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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Breast Cancer Vaccine = disaster waiting to happen

To Quote my friend and partner Helen:  Head + Wall: Repeat

Are scientists so caught up in the search for another vaccine to add to the ever growing array of jabs that make up our medical arsenal and to make a bigillion dollars that they are actually willing to over look the horrifying prospects of this vaccine?!?  The news paper article below applauds this vaccine and states "the prospect of eliminating breast cancer is now a real possibility.", while tossing off one small comment about having to make choices. Are they blind?

I'm all for curing cancer- ALL cancers- and yes Breast Cancer is horrifying and I oh so wish it could be eradicated off the face of the planet, but can these people not see that the mere idea of this vaccine is going to lead to causing MORE problems?  Creating a Vaccine that will completely abolish breastfeeding places society in a downward spiral back into the dark ages of the 50's and 60's when doctors pushed infant formulas and dried up mothers milk with a quick needle after birth- many times without even asking if the mother wished to breastfeed.  Look at what THAT did!  We are fighting a war against unethical advertising from infant formula companies, trying to stop the mass marketing to new parents, the "free" gifts of formula that are given out in maternity wards and those that mysteriously appear in your mail box.  We are fighting to have hospitals become "Baby Friendly", for governments to fund breastfeeding support and promote breastfeeding as a way to combat many diseases....including BREAST CANCER!!

And now they want to create a vaccine that will make breastfeeding impossible to cure the disease that breastfeeding  will help prevent- not only in the mother who IS breastfeeding, but the daughter that she is breastfeeding!!!

*head + wall= repeat*

Let me look into my crystal ball and prognosticate for you.  If they go forward with this vaccine, it will be marketed and target women who are have a high risk- with a family history of breast cancer.  These women will be told that they can be "saved" from this horrible disease and a mass media storm will blanket the airwaves and printed papers and the TV telling women that they are now saved from Breast Cancer.  But that won't be good enough.  Why just "save" those who have a higher a risk of getting breast cancer?  Doesn't every woman deserve to be protected from this disease?  With in 2 years I guarantee that the marketing of the vaccine will change to put it in the regular vaccine schedule- you know: the same schedule that includes the Gardisil vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.  You know: that vaccine that has caused deaths and serious disabilities in so many young women?
The next thing you know, every teen girl will be lined up to be vaccinated against breast cancer, regardless of her family history.  It won't matter that the medical machine will warn teen age girls of the fact that they won't be able to breastfeed their babies, they will scare them (and their parents) silly with the possibility of getting breast cancer.
...and now we have created a generation of babies that will not be protected by the antibodies and immunity building properties of their mothers milk. A generation that will be formula fed, not because of advertising or the "ease of sharing the responsibility of night time feedings", but because they CAN NOT be breastfed.

*still banging head against the wall*

A vaccine for breast cancer would be a great step forward – but there's a catch

If the research goes according to plan, this country’s vaccination programme looks set to include a jab to prevent breast cancer. Dr Vincent Tuohy, an immunologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, has discovered that a protein called alpha-lactalbumin is present in up to 70 per cent of breast cancer tumours – and he believes that this estimate might be on the low side.
Rather than target the cancer cells in the tumour, he has looked at the problem from a different angle and produced a vaccine which stimulates the immune system to destroy the protein.
There are other centres doing similar work. Dr Leatham, at University College London, who is researching for the charity Against Breast Cancer, has discovered that breast cancer patients have a low level of natural immunity and so their immune systems needs a boost. As yet, no vaccine has been produced in the UK but it is reassuring to hear that many people are thinking along the same lines.
There would appear to be one problem.  Alpha-lactalbumin is also found in the milk of women who are breast-feeding, which means that, if the woman has been vaccinated, it will not be possible for her to breast-feed because the immune system will combat the protein.  Nothing in medicine is ever straightforward – there are always choices to be made – but, at least, the prospect of eliminating breast cancer is now a real possibility.
This vaccine will be used on young women – particularly those who have a family history of breast cancer – and those over the age of 40, when the cancer is more likely to develop but when they are less likely to be breastfeeding. It is hoped, too, that the vaccine will be able to shrink tumours – again, as immune system targets the protein.
This is the first time we have been offered prevention and treatment from the same source.  It has to be good news, especially for the growing number of young women whose breast cancers tend to be more aggressive.  At the moment, most GPs are reluctant to refer a young woman for a mammogram and the way our medical system is arranged means that it is not possible to self-refer.  Consequently, it is often too late for the young patient to escape drastic surgery and chemotherapy.
Of course, no one must think that this vaccine will take the place of a healthy diet, exercising and not overdoing the alcohol. The same applies for people who take statins to keep their cholesterol levels down, but assume they can continue eating all the cholesterol-raising foods. Nothing is as simple as that.
Something else occurs to me. Men also develop breast cancer. I wonder – will they be included in the vaccination programme? Perhaps someone will let me know the answer.

HERE to read the original article