You’re a smart, successful woman who seems to have her life together, but there’s one thing you keep struggling with; your health...
You can’t seem to lose the weight or get in the shape that you
want to... you’ve failed all the diet & exercise programs and you
You’re tired and it’s a struggle to get through the day sometimes... caffeine to wake you up and wine to calm you down have become
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Then you can’t fall asleep or you wake up for no reason and toss
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You’re irritable and snap at people...sometimes even anxious or
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And the intimacy with your partner has become a distant
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"I can’t wait until retirement, then I’ll have the time to get my
"Why can’t I find the right diet, supplement, exercise program or
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You’ve gone to traditional doctors, acupuncturists and even
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Welcome back to The Hormone Prescription Podcast - the go-to show for midlife women looking for expert insights on health. In this episode, we have the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Jennifer Simmons, a prominent board-certified breast surgeon with over fifteen years of experience in the field of breast disease.
Dr. Simmons has an impressive list of awards and achievements, including receiving the prestigious 2016 Founders Award from the Living Beyond Breast Cancer organization, and being named TOP DOC for six consecutive years by Philadelphia Magazine, Main Line Today 2018, and Suburban Life. With her expertise, she has been a frequent on-camera guest, sharing breaking medical breast cancer news on popular platforms such as 6ABC, CBS Philly, Fox 29 Good Day, and KYW News Radio.
In this insightful conversation, Dr. Jennifer Simmons shares her professional knowledge and invaluable advice on understanding and dealing with breast cancer.
Key discussion points in this episode:
- Understanding breast cancer: Dr. Simmons helps us grasp the basics of breast cancer, its types, and its stages.
- Risk factors: The different factors that could contribute to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, and what we can do to mitigate these risks.
- Early detection strategies: The significance of self-examinations, mammograms, and regular check-ups with healthcare professionals, as well as new technologies that can potentially help in early detection.
- Treatment options: An overview of different treatment pathways available depending on the type and stage of breast cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
- Support systems: The importance of nurturing a strong support system during the cancer journey, including support from friends, family, and healthcare professionals. Dr. Simmons also highlights invaluable resources like the Living Beyond Breast Cancer organization.
- Practical advice: Dr. Simmons shares her top tips for women going through a breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
- Advancements in the field: A peek into current research and advancements that could potentially change the face of breast cancer treatment and prevention in the near future.
Get ready for an eye-opening and informative conversation with Dr. Jennifer Simmons, and don't forget to subscribe to The Hormone Prescription Podcast for more expert insights on health for midlife women.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
There is no greater perspective than when you lose your health. The only person who can heal you is you, Dr. Jen Simmons.
Speaker 2 (00:10):
So the big question is, how do women over 40 like us, keep weight off, have great energy, balance our hormones and our moods, feel sexy and confident, and master midlife? If you're like most of us, you are not getting the answers you need and remain confused and pretty hopeless to ever feel like yourself Again. As an OB G Y N, I had to discover for myself the truth about what creates a rock solid metabolism, lasting weight loss, and supercharged energy after 40, in order to lose a hundred pounds and fix my fatigue, now I'm on a mission. This podcast is designed to share the natural tools you need for impactful results and to give you clarity on the answers to your midlife metabolism challenges. Join me for tangible, natural strategies to crush the hormone imbalances you are facing and help you get unstuck from the sidelines of life. My name is Dr. Kieran Dunton. Welcome to the Hormone Prescription Podcast.
Speaker 1 (01:03):
Hi everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Hormone Prescription with Dr. Kieran. Thank you so much for joining me today. My guest today, Dr. Jennifer Simmons, is an amazing woman and physician who has accomplished much and really is leading the way to show women how to prevent breast cancer and how to heal their bodies overall. But most of us really don't pay attention. There is no greater perspective than when you lose your health. She says during our interview, and you'll see what else she says about that, but it really does put things in perspective because our health is the only reason that we get time on this earth. Time to enjoy our relationships, time to accomplish things, time to enjoy sunsets and the ocean and the mountains. And so if we're not paying attention to our health and doing everything that we can to make it the best, we're really in a state of dying.
Speaker 1 (02:04):
If you think about it, and I know that's pretty sobering and most of us don't like to think about it, but I actually like to keep my eye on the fact that I am going to die because it helps me to live each day to the fullest. And how could changing your perspective before you get an illness lead you to more health and wholeness is something I'd like you to start thinking about. The other quote she offered, the only person who can heal you is you, is so profound because a lot of us are always looking to someone else to heal us or fix us, but really the healing comes from within. So we have a very deep personal discussion about that as well. I'll tell you a little bit more about Dr. Jen Simmons and then we'll get started. She had an amazing career.
Speaker 1 (02:52):
So she's a prominent board certified breast surgeon in Philadelphia. She was the chief of breast surgery and director of the breast program at Einstein Medical Center, Montgomery, and she has had 15 years of experience in the field of breast disease. She received the 2016 top Honors Founders Award from the Living Beyond Breast Cancer Organization for improving the lives of women with breast cancer. She's always on the forefront of medical advances in breast surgery. She's been named Top Doc six years in a row by Philadelphia Magazine and also in mainline today, 2018 and Suburban Life. She's been on many news shows, many podcasts, many summits, and share her brilliance everywhere. And after her very personal and touching story that she shares in the interview view that you don't wanna hear, excuse me, you don't wanna miss hearing. She shares how she transitioned from being the top breast surgeon and taking care of women with breast cancer after they were diagnosed to taking care of women in a way that helps them prevent breast cancer and also heal holistically from breast cancer.
