Vit C benefits

Six or seven years ago I had some non-cancerous lumps removed from my left breast. I wasn’t too concerned and neither was my doctor, but because it was impossible to feel or see what was beneath the lumps, I decided to have them removed. My mother’s a breast cancer survivor, so I want to be very aware of any changes in “the girls.”

All was well, and continues to be, however, my doctor suggested I begin taking vitamin C as she strongly believes it can lower the risk for developing breast cancer. Not everyone in the field of breast cancer research shares her enthusiasm. According to, “Although selected studies have found that women who consume higher amounts of vitamin C have a lower risk of breast cancer, research in general has not shown a strong connection.”  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of taking vitamin C to prevent breast cancer, but even though it might not help, it can’t hurt.

My doctor gave me a sample of Emergen-C, asserting that this form of vitamin C was absorbed into my body more easily than pills. She also encouraged me to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables.

I’ve taken Emergen-C almost every day since that time, and I don’t know about it lowering my risk for breast cancer, but I can tell you that I haven’t had nearly as many colds. Maybe Linus Pauling was right!


HRT? Not for me!

I’m generally pretty private about my health, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to address the latest study linking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to an increased risk of breast cancer.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991. Her doctor felt the tumor was “estrogen fed,” which made sense because my mother had taken the hormone for about fifteen years following her hysterectomy. This theory also made me feel more comfortable understanding that I may not be genetically predisposed to breast cancer.

Mom has been cancer free for 20 years, and to the best of our knowledge no other female member of the family has had breast cancer. Even with that knowledge, I am more vigilant about knowing “the girls” and watch for changes. When I hear of someone I know being diagnosed with breast cancer, I feel a slight twinge of fear and wonder, “have I done my self-examination recently?” I’m always relieved when my yearly mammogram is normal.

When I began feeling the symptoms of peri-menopause, my gynecologist asked if I was interested in HRT. I reminded her that my mother was a breast cancer survivor and she agreed that we not consider that option. HRT has its benefits and can prevent the bone loss that occurs after menopause, decrease the risk of colorectal cancer and some data suggest that estrogen can decrease risk of heart disease when taken early in your postmenopausal years. However, for me the benefits don’t outweigh the risks and I’ve made the informed decision to manage the symptoms of peri-menopause with other options, such as diet and exercise.

Whatever method you chose to manage “the change” (and believe me – it IS a change!), make sure you have all the information and talk with your doctor. If you’d like to read the study, it can be found at

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