Mar
14

Liver Cancer

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Nearly 60,000 Americans die of liver disease every year, and the incidence of liver cancer has been rising about 4 percent every year over the last decade.

Liver cancer is strongly associated with increasing blood cholesterol and epidemiological studies have shown that obese people have about a 450% greater risk of developing liver cancer.

In the documentary, Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock ate exclusively at McDonald’s for a month. Not only did his weight, blood pressure and cholesterol go up, but so did his liver enzymes. Liver cancer is one of the most feared complications of chronic liver inflammation.

In a follow-up to that movie, Swedish researchers found that the trial participants who ate two fast-food meals a day, had liver function tests considered pathological after just one week.

NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) is associated with an intake of soft drinks and meat. It may also be caused by cholesterol overload. Cholesterol found in eggs, meat and dairy can become oxidized and then set off a chain reaction that results in excess fat in the liver.

In a thirteen-year study of nine thousand American adults, it was found that cholesterol consumption was a strong predictor of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Those consuming the amount of cholesterol found in two Egg McMuffins or more each day appeared to double their risk of hospitalization or death.

Liver dysfunction can run in families, like the iron-overload disease hemochromatosis. People with this hereditary disease absorb too much iron from their food. If enough iron builds up in the liver, it can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Viral hepatitis is another cause of liver disease – hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E.

Hepatitis A is spread through food or water contaminated with feces, mainly by people who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. It can be prevented through vaccination or by avoiding raw and undercooked shellfish.

Hepatitis B is blood borne and is transmitted sexually. There is an effective vaccine for this and every child should get it.

Hepatitis D is a virus infection and can only occur in someone who is already infected with hepatitis B. To avoid this infection, get vaccinated and refrain from intravenous drug use and unsafe sex.

Hepatitis C is the most dreaded liver virus. There is no vaccine. Exposure can lead to a chronic infection that, over decades, can lead to cirrhosis (liver scarring) and liver failure. Don’t share needles, toothbrushes or razors.

Hepatitis E is now considered a zoonotic disease, able to spread from animals to humans, and pigs may be the primary reservoir. Experts suspect that much of the American population has been exposed to this virus. It appears that more people die of liver disease in countries where pork is popular.

Liver disease can stem from over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol, from prescription drugs and even from many weight-loss and body building supplements. Researchers have been particularly surprised by the danger posed by green tea extract. These supplements are not the beverage made from brewing tea leaves in hot water. Instead, they are pills containing concentrated amounts of particular compounds found in green tea, according to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), an organization that tests and reviews dietary supplements. Green tea extract is one of 15 supplement ingredients that Consumer Reports has said everyone should avoid.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is hard to find liver cancer early. In fact, there are no recommendations for liver cancer screening. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed earlier, when treatment is most likely to be helpful.

Some of the most common symptoms of liver cancer according to the ACS are:

  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling very full after a small meal
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • An enlarged liver, felt as a mass under the ribs on the right side
  • An enlarged spleen, felt as a mass under the ribs on the left side
  • Pain in the abdomen or near the right shoulder blade
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
  • Itching
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

What should you do if you have been diagnosed with liver cancer?

In addition to the medical treatment proposed by your physician, you will want to eliminate excess cholesterol, protein and calories from your diet. Eat plant-based foods and avoid the health dangers of consuming animal-based foods, including all types of meat, dairy and eggs.

In numerous laboratory experiments, rats with liver cancer were fed high-protein diets and then low-protein diets. Their liver cancer stopped growing while on the low-protein diet, but continued to grow and advance when they were fed the high-protein diet.

In a study done in 2014, it was found that refined grain consumption was associated with increased risk of NAFLD. So lay off the Wonder Bread and stick to truly wonderful whole-grain foods, including oatmeal. You will also want to make sure that you include plenty of greens and berries in your new diet as they offer protection against cancer, boost your immune system and guard your liver and brain. Dr. Michael Greger says, “shop for the reddest strawberries, the blackest of blackberries, the most scarlet tomato, the darkest green broccoli you can find. The colors make them the antiaging, anticancer antioxidants.”

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© 2010-2017 Melinda Coker

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Melinda Coker, health coach and author of the book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection?, teaches men and women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

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Oct
23

Should You Refuse Your Annual Mammogram?

