Angelina’s breasts and genetic myths

  • 24 May 2013
  • Reading time 5 mins
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One of the biggest lies in medicine today is that your disease is caused by genes. A fraction of the risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s or obesity is down to genes. For example, only 1% of Alzheimer’s can be attributed to genes. About 15% of the risk for breast cancer is inherited – and not all that inheritance is genetic. But now a company, Myriad Genetics, have found a way to own your genes and make money from them and Angelina Jolie’s PR is helping them make millions.

That’s right. Two genes that increase the risk for cancer are called BCRA1 and BCRA2. You might have heard stories about how testing for these genes can help ‘treat’ cancer. Well, Myriad Genetics have found a legal loophole to do with genes what Monsanto have done to vegetables. They have found a way to patent these genes so that, if they are taken out of your body, for example in a swab test, you have to pay them their ‘licence’ fee! Since Angelina Jolie announced she had the BCRA1 gene, and was going to remove her breasts, BCRA gene testing, licence fees and Myriad Genetics stock has gone through the roof. 

You have to watch this 2 minute film “Who owns your body?” and take action right now because there’s a big law case going on and it will determine who has the right to own your genes.

The biotech industry have invested thousands of billions of dollars and got virtually no return. Not unless they can get the rights to own your genes.

But let’s say you do have the BCRA1 or 2 gene. Does this mean you’ll get breast cancer? And how likely are you to have this gene variation?

Here’s what Natural News in the US says: “in a large room of 600 women, only ONE will likely have a BRCA mutation in her genetic code. The actual incidence is 0.125 to 0.25 out of 100 women, or 1 in 400 to 1 in 800. I used 600 as the average of 400 and 800.

And out of that 1 in 600 women who has the mutation, her risk of breast cancer is only 56 percent, not 78 percent as claimed by Jolie. But 13 percent of women without the BRCA mutation get breast cancer anyway, according to this scientific research, so the increased risk is just 43 out of 100 women.

So what we're really talking about here is 1 in 600 women having a BRCA gene mutation, then less than half of those getting cancer because of it. In other words, only about 1 in 1200 women will be affected by this.

But is removing your breasts the only thing you can do to mitigate the risk? No, because genes can be switched on and off (called gene expression) depending on what you expose your cells and genes to. Cruciferous vegetables containing Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), helps to do this. So does taking in more vitamin D. Dairy products promotes the growth of cancer cells because they raise blood levels of insulin-like growth hormone (IGF-1). My low GL diet lowers insulin and hence cancer risk. There’s lots you can do to cut risk whatever you gene profile, as I explain in Say No to Cancer.

From studies of twins the overall inheritable ‘risk’ for breast cancer is about 15% but not all this is a result of the genes you inherit. That means that 85% is down to things you can control such as your diet and lifestyle.

However, it is likely that these tests will be used to erroneously sell drugs, rather than encourage nutrition and lifestyle changes. Remember, the genes have always been there but the current 1 in 3 lifetime risk of cancer hasn't. Your great grandmother will have had the genes, but not the disease. It's changes in our diet and total environment, much more than genes, that is driving cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer, which are increasing the most rapidly. They are not increasing because people’s genes have changed. They are increasing because their diet and lifestyle has.

Also, even in 15% of cancer risk may be due to ‘inheritable’ factors, as was found in a study of 44,000 twins, that doesn’t just mean genes. Take your height, for example. In the excellent book The Science Delusion, Dr Rupert Sheldrake says “By knowing the height of your parents your height can be predicted with 80 to 90 percent accuracy. Is this genetic? There are about fifty genes associated with tallness of shortness. To their surprise, taken together, these genes accounted for only about 5 per cent of the inheritance of height. In other words the ‘height’ genes did not account for 75 to 85% of the heritability of height.” I am sure the same is true for cancer.

The hyped up status of genes, which only provide the instructions for sticking amino acids into particular orders to make protein, enzymes, hormones and so on, confers them these God-like qualities to determine your life, which disempowers you and feeds you into the money-making biotech medicine game where the doctor are the high priests, and drugs and genetic medicine the sacrament.

In truth, genes play a very small part in the health equation. The biggest part is played by you. The choices you make in relation to your diet and your lifestyle are by far the biggest piece in the equation of health, and staying free from the ravages of 21st century diseases – from Alzheimer’s to cancer.

If you’d like to find out more about what genes do and don’t do, and how to switch off the ‘bad’ ones, and switch on the health promoting ones, read my book Ten Secrets of Healthy Ageing.