In this New York Times article, A-list actress Angelina Jolie bravely announced that she made the tough decision to undergo elective bilateral mastectomy after her doctors warned her that she has an 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of getting ovarian cancer because her mother died of breast cancer and she carries the BRCA1 gene. While I fully support Angelina’s right to write The Prescription for herself, and while I admire her courage to go public with what some might hide, as an OB/GYN physician with a passion for mind-body medicine, this breaking news concerns me for a variety of reasons.

The Nocebo Effect

In Chapter 2 of Mind Over Medicine, I share the scientific data about “the nocebo effect,” the opposite of the placebo effect, when we think something will harm our health – and it does. In one case study, a man was misdiagnosed with cancer and told he would only live 3 months. He died exactly 3 months later and was found to have no cancer on autopsy.

In another case study that is the stuff of fairy tales, a woman born on Friday the 13th in the Okefenokee Swamp near the Georgia-Florida border was one of three girls delivered that day by a midwife, who proclaimed that all three girls, born on such a fateful day, were hexed. The first, she announced, would die before her 16th birthday.  The second would not survive her 21st. And the patient in question was told she would die before her 23rd birthday.

As it turns out, the first two girls died within one day of their 16th and 21st birthdays. The third woman, terrified that she would die on her 23rd birthday, showed up at the hospital the day before her birthday, hyperventilating.  Soon afterward, just before she turned 23, she died, proving the midwife’s predictions correct. This is an extreme example of the nocebo effect, when fear-based thoughts about your health can actually kill you.

“Medical Hexing”

In his book Spontaneous Healing, Dr. Andrew Weil argues that physicians may unwittingly engage in what he calls “medical hexing.” When we pronounce patients with “chronic,” “incurable,” or “terminal” illnesses, we may be programming their subconscious minds with negative beliefs and activating stress responses that do more harm than good. What proof do we have that they will not be one of the case studies who winds up in the Spontaneous Remission Project, having been cured of a so-called “incurable” illness?

By labeling a patient with a negative prognosis and robbing a patient of the hope that cure might be possible, we may ultimately prove the poor prognosis we have bestowed upon our patient correct. Wouldn’t we be better off offering hope and triggering the mind to release health-inducing chemicals intended to aid the body’s self-repair mechanisms?

Is it really healthy for any of us to know that we might have an 87% risk of any illness? Do we really want to poison our minds with such fear-based thoughts that then force us to make decisions about whether or not we will electively cut off perfectly healthy body parts?

The Slippery Slope of Elective Surgery

Once we start surgically removing healthy body parts, it’s a slippery slope. Should we cut out appendixes and gallbladders in babies, since appendicitis and gallbladder disease can kill you? Should we cut out uteri and ovaries after childbearing, since all they’re doing is waiting to get cancer? Should we cut off all moles because some could become melanomas?

How is it that we live in a culture where barbaric surgeries – like elective bilateral mastectomy as prevention for breast cancer – have become not only normalized, but even recommended?

When We Live In Fear, We Predispose Ourselves To Illness

To live in fear of what might happen only triggers stress responses in the body. And as I teach in Mind Over Medicine, the body has natural self-repair mechanisms that can kill cancer cells, fight infection, repair broken proteins, and retard aging. But they ONLY work if the nervous system is relaxed. When the amygdala in your primal lizard brain is threatened – as it would be if anyone told you that you have an 87% risk of getting cancer – your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms are going to deactivate. And when this happens, you’re at risk not only of breast cancer but of other illnesses.

The Risks of Genetic Testing

Should Angelina Jolie have undergone BRCA testing? There’s no simple answer to this. Angelina Jolie might carry the breast cancer gene, but that in no way guarantees that she will get breast cancer. While the presence of the BRCA gene – and her family history of breast cancer – may statistically put her at an 87% risk of breast cancer, there is no way to know whether she will be one of the 87% who get sick or one of the 13% who remains healthy. But what we do know from the scientific literature is this—what you believe about your health is likely to come true.

Your body is your business, and you are the guardian of your mind, so it’s your responsibility to be careful what kinds of thoughts you put into your brain.

We Are Not Victims Of Our Genes

Epigenetic research proves to us that environmental influences, including hormonal factors that are affected by your thoughts, beliefs, and feeling, affect how your genes express themselves.

Your genetic code is like a blueprint that can be interpreted in millions of different ways. Before the Human Genome Project, biologists assumed that we would have at least 120,000 genes, one gene for every protein made in the body. We now know that each of those 25,000 genes can express itself in at least 30,000 ways via regulatory proteins that are influenced by environmental signals. Studies have even shown that environmental factors can override certain genetic mutations, effectively changing how the DNA is expressed. These altered genes can even be passed down to offspring, allowing the offspring to express healthier characteristics, even though they still carry the genetic mutation.

Few diseases result from a single gene mutation. Less than 2% of diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s chorea, and beta-thalassemia, result from a single faulty gene, and only about 5% of cancer patients can attribute their diseases to heredity.  Scientists are now learning that the genome is far more responsive to the environment of the cell – especially the hormonal environment created by our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings – than we once thought. (Yes, how you think can change how your DNA expresses itself!)

The study of epigenetic control is revolutionizing how the medical community thinks about genes. We used to think that some people were blessed with “good genes,” while others were cursed with what some in the medical community insensitively refer to as “piss poor protoplasm.” But we need not be victims of our DNA.

BRCA Testing

Angelina Jolie might be a BRCA1 carrier, but that doesn’t mean she need be a victim of her genes either. She may feel she has made an empowering choice to be proactive about breast cancer prevention – and more power to her.  I respect and honor her body wisdom and intuition and greatly admire her willingness to speak her truth.

But I worry that other women with family histories of breast cancer will now rush out to get BRCA testing, and if they test positive, they will follow her lead and undergo potentially unnecessary and possibly dangerous elective surgery. I sincerely hope others think twice before undergoing genetic testing that will put them in the difficult position of having to choose between their breasts and their peace of mind.

But as always, I know that you know your body better than any doctor does – and only you can know what’s right for you.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

PS. I have a new gift for you that just arrived today! You can now download your FREE Self-Healing Kit, which includes a guided self-healing meditation I recorded with musician Karen Drucker, the 10 Secrets To Healing Yourself e-book, the Diagnosis Journal, a Prescription Pad, and other goodies at

P.P.S. If you’ve read Mind Over Medicine, I’d be super duper grateful if you’d post a review here on Amazon.

With only good thoughts about health,

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  1. In all honesty I think she was ignorant and her doctors are idiots, who knows down the road in her life cures may be found for breast cancer, we already have drugs for this. A perfect example of a woman putting her life in the hands of doctors and science instead of taking charge of her own health.

  2. This has to be my favorite post of yours. Specifically because it’s sure to drop a few jaws and make for a controversial debate. But the notion that we’d engage in such victim-like behavior at the ‘chance’ that something might happen seems like a medically-induced fear tactic. Now I’m in no place to judge, as I haven’t come up against that decision, but it seems to be creating a whole host of dangerously elective surgeries for women that may never have those genes “turned on”.

    • Actually, I see it as exactly opposite. Instead of being a victim, why not be proactive? The “chance” you speak of in Angelina Jolie’s case, was determined to be 87% of a breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis. Medically-induced fear tactic? Really? You are right however, about one thing. You are in no position to judge. This is an individual choice that women need to make and there should be no judgement involved at all.

  3. Whoa there. I am shocked and greatly disappointed in this treatise. I used to have great respect for you and your refreshing viewpoint. I do agree with alot of it. But to say: “How is it that we live in a culture where barbaric surgeries – like elective bilateral mastectomy as prevention for breast cancer – have become not only normalized, but even recommended?”
    This sets us back. What an ignorant, narrow minded,barbaric comment. Women who do their research and make the painful and often agonizing decision to have preventative surgery should be applauded. What a brave thing to do. Mastectomy’s themselves used to be called barbaric and women would think of their bodies as mutilated. Often women who chose mastectomy over the lumpectomy-radiation-tamoxifen protocol are choosing the lesser of evils. Have you studied the effects of radiation and tamoxifen vs the effects of mastectomy? Have you weighed the pros and cons? The pros (in most cases) FAR outweigh the cons. It is just stigma of it we have to deal with. Of course each woman must look at her own case and make the decision for herself. But it becomes very difficult to see the truth when society is shaming them and calling it a barbaric surgery.
    Shame on you.

    • I’m sorry you feel this way Julie. I’m in no way suggesting people with breast cancer shouldn’t get mastectomies! And as an OB/GYN, yes, I’m fully aware of the pros/cons of the other options you discuss. And I’m not even saying Angelina Jolie shouldn’t have made the educated choice to do whatever she chooses to do with her own body.

      As a big fan of Brene Brown’s work, I will ask you, however, not to shame anyone who comments on this blog, including me. We all have a right to our own opinions in a shame-free environment. You too. And I honor you for sharing yours.

    • Please troll down to my comments that show unequivocally that ANY form of surgical intervention, or any other for that matter, are TOTALLY unnecessary, BRCA mutation or no. Surgeons are all too quick to use the knife, after all that’s what employs them. Now I know that it must be very painful for someone to have had a mastectomy and find out that it was totally unnecessarily but that doesn’t change the facts.

      A BRCA mutation is only PERMISSIVE of breast cancer NOT a determinant, There is still the p53 tumor repressor which is above BRCA in the hierarchy. There have to to be other negative factors present, ie liver pathology causing high blood concentrations of estradiol (estrogen) as the liver is the PRIMARY site of estradiol deactivation.

      Then there is HYPOXIA cause by constriction of blood vessels
      supplying the breasts due to STRESS, the very stress of having the bone pointed, ie the NOCEBO effect. So estradiol as the PROMOTER and hypoxiaas the INDUCER, thereby satisfying BOTH criterion for cancer. The problem is convincing someone of this so that their stress is eliminated.

    • Hi Julie

      As a belief-systems specialist, I believe Lissa has spoken from a broader historical context, in that in decades (centuries?) to come — when our culture has evolved with a deeper understanding of the holodynamic (systems) processes of life — the idea of needing elective bilateral mastectomy surgery will indeed seem ‘barbaric’.

      The body is a wonderful self-healing system, and cancer is not “normal” or even genetically predetermined. Scientists have only recently discovered neuroplasticity. Just wait till our culture finds an even deeper “physioplasticity” and that mind can move (in principle) mountains (just not yet in practice).

      Lissa is just a little bit ahead of her time. And as we know from historical accounts, many who are (ahead of their time) receive condemnation of the mass populace of the time.

      It has always been thus.

  4. From the left brain. Even John Hopkins wrote on this. MYTH: If I tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, I must have a bilateral mastectomy.

    FACT: Women with a BRCA mutation do have an increased risk of having a second breast cancer and many do choose to have bilateral mastectomies as a preventive measure. However having a BRCA mutation does NOT mean that you have to get a mastectomy. Women with a BRCA mutation are still good candidates for breast-conserving therapy and many choose this for their breast cancer treatment. Women with a BRCA mutation and any residual breast tissue need to be followed closely and are advised to have enhanced breast cancer screenings.
    MYTH: If I’ve had a mastectomy, I cannot have a breast cancer recurrence.

    FACT: Undergoing a bilateral mastectomy drastically reduces your chances of breast cancer recurrence since almost all of your breast tissue has been removed. There is a very small chance that residual breast tissue or cancer cells could recur on the chest wall. That is why it is important to continue with self-breast exams; see your doctor on a regular basis for examinations; and report any breast changes to your doctor.

    If you have undergone a lateral (one-sided) mastectomy, you are still at risk for developing breast cancer on the other side. A yearly mammogram of the remaining breast is important to detect any potential breast changes. In general, no form of breast imaging will be recommended after a bilateral mastectomy—with or without reconstruction.

    Note: Having a mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy does not reduce your risk of developing a cancer recurrence elsewhere in your body.

    • You speak truth Gregory!

    • Again, knowledge is power. All women who undergo mastectomy are also given that information. Of course they know that they are not completely safe from a recurrence of breast cancer or that they could still have a diagnosis of cancer anywhere else in their body. This is a no-brainer and yes, they are informed of this. The alternatives you list are, of course, options that women may choose in this situation. Again, we don’t know for sure what her genetic predisposition is. We weren’t there for her genetic counseling. We can only respect her decision based on her own situation. Why is that so difficult to understand?

