits all. Your comment makes me really sad – mostly because it’s based on what you know, not what you don’t know. Nothing is ever as it seems. If you can’t place constructive comments, I kindly ask you to leave. Nobody is asking you or forcing you to read here and above all – we are all human beings. Be kind.

    • Jennifer

      Your not a medical doctor

      Reply
  21. Megan

    Thank you for your common sense discussion of this highly emotive topic. Megan

    Reply
  22. Anita

    As a breast cancer survivor myself ….. I think its a very personal choice and whist you say you dont want to judge others on their choices it doesnt come across that way in this article and unless you have personally gone through it I think its best to keep your opinions to yourself.

    Reply
  23. Smudge

    I’m getting tired of “being in judgement” of AJ’s decision if I think she’s been misinformed of her choices but if someone agrees with her decision, their opinion is the only correct one!

    I think what she has done is setting a dangerous precedent for women.

    Instead of taking responsibility for our health and addressing any faults or weaknesses naturally (changing diet/lifestyle etc) and with support from a health practitioner, women will take this option and get a little reconstructive surgery/breast implants while they’re at it.

    Cancer is not a disease…..it’s a symptom of something in your body gone awry. Address the symptom…don’t chop it off!

    Reply
  24. Lissa Robinson

    “You create your own health. You literally are in control of which genes are ‘switched’ on or off. ”

    That statement of yours is completely false and ill-informed. Yes, there are genetic risk factors for most diseases, and lifestyle choices we can make to lessen our risk, but people ultimately have minimal control of whether or not they develop diseases with high genetic predisposition or heritability. We all know plenty of smokers that lived into old age, and plenty of active and healthy young people struck down by disease in their prime. You clearly have no scientific or medical training whatsoever, and judging by your numerous selling and grammatical errors, likely have little education at all. Your spreading of misinformation is irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

    I suspect you won’t publish this comment, but you should still think about your role in perpetuating such unhelpful myths.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      all comments are public – I don’t hide anything and encourage healthy discussion because others will learn from what is written.

      Reply
  25. Dannii

    I commend you for taking on such a controversial and sensitive topic Nat. There are many that will have differing opinions on it, and those that have had personal experiences of cancer (as mentioned below) may feel offended or guilty by what you said, and that is completely justified. This is a topic filled with emotion so it cannot be looked at truly objectively once emotion is involved, and once something like cancer touches us or a loved ones life, we are changed forever – much like with any other huge life challenge. However, I agree with your view point that many other factors influence the expression of our genes and these are controllable (not completely -we aren’t god!, but mostly) and the more this info is shared, the better!! What I admire though Nat, is that although this is a difficult topic to tackle, and one that many would shy away from for fear of the onslaught that will inevitably ensue, you have stood strong to share the knowledge that we all need to know (in my opinion, in a respectful way). So good on you 🙂

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thank you xo

      Reply
    • hmm

      I’m not sure how some person on the internet writing a blog, whose purpose is to sell books about naturopathic medicine and cites no sources of information or research can be considered subjective…. Claiming to be an expert doesn’t make you one.

      Reply
      • mnfadmin

        My purpose and intention is to provoke others to think about their own health and share info that will help others to make informed decisions. I’m glad you brought up the word research – I’m not a naturopath. I am an expert in fertility not cancer. I invite you to take a look around my blog – it’s a huge resource and well researched. Also in doing so you’d discover I’m a Dr of TCM.

  26. Belinda

    Thank you this post, I’m glad someone said what I was thinking!!!!

    Reply
  27. Clare G

    Hi Nat, interesting and emotive topic. Do you have a medical degree?

    Reply
  28. Kat

    Thank you for this post. People have the right to choose there own paths but I definatly know which way I would go. Love your blog

    Reply
  29. Smudge

    I suggest this be viewed by the contradictory audience!

    Reply
  30. sue

    I am so very happy to hear you speak of concern with this decision. I think it is absolutely sad and a sign of living in fear which in itself puts our body in a state of stress which leaves us open to disease as our body is in more of a acidic state.

    i wonder if it was a normal woman in the suburbs would we think she was brave or over reacting or stupid.

    While the sadness of having to have breasts removed due to cancer is something I have not had to experience and I live everyday so I don’t have to even imagine this, it saddens me greatly to see woman being driven by fear, and dare i say by men who are working on statistic that we know often benefit their industry. I wonder if she would have them removed if she didn’t have the best specialist and plastic surgeon to re-build that money can buy??

    Reply
  31. Tahlia

    “If I knew I carried the gene for blindness say, would I remove my eyes? Hell no”

    But…. removing your eyes wouldn’t reduce your risk of blindness… It would guarantee it. That really wasn’t the best analogy you could have gone with.

    Reply
  32. Lee Patrick

    Angelina has acted in accordance with her belief and her bid to survive, according to what she believed held the best potential. That does not make it true …only true for her.

    It is highly likely it was a decision dictated by fear – a very real adversary. It is my fervent hope that she will not be seen as other than she is – a frightened woman fighting to survive with the knowledge and advice she has aligned with, and an irrational fear fed by others with irrational fear.

    Who of us knows with certainty they would not make that choice in her circumstance.

    I have chosen another path than surgery and so far I am holding my own. That’s not to say fear does not travel with me, because it does- and sometimes the intensity of that fear almost drives me to the surgeon. But good women like Tash Chi, Jess Ainsclough and Brandon Bays – together with the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and Chen Rezig keep me believing and I recognise the significance of the power of helping inherent in us with the right kind of knowledge and support.

    Please let it not be that the medical fraternity and the media make a hero out of Ang for her decision. Please let it be that other women will have the courage to take control of their health and well being so the can kick ass with any attempt for cancer to take hold.

    And ladies, that involves facing our greatest fears and we can not do it alone.

    Lee

    Reply
  33. Charmaine Campbell

    Whilst I agree that just because she’s had her breasts removed doesn’t mean she won’t get cancer in another part of her body, I think you are kidding yourself if you think that leading a healthy lifestyle will guarantee you don’t activate your genes so to speak. I know plenty of very healthy people who have had cancer, at young ages too. Just as I know plenty of healthy people who have dropped dead from heart attacks etc, despite their perfect lifestyle.

    I think she did the right thing for her, I would probably do the same if I had testing and found the same result. It’s not “chopping your boobs off”, it’s removing the breast tissue inside. If you have already breastfeed and don’t plan to need to do it again, why not do it? Cancer is an awful thing, getting it early is not always possible, a better scenario is preventing it altogether which is what Angelina is trying to do.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thank you Charmaine for sharing this because it allows me to re-iterate that lifestyle alone isn’t enough. I’d love for you to go back and re-read the post – I’m so keen for people to understand it is genetics, environment, lifestyle, diet, emotional health – they all play a role equally. x

      Reply
      • Charmaine Campbell

        I did go back and read it, just now. I know about cancer, I know about genetics, I know about healthy lifestyle, I also know about healthy attitude. Trust me, my husband had Melanoma 11 years ago. After the initial shock, he was completely positive, he though he had it beat. We told everybody he had it beat, but after 9 years we found out he was wrong. It spread to his lung, he had that removed, and felt optimistic that hopefully it wouldn’t come back this time, but now it’s in his other lung, his only lung! He will never be free of it, he is just trying to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. My point is that cancer sucks, and getting it early is so important, but by that point it is already in your body. Do I think every woman should go and have her breasts removed? No, but if that’s what they choose to do, I have no problem with it. Unfortunately removing one’s skin to prevent Melanoma is not possible, but breasts are a different story.

  34. Margie

    Do you ensure that your son is vaccinated to help protect him?

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      I do wonder why you ask this Margie and what your intention is behind this? I protect my son in every which way I can.

      Reply
      • Margie

        curiosity is the only reason Nat, I work in an Air Med unit at a at large public hospital and have seen a few young adults very sick with things like whooping cough.

  35. Tracey

    With all the dangers associated with breast implants, I would worry that these may even promote cancer anyway! Just a thought! And just for the record, I think your post was informative and thought provoking. Thankyou!

    Reply
  36. Heather

    I really enjoy your website but this article kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It feels like shaming Angelina for her decision instead of accepting her choice with loving kindness. Watching a loved one die from cancer is a traumatic, horrific exeperience. I watched my father take his last breath a year ago- robbed from this world by the disease. I know Angelina is trying to spare her children and loved ones from that agony and even if I don’t agree with the method I commend her. It’s not about turning on/ off genes it’s about the memory one leaves for their family. Having the image of her mother on her death bd seared into her mind probably played a big role in her decision and I can’t blame her one bit. Keep up the good work and open discussions….

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Of course Heather – my intention was to openly create a healthy discussion. In having time to step back and realise, it isn’t Angelina but the media who are creating the hype. I just worry about the ramifications of it.

      Reply
  37. Kylie

    So in a nutshell as long as we think the right way (which is what exactly?) and eat all the right foods, we won’t get cancer. And if we do and die from it, it’s our fault for not thinking or eating the right way. As many have said on here, plenty of healthy people have got cancer and died from it, just like many unhealthy people have sailed through life without any major health issues. YOU CANNOT THINK YOUR WAY TO CHANGING YOUR GENES! What about all the hardworking scientists and REAL doctors who are researching to find a cure for so many terrible diseases (including breast cancer and CF)? If it was as easy as ‘thinking’ the right way, none of these diseases would exist! You criticise everything people do or don’t do with their health – it’s a wonder you ever leave the house, what with all the ‘dangers’ there are around. Actually the only thing missing from this article was your scintillating advice to take ‘the best multivitamin and fish oil money can buy’ as apparently this solves all manner of issues. It’s about time you got off your moral high horse. Yes we all know what we need to do to be healthy, but at the end of the day it’s not going to stop you getting cancer if that’s what happens to you. And if you were so good at all this stuff, you would have been able to prevent your son from getting CF, even if you do carry the gene.

    And by the way, I find it insulting that you call yourself a doctor. It is an insult to people who actually undertake a medical degree. Whatever qualifications you have from 10 years of study, it does not qualify you to make statements like the ones in this article. Your misinformation is dangerous and could have dire consequences for many, potentially causing someone to die. But then I suppose that would be their fault anyway.

    Another thing that would be appreciated – could you actually proof-read your writing (or ask someone else to) before you publish it? The number of spelling and grammatical errors in your work (not just this article, but many others) is appalling. As an FYI there are distinct differences between it’s and its and your and you’re, along with many other words you continually miss-use. Try looking them up.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      I understand this is a massive stretch for many people. I’m struggling to understand how all that is seen and taken out of my post is food and thoughts though? Several times throughout my un-proofed (thanks for bringing that to my attention too) post here, I talk about all the associative factors including diet, lifestyle, stress, exposure to chemicals, mindset, attitude, genetic makeup, environment, daily practices etc. These are all contributing factors to cancer. Please re-read my post all be it bad english (although I believe I got my point across). I have not said that thoughts change out genes. All of the above factors influence how our genes work. I love that you are challenged and motivated by what I share – it tells me that my words, on some level are provoking you to think in a different way which was my intention. To open up peoples minds to how our lifestyles are not necessarily helping us. Sure, we are all human. We can’t live in a bubble but by simply being aware of these things we can create better wellness.

      You’re so right in saying I could have prevented my son from having CF. There is plenty of research that indicate carriers low in specific vitamins including selenium, are more likely to have children with CF. Thanks for pointing that out because others reading this may find that useful.

      I am legally allowed to call myself a Dr of Traditional Chinese Medicine but I thank you for your concern in the matter.

