Dr. Sherrill Sellman, author of Hormone Heresy, interviews Ilena Rosenthal in her January, 2003, HormoneWise Digest.
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HormoneWise Digest - Vol. 1 - Jan 2003
(digest continued below interview)
The Truth About Breast Implants - An Interview with Ilena Rosenthal
by Sherrill Sellman
Ilena Rosenthal is an incredibly courageous and passionate woman who
has been dedicated to raising awareness to the true and serious risks of
breast implants and other silicone products. She is a true inspiration
of the power of the Feminine to create healing and change in the world.
And it has not been easy. What began as a small research project for a
friend with tumors and cysts around her 20 year old saline implants in
August, 1995, has become an amazing adventure for Ilena beyond anything
she could have imagined.
Speaking out on the true dangers of a product so desirable and yet so
potentially harmful, sharing the too real stories of women who made the
fateful decision to have breast implants, almost immediately made her
the target of an unrelenting and incredibly vicious 6 year Defamation
Campaign which continues to date.
In November, 1995, she created the only Usenet Newsgroup,
alt.support.breast-implant, to provide a place for support and a way for women and
their families to connect. She obviously got in the way of the Silicone
and Plastic Surgery Industries and their Public Relations Machine well
greased by silicone dollars. Nothing was too personal nor too untrue
for her Enemies to post or email about her. To learn more of her personal
encounter with the forces who wanted to silent her warnings and her
message, visit her website at http://www.humanticsfoundation.com
SS: What is your background and what you made become involved in
exposing the dangers of breast implants.
IR: Over 30 years ago I received my BA in Psychology from the
University of Colorado. During college, I did volunteer counseling in the very
early days of Planned Parenthood. I have always been active in women's
issues, and was honored to have been a part of a team to form the first
Woman's Crisis Center in a small mountain town in No. California 25
After hearing story after devastating story from women harmed by breast
implants, in September, 1995 I began to investigate the issue for a
beautiful and confused friend. As U2 says, "I got stuck in a moment" and
now, 7 years later, I am more committed to warning women internationally
about the very real dangers, which include vast disinformation
campaigns by the silicone manufacturers and the wealthy plastic surgeons
SS: What are the proven dangers of breast implants?
IR: Among other problems:
1. Implants can rupture during mammography.
2. Implants make routine self exams and mammography more difficult.
More views are necessary, meaning additional radiation each time.
3. Implant rupture can go undetected for years and silicone is known to
migrate through the lymph system and has been found in the brains,
spinal fluid, ovaries, livers, and other organs of implanted women.
4. Implants are not lifetime devices, and may need to be replaced (even
without systemic problems) more than once a decade.
5. At any time infections are possible, including fungal and antibiotic
resistant bacterial infestations.
6. Loss of breast sensation, especially around the nipple area is
reported, as well as hyper-sensitivity to touch.
7. Capsular contracture can be very uncomfortable, to the point of
severe pain and deformation.
8. Many women have experienced severe necrosis and other forms of
breast tissue loss.
9. Many women have experienced serious autoimmune diseases post
implantation including: rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis,
Sjogrens Syndrome (severe dry mouth, eyes, etc.), and lupus. Those
women with pre-existing compromised immune systems are now warned to avoid
10. Disproportional numbers of implanted women have reported
neurological and cognitive complications, as well as endocrine disruption
including hysterectomies, miscarriage.
11. Children born of implanted women have experienced the same
autoimmune conditions and have been seriously inadequately studied.
12. Breast implants often negatively affect the ability to produce milk
13. Health insurance carriers are routinely denying coverage for
implanted (and explanted) women.
SS: Are all implants dangerous? For instance, what about saline
IR: We are all like snowflakes, no two of us alike An implant is a
foreign invader and that alone can create problems for some. Some people
can die from peanuts, or strawberries. Breast implants contain many
toxic ingredients such as platinum and silica and organic solvents that can
cause reactions in various women.