      • Robin, I only know Lissa through the blog & Daily Flame, but I’m going to dare to speak for her here. She *does* respect Ms. Jolie’s decision, and applauded her courage in announcing it.(footnote)

        I think what Dr. Rankin fears, and I agree with her, is that too many women will be unduly influenced by her fame in making their OWN decisions. This happens, and in some of those cases women may make Ms. Jolie’s decision when, FOR THEM, it would have been the wrong one.

        My jaw dropped when I read Ms. Jolie’s op-ed, and my respect soared for her courage. But I do understand entirely Dr. Rankin’s point here: people need to KNOW that the emotions and the mind affect their health, and thus should affect their choices.

        (footnote) Announcing the fact that she’d had the surgery probably spiked the guns of all the tabloids who *would* have sniffed out the surgery and pawed it over for months in their slimy rags.

    • Thank you for saying what I never heard mentioned in the media that her choice for life and health doesn’t stop what it is she’s trying to avoid.

    • Exactly – choosing to cut off parts of ourselves in which we invest fear-based thinking doesn’t stop that very same fear-based thinking from popping up someplace else!!! But our culture, and the media, doesn’t have the attention to think that far…

      • Based on the theory that the fear mindset is what causes the cancer, if someone fears breast cancer and so lops of their breasts, then, theoretically, they wouldn’t get the cancer since they no longer have the fear (correctly or incorrectly).

  5. As much as I want to, I just can’t get behind your theories here. I’m sure Angelina Jolie got genetic counseling. There was probably more to this story than was reported and I think you know that. I believe women (or anyone) should have as much information as possible as to their health. What you are saying is that information (or knowledge) is dangerous. Wow…that sounds just like what my surgeon told me after my ovarian cancer diagnosis when I was trying to become more knowledgeable about what I was dealing with. He’d rather keep me in the dark and make my decisions for me. Sorry, that doesn’t fly these days. Knowledge is not dangerous. You’re treading on really thin ice when you tell women that their future health is all in their minds. Believe it or not, you can be both knowledgeable and mindful about your health. Being proactive is not a bad thing.

    • From a outsider looking in, being proactive is good thing. The problem
      is a little bit of knowledge is dangerous if you not mindful of your choices.
      Your the one who has to live with your choices not the counselor or the doctor.
      Be wise in choice and don’t get tied up in outcome.

      • If you are referring to breast cancer or ovarian cancer as the outcome, then yes, I would say you should look at the possible outcome. Women should be informed and knowledgeable and SHOULD RECEIVE GENETIC COUNSELING. After that, they should decide for themselves whether or not to have prophylactic mastectomy or hysterectomy. I don’t see this as fear based, as much as being proactive. I am an ovarian cancer survivor but I do not have the BRCA gene. I know many ovarian cancer survivors (and many who have died) who do however. Angelina Jolie’s mother died of ovarian cancer. She made a personal choice after witnessing that and becoming knowledgeable about her own risk. I really applaud her for that but mostly I applaud her for going public with it. When you start saying that knowledge is dangerous, in my opinion, you are taking a giant step backwards.

        • Robin it appears that you are on a mission to insinuate that people posting here are trying to suppress information from others. You are on a slippery slope my friend, step back from the ledge. We’re all here to learn and share, no one is suppressing; we’re exchanging idea’s. People have the right to express their thought’s, experience’s and feeling’s about this particular topic. Obviously you have a particular idea about genetic testing. I do not agree that we need genectic testing because it may be flawed and there are so many other more important factors to consider which have already been stated quite plainly as well as many that have not. And I hate to say this, but there are “plants” from the medical industry posting like crazy pretending to be “one of us”. So, I don’t take what you or anyone supporting this type of self mutilation seriously; agenda’s are all about.

          • You say people have the right to express their thoughts, experiences and feelings and then reference someone who may have a 9 in 10 statistical chance of getting cancer’s choice to have a mastectomy as “self-mutilation,” which to me sounds condescending and disrespectful.

    • With all due respect, I’m not in any way suggesting that knowledge is dangerous or that we should revert to some Dark Ages, paternalistic “Don’t worry your pretty little head over it, ma’am” way of being. I’m certain she got genetic testing- and made an informed decision she has every right to make. And none of us have any right judging any individual woman’s personal choice.

      What I’m suggesting is that, at the rate medical technology is advancing, we will one day have access to infinite amounts of information about our health. We could get our fetuses tested for BRCA- and choose to terminate the pregnancy if they are positive. For that matter, we could get our infants tested to see what diseases they are predisposed to throughout their lifetime- and raise them fully informed about their genetic predispositions. But based on what I’ve learned, this kind of knowledge is poison for our bodies. I’m not suggesting we should bury our heads in the sand and deny all knowledge. I’m just saying we need to be fully aware of the cans of worms we are opening when start doing things like ordering genetic testing or full body MRI’s that are likely to find a whole slew of “incidentalomas” that require surgery to determine whether or not they are cancer.

      More is not always better…

      • Lissa…as I’m sure you are aware, genetic testing is always done along with genetic counseling – or should be. We don’t know exactly what Angelina Jolie learned with her genetic counseling. She has stated that she learned that her risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer is 87%. We don’t know how they came to that determination. They don’t just tell you “You’re Brca1 or 2 positive – go have a mastectomy”. These decisions are carefully made according to the testing, the counseling and the woman’s personal choice. To say that genetic testing (and especially brca testing) opens up a can of worms is like saying too much knowledge is dangerous. I’m not advocating genetic testing for everyone or scans for everyone. I agree there are a lot of unnecessary surgeries and unnecessary treatments. I also believe there are a lot of uninformed doctors and patients and not enough knowledge about certain diseases and that is why too many women are dying of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed ovarian cancer. These women are for the most part, completely unaware of their risk of this disease or of the disease itself when it manifests in an obvious way. Yet they do have it. And they die from it. Why is that?

        • Yes, I know genetic counseling is routine for genetic testing, and the counseling in my experience is very unbiased and supportive of the patient’s right to be fully informed. I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t seek genetic counseling or testing. I just want people to fully think through the consequences of such choices, given that the options available when tests are positive are far from perfect…

          • Do u agree that the figure of 87% is based on a limited sample of people who either can afford the costs of BRCA easily, or are so fearful that they would put up the cost for testing. Those who are fear driven to the BRCA tests may have already cause mutation in their genes due to stress hormones/psychoneuroimmunology mechanisms. One day when the BRCA test becomes much cheaper, less fearful persons will undergo the test and the 87% may drop to 17%?

          • That’s a GREAT question I hadn’t thought of. Thanks for getting my mind whirring again…

            Much love

          • I believe that breast cancer grows for a REASON ie to take over the role of the liver in deactivating estrogen (as estradiol), when the liver is malfunctioning. High concentrations of estrogen in the bloodstream are toxic, eg causing osteoporosis. Target tissue for hormones, eg breast for estrogen, must ALSO deactivate the hormone, something endocrinologists don’t even think about, after all it can’t just go into the cell and hang about

            Early ductal cell carcinomas have up to 1,000 times more estrogen receptors in their cells. This means there MUST be 1,000 times more enzymes that deactivate estradiol to estrone and estriol, the inactive form. !,000 times more capacity to deactivate estradiol in each cell times hundreds of times more cells and thus there is a greatly expanded capacity to deactivate estradiol than normal ductal tissue, therefore giving the liver a much needed respite.

            Trouble is the CLINICAL cancer is driven so hard that it goes backward or dedifferentiates to the point where the estradiol receptors DISSAPPEAR to be replaced by HER2 which is also amplified in number so that the tumor is no longer Tamoxifen responsive and no longer deactivates the estradiol. Thus ANOTHER tumor must grow to compensate, ie in the other breast.

            Now this process of tumorogenesis and dedifferentiation needs a number of GUIDED mutations as it progresses whilst some are random due to the tumor being driven so hard, lack of antioxidant protection due to dietary deficiencies etc.

            Thus breast cancer is merely the SYMPTOM of liver disease or malfunction. Cytotoxic chemo destroys liver cells, thus just making the problem worse. You might kill all of the tumors and die from osteoporosis.

            Cortisol activates retrotransposons or reverse transcription jumping genes, relatives of HIV which appear to bring about the amplification of the genes associated with both receptors and enzymes whilst adrenalin constricts the blood vessels supplying the breast and creating oxygen shortage or HYPOXIA which is the MAJOR inducer of cancer. Both STRESS hormones.

            Estradiol is the PROMOTER whilst HYPOXIA is the INDUCER. All purely hypothetical of course but based on the KNOWN facts.

          • Or maybe many who get the testing are
            those who have had several close family members die of similar cancers?

        • I went with my parents to all of their doctor visits for years before they passed and experienced first-hand the “statistics” that doctors embrace in their practice of medicine dealing with older patients. In support Lissa’s position of the death sentence doctors give people when they quote statistics or impose a timeline, I was with my father at his urologist appointment when he was 86 years old. They were getting ready to do a procedure to remove his overgrown prostate and the doctor was explaining that “statistically at your age it is more than 80% likely that you will have prostate cancer”. I stopped him right there and confronted him asking him why he would say such a thing to a patient?! Did he not realize that he was planting a seed in a person’s mind that this would happen? Wouldn’t it be better to just discuss the procedure and go from there? There was no indication that there was cancer. He prostate had overgrown so much (because of poor monitoring by this urologist) that he had kidney failure because his bladder backed up into his kidneys. I digress. My father was hard of hearing, so I don’t know if he actually heard what the doctor said. The doctor continued to say “well, statistically, blah, blah, blah” and didn’t care what I way saying. My father had NO cancer cells whatsoever! So, how real are these statistics, and how much of this is a self-fulfilling prophecy? I know from my own experiences that what I tell myself each day 100% influences the outcome, positively or negatively. The mind control the body, not the other way around. It’s a huge disservice to quote statistics or assign a timeline to any illness or disease. We need more doctors like Lissa out in the field offering a different, more enlightened viewpoint. Most doctors are using ideas that are 50 years old.

          • It is a legal obligation for doctors to tell patients about medical statistics, as the law regard the human right to be informed very important. And our legal and medical system (shared medical decision making model arising from legal pressure, McWhinney 1984) regard patients having a stressed mind arising from disease is perfectly normal, and a stressed mind is free to choose. Within a few years the average patients get stressed from western doctors and go to eastern doctors using alternative ceremonies to pacify their mind, leading to the NACCM’s formal research about alternative therapy in 1990..

          • Perhaps there needs to be more training in HOW to deliver the information so that the patient remains feeling empowered and in control allowing their Inner Wisdom to provide the solution.

            Unfortunately, many people don’t know how powerful their own mind is and put total trust in their doctor (also a human that may not know their power). Words have great power to influence if the recipient is oblivious to their inner knowingness.
            Basically we have been conditioned to ‘buy’ from the person that does the best job of selling their ‘story/belief’. All who have an opinion here have bought into someone else’s sales pitch unless they have accessed their inner wisdom and found their own truth.

          • Trouble is the doctor relies on the researcher and the researcher is totally ignorant of what causes ANY cancer, whilst having a vested interest in NOT finding a cure as that would put him out of a job.

          • Our medical system works mainly on the pathogenesis model where we look for pathogens using microscopic in the old days and now still look for material cause of disease. Psychogical reasons are never any formal reason for any disease according to specialists, although the evidence in recent years is compelling.

            Problems lies less in how the information is delivered by doctors who are obliged to tell the worst scenario because of the right to know, and patients are often under stress and they tend to selectively listen to negative information. Negative thinkers focus on negative. Patients are already programmed by our medical system framed under the material model, even before they are sick or before they see any doctor. Doctors and patients are programmed by our system to look for disease and it’s material cause.

      • here, here!

      • Eisntein said Imagination is more important than knowledge. I do conclude that knowledge can be dangerous because partial truth can be as misleading as untrue statement according to a Judge in UK called Lord Mustill. Knowledge is power, Imagination is destiny. This is my motto. Power can be destructive obviously if biased. However we live in a world where everybody got only partial truth , that we should widen our view by thinking outside the physical box of medicine.

  6. Now from the right brain. I do believe in the Nocebo effect. Having a mastectomy
    might give women a false sense of security. At the root of the word responsibility is ‘to respond’. So how you respond is your responsibility. Namaste’

    • Why would having a mastectomy give women a false sense of security? they are told very clearly that they still have a small risk of their cancer recurring or having cancer in another area of the body. There is a lot of misinformation here.