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October is heavily marketed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote the value of screening and early detection. This concerted effort to make women aware of breast cancer has been promoted extensively by the mammography industry.

My advice to women, especially those eating a plant-based diet, is to forego your annual screening mammogram.

These mammograms are done on women who have no symptoms and no reason to suspect that anything is wrong. If you have found a lump or other specific symptom, then is the time to visit your doctor and schedule a diagnostic mammogram.

In his book, Over-Diagnosed, author Dr. H. Gilbert Welch writes, “based on all studies of screening mammography, there is only an estimated 15 percent reduction in the chance of dying from breast cancer.” He continues, “For every one breast cancer death avoided by screening mammograms, somewhere between two and ten women are overdiagnosed.” That overdiagnosis results in more lumpectomies, mastectomies, radiation and chemotherapy.

In 1999, when considerable doubt was raised in Denmark about the value of mammography screening, the Danish National Board of Health asked physician and scientist Peter C Gøtzsche from The Nordic Cochrane Centre to assess the mammography screening trials. The report later became extended as a Cochrane review, which is the most comprehensive review of the screening trials there is.

Because most mammography screening materials only list the benefits of screening, The Nordic Cochrane Centre wrote their own brochure, which has now been translated into 13 languages. It includes the following information:

  • If 2000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, 10 healthy women will be turned into cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily. These women will have either a part of their breast or the whole breast removed, and they will often receive radiotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy.
  • Treatment of these healthy women increases their risk of dying, e.g. from heart disease and cancer.
  • Without screening, these women would have been OK.
  • Studies from the United States, Sweden and Norway suggest that half or more of the screen-detected cancers would have disappeared spontaneously, if they had been left alone, without any treatment at all. Most of the earliest cell changes found at screening (carcinoma in situ) are also harmless, as they would never have progressed into invasive cancer.
  • Some of those early cell changes (carcinoma in situ) are often found in several places in the breast. Therefore, the whole breast is removed in one out of four of these cases, although only a minority of the cell changes would have developed into cancer.
  • The psychological strain until it is known whether or not there is a cancer, can be severe. In the United States it has been calculated that after 10 rounds of screening, 49% of healthy women will have experienced a false alarm.
  • If 2000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, only one of them will be saved from dying of breast cancer. The absolute reduction in breast cancer mortality was therefore only 0.05%.
  • Screening does not reduce the overall risk of dying, or the overall risk of dying from cancer (including breast cancer). It therefore seems that women who go to screening do not live longer than women who do not go to screening.
  • When women are invited to mammography screening, the practice often is that, when they receive a letter about screening, they are also given an appointment time for the examination. This procedure puts pressure on women to attend. Because of this, their participation becomes less voluntary. In some countries, they are even phoned at home and encouraged to attend, which is also potentially coercive.
  • Information on the Internet, e.g. on cancer charity web sites, often omits the most important harms. Or they are described as benefits. For example, screening is said to reduce the risk that a woman loses her breast. This is not true. Because of over-diagnosis and over-treatment, screening increases the risk of mastectomy.What

What have I done with the above information? I no longer accept those invitations for screening mammograms.

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© 2010-2016 Melinda Coker

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Melinda Coker, health coach and author of the book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection?, teaches men and women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

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Aug
08

Lung Cancer

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I recently attended the funeral of a long-time friend who died of lung cancer. The service was a beautiful memorial to her. When her daughter and then her 16-year-old granddaughter spoke about the love of their mother and grandmother, there wasn’t a dry eye in that large church.

My 72-year-old friend had made a big impact on her community and her family, but she died much too soon.

Lung cancer is the number-one cancer killer in the U.S. Most lung cancer is a direct result of smoking, but my friend didn’t smoke.

According to the American Cancer Society as many as 20% of the people who die from lung cancer in the United States don’t smoke or use tobacco.

Lung cancer in smokers is the leading cause of cancer death, but lung cancer in nonsmokers still ranks among the top 10 fatal cancers in the U.S.

Radon gas is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in nonsmokers. Exposure to radon usually comes from living in a home built on soil with natural uranium deposits. The EPA has recommended that everyone get their home tested for this deadly gas.

