Why Testing is an Important Part of Prevention
The American Cancer Society defines a complete remission as a “treatment getting rid of all tumor cells that can be measured or seen on a test.” Partial remission is a reduction in the tumor of at least 50%.
The reality – microscopic cancer cells may still exist while not clumped together enough to be seen on a scan.
There are many factors involved in estimating the recurrence rate of breast cancer. I have found that the percentages are all over the map. However, I don’t think they are helpful in many ways. According to John Hopkins, it is never zero. This highest risk is in the first two years following treatment, and the risk will reduce as time passes.
The link below summarizes the type of recurrent breast cancer and associated symptoms. But remember, not all symptoms lead to cancer; it’s always good to see your physician for clarification.
The following list of tests is for educational purposes only. I do not endorse one over the other because each person has a unique case profile. I recommend that you discuss options with your primary care physician or oncologist. The tests most used are highlighted in yellow.
A PET Scan is not early detection because a tumor needs to be large enough to absorb the radioactive glucose. Small tumors under 1cm may not show up on the scan.
CT Scans are less detailed than PET scans with a downside, but sometimes they are necessary. The amount of radiation in one CT scan is generally equivalent to 200 chest x-rays. Most concerning is the amount of radiation exposure that may increase the risk of many cancers. Radiation exposure damages the DNA in the nucleus inside the cell, which is an invitation for cancer cells to grow. Specific protocols with herbs and supplements can help detox from radiation exposure.
Tumor Markers measure proteins made by cancer or normal cells. Markers are at much higher levels in active cancerous conditions. Tumor markers are generally not used to diagnose cancer or screen people at low risk. Tumor markers can indicate metastasized cancer, whether a treatment is working, or if cancer has returned after treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, monitoring tumor markers is the standard of care at follow-up appointments. A PET scan may be necessary if there is an increase from the baseline marker. It is essential to know your baseline because it’s unique to each person. The markers associated with breast cancer are CA 15-3, CA 27.29, CA125, CA549, CA M26, MCA, PSA and CEA.
According to Jenny Hrbacek, RN author of “Cancer Free! Are You Sure”:
“Anti-malignin antibody in serum (AMAS) test is used for early cancer detection and follow-up. It measures elevations in the anti-malignin antibody, which rises early in the development of malignant cell growth. The test does not indicate where the cancer is located and is a less accurate late-stage disease.
The AMAS test can also be used with non-cancer patients to take a preventive look at the amount of anti-malignin in the blood. While this may not be an indicator of cancer, it can improve immune function, better attack cancer cells, and bring the number down.
The AMAS test is shown to be 95% accurate and can show elevations two years before clinical detection. The test kit is $249.00 and requires a Physician’s signature. More information is available at oncolabinc.com.
Biocept Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Count can take the place of a tissue biopsy procedure. Cancer that spreads or metastasizes sheds cells and DNA fragments into the blood. This test measures early detection of relapse, new cancer, and treatment monitoring. The advantage of this test is NO exposure to tissue biopsy, PET, or CT scans. This test is only effective in the presence of a solid tumor.
A Physician must order the test. The cost is $625, and most health plans will cover Biocept. More information is available at www.Biocept.com.
CA Profile is early screening for cancer and consists of seven tests:
- HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
- PHI (Phosphohexose)
- CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen)
- GGTP (Gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase)
- TSH (Thyroid stimulation hormone)
- DHEA-S (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
The CA Profile reports 89%-97% of confirmed positive results in diagnosed cancer cases. The test fee is $498, and insurance claims are all out of network. A Physician must write the prescription. For more information, contact www.americanmetaboliclaboratories.com.”
Thermography is the use of an infrared camera to detect temperature differences within the breast tissue. The camera never touches your body. The image shows red hot spots where tissue has a higher-than-average temperature. It indicates an unusual development in the breasts that may or may not be cancer. A functional medicine practitioner and a medical doctor should further assess abnormalities. Chronic inflammation or infection can make the immune system less effective against cancer and reduce metabolic health. These conditions can go on for years before finally transitioning into cancer.
A mammogram is an x-ray that uses a small amount of radiation. It can take up to 8 years of cancer cell development (a single cancer cell dividing into more cancer cells) to show up on a mammogram, and mammograms can miss up to 20% of breast cancers.
New Over-the-counter Marker Testing is a new test available to anyone who desires to test cancer markers.
Healing begins at remission; cancer is a symptom of physiological imbalances that become a multi-faceted disease.
Everyone has cancer cells that are successfully eliminated from the body every day. Underlying chronic conditions such as inflammation, metabolic challenges, insulin resistance, estrogen dominance, chronic stress, overgrowth of pathogens, and toxin overload can create an environment where cancer cells thrive. These imbalances need to be corrected to develop resilience to cancer. Maintaining a robust immune system, managing stress levels, clean nutrition, and in-range functional test results can help keep cancer in your rearview mirror.
To your health,
Doctor of Natural Medicine and Holistic Cancer Coach
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. As a Board-Certified Doctor of Natural Medicine, I do not diagnose or treat disease, an area well attended by licensed physicians. Instead, I identify healing opportunities within the body. Once identified, function and health may be restored by correcting the underlying causes and conditions of health challenges. Rebalancing the body’s systems can be a proven stabilizer adjunctive to medical protocols. Everyone is an individual, and not all recommendations may be appropriate. Exercising due diligence and consulting your physician before engaging in alternative concepts or protocols is recommended.