      I’m fairly sure that there is no harm done by sharing this post to help open peoples minds to the bigger picture. I’m no cancer expert nor am I claiming to be. I’m simply encouraging people to go and do their own research before making rash decisions. Bottom line is, we are in charge of our own health and health treatments – so long as we are comfortable with the decisions we are making, it’s nobody else’s responsibility.

      Reply
    • Zia

      I love it when the spelling police make errors when trying to prove how superior they are.

      Nat, I agree with some of what you are saying, disagree with other bits.

      The thing I find most offensive is the media label of ‘hero’. That really doesn’t it well with me.

      Reply
  38. JUDY

    You are allowed to have your opinions but until you go through this you have no idea how you would feel. No idea at all. When you have kids and are faced with the news you will do anything to take away the daily anxiety of wondering iv you feel a lump. It is a personal choice.e

    Reply
  39. Samantha

    We actually discussed this in my food as medicine class (I study at Endeavour), and my contribution was that I would never choose to do this.

    I don’t know if I have that gene. I have a high risk of having it, as my grandmother and two aunts on my mother’s side have had breast cancer.

    However, they have also been smokers, one aunt chose not to have children and so never breastfed, and one aunt had a child later in life, all of which are associated with breast cancer.

    I on the other hand choose to follow a traditional WAPF diet most of the time, do not smoke, and I will have children by 30 at the latest, and will definitely breastfeed.

    Nor am I afraid of cancer, unlike most people. I already had thyroid cancer at the age of 19 (I’m now 23), and I am thankful for it – it woke me up to nutrition and looking after myself.

    I’m very disappointed that so many women will choose to follow in Angelina’s footsteps – few people understand that surgery, whether it be voluntary or emergency, is extremely violating to the spirit, and can take years to recover.

    But that’s just my opinion. And we all have free will.

    Reply
  40. Ally @ Om Nom Ally

    I must have been living under a rock, I had completely missed Angelina’s press release about the surgery. I can understand the fear surrounding the discovery of having this gene and the susceptibility for breast cancer, but on the other hand I know enough about epigenetics to understand it’s not all about the gene itself but the more about the activation or deactivation of particular genes we are born with. I don’t necessarily agree with preventative surgery for the sake of assuaging our fears, but I do understand the reasoning of the individual in their unique cases.

    Reply
  41. Eileen

    Nat, what I’m reading here are comments from a number of people who have been born and raised in our ‘traditional’ western medicine model, it is a big stretch for many to understand a lot of the concepts you raise, I truly salute you for posting blogs like this because they DO get people thinking and bring out the best- and worst, in people too. I am on the fence on this issue but I will say that a number of people on this blog could do with being a little more open minded and less, yes, judgemental!

    Reply
    • Joanne

      Well said. Nothing wrong with exploring possibilities and opening up one’s mind. One day we will potentially look back at our practices in all sorts of treatment areas and wonder what on earth we were thinking. Let’s be prepared to think a little outside out our comfort zone. Pity a few more Western medicine practitioners wouldn’t do the same!

      Reply
  42. hayley

    Love this post Nat! Nice to open us up to another way of kicking cancers butt. I have absolute respect for AJ for sharing her story to the media. We cannot forget there are other stories out there too, and one woman’s decision may not be the same decision made by other women suffering cancer, or carrying the gene/s.

    It is great that you show all factors to take in when one makes a decision like this. Not once did I feel you judged AJ’s decision, only that you were informative in allowing us to see that there are other ways we may look at our personal choices if down a similar path, or life in general. Nutrition is such a big influence on my life being an athlete, and I personally have you to thank for numerous health factors in my life.

    One huge thing you did for me was help my father in law, (and his whole family) have a more comfortable fight with his incurable cancer. You truly are an inspiring lady, and I love what you do! Keep it up, and keep sharing your heart and knowledge.

    Love your loins Dr Kringoudis x

    Reply
  43. Kim

    It’s nice to hear a different perspective on the issue other than how brave AJ is to have had the surgery. I believe that your body can and will heal itself of almost anything if you give it the right tools, but it’s always refreshing to hear that there are other people out there who don’t just get caught up in the hype and go along with what they hear in the media. Sure cancer is a scary issue, but I don’t think that sensationalising such a drastic “preventative” measure is healthy without also shining a light on all the other less invasive ways of preventing cancer like diet, and stress reduction for starters. It’s akin to scare mongering without sharing the full story. I just hope that this situation is the start of an awakening about women’s personal power to control their health and not just another nail in the self care coffin courtesy of a “healthcare” system run by pharmaceutical companies.

    Reply
  44. Tash

    Well said!! Thank you for writing this! I am on my own journey to switch off my genes. And I have learnt so much about my health since I started. It just all makes sense! It’s so sad how miss informed and un aware we all are in our society! Thank you! Tash x

    Reply
  45. samantha m

    Wow, before you really get into hot water, you need to watch your language, in one comment you say “I treat fertility and I also treat cancer” and a couple of paragraphs later you say,” i’m no cancer expert I don’t claim to be”.

    Your sloppy use of language is skating on very thin ice, I am an Osteopath and I am not a doctor, I would never dream of making such a statement. It’s this type of statement that gives all “alternative” practitioners a bad name, you’re doing us all a dis-service by making such cringe making statements. Please take this post down it’s getting embarrassing now!

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks Samantha. I invite you to go back and read my post again. May I please share that my intention here was to say “I am a fertility specialist and I own that title. I am not a cancer expert. That said I still have patients that I treat that have cancer even though it is not my specialist arena.”

      I’m delighted that you as a Dr of Osteopathy (hoping you fully completed your degree and own your title) has taken the time to read this. Own your title – it shapes who you are x

      Reply
  46. Rachael

    Lara Wilson, my business mentor (and life coach) had a this to say when I asked her what she thought yesterday. Her answer was pretty simple. “It’s all about mindset. Our thoughts create our reality – if we believe we are going to develop cancer we probably will. If we use this information to our advantage (knowing our genetic make-up) to motivate us toward what we want, then that’s what we will focus on and create for ourselves.” One of Lara’s favourite phrases goes something lie this; “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right.”

    I have. Such a problem with that statement from Lara Wilson…..”if you believe your going to develop cancer your probably will”

    What a ridiculous and irresponsible thing to say- I am a believer in positive thinking etc but i also have a massive medical phobia that goes along with being phobic of disease like cancer( that I am trying to work through).

    I don’t know if Angelina Joliet should have even come out with such a thing. I have a friend who has the gene, but unfortunately she cannot afford to have such surgery.

    It’s great that Angelina is being proactive in HER situation but again I don’t believe that she should be sharing it.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      There is so much science around this Rachel – I love that you’ve taken the time to comment here and really encourage you to seek support to help you work through the phobias that you have named here. It could be that somebody just like Lara that is exactly the person who could help you to do so.

      Reply
  47. Wendy

    I think for AJ, chopping off her breasts wasn’t completely eliminating her chances of getting breast cancer, and I agree with you that it wasn’t necessarily the best message to be sending across to all the women out there. But that was her choice, and I think we should respect it.

    As a biomedical student, I have learned that the major cause of most diseases is due to genetics rather than dietary factors (which may/may not contribute to disease). Cancer is a particularly complex disease involving both inherited and somatic mutations that disrupt several cellular signalling pathways, and mutations in these tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes are not things we can just ‘turn on or off’ with a good diet, lifestyle and positive mindset.

    You could say that we are ‘what we eat’ in that our diet can alter our gut bacteria and our dietary components get incorporated into the synthesis of our own proteins during metabolism. But the field of epigenetics is still very new, and there is yet to be any scientific conclusions made about the link between diet and cancer (I have looked up medical journals and they have proven to be inconclusive). In fact, for cancer patients, consuming too many anti-oxidants actually has an adverse effect on the human body, as it prevents the cancerous cells from undergoing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the body. Overall, I think it’s important to back up what you say with medical evidence from scientific journals so that your beliefs VS the evidence are not blown out of proportion.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that causes of cancer are extremely complex, because if it were simple to cure or prevent, everyone would be rid of it. You can influence your body to reduce the risk of developing diseases (by maintaining a healthy lifestyle to minimise the onset of diabetes, obesity, etc) but that’s not really the case for cancer, which is larlgely driven by DNA mutations. We do create our health – but we are only able to do so to an extent. That’s not to say that we should eat and drink whatever we want because it won’t have any effects on our DNA, but to say that ‘if we have the right mindset, anything is possible’ is an oversimplification.

    Reply
    • Margie

      BEST comment ever. Thank you

      Reply
    • D

      Oops, guess Nat forgot to respond to this comment?

      Thanks Wendy.

      Reply
    • melissa

      i think we should also stay aware of the big picture and be aware of who pays for “medical ” research!

      Reply
      • Sarah

        Odd comment considering austalian’s spend 4x as much on complementary medicine as PBS funded drugs ….You cant say CAM practitioners aren’t in it for the $$$ too!!

      • mnfadmin

        But the funds and research available is far less no?

      • Rory

        What a load of crap cam makes a fortune, it’s even more profitable than evidence based medicine on account of there being none of that pesky science in order to find the, you know EVIDENCE….

      • melissa

        i wasn’t meaning where the funds go… I’m talking about what research is released to the public as to what is found in the research…it’s a very big bussiness run by very powerfully rich drug companys .

      • mnfadmin

        I have to second this. I think we’d find much more profit in large pharmaceutical companies for sure.

  48. Miranda

    Love the article, but, could you please proof read next time, it was kind of hard to read.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks Miranda – I do apologies. I wrote this at 11pm last night because I felt compelled to invite people to open their minds and move away from what the media was saying. I ordinarily do have my blog posts proofed – I’ll own it that grammar isn’t my forte!

      Reply
  49. Norm Smith

    This is a great article, and the main focus of it excellent. I’ll point one thing out though – you can’t ‘decide’ to turn on or off a gene. Genetically a carrier is well defined – it means the gene is typically recessive rather than dominate, and you only have 1 pair with that trait. This is a really important distinction. Yes, if you have a genetic condition, diet, environment and management have a HUGE impact. But that’s different from your statement that you make “You literally are in control of which genes are ‘switched’ on or off.” Sorry, that’s just plain incorrect. The only reason I point it out is your article is fantastic, and the sentiment around such drastic preventative measures when it isn’t a sure thing is spot on. But let’s not mix a great point with a really wrong and misleading statement.

    Read up on dominate and recessive traits – that’s the big distinction for genetics, and has been around known about ever since Gregor Mendel did his famous experiments on peas.

    here’s to reasoned response though – i couldn’t agree more!

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thank you Norm, perhaps in my typing frenzy last night I could have worded this better. What I was trying to say was that we can influence how our genes behave to a substantial degree. I so appreciate your kind works and positive words.

      Reply
  50. Emma Park

    I completely agree with you. Again, I don’t judge Angelina for her decision, but the sensationalism in the media is scary. It’s the wrong message – we don’t need to remove body parts to protect ourselves from cancer! Diet, lifestyle and the environment we create for our body (the gene ‘switch’ you talked about) is SURELY the first step – and surgery the very last!!

    Emma (Nutritionist)

    Reply
  51. Chrystal

    What a fantastic article, I am naturally an extrovert, but when people have been asking me what I think about this I have been scared to share my opinion because it seems unless you say “Oh my how brave of Angelina” it means you are insensitive and “don’t understand”.

    I truly believe that cutting into your body, the trauma of surgery, anaesthetics, preventative infection drugs etc to someone who is a higher risk naturally to cancer is inviting trouble! Eat & Live Clean, Love Lots, Train Much!