Even though homes in most of Texas are considered to be low-risk, I have just purchased a top-rated (by Consumer Reports) radon detection test kit from Amazon for under $25.

Secondhand smoke is another cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. If you grew up in a home with smokers, you are at higher risk of lung cancer.

There is a higher incidence of respiratory diseases and lung cancer among short-order cooks who do a lot of frying. A study from UC-Davis found that bacon fumes cause about four times more DNA mutations than the fumes from beef patties fried at the same temperature.

Even eating deep-fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken, fried fish, doughnuts, and/or snack chips (Fritos, potato chips, tortilla chips) has been associated with a higher rate of lung (and pancreatic) cancers. Deep-frying calls for high temperatures, usually using vegetable oils like canola, corn and soybean oil, which are easily oxidized and can generate carcinogenic compounds.

How can nonsmokers reduce their risk of lung cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, you should first test your home for radon.

Stay away from secondhand smoke.

Limit your exposure to air pollution (such as asbestos and diesel exhaust).

Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables which can be very helpful in preventing lethal lung diseases.

Give up stir-fried, deep-fried and grilled meats. Give up the consumption of cured meat like bacon, bologna, ham, hot dogs, sausage and salami, as they may increase the risk of lung disease due to the nitrite preservatives in the meat. It may mimic the lung-damaging properties of the nitrite by-products of cigarette smoke.

Ninety percent of lung cancer deaths are due to metastasis, which is the spread of the cancer to other parts of the body. In a 2010 study of human lung cancer cells in a petri dish, dripping some cruciferous-vegetable compounds onto the cancer cells resulted in the pulling together of the cells – which stunted the “cancer creep.” This indicates it could be helpful to eat some cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower daily.

A diet with more whole plant foods may help both prevent and arrest the progression of lung cancer.

RIP my sweet friend.

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© 2010-2016 Melinda Coker

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Melinda Coker, health coach and author of the book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection?, teaches men and women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

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Jul
19

You’ve Just Been Diagnosed with Colon Cancer

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Unhappy woman sitting on the couch

What a shock… such a horrible feeling… you’re scared to death!

What do you do?

First off, don’t panic. Your cancer has taken years to develop. Your doctor may tell you it is imperative to have surgery and to start chemo and/or radiation immediately, but you need time to sort things out. You can always get a second opinion about your diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Begin to eat a healthy diet, as your immune system will need all the help it can get.

Do some research on your treatment options. Ask your doctor how many people out of 100 benefit from this treatment. Then ask what the benefit is. Will you live extra days or months if you survive the treatment?

Dr. Jeffrey Tobias has said that sometimes oncologists use chemotherapy with no justification other than the physician’s desire to “do something,” because there is a slim hope that it might work.

Colorectal cancer ranks among the most commonly diagnosed of all cancers and, if caught early, it is one of the most treatable. Even though it is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, in some parts of the world, it’s practically unheard of.

The highest rates of colorectal cancer have been recorded in Connecticut and the lowest rates in Uganda.

Women in the U.S. have ten times more colorectal cancer than women in India.

Why is there such a discrepancy?

The low cancer rate in India may be due in part to the spices they use in their daily cooking, like turmeric, but it may also be the foods they eat. India is one of the world’s largest producers of fruits and vegetables. Most of the population eats legumes, such as beans, split peas, chickpeas and lentils, along with dark-green, leafy vegetables. Only about 7 percent of the adult population eats meat on a daily basis.

Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States. In a study of twenty-three populations across a dozen countries, it was found that the incidence of colon cancer increased significantly as the average daily stool weight dropped. So the bigger and more frequent your bowel movements are, the better.

Constipation is considered to be a nutrient-deficiency disease, and that nutrient is fiber. Just like you get scurvy if you don’t eat enough citrus fruit, you can get constipation if you don’t get enough fiber. Fiber is found only in plant foods, so the more plants you eat, the less likely you are to be constipated. Foods such as beans, leafy vegetables and whole grains are all high in fiber.

The EPIC study of over half a million Europeans showed that eating more fiber reduced the risk of developing colon cancer. It also found that the more red and processed meat people ate, the more they increased their risk of colon cancer.