Speaker 1 (04:10):
She has some views that are very radical that you might be shocked by that I love and embrace because she is a truth seeker and a truth teller. And when it comes to healing yourself, not only from breast cancer, but all the melodies that we suffer from at midlife, midlife, metabolic mayhem, other diseases, and premature death when we're in hormonal poverty, you gotta get to the truth. And sometimes truth is painful, but if you don't tell the truth, you can't know the truth and you can't know what you need to do to heal. And then healing becomes impossible. And that's where so many women are right now. They're blind to the truth. So I'm a true seeker truth teller. Dr. Jen is a true seeker truth teller. And if you really want to know what's possible for you in this lifetime and achieve it, you've got to become a truth seeker and a truth knower.
Speaker 1 (05:06):
So now she has a practice Real Health md. She is the doctor with the answer to breast cancer. We give all the places you can find her online on social media and talk about her book as well. So without further ado, please help me welcome Dr. Jen Simmons to the show. Thanks. I'm so glad to be here. So breast cancer is a hot topic with women. I deal with women in their hormones, and the number one objection that people have about the hormones that they need a prescription for is, oh, but my doctor told me estrogen causes cancer. And so this is really in your ballpark. So I think we should start with the hard questions first, <laugh>, does estrogen cause breast cancer? Let's start right there. Let's just dive right in. So of course it doesn't cause breast cancer.
Speaker 3 (05:57):
I mean, it's such a ridiculous notion that it, I mean, just thinking about it from the logical standpoints, right? So first of all, why would God give us a hormone that is so vital to life that causes breast cancer? I mean, it's absurd. And then when we look at who gets breast cancer, the vast majority of breast cancers are in the postmenopausal population. And when you measure hormone levels in that population, they are completely deplete, right? They have no virtually no circulating estrogen. And so to say that estrogen causes breast cancer is absurd. It's ridiculous. And they're all evidence to the contrary. In fact, it's when estrogen is going away, that is the issue. When your body can't access its own estrogen because your ovaries are shutting down, that's when breast cancer becomes an issue. Now, when I say estrogen does not cause breast cancer, I am talking about the estrogen that is produced by your ovaries, produced by your adrenal glands.
Speaker 3 (07:05):
That is not the issue. However, there are environmental estrogens things in our environment that act like estrogen that are very toxic, that without question cause cellular damage, d n a damage and lead to breast cancers. So I'm talking about things like plastics, like antibiotics, like fragrance, like cleaning solutions, like phthalates, all these synthetic things that are in our environment on the estrogen receptor, but don't act like estrogen. They act in a far more stimulatory, irreversible way. And then they also have to be broken down by our hormone detoxification ways. And when that happens, they go preferentially down a toxic pathway because they're toxins. So I am very comfortable saying estrogen does not cause breast cancer. Do estrogen-like substances contribute to breast cancer? Absolutely. Without question. Yes.
Speaker 1 (08:13):
And I say I, I'm always a kind of common sense doctor, and I say reality check. 'cause That makes sense to you. Every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet has estrogen, <laugh>, and if estrogen caused breast cancer, we'd all have it.
Speaker 3 (08:29):
That's exactly right. That's exactly right. It's an absurd notion. Now, I can tell you that the reason that we talk about estrogen and breast cancer and a causative relationship is because we have synthetic medicines. We have pharmaceuticals that block the synthe, the synthetic pathway, like they block the synthesis, the the creation of estrogen. And we have pharmaceuticals that act on the estrogen receptor. So the reason that we use that explanation estrogen causes breast cancer is for the purposes of utilizing these drugs, but not because estrogen causes breast cancer. Again, it doesn't, it's absurd. But they have pharmaceuticals that can intervene in this pathway. And so they use that explanation in order to use the drugs.
Speaker 1 (09:22):
Oh, well that, I hadn't heard that concept. That's interesting. Yeah. So
Speaker 3 (09:27):
Speaker 1 (09:28):
Speaker 3 (09:29):
You'll, you'll notice, you'll notice like the vast majority of breast cancers have both estrogen and progesterone receptors on them. But we never talk about the progesterone part, right? You never hear progesterone causes breast cancer and you don't hear about drugs because we don't have them. So now we just focus on the estrogen because we have estrogen blocking drugs that are a nightmare. And so that's the story that people are told over and over and over again. And when you are told the same story over and over and over again, despite whether or not it's true, it becomes believable because it's repeatable. And that's exactly what happened in this case. And you know, we've seen that evidenced time and time again, especially over the last three years.
