Published on October 30th, 2014 | by DrKaayla


Your Breasts Don’t Lie: Using Thermography to Monitor the Effect of Soy, Flax and Other Estrogenic Products

Tired of the pinkwashing yet?   Breast Cancer Awareness Month is winding down, and it’s high time to think about ways to prevent breast cancer  — not just detect it early on but prevent it altogether.    One of the best ways to monitor breast health could be thermograms.   While most people think of them as a safe and natural way alternative to mammograms, they are that . . . and much, much more.   They can help us test diet and supplements too.

Indeed Wendy Sellens, a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Pink Image Thermography in Solana Beach, CA, thinks thermography can be your “new breast friend.”  For every woman who wants to know the state of her breast health or whether those cancer-preventing supplements are working, her answer is simple: “Your breasts can’t lie.”

For my guest blog today over at The Healthy Home Economist.  I talked with Sellens to discuss vascularization and other adverse effects on the breasts from birth control pills, hormone replacement therapies (including bioidentical hormone replacement), soy, flax, black cohosh and other supposedly “healthy” estrogenic foods and herbs.   Thermograms from show that all of these products can promote angiogenesis in the breast, a known risk factor for breast cancer.

To learn more, get the book Breast Cancer Boot Campwhich contains the compelling evidence of more than 100 before and after photos.    Sellens coauthored the book with William B. Hobbins MD, her mentor and the 90-year old former surgeon who pioneered breast cancer detection through both mammography and thermography.   Dr. Hobbins urges widespread use of thermography for initial screening and prevention.   Sellens is a licensed acupuncturist, president and cofounder of the Women’s Academy of Breast Thermography, president of the non-profit Pink Bow Breast Thermography research and education, and an advocate for rigorous nationwide certification standards for thermography.


For more information about quality thermography, click here to visit Wendy Sellens’ website.  

Here are a few of the photos from the book Breast Cancer Boot Camp.   Normal Thermogram.  Non vascularized breasts. 


 Effect of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. 


 Effect of a diet high in soyfoods.

 Effect of soy food consumption.



Effects of using the herb red clover for 3 months.



Effect of flax after six months.


Effect of black cohosh


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41 Responses to Your Breasts Don’t Lie: Using Thermography to Monitor the Effect of Soy, Flax and Other Estrogenic Products

  1. wendy says:

    Do you have a comprehensive list of estrogenic foods and herbs? Is maca one of them?

    • No, but the book “Breast Cancer Boot Camp” discusses the effects of quite a few and with photos to make their case.

      • wendy says:

        I contacted the popular site, and told them about your work. They seemed receptive to looking over any published papers. This would be interesting for them to look over, especially since they have seen so many papers showing lowered levels of cancers in such foods as flax and soy.

  2. april says:

    After reading your article I must admit some concern for myself and confusion. I was dx with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome 15 years ago. In order to have a cycle without taking bc pills, I have used chaste tree successfully and recently an essential oil blend with wild yam. Am I likely doing more harm than good?

    • I haven’t researched chaste tree myself. Some of the wild yam creams are blended with estrogenic substances so take care. Thermograms offer a way to take a look at your own breasts and monitor their health.

  3. Kelly Isom says:

    I was diagnosed w breast cancer on sept 19,2014. I have been a vegetarian for 27 years, but began eating chicken last year. I wish I would have know this information. I truly thought I was being healthy. I had a mastectomy so took care of that, but now what? What foods do I stay away from and what ones do I eat?

    • I’m not a physician but a nutritionist and health educator so I cannot diagnose or prescribe. I can tell you what I choose personally. That is varied omnivorous diet — organic, pastured, fresh and local. I enjoy a variety of pastured animal products and not just chicken. Beef, lamb, fish, butter, liver and other organ meats. Most importantly, I always have the stock pot going to make bone broth. In Nourishing Broth, my new book (coauthored with Sally Fallon Morell), I share the science of bone broth for the prevention and healing of cancer and other diseases. More about that at my website
      In their book “Breast Cancer Boot Camp” (link above) Sellens and Hobbins report good effects from such a diet. One reason I recommend “varied” is people rarely get into trouble that way. Believing in “miracle” foods and herbs — such as soy, flax and red clover — however, can lead to overconsumption and health challenges. Do work with an alternative MD or other health care practitioner. Good luck!