  7. The power of the words that healers speak- physicians, nurses, caregivers of all kinds has immense power. It is an enormous responsibility and honor to speak to patients. It seems it may be one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century to straddle knowledge/science (BRCA “kinds” of data etc) with the “art” of practicing medicine- how you speak with the patient about the information that has been generated. As a physician, its been my observation that the greatest practitioners of this art are tapped into something beyond lab tests and scans.

  8. I thought the EXACT same thing Lissa. I too wrote about the Nocebo effect in my doctoral dissertation and began studying epigenetics ever since Bruce Lipton talked about it years ago. Angelia made the best decision based on the information available to her, but the reality is, as you said her Mom died of ovarian cancer, so should she have also had her ovaries removed? My hope is that the future of medicine will provide patients with all the options before they make such life changing decisions. We are not victims of our heredity, and I wish they would use the word Thriver instead of Survivor. IF and when we are given all the facts and not swayed because of the fear or possibility that sometime, somewhere in the future we might develop a tumor, then we can write the best prescription for our body. What about thermography to monitor any inflammation in her breast tissue, and use that as a tool as well in her preventative program? How about her environmental stressors, diet, as there are many different variables in the development of cancer cells including her beliefs which include fear. Thank you Lissa for writing this, I have been thinking about this all day since the news broke. You are an advocate for all of us to write our own Rx and I am excited about entering your program next year. Keep up the good work.

    ~ Linda McCarthy Ph.D

    • Linda,
      All of the mechanism of (Larmarkian) BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION are found in, of all things, CANCER. Energetics is mainly about genes being turned on and off, not how they arose in the first place. That’s the province OF CANCER, as outrageous as that may seem. (I’m feeling outrageous as my posts are being totally ignored.)

  9. Get a surgery now and greatly decrease your risk for breast cancer OR, wait ’til breast cancer inevitably comes up for her (87%! I wish I could uppercase numbers! That is FREAKING HUGE…not a trifling statistc! If someone said you’d have an 87% chance of getting in a wreck in your car today, would you honestly get in your car?), and then undergo radiation, chemo, AND surgery??

    Angelina Jolie is a smart cookie!

    • Leah…you’re right. And bottom line – it was her decision. To judge anyone based on a personal decision they make about their body is both narrow minded and mean spirited.

  10. Excellent text! Unfortunately it requires a change in the thinking paradigm to be fully understood. It is about living life when it actually happens, instead of living by the fear of what it could be. Negative prognosis, no matter how big the number, is not reality. If only we human beings were not so uncomfortable with “not knowing”. “I only know that I know nothing”, says the wise man. Congrats on your website, it is ahead of its time, but one day everyone will get it! Hopes are high.

    • Funny you should write this Deyse. I’m actually rereading Eckhart Tolle’s brilliant The Power of Now. And you’re right, in the Now, Angelina Jolie simply did not have breast cancer…We can make ourselves crazy trying to prevent scary things that might happen in the future. But if we can stay in the present moment, we can make clear choices about what is right in front of us.

      • The problem with that kind of thinking is that sometimes, if you wait for cancer to be NOW, it’s too late.

        • the point is, you wait for nothing. Living fully, wholly, freely in the now, means you are nowhere but now, not living in a fearful future scenario. In this way, the body and all of its components, cell structure, chemicals, function and grow in a very different way.

          • Hi Lesley

            I advise people to recognise the untruths in world-views, and to expand their understanding.

            For example, your “Living fully, wholly, freely in the now, means you are nowhere but now …” is imbued with certain assumptions which I believe are false. Specifically, no one has defined “now” and in physics, as Einstein noted, past, present and future occur at-once, in an unlimited “now” that includes all times. So “now” includes you in the future. And via the experimental and theoretical proof of nonlocality (at-once connections) you are (in a sense) “everywhere at once” as well.

            The question that becomes pertinent is “which you” are you in the future, and where are you in the future. If you’re exactly where you want to be, wonderful.

            As for living freely – we all live within systems that constrain our behaviours and abilities. This is good and necessary, for otherwise we’d not be able to make choices that congeal infinite possibility into lived, finite, limited actuality. In other words, no one is perfectly “free”. By providing “downward causation” the system (world, universe) within which we live limits our choices sufficient for us to get on with our “limited” but wonderful lives.

          • Worry and fear for the sake of worry and fear are not productive, but worry and fear in this moment can often move people to prevent some pretty horrific situations in future moments.
            I understand your perspective and honestly appreciate its valid points; however, if we always just concerned ourselves with the present moment, we would never do anything preemptive to prevent pain, harm, stress, death, etc. There is unproductive worrying and fear that does nothing but cause us the harm you reference, and there is also worrying and fear which often serves to protect us.
            For example, if I did absolutely nothing but sit here and worry about my house flooding in an impending storm, I would worry myself sick and it would still flood… or I could turn that worry into action and then do the necessary work with the sandbags to prevent the flooding (as well as all of the harm and stresses that come with the aftermath of a flood).

            If we all always just lived in the present moment, I don’t think any of us would live very long.

        • What, too late for a total remission.

    • I’ve thought a lot about this, but I just don’t believe everyone has the ability to, or even wants to, spend their time working towards acceptance, or ‘not knowing’. I just would NOT have it in me to have the worry hanging over me… I’d be sick with fear over leaving my kids most of all. I’d have done what Angelina did – have a mastectomy – and I’d have it in a heartbeat. That would give me the freedom and peace to live a life without fear… the chances of breast cancer ARE less without breast tissue and that would be the right call for me.

  11. Wow, am I glad to hear another voice on this. There seems to be a chorus of approval in the NY Times for the idea of prophylactic bilateral mastectomy as a way to prevent breast cancer (for those with genetic mutations). Whether to do this is of course a very personal choice, and I don’t pass judgment on Angelina Jolie or anyone else who chooses it. But I can tell you that when my mother learned she was a carrier of the BRCA1 mutation, and I began to consider my own risk and my options, I found the suggestion to surgically remove healthy body parts extreme to say the least. I thought surely the medical establishment would be able to offer gentler choices at some point.
    Well, that was 13 years ago, and I am still waiting. I have since begun to question whether Western medicine, with all its lifesaving technologies in case of accident or diagnosis of disease, has much to offer in the way of prevention at all.
    I do believe we CAN be proactive, no matter what our genetic status, and there are certain preventive actions we can take, short of a risky, expensive surgery. I happened to have written about this just last week on MindBodyGreen (8 Easy Ways To Be Proactive About Your Breast Health). I wrote that piece with Mother’s Day in mind. My mother survived her breast cancer, which was a DCIS to which she responded by undergoing a bilateral mastectomy, but died of ovarian cancer 20 years later at the age of 61.
    A mother myself, I know that any mother wants to do what she can to preserve her health and ensure she will be around to see her children grow up. But it is simply unacceptable if the options are presented as: endure massive surgery for a disease you do not (yet?) have, or succumb to the near certainty that not only will you contract the disease, but you will die of it.
    Tough situation, tough choices, AJ is obviously a tough woman and I respect her. But I would not make the same choice.

    • I agree. No place for judgment for ANY woman, especially one brave enough to come out so publicly regarding something so personal. I fully support Angelina Jolie in her right to do whatever she chooses with her body- and to speak her truth publicly. I just want to be a voice for the other side of the argument so women with family histories of breast cancer are fully informed about their choices, the risks of genetic testing, the risks of surgery, and the consequences of making these kinds of choices.

      • Thank you for being that voice Lissa, it’s good to hear!

      • Only those who successfully go thru the series of surgeries will come out to speak. As a doctor, I estimate that there may a mortality risk of death of major residual complication of at least one in a thousand for each major operation like total mastectomy and reconstruction afterwards. Thus she might have one in few hundred chance of death or major residual problem which she escaped as predicted by statistics. Do u think, purely on physical grounds, that it Is rational to take this immediate risk for some future problem which may happen and which may only require a lumpectomy? Doctors usually only said that the operation risk is small, true, but still a solid figure.

        My conclusion is that she is primed all along by the medical knowledge, and driven by her childrens’ constant worry about whether they will lose their mother anytime, that she sacrifice her physical health in exchange for her childrens’ mental health, also for peace of her own mind. A form of altruism whereby the children are not in physical danger but prolong psychological stress.

    • Totally agree. I respect her decision, it’s her body/life but I would not have made the same choice. My Mom did have breast cancer and I was faced with having to make this decision (directly after birthing my son and was actively breastfeeding him) and there was never any doubt, I wasn’t going to have it done unless I had breast cancer! I’m all for preventative holistic care, but this (in my opinion) is going too far. I’m afraid of the same thing Lissa mentioned, women will run to have the test and then straight to have their breasts removed. There are serious mental and physical complications with this procedure, I’ve watched my Mom deal with them for about 3 years now!

    • I think you are right Elisa a tough decision, a tough woman, but not one I would have made.

  12. I can see the logic of it within a limited range of understanding. But the power of the mind, of belief and intent is by far the more potent healing force. Alignment with ONENESS/WHOLENESS is key. Things don’t come out of the blue, they come out of the oblivious. If a fear of cancer is given energy, removing the breasts does not remove the belief and cancer will find a way to appear if the person has given energy to it. Remember the body follows the mind and E = mc2. Matter and energy are in relationship.
    Focusing on, positive images, visualizing and affirming wellness, wholeness, shining radiant healthy body is the way to manifest it. I am the creator of my reality.
    This is my belief.

    ” According to your belief shall you be healed..”

    ” A man’s not what he thinks he is, but what he THINKS, he IS…! “

    • And who is paying for these” predisposed” procedures? insurance companies? i’m sure no one in my neighborhood could afford the testing let alone the procedures-so what’s that say?

    • Well said Shenzi.

      Yes, it’s prudent to see things within a broader context. Unfortunately most don’t (see my earlier reply, regarding “physioplasticity”. In my work I explain in detail how that process (of mind over matter occurs)).

    • You say, “If a fear of cancer is given energy, removing the breasts does not remove the belief and cancer will find a way to appear if the person has given energy to it.”
      I think that is one of the main points. People who are told they have a 9 in 10 statistical/scientific chance of getting cancer in a particular part of their body are extremely fearful that it will happen for them. Once the body part they’re told is associated with a 9 in 10 chance of getting cancer is gone, then often so is the fear.
      Whether the fear was rooted in reality or not, the fear is often removed once the person believes the cause is gone.

  13. I support her decision to be proactive with her health. I find it interesting that she chose mastectomy instead of hysterectomy since the mutation makes it 10 – 30x more likely to have ovarian cancer but 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer. Breast cancer is relatively easy to detect compared to the insidious and relatively symptom free ovarian cancer, the type of cancer that caused Angelina’s mother’s death.
    She has the right to make her own informed health care decisions and if radical surgery truly does put her mind at ease then this will certainly contribute to her long term health. I also believe that there is more to the story. I don’t think anyone should be blindly following the health advice of a celebrity and it seems like the high cost of genetic counseling followed by major elective surgery would prevent many from actually doing so.

    • Actually she was told her risk of ovarian cancer is about 50% and the risk of breast cancer is 87%. She said she started with the mastectomy because it was more complex – with reconstruction. She is definitely considering total hysterectomy as well.

  14. I must admit that I love you for writing this blog. Though I truly respect women who have undergone cancer and make such a heart wrenching decision, as to undergo a mastectomy, I cannot get behind doing this as a preventative measure. Why not just follow the patient a bit closer all along reassuring her that as her doctor he/she has her back and is going to be thorough in the care that she receives. Oh wait that would cost money and insurance companies don’t want to pay for the testing and follow up right…I forgot. This route makes it cheaper. or maybe talk with her about the effects of following a healthy diet. (sarcasm) I agree that doctors yield a lot of power in our society and they need to be more careful, because hearing a serious diagnosis send the body into a shut down mode that is very difficult to get past. I have seen it happen a couple of times and it is devastating.

    I know that this will be a blog that will get a lot of people talking and I think that its important because we should be having these discussions. Weather you agree with the premise of mind over medicine, it is important to realize that doctors are not God, the universe, or whom ever you pray to… and that there is always room for HOPE. Especially when you are not sick and its a preventative measure.

    As for Ms. Jolie, I wish her the best!