Speaker 1 (10:15):
It's fascinating. I mean, the more you know about big pharma and medicine, the deeper the do-do gets. That's really fascinating. And so I know they really revised the, the Women's Health Initiative study results, and they've come back and said, no, estrogen is protective against breast cancer. But nobody's listening. No, doctors are listening. They're not telling their patients this. So you're right. Once you repeat a lie so many times it does become the gospel. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (10:42):
And so doctors unfortunately, are hard to convince. They, you have to remember that the Women's Health Initiative, those results, those preliminary results, which should have never been released, you don't release the sto the results of a study in a newspaper article. But those results should have never, ever, ever been released. But they were, and it was 20 years ago. So for 20 years we've heard this false narrative. So it's really, really hard for people to unring that bell. And there are pieces of that puzzle that fit and make sense to people. So for instance, you know, you're only given estrogen blockade if you have a hormone positive tumor. And so people associate the fact that there, there are breast cancers with estrogen receptors on them, so therefore estrogen must be causative. And what people don't realize is that normal breast cells have estrogen receptors on them. They're supposed to have estrogen receptors on them. That's how the breast does what it's supposed to do, do, because it responds to normal stimulation by estrogen, normal signaling by estrogen. And in fact, it's the breast cancers that don't have estrogen receptors on them that are far more aggressive and far more difficult to treat and reverse because they are a further departure from normal. So a hormone positive tumor resembles the normal tissue and the further the cancer gets away from resembling the normal tissue, the more aggressive a process it is.
Speaker 1 (12:28):
Yeah, I think that there's so much misinformation, and I think that even regular gynecologists and general practitioners aren't aware of this. So they're counseling people incorrectly. You know, I know you, you gave me some great questions, but I had to go for the hardest one first because I really wanted to make sure we cover that. And I know that a lot of women coming to listening listen to you. That's what they wanna hear. But the basics, let's start with, what is breast cancer?
Speaker 3 (12:55):
Yeah, so that's a great question which so many people don't understand. So I, I wanna start off by saying that breast cancer is a normal response to an abnormal environment. So many people think that breast cancer is separate, right? It's a non-self, it's not a part of you. It is a foreign body, a foreign invader, a foreign thing. But the truth is that your breast cancer is a part of you, and it's the part of you that feels threatened by its environment. People with breast cancer don't have a bad breast. Breast cancer is a systemic disease. It means that there has been some systemic shift. The chemistry in the breast, the environment in the body has shifted away from homeostasis. And when that happens, the breast cells feel threatened. And so what does anything do when it feels threatened? It goes into survival mode, right?
Speaker 3 (13:54):
Think about an animal that's cornered. How is that animal gonna behave? It's gonna be extremely aggressive, it's gonna be ferocious, right? It's just trying to survive. That same process is happening in any organ that undergoes a cancerous transformation. It is responding to a hostile environment, and it is transforming into survival mode. So the key to breast cancer, the key to any cancer is to restoring the health of the environment, both the microenvironment and the environment in the breast or whatever organ you're talking about. But the microenvironment of the breast is influenced by the macro, the overall environment of the body. And so healing from breast cancer is about transforming that environment, getting back into homeostasis, getting rid of the threat so that those cells feel safe again, and no longer have to be in survival mode. So again, breast cancer is just a normal response to an abnormal environment. And the only approach is to restore health.
Speaker 1 (15:00):
And in mainstream medicine, is that addressed at all, or it's still surgery, chemotherapy, radiation level.
Speaker 3 (15:10):
Yeah, so it's conventional medicine. All the focus is on disease, right? Because that's what conventional medical doctors are taught. Nowhere in any part of my training, and I went to medical school for four years, I did residency for five years. I did fellowship for a year. And nowhere anywhere in my training was I taught how to make people, how to help people get healthy. We are trained to recognize a constellation of symptoms, give it a title, right? Diagnose and then prescribe, prescribe a pill, prescribe a procedure. That is what we are trained to do. And nowhere along those lines are we asking the important question. The important question for everyone has to be, where is the disease coming from? What is driving this disease? And the key to reversing it is about learning that understanding that eliminating whatever is driving disease and at the same time doing the things that drive health.
Speaker 3 (16:13):
And when all you focus on is disease, right? Like think about the mainstream response to breast cancer, like you're in for a fight. Get ready for a fight, be a fighter, keep fighting. That whole mentality is wrong. And what I advocate for, because you don't wanna fight, you don't want a war, you don't want the chemistry of stress. Think about what wars are filled with, they're filled with, with violence and fear. That's the last thing that you want in your body. You want to prepare for peace. That is what you're seeking. That is what you're looking to create. And with that comes homeostasis and health. And so it's about shifting the focus from illness, from disease, from the tumor, shifting the focus to health and to building health. Because if all you focus on is the tumor, you're focusing in the wrong area. Because first of all, what we focus on grows. And that's the last thing we want to grow. The tumor is not the problem. The tumor is the symptom of the problem. And until we realize that, until we recognize that we will never solve it.
Speaker 1 (17:29):
Yeah. I say exactly the same thing about weight. The excess fat is not the problem, it's the symptom of the problem. That's
Speaker 3 (17:37):
Exactly right. And
Speaker 1 (17:38):
And what you mentioned about peace and healing, I, I so agree with you. And I don't know if, if we can get into kind of the energetics of it, but the, the breasts relate to the heart chakra and love.
