An autoimmune condition occurs when the immune system appears to turn upon itself. There are currently dozens of different kinds of autoimmune conditions. In the United States there are roughly 50 million individuals who have some form of autoimmune condition. The majority are women. In addition, there is an increasingly proven link between the presence of autoimmunity and Breast Cancer. In this first of a two-part series, we will take a look at some of the possible causes for this connection.
Links Between Autoimmunity and Cancer
The connection between autoimmune conditions and a higher risk of cancer is well known. What hasn’t been known is why exactly this connection exists. Scientists may be getting closer to an answer, however. Research indicates that continuous “activation” of the immune system can lead to more free radical production as well as more immune system “debris” in general, including immune system cells and immune signaling molecules. These factors may contribute to cancer tumors forming.
Of course, autoimmunity also goes hand in hand with chronic and systemic inflammation. This same inflammation can suppress the immune system and affect the body’s ability to repair DNA damage as well. There is a direct correlation between inflammation and cancer that is well documented.
Another connection is gut imbalance. Autoimmunity is, in large part, a byproduct of a gut microbiome imbalance condition called Leaky Gut. A 2012 study put forth by Thomas Jefferson University is just one of many that make the correlation between this condition and the formation of cancer, not just in the colon but in the rest of the body as well.
Autoimmune Disease and Breast Cancer
More and more research is coming out which also makes a direct link between various autoimmune conditions and Breast Cancer.
A 2014 report published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology found that women with the autoimmune condition Multiple Sclerosis had a higher frequency of Breast Cancer incidence. Another study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte found a direct link between rheumatoid arthritis and metastatic Breast Cancer.
“We confirmed the relationship we suspected between autoimmune disease and breast cancer cells,” said Dr. Pinku Mukherjee, Irwin Blek Distinguished Scholar of Cancer Research at UNC-Charlotte.
Other studies have found links between ulcerative colitis and Breast Cancer. A report published in the journal Oncotarget found slightly worse overall survival rates for individuals with early stage breast cancers who also had concurrent autoimmune conditions.
What about Hashimoto’s?
One of the most common autoimmune conditions out there today is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This occurs when antibodies attack signaling chemicals for thyroid hormone production. Although to date the connections have not been conclusive, some evidence suggests that there may be a correlation between Hashimoto’s and Breast Cancer.
An Irish study going all the way back to mid-1990’s found antithyroid peroxidase autoantibodies in twice the amounts in Breast Cancer patients than those in the control group who did not have Breast Cancer. Some experts speculate that the Hashimoto’s-Breast Cancer connection may have something to do with the many ways in which thyroid hormone can exert influence over estrogen-dependent mechanisms in the body.
Stay Tuned for Part 2
The research continues into the autoimmune-Breast Cancer link. It is safe to assume, however, that this connection is real in many ways. Another link between these two dis-ease conditions that we will talk about in the next article is between conventional Breast Cancer treatment and development of autoimmune conditions. Stay tuned next week when we will dive into that topic as well as some concrete steps you can take to heal and prevent both autoimmunity and cancer, and go on to live a vibrant, healthy, dis-ease free life!
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is the founder of Breast Cancer Conqueror.com and The 7 Essentials System ™. This step-by-step guide empowers you with knowledge so you Never Have to Fear Breast Cancer Again! To watch a FREE webinar about the 7 steps for beating breast cancer naturally, Click Here