A six-year study of about thirty thousand Californians found that higher meat consumption was associated with higher risk of colon cancer. Unexpectedly, white meat appeared to be worse. Those who ate chicken or fish at least once a week had triple the risk of developing colon cancer than those who didn’t eat meat. And those who ate red meat at least once each week had about double the risk of developing colon cancer.

A study of 48,000 men found a significant risk of colon cancer specifically linked to animal protein (meat and dairy) consumption. In other words, animal protein all by itself increased colon cancer in middle-aged American men.

A study out of Uruguay found a definite association between meat consumption and colon cancer. In this study, the participants ate meat from animals which were grass fed and hormone free, just like the Paleo people recommend, yet the cancer risk was still strong.

Even though you may have been eating meat and not enough fiber, this is a great time to change and to build up your immune system so that you can take on the challenges of this new fight – whether you decide on conventional treatments or no treatments.

I will leave you with this message from Dr. Bernie Siegel.

“The potential to be cured is always there through healing your life, rather than fighting a war. You should love your life and your body unconditionally, sending your body the unmistakable message that you want to LIVE.”

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© 2010-2016 Melinda Coker

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Melinda Coker, health coach and author of the book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection?, teaches men and women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

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Jun
20

Kidney Cancer

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Kidney Cancer

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer, is a disease in which kidney cells become malignant, grow out of control and form a tumor.

The kidneys’ main job is to filter the blood to remove excess water, salt, and waste products from the body by producing urine.

Most people with kidney cancer are older. The average age of people diagnosed with kidney cancer is 64, and it is very uncommon in people younger than age 45.

There are no recommended screening tests for kidney cancer in people who are not at increased risk. This is because no test has been shown to lower the overall risk of dying from kidney cancer.  Kidney cancers are often found by accident during imaging tests for some other illness such as gallbladder disease.

Early kidney cancers do not usually cause any signs or symptoms, but larger ones might.  The American Cancer Society lists some possible signs and symptoms of kidney cancer:

Blood in the urine
Low back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
A lump on the side or lower back
Fatigue
Loss of appetite
Weight loss not caused by dieting
Fever that is not caused by an infection and that doesn’t go away
Anemia (low red blood cell counts)

Well-established risk factors for kidney cancer include cigarette smoking, obesity, hypertension and high sodium intake. Evidence is also accumulating to implicate lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, occupational exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) used commercially as industrial degreasers, spot removers and in dry cleaning, and nitrosamines in meat products.

Nitrosamines are one of the most potent carcinogens in cigarette smoke. In fact, in the Cancer Prevention Research Journal, published online May 7, 2014, Dr. Stephen S. Hecht wrote, “Carcinogens of this strength in any other consumer product designed for human consumption would be banned immediately.”

But, what else has nitrosamines? One hot dog has as many nitrosamines as five cigarettes according to an article in the 2001 edition of the Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry. These carcinogens are also found in fresh meat, including beef, chicken and pork.

Even though fresh meat contains nitrosamines, processed meat contains even more. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that you simply “avoid processed meat such as ham, bacon, salami, hot dogs and sausages.”

Results of dietary studies published in the British Journal of Cancer, (Jan 2013) state, “Our findings suggest that nitrite from animal sources may increase the risk of kidney cancer (RCC), particularly clear cell adenocarcinomas.”

Cruciferous vegetable consumption like kale, arugula and collard greens has been related with a decreased risk of RCC according to a meta-analysis published in Nutrition and Cancer (2013).

Plant-based diets decrease the risk of kidney cancer (RCC) both directly and indirectly.

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© 2010-2016 Melinda Coker

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Melinda Coker, health coach and author of the book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection?, teaches men and women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

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Sep
02

Pancreatic Cancer

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Closeup of thinking man leaning on railing outdoor

You’ve been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Never give up hope.

Even though fewer than 3% of pancreatic cancer patients survive for five years, you could be in that 3%.

Hopelessness only compounds your suffering. Many times, even with advanced cancer, there is sometimes recovery, called “spontaneous regression.”

Dr. T. Colin Campbell described his experiments in the laboratory and concluded in studies of various cancers, including pancreatic cancer, that a consistent pattern emerged. Nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development.