    Reply
  52. Elsa Alexandra

    Hi Nat! I love your comment. Incidentally, I had just posted a similar comment on Twitter before I saw your article.

    I have an academic background in Biological Engineering and hearing Angelina Jolie’s news gave me goose bumps.

    A greater probability of developing cancer DOES NOT mean one will! I’ve seen plenty of avoidable surgeries taking place. I believe that preventive surgery can often turn out in PREVENTABLE surgery!

    It is a great revenue source for the health industry though…

    The key is to BE CRITICAL about the decisions we make.

    Thank you for sharing your views Nat!

    Reply
  53. Nick

    What people don’t understand is that everyone has cancer cells in their bodies. The immune system in normal circumstances will deal with these cancerous cells.in addition to the immune system, fruits vegetables contain powerful anti cancer properties that act on cancer and help kill and prevent cancer progression. The good news is that at the early stages of cancers development, there are many things that we can do to stop cancer from developing – even later stages can be healed ( as with Jessica’s case ) . What people need is education on the best ways to be able to help themselves and this is where people like Jessica come into it – keep up the good work.

    Reply
  54. Fiona

    I applaud this article. While I do believe Angelina has shown great courage in her choice for herself, I hope people realise that everyone has the potential to develop cancer no matter whether you test positive for a particular gene or not – in fact EVERYONE has genes in us already that make us susceptible to different cancers but it is our lifestyle choices, particularly our physical and mental/emotional ‘diet’ that determines whether or not we develop this disease or any other. We are so much more powerful personally than we give ourselves credit for.

    Reply
  55. Emily

    Hi Nat. Interesting topic and discussion. If you can turn genes on and off with healthy living and a positive attitude your son wouldnt have CF. The very fact he does in spite of your best efforts proves some things are outside our control.

    As a psychologist my biggest concern is how damaging your comments could be for those who have experienced cancer in it’s many varied forms. Your comments are more likely to trigger feelings of guilt, grief and loss in those you are professing to help. Healthy living and positive thinking is common sense, not science. But to pose these alone can cure all is pure quackery and frankly an irresponsible message to make as a health professional.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Several times I’ve gone back to suggest that perhaps a better way for me to put this would have been to say we can influence how our genes work. There is a whole pile of science behind this which I will share in upcoming posts to help better educate people.

      I do understand your concerns and thank you for pointing them out.

      If I do trigger feelings of guilt and grief and I am challenging people in some way then to me this is a good thing – we need to move past these negative ideas that may contribute to illness. There is a whole lot of science in nutrition, healthy lifestyle, mindset, attitude, environment and stand by that being far more than common sense.

      Reply
      • Jen

        It’s beneficial for people to read two complete opposite points of view on such a subject so they can make a personal informed decision on a really difficult issue.

      • Sian Morton

        This is a disturbingly arrogant comment.

  56. Sarah

    Wow the world of online bullying and cattiness is still in full swing I see. What rude snarky comments I have read below your honest and empassioned blog post. Of which I have found to be thought provoking, and largely brimming with positive intent and support for women and people in general to empower themselves in their own health and wellness.

    I recal some time ago, Oprah Winfrey encouraging her viewers to get a regular MRI, a full body scan – as she does…in order to detect and prevent the onset of cancer and disease. And though I suppose she can afford to do such a thing, many Doctors at the time warned of the unnecessary stress and anxiety that would actually encourage the onset of illness and disease, possibly causing for example the development and triggering of a cancer if there were that predisposition, that might otherwise never have occurred.

    Those commenting with such vitreol and venom, do you not understand the relationship and direct association of things like stress on illness including cancers? I can count several people known personally to me who developed cancer and died within very short time frames of excessively stressful life periods. I am a firm believer that you can indeed contribute to your own ill health.

    Nat is in no way suggesting that this is the case 100 % of the time, if anything all she encourages is the thought that you should, rather than fill yourself with worry, anxiety and despair, Cut out your organd and self mutilate, take a breath and realise that a higher percentage of risk does not mean you will ever develop the disease. And to make popular, and encourage, people to act drastically in such a way is not a healthy or positive step for wellness.

    Nat, I consider you a true wellness warrior! To western medical science of today, I say you are a spoilt teenager who is too arrogantnat times to see the forest for the trees. You mock practices that are proven time and time again to universally promote health and wellbeing, in favour of invasive, experimentation, dangerous in method and practice and which most often deteriorates health and welbeing. Less cutty cutty and sticky with the blood letting tools, and more empowerment, more support for individuals to listen to their own intuition on their health.

    I do hope that Angelina lives a long and healthy life. My fear is that now a generation of women may adhere to this hype that the media has created on the issue, and take unnecessary drastic measures.

    Who knows whether the surgeries themselves may awaken a cancer cell that may never have multiplied.

    Keep on doing what you do fair maiden 🙂 Sending out a plume of positive light over all of you and all of us

    Ps. I’m sure your skin is tough enough to take on the barrage of insults some rude individuals felt necessary to dish out regarding your credentials as a practitioner of natural medicine. To that I say, thousands of years of practice vs a couple of hundred years of fumbling Western medicine. The very hippocrates whom all Western medical practitioners adopt “To do no harm” did himself preach of the day when food would be medicine. It’s funny how those things go. How soon The arrogant “experts” forget. Need I also mention Socrates and Plato, two exceptionally wise and highly spiritual men. .. both of which had their teachings bastardised and misappropriated by similar minds as you find in the mainstream dogma of western medicine today. Omitting any references to spiritual enlightenment and a focus on the spiritual self in favour of stale arrogant ideas, stuck in the mindset that wisdom does not need that inner spiritual awakening. But I digress.

    Reply
  57. Heidi

    Wow! Cant believe what I am reading! Obviously the writer of this article doesnt carry any of the breast cancer genes. Clearly before a woman undergoes this type of surgery they are informed of many options and the risks associated with each. I think comparing breast cancer to CF or blindness is a blatant expression of ignorance and lack of empathy. Is this an attack on Jolie’s decisions or Jolie herself? I dont believe this to be a one sided media frenzy, I guess it depends on what media voices you chose to hear. As the breast cancer gene is quite rare you may not get many people disagreeing with your content – I sincerely hope this is the case as BRCA gene carriers have enough to deal with without having to read this.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks so much Heidi – I can’t say I have a need to find out if I have the BRCA gene just like I didn’t find out if I was a CF carrier. I invite you to go back and read my post – I’m not comparing CF to breast cancer and I’m sad you choose to see it that way. My point of sharing that was to show people that I have been to that place of loss and grief but turned so much around by my mindset and attitude. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Reply
  58. Eva

    Angelina Jolie is insane! I understand her mother passed away from breast cancer, but cancer isn’t just automatically passed down from parents to children! She was really dis- and uninformed in making her decision, or brainwashed by doctors who want to cut everything out!

    Jolie is really doing a disservice to the women worldwide. The glorification and promotion of mastectomies is surreal and frightening. Thanks for your post.

    Reply
    • Listen to yourself

      Insane?

      Have you been listening. Yes it is passed down from her mother. Genetically! I think you are the one who is brainwashed by articles like this. Explore all options and inform yourself. I think you have done a disservice to women by judging other people’s decisions. You and everyone like you are what’s wrong with society today. Stand on your soap box and bark your opinion to everyone without a clue as to what it’s like to face these kinds if decisions yourself.

      Reply
  59. Lee

    Wow. I’m glad I took the time to read the commentary. All of it. I especially liked Wendy’s (Biomedical student) as it provided a much needed objective and informative input.

    To be honest, I will agree with the majority in that the delivery of the post on AJ was disappointing. I know the intent was not for it to be so, but unfortunately our perceptions can far outweigh someone’s well-meaning.

    Life is about choices – that is absolutely apparent. If we are able to make the most informed choice we can, what a great position to be in. Our value system also dictates how we approach the decision making process as well.

    What I am finding more and more, are blogs and commentary posts being set up by people who then espouse their viewpoint from a ‘wellness’ perspective. If you are going to put any thoughts out there – you need to be able to manage the feedback that comes back and a lot of it will be emotionally charged.

    I don’t think Jess Ainscough’s comment was particularly insightful and in fact made me feel the opposite. I’ve decided to discontinue following her, post the immunisation commentary as well. Not everyone has the capacity to buy high -end juicing machines, eat 100% organic, seek alternative therapies and lead a completely ‘clean’ lifestyle devoid of stress, financial worries, look after kids etc.

    I’m all for creating open dialogue’s and I love when people can speak freely. But when people are making a ‘living’ from these avenues, I think there far greater caution needs to be exerted when putting your opinions out into the world on highly sensitive topics. I’d have far more respect if you presented it in a ‘documentary’ style. Information from medical professionals, alternative etc. Let everyone have an fair and equal opportunity to share their knowledge.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read everything. I hope more than anything you appreciate that girls like Jess or myself – we are putting ourselves out there to help spread a wellness message. We choose to do it from a good place. I have to come back to my vision of helping spread the fertility and wellness message.

      Reply
  60. Jo Mc

    Wow. Tough gig taking on this topic publicly, Nat. I commend you for that. Just finished reading your post and ALL of the comments. Any errors or analogy issues notwithstanding, there is one critical point you make: it’s important that such highly publicised news prompts a healthy discussion about surgery AND the alternatives to surgery. Angelina Jolie, in her NYT article, alludes to having a holistic regimen, but her focus in the piece is to emphasise her choice for a double mastectomy. While the decision to have a double mastectomy may be the right decision in her case (or may not; the jury is still out, and only she, in time, will ever truly know), we cannot ignore the fact that her fame affords her great educational power – and with that power comes great responsibility. I only hope she gives sufficient attention to the other more holistic approaches in subsequent op-eds so that others out there (with elevated risk factors or not) understand the spectrum of risk – and of choice. Some reports (though, yet to be confirmed) state that she is planning on having her ovaries removed next. The debate will no doubt intensify if this is the case. I think your post is provoking some important discussion, Nat, and we’re all learning from one another in the process. xJMc

    Reply
  61. melissa

    O.k here goes so much to say…i will give shortened version. i have the the HNPCC gene which is the bowel cancer gene, it also puts me at high risk of gynecological and bladder cancers. i have been passionate about health for many years, nutrition and how the body works, a big truth seeker! i believe this has saved my life. i was advised 4 years ago at age 37 to have a full hysterectomy to prevent cancer, removal of body parts did not sit well with my philosophy of prevention so i refused, however in the back of my head a seed was planted that if anything was found in my ovaries it would be to late as there is no test to show pre cancerous cells….BINGO 7 months ago i was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and to add to that i had a different cancer in each ovary! Interestingly the aggressive cancer in my right ovary was not at all linked to the gene and the one in my left could not be definitely linked with the gene either!! However for not one moment did i regret not having that hysterectomy 4years ago.. it was not my life path. The experience i have been through since my diagnoses has been truly amazing.. i had the operation, i refused the suggested chemotherapy thanks to my truth seeking intuition which i need to add that the oncologist i dealt with just happened to forget to tell me my aggressive cancer didn’t respond to chemo anyway!!! i found out at my six week check up… mind blowing! I now blow everyone away with my energy and happiness that i have found through working on my emotional health which from day 1 of diagnoses i knew was the cause of my cancer..so many onion layers. My turning point was finding an amazing Doctor who like me believes in healing the mind body and soul so you can truly totally heal yourself… his healing technique is timeline therapy dealing with the subconscious mind, changing all the old rules and regulations that we live by, it’s all our reactions that our conscience mind can’t control. I walked into my 1st session emotionally miserable not from my cancer that was a breeze to deal with compared to the reactions of family and how they were treating me.. anyway i walked out of that session empowered, energized and so happy and let me tell you since then the amazing things that happen to me on a daily basis, the inspiration people that arrive into my life the gifts and love i receive..i truly feel blessed and know that nothing happens by chance. So i don’t have a problem with Angelina having her breast removed but i hope she works on the fear that drove her to make that decision. lastly enjoy your life journey..it truly is an amazing experience…xox

    Reply
  62. Jamie

    Thank you for sharing this blog today. As a breast cancer survivor, I completely agree with what you are saying. We all create our own health and having a double mastectomy to me is also extreme. I appreciate your insight!

