For BHAM (Breast Health Awareness Month) this October, I would like to give you a challenge! For this month, I encourage you to focus on prevention and early detection by being proactive with testing. There are many kinds of tests that you should be aware of on your Healthy Breast journey. Three of the most important ones are known as the “Trifecta Tests.” These are tests that I personally monitor every 6 months. When I was on an active healing journey I was monitoring them every quarter.
Why Are the Trifecta Tests Important?
You may have heard me quote Dr. Nasha Winters about the “trifecta” of tests that every woman on a Healthy Breast journey should make a habit of getting on a regular basis.
So what are these tests and why are they so important?
In a nutshell, the Trifecta is a combo of three tests that can help you determine if you have active cancer (what Dr. Winters calls “Cancering”) or if you have a greater than normal risk of getting cancer. The tests can also help you determine if you have a higher than normal risk of other common, chronic diseases like heart disease and autoimmune conditions as well.
The three tests are C-Reactive Protein (or simply CRP), Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), and a substance called Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase (LDH), and all three measure the level of inflammation in the body.
Even though most people have never heard of these tests, according to Dr. Winters, it is crucial to monitor your CRP/ESR/LDH numbers regularly if you are on a cancer healing and prevention journey.
Dr. Nasha Winters’ Story
Dr. Nasha is a national board-certified naturopathic doctor and best-selling author. She is the founder of Optimal Terrain Consulting. Like many other visionary physicians, Dr. Winters has a very different way of looking at and treating cancer. She also has an amazing personal story that put her on the path she is on now.
When Nasha was in college, she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. By the time the doctors discovered what was causing the immense pain in her abdomen area, she also had lesions in her liver and pelvis as well. The two conventional physicians she saw once the cancer was discovered recommended only palliative care. They basically sent her home to die.
That was 28 years ago. Dr. Winters never had surgery, chemo nor radiation. The two main things she claims were crucial to turning her health around were intense fasting and cutting ties to people in her life that were unhealthy for her.
I share her inspirational story because it is a testimony to what the human body is able to do for its own healing when we help it by creating the environment it needs for repair. I also share it because it formed the basis of her unique approach to cancer for the hundreds of patients she sees each year.
As she explains, Dr. Winters does not treat cancer nor tumors directly. She looks at the terrain that surrounds tumor cells. Through gentle, natural modalities such as hyperthermia, ketogenic diet, fasting, and herbs like mistletoe, she helps her patients change that terrain from one that is pro-cancer to one that is pro-healthy cells.
Of course, you have to know where you stand with your health and overall cancer risk to know where to begin for healing, right?
That is where the “Trifecta” of tests we will talk about in the next section comes in!
Be sure to check out my recent podcast interview with Dr. Nasha Winters to learn more about her story and her work.
What are the Trifecta Tests?
Here is a rundown of each of the tests and what they mean to you on your Healthy Breast path:
C-Reactive Protein (CRP).
The C-Reactive Protein test, i.e. CRP test, is a marker of the overall level of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a key characteristic of almost all dis-ease including cancer. Inflammation can be fueled by a bad diet, lack of sleep, toxic overload, and, most of all, stress.
Another cause of inflammation can be Excess C-Reactive Protein. This excessive CRP has been connected to cancer as well. Cancer patients with the lowest survival rates often have the highest rates of CRP, according to studies.
C-Reactive Protein is produced in fat cells and in the immune system. It is then synthesized in the liver. It has been used as a marker for heart disease for many years. Recently it was also discovered to be a highly effective indication of cancer as well.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR).
ESR, or the “sed rate test,” measures inflammation levels too. ESR can pinpoint what condition the inflammation may be linked to. Some of these conditions could be autoimmune, infections, or cancer tumors.
ESR works by analyzing the “clumping rate” of red blood cells. Whenever inflammation is present, there will be clumping. The more the clumping, the higher the inflammation rate.
The ESR is a fairly inexpensive test to get. It is also a pretty simple test. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective for detecting cancer, however. Over twenty years ago researchers in Europe discovered the link between cancer and high ESR levels and since then this link has become well known.
Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase (LDH).
LDH is a particular kind of enzyme, found in all healthy, living cells. The LDH test measures how much of this enzyme is in the blood.
LDH turns glucose into energy in the body. When the cells become damaged for some reason, the body releases the enzyme. This is why LDH can be a sign of tissue damage that may be prevalent in the organs as well as in the blood and muscles. People with major diseases such as heart disease, liver disease, and cancer often have high levels of LDH in their blood.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research determined that high serum LDH levels are a sound bio-marker for Breast Cancer.
How Often Should I Get These Tests Done?
Experts will recommend that healthy individuals get these tests done once a year. They can help you to measure levels of general inflammation and disease risk. If you are on a healing journey with Breast Cancer, however, you will want to test more often.
Dr. Winters recommends that the “Trifecta” be performed every quarter (i.e. every three months) specifically for those who are healing from cancer.
“Laboratory assessments allow us to glimpse into the physiologic function of our bodies,” says Dr. Winters. “…They are an essential checkpoint for understanding our body’s unique reactions to medications, diet, supplements, lifestyle change, and even emotional events. The data we get from labs can empower, compel, and motivate us.”
Take the Trifecta Challenge This Month!
During BHAM month is a great time to renew our commitment to healthy lifestyle habits, including getting current on all of our necessary tests.
It is easy to get a Trifecta test. I recommend Your Lab Work testing company. You can find all three of the Trifecta tests as well as two other inflammatory marker tests- homocysteine and Total CK- at a discounted package rate HERE.
Test results are not the “end all and be all.” They are not going to be the “magic bullet” that will solve all of our health problems. They can’t completely define our Healthy Breast journey nor tell us specifically what to do along the way.
What test results can do, however, is give us important clues, or markers, along the path. And as we proceed, they can let us know what modalities are working for us and which ones may not be. Armed with the information that testing can provide for us, we can make the changes that can lead us more directly towards the vibrant life that is waiting for us!
I recommend the Trifecta tests to anyone who is healing from Breast Cancer and anyone who wants to prevent it. To me, it just makes sense– during BHAM and throughout the year!