The only approved drugs for pancreatic cancer are gemcitabine and erlotinib and they help fewer than 10% of patients and cause severe side effects, according to Michael Greger, M.D.

One treatment that is in Phase I of drug trials (meaning that it is safe) is the spice curcumin. It is safe in quantities of up to 8 grams/day with no side effects.

In Phase II trials it actually helped reduce the size of the tumor in two of twenty patients with the advanced cancer.

A 2009 study published in the National Journal of Cancer concluded that dietary fat of animal origin was associated with an increased pancreatic cancer risk.

Another study published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2013 found that “poultry consumption tended to be associated with an increased pancreatic cancer risk.” The white meat was found to be even worse than the dark meat, possibly because of the way it is often cooked – smoked, grilled, barbecued, fried, or baked.

A large population-based study in the San Francisco Bay Area published in the Nutrition and Cancer Journal  found that a “Western dietary pattern, characterized by higher intake of red and processed meats, potato chips, sugary beverages, sweets, high fat dairy, eggs, and refined grains, was associated with a 2.4-fold increased risk of pancreatic cancer among men.”

A study out of Italy published in the Annals of Epidemiology concluded, “A diet characterized by a high consumption of meat and other animal products, as well as of (refined) cereals and sugars, is positively associated with pancreatic cancer risk, whereas a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is inversely associated.”

In a study of Seventh Day Adventists published in the journal Cancer it was found that those who ate veggie burgers, lentils and dried fruit rather than meat, poultry or fish, 3 or more times a week had a 40% lower risk of pancreatic cancer.

A study of 30,000 poultry workers published in October 2011 found that those workers who had an occupational exposure to poultry had a 9% higher rate of death from liver cancer and pancreatic cancer. Twenty-year smokers double their risk of pancreatic cancer, but poultry workers had 9 times the odds of pancreatic cancer.

Factors that cause cancer are also believed to encourage its growth. By changing from the rich Western diet that promotes cancer to a diet that supports good health, further growth of cancer could be slowed and a patient’s life could be prolonged.

Cancer does not suddenly appear.  It grows at a steady rate. Early growth is invisible because the cancer is microscopic in size. The cancer remains undetectable for about 6 years until it reaches a size of 1 mm (period-size). After 10 years of growth, the tumor is 1 cm in diameter (eraser-size) and contains one billion cells. Most cancer is undetectable by the patient and his physician for the first two-thirds of its natural history.

Most animal studies show that fats and oils promote the growth of tumors and that animals receiving diets higher in cholesterol show more frequent tumors and metastases. A cholesterol-free, fat-free diet retards the growth of tumors in animals and prolongs their survival time. There is a dose relationship here also: the lower the fat in the animals’ diets the slower the growth of the cancer (J Natl Ca Inst 87:1456, 1993).

Even though it is much easier to prevent cancer than to reverse it, you can still help your immune system fight like crazy. That can buy you some time – maybe just a few more weeks of feeling good to a complete reversal.

Eat starches, like beans, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice with some green and yellow vegetables and fruits. No vegetable oils. No supplements. Drink 3 cups of green tea a day and take up to 8 gm of curcumin supplements.

Best of luck as you help your immune system fight off this disease.

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Mar
03

Keep Your Children Slim and Trim

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Child Worried About Her Weight

Children getting sick is something no one wants to see. We know that there are starving children living in poverty all over the world and they need to be given assistance and food.

But I want to talk to you about your children or grandchildren.

In this country where people are “overfed” we have too many children who are overweight. Anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 24 is considered overweight.

Overweight children and teens are likely to be obese adults and, unfortunately, they are more prone to develop a serious disease. High cholesterol levels (caused by fat in the blood) in children can be a predictor of glucose intolerance and diabetes. In large populations of children with total cholesterol levels above 170 there are far more incidences of brain tumors and leukemias than are found in populations of adolescents with cholesterol levels below 100.

Young people who are obese are more likely to have elevated blood pressure, sleep apnea and a variety of bone problems.

Helping your children stay slim is so very important, but it has to start with you.

If you would like help in getting your whole family on the slim and trim health track, check out the “90-Days to a Slimmer, Healthier You!” coaching program.


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© 2010-2015 Melinda Coker

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Melinda Coker, health coach and author of the book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection?, teaches men and women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

Categories : Blog, Cancer in Children
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Nov
25

A Test to Predict Cancer?

