WOMEN will never be strangers to men. This minute, a woman may sob from the bottom of her heart that the man in her heart does not notice her new hairstyle or her new underwear specially purchased for him alone to admire. The next minute, she may pile up this stuff and set them all ablaze for no reason other than that she would like to be free of him, or be like a man. That was what some women wanted to make 13 October 2021, another “NO BRASSIERE DAY”.
On that “DAY”, celebrated worldwide to create awareness for breast cancer, the revolutionary woman was expected to wear no brassiere simply because men do not wear brassieres, just to drive home the point they are making that the genders are equal in all material particular. This was against the honest intentions of anti-cancer campaigners to make abandonment of the brassiere on 13 October a powerful admonition that women look after the health of their breasts. It did not matter to the feminists who wished to hijack the event to restock the fire of their feminists’ liberation agenda if their bosoms revealed to the prying eyes of the dirty men those feminine treasures in their bosoms reservable only for the other room as their mothers and grandmothers had tenaciously taught them for generations. This deviant behaviour is the handiwork in the last century of feminist women seeking women’s liberation and parity with men in the social place. The young woman or teenage Nigerian girl does not know where this idea to be like a man is coming from but, nevertheless, hooked up on it just to free herself, even if for only one day, from the “shackles” of the brassiere. When my 14-year-old foster daughter, Better Effiong Happiness, informed me of the event two days ahead, and I educated her about the unwholesomeness of it for women, I decided to turn the tables, in my own little corner of the earth, by devoting 13 OCTOBER to BREAST HEALTH DAY in my training module for some members of the AIM GLOBAL Incubating Diamond Life Earners in Lagos. The ideas presented in that script have been magnified for this column.
I did not grow up to find my grandmother wearing a bra, as we now call the BRASSIERE. What women of her time wore to hide their breasts or jotting nipples from the ever prying eyes of men was an underdress made of thick fabric which hung down from their shoulders to as far as to the knees or the shin. The Yorubas call it “AGBEKO” (something that is hung). And, really, it hangs down from the shoulder. If the nipple was too erotic or stubborn and broadcasts its existence through the “Agbeko”, the outer top-dress silenced its roar. The Yorubas also called the Agbeko “SHIMI”. The Agbeko or Shimi still exists but in a lighter fabric that is sometimes white. In later years, the “Agbeko” or “Shimi” gave way to the bra and the underskirt below which a pant or brief is worn to block prying eyes. But it would appear as though some women never which to keep away the prying eyes. For when they wear all manner of trousers, they do not wear under briefs, and the trouser fabric gets caught by the secret place, irresponsibly revealing indecent outlines or shapes to the prying eyes. These outlines can expose a dirty woman. Try as she may wash the stain clean, the designs on the trousers remain indelibly etched on the fabric. I guess women got into this trap when they abandoned the Agbeko for the bra because they were trying to escape from heavy draping of thick fabric which overheated their bodies in the scorching tropical sun. On account of this, some women may have discarded the underskirt and the in-lying good old pantie for short-knickers. In truth, the breast and those other regions require proper air circulation to stay healthy. But, in all sincerity, I do not know why the campaigners for breast cancer awareness thought that not wearing the bra for one day, at work or at play, would make women think more of breasts cancer and breasts health.
The history of the modern bra cannot be separated from fashion advancements, as women and the industry became more innovative in their eagerness to support and shape the breast. So, from the amorphous padding of old, the corsets, the camisoles, the tubes and the modern bra came to stay. The job of the bra is to take some load off the ligaments which suspend the breasts, to prevent them from early sags. In Nigeria, sagging breasts are described as “falling” breasts. Women do not want their breasts to “fall”. Some even control breastfeeding to save their breasts. Some wear wired bras which cause circulation problems and pain in the chest region. Some massage their breast with medicinal plant oils to protect the fatty tissue. Some take supplements to strengthen the ligaments. The last thing the average modern Nigerian woman will probably do is fail to wear her brassiere unless she is a “marlian”, who see wrong as right and right as wrong.
Men and women have breasts. But the breasts of men are not functional, that is they do not produce breast milk for an infant. The breasts of women are functional, and, in addition, have an erotic value for sexual pleasure. Some women have small breasts, others big breasts. A big breast does not necessarily produce more breast milk than a small breast. The amount of milk-producing tissue in the breast of all women is approximately the same. This is the glandular tissue, also called the lobules. So, why do women trouble themselves for big breasts if not for sexual appeal which may not be while Mother Nature gave them those glands in the first place?