Speaker 3 (17:52):
Of course. Of course. And this is why we so often see a breast cancer diagnosis following heartache. So if you talk to someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer, you are almost certainly going to learn that they've had a death in the family, or they're caring for a sick patient or a sick parent or child, god forbid, or they've been through a divorce or had a move or lost their job. But there is going to be, or they've, you know, undergone trauma abuse. There is going to be heartache and heartbreak in the preceding years to the diagnosis. It happens nearly 100% of the time. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (18:34):
And so we need to be, I mean, medicine should be tending to our hearts and our energy, but I guess those doctors like us who went through the mainstream training and learned that method and then were enlightened to realize that it's way bigger than that can help people with that. So that's why I'm so glad to have you on the show and offer and share what, you know, it's so important for women about breast cancer. Now, we just got done talking about that estrogen doesn't cause breast cancer. But do we need to talk about why younger women are more and more getting breast cancer diagnosis and its relation to estrogen dominance?
Speaker 3 (19:17):
Yeah. So let's talk about what that is and what that means. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, because when we talk about estrogen dominance, what we're not mentioning there is a lack of progesterone. And that is what is happening most of the time, is that our estrogen balance is entirely dependent on our progesterone balance. And progesterone is one of those very sensitive hormones. And if you are under a considerable amount of stress, then the overall chemical in your makeup is going to be cortisol stress hormone. And we're going to make cortisol at the expense of making progesterone. And so all of a sudden, all else being equal and your estrogen levels are what they are. But if you drop progesterone, now suddenly you're estrogen dominant. Right? Does that make sense?
Speaker 1 (20:15):
Speaker 3 (20:16):
And so for so many women, we're having that progesterone drop off earlier and earlier and earlier. And so that is one problem, right? And that is because of the way we live our lives, the stressful environments, the lack of self-care, the lack of prioritization of sleep, the lack of a nourishing diet. And I'm not just talking about food because there are, you know, secondary foods, the things that you put in your, in your mouth. More important, there are primary foods, the things that nourish you, like sunshine and relaxation and connection, and all of these things that are so essential to life that we are skipping over. We are skipping over for busyness, for blue light, for over consumption. We're just skipping over the things that nourish us. And as a result, we lower our progesterone levels, raise our cortisol levels, and then we're in this estrogen dominant can position.
Speaker 3 (21:21):
In addition to that, we talked a little bit before about xenoestrogens. These are environmental estrogens. These are things that we are literally swimming in. We are swimming in a soup of environmental estrogens. Not what is made by our ovaries, not what is made by our adrenal glands, but what is what we are coming into contact with day in and day out that acts like this toxic estrogen in our body. And it's only compounding the problem on top of, you know, our relative progesterone paucity. And so this becomes a big issue. And these xenoestrogens directly damage D n A, they can directly cause answers to form. Everyone makes cancer cells young, old, and everyone in between. And the key to not getting cancer in that, the key to not having it reach mass size is to have an intact immune system. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So an intact immune system will recognize those cancer cells in their infancy and destroy them.
Speaker 3 (22:29):
But unfortunately, so many of us are walking around relatively immunocompromised because the things that distract your immune system, the things that weaken your immune system are so prevalent and no one's talking about them, right? So Right. Just one night of poor sleep will weaken your immunity just one night. So if you making cancer cells every day and you are having prolonged lack of sleep, that's a recipe for breast cancer. And we know that. We know that people who are poor sleepers, chronic short sleepers, they are at increased risk for a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer. And so it's the environmental influence and the reason that, which is the reason why we are seeing cancer younger and younger and younger, because we're getting further and further away from our evolutionary selves. We are modern beings living on a very old gene code. We only know safety or fight and flight.
Speaker 3 (23:34):
And we are not meant to be in fight or flight for more than a few seconds. Right? We are built for coming out of the cave in the morning, encountering the Saber two tiger, and either being able to escape within seconds and being restored to normal physiology or dying. But we are not built to run away from a saber two tiger for three hours, three days, three white weeks, three months, three years. We're not built for it. And yet our world is filled with saber-tooth tigers filled with things that compromise our immunity. Because when you're running away from a saber tooth tiger, you don't need to fight off a cold. So your immune system gets shut off. But if you are constantly running away from saber two tigers, there's no opportunity for your immune system to come back online. And that is a really, really important part of disease reversal, is getting the immune system to come back online.
Speaker 3 (24:33):
And the way that you do that is you build all these foundations of health, you prioritize sleep, you cut out processed foods, you make sure that you have joyful movement, you live a connected life and you eliminate toxins. And you manage the stressors of life as best you can. You're never gonna be able to get rid of all the stress, but it's not the stress that matters, it's how you internalize the stress that matters. And so having healthy ways to manage the stressors of life only way, the only way to reverse disease and to be healthy, to get your immune system to come back online and so that you can function the way that you are supposed to function the way that you wanna
Speaker 1 (25:19):
Function. Yes, absolutely. And I just wanna comment on something you shared about the estrogen progesterone balance. Right before, when I was preparing for our interview on my phone, I get these news alerts and popped up an article that said, younger women are getting exorbitant amounts of breast cancer or something like that. And doctors don't know why. And you know, I remember a few weeks ago there was one about the side effects from taking statin drugs and low energy. And doctors are confused as to why. And I'm thinking, well, mainstream doctors are confused about these things. These, but who have, you know, a functional metabolic perspective or not confused, this is science, this is how the body works.