  4. pika says:

    What are the consequences of having vascularized breasts? Why is so much emphasis placed on it

    • DrKaayla says:

      Vascularization is crucial to form new blood vessels in the placenta during pregnancy and to replace blood vessels during recovery from an injury. It has a dark side, however, when it helps fuel cancer growth. Because thermograms —unlike mammograms — show vascularization, they are highly useful for breast health screening and monitoring.

  5. DONNA says:

    I love that the proof is in the pictures! I have been using Maca for menopausal symptoms for almost a year so it is good to hear that it’s safe to keep using. I also use GLA in the form of Borage Seed Oil daily for rheumatoid arthritis and formerly for breast soreness. I found when I stopped it, my breasts quickly became extremely sore again. The same was true with the bioidentical hormones I was put on by my alternative doctor a year ago…they stopped the hot flashes I was having every 20 minutes day and night, but they also caused breakthrough bleeding, breast pain, and extreme acne. Within 3 months I knew they were not for me! That’s when I started taking Maca and GLA alone for my symptoms. Haven’t had any of those problems since then. My question is, is Borage Seed Oil a serious enough problem to stop? I don’t have the money for a thermogram to see my breasts. They are quite expensive where I live.

    • DrKaayla says:

      It sounds like you are getting accurate information from your own body. I know that thermograms are expensive, but my opinion is they are probably worth it.

  6. Iris says:

    When talking about Flax do you include Flaxseed oil ? I take it as omega 3 supplement instead of fish oil. Pls advise if I’m doing the wrong thing.
    Just ordered your book Nourishing Broth, looking forward to it.

    • DrKaayla says:

      Flax seeds and flax oil all contain lignans, which are estrogenic. In addition to this potential problem, flax oil does not have desirable advanced form of omegas known as EPA and DHA.

    • DrKaayla says:

      The lignans on flax are the estrogenic component. So flaxseed oils that contain lignans would be the more problematic product. However, I would advice a high-quality fish oil. Flax oil contains needed omega 3s, but fish oil serves most of us better because few people are not healthy enough to convert omega 3s into needed EPA and DHA.

    • DrKaayla says:

      Fish oil and cod liver oils contain valuable nutrients that you won’t find in flax oil. They also don’t have the risky phytoestrogens. With any omega 3 oils take care to buy a high quality, non-rancid product. Thanks for ordering our broth book!

  7. Paula Lawrence says:

    If all of your hormones were low based on a saliva and blood test would you use soy extract and flax extract to help to raise estrogen/progesterone/testosterone…or the Weston A. Price diet? Thank you for your work! Paula

    • DrKaayla says:

      Unfortunately neither saliva nor blood tests reliably indicate hormone levels. Thermography can be useful tool in that it shows hormonal effects on the breast. Most people today are overly estrogenized, and for some of those people bioidentical progesterone and testosterone are in order. Wendy Sellens reports that a few — VERY few — people are low in estrogen and can benefit from that too. I strongly recommend that everyone with hormonal or health concerns work with a medical doctor or other licensed health care practitioner. For more info about Wendy’s findings, do read the book she coauthored with Dr. William Hobbins, MD. Please share all your concerns with your own health care practitioner.

      I am a nutritionist and not a medical doctor and cannot diagnose or prescribe. I can say that I personally would not take soy or flax extracts. I recommend a Weston A. Price style diet for a sound dietary foundation though with the caveat that many people need to modify it because of food sensitivities and other issues.

      • Paula Lawrence says:

        Thank you, Dr. Kaayla – where did you get the Thermography images and how do you know the women that had them done were consuming those foods or hormones?

        • Paula says:

          What about wild yam cream. Do you think that is safe to help balance hormones?

          • DrKaayla says:

            The main question with wild yam creams is whether they have any potency — and, if so,how much. If your thermograms suggest a need for progesterone, discuss a bioidentical progesterone cream with your licensed health care practitioner.

  8. Maudlin Romlenton says:

    Have you shared a thermograph of your own breasts in this blog posting? I was wondering how they compared to the images with clear vascularization.

    • DrKaayla says:

      The photos in the blog posting are from the book by Wendy Sellens and Dr. Hobbins. The thermograms photographs are used with permission from their patients and are not identified by name for obvious reasons of privacy. I have had two thermograms over the past five years taken by a health care practitioner in New Mexico. Both sets of thermograms show healthy breasts free of vascularization. I choose to not post nude photos of myself online.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Hi! I gave my 8-yr old daughter soy formula when she was a baby. My family has changed our diet and more changes are on the way as I type. Are there specific things I can do in addition to a proper diet? I want her to be as healthy as possible going into the puberty years.