The glandular milk tissue overline the pectoralis major muscle or are found attached to this sheet of muscle which appears in the upper chest region as attached to a ridge in the upper arm. From this location, the milk-producing glands empty breast milk, whenever it is produced, into nine milk ducts which travel down the breast line and converge on a nipple to discharge the milk. The breast has no muscles. It has blood vessels, fat tissue, ligaments, connective tissue and lymphatic vessels. The lymphatic vessels are connected to the lymph nodes in the underarms and behind the chest in the sternum region of the ribcage.
The fat cells, called Adipose tissue, are found between the lobules. They play an important role in the development and maturation of the breast, being huge sources of energy. In fact, the main function of Adipose tissue is believed to be the storage of excess energy which it releases to the body in times of need. It is thought, also, that excess adipose tissue is created in the breast, as elsewhere in the body, to store excess toxins. Thus, weight gain to cage and store a higher toxin load in new fat cells throughout the body may lead to a corresponding weight gain in the breast. It is not surprising, therefore, that being a great energy source, adipose tissue has been found implicated in the development and progressions of breast cancer where toxins overwhelm the breast and there is not enough antioxidant protection for breast tissues ravaged by free radical attacks.
SOME BREAST CHALLENGES
In love and in play when a woman submits her breast, men do not know what concerns and pain this organ often causes her. Only when she spits vermin on intrusive ingress does he sit up. That is stupid, obtuse man for you. Inside her, a woman may have no peace because of the state of affairs in her breast. Small breasts which some women may erroneously value less for sexual appeal often counts less than these nipple discharges which may block the ovaries from producing eggs and, thereby, imply infertility. Itchy nipples may be easily sorted out with antibacterial and antifungal creams or, if it is preferred, with natural medicines such as coconut oil, Beeswax, Propolis, Aloe vera gel, Olive oil, Olibanum (Frankenstein) oil, Grape Seed oil and stuffs like them. How does a woman with inverted nipples, that is nipples which turn and look up about 90 degrees instead of straight, easily feed a baby?
Some women have extra nipples, sometimes on the “milk-line”, somewhere on the abdomen. The female hormones may support breast health or torment it. As the periods of some women approach, they experience Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). They may express this in a number of ways or through a combination of them. Bloating up with fluid is common. The entire body and the breasts will swell. The swelling pills tissue depart sometimes to their tensile limits, threatening to tear and causing pain. Some women have all sorts of cravings, in particular for simple carbohydrates or sugars or for even ice to chew, especially if they are heavy bleeders and are iron deficient. Other women go through mood swings, happy this hour and sad the next. Sometimes infections occur in the ducts or elsewhere in the breast which may cause abscesses. Doctors drain the mucus, pus, blood and fluid and prescribe appropriate medications. The last thing I believe a woman would like to see in her breast is a lump, friendly (benign) or cancerous. It makes them panic. I was 30 in 1980, that is about 44 years ago when my grandmother died of cancer in the right breast which spread to other parts of the body. She developed a lump one or two years earlier. It must have been one or two years after I graduated from the University in 1977 that she began to complain about one breast.
She brought me up after my mother died when I was nine. I was free with her and explained the breasts. I had heard so much about breast cancer ravages in America. I was young and experienced such matters, as I stated in my ABOUT US in www.olufemikusa.com. In retrospect, I can only recall that this otherwise healthy woman whose generation spent three days and three nights walking from Ijebu-ode to Lagos with sacks of garri or kegs of palm oil on their heads to sell in Lagos may have gone down through certain lifestyles. She substituted a Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), which was new on the market, with locust bean in which she was raised. She was a ridiculous WASTE NOT, WANT NOT a person who would scrape off fungus from the top of infected food, ignorant that the roots were deep down and had impacted cancer-causing aflatoxins into the food. Many people in Nigeria consume aflatoxins every day in dry fish, stockfish, ground melon, roasted fish, raw potato, yam etc. Aren’t many people still like her who treat oral thrush with kid gloves? This is the white patch on the tongue which forms a carpet over the pinkish red colour of the tongue. We often scrub the thrush off with a hard brush in the first-morning brush only for it to appear later in the day. Under the microscope, the thrush looks like a bed of mushrooms with caps, stems and roots embedded in the tongue. If the tongue is a mirror of the intestine, as we have been well advised by some researchers, isn’t this informing us that there is a candida overgrowth in the intestine? And as books are being written which relate breast cancer with candida, shouldn’t more attention be paid to this fungus in breast health care. Forerunners to the book CANCER IS A FUNGUS, by Dr TULLIO SIMONCINI was my resort in those days when every doctor I took my grandmother to in Lagos(LUTH), Ijebu-Igbo(the Catholic hospital) and Ibadan(UCH) said there was no cure for cancer.
