Breast Cancer Patients Embrace Cannabis

by Shanti
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Break out the pink!  It’s October, the International Breast Cancer Awareness month. Now’s the time when countries around the globe band together in the color pink with one common purpose. . . to bring attention to the prevention, early detection, and treatment of breast cancer.

This year there’s a reason to add some green to the pink ribbon. Cannabis is making gains in the fight against breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer around the globe. For women it’s the most common form of cancer.

Many people believe breast cancer is a disease that can only affect women. But breast cancer doesn’t choose its victims based on bra size. Men get breast cancer too. More than 2 million men and women in 2018 received a breast cancer diagnosis.

The majority of breast cancer victims are from rural areas. People who live in these areas have little access to prevention education. 

These people are unaware of early detection methods. They don’t have screening or even proper medical treatment.  With few options many of the people who have breast cancer don’t survive.

Actual numbers for people surviving with the disease are unknown due to the lack of proper medical care in rural areas. There’s no way to tell who’s got breast cancer and who doesn’t.

But in areas with developed health care systems the number of cases are determinable.

Belgium, a country with a strong health care system has the most number of cases. Other EU member states also have high numbers of cases. As do other countries with robust medical care.

In the U.S. 13% of women or 1 out of every 8 will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer in their lifetime. Many of these women have access to medical treatments of various kinds. 

Cannabis As A Palliative Treatment

Dr Weiss, a breast cancer specialist, treats patients everyday in her Philadelphia office.  She’s seen an acceptance of medical marijuana as part of a less risky treatment plan.

Due to the state’s medical marijuana program the doctor had a new treatment to offer her patients. With cannabis as an alternative to traditional pain medication, patients could choose to risk addiction to opiates or use medical marijuana.

Patients chose not to use opiates. They wanted medical marijuana instead.

Dr. Weiss’ breast cancer patients chose the option for medical marijuana. This choice intrigued Weiss so much she conducted a survey. The results of the survey showed:

  • 1) 4 in 10 breast cancer patients say they’ve used cannabis to manage cancer related symptoms
  • 2) The majority of medical cannabis users agreed cannabis was effective to manage cancer related symptoms
  • 3) Breast cancer patients across a range of ages chose marijuana.
  • 4) 79% of cannabis users in her study said they used cannabis during all forms of active treatment including: chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormonal therapy and radiation.
  • 5) Patients used medical cannabis to manage more than one symptom or side effect, the most common of which included:
  1. pain (78%)
  2. insomnia (70%) and
  3. anxiety (57%)

Dr. Weiss was pleased to discover medical cannabis treatment worked for her patients. It offers a lower risk much less addictive alternative to traditional pharma based forms of medicine. 

While Dr. Weiss gave patients an alternative palliative treatment, researchers uncovered a connection between cannabis and the malfunction of breast cancer cells. 

Cannabis Research for Breast Cancer

Scientists gave Cannabis Sativa to breast cancer patients as part of their palliative treatment plan. They knew cannabis has properties to ease cancer-related side effects and symptoms. What they found out was that cannabis could do more. 

The breast cancer cells treated with cannabis reversed the acceleration of their growth.  Cannabis decelerated the rate of growth for cancer cells.

More research will uncover the effects of Cannabis Sativa on breast cancer. Discovering the range of benefits offered by cannabis will require more research. Until then the fight against breast cancer will continue as is. Prevention, early detection, and treatment are the main ways to beat this disease.

It is easier to access than traditional cancer treatments and pharmaceuticals. More people in rural areas will have access to the breast cancer treatment they need.

Cannabis can help us win the fight. 

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