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Dig Deeper: Functional Testing for Breast Cancer Survivors

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

A diagnosis of breast cancer can kick off a flurry of questions: "why me?" "what can I do differently?" "What's going on in my body that I should know about?" For so many of us, we have been living what we felt was a "healthy" lifestyle, so it can be frustrating and confusing to try to figure out what do next.

While we may never get a good answer to "why me?", we can look a little deeper to see how we can optimize health moving forward. Functional Testing for breast cancer survivors gives us specific information about what is happening in your body so we can tailor a treatment plan to your individual needs. In my practice, I use a variety of testing options to help you understand your health. This certainly will include routine blood testing that you would get from any other medical provider. But we can add other types of more in-depth evaluations to help you have a deeper understanding of the state of your health. Also, specialized testing can often give us more specific, actionable steps to take.

First: Take a deeper look at your standard testing

Standard tests such as blood counts, cholesterol, liver function, and thyroid are absolutely critical for determining how your internal landscape is functioning. There are two primary ways in which we can look deeper into your standard testing to gather more information:

  • Approach your testing from an optimal health perspective: While standard testing is great for determining whether you have a specific disease, we can also often use these tests to look for overall patterns that could lead to an imbalance.

  • Dig Deeper: Sometimes, if we add further testing to clarify how a system is functioning, we will be able to be more targeted in our treatment. For example, in addition to the standard TSH that we run to see how your thyroid is doing, we can add additional tests such as free T4 and T3 so we know more about how your body is actually producing your thyroid hormone. Another example of this is to look beyond just the basic cholesterol panel to expanded lipid profiles and markers of inflammation like C-CRP and homocysteine.

Next: Tailored Functional Testing for Breast Cancer Survivors

As I mentioned above, we can use specialized testing to deepen our understanding of what is happening in your body. This is helpful for many people who are suffering but haven't been able to find a diagnosis for their concern. It is also useful because many of these tests are helpful for directing how we treat you. They help to build out the holistic wellness plan that I create for each of my patients. The list below is just a few of the specialized testing options that I most commonly recommend.

  • Salivary hormone Testing Most breast cancers are hormone positive, so this can be useful to know if any of your hormones are higher than optimal. This can also be helpful to help understand any symptoms you may be experiencing after treatment-including hot flashes, fatigue, insomnia, or anxiety. This also gives us information about the health of your adrenal glands and stress hormones such as cortisol.

  • Food Antibody Testing This helps us understand if anything you are eating is causing underlying inflammation in your body. This is important because we want to minimize inflammation to decrease the risk of recurrence. I also use this test for people who are suffering from long-term inflammatory issues. This can include skin problems, joint pain, allergies and asthma, digestive problems, and even chronic mental agitation.

  • Stool Microbiome Testing The microbiome is a crucial part of the immune system and helps to regulate inflammation in the body. We can test the microbiome to see whether you have all the "good" bacteria you need for balanced health and make sure there is nothing growing that is potentially contributing to imbalance in the body. This can also help figure out the underlying causes of constipation, diarrhea, IBS, or Gas and bloating.

For more specialized cases, testing for Genetic mutations , Environmental Pollutants, Heavy Metal Exposure, and other types of testing are available. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about digging deeper into your body!

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