  15. This is one brave blog Lissa–I commend you standing by your convictions. Of course, there are going to be lots of readers reacting to this. Your theories are radical in this day and age where we live in a culture where doctors and advertising are putting the fear of god into us about our bodies. With all our technology, data and knowledge, diseases are still on the increase. When are we going to truly embrace the idea that the root cause of disease is vibrational in nature. What comes to mind for me is HOW do we learn how to step into our power when the mind is going crazy with fear? I’m a coach, and so I know the short answer, but it’s easier said than done. How do we become REALLY EMPOWERED AND GOOD AT DOING THIS. We may like the idea of it, but find that we’re not good enough at it.

  16. Thanks Lissa for opening a much needed discussion. My sister lost her battle with breast cancer about a decade ago and you would have thought I actually had BC based on continuous advice as to what I should do to prevent the disease. Talk about trying to put fear in a person. It took me awhile but I finally Took control of my thoughts and decided I would live life knowing there are no guarantees. I am healthy, active and live life to the fullest. Thank you for speaking your truth and allowing me to nod in agreement

  17. I recently subscribed to your blog, but now I want off. Blog readers: do not take medical advice on cancer from this blog. Get the test to see if you carry the gene, then with your medical professional, oncologist, make decisions from there. This blog writer’s karma is definitely at risk here! Meditation is great, but it is not chemotherapy. As a cancer survivor, do all you can and be proactive. THis blog is a sham and is disgusting. I would not want this on my conscience, if I were the blog writer. Contact MD Anderson or other well known cancer centers for more information.

    • Phew. That’s a bit full on isn’t it. ” Blog readers: do not take medical advice on cancer from this blog”. A toxicologist I met at the Lorne cancer conference had NEVER studied ANY chemistry. An oncologist I questioned about the chemistry of a chemo drug I was interested in replied, “Oh I just leave that to the Chemists.” What chemists? I don’t know that any chemists ARE involved in cancer research. There are no biochemists, endocrinologists, hematologists, physiologists and on and on. The standard of research into cancer is bloody appalling. So here can’t be any worse.

      • Well said nodules. It is sometimes impossible to get others to look at holistic research.

        • Thanks Jan. My point is that for cancer researchers to be molecular biologists ONLY, which they are, their perception is just SO distorted as to get it completely and utterly wrong. They see only chaos, anarchy in cancer. Whereas the amateur who can study all of the other disciplines involved, especially biochemistry, endocrinology and hematology sees ORDER, extraordinary order.

          So the treatment recommended by the PhD is absolutely and totally wrong, yet he gets kudos. The amateur on the other hand is told he is insane and can wind up in a mental hospital, homeless, alienated as his reward for his insights. STATUS vs REALITY.

          Of course once having been put in the bloody bin, to go on claiming greater insight than all all of the ‘experts’ in the entire world with all of their damned instruments, is a guarantee of further incarceration and even more stigma.

          Then to claim that he is an expert in stigma is a
          guarantee of 13 years in the forest all by himself, jabbering away to himself like a deranged monkey as there is noone else to jabber away to, an ABSOLUTE sign of madness, irrefutable PROOF. I rest my case.

        • Thanks Jan,
          My point is that for cancer researchers to be molecular biologists ONLY, which they are, their perception is just SO distorted as to get it completely and utter wrong. They see only chaos, anarchy in cancer. Whereas the amateur who can study all of the other disciplines involved, especially biochemistry, endocrinology and hematology sees ORDER, extraordinary order. So the treatment recommended by the PhD is absolutely and totally wrong, yet he gets kudos. The amateur on the
          other hand is told he is insane and can wind up in a mental hospital, homeless, alienated as his reward for his insights. STATUS vs REALITY.

          Of course once having been put in the bloody bin, to go on claiming greater insight than all all of the ‘experts’ in the entire world with all of their damned instruments, is a guarantee of further incarceration and even more stigma. Then to claim that he is an expert in stigma is a
          guarantee of 13 years in the forest all by himself, jabbering away to himself like a deranged monkey as there is noone else to jabber away to, an ABSOLUTE sign of madness, irrefutable PROOF. I rest my case.

  18. I stipulate the mind has influence over body and causal links like you suggest sound too strong to be true

    Sounds like you should read to get rid of the urban or suburban legends you espouse as truth

    The predictions you reference sound like a convenient fabrications at best.

    My wife died of cancer at age 34 back in 1994 leaving me to raise our 2 year old daughter…

    Her doctors offered Chemotherapy to shrink her tumors and said that she these drugs were toxic and would make her very sick and probably not extend her life…So she skipped the Chemo…

    She did do all sorts of mind body therapies and wanted more than anything to live and care for our new daughter.

    The doctors gave her 3-6 months to live after diagnoses and she died 9 months later…I was rooting for some sort of spontaneous remission up until her last breath.

    • Jamey,
      Those stories are from the medical literature. You can find the references in the back of Mind Over Medicine.

      • Please do list links to the sources used in your piece…
        ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” – Mark Twain

        • They’re all in my book Jamey- and they’re old traditional journals- so no links. Go read it if you feel inspired and track down the journals in the medical libraries if you want to read the original sources.

          • I did some more reading on doctor-hex-death and it seems that the doctor’s prediction could be based on the wellness or disease of the person…the articles below link to studies that show that counter to your point – Doctors often overestimate how long cancer patients will actually live.

            The literature does not discern or reveal if the doctors prediction of lifespan causes anything (hastens death) or just interprets the latest signs of when a patient takes a turn for the worst.



          • Jamey
            The problem is that the patient has to have ABSOLUTE confidence in the alternative therapy on offer so that he or she can TOTALLY relax. That means a clearly comprehensible theory, that he or she can easily understand, of the physiological mechanisms involved, principally all of the mechanisms of ‘fight or flight’ from a Larmarkian perspective, not Darwinian..

            EPIGENETICS IS Larmarkian, but researchers into epigenetics are too gutless to call themselves Larmarkist, lest they be ridiculed or ostracized as Larmarkism is supposed to have been discredited. Discredited by WHOM, Darwinists of course, principal among them Richard Dawkins who will do ANYTHING to save face..

            I have spent 40 years developing a Larmarkian theoretical model that PRECISELY explains the NOCEBO effect and the PLACEBO effect, but it’s being ignored almost completely. How do I draw attention to my posts, THIS post even, I haven’t a clue. Soon this thread will have to close because it’s getting too bloated and I will have lost my chance. That will be tragic for ALL of us because I don’t know of anyone else on the horizon who has developed such a body of work. It will die with me.

  19. Paradigms are colliding!

  20. Thank you for a new paradigm viewpoint. Fear is far more crippling than a so-called genetic predisposition. What we are learning across all disciplines is that mind rules over matter. Clearly Miss J is entitled to her own decisions over her own body but I worry that the mass media led section of the female population will now seek to suppress the Divine Feminine, which is inexorably rising, through similar, perhaps less-informed procedures. What happened to surrender and faith that God will hold a space for us to learn from our physical manifestations of dis-ease, and to hold awareness in the thought, rather than the physical form behind our conditions? Perhaps an opportunity lost for sme powerful life lessons, which is not for me to judge, but I do hope humanity as a whole will see that there is another way. Keep your light shining Lissa!

  21. I’m not one for “the media” – I usually have someone’s book on Cd on in my car or my podcasts or music… The media = “fear starters”… Today, I happen to have none of those and heard about just this story. So, there goes the media again – grabbing our attention and playing on the parts of someone’s personal story… Yes, I’m sure this actress did this with hopes to inform and educate. However, I have to agree, this was a BIG jump and starting to “play” with body parts and medicine – gets scary.
    My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer , it was scary. She smoked LOTS. Oddly enough, the cancer wasn’t from the smoking. I didn’t run out and get “Tested” for anything. I prayed and worked Reiki for my mom. I learned and forgave… A year later, my mom is cancer-free. Is lung cancer in my family? hoping that’s a “no,” but it’s not with us NOW, and that’s all we have.
    Living with fear makes us, as a society , at least in my mind, act too “big” sometimes – like this actress did…Facing fears, leaving judgement and living in the now so we can learn and find the “root” of our issues is the best medicine we can dose out to ourselves.

  22. Dr S. Byrzinski is curing cancer using our genetics without chemo and radiation. The FDA is now looking at his discoveries and processes instead of trying to take his license away. So we do have choices even if we get sick whether it be breast or other cancers.

    Fear is an awful thing and unfortunately not all people have her finances to go do this as well or even seek the best medical care. However, I would have had my ovaries out if I choose to be elective about it – you can have thermograms yearly and get breast cancer early, but that illusive ovarian cancer is another thing.

    Why is it we believe slice, dice, radiate and poison is the only way to go? We know life is 75% lifestyle and only 25% genetics – so what is she doing to live and eat really healthy?;

    Also the Gerson Tapes and clinic – both mens protocol has cured many cancers without the poisons of chemo and radiation

    • Okay, not as destructive as chemo and radiation but gene based therapy still doesn’t get to the root of the problem and is horrendously expensive, so it’s not for the impoverished proletariat. A French lab says that there are TEN different ductal cell carcinomas for which they are developing ten different gene based therapies.

      This is PURE CRAP. Cancer cells dedifferentiate or go backward as they become more malignant, something that been completely lost to research. So this lab has simply picked out TEN different stages of this dedifferentiation. It could be seven or fifteen or nine. Anyway, it doesn’t matter just how many mutations and other changes have taken place in a tumor, it will totally remit just like all of the others, taking the right approach. (See my other posts.)

  23. This is so interesting. I believe in the mind/body connection, absolutely. I also believe Angelina is quite intelligent and not always conventional, so I would be interested to know how she chose to make this decision. I absolutely agree with your message and am glad you chose to share it in such a clear way.

  24. “But I worry that other women with family histories of breast cancer will now rush out to get BRCA testing, and if they test positive, they will follow her lead and undergo potentially unnecessary and possibly dangerous elective surgery. I sincerely hope others think twice before undergoing genetic testing that will put them in the difficult position of having to choose between their breasts and their peace of mind. ”

    Thank you. I have been resisting doctors advice to have genetic testing done for many years. My mother has had breast cancer twice (and by the way she has been tested and did not have positive BRCA1 or 2), my sister died of ovarian cancer when she was 44, and my dad died from colon cancer at age 59. I do not go to “Western” medicine doctors anymore because I am tired of the fear. All they want to do is poke and prod me every 3-6 months or just take all of my female parts (since I was about 25 years old).

    This is MY decision after having received all of the facts regarding testing and counseling etc. I am on a different path now. Not a path that looks for something that is not there, while fearfully waiting for the day it will be. I am on the path of living in the here and now the path of love rather than fear.

    • Lissa, I was shocked at the choice of Angelina and found her brave and wanting to be there for her kids. I wish she got other opinions still. Melissa, I totally hope your family history will stay history. I agree totally with Dr Lissa, you, and Claudia below talking of Mind over Body and Hope, living for the day and preferring love to fear. I work in medical field and 5 yrs I had a major internal bleed due to benign huge angiomyolipoma on right kidney. I am 53 yrs old and work in the medical field. At 48 yrs, I had a major internal bleed which was both painful and I was drifting out of consciousness. In the ER, they did US and found I had a huge 16cm x 18cm benign angiomyolipoma. After 2 transfusions and rest for 5 days to regain my strength (dr’s orders), they performed embolisation. I had a repeat one a year later to be sure all was caught since the tumor wasn’t shrinking as quickly as my urologist/oncologist (who got his degree at John Hopkins and works in Tel Hashomer, Israel-the BEST hospital and dr I could find) wanted. I moved here 20 yrs from Montreal. My tumor is monitored every 6 months and it is now 5-6cm. The urologist tried to put in a Stent to relieve pressure to kidney and failed due to birth defect called UPJ and the tumor was blocking any insertion. Last summer, my tumour grew to 10 cm again and I had 2 stones. I had recurrent pain and I was lucky enough to have Stent inserted this time since the tumour average, and the tumor is 5 cm. Focus on Hope and Cure, NO FEAR….:) Dr was amazed at speed of recover and we spoke of My Mindset….:) I would LOVE it is Lissa could give me feedback on my case.