Speaker 3 (26:04):
So yeah. See the problem is there are tons of prescribers that are prescribing that have no idea what they're prescribing, what what it does, right? Like anyone who prescribes a statin should know that if you're gonna take away cholesterol, which is the base molecule of life, it is the molecule from which we build all our hormones, we build all our neurotransmitters. So if you're gonna take that away and take away your hormones and your neurotransmitters, what do you expect to happen? Nothing good, right? Right. And yet statins are so readily prescribed, they don't lower anyone's risk of getting heart disease. They don't lower the risk of a heart attack, increase the risk of diabetes by 63%. So what are we doing? Right? <laugh> and people like you and I, all we do is shake our heads that people are surprised by this. When if they just spent, you know, 10 minutes understanding the physiology of the drug, they would stop that.
Speaker 1 (27:05):
Yeah. And, but it's interesting because some patients, I, a woman comes to mind I met with a few weeks ago, and her doctor wanted to check her cholesterol of course, and put her on a statin. And it's really not even high. And I explained all this to her and the kind of what she was looking forward to in terms of her decreased at t p production and hormones. And she said, well, that's okay. I'm still gonna take it <laugh>. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (27:31):
Yeah. So the one like thing that the cardiologists hang onto is that statins do have a short-term anti-inflammatory effect. But I mean, you can do so much better, right? Like you can use turmeric, ginger, there are so many other ways to get those anti-inflammatory effects than a statin, which is going to deplete your coenzyme q deplete your hormones, deplete your neurotransmitters, and make you even more susceptible to diabetes while not, while not impacting your coronary disease risk. So I think when people it, it is going to take a lot of reeducation, right? Because again, this statin story is another one that's been around for a long time. And when people hear the same thing enough times, they believe it to be true. I think we would be remiss if we didn't talk about the fact that, you know, we are going to see younger and younger breast cancers, just like we're going to see infertility because we bury widely used a, let's call it a drug that seriously affected people's immune system. And Oh yeah. And we're, we're gonna see the ramifications of that over the next, at least 10 years. It could be two generations, but we're gonna see it at least over one generation. We're gonna see infertility, we're gonna see cancers. Because you can't hijack the immune system without having repercussions. You can't, you can't.
Speaker 1 (29:13):
Yeah. It's, it's unfortunate and mm-hmm <affirmative> and it is a fact. And I've actually encountered quite a few people who have all kinds of repercussions from that medication. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (29:24):
I'm seeing the, you know, six months later breast cancer diagnoses. So, and what's happening there, because you know, breast cancer's a long road, breast cancers don't develop in six months. But what happens is that because we're all making cancer cells all day, every day, an immune, an intact immune system will keep that at bay. But when you take the immune system out of it, a process which was maybe just like slowly chugging along and wasn't going to really do anything now is existing unchecked. And it's when we pull the immune system out of the picture, when we take away its ability to do its job that we see all of these disease states propping up. And breast cancer is a big one. It
Speaker 1 (30:10):
Is. And I know some women listening are thinking, oh, you know, have the recommendations for screening changed? So I'm wondering if we can talk about that. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> your thoughts on mammography, thermography and some of the o other, other technologies available. Yeah, absolutely. And absolutely. Have you changed any recommendations that you give your patients about screening?
Speaker 3 (30:32):
Yeah, absolutely. So first let's talk about the mammographic screening program because what we have today was never trialed, was never tested. It was grandfathered in. It was grandfathered in based on the studies that were done in the 1970s, the safety studies in the 1970s when we were using two D mammograms. And you know, at that time the thought was that breast cancer started small, grew to some critical mass, at which time it would become more likely to metastasize. And so if we could screen and find these cancers before they reached a critical mass, we could save lives. And it is a lovely theory, lovely, just doesn't happen to be true because breast cancer growth is neither predictable nor linear. So a breast cancer is what it is from the very start. And if it's going to be aggressive, it's going to be aggressive from the very start.
Speaker 3 (31:36):
And if it's not going to be aggressive, it's not going to be aggressive. So no matter how big those non-aggressive tumors get, those people are going to do fine almost no matter what you do. And the people with aggressive cancers, no matter how small you find them, those people are not going to be fine almost no matter what you do. And then there's everyone in between. And the mammographic screening programs around the world, many of them have been abandoned. And what we see in this country is a huge push for mammography does not save lives. It earns a lot of money. It earns an an enormous amount of money for the system, but it does not save lives. In fact, when we look at a woman over her lifetime, for every 10,000 women that you screen, you will maybe save one woman's life and you will cause breast cancers in seven of them.
Speaker 3 (32:32):
So we're gonna cause seven times more breast cancers than lives we save. And no matter how many women we screen every year, no matter how many women, the exact same number of women die of breast cancer, 43,000 women will die of breast cancer every single year, no matter how many women we screen. So we are not doing better. Screening does not save lives. That is a bell. That's a 50 year long bell. And people are convinced that mammogram is saving their life. So I want to be clear, mammogram is not saving your life. It is ionizing radiation. It is traumatic, it is definitely causing damage. The more mammograms you get, the more damage there's going to be. So there is no benefit from my perspective in using mammogram to screen. If you wanna use it to, for diagnostic purposes, if you feel something you need an an evaluation, fine.