    Reply
  63. Lee

    Nat, you stated that you treat fertility issues and cancer. When you see people battling cancer, do you recommend they continue medical treatment as per their Oncologist/Haematologist? Are your treatments alternative or adjunctive?

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      I work with whatever the patient wants to do. Fertility is my speciality not cancer. It’s just that we are a multidisciplinary clinic not limited to fertility. That said there are specialist cancer clinics I’d refer to. Treatment and advice depends on so many factors. So to answer your question, our treatments are either alternative or adjunctive depending on what the patient needs and wants.

      Reply
  64. Kerrie

    I think Nat makes a very good point here, Yes its started with breast cancer, have a test to find the gene and you can prevent it – great, no comment about that,. But can you imagine where science is going – eventually there will probably be a gene test for all cancers, ready to frighten the living days out of us. What if the gene test was for brain cancer or lung cancer – can you honestly imagine people wanting to take these parts out of themselves to stop getting cancer? Breast cancer is the most researched and heavily money-heavy cancer going. Nat – thankyou for giving us people who won’t get a chance to have the gene testing an optomistic outlook. I’m adopted, and the advice i was given by my doctor was – You are better off not knowing.

    Reply
  65. trisha

    My late Mom was one of the subjects in the Jefferson study developing BRCA. I was told after her death to remove my ovaries. I was 40, 2 kids. I did. Now I have uterine carcinosarcoma. 50% chance of living 5 yrs. My Mom’s 2 sisters had BRCA for breast cancer. Though my aunts had mastectomies, they lived a long life, dying of unrelated illnesses in their 80s. A dozen of my cousins have had multiple lumpectomies, all are fine. Only one developed a very virulent cancer that killed her in under a yr. Taking off the breasts is no guarantee–breast cancer already has a 90% cure rate! Let us not forget that MEN get effected by BRCA–cancer of male reproductive organs, prostate, colorectal–and thyroid. One of my uncles died of 25 yr bout of rare thyroid cancer that destroyed his voicebox, and led to his death. HE NEVER SMOKED. Lot of info missing here. Think Angie should have had a second opinion before taking such extreme measures.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks so much for sharing your story trisha – you’ll love my upcoming posts with regard to this. It’s a tough road and I commend your strength.

      Reply
  66. Kristy blaikie

    Informed is the key if they feel like this is what their body needs then it is our job to support their life even if we disagree.

    I personally went against my oncologist orders…. I was given little percentage to live past two years, i did not have chemo, did not have stem cell transplant, did not have tumors (all over my body) cut out, instead I went with my informed decision (&gut feeling) and treated myself naturally and I am so happy I went down the path I’m on. Good on you Nat for getting different views in the media.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Power to you babe x

      Reply
      • melissa

        Well done Kristy it is sooo empowering taking responsibility for your life and trusting your intuition along with getting yourself informed.. I am always telling people if it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t so do nothing until you gather more information and become comfortable. Like me i’m sure you found you had to gather your strength before every medical appointment to deal with the opinions of the “experts”… love and energy Melissa x

  67. Kristie

    I am a BRCA 2 carrier! I take offense at this article on so many levels. I have had a double mastectomy and my ovaries removed. I have a husband and 4 children and I’m 39 yrs old. I held my fathers hand and watched him die of prostate cancer at 52 , my Aunty died of ovaririan /bowel cancer at 54. My sister is 34 she has stage 2 breast cancer. Unless you have walked in my shoes and had most of your fathers side of the family wiped out by cancer you shouldn’t criticize. I chose to be pro active I’m not a hero I just wanted to reduce my risk of getting this awful disease. I live a healthy lifestyle excersise regularly but this won’t stop a mutant gene from developing into cancer!!!!!!!!

    If you were about to board a plane and the captain told you there was up to an 80% chance that it might crash would you get on????

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      I feel sad to hear you’ve chosen to take offense to what I’ve written. My intention was never to criticise – I’m here to share information. So with that in mind, you’re not actually looking at an 80% chance (for example) of having breast cancer. It’s that you’d be 80% more likely to develop the cancer in comparison to the rest of the population, of which breast cancer is still a very small number. Suddenly you’re looking at much lower odds – perhaps around 10-20%. To answer your question – would I get on a plane that was up to an 80% chance of crashing? That totally depends on where the plane was going.

      Thanks so much for sharing your views and personal story. I truly wish you all the health and sure for you, you make the decision that you felt was right.

      Reply
      • Tathra

        Wow, you say you aren’t criticising, followed by a ctriticism. You need to get educated appropriately. As you seem to have no real concept of statistics, genetics and risk. (Yes, I study medicine and psychology)

        It appears that you have some attention jealousy issues. You are grossly misinformed (it appears to be by your own omission too).

        I just hope that you never have toface the demon of cancer.

        And Kristie, GO YOU! Well done, you are anawesome woman, and you did what you had to do, and what was right for you! xo

      • mnfadmin

        I’m sad you choose to see criticism from what I’ve posted. All I’ve simply done is open up peoples minds to see that a mastectomy isn’t the end of cancer. All these other factors need to be considered. You might like this:

        http://www.brucelipton.com

        I feel so much emotion around this for you – I do hope you can recgonise how this affects your health too.

        I stand by what I say and I can’t apologise for that – based on my own person experience which are obviously different to yours and that is ok. And I agree 100% – Kirsty did what she thought she had to do and was right for her – just like I shared on my blog.

      • Kristie

        Ummmm can I just correct you right there. I have been given an 82% chance of getting breast cancer and a 46% chance of ovarian cancer in my lifetime. This is a personal statistic that has been calculated specifically for me by specialists (one is a professor) at RNSH based on my BRCA gene fault and my family history of cancers . They took all the members of my family, their age at diagnosis and type of cancer into consideration. So for you to tell me my risk is 10-20% is so WRONG and deeply distressing to me.

      • mnfadmin

        So you’re not 82% more likely that the rest of the population? I apologise. I used this example as many people are getting confused with the stats and the way they are read. If this has been calculated by your specialist and professor, then obviously that’s not what I was referring to so please don’t take offence – I had no way, with the info you had give me here, of knowing that. Thank you for sharing your personal information. I hope you can choose to see that I’m not coming from a negative place with what I’m sharing here. I know it’s a confronting and sensitive topic – I’m simply trying to open peoples minds. x

      • why are you so rude?

        “To answer your question – would I get on a plane that was up to an 80% chance of crashing? That totally depends on where the plane was going.”

        Where would the plane have to be going?…Heaven?

      • Kristie

        Your plane is bound for the United States of Ignorance ! How could you know my or any other woman’s personal story but you seem to be able to offer advice that is not accurate and statistics that are not correct. I can only hope you are more competent in fertility issues ….

        Don’t criticize me and then apologize it only makes you look like a fool !

      • mnfadmin

        Thank you. If that’s the choice made, to see it as criticism – then that’s your prerogative. That is not my intention and I’m sorry that you see it that way. Please know that,for me to put myself out there and share wellness information that is controversial, comes from a place of care. I simply want to help people and to think there is only one way to do anything is very limiting in the grand scheme of things – to call me ignorant because I’m looking at this from another perspective seems ironic.

      • A.F

        Your information is not controversial. It is incorrect. You seem to be ignorant of the basic science regarding BRCA1 & BRCA2, actual medical policy and the emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis. It is not ironic to call you ignorant because most of the information provided here is incorrect and therefore you are ignorant. You need to educate yourself on this issue before discussing it, let alone attempting to educate others. Please stop telling people they are choosing to be offended or choosing to see what you write as criticism. You have genuinely offended people. I don’t think that any of the women with BRCA gene mutations who have written here have ever thought they only have one option as you believe. This is incredibly patronising and for this, as well as many other reasons, these women deserve an apology from you. This article should never have been written as you do not have a proper understanding of the issues, and research results on the effect of individual behaviour on breast cancer development in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers are extremely limited. You underestimate your influence as a registered health practitioner writing in a public forum. You might think it is harmless that telling people that lifestyle and mindset improvement will do the trick. If this delays people from seeking the treatment they need (prophylactic or otherwise), it is far from harmless. My mother listened to people like you and is no longer with us to agree with you. I have had the surgery she should have had and I am here, alive and healthy. That is “wellness”. This is not an emotional outburst from me, I just want people to know that this type of discussion is not harmless. I reiterate the need for you to apologise to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation carriers who have written here (I am not one of them).

  68. Sarah

    I could not agree more with everything you have said here! Yes what is a decision enabled by the finances to afford the reconstruction surgery and even genetic testing, will for the average fearful woman who carries this faulty gene (or who may not but may carry the fear associated with it), going to be such an extraordinary expense it could cripple them financially. The stress of affording an invasive and quite possibly unnecessary in their instance procedure, could well bring on a set of stress factors which favour cancer and other diseases!

    Fear based decisions are ones which should be analysed and yes even criticised in cases where they are held up to be some kond of martyrdom.

    And the influence will be apparent as we begin to see this procedure carried out more and more now. If one individual dies from complications surrounding a contagious illness, the ER is flooded with patients who then believe themselves to have the “life threatening super bug”. This in itself should tell a tale that fear is contagious and the fear of death is possibly the most traumatic.

    Reply
    • Sarah

      ^Woops this was meant in reply to ” Sue May 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm”s post above! 🙂 xxx

      Reply
      • Tania

        It’s a strange world we live in when going back to basics and living a natural healthy lifestyle is looked at as hocus pocus..

        I love what you’re about and that you aren’t being rude or spiteful you are genuinely sharing your opionion based on facts and stemming from genuine concern.

        ”As long as you truly believe in what you stand for, and you’re moving your message forward from a place of love, criticism can actually be seen as a good thing. If you’re receiving criticism, it generally means that you are doing something that challenges the way the status quo thinks. If no one ever did that, we would still believe that the world is flat and women still wouldn’t be allowed be allowed in pubs”. – Jess Ainscough

  69. Kate Bird

    Anybody who doesn’t get it, hasn’t seen a loved one suffer through breast cancer. Talk to me if you have the gene mutation, have a family and have watched a loved one go through it, and then I’ll listen. I have the BRCA2 mutation, had the surgery in 2008 and have spared myself the likelyhood of getting breast cancer. I dont see myself as heroic, just a Mum who wants the best for her kids!

    Reply
  70. Tathra

    I am over people demonizing this surgery!

    Imagine this… You are 10 years old, and your nanna gets diagnosed with breastcancer (BC). She is under 60. I lost my pop to airway cancer that had metastised (different side of familyi know). I had lost an uncle to reanal cancer, closely related to my nanna, one of my aunts had passed from cancer also. Then wathcing your nanna fight the disease, though she won this fight, her cancer laster came back, this time in her uterus. This cancer was contained, onlybecause of the medication temoxifan, which clumped it togetherand prevented it from becoming invasive. Then helping nurse your nanna, look after her, love her and keep he company and positive. My nanna won that battle too.