      • Angel,
        Thanks so much for sharing your story. I hope that tumor continues to shrink- and maybe one day- disappear completely. Certainly, the combination of your focus on positive belief- and also your rightful reliance on Western medicine- will put you in the best place possible when it comes to your health. I hope you have a chance to read Mind Over Medicine and find if there’s anything further you might learn from your tumor so it no longer needs to stick around…

        Much love

  25. I read about half of Mind over Medicine last night…so it was very interesting to see Jolie’s story in the news today. My first reaction was to wish she would read your book…even to encourage you to reach out to her. Then reason set in and I simply felt sad for her. Sad because the level of fear and misinformation is obviously overwhelmed her. My grandmother was told[ when I was 2] that she MUST amputate her leg or 4-6 weeks was the most she could hope for. She chose to treat the leg herself [gangrene] and raised me and my brother….she was active till the end ….33yrs. later!!!. She was 87 yrs. of age. I also healed after a near fatal car accident 6 yrs. ago……none of the 3 medical attendents who airlifted me thought I would make it…..good thing I didn’t know that! I’m so grateful for my life and for your book. This is an area that is still in the dark ages…I read only 2 comments below and honestly the mindset that this is a good idea was too much for me………even if she were in advanced stages….surgery should always be the last resort ,in my opinion. If anyone disagrees…..look at the work and personal story of Dr. Lorraine Day. She wrote ” Cancer Doesn’t Scare Me Anymore”. Thank You Lissa Many who are ready to take their bodies back …will be saved.

    • Fear and misinformation overwhelmed her? Seriously? There is more fear and misinformation here.


    • Nancy those were my thoughts too, I wish she had been presented with the ideas in the book (which I’m still reading). She may have still made the same choice but I believe that her speaking out makes more women believe surgery is there only reliable option for health and I think that’s limiting and false.

  26. Lissa,

    Just last week our church lost a lovely member due to an elective knee
    surgery at the age of 59. She got sepsis and died from it while in
    rehab. So,one needs to think very carefully about what sort of
    complications can arise from any surgery most especially one where there
    is so large an open wound such as a double mastectomy. To undergo this
    surgery without any medical indication that she has cancer is the height
    of incompetence based on scare tactics.

    I really wish
    doctors would think of the ramifications of the language they use
    especially when speaking about cancer and other serious health issues.
    It is very true that we can heal ourselves using our minds. I help
    people do this every day in my hypnosis practice – even things that the
    conventional medical people say is impossible – however when there is no
    more thought or behavior attached to the individual, one could say they
    have healed themselves.

    • CANCER !!!!! YAAAAAAA NO NO NOOOOOOO.. Please God, please. What did I do. “Well lemme think. Just where do I start”

  27. Thank you for the post. I was mortified to see the coverage on this today. I fully support the choice of women to make their own decisions regarding everything. I feel for Angelina, as this decision is clearly an indication of how much pain she is still experiencing with the loss of her mother. I hope this does not result in cultivating fear in women. As a Nurse Practitioner, I know all too well the implications of this.

    • I’m sure watching her mother die of ovarian cancer had an impact on her but I think Angelina Jolie is a very smart woman who, based on the percentages and her family history, made a personal decision that was right for her. If you want to say it was a result of the pain she is in, that’s only your interpretation.
      I feel sad that you women are questioning and lets face it – judging a woman for her personal decision which I’m sure was not easy to make. The fact that she is famous is really irrelevant. You can’t know what you would do in these circumstances unless and until it happens to you.

  28. My sister-in-law was in her mid-thirties when she was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. She was told that she’d be in a wheelchair in six months, and dead in five years.

    She was a single mother. Her response was, “I have two children to raise. I don’t have *time* for this!”

    She’s still alive, about a half century later. She finally did become wheelchair-bound, but only after a bad fall in her seventies. She walked always with a cane, called herself “crip” with a big smile that belied the implications, fell occasionally, but managed to raise those kids. BTW, she was a dentist’s chair-side assistant.

    I wish the fact of epigentics was more widely known. It explains so very much, and pokes fatal holes in all the arguments about “cleaning the gene pool”!

  29. Hi Liisa – I was diagnosed 6 years ago with lci – then recently considered stage 0 breast cancer – the doctors worried about a couple of things; 1, that I would drive myself crazy with worry, and 2, that it would be hard to monitor me due to the extent of lumpiness and calcifications I have. They recommended a double mastectomy. Time will tell what the right decision is, but I decided to monitor my condition, having a mamo and mri once yearly on a six month rotation. So far so good. I’m not a worrier, so I thought that this approach was right for me. Might have been different for someone else who would stress, perhaps ultimately bringing on the disease. I think the decision is different for everyone. You really need to know what kind of patient you are.

  30. I tested positive for BRCA1 only after having Ovarian Cancer. I am now in remission. I was diagnosed as a 1B. My Parents are both 85 years old and there is no cancer in our family. I had a 60/40 chance of having Ovarian Cancer. There is an 87% chance of Breast Cancer before the age of 70 and I am 54. I do have the choice of having breast MRI’s every three months. The Breast Cancer that comes with the BRCA1 gene is very aggressive. I have three young kids that will play a part in my decision, which I am sure played a large part in Angelina’s decision. My older sister had a friend from Junior High that just passed away this morning from Ovarian Cancer she was diagnosed 3 weeks ago. Her mother died of cancer. Could she have had the BRCA1 she was not tested. I will tell you that seeing Angelina and having her friend die made my sister make her appt to be tested. The doctor did tell her if her 50% chance did come back positive then they will take the Ovaries because they are more deadly than the breasts.

    My test was the expensive test 3200+ and after that the tests are only 300.00 because I have the number of the DNA strand that tested positive. I gave that number to everyone in my family and that is the number that is given to the lab and instead of having to search the whole DNA strand they go to that one number to see if it matches and if it does it is positive.

    • I like that you were proactive and gave the number of the dna strand to your family. Are you saying that the genetic test when you take it for the first time because they don’t know if you have the BRAC1 is over $3200?

      • yes my insurance paid for the test. Myriad lab has the patent. Right now there is a large court case for Myriad to let go of the patent so the test will be available to other labs so them it would be cheaper. Look up the lab on the internet and the case will pop up.

        • I’m glad it was covered by insurance. I’ve been hearing a lot of radio interviews and news stories about Myriad. Some physicians are concerned that because others can’t access their database that their assessment of tests may not always be accurate. In fact a physician gave an example of a case where Myriad changed their ?diagnosis? after the doctor questioned it based on what she saw of the family history.

  31. Every woman needs to be able to make her own decisions about her own body — even if other women disagree with her and would not make the same decision for themselves. I applaud Angelina Jolie for her courage to do what was right for her…and also for NOT telling anyone about it until it was done!

    Why are we even discussing this?

  32. My heart sank, when I read that Angelina had been scared into loping off body parts as a preventive measure for an illness that might happen. I immediately thought of you Lissa and “Mind over Medicine”. How I wish she had been aware of your fabulous book before making such a drastic decision.

    • Where did you get the idea she was scared?

      • Exactly. 87% is a very high percentage of risk. She actually stated that she feels empowered. So much for scared.

  33. Even though I like to be knowledgeable about my health, I don’t think I’d want genetic testing. I KNOW my body would create the disease.

  34. As someone who is healing my breast cancer choosing only holistic, alternative treatments – oriental medicine, juicing, plant-based diet, massage, meditation, therapy – I was deeply saddened to hear of Angelina’s decision to elect surgery. I know there are other, non-fear-based alternatives. It would be truly heroic if an A-list actress would choose alternative healing!

    • i absolutely agree with you! my mum has peritoneal cancer in the lining of her abdomen-it’s possibly ovarian cancer, nobody can be quite sure and she has chosen to heal it in exactly the same way as you. she is not fearful at all and has embraced all of nature and life as her healing partner. We do not know the entire facts of the Angelina Jolie story but i feel its a strong illustration of the power of the conventional medicine world and the basis from which they operate. As someone has already pointed out, it takes a whole new paradigm of understanding and living to begin to step outside of the pharmaceutical/medical conditioning.

      • Yeah but it’s no good taking the alternative route if one doesn’t understand what is going on. In my posts I provide a perfectly plausible explanation as to the cause of BC which is entirely different from the mainstream, based on 40 years research AND attendance to Cancer conferences for about 12 years including a Joint AACR/Lorne Aust Vic conference and they get completely IGNORED. Maybe women WANT their BC so they get sympathy or want to be dead. I just can’t work it out. The ONLY person on this blog offering an explanation AND cure and it’s treated with CONTEMPT. Most of these posts are just CRAP.

        • That’s an unfortunate comment. I believe this is a place to discuss ideas in a healthy way, not a place to get attention. To say that women want cancer so they get sympathy or that they want to be dead (!) is simply disgusting. The purpose here is completely diverse from treating human suffering like you did now. May you have the great amount of knowledge you say you have, that’s ok, but it doesn’t mean you have empathy. And empathy is fundamental. It is part of what we’re discussing here, the way you treat a patient, the way you tell him/her about his/her health, that makes a huge difference. As a woman, I request an apology from you.

          • I say disgusting things out of shear desperation to draw attention to my posts, to get ANY reaction, even abuse, because I’ve been trying for for about 20 years and getting absolutely nowhere. Nothing would please me more than for just ONE woman to follow this advice and be utterly cured of cancer and tell others. If I have to take the piss out to get that reaction then so be it. It has worked in your case. Please comment on more of my posts, the ones on the physiology of BC. Thank you VERY much for you comment. I mean it.

          • I hope my answer to your comment has not served to prove your point (that saying disgusting things to people is a valid strategy to draw their attention to good things). I think we must consider that we are dealing with people who grew up in a culture of fear and of cult to disease, ideas that are marketed every single day, therefore controlling our behavior. We were also born in such culture, and in the pursue of a new perspective, we have met people who patiently explained us their views, and respectfully educated us, showing that we could – fearlessly – think different.

            So when you say it has worked in my case – think again. I am an empowered patient, and so far I was the only one to stand up against your comment, although it was disrespectful to women. Why? Because people, specially women, are afraid. Fear takes people to emotionally driven responses, not to rational thought. If you want people to read your work, first treat them well and help them get rid of their fear, not the contrary.

            I mean that the uninformed and fearful patient should not be held responsible for his demise. This is actually pushing them far away from knowledge. It’s creating an aversive event that will remain linked to whatever you’re trying to say. So all I’m saying is: there are ways to draw attention that are respectful and, because of that, even more effective. I am also passionate about this topic, and I understand that sometimes we just want to open up people’s heads and put our ideas inside. However, in practical ways, this kind of strategy does just the opposite.

            I hope this little debate has served to enlighten us all. I am willing to read your work in a more comprehensive way, specially in a scientific publication, like an article or something like that. Could you send such thing to me?

          • I’ve said just about everything there is to say on the subject of breast cancer, right here on this thread. As to my desperation, I am 72, been working on this project for 40 years. I am a refugee in my own land, a mile from the nearest road illegally camped in a National Park with nowhere else on Earth to go. For thirteen years I have been totally alone, sometimes up to six weeks at a time without seeing another human being. I’m living in a rotted out building that is close to collapse. Have injured my left hip and can hardly walk, but walk I must just to stay alive, ie get firewood, do maintenance.

            I am a victim of ENORMOUS social prejudice and abuse that would take pages to explain. As a Larmarkist I am a heretic, yet epigenetics is clearly Larmarkian but no researcher has the courage to call themselves that. When I say I write disgusting things to get attention because I’m desperate, I mean DESPERATE, with only a short time to live if I can’t get credibility and with it help’ If I was found dead out here champagne corks would be popping all over my town of Apollo Bay, something that keeps me alive.

            I have no problem with saying what I have said if it draws attention to my posts and the result of same is a woman’s life being saved. Why should I?

    • Marilyn I’m so glad you shared your decision here. I bet there is an actress choosing alternative healing and hopefully, we’ll hear about that too.

    • Actually Susanne Sommer’s chose a more holistic route. I don’t know all the details other than she had breast cancer. She may have had the tumor surgically removed, but chose not to do chemotherapy or other AMA routes, but rather juicing, etc as you stated. Big hugs to you Marilyn! xo

    • Thank you for all the positive response to my comment! I think it’s so important to share alternatives and that they work. We do have choices! Much light and love to all

  35. How many women have this gene? – and yet not long ago breast cancer was a shocking rarity. How is this so easily forgotten? How does this

    This article needs to be stated a hundred different ways so people can really process the essential FACT that the presence of a gene does not seal an inevitable fate. Our genes are affected through environment, habits, diet – and yes, emotions.

    As untold numbers of women naturally reverse breast cancer through therapies, diets, and cutting out synthetics – too many doctors are busy preemptively cutting off breasts through the latest studies, odds, and fears. The premise here is flawed. Call it science, but the basic premise for cutting off breasts here is fear. What happened to the premise of healing, passed down from Hippocrates? He knew, in his own way, that beyond gene expression is a deeper design and natural order to human health, – which can be nurtured by working with nature, not by hacking away at it. At the least, we should all be wakened to our senses, to see such a beautiful woman as Angelina Jolie, and so many other precious women, being cut up instead of healed – all in the name of science.