Speaker 3 (33:28):
Take 100 milligrams of melatonin and 2000 to 4,000 milligrams of vitamin C, liposomal vitamin C one hour before your study. And that goes for any radiographic study, an X-ray, a mammogram, a CAT scan, a PET scan, a bone scan, a DEXA scan, any radiation, ionizing radiation study, CAT scan. Did I say that? I hope so. Greening with mammogram is not gonna save anyone's life. And what it is going to do is identify a bunch of cancers that may never have become meaningful, clinically relevant. So a lot of women are going to get treated for breast cancer that don't need to get treated for breast cancer. And what's gonna happen to them, the vast majority of them are going to be hormone positive. They're gonna be put on hormone blockade. And we know that radiation, chemotherapy, hormone blockade, they all accelerate heart disease, which is by far the number one threat to a woman's life.
Speaker 3 (34:28):
In fact, every decade of a woman's life, after she's 30, she will die exponentially more of heart disease than breast cancer. We should be doing every single thing we can to protect the heart. And coincidentally, if you're doing that, those same things also prevent breast cancer. So I'm all about prevention. I don't think mammogram has any role. I do use thermography and I use thermography as an indicator. So if you have a thermogram that shows increased heat, then you know this is your kind of opportunity. This is your opportunity to make sure that your health is optimized. And I believe in self-exam, but all of this is going to be a moot point in the next year or two because there is an F D A approved screening modality called QT imaging. And this is novel. This is a novel imaging technique. It is not like anything else that's out there. There is no radiation. It is painless, it is fast, it is inexpensive and it has 40 times the resolution of M R I. And it is poised to not only replace M R I, but to replace mammogram for screening. It is already F D A approved to screen dense breasts and within a year it will be F D A approved to screen everyone. So it is really the solution that has been needed for so many years in terms of screening. Great.
Speaker 1 (36:12):
Thank you so much for talking about that. 'cause We get a lot of questions on that and I think it really helps to hear it from somebody with your credentials and experience. And you've got a great new thing coming, the QT screening, so we'll wanna know more about that when it's available. Yeah. But like you said, it's all about prevention and you talked a little bit about that with stress and sleep and proper diet and the nourishment that you get from connection and living a healthy life that isn't filled with stress. And you've got a wonderful freebie for everyone, a weekly checklist. Is there anything else you'd like to say about preventing breast cancer?
Speaker 3 (36:56):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, at the end of the day, breast health is health and the things that you do to drive your overall health are the same things that are going to create healthy breast, create a healthy heart, create a healthy brain, create healthy bones, create healthy muscles, create a healthy gut. Like we are all one system working in concert. And if you, unless you pay attention to everything that makes up the symphony, you're not going to have the result that you want to have. And so it's all about the everything. And actually my book called A Smart Person's Guide to Breast Cancer was just released yesterday. And this is the place to go for the answers that you're looking for. Because I talk about prevention, I talk about what to do if you get a breast cancer diagnosis. I give you all the tools you need to understand not only the conventional modalities but also all the things that you can do for yourself. Again, the only person that can heal you is you. And health is not something that you can buy, you can't get it anywhere. You have to achieve it, you have to work for it. But in the end it's so worth it because when you have your health, that means that you are living a life worth living with. You are richly, richly rewarded for that.
Speaker 1 (38:28):
It's so true. And I always ask people, what's your most valuable asset? And people say, oh my house, usually my partner and I say, well you know, what about your health? And without your health, you don't have, you don't have a life. It's the only thing that gives you that dash on your tombstone is the time that you're here on this earth. And you, your health is of vital importance. So if you're not treating it like your most valued asset and something to invest time, energy, money in, then you're kind of missing the point. <Laugh>. Yeah. But I love what you said, the only person who can heal you is you. Yeah. I love
Speaker 3 (39:06):
That. I know you probably have your own pain to purpose story. I feel like most of us who have come to exist in this space have our own pain to purpose story. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And unfortunately my pain keeps popping up again and again and again to remind me to stay on track. But when you talk about valuing your health, I had a bout of vertigo about a week and a half ago, and it's really truly when you lose your health there, there is no greater perspective than when you lose your health. Because in that period of time you realize that there is nothing else, nothing else. When you are suffering, it is impossible to do anything else. Like you can't create, all you can do is feel and experience that pain and know that there is nothing more horrible than living in that state of pain. And you realize how valuable it is to not be that way, to not feel that way, to be able to be free to live. And I don't know why humans have to learn lessons the hard way, but we do <laugh>.
Speaker 1 (40:21):
<Laugh>. I don't know why we do. And you know, I kind of skipped over that skipped 'cause you skipped, there's so much to cover with your topic that women wanna hear about. So I was, I guess kind of anxious to get it all in. But do you wanna share, I'd love for you to share a bit about your story. I think the more that women here, people like you and me sharing our pain to purpose stories, they say, wow, they pay attention. Yeah. And they really get it on a more personal level to start taking action.
Speaker 3 (40:55):
Yeah. I've seen the abyss <laugh> more than once. You know, really, I'm in the breast cancer space very organically, so organic. Like many women, I come from a breast cancer family. And there was really never a time in my life where I didn't know about breast cancer. When I was growing up. I had a first cousin, her name was Linda Creed, and Linda was a singer songwriter in the 1970s and 1980. She wrote all the music for the spinners and the stylistics <laugh>. She wrote 54 hits in all. And her most famous song was The Greatest Love of All. She wrote that song in 1977 as the title, title track to the movie, the Greatest starring Muhammad Ali. But it really received its acclaim in March of 1986 when Whitney Houston released that song to the world. And at that time it would spend 14 weeks at the top of the charts.
