Blog Entry Health & Healing, Narrative Change

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Giving Breast Cancer the 'Shaft'

by ​Dr. Phyllis Hubbard

"I was numb—numb! A man with breast cancer? That’s impossible! I wondered whether my doctor was questioning my manhood." Richard Roundtree

In 1993, actor Richard Roundtree, star of the iconic 70’s film "SHAFT" was diagnosed with breast cancer after discovering a lump while in Costa Rica filming a movie. This news shocked Roundtree to his core, and he was cancer free for seven years before he was able to break his silence. Roundtree now spends almost half of his time traveling the nation advocating early prevention of breast, prostate and other cancers in men, during which he is often approached by women who express gratitude that he “came out of the closet” because their boyfriends or spouses are suffering in silence, embarrassed, feel shame or are in a prolonged state of denial. Others are men who thank Roundtree for giving them the courage to speak up about their experiences.

Although breast cancer is much less common in men, about one in 1,000 men are at risk for getting breast cancer and according to the American Cancer Society, approximately 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer in men will be diagnosed this year. 

About Cancer

In a healthy body, the process of cell division is harmoniously balanced so that the cells grow, replace dying cells and repair damaged tissues. However, if the cells continue to divide even though new ones are not needed, they will form a mass of tissue or tumor. Malignant tumors can grow out of control, interfering with normal body functions and can spread and invade other tissues. The most common types of cancer diagnosed in the US include:

  • Bladder, breast, colon and rectal cancer

  • Endometrial, kidney cancer and leukemia

  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, lung cancer and melanoma

  • Pancreatic, prostate and thyroid cancer

Most Commonly Overlooked Emotional Causes of Cancer

At its emotional essence, cancer stems from a lack of self-love. Knowing ourselves is the first step to loving ourselves. People who develop cancer tend to be more disconnected from the inner connectedness and communication of their bodies. Some archetypal examples include the hard-driving workaholic, victims of abuse, the chronically depressed, and the person who “has something on their chest” or internalizes stress for long periods of time (the “ticking time bomb”).

Most Commonly Overlooked Physical Causes of Cancer 

Poor circulation, stagnant energy/blood, trapped toxins (especially from bacteria) improper or shallow breathing, specifically the inability to expand the lungs fully and oxygenate the body through the breath are the most overlooked essential physical causes of cancer. Estrogen dominance caused by poor diet (too much of the wrong kinds of fat such as meat and cheese eaten together), excess body weight, caffeine, alcohol and tight underwear (men need to wear boxers instead of briefs) increase the risk for cancer. Over exposure to xenoestrogens (chemicals such as plastics that function like estrogen in the body) also contribute to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can cause men to have “breasts” (excessive fatty tissue in the breast); however, breast cancer in men can occur with or without male “breasts.” Estrogen dominance in men also causes “Low T” (low testosterone) which can lead to male reproductive dis-eases such as low sperm count and erectile dysfunction.

This body of ours is an incredibly fine-tuned instrument, but people tend to take better care of their cars than they do their bodies, ... I know a lot of men who won’t miss that 3,000-mile oil change, but just try getting them into a doctor’s office once a year. Richard Roundtree

How to Give Breast Cancer the Shaft!

Early prevention and detection are important. Get regular annual exams. Heredity only matters if we don’t change bad health habits that run in our families. Here are important actions you can take right now to prevent breast or any other cancer.

  • Therapeutic movement. Practice breath with movement techniques such as Qigong a combination of Qigong and Yoga to improve circulation. Cancer cells cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment.

  • Speak our truth! If we have something on our chest that we need to say, we must find a way to say it. It helps to put our hand on our chest and take a few deep breaths in and out. Then breathe, pause and speak.  Try this warrior’s breath exercise.

  • Whole foods are a must, especially greens, green smoothies and fruits/veggies that are less sweet (berries, greens, cabbages, broccoli, etc.). Fiber is essential. Our liver is the CEO of our bodies with over 600 functions that can be identified.  When we eat food containing too much estrogen, our liver filters it out and sends it to the colon where it binds with fiber and is moved out of our bodies. However, if we have not eaten any fiber rich food (i.e. fruits, vegetables, beans) the estrogen is reabsorbed back into the blood.

  • Herbal healing: Blood cleansers such as turmeric, curry powder, garlic, ginger, burdock root, dandelion root, and chaparral help to strengthen the body’s self healing mechanisms.  For people recovering from cancer treatment, lavender is useful for burns caused by radiation; rosemary helps stimulate regrowth of hair, and bergamot, garlic, geranium and clove is useful for pain relief.

  • Lymphatic Breast Massage. The lymphatic system is like the security system of our bodies, in charge of identifying and protecting us from disease agents in the body. Lymph only moves when we do, so our lymph nodes can get clogged due to lack of movement, improper breathing and lifestyle (i.e. wearing antiperspirant blocks vital lymph nodes in the armpit that lead to the breast). The Breast Health Project produced this easy to follow graphic with detailed instructions.

What is one way that you can actively engage in your own self care today? Journey to Radiance is now LIVE! Download your copy on iTunes and on our website. Tag us on Twitter @BMAchivement using hashtag #BMARadiant.


Dr. Phyllis Hubbard is Director for CBMA's Health & Healing Strategies campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @GetRadiant.

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