    Skip another 6 months, then another Aunty gets diagnosed with BC, then a year later another 2, and then another one as well as an uncle diagnosedand losing fight to metasticises lung cancer. You watch them all struggle, fight, you love and support them, and some you have to say goodbye to.

    All whe while, on your dads side of the family you have an uncle that had lost the fight to bowel cancer, then your dads ONLY sister gets diagnosed with breast cancer, but this time you are inyourlate teens/ early 20’s. Lost soooo many close loved ones, not to mention your cousin that at 29 lost her 11 year battle to cancer on your mums side, along with aunts and uncles.

    Now, fromt heage of 10 you suffer gynae issues. You goto many drsand no help because of cancer risk, then have surgeries,see all alternativeand holistic medicine avenues, change diet and lifestyle, keep fitandhealthy.. nothing works. Then from 23yo you start finding lumps in your breasts. having multiple tests, overand over. Gynae issues still going, at 27 getting told you need to decide to go on an oestrogen pill and pretty much open the door to breast cancer, or have a hystorectomy by the age of 30. Still finding lumps, still having tests. Then getting told you have a suspicious lump, the stress you hadwith other lumps, was nothing comapred to this. The waiting for the hospital to get back, then more tests. Beingtold there is a significant lesion, but noone wants to operate as you are 26/27 with no kids. “what if you want to breastfeed”they say…. “What if i just want to live and be able to bea mother” i resond… Then the back and forth fight, changing doctors, not knowing your options. Then through all this, your Grandma on your dads side gets diagnosed with Terminal BC, mets in lungs and ovaries.

    Imagine waiting your turn for cancer. I am 15 months post prophylatctiv bilateral mastectomy, my histology results came back at advance stages of cellular mutation, Apochrine metaplacia, atypical ductal and lobular hyperplacia too. I was only days, weeks, or months away from a Breast cancer diagnosis.

    I am 29, single, no children still, still going through complicationspost mastectomy. But i do not regretasingle thing.

    BTW, I don’thave a known geneticmutation, but that doesntmean I don’t have one. History shows contrary.

    Reply
    • Tathra

      Oh, to that, even given my histology, are you saying that my risk wasnt’t then 100%????

      Reply
    • Tathra

      BTW, I had to FIGHT hard to have my mastectomy. You can’t just walk into a surgeon and have one done. It doesn’t work that way, contrary you yourbelieve and summarisation in your article. Surgeons always suggest alternatives, and do not perform the surgery, unless absolutely necessary!

      Reply
      • mnfadmin

        I’ll keep on saying the same thing because I’m very happy in the space of beating my drum. You had a choice and you made that based on what your genes presented with but science now tells us that our genes can be influenced.

        All factors need to be considered when we are facing cancer – I hope this post has encouraged you to understand the power of all the other factors that are key in fighting cancer. I don’t disagree with your decision as such – I just want people to understand that wellness practice must come first and alongside such surgeries.

      • Tathra

        If that was your intention, then you need some serious education in how to communicate appropriately andeffectively, how to have empathy and compassion, as you seriously lack all of these things.

        Your article is rude, inappropriate, misinformed and is akin to a jealous teenager that is lacking attention over one of the ‘popular girls’. Maybe you need to rewrite your article with the information you say inthese comments. You are grossly biased and this is dislpayed in your incorrect manipulation of statistics.

        I study real medicine, and all this post from you did was demonise people that have this surgery, provide grossly misinformed informationand comparisons as well as make meabsolutely disgusted in holistic medicine (that I am an advocate for under most circumstances). I would rather have all my not critical organs removed that to live in a bubble of dellusion and hippocricy, promoting grossy misinformed information to those whom are seeking REAL help, and then being blames for their genetics and health, because of the way they have lived life.

      • Hollie

        I was never aware that having an opinion and making suggestions made you a “jealous teenage”! Crazy!!!

        Thanks, Nat, for making us think! It’s okay to think. Surely regardless of whatever medical profession you’re in, it’s okay to think outside the box!

      • mnfadmin

        Tathra – perhaps because you are still a student you haven’t been opened up to the world of integrative medicine and I’m excited that I can help educate you further here since it is an area you will eventually meet.

        I work along side (the best) gynaecologists, specialists, surgeons and other medical professionals who 100% support what I do. In fact, some are patients. They realise the power in integrative practice.

        I’m so confident in what I know and advocate for – but I do thank you for your concern and suggestion I further educate myself. You’re so right – I’m constantly educating and learning and growing and do not claim to know it all – in fact in the grand scheme of things we all know very little.

        The way you choose to see my article be it rude or inappropriate as you have suggested is simply that – the way you choose to see it.

        I’m sad you see things as a popularity contest – I’m not even sure what to say to that.

      • Jen

        Tathra is definitely not alone if she thinks that your comments are rude and inappropriate. And it’s just that, your comments and responses to people, not just the article.

  71. Kat

    Dear Nat

    Honestly I don’t even know where to start with your article. I find it astounding that someone who is not an oncologist or familial cancer specialist can provide such advice to women. I am exactly the type of woman to whom you are referring to in your article. I had a prophylactic double mastectomy two years ago and full reconstructive surgery (which by the way I have never regretted). This is an extraordinarily complex, personal and difficult decision to make for anyone to which I had considerable support in making. It took me ten years to make my decision and ALOT, ALOT, ALOT of research. I cannot stress this point enough because it is the most important thing for people to remember when they are discussing this issue, no women I know who have made this decision have done so on a whim. I was never, ever advised by my doctors (mostly specialist familial cancer doctors) to have a double mastectomy. I was given a range of options including to just continue regular monitoring. I was then supported in whatever decision I made. I am a well educated, reasonably smart, articulate woman and it infuriates me beyond words when people assume that women are pushed into a decision such as this without any of their own research and a long considered process. I had my breasts removed – if I’d had my tonsils removed (which as far as I’m aware tonsilitis is generally not life threatening) no-one would give a rats – it wouldn’t rate so much as a mention. But my breasts – ahhhhhhh – now that’s a different story. Why is it anyone else’s business what I do with my breasts? Your recommendation that developing and surviving cancer is all about lifestyle and ‘mindset’ is beyond ridiculous, it’s downright dangerous. I completely agree that both these elements are incredibly important in prevention and survival, however to suggest women shouldn’t consider other preventative options which are supported by people who are specialists in this field is outrageous. You talk about the impact of positive mindset and surviving cancer, I completely agree it’s an important factor however, my mother was 35 when she developed breast cancer and she fought like a heavyweight boxing champion through secondaries and multiple health problems for 17 years until eventually at 52 cancer finally won. To suggest for a second that if she had fought harder or had a more of a positive mindset is beyond insulting. My point is this, you are reducing a ridiculously complex issue into a 500 word opinion piece. When you have watched the amazing women in your life struggle and fight and eventually sat with them and held their hand as they die and then been told you have the potential for the same fate and then done ten years worth of research, consulted with endless experts, been through endless counselling and then made the decision to take your life in hands and be proactive – then you might have some authority to speak on this subject.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      I’m so delighted that you took the time to read my piece. You know that all the factors that you’ve raised are just snippets of what you choose to see from my message. There’s a lot of other stuff mentioned in there! I’m a natural fertility specialist – I’ve never once claimed to be anything else. But with this knowledge I see the opposite side of the coin (for fertility – not cancer) where modern medicine only considers part of a much bigger picture and success relies in much more than one factor.

      Please don’t feel you have to explain your choices. I’m not asking you to. I never for one minute judged anybody (even though people have chosen to see otherwise – and that’s their view but certainly not my intention), I never for one minute suggested you shouldn’t have a mastectomy. I did however suggest that surgery is just one part of a whole swag of factors – many of which are as important if not more important in the grand scheme of things.

      I don’t believe I’m giving that is harmful. Changing your diet, lifestyle, environment, mindset, attitude causing anybody harm as a first point of call before any drastic measures are taken. In fact it is key and will never do anybody any harm.

      I’m not a fan of any part of the body being removed – even the tonsils.

      I’ve watched people die from cancer and I understand your pain.

      Reply
      • Kat

        Dear Nat

        thank you for your reply. My biggest concern in the broader debate that is going on at the moment is that it is an informed debate and making statements such as (and I quote) “I was so sad hearing this women (and many others stories) because we are being scared into believing our only option is breast removal” does not on any level encourage informed debate. You are simply forming an opinion on what you think is happening to women who make this decision. I would really like to know how many women you spoke to who have undergone this procedure before you wrote this article? I know many women who have had this procedure and I know for a fact that none of them were scared into doing it because they thought it was their only option. Everyone I know did considerable amounts of research, talking and deliberation with the help of medical professionals who are experts in their field. I’m more than happy to talk about my decision and how I came to make it, what frustrates me is people such as yourself making those assumptions without so much as researching and testing your opinion with the actual women who have made these decisions. People obviously read your blog and take your advice on board, I just think you owe them both sides of the story.

      • Kylie

        Out of curiosity, what about the appendix? Would you rather wait for it to burst and then die?

      • Kylie

        Apologies Kat – that was meant in reply to Nat’s comment above yours.

      • mnfadmin

        To reiterate – I’m not a fan. I didn’t say I wouldn’t ever do it depending on the circumstances. I’d absolutely try to fix things first.

      • Lee

        I quote your previous comment Nat ‘I treat cancer’. I think that is indeed you claiming to have some authority on the subject. Please stop Denying this.

      • mnfadmin

        Thanks for pointing that out so I can clear this up with others in case they may too be confused. I treat cancer but I don’t claim to be a specialist in it. I am however a fertility specialist and claim that fully. I’d so appreciate and invite you to take a look around at who I am and what I do – and to carefully read the post too so that there isn’t any confusion.

      • A.F

        The term “doctor” is not protected in Australia, so yes, you can legally call yourself a doctor of Chinese medicine (hopefully you have considered the ethical implications of this). I would, however, exercise caution in claiming to be a “specialist” as the Medical Board of Australia may take issue with this claim.

  72. Lisa Tristram

    Wow Nat thank you for such a brave and inspirational take on the situation we ALL currently face with Cancer and the treatment and perception of disease. I for one found it interesting and enlightening. You are clearly committed to helping other and being of service and it shows.

    I would like to say that when people are clearly AGRO as many people on this particular post have been, I don’t necessarily think its about you because if they had taken the time to read your post and also heed your powerful request to respond openly, lovingly and compassionately then possibly would not be feeling the need for the emotional outpouring seemingly aimed at you and your opnions. I did not feel you were judging people with cancer and their decisions but certainly aiming at giving an alternative perspective in a loving and astute way which you are as entitled to do as anyone else. It’s really easy for these people to aim their suppressed shit at you its an easy way out and I don’t judge that because that WAS me when the shit hit the fan.

