“Women who are powerful and successful don’t really want men in their lives—they’d rather be alone.”
“She’s so strong, she can handle anything.”
“Women who are independent don’t need men for anything.”
Recently I was attending a meditation retreat, and I met up with a female acquaintance I’ve known informally for some time. Julianne is a very successful attorney and a truly radiant woman. She exudes poise and self-confidence, and regularly speaks in front of large groups. When she asked me what I was working on, I told her about this book. Instantly, her eyes lit up, and she grabbed my arm. “Listen, Barbara,” Julianne said. “Here’s the most important thing you need to tell men—just because a woman is strong and independent in her career doesn’t mean she has no needs. We still need nurturing; we still need to be taken care of, even if it doesn’t always look like it.”
I thanked Julianne, and as I turned to leave, she called out, “Barbara—one more thing. Call me and tell me as soon as the book comes out. I need to give a copy to my husband. He thinks I’m superwoman.”
Over and over again in researching this chapter, I heard statements like Julianne’s from women that all illustrate Myth #6:
“My partner doesn’t understand that despite the fact that I’m very independent and strong, I often need reassurance and tenderness. At times I probably appear to be so tough that I can take anything—but sometimes I’d love a little more sympathy, empathy, and caretaking.”
“When my husband says ‘You’re strong, I know you can handle it,’ I feel like he is dismissing my needs. Yes, I’m strong, but I still like to be taken care of.”
Read more »
There is a great temptation to rely on vitamin supplements to make up for a poor diet. Nowhere will that gain you less than with breast cancer prevention. Studies show proof positive that real fruits and vegetables provide a powerful effect, whereas there’s no such scientific proof that individual vitamins do the same. Singling out individual nutrients is called reductionism to the extreme. This strategy is also beginning to backfire. Research links beta-carotene supplements with increased risk of both lung and colon cancer. Some researchers believe that beta-carotene may block other important carotenes, of which there are nearly 500, from being absorbed, thus increasing the cancer risk by depriving the body of these important nutrients. Sloan-Kettering’s breast cancer chief, Dr. Larry Norton, has shown that vitamin C can actually grow breast cancer cells in a petri dish. He recommends that his breast cancer patients take no vitamin supplements. Are there supplements you should consider? For protection against heart disease and neural tube defects, vitamins B6, B12, and folate are important and are often taken as supplements. Vitamin E helps to prevent fish oils from oxidizing in the body and protects against heart disease. However, there are no vitamin supplements known to protect against breast cancer. With the risk that some supplements, such as beta-carotene or vitamin C, could increase the cancer risk, the best advice is to get the maximum amount of vitamins from foods and then to supplement only after reviewing the need with your doctor.
Comparisons with other treatments
Evening primrose oil has been tested against the drugs bromocriptine and danazol in a study on 361 patients at the Cardiff Breast Pain Clinic.
The result of the trial was that there was no significant difference between the three drugs. They all produced relief in 50-62% of women. The results for evening primrose oil were slightly worse than those for danazol and slightly better than those for bromocriptine.
However, some patients who had previously failed to respond to either danazol or bromocriptine did respond to evening primrose oil.
However, evening primrose oil did score over the other two drugs in one important respect – it did not produce side-effects compared to danazol and bromocriptine, which both produced side-effects in 24% of patients.
For best results, evening primrose oil should be taken in conjunction with a healthy, low saturated fat diet. In particular, the methylxanthine group of substances (caffeine, theophylline) found m coffee, tea and cola drinks should be excluded, as these substances increase the binding of prolactin to the breast.
The vitamin and mineral co-factors should also be taken with the evening primrose oil.
There is no doubt that evening primrose oil is effective in treating breast pain, whether cyclical or non-cyclical. It is equally effective as the more traditional drugs used to treat this condition but has none of their side-effects. For that reason some doctors feel that evening primrose oil should be the first- line treatment for breast pain.
The effects of evening primrose oil were significantly greater than that of the placebo, which had no effect at all for either group.
Evening primrose oil proved to be equally effective for both the cyclical and non-cyclical patients.
Evening primrose oil had a progressive effect, being much greater at the end of the trial (2-3 months) than at the first month. The effects were greater still after 4-6 months. The fact that evening primrose oil does not produce a rapid result is not surprising. After all, an effect related to a change in the composition of cell membranes cannot be expected to take place rapidly.
In order to obtain a response to treatment, it is important to start with the full dose (8x500mg per day) and to continue treatment for the recommended 3-6 month period.
After 3-6 months, treatment may be stopped. The condition will then take 2-12 months to revert to its previous symptomatic level.
A maintenance dose of 2-4 x500mg capsules per day may keep symptoms under control indefinitely.
Women with breast pain have been found to have normal, or near normal levels of linoleic acid However, they have abnormally low levels of the metabolites of linoleic acid.
For some reason, these women are not metabolizing linoleic acid successfully. This may be because the conversion of linoleic acid to the next stage, GLA, is slowed down or blocked by such things as stress, a high saturated fat diet, or a high alcohol intake. For whatever reason, something is inhibiting the activity of the delta-6-desaturase enzyme, which is needed to convert linoleic acid to its metabolites.
Evening primrose oil works because its active ingredient is GLA, which by-passes the metabolic block. So the level of essential fatty acids is brought up to normal.
By normalizing the level of essential fatty acids, the metabolic cause behind the abnormal sensitivity to hormones’ is corrected.
A total of 188 women have been studied in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies carried out at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, and at Plymouth General Hospital. The length of trial and the doses given were different in each centre: 8x500mg per day in Cardiff (2 months) and Plymouth (5 months), and 6x500mg in Dundee (3 months). Women with breast pain not due to cancer or any other obvious cause were entered into the trials, and received at random either the treatment (evening primrose oil), or a placebo. Most of the patients in the trial – 141 – had cyclic symptoms. The other 47 had non-cyclic.
The women were seen at the start of the trial then again at monthly intervals in the pre-menstrual phase of their cycle. Each woman assessed the severity of pain and other breast symptoms, in particular lumpiness, heaviness and tenderness.