I would learn after her demise that Dr Simoncini was curing breast cancer in Italy through the injection of sodium bicarbonate into the breast cancer mass. His thinking is that, since cancer loves and grows on sugar, injecting the mass with sugar makes the cancer receptors open up to “drink” the sugar. While they are doing so, he pumps in sodium bicarbonate solution, which he says kills them because cancer cells thrive in an acidic environments, are killed by alkaline substances and sodium bicarbonate is extremely alkaline. But Dr.Simoncini refuses to disclose the details of his work, even to a Nigerian doctor who, from Yaba, in Lagos, travelled to Italy to learn the protocol for a fee. If you see me write at the beginning of every new year about new approaches to the treatment of breast or other cancer in the Alternative Medicine bracket, I do so in memory of my grandmother and to help women who are troubled by this condition.
We eat to live, for health. So, eating for the health of the breasts is no big deal. The breasts require proteins, healthy fats, healing oils and herbs. When the menstrual cycle upsets the breasts, Vitex, Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, Peruvian Macca, Ashwagandah, help to restore hormonal balance. Zinc is indispensable as fertility, immune system, antioxidant, alkalizing and healing mineral and for restricting Prolactin to normal blood levels.
An area unexplored well enough by many women is oil massage. Women with wilting or wilted nipples do attest to the healing power of groundnut(peanuts) oil, especially the UCAN brand which is fortified with Vitamin A. In his book, ANOINT YOURSELF WITH OIL, to which we are limited today, David Richard gives us a list of plant oils beneficial for health which I recommend for breast health when they are taken with meals or massaged deep into the breast skin. He does not mention Camphor oil but he mentions castor oil. Edgar Caycee gave us camphorated castor oil which we make by mixing both oils for external use only. Women with uterine fibroids may benefit from them, as Caycee said. The oil has also helped some cases of breast conditions. The oils mentioned by David Richard include those of:
“Olive, Sesame, Almond, Flax, Hemp, Sunflower, Soybean, Canola, Pumpkinseed, Safflower, Evening Primrose, Borage, Rose Hip Seed, Jojoba, Grape Seed, Rice Bran, Wheat Germ, Castor, Apricot Kernel and Neem”.
Sesame oil is “relaxing and balancing”. Almond oil, rich in Vitamin E, is good for itching, dry or inflammatory skin situations such as eczema. Flax oil, rich in Vitamins A and E, is good “because of its microbial and anti-cancerous properties”. Hemp oil “is the most balanced and nutritious of all the seed oil”. Taken internally and used as a massage, it provides all the essential fatty acids which are required for the protection and maintenance of all fatty organs, the breasts inclusive. Sunflower oil, with measurable quantities of Zinc and Vitamin A, is suggested for “dry and delicate skin”. Olive oil may prevent “cardiovascular disease” and “improve brain and neurological functioning, reducing the mutagenicity of cells and improving their structural integrity”.
Soybean oil, is “densely rich in Lecithin, phytosterols, isoflavones, genistein and other phytonutrients in addition to a rich balance of fatty acids”. It is a “rich source of Omega-6 fatty acids. Pumpkin seed oil has “high levels of Chlorophyll, Magnesium, Zinc and well known for prostate gland health”. It is also good for women’s health as it is for men’s. Many women know of Evening Primrose oil for its Gamma-Lino-Lenic Acid(GLA) because of its importance “to minimize Premenstrual syndrome and other female hormonal imbalances” apart from helping to repair “inflammed and damaged skin”, especially in psoriasis and dermatitis. Borage oil, “stimulates skin cell activity and encourages cell regeneration”. Grape Seed oil is “easily absorbed by the skin” with an astringent quality which “tightens and tones all types of skin”. Wheat Germ oil is noted for its “Vitamin E and Octocosanol”. It provides amazing results on “diseased or troubled areas of the skin such as eczema, psoriasis, cracks or scar tissue”. Castor oil, is applied topically as a warm emollient pack, to “detoxify agent for the liver, gall bladder and digestive system”.
Finally, today, David Richard says of Neem oil:
“Neem oil is pressed from seeds of the neem tree which grows in low-lying tropical areas, and it has particular components which make it anti-microbial and healing. Native to India, neem has been used traditionally to heal infections of the skin and scalp, tooth decay and gum diseases, to repel insects, to cure parasitic conditions in humans and animals, and as a basis for natural birth control”.
We should not underestimate skin massage for healing. The healing factors in these oils passed through the skin into breast tissue when we run garlic oil on the soles of the feet of a baby, are we not surprised to smell the odour in the breath a short while later?