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Doctor Prepares to do Diagnostic Tests on Patient

Do you think it’s possible to predict your chance of getting cancer by a blood test, or is that just science fiction?

Many studies have found a correlation between obesity and cancer.  Additional studies have found a correlation between high IGF-1 levels and cancer.  Other studies have reported positive correlations between total body fat and IGF-1 concentrations.

Current recommendations from the World Cancer Research Fund suggest that the median adult BMI (Body Mass Index) should be maintained between 21 and 23.  The chart below gives average BMI scores for people eating certain diets.

TYPE OF DIET

AVERAGE BMI

Raw vegans 21.3
Vegans 23.6
Vegetarians 25.7
Flexitarians 27.3
Meat-eaters 28.8

In rodents, long-term severe caloric restriction (CR) reduced BMI and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) levels.  But in research comparing human vegans and long-term endurance runners (ran an average of 48 miles/wk) they found that only the vegans had significantly lower levels of IGF-1.

In other words, just getting slim through exercise without reducing your IGF-1 level could leave you open to higher cancer risks.

 GROUP

IGF-1 PLASMA LEVELS (ng/mL)

Vegans 139
Long-distance Runners 177
Meat Eaters 201

To find out your IGF-1 score, you can take a blood test for $129.  Scores are not “cut and dried” like they are on the BMI chart for adults.  The chart below will give you normal ranges for different age groups.  To protect yourself from cancer, you will want to be sure your IGF-1 is toward the low end for your age group in the chart below.

AGE

NORMAL RANGES OF IGF-1

16-24 182-780
25-39 114-492
40-54 90-360

References:

“Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Relation to Body Mass Index (BMI) in the Million Women Study: Cohort Study”
“A Twenty-First Century Cancer Epidemic Caused by Obesity: The Involvement of Insulin, Diabetes, and Insulin-Like Growth Factors”
“Relationships Between IGF-1 and IGFBP-1 and Adiposity in Obese African-American and Latino Adolescents”
“Long-term Low Protein, Low-caloric Diet and Endurance Exercise Modulate Metabolic Factors Associated with Cancer Risk.”

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Aug
20

Are We Responsible for Getting Sick?

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Fat

When people hear of the diet I eat many of them comment, “Why would you give up all the “good” things to eat just to have more years of old-age misery?”

How many people do you know who are in their 90s and are still energetic and fully engaged in life? We probably all know a few.

By contrast, how many people do you know who are in their 70s and 80s (if they have lived that long) and are sick? They may have osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia, diabetes or cancer. Some are even bedridden after having a stroke. I think we all know plenty of people in this group.

I’m hedging my bets and planning to get to my 90s in good health.

It seems that the word of the day in my community is “responsibility.” When we hear that a family is having a hard time and going on welfare or can’t afford health care, the loudest voices accuse them of not taking “responsibility” for themselves or their families.

I hear people say, “That group works well with the homeless because they hold them accountable for getting back to an independent life,” or, “People having babies out-of-wedlock, just aren’t responsible.”

In other words, most of us think that other people just need to be more “responsible.” I wonder why that word doesn’t apply to the way we take care of our bodies?

What if we used that word on our own lives? Is it responsible of us to eat foods that make us too heavy (a BMI of 25+)? Is it responsible of us to eat foods that can cause diseases like osteoporosis, dementia, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or stroke? Is it responsible of us to continue to smoke because it makes us happy? Is it responsible of us to continue to eat animal products because we like them?

I’ve heard the rationale that if you can afford to drive a gas-guzzler or if you can afford to smoke cigars and drink brandy or if you can afford to eat meat at every meal, that’s your right.

I realize that those individual freedoms are important to many of us. After all, it is your body to do with as you wish. But, other people are definitely impacted. Your spouse or your children may have to step into a caregiver role. You may not be able to afford all of the medical care needed, so the taxpayers have to step in. Because health insurance companies have to pay for more care, they will raise the premium rates for other people.

If you think you are just hurting yourself with your lifestyle choices, think again. What about the husband of the wife diagnosed with cancer? He suffers emotionally almost as much as the patient. What about the kids of the man who suddenly dies of a heart attack? Or the parents of a 50-year-old who has diabetes and has to have his foot amputated?