Unfortunately, the saline implant has a whole series of complications,
such as fungal infections and a very, very high rupture rate requiring
Glamour Magazine did a very good expose on them, which can be found at:
Further, the clinical studies done by Mentor and McGhan are listed on
the FDA webpage with information as to the complications in the first
few years. This can be found at:
It was only in May, 2000 that any implant got FDA approval. At that
time, the FDA determined that saline implants were "safe enough" despite
very high complication rates.
SS: Why are breast implants so popular now? How did the industry
manage to re-establish credibility and safety?
IR: Advertising pays! So do enormous Public Relations budgets.
The breast implant manufacturers and Plastic Surgeons groups have
inundated the news media with any "positive" slanted story and ignore the
ones exposing the harmful effects. The manufacturers are funders of the
"junk science" campaign which calls any findings that will hurt their
bottom line "junk" and mis-label corporate funded "science" as sound.
For example, when the National Cancer Institute found a correlation
between breast implants and deaths from respiratory and brain cancers, the
media broadcast skewed findings such as "most cancers not connected"
and other misleading headlines. When extraordinarily high rupture rates
were reported by the FDA two years ago, the media again was virtually
silent. The same with information of high suicide rates and links for
women with ruptured implants and fibromyalgia.
Also, the plastic surgeons and manufacturers fund websites that pretend
to be "support groups" and which are staffed by those paid to help sell
more implants. They censor any critics and offer very one-sided advice.
One of these even touts the very dangerous "belly button" method of
implantation, which the FDA specifically warns against. Never mentioned on
these sites are that ruptured saline implants can not be removed by the
belly button, and I strongly believe the women getting implants via
this method thinking they will forever be "scarless" are being duped.
The bottom line is no one in the world wants to believe that breast
implants can and do ruin as many lives as they do. Unfortunately, it is a
multi-billion dollar a year business, while concurrently, billions are
still unpaid to the victims of faulty implants. All of this makes the
issue "controversial" with enormous PR to support the sides with the
Most of the women activists in this issue are ill themselves, many have
lost not only their breast implants, but their own breast tissue, their
health, their jobs, their insurance, and often their families.
It's their word against some of the largest and most powerful companies
in the world, like Papa Dow Chemical, Baby Dow Corning, and Bristol
SS: What do you recommend to women who have implants? How can they
protect their health? What do they need to know? What are the signs of
silicone poisoning or allergic reactions?
IR: No one wants to relieve that her breast implants could be harming
her health. No one. Every woman has a large emotional, physical and
financial investment in them.
Early warning signs are numbness in the extremities, shooting pains and
severe headaches. Dry eyes are also often early signals. Painful joints
and swelling are common.
Unfortunately, most physicians will deny any connection of implants and
these symptoms, yet alone lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and
other disproportionately seen autoimmune illnesses.
Ruptures with silicone gel implants can go undetected for years,
although saline filled silicone implants tend to go flat fairly soon when
Just like the decision to become implanted is one of the biggest women
make in their lives, so is the decision to explant permanently. Some
women (Jenny Jones, Sally Kirkland among them) had 5 separate sets of
implants before finally removing them without replacement.
I do advise women to speak with others who have long-term experiences
with implants. I am proud that there are thousands of women from all
over the world connected via my support group founded 7 years ago. There
are so many who generously share their experiences with new members.
It is also very important to find plastic surgeons who know how to
properly and safely remove implants, if they choose this route.
Most of all, women must be honest and gentle with themselves. Trust
their instincts. Make their decisions out of love for themselves, not just
SS: Is there a greater danger to teenagers and young women if they
The FDA finally added some restrictions for women under 18 years of
age. Because most women believe that implants are a lifetime product, this
means a constant assault on a woman's immune system by having a foreign
body inside of her for several decades. Even without systemic problems,
this would mean years of re-operations, usually with no insurance, each
time with a chance for an opportunistic infection to occur. I believe
this is a very dangerous decision for a young woman to make.