    • DrKaayla says:

      My recommendations vary from person to person, but I would look into issues like copper toxicity, manganese toxicity, hormone evaluation etc. I strongly recommend working with an alternative doctor or other health care practitioner, preferably one who understands the dangers of soy. You are quite right to want to help your duaghter become as healthy as possible before puberty and while her body and brain are still developing.

  10. Allan says:

    Is it permissible for a male to chime in here,
    on the discussion regarding the flax dilemma?

    (If so) It is interesting that both Dr. Cordan and Dr. Greger actually agree and promote the health benefits of Flax seed/meal.

    Dr. Greger goes further and opines that Flax has benefits in blood pressure support.
    However, I thought I read an article in WAP Foundation Wise Traditions by Dr. Masterjohn (correct me if I am wrong) that mentioned Flax and Almonds contain Goitrogens that may have risks for those (of us) that are battling hyperthyroidism with nodules. ( Flax and Almonds are among my favorites).
    Anyone have any thoughts?

    • DrKaayla says:

      In my research for my book The Whole Soy Story, I found a lot of research indicating risk from flax. Flax contains phytoestrogens known as lignans.

  11. Teya says:

    Dr Kaayla is the thermogram image of biodentical hormones from estrogen HRT or unknown use of a number of bioidentical hormones? pure progesterone is suppose to help with breasts and estrogen dominance so this is a bit confusing & interesting. Then again what else is that person consuming and doing? Thank you

    • DrKaayla says:

      Why don’t you check out Wendy’s book and look at all the thermograms involving bioidentical hormone replacement? She has also researched and discusses many of the diet and lifestyle factors Generally, progesterone seems to help, but bioidentical estrogen could still be a problem.

  12. Edna Williams says:

    RE: I would look into issues like copper toxicity, manganese toxicity, hormone evaluation etc.

    Question: What do you think are the best tests for these toxicity potentials and evaluations?

    • DrKaayla says:

      All lab tests have their pros and cons. With some clients many tests are needed to get a good picture. I often find copper and manganese toxicity with clients and evaluate using hair mineral analysis. Thermography is a very useful tool, and I recommend it.

    • DrKaayla says:

      I work with tissue mineral analysis with my clients. To learn more, click the contact button on the bottom right hand page of my site for a free mini consultation so we can talk about whether it would be the best course of action for you.

  13. Raya says:

    do you have any other research papers that show that flax seed has a negative effect on breasts? The book you are recommending does not have enough information about flax seed. I have searched on different sites that have published literature and 99% of them say flax seed is good for breast health. I am so confused now.

    • DrKaayla says:

      This article includes evidence from thermograms. I discuss the risks of all three forms of phytoestrogens in my book “The Whole Soy Story.” They include coumestans (found in alfalfa and clover), lignans (found in flaxseeds) and isoflavones (found in soy).

  14. Raya says:

    Dear Endna,
    I would suggest you do a hair analysis and learn which toxic metals are in your body in excess. The lab is called Analytical Research Labs. Go to Dr. Laurence Wilson’s site and learn more about hair analysis. Also do a hormone test through saliva by Diagnos-Techs, Inc. Lab. You need a Naturopath to explain these two tests to you. I always use these labs myself.

    • DrKaayla says:

      I use hair mineral analysis with many of my clients. If you are interested in exploring this option, use the CONTACT form so we can talk.

  15. Yvonne says:

    What about Non GMO soy? Does that make any difference? What about the Juice Plus Complete Protein powders and bars?

  16. Wendy Wilkinson says:

    Can you explain why the Asian diet is so full of soya yet does not seem to impact on their health?

    • DrKaayla says:

      Asia is a big continent with many different diet and lifestyle customs.But wherever we go in Asia, soy is generally used as condiment in the diet, not as a staple food. The soyfoods traditionally eaten in Asia are also very different than those favored in the west.

      It’s also a myth that Asians don’t have health problems. Their health problems are different from ours. In terms of cancer, for example, they have lower levels of breast, prostate and colon cancers, but higher levels of thyroid, liver, pancreatic, esophageal and stomach cancers. I discuss these issues in depth in chapter 30 of my book “The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food.”

  17. anne herrick says:

    What about sprouted flax, does that make a difference.

    • DrKaayla says:

      I would be cautious. Short-term germination (sprouting) does not remove its phytoestrogen content. It also increases the strength of soy’s antinutrient fractions. I think it reasonable to assume that the same would be true of flax.

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