  36. I feel very sad that a woman has succumbed to such barbaric surgery, because of a ‘what if.’ While some may think this is ‘proactive’ & she’s being responsible, is simply taking charge of her health, which is great on one level, because she has a lot of children to take care of, & more to help in her life, the truth is that she may never have gotten breast cancer – or any form of cancer for that matter. Clearly she was already in fear to have had the DNA testing in the first place, but as Lissa said in the article, epigenetic research has proven that we have the power to change our genes, they are not fixed – unless we believe they are. There are so many stories of how a person’s belief has changed their health for better or worse that it’s hard not to take beliefs into consideration. There are no victims, only people who believe they are.

    About 20 years ago, my former sister-in-law & her sisters were all advised to have a hysterectomy because their mother had died from cervical cancer…just in case. One of them wanted children & had not as yet. Even back then when I was simply working with the power of positive thoughts & beliefs, that sounded horribly barbaric to me. Would any man, doctor or otherwise, have his penis cut off or his testicles removed because his father had penile or testicular cancer – I think not!

    We can equally be ‘cursed’ with a long life as a short one, depending on whether our mothers have lived long lives or not. My mother was 63 when she had breast cancer in 1974. I was 16, yet even then I knew her cancer was due to guilt about me, an unwanted child. She lived another 30 years. Did my mother have ‘bad’ genes that she got breast cancer, or did she have ‘good’ genes to have lived to be 92?

    I know I am not destined to have cancer – & I’ll be the only one in my family of 6 who hasn’t. Call it belief, call it knowing, it doesn’t matter, I know that cancer, a dis-ease of holding in emotions, simply isn’t part of my reality.

  37. I’m shocked! why the hell would a person remove a perfectly healthy part of their body? It makes no sense at all! No matter the possible risks. My grandad died of prostate cancer.. should I now have mine removed? …. I just don’t get it … maybe she can afford android replacements or something .. maybe she can afford the best swiss technicians to make her new ones.. I don’t know. I’m confused .. but I don’t feel good about it. I feel sick. Its a really sick thing to do.

    • Ah yeah, but prostate cancer usually occurs late in life and is slow growing

    • Why? Because from many patients’ perspectives, they have been told by science that they have an 87% chance of getting a potentially deadly disease, or else they can have surgery and likely live a long, healthy life and be around for their families that they love.
      I am honestly not knowledgeable enough to know how accurate or inaccurate the testing is but do know that that is the why of it for many.

  38. Thank you for this different kind of view, Lissa. I felt very uncomfortable reading about Angelina’s decision to make it public. As much as it is her body and her life and therefore her decision, she also is a role model for very young women who might follow her lead and have perfectly healthy body parts cut off out of fear what COULD happen in the future. I strongly believe that with a fearful approach to life, we will get sick, one way or the other.

  39. We don’t know anything about Angie’s spiritual practice or beliefs of any kind. Her actions lead me to assume that she felt this procedure was the path of least resistance for her. Now she can believe that she is at low to no risk for cancer, and get on with her life. Her mind body connection has been restored in a positive way now, one would hope. And that is the whole point at the end of the day. As we see from the comments, very few are willing or able or even wanting to do the mental work necessary to fully believe in mind over medicine. And that’s okay…as long as they believe in medicine…then the healing can be set in motion.

    • Aurora, you make a good point to get to a view and a belief of mind over medicine is not simple, automatic or supported by the society at large. I also love that you reminded me that Angelina is probably at a greater sense of peace with her choice now made. I’m still growing in my belief and understanding of mind over medicine.

  40. For the moment, I’ll just say that I’ve reviewed both sides of the discussion tonight re Angelina Jolie’s traumatic bilateral mastectomy and I’m in deep reflection. I deeply respect Angelina for her courage to go through with the surgery and also speak publicly about it. Admittedly, I would have declined the surgery, but I’m intently listening to both sides of the discussion.

    Lissa, I received your new book yesterday and look forward to studying it and getting back to you on it. Thank you for inviting me to your blog tonight – it’s now been christened. It was very valuable to hear the varied viewpoints on Angelina Jolie’s health decision.

  41. I thought of your work the moment I heard this. I actually said I that I wish Angelina knew about the all the research that says she plays a part in the end result before she went to this extreme.

    I have wondered for years if cancer kills or if just over time we have decided as a society that cancer kills. What if we could live years and years with cancer if we never knew we had it?

  42. Epigenetics has proven we can change our DNA by reprogramming our Subconcious minds. Louise Hays work is testamant you can heal your body she healed her own Cancer by changing her programming and cleansing her body shes now 86 I believe. I am with Lisa on this one……….I know a lady who chose a double Mastectomy for very similar reasons to Angelina Jolie and the operation and infection after nearly killed her, now needing more surgery to repair the damage cause by surgery that was basically not needed at the time. My friend may never have gone on to need this but due to fear as her sister had breast cancer she opted to remove both. Now living with the mess…….

    • Yes, Trisha I heard no expert or physician talking about epigenetics when being interviewed about this story.

  43. I am almost 68 years old. My mother died of ovarian cancer at 59. I spent most of my life with this concern but it inspired me to know myself in depth and to awaken to the ‘whole’ of me. LIssa, you are so brave and authentic. I admire you SO much and you clearly articulate what I also believe about modern medicine. You really, really GET it. When I was around 45, I talked with an MD about my concerns and she told me to have a hysterectomy after menopause. At that time I was going to a wellness retreat with Dr. Deepak Chopra when he still had a center in MA. I asked him and he said, no, don’t do that. I wouldn’t have anyway but his confirmation to my intuition helped me confirm what I knew was right for me. I know the possiblity of cancer is always there for all of us but there is SO much we can do on all levels (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) to keep our immune system strong. Keep up the good work, Dr. Lissa. I love your blog and contribution to our world.

  44. Your column is insulting and misleading, as any positive thinker who got cancer anyway knows.

  45. Well, this is an interesting discussion. I’m wondering how many commenters here have witnessed a loved one suffer and die from cancer. I’m wondering how many commenters here are BRCA+. I have and I am. I applaud Angelina Jolie for speaking out and for making the decision she did. I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years after my mother died. She was BRCA2+. I was in the thinking about getting tested phase when my diagnosis came. I thought I had more time. Turns out, I did not. Would I have done things differently had I known I was BRCA2+ earlier? You bet I would have. You say you aren’t judging others, but you seem to be suggesting getting tested is not a good idea. I disagree. Of course, testing is called for only if it appears you are at an elevated risk indicated my your family’s history. I do completely agree that prophylactic surgery decisions should never be made in haste and never with out genetic counseling. Patients also need to be made aware of the risks these procedures have, the complications that might arise and be informed the results are not always as expected. Again, you say you aren’t judging, but some of the wording and some of the comments say otherwise.

  46. A BRCA mutation is only PERMISSIVE of breast cancer not a determinant. Other negative factors would have to be present, ie liver pathology causing an increase in blood estradiol concentration as the liver is the primary site of estradiol deactivation. Then there is HYPOXIA cause by constriction of blood vessels supplying the breast due to stress, THE VERY STRESS OF HAVING THE BONE POINTED AT HER, ie the nocebo effect.

    So estradiol is the promoter and HYPOXIA is the inducer, thereby satisfying both criterion needed for cancer.

    A French lab says there are 10 different
    types of Breast Cancer (ductal cell carcinoma). Crap. There is ONE
    type at 10 different stages, (that THEY have nominated), of
    Very, very expensive!

    Early ductal cell carcinomas have up to
    1,000 times more estradiol receptors in them than normal ductal cells.
    Therefore they must have 1,000 times more of the enzymes which
    DEACTIVATE estradiol, implying that this is the REASON that the cancer
    grows, to take over the role of the liver in which most estradiol is
    normally deactivated, because the liver is severely disordered.
    Disordered due to being bombarded with booze, analgesics, anesthetics,
    pesticides, etc. etc.
    At the 19th Intentional Genetics
    Congress in 2003 I asked a breast cancer expert, at question time, if he
    could comment on early ductal cell carcinomas having a thousand times
    more ER receptors than normal and he replied that he hadn’t heard about
    it. Once again OLD stuff in a book on Oncology, dated around 1972 and
    regarded as insignificant today, or not even recorded. Use Tamoxifen to
    treat such a tumor and this is followed by a period of osteo-porosis
    caused by an elevated blood level of estradiol. As Tamoxifen blocks the
    action of estradiol by binding the receptors but NOT activating them,
    thereby preventing estradiol binding them, this clearly indicates that
    the tumor IS deactivating estradiol and begs the question. Is that what
    it is there for? Order.

    As an animal can’t breast feed whilst
    running from a predator and as blood is routed AWAY from tissue not
    essential to ‘fight or flight to tissue essential to it, then blood
    vessels to breast tissue, must be CONSTRICTED in ‘fight or flight’ and
    with PERSISTANT, UNREMITTING stress constricted persistently. Enter
    hypoxia as THE INDUCER of BC and the elevated level of estradiol as the
    PROMOTER, thereby satisfying both criterion for cancer.

    as there is SO MUCH estradiol and the hypoxia so severe the tumor cells
    are driven backward or DEDIFFERENTIATE at such a rate that those ER
    receptors disappear to be replaced by receptors present in cells at an
    EARLIER time of embryogenesis, before there was estradiol AND an
    endocrine system, ie ovaries, pituitary etc. These are HER2 receptors
    which are ALSO amplified in number. Bad prognoses. The tumor is no
    longer responsive to Tamoxifen.

    Now, assuming that the liver is
    the problem in the first place. Old fashioned Cytotoxic chemo is still
    used today as gene based therapy still hasn’t gotten of the ground. Now
    such Chemo kills ALL rapidly dividing cells. That’s liver cells, cells
    lining the gastrointestinal tract, hair follicle cells etc. So even
    MORE liver damage, whilst destruction of the micro villi in the GI
    tract that ABSORB nutrients, like anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins,
    iron etc. ALL essential to remission are also killed, hence the
    vomiting. Hair falls out thereby adding to the horrendous stress of
    having CANCER, zero libido, vomiting etc.

    Now because the tumor
    is driven so hard, and nutrients are so lacking any semblance of ORDER
    is entirely lacking. Big cells, little cells, cells missing
    chromosomes, those with extra ones, necrotic zones filled with putrid
    fluid, deranged blood vessels etc. So one who promulgates order in
    cancer, eg me, is ridiculed before getting a chance to explain.

    analgesic is ALSO hepatoxic as are most drugs because they are
    halogenated, as is the anesthetic Halothane if surgery is performed.
    Remove the tumor/breast and within a year one grows in the OTHER breast.

  48. A BRCA mutation is only PERMISSIVE of breast cancer NOT a determinant, There is still the p53 tumor repressor which is above BRCA in the hierarchy. There have to to be other negative factors present, ie liver pathology causing high blood concentrations of estradiol as the liver is the PRIMARY site of estradiol deactivation.

    Then there is HYPOXIA cause by constriction of blood vessels supplying the breasts due to STRESS, the very stress of having the bone pointed, ie the NOCEBO effect. So estradiol as the PROMOTER and hypoxia as the INDUCER, thereby satisfying BOTH criterion for cancer. The problem convincing someone of this so that their stress is eliminated.

  49. Just a personal note: as it happened the day the Jolie news story broke was the day my partner went for her regular mammogram. I almost emailed my partner Lissa’s blog, thx Lissa but then changed my mind. Her Mum chose to have either a lateral or full mastectomy on similar news years ago.. My partner was conditioned in her family to follow whatever the doctor says and essentially be passive. What did however come up in conversation that day was my partners psychologist telling her she was ‘Limited’ because of her illness of schizophrenia. (who is the most beautiful person I know) and very intelligent & capable but yes, currently challenged and has been for the last fifteen years. I don’t know how powerful or effective our personal belief and what we say to ourselves truly is – but I’m betting it’s pretty powerful and as a beginner I’m putting my attention and daily personal practice here. Thanks for a great open space to debate these issues Lissa. I’ve yet to get your book and to be honest, it competes with many other health investments and expenses. What I will do is place a request with our local community library because the more read you the better as I see it. Much gratitude, Brad

  50. ALLOPATH VS NATUROPATH a VERY stressful dilemma’

    A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer CIS. The oncologist pressurises her to get the tumour removed. She replies that she’d like to consider
    other options. He retorts testily, “Ok, now while you are doing
    that the tumour is going to metastasise right through you and you
    will be beyond treatment. Dead” Talk about pointing the bone.
    If stress has got anything to do with causing/accelerating the growth
    of cancer, which it does, he just did a good job of ensuring his very pessimistic

    However when she visits the naturopath he does much the
    same thing, goes on about surgical mutilation destroying her sex appeal, the
    horrific poison of chemo, being burned with radiation and thus dead
    from the TREATMENT. The rivalry between allopath and naturopath
    presents a very confusing schizophrenic situation. Now different
    members of the family exacerbate her confusion and get quite
    coercive, some insisting that she choose the allopath others the
    naturopath. And of course where there’s a will there’s a pack of
    parasites to cheer her up.