SS: Are there any safe, effective breast augmentation techniques or
IR: I have heard of good results with some supplements, although they
appear to be somewhat temporary. One very good friend of mine had
liposuction and the fat from that implanted into her breasts. The results
were good for a couple of months. Then the fat drifted away and she
looked the same before surgery (although her derriere remained smaller).
While it is true that not every woman will experience serious problems,
the risks are enormous. I recommend women learn to love themselves as
they are and stay as healthy as possible.
SS. How can women support your efforts?
IR: Spread the word of the very real dangers to those who don't yet
know. Read as much unbiased information as possible. Our website has many
great links on it.
Our non profit foundation, The Humantics Foundation, like many others,
has had most all of its donations virtually stop after 9/11. It takes
funding for websites, support groups and lists and most of it I have
funded myself for the last 7 years.
With approximately 5 new women a day asking for help and support, tax
deductible donations in any amount will help us be able to continue this
Many thanks, Ilena, for your time and wisdom.
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HormoneWise Digest - Vol. 1 - Jan 2003
1. "Tours, Lectures & Other Fun Events"
2. And a Happier New Year to all of you!
3. The Truth About Breast Implants-Interview with Ilena Rosenthal
4. Hormonize With The Seasons
5. New Federal "Report on Carcinogens" Lists ESTROGEN THERAPY
6. NIH Confirms Hormone Therapy (HRT), Breast Cancer Risk
7. The Dangers of Hormone Replacement
8. Pretty in Poison
9. In a Lather Lather?
10. Menstruation: Is It Obsolete? The Continuing Debate
11. The Low down on Cervical Cancer Vaccine
11. The Oily Truth About Olive Oil
12. Guidelines To Help Restore Fertility
13. Problems with IVF
14. The Strength of Strength Training
Tours, Lecture & Other Fun Events
USA Neways Convention
Salt Lake City, Utah
Australia Neways Convention
The Big Day Off
April - May
"Mothers" Australian National Lecture Tour
For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
9th International Holistic Health Conference
Australasian Integrative Medicine Association
September 7-14, 2003
The Healing Women Journey
Cruising to Greater Health and Hormonal Balance
Alaskan Cruise with leading Women Health Writers, Educators and
Call for more information: 877-215-1721
And a Happier New Year to all of you!
On New Year's Eve, ten years ago, I set a New Year's intention that
would profoundly change my life forever. For some reason only one word
unexpectedly came to mind as my goal for the new year. And that was
"Balance". "Balance" became my theme song......and miracles began to
unfold in ways that I could never have imagined. From the intention of
"Balance" all sorts of changes began happening to me...none of which were
foreseen .....I began to meditate daily basis (something I had never
done before), I learned how to naturally balance my raging hormones, I
started to listen more to my own needs and inner promptings.
Seeking:"balance" was always quietly echoing in my mind and seemed to naturally
influence my actions and my thoughts. With "Balance" as my anthem, that
year was to become a pivotal year of transformation for me. I found a
level of health, inner peace and creative expression that I had never
known before. As a result of those changes, a new career as a writer
unfolded, along with a new mission and passion in life. All from a
So this year, you may wish to consider what intention you wish to hold
for yourself and the world. And let the powerful creative force
within you reveal a year of personal healing and transformation beyond your
Hormonize With The Seasons
According to the wisdom of Chinese Medicine, each season has a specific
relationship with a specific organ system. Understanding the energies
of each season is a most profound way to support and maintain physical
and emotional balance. Master Chinese herbalist, Angelo Druda, shares
his insights for those of us living either above or below the equator!
