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Which of the following health conditions is not directly benefited by breathing exercises?
High blood pressure

 Breast Cancer: Revisiting Accepted Wisdom in the Management of Breast Cancer - Part 2 

Some of his cautious hesitation was transmitted to me. When our son was born 22 years ago, with two gaping holes in a distended heart, we deliberated ambivalently about the cardiologist's urgent plea to go forward with open-heart surgery. Without it his life would have been severely compromised; with it he had a fifty-fifty chance of surviving the surgery. Now the Dacron patches stitched carefully in place by Paul Ebert when our son was 8 months old have enabled him, like the normal kids I envied when he was small, to attend college.

Two years ago I urged my niece, Sherifa Edoga, just after she had graduated with double honors from Stanford, to seek counsel from my son's cardiologist. She was born without a pulmonary artery, the vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs to receive oxygen. Always breathless, her lips and fingernails were permanently stained the color of blackberries, a sign of hypoxia--not enough oxygen in the blood. For anyone else it would be a 2-minute jaunt to the car, but she moved like a snail and for her the trip took 20 minutes. It was with trepidation that Sherifa decided to undergo surgery; she had had two operations as a child that had failed. But the able surgeon felt he could help. In the days before, Sherifa made great gains in quieting her fear. She died 5 days after the operation.

My father always characterizes medicine as an evaluation of the lesser of evils, requiring a cost-benefit analysis accompanied by a willingness to gamble. His awareness of doctor-induced problems (iatrogenesis) led us to be apprehensive about both drugs and procedures. Medicine can mean miracles. It can do harm. Doctors want to ply their trade to the task of genuinely serving, and patients yearn to be saved. Ultimately it is we, not our doctors, who must navigate our vessel. It is our destiny that lies on the shore.

Living With Disease
In 1995, eight million new cases of breast cancer and 3 million deaths were recorded worldwide, Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States, the leading cause of cancer death for black women, and the second leading cause of cancer death for women aged 35 to 54 years. Eighty percent of women diagnosed with it are over the age of 50. More than 70% of cases occur in women without any identifiable risk factors. More than 1.6 million women diagnosed with breast cancer are alive in America today, and the 5-year survival rate is over 90% (written communication with National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, March 1996). We are always looking toward future progress, toward what's new that will miraculously transform our capacities for medical management. By looking backward as well as forward, we gain insight, if not the ever-elusive cure.

    Poet Lucille Cliftons50 writes:
    we are running
    running and
    time is clocking us
    from the edge like an only
    our mothers stream before us,
    cradling their breasts in their
    oh pray that what we want
    is worth this running,
    pray that what we're running
    is what we want.
Halsted Holman, professor emeritus at the Stanford School of Medicine, is the son of Emile Holman, who, like Cushing, was I a protege of both Osler and Halsted. Named after his father's mentor, Halsted Holman oddly echoes Virchow's social perspecfive, bringing dialogue full circle. In the middle of the 19th century, Virchow claimed that many maladies were the result of aninequitable distribution of social and economic resources, advocating that doctors should exercise their power to abolish the social conditions that are at the root of so many diseases. Virchow asserted that "physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor."11(p316) Similarly, Halsted Holmans51 comments:
(Excerpted from Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine)
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 About The Author
Harriet Beinfield LAcHarriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D. have pioneered the practice of Chinese medicine in America for the last 28 years as educators, writers, and practitioners. They are the co-authors of the......more
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