    3 years ago I lost my darling Mum to lung cancer, it was absolutely the worst time of my life and after a major break up and losing out massively financially I then had to make the heart rending choice to leave my job ( which I loved  I am an Aromatherapist and Holistic practitioner and I was training all over Australia it was awesome!) and my life and go over to ENGLAND to look after her – I did my first trip for one month to sit with her through her initial treatments and then again a few months later the ultimate choice to go for 6 mths. I had NO pay, NO welfare or support of ANY kind and after 6 mths of fighting hard to get carers allowance I had it approved the day she died and got nothing. I felt overwhelmed by my choice because all I wanted was for my MUM to feel loved, cared for, looked after and like she HAD A CHOICE. I sat with her through her chemo even though I disagreed with it and told her she had a choice the doctors never made her feel like she did. Finally when I went back to look after her full time she cried and told me the doctors had given up on her and essentially they had. When they proved their own statistics of their toxic medicines and she was so sick and her immunity so low and at 45kg and unable to eat or move they RELEASED HER FROM HOSPTIAL for me to take care of her. I was ANGRY as all HELL but empowered and determined. I put her on supplements and herbs, and Juices and healthy food and removed ALL sugar from her diet except a couple of fruits occasionally. I seriously KNOW what it feels like when you hear something and the feeling you get is one of RESPONSIBILITY and you turn that somehow in your head into BLAME and this is what many of the negative comments on here sound like to me – they feel that by taking responsibility for their health they are also somehow taking blame. I tried so hard to explain the difference to my MUM and when we did our meditations and guided visualisation I often used different metaphors to allow her to see the difference and so she would NOT blame herself for her disease which is pointless and wasteful of energy ( and also I would like to vehemently point out – Nat is NOT saying BLAME yourself ).

    I understand how it feels when you are so angry and feel so helpless about what has happened to you or someone you love that you lash out at those that seem to be in the firing line. I have screamed at doctors, lashed out at nurses and scoffed at dietitians. I am not proud of it and I take responsibility for it and I know that the LOVE and the need I had to see an outcome and a result for my mum really got in the way sometimes of me being able to communicate with these people especially when they have little time to speak to you, throw around stats and numbers ( which is INFURIATING!!!!BTW) , and seem to ignore the things that are important to you. It works both ways I understand this now.

    The fact of the matter is people place a LOT of emphasis on MEDICAL DEGREES and its clearly not always the best or the only way. My mum’s oncologist did NOT have the answers, in fact when mum was released and I started the holistic and nutrition regimen I mentioned earlier he asked me what I was doing because she got better! And all the antiobiotics and drugs in the world were doing nothing! When I eventually found a therapy called PDT that could potentially help and we got mum lined up for that and I realised it was in the next section of the hospital to the Oncology and HE DIDN”T KNOW ABOUT IT!!!! He apologised but it was TOO LATE she could not have that option any more. Doctors don’t know everything, medical degrees don’t give you the answers and oncologists can’t always help people with cancer.

    Eventually my mum died and it was awful to watch her die, mostly of known sideffects of chemo such as life threatening blood clots, and it was frustrating and saddening to think of things like, What if we had known soone., what if she had the pdt, what if she didn;t have the chemo etc etc. And it has taken me a long time to make peace with the fact that with all the staying up every night studying supplements and therapies and nutrition in the world I couldn’t save her ( maybe I still have some way to go there).

    Here is what I do realise from my experience ( and others I am not just using this example ), we have an epidemic in our society, we have labelled it cancer, we don’t have all the answers about how to deal with it, but we must realise if we are to progress at all as a human race that when you are dealing with something like this there is MORE going on than just the physical or just the mental or even just the spiritual and emotional. ( For more on this I highly reccoemend reading Anita Moorjani’s story Dying to be me). WE CLEARLY do not have all the answers in physical causes otherwise everyone that lived a certain way would die of a particular disease e.g some say Mum had lung cancer because she smoked – she didn’t smoke a lot and gave up a good 20 years before she got lung cancer however my dad is 72 and has smoked massively all his life and doesn;t have cancer???, other people say it is because she was overweight ? she didn’t look overweight by an means so again who knows. I had a long conversation with her about the fact that she had carried a terrible grief around with her all her life regarding her daughters from her first marriage so was it that that caused the cancer in her lungs ( the grief zone according to chinese medicine). Again we did a lot of work around that and she definitely felt that it was a part of it. We can statisticize ( is that even a word!!) or generalise or analyse all we want and what I believe that Nat and Jess and many others in the more holistic line of health are saying is that the answers are to be found far more in the way of looking at yourself ( not blaming) and perceiving how YOU deal with things, how YOU think and how you ARE and that will involve many different aspects not just physical and not just emotional and not just spiritual.

    There is so much more power in having powerful creative conversations with one another than discounting certain things and I DON”T discount the NEWER more pharmaceutical methods however it is SOOOOOOOOOO important to remember these COMPANIEs ( YES BUSINESSES with COSTS and Profit margins and TARGETS etc) are invested in their own solutions. And I do believe if we can have MORE collaboration and more awareness then we also create more possibility of drilling down into the core of what is really happening rather than pushing away one method or one way or another. YES it is true some will use nutrition and succeed, some will use chemo and get well others will think positive and affirm wellness. I WISH someone in that hospital had been willing to have a conversation with me about what I was doing. I WISH someone had been collaborating so we could have had the PDT for my mum sooner. I WISH my mum had felt empowered in the conversation s she was having with her doctor in the 12 mths leading up to her diagnosis. I WISH people on this planet were more loving and respectful of one another and helped one another more. I WISH I had had more money more help more everything ( btw my family were amazing they really supported me so no blame there! Only love xxx). But mostly just more communication.

    I have so much more to share and will be writing on my blog. I have used many different therapies and have helped many people not just my mum who was always so grateful for all I did ( she particularly loved veggie juices!!!) and I am happy to share that but this is not the forum. What I really came here to say is thank you Nat for writing this blog, this is truly brave. And whilst Angelina maybe brave in some way for cutting off her breasts for what she believes is right I don’t think that is what will save women. What WILL save women is having people like you Nat and like Jess who are brave enough to step outside the comfort zone, dare to be different even when they are mocked or ridiculed for their path or ideas, courageous enough to take the heat in order to make the changes, be willing to put their hearts out there so others may benefit. YOU are the people that will make a difference in this world. YOU are the people I wish I had had around me 3 years ago and you are the people that will continue to keep on inspiring me to make a difference even on the days when it feels like I can’t go on or like everyone has something to say about the path I have chosen. I love people like you. People who are BRAVE. xxxxx

    Reply
  73. Aurora

    “Chopping off her boobs?” How very scientific of you. Not. It’s that kind of language that undermines the very serious decision that is a mastectomy, douple mastectomy or lumpectomy. While as a preventative measure it is drastic, after watching your mother be diagnosed, and die of cancer I have no trouble understanding why Angelina would undergo this surgery. If we look at how cancer destroys lives and families it is the lesser of two evils. Not only this but Jolie is a sex symbol. And that is why this has been such an important event in breast cancer awareness around the world. Women are not their breasts. They are not their level of sexual desirability to those around them. They are humans that have a risk of falling ill with a very serious disease and for this reason they make a desicision to remove a part of their flesh. She had that option available to her. She knew that she could survive it. And she knew that the alternative risk for her was not worth living with. So if you are “not here to jedge” next time do not put a “but” on the end of that sentence.

    Reply
  74. Lisa Tristram

    Oh My god with some of the comments on here its good job I know better than to take it all personally and literally otherwise I might be looking to have my Lungs taken out !!!! don’t think they have silicon lungs yet though……. hmmm I am sure these people would have lots of suggestions for me though……

    Reply
  75. David

    Whilst I believe that there is a place for both western and alternative treatments, this article makes so much sense. To that idiot who called you a bitch, he no doubt represents the narrow minded, and would be the one who would take any drug because a doctor would tell him to do so! I know so many of your patients who have achieved outstanding results not achieved via western medicine, so don’t allow fools like that one to worry you. Just allow your results and patients to speak for itself. On another matter its interesting how today a drug company in the US has released a new medication in relation to what you are talking about. Interesting timing and publicity? D. Angrove.

    Reply
  76. Alicia

    I think this chick your nuts. daily I take care of amazing women who have ovarian or breast cancer. If there was a way to prevent or decrease the chance of me seeing anymore patients suffer from these types of cancers would be amazing even if this means to get a mastectomy. Daily I see mothers, fathers, partners, daughters and sons sit at the bedside of their loved ones and see what breast and ovarian cancer can do to a body. Edema in the legs, DVTs, ascites in the abdomen, pain, bowel obstructions and more. I respect freedom of speech but a friend of mine who is in the same shoes as Angelina Jolie, had to see negative morons such as yourself write this stuff online. You should be ashamed.

    Reply
    • Lisa Tristram

      Alicia I am offended by your comments having been one of those people who sat across from Mum and watched all of those things that you mentioned. However I am not going to be offensive or rude as so many have done on this page as I believe it is not helping the situation. I know that when I LOST IT in anger because the nurses couldn’t help my mum when she was screaming in agony and pretty much I had to sit there squeezing her hand and enveloping her in love – it DID NO GOOD BEING ANGRY AT THE NURSES. it doesn’t create anything and it certainly didn’t help me and made me feel more lost and alone than ever before. Consider that before you abuse someone for having an opinion or taking a stand for what they believe. in . I wish you much love and hope that you can find a way to stay in open communication because that is truly the only way you are ever going to help people like me and like my mum who have already suffered enough from going through this terrible journey. And I believe you are being passionate because you are dedicated to helping people. So DO that and don’t waste your time fighting people who are trying to do the same thing.

      I wish you really well in your endeavours to helping people with cancer. It is much needed.

      Reply
  77. Tom

    Whilst I appreciate your point of you, most of it is flawed or your knowledge is limited.

    I’d suggest reading this post to get a science based medicine point of view. Granted he rails against Mike Adams a bit, Mike Adams deserves it

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/05/16/the-quack-view-of-preventing-breast-cancer-versus-reality-and-angelina-jolie-part-2/

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks Tom – I was about to read this article but sadly the wording in the title will prevent me from going any further – but thank you all the same I appreciate you’re trying to educate me, I just choose not read things that aren’t worth my time.

      Reply
    • Lisa Tristram

      Oh my god I went to read this and was genuinely wanted to ask a question about iC3 . the people commenting on there are literally insane. They are just mean and rude to one another . definitely not worth it . I am more interested in helping people than being right

      flawed and limited knowledge possibly but i would definitely choose actually having a heart over being supposedly smart!! shocking

      Reply
  78. Jane Scoble

    Hi

    Interesting to read what people think about the whole Angelina Jollie story. I thank Angelina for sharing her story and increasing awareness. As a breast cancer survivor and a member of a family who has a number of women who have had breast cancer, I lost my mum at an early age, I was very proactive and did a lot of research before I made any decisions. I was screened for 18 years – only due to a vigilant doctor who heard my story and insisted that I started screening straight away. In 2008 I was diagnosed with DCIS and underwent a mastectomy in one breast. It was then strongly suggested that I had the other one removed, because of the chances of catching it early was very low and missing it altogether very high. I took this route and underwent a second mastectomy. I don’t regret for one moment that I took this option. Not only did I loose my mother, but I have lost quite a number of friends to breast cancer, where it has either moved to the ovaries or it has become secondary in the bones, liver and other organs. I see too many young women die, leaving young children behind and my heart breaks. Everyone I know who has been through this type of surgery has done so after a lot of research and consultation with their specialists and families. It is not something that is ever done on a whim. In 2008, a very special lady called Krystal Barter started up a charity called Pink Hope. Pink Hope supports women who are high risk of breast and or ovarian cancer. We all carry the BRCA 1 and 2 gene, but in a small percentage, this gene is damaged and mutated – this is what causes the higher risk in these families. There are also a number of families where there are a number of family members that have all had breast or ovarian cancer, and it is well researched that they are close to finding other faulty genes that could be causing this. I suggest you take a look at http://www.pinkhope.org.au and read some of the inspiring stories written by very strong and amazing women. I would do anything to be here for my children and grand children, growing up with out my mum has affected the whole of my life, something I would not wish on anyone.

    Many thanks

    Jane

    Reply
  79. Katie - Conquering Fear Spiritually

    Absolutely love this post- thank you for having the courage to share it, Nat.