    As for me I’d back the basic philosophy of the naturopath in not treating the symptom but the underlying cause IF he or she can identify the underlying
    cause. Trouble is too many flying saucers with the naturopath, very
    little physiology, biochemistry etc. although there are exceptions.
    Unfortunately they are always a thousand miles away.

    The naturopath is right on track with the idea of the tumour being the symptom of cancer which is the body overloaded with rubbish and liver and kidney
    pathology resulting from rubbish and making it impossible to get rid

    But unless he can explain the whole thing is simple precise
    terms exactly how his herbs and potions work whilst referring her to
    precisely documented cases histories of total remission using his
    methods how does he overcome her fear of metastasis. No good just saying “Trust me.”

  51. Dear Lissa,

    I am writing you from Croatia where media is almost completely influenced by different political structures or parts of government. Since “Angelina breast” article circled the whole world, our media covered it too. The frightening thing is, although I’ve already mentioned bad influence of our media, that all daily newspaper are now flooded with our M.D.s who claim “that she did the right thing” and, worst of all, they call “all women above 25 years of age to get tested.” They also promote other women who did the same thing. Long story short, they are disseminating panic, as they usualy do to cover up more important issues. But now the issue is health and what’s more important than that? But there’s no one in our public life to stand up to it.

    Other than that, I recently discovered your website and ordered your book “Mind over medicine.”. I feel in my heart that everything you say is true and now I’m sure im not “crazy” for having psychical manifestations of internal struggles (same as many people here – terrible job that I can’t afford to quit yet in order to pursue my passion). I’m making a slow progress, cutting out negative people from my life but that makes the job even more intolerable because now I see the tree instead of a wood. And I see that the job is still my biggest problem, now that I’ve solved others (or I’m in process of healing) and I’m doing my best to think of the solution.

    Impatiently waiting for my Amazon package,



    • Dijana, I’m so honored you’ll be reading Mind Over Medicine all the way in Croatia. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Thanks for the article Patti!

      • I do think the article is a bit on the inflammatory side, but it also makes several good points. Before I left the U.S., I was urged to have a second mammogram (first was at age 45). I decided not to and the doctor’s aide was surprised and tried to talk me into it. I was firm, having had the experiences with the medical community that I had already had (two were more detrimental than productive or healing; the second of those led me to clinical massage therapy, which worked wonders to heal the problem). So I refused the mammogram. I will be returning to the U.S. and continuing to work with my primary care D.O. to find different or additional treatments that will work with first “detrimental” medical procedure I agreed to undergo in 2005. I’ll be even more alert to the messages my body is giving me, and I hope I have the courage to enact the changes I know I will need to enact.

  52. I agree wholeheartedly with your piece. I have been quite concerned by the public’s reaction to Angelina Jolie having this surgery. Most are praising her for her decision. Let’s face it she has removed healthy parts of her body in the event of a “maybe”. Where does this leave us as a species?

    Considering, most people believe that they are destined to end up with some kind of labelled condition, we will have mayhem on our hands as people begin lobbing off body parts, or removing organs as a precaution!

    I appreciate that Ms Jolie’s mother died of breast cancer and that the suggestion of genetic mutation has been established. However, she is not her mother, she doesn’t live the same life or have the same emotional threshold as her mother. In this day and age we have so many natural alternatives. Healing and understanding yourself and how you function mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually being the most essential.

    We are so governed by doctor’s suggestions that when told that you may be prone to this condition or that condition or given the prognosis that you will never walk again or that you will die in three months our mind takes these suggestions as an instruction. This is when it becomes a reality, as the mind begins carrying out these instructions perfectly.

    Having worked in the field of Mind Instruction I have seen too many people’s health and wellbeing being manipulated in this way. The sad thing is, when a suggestion of this nature is given it is extremely difficult for it to be reversed or erased, it requires a long process of retraining towards a new way of thinking.

    A doctor’s prognosis/diagnosis/suggestion must be carefully considered.
    One thing that we must bare in mind is that nobody can ever fully know another person’s life, their emotional wellbeing, life experiences or their strengths and weaknesses.

    For Ms Jolie, she obviously felt this was her only way out.

    My only hope is that others will think twice when faced with a similar dilemma and instead begin a process of understanding the self before embarking upon such evasive measures.

    Thank you Lissa for highlighting an alternative way of thinking……….

  53. I have a very heavy family history of breast and ovarian and constantly feel like a ticking time bomb. How does one go about NOT thinking these thoughts and relax our nervous system? I do live in fear……even more so now that I’ve read it can have a negative effect on my body fighting off illness.

    • Hi Kim

      It is very helpful to recognise that we have choice, and that we’re fuelling the future that we will meet. Meaning, it is really helpful to “pre-live” having lived long and well (and by “pre-live” that means you get to live it, since you “pre-lived” it). This is done (in a certain rhythm) with a great deal of focus, energy and intent.

      As part of that rhythm, you also need to listen to, and act on your intuitions — they are (quite literally) connecting you to that future, in which you have (already) lived well. Everything is interconnected (it makes no sense to believe otherwise) … including the future.

  54. I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene mutation & underwent a PDX last year. I had major complications & it has been a rough road. Watching & helping my mother die of BC, & her sister following her 2 years later & their brother shortly after, led me to make a very fear based decision that at times Ive resented.
    I mean no disrespect by saying this but sometimes it feels as if what Ive gone through by doing this preventativly has been more intense physically than a malignant lumpectomy (forgive my spelling)..
    BUT I do not live with the fear that my daughter will lose her only parent to something I had the power of preventing or that I will die the death I witnessed first hand.
    It is such a personal choice, one you can not possibly comprehend unless you find yourself in these shoes, truly.
    The good thing is that Angelina is advocating the CHOICE, its no ones place to take THAT fact away.
    And btw, they want my ovaries. You think they’re going to get them? HELL NO 😀
    Because I my body told me so <3

  55. Removing your both healthy breasts does not seem so much proactive
    to me but rather kind of ridiculous as it illustrates the Western approach of
    “buying” yourself health into the future at some per cent. Yet, you are still healthy NOW and you might not even live to that point where you might get unhealthy. A person who removes healthy body parts might die in a car accident way before developing the predicted illness. One cannot predict your destiny and “be ready” for all the events he is living through his life. As to the “knowledge issue” argued by the previous speaker Robin here — no, of course, knowledge is not “dangerous” and could be obtained, yet as we all know “…with much wisdom comes mush sorrow”, and I don’t think it is necessary to collect any of SUCH knowledge in advance. Besides this case is a very good example of a very straightforward (and I would say wrongful) approach of the Modern Medicine to a Human Body which completely ignores the Powers of the Mind. It only trains people to take chemicals to attack the brain and stop the symptoms, rather than use the brain itself to release the healing means into its own body to cure the root of the illness. This is what the author of the article was trying to say – IMHO.

  56. Thank you Lissa, excellent article – I couldn’t have written it better. You have written out all of my own private analysis this past week on the topic.

    You are not saying that information is dangerous – you are questioning the fundamental beliefs that affect how we relate to the barrage of information coming our way – our point of view. If our POV is limited to the rationalist-deterministic, materialist model of thinking, we sabotage ourselves from engaging things such as the new physics of medicine, or eastern medicine/mind-body science. Most people don’t even know about epigenetics and spontaneous remission facts (though they have been mentioned in the NYT over the years – most people don’t read the NYT…) Most people are just now starting to discover Integrative Medicine (Deepak Chopra MD, Christane Northrup MD, Andrew Weil MD, and to a much lesser extent, Dr. Oz) and Functional Medicine (Mark Hyman MD)… due to the fact that Integrative Medicine has only recently gone more mainstream and shown up on the celebrity circuit….

    Quantum physics is turning the western science academy upside down, and causing us to re-view everything – which is actually encouraging and exciting to those who are informed enough to know that our medical science is rife with iatrogenia and temporary cures that do not address root causes in the body and mind. British-American medical science culture is plagued by an alignment with high-tech/pharma business values (unlike the western european medical community which tends to question extreme materialism and be more open to integrative & east-west approaches). Deepak Chopra lectured to Harvard Medical School on the New Physics of Healing in 2002 (available on a fantastic Audio CD) but you’d never guess it, talking with the average British or American physician or patient.

  57. Angelia Jolie is a poor example for all women, because of this decision. Your diet and how you think far outweigh what any Doctor says or claims. This has been repeatedly proven over and over by patients who were told they would on live 6 more months and are alive years and years later. Dr are really idiots who deal drug for big pharma, they don’t practice health or preventative healing.

  58. A MODERN ‘MIRACLE’. A case of TOTAL remission.

    About 18 years ago a young woman I knew went to northern Qld and got a job in a motel. Her mother kept me informed about what she was up to as she had a bad peptic ulcer in the base (pyloris) of her stomach. She suffered a lot of mood swing as well. Anyway a couple of months passed and her mother told me that she’d collapsed at work. Her ulcer was bleeding very badly and her doctor had prescribed a new drug for. Nothing for a couple or more months and she collapses again, has endoscopy and found to have a very fast growing stomach cancer.

    The new drug, Cimetidine. I thought “Cimetidine, I’ve got a book on that somewhere”. I found it, 50 cents at Dymock’s bargain basement. It was called ‘Safety Evaluation of Nitosatable Drugs and Chemicals’. Some stuff about nitrates in sausages & water etc. but mostly about Cimetidine, about how when taking sodium bicarb as an antacid, certain bacteria breed in the alkaline conditions, which convert the drug to a carcinogenic nitosamine.

    So I photocopied the relevant bits and sent them, along with some Diastix to help her eliminate refined sugar from her diet and the stress underlying the
    ulcer formation. A few more months pass and her mother gets a call to say she’s just had endoscopy done by her oncologist and the CANCER HAS DISSAPPEARED, ALONG WITH THE ULCER. As soon as she got the info
    from me she became so disenchanted with the medical profession for having prescribed the drug she threw it away, snatched her job and laid on the beach, presumably just waiting to die.

    Now I assume that she has gone through some sort of rebirth, accepting the
    inevitability of death and calmed right down, aided by getting off the sugar, because her mother told me that a different person walked in the door when she got home, calm with no more temper tantrums.

    This validates what I have long suspected, that some cancers grow to actually
    deactivate a poison, in this case the nitrosamine, before it can get into the bloodstream where it can cause a lot of damage. In other word they grow for a reason so their growth is not random. Take away the cause of it’s growth, in this case Cimetidine, and it will disappear as it is no longer needed.

    Because of a unique set of circumstances this was the outcome. Normally it would be ‘cut, poison and burn’. Chemo, more poison, vastly more stress, no change of diet. Surgery, poisonous (hepatoxic) anaesthetic Halothane and on and on. I wrote a booklet about this experience and handed it out at a Lorne Cancer Conference I attended about 12 years ago. (I went every year for about 12 years.) A woman researcher remarked sarcastically, “It’s all anecdotal.” Of course it’s anecdotal because people who undergo total remission do so by getting out of the clutches of the medical profession before it kills them.

  59. YOUR BREAST CANCER MAY BE SAVING YOUR LIFE. If breast cancer grows to break down toxic levels of estrogen in the bloodstream, due to liver
    pathology, as the liver is the primary site of estradiol deactivation, then to remove the tumor will allow blood estrogen to rise to toxic levels. (See my other posts.)