Speaker 3 (41:47):
Only Linda would never know because she died of metastatic breast cancer. Just one month after Whitney released the song. And I was 16 years old and my hero died. And so that no other woman, no other family, no other community had to grieve and feel this pain. And the way that my family felt this pain, I let her life and ultimately her death, give birth to my life's purpose. And I did the only thing I knew how to do. I became a doctor, I became a surgeon. I became the first fellowship trained breast surgeon in Philadelphia. And I did that really well. And for a really long time. And you know, during my tenure, my aunt was diagnosed, my mom was diagnosed, and all the while I just continued to live in that world and thought that I was truly making a contribution. And I'm running my practice and running the cancer program for my hospital, a wife and a mother and a stepmother and an athlete and a philanthropist.
Speaker 3 (42:53):
And I have all these balls in the air and I think I'm invincible until I'm not. And I go from probably being one of the most high functioning people that you ever knew to, I can't walk across the room, I just don't have the breath in my lungs to walk across the room. And I think I'm having a heart attack. And I go to the emergency room and I have an exhaustive three day workup. And at the end of that three days, I'm sitting in the office of my friend and colleague and physician and he tells me that I need to have surgery and chemoradiation and be on lifelong medication. And despite the fact that these are things that I say all day every day to people, when the words are coming at me, it's like I'm having an out-of-body experience. And I still to this day don't know why I walked away.
Speaker 3 (43:44):
You can call it God, you can call it universe. I just couldn't reconcile it when it was about me and my doctor told me I was gonna die. And it's not that I didn't believe him. I mean the I, I told thousands of women through my career that if they didn't get treatment for their cancer, they were gonna die. So it's not that I didn't believe him, but that something said to me that there was something else. And so I went on a journey to heal myself. And it was a selfish journey. Like this was never about solving the breast cancer problem. This was about solving my problem. And I was listening to a lecture, a man named Mark Hyman walked on the stage. This was 2017. I had never heard of him. His name meant nothing to me. And he came on stage and he introduced himself as a functional medicine physician.
Speaker 3 (44:38):
And at this point I had been a doctor for like 20 years. And I was super duper cynical despite the fact that I was going against medical advice, despite the fact that I was not accepting the standard of care. But I was still super cynical. And I thought like, what is this quack talking about? There's no such thing as functional medicine. And then I remembered that I was sick. And so I checked my ego at the door tuned in and thank God I did. Because within five minutes of him speaking my entire world makes sense. And I know exactly why I got sick. I got sick so that I could be in that room on that day in that chair listening to him speak. Because not only was I not on the right path for my health, but I wasn't on the right path for my patient's health.
Speaker 3 (45:25):
And if I really wanted to leave a legacy, if I really wanted to make the impact that I wanted to make, then I needed to reframe. Because like we talked about before, all of conventional medicine is focused on the tumor. And if you focus on the tumor, that's all that's growing. So my part in the breast cancer scenario was just perpetuating the same thing. I wasn't ever interfering with why people got cancer. All I was doing was cutting out tumors, leaving them to only go on to manifest the next disease. Because unless you intervene, unless you change why someone got cancer, they're only going to manifest the next disease or have a recurrence. And so it really took my own illness and you know, three years of my life to learn functional medicine and heal and, and prove it in myself so that I could go on to prove it in my patience.
Speaker 3 (46:25):
You know, that was my opportunity and I'm not gonna pretend that my healing was easy or linear is not. And there were plenty of days where I was like, you know what? I'm just gonna die 'cause this is too hard. And then I have an amazing husband and four beautiful children and a lot to live for. And so I pushed on and in the end I'm left with something a million times more rewarding. And I am on a mission to impact the lives of millions of women who would not have otherwise had this opportunity, the opportunity to be healthy. And if I can walk with them at any part on their journey and make a difference, that's what I wanna do. That's the legacy that I wanna leave. And I could have never, ever, ever had the opportunity as a surgeon and I would've never left surgery had it not been for my own health journey. Gosh.
Speaker 1 (47:24):
So such a, a beautiful and painful story. And you know, unfortunately it was pain that had to get me back on my path too. And like you said, so much better what you've gained, thank you so much for sharing that. I know that what you've shared has really spoken to women listening and I hope that they hear from what you're saying. I used to prescribe all the drugs and the chemotherapies and the radiation and do the surgery and when it came to me, I said no and found another way. And that was what, seven years ago, right?
Speaker 3 (48:00):
Speaker 1 (48:01):
For you Jen. Seven years. Mm-Hmm.
Speaker 3 (48:03):
I actually didn't leave surgery. Right. Right away. So this journey, yes. Started seven years ago for me, but it took me some time to be able to leave. I'll tell you that of all of the things that I've done in my life and I've done a lot, I've had tremendous privilege. I mean, I really, you know, there is nothing like the privilege of being a surgeon in that God gave me this incredible ability to do what I did. And there is no greater trust than when someone goes to sleep and leaves you solely responsible for their life. Yeah. Their life. And it was amazing. And I really truly would have ever walked away from that had I not had this experience and this epiphany. But I was deeply entrenched in traditional medicine. So you know, it's not like one day the light switch flipped and I was all in.