    Reply
  80. Katherine clay

    Great article! ange deeply disappointed me this week. especially as a role model. My 8 month old son also has CF. it is so good to read other mums doing great things with nature living to help their kids quality of life. We are very healthy too! Thank you for sharing xx

    Reply
  81. Jade

    Totally agree with you Nat. It’s horrifying to say the least…

    Reply
  82. Amanda

    Just a few points of clarification about epigenetic regulation of gene expression in contrast to genetically-determined diseases. First, epigenetic regulation of gene expression is defined as gene regulation (turning on or off of genes) that is not dependent on the gene sequence itself. You are absolutely correct in that environmental factors, such as diet, and lifestyle choices, such as exercise, impact our health and this can be through modification of gene expression (some through epigenetic regulation, but not always through that mechanism). However, there are instances in which the DNA sequence, which determines whether a gene is “correct” or “faulty”, supercedes any control by outside factors. In other words, a DNA mutation can result in a disease or increased risk for disease regardless of other factors. In the case of your son for instance, CF is a RECESSIVE GENETIC disease. You HAVE to have 2 copies of the mutant gene in order to get the disease and will get the disease regardless of your environment or lifestyle. If you only have 1 copy of the mutant gene, you will NOT get the disease. So you may carry that gene, but you will NEVER have the disease. Your son has two mutant copies and would have gotten one from you and one from his father. The lifestyle choices you make to prevent the complications of his disease such as infection promote his health but will never render him disease free. In the case of BRCA gene mutations, the risk associated with these genes also supercedes many if not all environmental factors. So a healthy lifestyle in these cases may have little to no impact on disease risk. Importantly, the 87% risk attributed to Angelina Jolie’s mutation is an ABSOLUTE risk, not a relative risk, meaning that 9 out of 10 women who carry this mutation WILL get cancer. Please ensure that your statements are informed and educated or you risk misleading your readers.

    I have a PhD in biochemistry and am actively researching the epigenetic and genetic susceptibility to disease.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thanks Amanda – yes you are right and I’m fully aware of this with regard to CF – I’m more so talking about how our genetic makeup still is influenced regardless if dominant or recessive (as with the case with CF carriers who have 50% less CFTR function than those who aren’t carriers but much stronger gut function).

      With regard to using my son as an example was more so for people to know two things. 1 his genetic disorder whilst serious is influenced by these factors (environment, lifestyle etc) and 2. to demonstrate that understand grief, pain and suffering from what I had to go through to get to where I am now with regard to his outlook.

      Thank you so much for sharing and brining this up though because I’m sure others would benefit from what you have to say.

      x

      Reply
    • Kristie

      On behalf of all the woman on here with the BRCA gene we thank you Amanda for providing accurate facts. Xxx

      Reply
  83. Peter Lucas

    I wrote this in response to a friend of a friend who commented that there no doubt was just course for this extreme step. Because the US medical system is a hundred years ahead of the European one. Cut and paste bellow

    Mm m. This may be controversial but needs to be said.. The US health system is a hundred years ahead in regard to commercialism.. But that is where it stops.. Angelina, as the person in the article points according to a gene test is 87% more prone than the average person to contract breast cancer.. This at a quick calculation would mean if her chances were say one in a hundred they would increase to 1.87 in a hundred. Less than double the risk . Not taking into account numerous other factors, such as environment, health, mind set, etc then also add to this, her specific reality. Indeed, if she was as well balanced and proactive as we “were” led to believe . Her risk is decreased again. In anyones estimation this is extreme, a paranoid over reaction !! It appears she has fallen into the American syndrome, of money can buy anything , including health…. Whether we, “they” recognise it or not, US pharmaceutical companies, and most surgeons, doctors, psychiatrists, etc, are more concerned with bank balances than actual genuine healing !! They are a closed system, that the general lay person such as myself can only guess at the cynical depths of the true reality.

    Reply
  84. A.F

    This article is not controversial. It is incorrect. You seem to be ignorant of the basic science regarding BRCA1 & BRCA2, actual medical policy and the emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis. You need to educate yourself on this issue before discussing it, let alone attempting to educate others. Please stop telling people they are choosing to be offended or choosing to see what you write as criticism. You have genuinely offended people. I don’t think that any of the women with BRCA gene mutations who have written here have ever thought they only have one option as you believe. This is incredibly patronising and for this, as well as many other reasons, these women deserve an apology from you. This article should never have been written as you do not have a proper understanding of the issues, and research results on the effect of individual behaviour on breast cancer development in BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers are extremely limited. You underestimate your influence as a registered health practitioner writing in a public forum. You might think it is harmless to tell people that lifestyle and mindset improvement will do the trick. If this delays people from seeking the treatment they need (prophylactic or otherwise), it is far from harmless. My mother listened to people like you and is no longer with us to agree with you. I have had the surgery she should have had and I am here, alive and healthy. That is “wellness”. This is not an emotional outburst from me, I just want people to know that this type of discussion is not harmless. I reiterate the need for you to apologise to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation carriers who have written here (I am not one of them).

    Reply
    • Nat Kringoudis

      Timely post – so thank you. I’ve got several interviews to share next week from cancer experts and scientists so I encourage you to tune in. Thanks for your input and concern I genuinely appreciate it x

      Reply
    • Carrie

      A.F. = absolutely foolish!!!

      If your comment is not an emotional outburst… than perhaps you need to go and do some research on what it means to have an emotional outburst! We live in a world where people are ENTITLED to have an opinion, and educate others based on their university degree, study, research, and profession. Just because YOU don’t agree with attempting other forms of treatment before surgery, doesn’t mean that others have to. No apology needed, Nat! A.F. – your definition of wellness is yours, and Nat’s definition is hers! That is okay – she doesn’t need to apologise for that. STOP taking offence, read the article for what it is – an opportunity to discuss this topic and consider other options available. If you considered all options prior to your surgery, great! This should mean you have no need to take offence and MOVE ON! You have done what is right for YOU – it doesn’t have to be that way for EVERYONE. We are not cardboard copies of each other. THANK GOD!

      Reply
      • A.F

        Carrie, I agree entirely with most of what you have written. I am not asking Nat to apologise for her definition of wellness. I am asking that she apologise to BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutated gene carriers who have been upset by what she has written.

        In regards to being entitled to having an opinion, yes, we all are entitled to our own opinions in our personal lives. When you are a registered health professional using social media to express an opinion, it must be well informed and substantiated with evidence. This is because people might reasonably think that this is given as health advice by someone with relevant qualifications. A more appropriate article would outline the facts correctly, then perhaps go on to discuss the latest research on the effect of individual lifestyle factors on breast cancer development in BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation carriers. In its present state, the article and comments, with misinformation, offensive rebuttals and “specialist” claims are notifiable to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. If I was the author, I would write a retraction at least outlining the errors that have been made.

      • Nat Kringoudis

        AF I stand by what I say here. My intention want to offend or judge – i can only say sorry if you have taken it that way. However i cant change the way people choose to view what I’ve

        written. I’m currently compiling interviews to support what I say by highly trained professionals, specialists and scientists. Nothing is absolute – western or eastern medicine. What remains true is that lifestyle, diet, emotional health etc set ALL up for the best chance of thriving.

      • Carrie

        A.F. – you and the other gene carriers need to read the article and responses AGAIN and AGAIN if that’s what it takes, and realise that no where does Nat say you have all made the wrong decision by having the surgery… It is saying to those who haven’t faced this yet, what would you do? Would you consider a different approach. So I think you need to be clear about what you want an apology for??? I have read no offensive comments from Nat. Those taking offence, including yourself are absolutely CHOOSING to do so.

        So what is it you want… an apology for you, for others, or a retraction?? Make up your mind! How about you just read the article again, and remove your judgemental lenses, and see it for what it is… a healthy discussion on women’s health.

        PS I’ll find you some articles from some unqualified people if you really want some! No where does Nat say she is a cancer specialist… Get off your Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency high horse and open your eyes! BIG WORDS for a… not sure what your qualification is!!!!!!!

      • A.F

        Hi Carrie, I did say in the first comment that I am not a BRCA gene mutation carrier. I’m sorry if I did not make that clear enough. My surgery was for an unrelated issue and I included my personal story to illustrate the importance of considering all options. I’m not entirely sure that my qualifications are relevant here, but if you are interested I am a qualified naturopath. I have two Bachelor degrees and am currently completing a Masters, all in health.

      • Carrie

        A.F. I find it hard to understand how someone in your profession can take such offence to this… I am a big lover of naturopaths, but obviously many aren’t, and would also consider them unqualified when it comes to medical advice/treatment. I think very differently to that! It’s a shame professionals can’t work together, encourage where encouragement is needed, and provide constructive feedback where necessary. Again, I stress, Nat HAS NOT told anyone you should not consider surgery as an option. Her relevant qualification and experience has lead her to encourage people to explore/consider other options. Where is the danger in making such a statement? You own your qualification/s, Nat owns hers – work together, not against! OVER AND OUT!

      • Emily

        Carrie, whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion, when someone presents themselves as a health professional they have an obligation to present accurate facts and make very clear distinctions between what is proven, what they believe and what evidence they used to come to these conclusions. Again, they are EXPECTED to produce evidence to back up their opinions and claims. This is the case regardless of the health field in which the person practises. This is to ensure that patients/advisees are fully informed before making a choice based on the info presented. If you inaccurately present information you risk a malpractice claim (and potentially risk lives in the case of cancer) It’s the same for anyone who is in Nat’s position in the medical fraternity. A lay man can say whatever he wants because he is not in a position of power.. Nat and other professionals are bound by professional ethical codes which insist their claims have an evidence base. This is a way of protecting information and ensuring it is objective and NOT emotional. Whilst I agree everyone is entitled to an opinion, health professionals need to be much more careful than others because of the power they hold with patients who trust them and come to them for advice. This is not an argument about emotion, it is an argument about being professionally accountable for what you say when you are a reresentative of the health profession. The information presented can have significant and serious flow on effects and that is why health professionals are legally accountable for the information they present. People in the health arena, all of them, need to expect to be held accountable for what they advise us to do and everything they say. It’s that which protects us as their clients and ensures we do get the best individualised health support whatever our circumstances may be.

        I am looking forward to hearing more of the evidence as Nat speaks to specialists in the area over the coming weeks.

      • Sam

        If you are reading a blog to decide which course of treatment you are going to take… then you need help! I don’t know a single person that would do that. This is a blog. Settle down, Emily!

        I too am looking forward to seeing and hearing more about this.

      • Emily

        Hi Sam,

        In Nat’s words:

        “I’m forever sharing information here to help people gain a better understanding and make informed decisions.”

        Blog or not, it is important when putting something in print for the world to see that you get your facts straight. The internet is widely viewed and subject to as much scrutiny (and sometimes more) as any other forum in which information is presented. Though you and I may not make decisions based on the info we read in a blog, many people do take into account the information they find on the internet when weighing up a range of crucial decisions in their life. Nat has clearly stated she writes her blogs for this very reason.

      • mnfadmin

        And I stand by my words – I write information to open peoples minds to the alternatives. The information on here with regards to cancer is just the tip of the iceberg – I actually haven’t given any solid advice on specifics and I encourage people to look further into how to put all of this into practice. Fertility on the other hand is a different ball game for me. But, by way of example, simply suggesting environment is a factor, is just a statement. How and why is a topic I leave for somebody to personally explore. As far as I’m concerned, to create and stir up so much activity on my page as I have, my objectives are being achieved. I’m challenging people – and hey that’s ok because that’s what I’m aiming to do. If people find this information confronting, challenging, judgemental, ridiculous or whatever – I’m achieving what I set out to do. To create discussion, to open peoples minds to new possibilities and to demonstrate there are so many factors in illness that to simply address one most likely won’t do the job long term. To truly believe that there is only one way to treat illness, far as I’m concerned is being naive. I believe we must all open our eyes wide if we want to win this war on cancer and other diseases.