By the way, Angelo specializes in gynecology and offers phone
consultations. In the tradition of Chinese medicine, he creates organic herbal
tincture formulas tailored to each woman's specific need. He can be
contacted at 7707-928-4126 or email@example.com
For those of us currently experiencing the depth of winter in the
Northern Hemisphere, it is most important to keep the kidneys warm and
strong during this time. The cold winter air-cools our basal metabolic fire
contained in the kidneys making it important to keep the core of our
bodies warm. Winter is the time of greatest yin cool, damp weather, and
less light than summer. We harmonize with winter when we rest,
meditate, and store physical energy and essence. A few extra pounds of weight
can provide a benefit to us in the middle of winter. This is the time to
eat more cooked food, which will raise body temperature and thicken the
blood for those cold days and nights. Ginger, cinnamon and fennel can
be added to foods to add some extra warmth to the kidneys. Walnuts are
the perfect winter food they nourish and warm the kidneys, but it is
important not to eat too much. Years ago, while studying Chinese
Medicine, I learned of an ancient Chinese monk, well passed his 98th year.
Walnuts, he would tell his students, was the key.
I know the sun is shining bright in the Southern Hemisphere, even
though I cannot see it. Summer grants us the opposite energy from winter. We
can harmonize with this season by waking early and living as much as
possible outside in the sun. It is the time to work, play, travel and
offer our energy to the world. We are nourished by the outside elements in
summer. The heart is the key organ in summer and it can be exercised
through friendliness and love. It is important to eat less and more
lightly on those very hot days. This ensures that the body does not become
sluggish and overheated, which make us prone to retaining rather than
naturally releasing toxins. Summer is a great time for those cooling and
cleansing foods - salads, fresh fruit, tofu, cucumber, and leaf teas.
New Federal "Report on Carcinogens" Lists ESTROGEN THERAPY
Have you heard this on the 6 o'clock news? I don't think so. But it
should have been making headlines all over the world.
The tenth edition of the biennial "Report on Carcinogens" was forwarded
to Congress and released to the public by the Department of Health and
Human Services. This year it added steroidal estrogens used in estrogen
replacement therapy and oral contraceptives to its official list of
"known" human carcinogens.
http://healthy.net/scr/article.asp?PageType=Article&id=2231 in their
The full report is accessible at: http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov
NIH Confirms Hormone Therapy (HRT), Breast Cancer Risk
A federal study confirmed that women taking hormone replacement therapy
are more likely to get breast cancer.
The Dangers of Hormone Replacement
Todd Mangum, Catalyst
It's not surprising that using mismatched and artificial hormones has
delivered less than optimal results. What is surprising is that it's
taken medicine this long to figure that out.
Pretty in Poison
The U.S. Cosmetics Ingredients Review panel has approved the continued
use of phthalates in cosmetics, concluding that the chemicals are "safe
as currently used." Activist groups, noting that the European Union has
just ordered the phase out of some phthalates in cosmetics, said the
panel's decision leaves U.S. women at risk of exposure to chemicals that
some tests suggest may be linked to birth defects, liver and kidney
damage, and disruption of hormonal processes that could affect breast
cancer risk. Many health groups, women's rights advocates and
environmentalists warn that the ubiquitous presence of phthalates in so many
consumer products may lead to dangerous levels of
exposure for pregnant women and other vulnerable groups. A study by the
Environmental Network, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, and
Without Harm found phthalates in almost 80 percent of the 34 name brand
products tested. You can find the report, including a list of specific
that you can avoid, at www.nottoopretty.org.
In a Lather Lather?
Let down your hair and use The Green Guide's new Product Report to help
you find shampoos that are safer for you and the environment. For the
full report, see
MENSTRUATION: Is It Obsolete? The Continuing Debate
In our technocratic and scientific world view the human body is rarely
viewed holistically, but understood as an object made up of
transferable bits and pieces. Body components can be exchanged or replaced like
spare parts: blood transfusions, organ transplants, prosthetic devices,
artificial bones and joints, false teeth, plastic surgery, breast and
penile implants. We can all be disassembled and reassembled like the
cyborgs from our favorite sci-fi flicks.
