About two years ago, I felt a lump in my breast while I was showering.  I spent the next two days obsessing over it (as I do best!).  Being a holistic health coach and wellness expert, who tirelessly and meticulously takes care of herself, breast cancer (or any type of cancer) is the last thing I would ever expect.  I’m young (33 at the time), I eat the best foods, I exercise, and not only that, but there’s also no history of breast cancer in my family.  But I was still freaking the F out!


After a few days of obsessing and spending way too many hours on Dr. Google, I make an appointment with my real-life doctor.  Expecting him to tell me everything is fine and I’m a crazy lunatic who should just chill out, he confirms my suspicions and orders me a mammogram.  SCREECH!  WAIT. HOLD UP!  Um, no, I don’t think so.  Now, this may be controversial (what’s new, right?), but I’m very against mammograms.  Let me get this straight?  You want to increase my chances of cancer with radiation while you’re checking me for cancer?  NOPE!  Thank you for the offer, but I think I’ll pass.  I’m well aware that mammograms are not only ineffective, but also dangerous.  

  • The radiation can be 1,000 times greater than a chest x-ray.
  • If you do have cancerous cells, mammography compresses your breasts, which can spread and metastasize an existing growth.
  • The rate of false positives is alarmingly high.  There are too many horrifying stories of women who have gone through the whole ordeal: radiation, drugs, removing one or both of their breasts, to later find out they never had cancer.  Terrifying!


Educate yourself on the risks of mammography!  Doctors don’t know everything!  I can’t stress it enough, but you need to be your own advocate!  For routine screening, I personally recommend thermographic breast screening, which measures the radiation of infrared heat coming from your body and can provide earlier (and reversible) detection.  And for when an actual lump is found, I recommend ultrasounds.  I fought my doctor long and hard on this, and he finally succumbed.  Ultrasounds are much more effective, especially for us dense-breasted women.



My ultrasound came back negative, but they kept an eye on it for the next 2 years, to see if there were any changes (which I’m happy to say I am in the clear!).  Turns out, I just have fibrocystic breasts.  Fibrocystic breast disease is a non-cancerous condition, where you develop swollen, painful, tender, and lumpy breasts.  Symptoms usually get worse right before your period.  I was shocked to find out that over 50% of women will develop this condition at some point in their lives.  It’s not dangerous, just painful and uncomfortable.  I believe pain, however, is a way our bodies signal us that something isn’t right.  When our bodies start to nudge (or yell!) at us with painful or uncomfortable symptoms, I think that is the time to look a bit more closely and course-correct before it does get dangerous.  Here’s what I did to “cure” myself of fibrocystic breasts:


Iodine deficiency can not only result in fibrocystic breast disease, but also in hypothyroidism, depression, difficulty losing weight, brain fog,  increased cholesterol, goiters, and decreased fertility.  Sea vegetables (arame, kombu, wakame, kelp) are one of the best sources of iodine.  Other sources include seafood, eggs, and raw dairy.  I personally choose to supplement with iodine, but do your own research, as it’s pretty controversial (there it is again!).  A great book on this topic is Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It by David Brownstein.  I highly recommend it!




Removing caffeine from the diet is probably the most popular approach for treating fibrocystic breasts.  During this time, when it was at it’s worst, I removed coffee (and chocolate) completely.  I have since added back in 1/2 the caffeine with the added mushroom benefits) and so far that seems to keep any symptoms at bay.




The lymph system helps the body rid itself of waste and toxins, but it doesn’t have it’s own pump, so it can easily become congested.  When your lymph system becomes congested, this can lead to swollen breasts, as well as swollen ankles, bloating, weight gain, cellulite, sinusitis, and an overall impaired immune system.  Thankfully, there are a few steps we can take to get our lymph system moving.  I try now to incorporate at least one (if not more!) of these a day for prevention:

  • Hydrating (especially with lemon water)
  • Dry brushing
  • Rebounding
  • Vibration Machines
  • Inverting
  • Lymphatic massage
  • Eating raw foods (fruits & vegetables)
  • Giving up wireless bras
  • Exercising
  • Colonics (especially if you are not eliminating regularly!)
  • Getting rid of antiperspirants (which don’t allow proper sweat drainage resulting in toxins filtering back into the breast)
  • Daily breast massage




Increased levels of estrogen before your period is normal, but when you have an excessive amount, it can be the cause of breast pain and swelling.  I eliminated any excess estrogen I was getting from the environment and my lifestyle by ensuring I was:

  • Avoiding plastic containers & bottles
  • Avoiding commercially-produced, non-organic, and grain-fed animal and dairy products
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Losing body fat (where estrogen is stored)
  • Consuming cruciferous vegetables
  • Eating organic foods
  • Avoiding soy, flax, and legumes (estrogenic foods)
  • Limiting stress
  • Taking probiotics, especially lactobacillus acidophilus

The liver is responsible for clearing out estrogen, so providing additional liver support is also beneficial.  This can include supplementing with evening primrose oil, B Vitamins, and eating liver-friendly foods (lemons, onions, garlic, leeks, kale, beets, and other high-fiber foods).


I really hope this helps you!  If you know anyone experiencing these symptoms, feel free to forward this to them!  Let me know your thoughts.  Have you experienced this?  What has helped you?







6 replies
  1. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I remember this story – glad it was came out the way it did. My scare was as a result of the traditional mammogram not being able to detect accurately because of the thyroid protector I demanded. Health screenings always cause me a lot of anxiety.

    • Amanda Carneiro
      Amanda Carneiro says:

      I remember that! So one mammogram turned into 2, because of a false read. Crazy that we protect the thyroid, but nothing else. Are you going to do it again? Or try thermography!

  2. Lisa McGuinness
    Lisa McGuinness says:

    Wow! Thank you for sharing. What a wealth of knowledge. I have never done a mammogram and now I know what to ask for instead of doing one!


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