Speaker 3 (49:05):
I did have to go back and train in functional medicine. It took three years. And you know, along the way it's belief and doubt, belief and doubt, belief and doubt. But at the end of that three years, I walked away from a position where I was highly paid, highly respected, and I was walking into the unknown working for myself for the first time in my life, I had spent my entire career as an employed surgeon walking away from very large income, of which, at least part of which was going toward supporting my family and putting my children through school. And it was a huge, huge sacrifice for me and my family at the age of 50 to start over. Huge. So that really truly was one of the most courageous things that I've ever done, is walk away from something that I was the master of to something that, you know, was completely new to me.
Speaker 3 (50:07):
And you know, thank God I did. And I'm sure you feel that same way, that thank God you did and I'm so, so, so grateful for the opportunity. I don't want to say that I am blessed by the fact that I had a near death experience because mm-hmm <affirmative> <affirmative>, you know, that's not a blessing. When I was able to see it as an opportunity, that was the turning point for me. And I think that that's an a really important message for people to know. Breast cancer sucks. Horrible. I don't wish it on anyone, but if you can, instead of seeing it as a punishment, seeing it as an opportunity, a window to something bigger and better, greater, more refined, more connected version of yourself for the people that are able to do that, it pays off. It pays off exponentially, but it's not always easy.
Speaker 3 (51:04):
And I didn't get there the first day either. I didn't even get there the first year. Like it took me a while to see my illness as opportunity. But that should be the goal. Yeah. It may not be the goal the day that you're diagnosed, but it needs to be the goal at some point. If you're going to truly overcome, if you're going to truly get healthy, it needs to be the goal at some point. And there's a large focus on that in my book. And in fact that's how my book ends, by reminding people that when they're ready, look to your why. What is the message? What is your dysfunction trying to tell you? Because we are created by God. We are perfect in machines and in a very imperfect world. And what is it that is interfering with the function of your machine? Because our bodies know how to heal, we just need to give it what it needs and take away what it doesn't. And that's where the work is. The work is in knowing what's working for you and what's not. So
Speaker 1 (52:06):
Much wisdom and brilliance and courage. And thank you for the path you've taken. I know it, it's has not been easy. And I'm so grateful to have the honor of having you on the show to tell your story and talk about such important information that women need to hear. So many women are quite afraid of breast cancer and they don't really know who to turn to. And now my followers know who to turn to, Dr. Jennifer Simmons. And I know you have a wonderful download for everyone about some things that they can start doing today to prevent themselves from not only getting breast cancer, but a lot of other diseases. Do you wanna tell 'em about it? Yeah,
Speaker 3 (52:52):
Absolutely. I mean, you know, ultimately you have so much more control than you think. And none of us need to be victims. We don't. And we can take that control now and have the health that we want, that we deserve, that we need. And so I put together a list of all of the things that you should be thinking about over the course of the week. I mean, you're not gonna be able to do everything every day, but as long as you get to it over the course of the week, that is what really is meaningful. You're not gonna be perfect. Don't strive for perfection. If you strive for perfection, all you're gonna be met with is failure. And just remember, it's what you do most that matters. So make it mostly great.
Speaker 1 (53:33):
Awesome. We'll have the link in the show notes, it's for Dr. Jen's weekly checklist and tell everyone where they can find out more about you online.
Speaker 3 (53:42):
Absolutely. So there's lots of places. My website is real health md.com and I have my own podcast called Keeping Abreast with Dr. Jen. And you can get that anywhere that you get your podcasts. I have a Facebook group if you want to follow along, ask questions. That's called Keeping Abreast with Dr. Jen. And my book is out and available. It's called The Smart Person's Guide to Breast Cancer. And if you are affected by breast cancer, if you know someone affected by breast cancer or if you are worried about breast cancer, this is the place to start. Awesome.
Speaker 1 (54:18):
Definitely go check Dr. Jen out, download her guide and just take it. Simple steps, what could you do today? And like she said, don't aim for perfection. 'cause Then when you don't reach it, then most of us, if you're like me, you say, I forget it. Just do what you can. Thank you so much, Dr. Jen. Oh,
Speaker 3 (54:39):
My pleasure. My pleasure. And don't forget to follow me on social at Dr. Jen Simmons. And my Jen has two nss.
Speaker 1 (54:46):
Yes, two Ns. She's at D RJ E n n, SS I M M O N. Ss. Thank you so much for joining us on
Speaker 3 (54:55):
The show. My pleasure. Thanks for having me. And
Speaker 1 (54:57):
Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Hormone Prescription with Dr. Kieran. I know you are inspired by Dr. Jen to make changes in your life. If she can do it, you can do it, and I'll look forward to hearing about the changes that you're making. Maybe you're just going to bed a little bit earlier, maybe you're just changing your diet. Whatever it is, tell us about it on social media. We look forward to hearing about it. I'll see you on next week's show. Until then, peace, love, and hormones, y'all.
Speaker 2 (55:30):
Thank you so much for listening. I know that incredible vitality occurs for women over 40 when we learn to speak hormone and balance these vital regulators to create the health and the life that we deserve. If you're enjoying this podcast, I'd love it if you'd give me a review and subscribe. It really does help this podcast out so much. You can visit the hormone prescription.com where we have some free gifts for you, and you can sign up to have a hormone evaluation with me on the podcast to gain clarity into your personal situation. Until next time, remember, take small steps each day to balance your hormones and watch the wonderful changes in your health that begin to unfold for you. Talk to you soon.
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