The pragmatic goals of some scientific advancements are clear: the
alleviation of pain and suffering, the ability to make all bodies fully
"functional", and the prolongation of life. But there are times when this
pragmatism gives way to another goal; in our drive for a pain-free and
healthful existence we are also seeking a means to perfect the human
A MIRACLE IN WISCONSIN
In Appleton, Wisconsin, a revolution has occurred. It's taken place in
the Central Alternative High School. The kids now behave. The hallways
aren't frantic. Even the teachers are happy. The school used to be
out of control. Kids packed weapons. Discipline problems swamped the
principal's office. What happened? In 1997, a private group called
Natural Ovens began installing a healthy lunch program.
DISTRESSING GUT SYMPTOMS
Succumbing To Sugary Confections May Lead To Bloating, Cramps,
Diarrhea, And Other Gut-Level Responses
The Low down on Cervical Cancer Vaccine
A Shameful Example of How Medical Research is Taking Dangerous
Short-Cuts - Ace reporter Nicholas Regush tears apart a recent study that
suggests a vaccine is the "cure" for cervical cancer.
Not all olive oils are created equal. Only real olive oil will provide
all the health- promoting benefits of olive oil, and trying to find
real olive oil is like looking for a needle in the haystack. If your
olive oil isn't cloudy, then it's not the real McCoy. In fact it may be
doing you harm. Get the real olive oil story. It shocked me to learn
the scam behind the olive oil industry.
After learning just how much we are all being deceived about olive oil,
I have found a source for a fabulous, organic olive oil, which is
unfiltered, unpressed and unheated. I spoke with the president of the
company and he has agreed to offer a special deal for HormoneWise
subscribers. If you tell them you're a HormoneWise subscriber, they will include
a 1/4 lb of black, organic black sesame seeds (which are really hard to
find). While real olive oil is not cheap, it is an extremely healing
food. Learn more about it at their website.
While We're on the Subject of Oil
While we're on the subject of oils, Grape seed oils are one of the few
oils that are really healthy to cook with. Grape seed oil raises HDL
(good cholesterol), lowers LDL (bad cholesterol), and helps to prevent
hypertension caused by sodium excess (common at holiday
time), is high in linoleic acid (sadly deficient in most diets), and so
it should be used for just about all cooking where oil is needed, plus
it should be your number one choice if you want a dazzling and
healthful salad dressing!
Guidelines To Help Restore Fertility
Twenty percent "of all couples unnecessarily seek treatment for
infertility when, in fact, they are simply not getting pregnant because they
do not time intercourse correctly," according to the study. Infertility
currently affects 6.1 million Americans.
Problems with IVF
According to a new study described in the Baltimore Sun and just
released in the American Journal of Human Genetics, babies conceived using
in vitro fertilization techniques (IVF) are more likely to be born with
a rare genetic disorder called Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. Children
with this disorder at higher risk for certain cancers before puberty and
also tend to be born large with large tongues and poor closures of the
abdominal wall, causing hernias that must be repaired surgically.
Several researchers interviewed by the Sun cautioned that while the data are
intriguing more research is necessary before accepting the results.
The Strength of Strength Training
Today, most people are aware that exercise is good for their health,
and is in fact an effective means of preventive medicine. It is therefore
hard to understand why so few
people regularly participate in an exercise program. According to the
United States Public Health Service Centers For Disease Control (1989),
less than 10 percent of all Americans perform enough physical activity
to attain any measurable fitness benefits, and less than five percent
of the general public who do strength training, says Dr. Wayne Westcott
in his "Strength Training For Time-Pressured People."
I trust that this new year is full of fun, happiness and joy for each
of you and your family. I look forward to this year and the opportunity
to possibly meet many of you as I travel during my upcoming world tour
to launch my new book, "MOTHERS Prevent Your Daughters From Getting
Blessings to All,
Dr. Sherrill Sellman