  85. Autismum

    We are not “made up of genes”. Genes code for proteins which are constituents of our bodies among with many other chemicals. Your ignorance of basic biochemistry is matched only by your ableism.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      You’re totally correct and I’m most aware of this – that said, the majority of my readers aren’t biochemists. But thank you for your input.

      Reply
  86. Lisa

    Actually, by your definition she has an even higher chance of developing cancer because no one on the planet has a 0% chance until they are dead. Her chances of getting breast cancer were really really high. She did the right thing. And besides, it’s not your body, not your choice.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thank you Lisa – I invite you to go back and read the post again. You’ll find that I never said she shouldn’t go ahead with the procedure, nor did I claim Angelina’s body was mine or say her choice was wrong. I was simply creating a discussion of all the other factors that need to be considered.

      We’ll have to disagree – I’ve done the math on this. Her chances were in fact considerably low all things considered.

      I’d be delighted if you tuned in for future posts – I’m asking scientists, experts and doctors to comment further on this – I do think you’ll thoroughly enjoy broadening your knowledge to help make greatly informed decisions.

      Reply
  87. William

    I am so sick of unqualified bloggers giving health advice. The hccc has been given increased powers in new south Wales and hopefully this will spread nation wide that if the words or actions of anyone in a public forum lead to harm, ie giving out bs health advice then the hccc can prosecute. About time I say.

    You are not qualified to give advice on cancer and your words are harmfull. I find it interesting that you have admitted to treating cancer patients – care to elaborate ? Can you state categorically that someone choosing to see an oncologist is a bad thing?

    Your article offended a lot of people because it was a cavalier, childish and ignorant piece. It dismissed what is for many women a heart wrenching and brave decision as being a fear based decision. The phrase chopping off your boobs reveals a lot about you and your lack of empathy.

    Your thankful replies when you are criticised seem like egocentric gestures in self aggrandisement, an opportunity for you to show off how “spiritual and open minded” you are. I can just imagine how smug you feel writing them.

    Show some humility and accept that

    You are not an expert in cancer

    You should not be commenting on medical issues you have no qualification in

    Your words have consequences, in fact your advice may cost lives.

    Finally I have no interest in your reply to me. I see you only as a nuisance to public health and could care less about your response to me.

    You do however owe a genuine apology to many people for this disgusting blog post.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Thank you William for your input and opinion. I have to say – if you have read the all the replies I have made you would have indeed learnt that I at no point have claimed to be an expert in cancer. That said, I have treated cancer in my clinic and continue to do so. This is anything I have to ‘admit’ or ‘accept,’ this is just the simple truth. I am a health practitioner and with that I have an obligation to treat patients in my clinic that choose to come for my expertise. Please know, I am a qualified health professional with 3 separate degrees in health science, biosciences and, herbal and chinese medicine. I am more than qualified to offer health advice – but thank you for your concern. I can see why, perhaps on the surface, it may appear otherwise but I’m happy to be able to put your mind at rest because you are right, it isn’t ideal people seeking advice solely off the internet. My intention was to simply demonstrate that a mastectomy alone may not be enough and there are many other factors that must be considered with cancer. There is much science behind this and I invite you to stay tuned in the next few weeks as I bring interviews from scientists, specialists and doctors to help support this. I work along side these people who have the utmost respect for what I do, so whilst I feel your words are an attempt to attack, I am strong in the information and work I do. William what is more you do not know me – and to assume I am a nuisance to the public health system demonstrates total disregard for who I am and what I do. Perhaps take a look around my blog and see it for the resource that it is. We don’t have to agree – but I ask respect with replies on here. If you had read the entire post you would have see this point.

      I can’t be responsible for how you choose to read my post – but I do invite you to go back and re-read it. I hope you will see my intention was good.

      The advice given here isn’t life threatening. In fact, I haven’t actually made any suggestions to specifics – I’ve very simply indicated that diet, lifestyle, emotional health, environment all play a role. There is no specific advice in this, people need to further explore these ideas to be able to put it into practice.

      The tone of this reply saddens me – I’m so proud of my work and the level of input I put back into the community, I don’t expect anything back. If you choose to see my replies as criticism, that’s simply your choice.

      Reply
  88. Teri

    Wow…just…wow. I don’t think I’ve seen such a consolidated effort to blame a victim since Steubenville. I can’t decide which is lower, telling someone who’s dying of cancer that it’s their fault because they didn’t think enough happy thoughts, or telling a rape survivor it’s her fault because she didn’t think the right thoughts. I’ve found that anyone who cites epigenics as a reason for pushing their ideology on vulnerable people is just using the term as a cover for their disgusting victim-blaming.

    Do you honestly think someone as wealthy, thin, and famous as Angelina Jolie doesn’t have people armed with the best food knowledge in the world minding every calorie she eats? She doesn’t have a body like that by vegging on the couch eating doughnuts all day. Trust me, this woman eats better than all of us. It won’t change her genes.

    I find this article utterly disgusting, both in your lack of truth and your lack of compassion. I’ve been treated by others who practice Chinese medicine, and you are an embarrassment to everyone who has ever been treated by a practitioner of Chinese medicine.

    Reply
    • Jo

      What planet are you on Terry?

      Where did the writer of this blog say that people are getting cancer because they don’t have enough happy thoughts??? And for those suffering with cancer to blame themselves? You have read a lot into this. AND REALLY, an analogy to rape victims??? All I read is a suggestion to explore!!! Think! No where does it say you shouldn’t have the surgery?!?!

      I find it very hard to believe you’ve ever explored any alternative form of treatment with the horrible comments and suggestions you just made.

      You are an embarrassment to the human race!

      Reply
  89. Leah

    I posted this on Facebook also: I understand the need for your blog posts to remain relevant, but jumping on the Jolie judgement train with idiotic analogies to blindness and comments from your BUSINESS MENTOR (Life coach? Let’s not even go there) is just irresponsible and self indulgent beyond belief. You are not privy to the heartbreak, loss, and complexities that abound a woman’s decision to undergo this procedure. Your suggestion that women are lining up for it, as a knee jerk first response is again irresponsible, ill-informed and plain offensive. I understand you haven’t meant to be offensive, but you asked if we’d LOVE to hear our thoughts and we’ve given them to you.

    Reply
  90. belle

    “Ha. Amy, I suspect if you ever develop a truly serious illness or such as cancer, you’ll be straight off to an actual doctor to get treatment, and you won’t be relying on this new-agey rubbish. Or if not, you’ll suddenly find that all these “herbal remedies” aren’t so effective and “magical” anymore”

    ha, the level of fear or rather sheltered perspective within that post is amazing. herbal remedies and “new agey rubbish” is healing me from what is now stage two malignant brain cancer. open your heart and mind to new information, and for that you will grow, and possibly help others heal one day.

    Reply
  91. John

    Without proof claims such as yours are completely worthless. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      thanks for your input John – tune in for tomorrows post, I think you’ll like it.

      Reply
      • Just a query

        Hi Nat,

        I frequently view your blog and do have an affection for natural health. Some of the content in your blog is useful I believe. However, your stats and interpretations are indeed very flawed. Can I ask what your formal qualifications are? You mentioned you had three degrees, however these are not listed anywhere on your website or blog. Do you have a formal doctorate? I would expect a bio-scientist and health science expert to be better acquainted with the content?? I do not mean to be offensive, just interested with what institutions are teaching nowadays. Are you registered with a regulating body? Also, I have to agree that some of your apologies are a little back-handed.

        Best wishes.

      • mnfadmin

        Thanks for your honest query ‘Just a query.’
        I am a Dr of Chinese Medicine & Acupuncturist all studied at a tertiary level. You can view all this in my bio which is clearly shown in the right hand sidebar.

        For all those interested, you might like to dial into this Q & A session with Dr Sherrill Sellman this Saturday morning and ask her your questions about breast cancer. She’s a hormone expert and very well researched in the area.

        Here’s the link-> http://melbournenaturalfertility.com.au/2013/05/busting-through-the-breast-cancer-gene-myths-a-podcast-with-dr-sherrill-sellman-and-how-you-can-ask-her-questions-today/

  92. Jen Darcy

    We still do not understand cancer, and I think this post is misleading and irresponsible. Sure, we have a few correlations but it’s not as simple as that. It’s complex. Environment affects genes, their expression and DNA, yes. But you cannot say that if you lead a healthy life, eat right and exercise a little, you won’t get cancer!

    Reply
    • Nat Kringoudis

      http://ds1.downloadtech.net/cn1086/audio/19147298961039-001.mp3

      Here’s my interview with Sherrill from today

      Reply
      • bob

        Sherrill is NOT a cancer expert she is a naturopath, ANYONE can call themselves a naturopath. In fact the title DR is also unprotected as you prove.

        This is the problem with advocates of holistic natural bs you pick and choose what ever sounds good and confirms your prior beliefs. I think I will take advice from oncologists from the medical community and from scientists before a naturopath on a biased blog.

      • mnfadmin

        Thank you bob! Guess what – I’m so delighted to be able to share with you next week Dr Bruce Lipton – he is the man with the goods you will not want to miss. He is the scientist behind much of what I say and has the evidence based on studies that we can indeed confirm epigenetics. I encourage you to keep an open mind – you’re so right not one person can have all the answers but my experience tells me there are so many excellent ways of treatment for a variety of issues. Stay tuned and thanks so much for your input.

    • mnfadmin

      Totally Jen – thats exactly what we’re saying. There are just so many factors but breast tissue removal doesn’t change your genetic disposition either.

      Reply
  93. Larzi

    Thankyou so much for this, your response was so much like mine, and I’m so glad you are speaking out. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 26. My mum has always said that cancer is a lifestyle disease and we have to breed the right conditions for it to exist. She has a science degree and worked in laboratories. She always taught us that we should not be afraid of Cancer, but instead be empowered by it, to change our health and our lifestyle. If we have bred it in our body, we can ‘unbreed’ it so to speak. So when I was given 6months to live, she said to me ‘lets fill your body with so many nutrients that the cancer dies from an overdose.’ I formulated a wellness plan, detoxed, juices (I researched which fruit and vegetables were attackers and which were healers), , exercise, organic food, hydrotherapy, and a bunch of other things. I lost a lot of friends who believed that because I wasn’t getting my uterus removed, I was condemning myself to die because ‘I wasn’t do anything to treat the cancer’. I looked and felt amazing and the cancer was gone in 4 months. With no recurrences, 8 years later im doing great and now I get to have my first child. . A friend died recently from cancer. I was devastated, main,y because she wouldn’t listen. She had a double mastectomy. And she died from breast cancer (in her non-existent breasts!) there was no history in her family at all. Her two children are motherless, and her husband is beyond devastated. They put their faith in the medical system. And it breaks my heart, so many people needlessly dying when they could have made lifestyle changes, to significantly change their outcome. They didn’t need to live with fear and sickness every day, but could have been empower to get healthy and be happy. It’s like a silent war, in my opinion, and people are being backed up against the wall when they could have tried several doors.

    Reply
  94. JomsterMcMonster

    i wonder if this revelation of sorts will cause insurance companies to charge higher premiums for women who have this gene.

    Reply