Can we promote breast health and prevent breast cancer?

Is it possible that we can prevent the disease, or at least decrease the risk, by promoting breast health? I believe the answer is yes.

In order to have true physical health and well-being, you have to have a good level of emotional health. The one follows the other. When I think about breast health, I immediately think of promoting mental, emotional and psychosocial/spiritual well-being.


As a family physician, I began asking myself some 20 years ago why people get sick and how they can get well again. There had to be more to treating disease, such as breast cancer, than treating the physical. Just as we recognize the wholeness of who we are – mental, emotional, spiritual as well as physical – there is a whole disease – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical.

I discovered that when we consider the whole disease, many more options open up. When we really use what we know about ourselves – events we experienced and their impact – we discover keys to healing our life.

I discovered that when I helped my patients heal their lives, they often healed physically. In my search for answers to my questions, I discovered that there are over 35 years of experience of doctors, psychologists, and scientists revealing the most likely mental and emotional factors contributing to specific diseases, such as each specific type of cancer, MS, diabetes, heart disease, and more – from minor illness to major disease. From this body of knowledge, I have learned the most likely types of stress that contribute to breast cancer.

The most important thing I learned is the following : to have good breast health, healthy relationships, especially within the family home are key.

Here are some questions to ask yourself and reflect upon.

  1. How well connected do you feel to members of your family? – partner, children, siblings, parents, close friend, or anyone you consider part of your home nest
  2. How well do you feel you can express your love and receive love with those in your home nest?
  3. Do you hold any strong concern for someone leaving you or for the integrity of relationships between family members?
    for a major relationship coming apart? For example between you and your partner, between father and son.
  4. Do you have concerns for the survival or future well-being of anyone in your family nest? For example a serious illness for a child or your partner, a concern for your child’s future career because of failed exams or criminal record.
  5. What patterns in relationships may you be carrying over from early childhood and your experience in your family of origin? As much as we may consciously want healthy change, there are hidden unconscious stresses that stem from early emotional programming and result in unconscious coping reactions.

Remember it is not only what happens to you but more importantly how you respond to what happens to you that determines the impact of any stress.

The very best advice I can give any woman (or man) for good breast health is to develop good relationship health, especially with those close to you that mean the most to you – your family. Take workshops, or get private counselling if you feel you need it, to learn about yourself and grow yourself emotionally.

Take responsibility for your own personal well-being rather than expect a relationship to improve when the other person does the work of ‘changing’. Complaining and blaming others or circumstances will hold you back from healthy change. You have to be the change that you want to see in your relationships and in your life. You are the power to create your happiest and healthiest you.

Finally, and most importantly, the key to relationship health is developing the resilience and personal resources to survive breakups and challenges in relationships that are an inevitable part of life. As we develop these personal skills, challenges become breakthroughs and we can grow in compassion for ourselves and others and that is the true source of our healing.

Important – Although I have been a physician for over 30 years, the views expressed in this article are not representative of mainstream Western Medicine. If you have diagnosis of breast disease, be sure to seek medical advice and care.

Nelie C Johnson, MD (retired)