We take responsibility for keeping our belongings clean and neat. We take responsibility for teaching our children about morals and ethics. We take responsibility for making sure our children go to the best schools and get the best education.

But, are we responsible for making sure our children are always happy and get whatever they want? I doubt if any parent or grandparent would agree to that.

Should we let our kids stay up late at night so they are too tired to pay attention in school so we just hire them a tutor?

Should we let them get tired so their immune systems break down and then we just pay a doctor to give them an antibiotic to get them well?

Do we think we can feed them junk food and then have them pop a few vitamins to keep them healthy?

Do we think we can reward our children with candy and sugary drinks and then just pay a dentist to fix their teeth?

Do we let them eat hamburgers and macaroni and cheese and have ice cream for dessert because that keeps them happy? What do we do when they get fat and are teased and taunted by their classmates?

Being responsible seems to be a matter of degree and personal bias.

If we eat meat and cheese at every meal, but then we bike and run like George W. Bush, shouldn’t that keep us from having a heart stent?

Having responsibility for our own health and that of our children seems to be one of the most important “responsibilities” we can carry out.

What about responsibility for our planet? Is it enough to recycle our cans? Is it enough to keep our thermostat on 78 in the summer? Is it enough to wash clothes with cold water?

One of the most helpful (and responsible) things we can do to help our environment is to stop eating meat. Did you know that raising animals for food uses more water, more land and creates more methane gas than anything else?

Are we responsible for the way animals are treated to provide us with food? We think of those “animals” like we do “slaves” or “muslims.” They are “different” from us. We don’t “know” them.  If we think of those animals and fish in this way, we don’t have to worry about our responsibility for taking care of them.

I’ve got a great idea. Let’s start taking responsibility for the health of our bodies and for the health of our planet!


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© 2010-2013 Melinda Coker

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Categories : Blog, Prevent Cancer
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Jun
10

The Cattle Baron’s Gala

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Chicken Strips

The menu at this week-end’s Cattle Baron’s Gala featured smoked brisket, baby back ribs, chicken fajitas, grilled steaks, fried chicken strips, jumbo shrimp filled with cheddar cheese and crisp bacon. An avocado bar loaded with toppings including sour cream, chicken and chile con queso (cheese sauce) was available. There were also sliced sweet potatoes deep-fried and served with garlic mayonnaise and thick-sliced green tomatoes deep-fried until golden brown.

It seems that most of us are hard wired with a “helping” gene. We love to think that we are doing good things for other people and this week-end’s event showcased the effort of over 100 volunteers. They worked hard for a year to make sure the 1,800 guests had a great time because it was for a “good” cause. The hefty proceeds benefitted the American Cancer Society.

Unfortunately, after doing the research for my 2010 book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection, I no longer hold the ACS in such high regard. Experimental research and even population studies have shown that a low-fat, whole food, plant-based diet can prevent 95 percent of all cancers, including those “caused” by environmental toxins.(1)  Yet the American Cancer Society promotes surgical, pharmaceutical and radiological approaches to cancer treatment and prevention because it’s main source of funding comes from the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

The ACS also receives funds from the food industry so they do not take a hard stand on well-studied nutritional recommendations. When they tell people to limit certain foods rather than avoid them, that’s the equivalent of telling junkies to “limit your intake of cocaine.”  It is not a serious warning and doesn’t make an impact on anyone.  Nor does the American Cancer Society mention avoiding or reducing consumption of dairy products including milk and cheese in its recommendations.

If we know that a whole-foods, low fat, plant-based diet can prevent (and even reverse) many cancers, why doesn’t the Cattle Baron’s Gala serve foods based on that science?

Instead of spending so much time and money promoting what author Samuel Epstein has called “the world’s wealthiest non-profit,” wouldn’t we want to use our helping genes in a much healthier way by learning how to feed our families a healthy, whole-foods, low fat, plant-based diet? For more information read Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection or The China Study. Both books are available on Amazon.

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(1) T. Colin Campbell, Howard Jacobson, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (Dallas, TX, BenBella Books, Inc., 2013), 8

Categories : Blog, Events for Cancer
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