Archive for Cancer

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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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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