Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis, no matter what the circumstances. I had my eyes opened when I watched the groundbreaking video series, The Truth About Cancer last year. I learned some sobering facts, one of which was the strong link between thyroid disorders and breast cancer.
Let’s stop before we go any further.
The following information is meant to bring awareness to a link between breast cancer and thyroid conditions and NOT to freak you out! Please read on with an eye to becoming more informed and with the desire to care for yourself as a matter of prevention.
…University of Chicago researchers found breast cancer survivors were 1.55 times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than women who hadn’t had breast cancer. And, female thyroid cancer survivors were 1.18 times more likely to get breast cancer than women who hadn’t had thyroid cancer.
“This is a real risk,” study author Dr. Raymond Grogan, director of the university’s endocrine surgery research program told HealthDay News. “People who have had one of these cancers need to be aware that they are at higher risk for developing the other cancer.”
Unfortunately, thyroid cancer cases have nearly tripled in the United States over the past 30 years, and breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Thankfully, medical advances mean that more and more women are surviving these terrible diseases — but it also means that more of us need to be aware of the link between the two cancers.
But the link goes deeper; if you have any sort of thyroid disorder — but especially autoimmune thyroid problems — you need to pay attention.
Scientists have been uncovering more and more links between the thyroid and breast cancer in recent years, and while the nature of the link still isn’t completely clear, there’s strong evidence that it exists.
Research has shown that there is a much higher than average incidence of autoimmune thyroid disease among women who have previously had breast cancer.
In fact, some studies suggest that thyroid deficiencies can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer, and women who take thyroid replacement hormones for 15 years or more have a 200% increase in their risk for breast cancer.
That is a big deal if you’re taking thyroid replacement hormones to treat your thyroid disease — but it’s not a death sentence.
How to protect yourself
None of this information is meant to scare you, but rather to provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed choices about your health!
The best offense is often a good defense, as they say, so it’s important to understand how you can reduce your risks. Even if you’ve been taking thyroid hormone replacements for years, you can start reducing your risk today.
The good news is that the science shows that a diet rich in dietary iodine can inhibit breast tumor development and increase thyroid function.
If you are taking prescribed thyroid hormone, ask your doctor to have your iodine levels checked. If you are low in iodine, you can either correct your iodine deficiency first, or take iodine with thyroid hormone. Iodine is needed by the body to maintain a normal breast tissues free of cysts, nodules, and cancer.
But, it’s important to ensure that you don’t have a selenium deficiency in concurrence with an iodine deficiency. These two together can actually add fuel to the autoimmune fire and make autoimmune thyroid problems worse!
Studies have shown that selenium protects against the effects of iodine toxicity and prevents the triggering and flaring of autoimmune disease that excess iodine without selenium can cause, so you want to be sure you’re getting enough of both in your diet.
The best way to supplement is with dietary sources of iodine and selenium. These foods are naturally rich in iodine:
- Ocean fish (including shellfish, clams, lobster, sardines)
- Egg yolk
- Lima beans
- Sesame seeds
- Summer squash
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
And don’t forget to make sure you’re getting enough selenium to keep iodine toxicity at bay – add these foods to your diet for more selenium:
- Brazil Nuts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Fish (tuna, halibut, sardines, flounder, salmon)
- Shellfish (oysters, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops)
- Meat (Beef, liver, lamb, pork)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey)
- Mushrooms (button, crimini, shiitake)
I make sure to get plenty of iodine-rich greens in my diet and eat two Brazil nuts every day with breakfast to increase my natural selenium levels.
For more information about natural remedies and protections for cancer, I can’t recommend The Truth About Cancer highly enough! It is hands down the BEST resource I’ve found for understanding prevention and treatment options for all types of cancer and I think should be required viewing for anyone living in our modern, toxic world!
If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you take the Cancer IQ quiz – even with all my health knowledge and research, I still only scored a 60%! I learned a lot just in the 42 seconds it took me to take the quiz and see my results!
In addition to the article you just read, I provide a ton of resources on healing your thyroid naturally, including:
1. Our totally free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Report and Coaching Sessions
2. Right here on my blog, where I talk about what’s worked best for me and my clients, as well as the latest research and resources I come across. You can subscribe to get new blog posts delivered right to your email by signing up on the righthand side of the page.
3. My book, Healing Hashimoto’s Naturally — part memoir, part instruction manual for how I personally healed my Hashimoto’s disease.
4. My exclusive free 6 Thyroid Myths That Can Keep You From Healing workshop — with info on the comprehensive Thyroid Fix in 6 program, which walks you through, step-by-step, the exact actions you need to take to heal your thyroid and get your life back! We’ve seen hundreds of participants in the Thyroid Fix in 6 avoid, decrease, or even eliminate the need need for thyroid medications.
5. The incredible Your Best Thyroid Life Video Bundle, in which I personally invited 27 of the world’s top health experts to share their best tips for living with and healing thyroid disease.
Jen Wittman is a Certified Holistic Health Expert, Chef, Author & Vitality Coach, who teaches women how to reverse thyroid and autoimmune conditions naturally. She’s helped hundreds of women decrease (or even eliminate) their thyroid medications and has helped others stay off thyroid medication entirely.
Through her free Thyroid Healing Type Assessment, Jen teaches easy and simple steps to thyroid healing that can fit into your busy day. She also provides print outs to bring to your next doctor’s appointment so you can get the support and respect you deserve.