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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Inflammation and Breast Health: Little Known Facts Beyond the Self-Exam

Feb 28, 2020 09:30AM ● By Kelly Kolodzinski
The human body is an amazing machine—the most impressive bio-computer known to man. It is built to be healthy and vibrant. But, unfortunately, not all of us feel as though we can celebrate such health.

Many times, we get messages from our bodies—little signals that tell us something is wrong, and we ignore them or label them as normal, making excuses such as “I didn’t sleep well” or “I’m getting older”. Though it may seem that these signals are common, they are far from what should be considered normal.

Understanding Inflammation

When we don’t care for our bodily systems, we suffer from inflammation—our body’s defense mechanism for everything it is exposed to. Acute inflammation is a healthy response, such as when we need to heal from a cut, bruise or fall. Chronic inflammation is an unhealthy response, such as when we have constant and increasing aches, pains and issues in our body. In a 2006 Harvard Health Letter by the Harvard Medical School, the author states, “Research is showing that chronic inflammation may be the common factor in many diseases.” Lifestyle choices—such as a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and stress—can contribute to chronic inflammation.

According to the National Institute of Health, the authors of a 2009 Journal of Clinical Oncology article “present some of the most persuasive evidence yet that chronic inflammation might increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence.” The website, created by M.D.s, contains an article stating that “Biomedical engineers from Cornell University believe certain protein molecules (i.e., cytokines) and inflammation can cause breast cancer to metastasize.”

Inflammation and Breast Cancer

National Cancer Institute’s risk fact sheet estimates that about one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime if statistics from 2014 through 2016 remain the same. For a woman born in the 1970s, the ratio was one in 10. Men are not safe either—each year there are documented cases of thousands of men with breast cancer.

The increase in odds isn’t because our bodies are born differently than they were decades ago—it’s because our lifestyles have changed. We are exposed to many more toxins, and we continue to push ourselves harder to meet society’s demands—two factors of many that lead to inflammation. It’s important to note that only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child, according to

Inflammation and Our Lymphatic System

One way that chronic inflammation manifests is in the lymphatic system, which cleanses toxins from the body. The lymph, a fluid that is derived from body tissues, acts to remove bacteria from tissues and to supply white blood cells to the blood. When this process isn’t functioning properly, it contributes to chronic inflammation.

When it comes to breast health, the majority of our lymph nodes are in our armpits; therefore, healthy, flowing lymph is important for healthy breasts. Wearing bras without underwire can help, since ill-fitting, tight bras can “choke off” the area. Men and women alike can improve breast health by using deodorant without aluminum or fake fragrances. Finally, movement is very important, since the lymphatic system is the body’s only system without a pump. An activity as simple as bouncing up and down on one’s toes can get the lymph moving. Another option is a whole-body vibration session with a practitioner.

Inflammation and Lifestyle

Other lifestyle changes we can all make to reduce inflammation include eliminating inflammatory foods (such as bad fats, fast food and refined sugar) from our diet, and taking an honest look at the level of stress we have—and learning to manage it. Working with someone who specializes in nutrition and coaching can help you understand this area more and aid you in making progress on your wellness journey.

Thermography Can Assess Risk for Breast Cancer

Thermography is infrared imaging with a sophisticated, FDA-approved camera used to capture and measure heat from the surface of the skin. Since inflammation causes heat, a thermographic image can be used to evaluate temperature abnormalities and provide information on one’s risk for breast cancer before the cancer structure is formed that the usual tests can pick up.

Conscious Choices

Many diseases have an “awareness” month dedicated to them: October is the month for breast cancer awareness. But perhaps a better course of action than being “aware” 30 days of the year would be to take action to support our health every day of every month. We can examine our lifestyle choices, acknowledge habits that are unhealthy and make a conscious choice to engage in behaviors and therapies that can increase healthy outcomes.

Kelly Kolodzinski is the owner of Renew Holistic Wellness, a wellness center located at 4727 South Howell Ave., Milwaukee. The center exists to help their clients feel their best, and offers thermography; detox services, such as colon hydrotherapy and ionic foot detox baths; and integrated health coaching. For more information or a free 30-minute consultation, call 414-331-8626 or visit
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