    First there is osteoporosis. Doesn’t LOW levels of estradiol (estrogen) cause
    osteoporosis as is the justification for HRT after menopause? Well
    that now seems to be contested. Too little or too much? Too much
    stimulates the secretion of high levels of prolactin and prolaction
    causes bone demineralisation, presumably mimicking pregnancy with
    calcium being taken from the mothers bones, for milk production in her
    breasts, when there is insufficient in her diet. Unborn babies do
    this. If there insufficient calcium entering the umbilical cord the
    foetus releases a hormone that causes the mother’s bones to
    demineralise and give up calcium (and phosphorus.) Cancers do
    likewise, releasing PTH (parathyroid hormone) to get enough calcium
    for the tumours growth as all rapidly dividing tissue needs a lot of
    calcium. Metabolically a cancer resembles a baby, but with it’s
    cells growing BACKWARD or dedifferentiating.

    Breast cancers that secrete PTH don’t metastasise to bone as they don’t need
    to, indicating that bone metastasis are to supply the primary tumor
    enough calcium and are NOT random.

    (This is a quote from a Pub Med paper which I’ll edit later to clarify
    it.) High levels of estrogen also cause increased uterine weight
    4.5-fold and resulted in higher plasma creatinine levels, severe
    albuminuria, renal tubular dilatation, tubulointerstitial injury,
    hydronephrosis, glomerulosclerosis and oxidative stress. also
    caused ascites, hepatomegaly (enlarged liver) and fluid retention in
    the uterine horns but had no significant effect on blood pressure or
    heart function. (Other papers indicate heart damage.)

    Osteoarthritis, which involves degeneration of the bones around joints, is strongly associated with high levels of estrogen, and can be produced in
    animals with estrogen treatment.

    So the logical thing is to restore liver function with a change of
    lifestyle. Then with a change in attitude toward the tumor, saying
    it is saving me from osteoporosis and severe liver damage the stress
    of thinking the tumor is killing you will also disappear . Then the
    stress hormone adrenal being secreted by the adrenal gland will stop
    and the blood vessels to the breasts will dilate restoring normal
    oxygen tension and the HYPOXIA which is the inducer of cancer will
    also disappear and the cancer will remit. THE PLACEBO EFFECT.

    Some cancers remit TOTALLY. It’s not a miracle or an accident as
    the genes for remission are built into EVERY cell in your body, as
    are the genes for transformation to cancer. The problem is cancer
    researchers don’t do research into remission as they won’t get
    funding into something that will bankrupt the entire industry. They
    don’t WANT to believe in it anyway as it doesn’t suit the Darwinian
    (Dawkinist) model that says that EVERYTHING IN NATURE IS OUT TO GET
    EVERYTHING ELSE. Cancer is evil, viruses are evil, jumping genes are
    evil, all out to get the good body, God and the Devil secularised.
    If you WANT to believe that cancer ‘just happens’ and remission ‘just
    happens’ and treat it accordingly then that’s the way it will appear
    to behave.

    If breast cancer is growing for a HELPFULL purpose, ie to break
    down toxic levels of estradiol because the liver is unable to do it
    properly due to liver PATHOLOGY, then treatment with chemo may just
    make the tumor more aggressive and develop drug resistance, BECAUSE
    THE CHEMO IS BASHING THE LIVER AROUND EVEN MORE AND CELLS LINING THE GI TRACT so that nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc.
    essential to remission CANNOT BE PROPERLY ABSORBED INTO THE
    BLOODSTREAM. Hence the vomiting.

    It is clearly INSANE. Yet for me to say it is insane makes ME insane because there is only one of me and I’m not a professional scientist and I’m not going to kid that I am.

    Epigenetics is about how lifestyle can turn certain genes ON and
    OFF, with these epigenetic changes being passed on to progeny. That
    is clearly LARMARKIAN and NOT DARWINIAN. Chalk and cheese. So if
    EPIGENETICS is Larmarkian then so is GENETICS. But researchers into
    epigenetics are too gutless to call themselves Larmarkist, lest they
    be ridiculed or ostracized as Larmarkism is supposed to have been
    discredited. Discredited by WHOM, Darwinists of course,
    principal among them Richard Dawkins who will do ANYTHING to save

    I have spent 40 years developing a Larmarkian theoretical model
    that PRECISELY explains the NOCEBO effect and the PLACEBO
    effect, but it’s being ignored almost completely. How do I draw
    attention to my posts, THIS post even, I haven’t a clue. Soon
    this thread will have to close because it’s getting too bloated and I
    will have lost my last chance. That will be tragic for ALL of
    us because I don’t know of anyone else on the horizon who has
    developed such a body of work. It will die with me.

  61. I read these comments with interest and some pain, having had close family members and friends deal with many different types of cancer, employing allopathic, complementary, and mind/heart – based methods of healing. Some are still in this realm, some are not – despite “healing” at every level. I am hesitant to pass judgement (even to “evaluate”) or prescribe. Sitting at a loved one’s death changed everything for me. I cannot even imagine how it must be to deal with the diagnosis personally.

    A stunning, profound book on the experience of living and dying in these circumstances is Ken and Treya Wilber’s “Grace and Grit.” A dynamic, light-filled woman, Treya was diagnosed with a very aggressive case of breast cancer and took a conservative route – combined with Gerson therapy, mind-body work – living five years. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever read to the true experience of living as a patient (still, from a remove for me), and a caregiver. It’s Treya’s journal entries combined with Ken’s commentary. Ken’s account of well-meaning “new age” (his words) friends’ suggestions is cautionary. This from one of the our most brilliant leading-edge thinkers.

  62. This is the kind of decision you make when you’re doing what I affectionately call “future tripping”. If you’re living in the moment, there’s no way you’d do this to your body whilst no illness is showing.

  63. What IS cancer?

    We are told that cancer results from a chance mutation in just one cell that gives it a survival advantage over other cells in it’s proximity, ie to switch off normal cell suicide and switch on uncontrolled proliferation. Now because it’s
    progeny are undergoing such a fast rate of growth, some of them also
    undergo chance mutations, which even further enhances their ability
    to survive, evade the immune system or even suppress immunity etc.
    Without going into too much detail, that’s the story coming from the
    establishment and the justification for treatment that says just get
    rid of it any way possible, cut it out, burn it out and poison it.

    Okay, what then if this understanding and approach to treatment is

    Many years ago I read about the first idea that cancer resulted from chemical carcinogens in the environment. A physician, Potts, in England noticed that chimney sweeps had a very high rate of testicular cancer and concluded that something in the tars inside the chimney were causing the cancer. Then in 1925, Japanese researchers tried painting coal tar on the ears of rabbits
    to see the reaction. As expected there was a lot of tissue damage followed by healing, leaving behind a lot of scar tissue, taking a few weeks all up. So the researchers repeated the application of coal tar and got the same reaction. Then after about twelve months tumors began developing.

    Now the thing that began to intrigued me. At each application the tissue BECAME MORE RESISTANT TO THE COAL TAR requiring a larger application each time to get the same result. The cancer was by far most adept at resisting the coal tar, meaning that it WAS ABLE TO DEACTIVATE IT. Genes were being expressed that gave rise to enzymes that could break it down. The usual
    interpretation was that the very fast rate of cell growth meant chance mutations that just HAPPENED, purely by chance, to give rise to these genes.

    Then it suddenly hit me that THIS WAS WHAT THE CANCER WAS FOR, to break down the carcinogens in the coal tar to prevent them entering the body, where the LIVER would have to deal with them, a MUCH MORE DIFFICULT and DANGEROUS TASK. Skin cells are what are called squamous cells, ie flat saucer shaped cells that continuously DESQUAMATE or peel off. Same thing with the cancer, desquamate harmlessly into the environment. If the carcinogens bind to DNA or cell membranes etc., damaging them, it doesn’t matter as these cells just peel off. THAT CANNOT HAPPEN IN THE LIVER.

    Suddenly I had an answer to what is called metaplasia, where one cell type converts to another in cancer An example is where tubular shaped cells lining the oesophagus convert to squamous cells when they transform due to constant exposure to irritants in food. These are called SQUAMOUS CELL
    CARCINOMAS. As the alimentary canal is OUTSIDE of the body from a
    physiological perspective, the cancer cells can simply desquamate and
    pass out with the feaces, carrying the poisons harmlessly covalently
    bonded to whatever.

    When I heard that early ductal cell carcinomas had up to 1,000 times more estrogen receptors than a normal cell, it hit me that here we have the same thing, cancer growing to PROTECT THE BODY against a toxin, estogen in high
    concentrations due to liver pathology, as the liver is the primary site of estrogen deactivation.. If these extra receptors ATTRACT much more estrogen into the cell it has to be gotten rid of. It cant just hang around in the cell. So there must be an upregulation or amplification of the enzymes that break the estrogen down. It is a fat soluble compound that can just melt it’s way through the cell’s
    outer or plasma membrane, then once converted to water soluble inactive estriol it can be pumped out of the cell for easy disposal by the kidneys in the urine..

    This means that any treatment that disposes of the breast cancer gets rid of something that is protecting the body, whilst FURTHER damaging the liver so that even more estrogen piles up in the body to EVEN FURTHER damage the liver in a vicious cycle and do extensive KIDNEY DAMAGE plus causing

  64. Honestly, to have healthy organs removed because one might get sick?
    Where’s the commonsense in that?
    I am not a radical and think that traditional medicine has its benefits too, although people should be aware that a lot of doctors are corrupted by the
    pharmaceutical industry, and thus take their advice with a grain of salt (or anyone else’s).
    As for the publicity, why does Jolie need to tell the whole world? She is not a health expert. It’s irrelevant and misleading. The whole story is as ridiculous and absurd as the Emperor’s Clothes.

    • For her at least the common sense was being told by science she either has a 9 in 10 chance of getting a deadly disease, or she can have a mastectomy surgery now and remove that 9 in 10 risk.

  65. Such a great post .. I am a trained physician from India now in public health here in US and I had the similar thoughts when I read the article about Angelina Jolie .. It’s quite a norm to see that the crowd follows what celebrities do. And to play with your body parts in the form of getting them surgically removed for some statistics which most of often doctors themselves are skeptical about is sheer wrong doing I feel . I totally respect her choice it’s her body and she knows the best but to come out in public and make it a big issue where women with history of Brest cancer in family would now think of BRCA testing when all that is important for them at present is to feed their family.

    I am saying this because of my personal experience with this generic testing and what the unfovorable results do to your peace of mind. During my 11 week NT scan they told me I had 90 percent chance that I carrying either one or both Down syndrome babies . Genetic counselor left it to me to make a decision about CVS which is invasive and I could lose my pregnancy and again they put in statistics for that . I lost my sleep .. But decided to wait till my 16 th week repeat blood work and voi la it came 1/100000 chance .. But by then I had lost my sleep my body was in stress and what not .. I was thinking of negative and discussing something which was not even there .

  66. I am Faisal , from Egypt Cairo .. I am Sudanese guy … i am looking for hip hop music or actor …here is my Email ..also looking for real love

  67. Then what should a person with BRCA1 carrier do? Just sit around and wait to act and when she gets cancer? Or should we just stop getting tested because we should wait until we get sick to act on it?

  68. for Angelina Jolie, you should focus as much charity, apologize at all the people who have made ​​you angry, your parents are the main apologetic sujut foot of your parents, pray as much, beg forgiveness for all the mistakes and sins that have you made any , charity as much with the orphans, the poor so much more, hopefully you will be able to forgiveness, and keep a good attitude speech, dress decently, that’s the key if you want a quiet life, and sin no more mistakes, can consult with religious leaders and not what is good, there is still a chance, the second may soon not a waste of time, for salvation later, from Suprapto

  69. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, with two tumors between my lungs growing rapidly. Five months later the cancer was gone. My only cure was drinking five cups of carrot juice daily. My e-book about the cure and the reasons why carrots and other natural foods work, is on amazon–Curing Cancer with Carrots. My attitude was that carrot juice drinking was going to be my cure, if I had a cure, and if carrots didn’t work and I died, that was OK. A healer, Kate Banks, advised me to tell my body that I knew it had an inner blueprint for its perfect functioning and it could access its blueprint to retunr to perfect health. I think Dr. Rankin’s wortk and spirit is wonderful!.

  70. I can see two sides of this. On the one hand, if your statistical chances are 9 out of 10 of getting cancer, this could be useful information. On the other hand, I am pretty darn sure that if I got the news that I tested positive and was in the 9 out of 10 category, I would worry myself into oblivion quite literally due to fear.
    I definitely believe in the power of positive thinking and of taking good care of our health, but I’ve also seen extremely happy and positive people who take excellent care of themselves get cancer.

  71. I can’t find anything else on the internet about the cursed sisters from Georgia. Where did you get that story?


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