Archive for Cancer Diagnosis

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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Feb
26

Is There Any Hope?

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Wheatgrass

If you’ve been diagnosed with a late stage cancer or if you have already completed all the surgery, chemo and radiation that you can endure, what’s next?  Do you just sit in your rocking chair full of anxiety and fear and wait to die?

No, of course not!  You start looking for ways to heal your body and strengthen your immune system.  You might even want to look at going to a healing spa such as the Gerson Institute or the Living Foods Institute.

If that’s not an option, you can plan your own “do-it-yourself” spa experience.

1.) Meet with a pallative care specialist to help you with any pain, emotional, practical or spiritual issues.

2.) Get out in the sunshine for at least 10 minutes every day.

3.) Take a walk, do yoga or move in any way you can.

4.) Stay involved with life.  Invite friends over for a bowl of soup or to go shopping with you.

5.) Change the Way You Eat

  • Eliminate all animal products from your diet. That includes meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk and cheese.
  • Eat as many greens as you can.
  • Always eat “whole” foods – whole wheat pastas, whole wheat breads, sprouted wheat, organic rolled oats, etc.
  • Eat deep, colorful vegetables.
  • Eat organic as much as possible.
  • Eat at least half of your food raw (uncooked).
  • Eliminate all alcohol.
  • Eliminate processed junk foods.
  • Put a teaspoon of ground flaxseed on your food every day.  Keep it in the freezer so it won’t get rancid.
  • Drink water or unsweetened decaffeinated green tea for your beverage.  Don’t drink sweet beverages or beverages with caffeine.
  • Do not eat oils, including olive oil.
  • Don’t eat in restaurants very often because you cannot control the ingredients they use.
  • Juice or blend vegetables or fruits for snacks or supplementation.

You will know if you are making progress within a few weeks if your appetite returns, your pain diminishes, your sleep improves and/or your tumor recedes or vanishes.

Don’t be discouraged if you have a down day with low energy.  Just stay on course as the healing process has its ups and downs.

An Easy Sample Menu

  • Breakfast Ideas
    • Whole-wheat toast with no added oil
    • Fruit spread with no added sugar
    • A bowl of oatmeal (regular, not quick cooking) with unsweetened almond milk and fresh fruit.
    • A bowl of Grapenuts or Shredded Wheat with unsweetened almond milk and fresh fruit. 
    • Black beans with salsa on whole-wheat toast or in a corn tortilla.
  • Snack Ideas
    • Whole-wheat toast
    • Green juice with carrots, celery, apple and cabbage
  • Lunch Idea
    • Black bean and corn salad with lime dressing
  • Snack Ideas
    • Baked corn chips and salsa
    • Green smoothie with kale, spinach, flaxseed, apple and lemon juice
  • Dinner Ideas
    • Spinach salad topped with mandarin oranges and vinegar and fresh-squeezed orange juice
    • Wild rice salad with dried apricots, green onions and walnuts
    • Cream of cauliflower soup made with cauliflower, celery, onion, and vegetable broth
    • Buckwheat pasta with mushrooms, vegetable broth and soy sauce.

For more menu ideas and recipes purchase a vegan cook-book, such as Coco’s Healthy Cooking and find recipes which fit the above criteria.

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Feb
05

Oh, Dear God

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Oh, Dear God… It’s Cancer… Now What?

Oh, Dear God

If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, fear may cloud your thinking and you may make some hasty and possibly regrettable decisions. Even though the cancer has taken years to develop, your doctors may be telling you that treatment must be started immediately.

Cancer is cured by your immune system. The average American has five or six bouts with cancer in a lifetime. Your body may have already cured cancer once or twice and you were not even aware of it. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery don’t cure cancer.

Cancer is a serious disease and not everyone gets well, no matter what treatments they get or what program they follow. But if you play the odds and follow a strict program of diet and lifestyle changes, your chances of beating cancer will be much greater than if you do not.

My advice is to change your diet and lifestyle immediately. Give your immune system a chance to tackle the cancer. Then I would recommend that you get a second opinion or even a second diagnosis.

If you decide to undergo conventional treatments, your change of diet will be less successful as you are trying to rebuild your immune system and conventional treatments devastate the immune system. It takes years for your immune system to recover from chemotherapy so it is all the more important to follow the dietary guidelines.

In a review of the literature, reported in Clinical Oncology, December 2004, chemotherapy contributed only 2% to the 5-year survival rates for people with cancer. A few studies comparing conventional treatments with doing nothing found that cancer patients who did nothing actually lived as long, if not longer, than those who underwent treatments.

Be an activist about your own health. Read, study and learn about your options.

Ask your doctor how many people out of 100 who get the same treatment recommended will actually benefit? Then ask what that benefit is. Will you survive an extra few days or a few years? What are the side effects of the proposed treatments? What are the risks?

Surgery, chemo and radiation will not prevent the spread of cancer. Conventional treatments attack the localized tumors. Those tumors don’t usually kill people. The spread of cancer cells to the liver, lungs, brain, bones and other vital areas is what kills patients.

That’s why it is so important to build up your immune system through nutrition and lifestyle changes. Go slow in making decisions about conventional cancer treatments.

If nutritional treatments are started while cancer is still undetected, there is nearly a 100 percent chance of reversing the disease. Once the tumor is diagnosed, the odds become longer. However, even if it’s too late to reverse the disease, good nutrition has extended patient’s lives from months to years. In worst cases, it has minimized the pain patients endured in their final days.

What are some risk factors for developing (or growing) cancer?

DIETARY FAT

You must cut your dietary fat consumption to 10% of your total calories. Most Americans consume 30-40% of their calories in fat. In every population around the world that eats a high-fat diet, cardiovascular disease and cancer are the biggest killers.

Any kind of fat will compromise your immune system – even “good” fats like olive oil or fish oil capsules.

Adding any oil to your food will also raise your cholesterol level even more than eating cholesterol itself.

DIETARY ACID

Cancer cells can flourish in a highly acidic environment. Animal foods are the biggest contributors to acidity in our diet. The vast majority of plant foods are alkaline. Other contributors to acidity include grains, sugar, spicy foods, fried foods, salt, sodas, coffee, tea, alcohol, drugs, medications and tobacco.

POOR CIRCULATION AND LOW OXYGEN

Poor circulation and low oxygen allow cancer cells to thrive. Acidic (pH 7.3) blood has 69% less oxygen than an alkaline (7.45 pH) blood. If you have clogged blood vessels from eating a high fat diet, your oxygen levels will be lower. This lack of oxygen does not necessarily cause cancer, but does creates an environment that cancer cells can thrive in.

HIGH BLOOD SUGAR

When you have high blood sugar levels, you are feeding cancer cells. Once blood sugar levels (glucose) rise to over 110 mg/dl, cancer incidence rises. Cancer cells consume 18 times more sugar than normal cells. Trying to beat cancer on a diet that raises blood sugar is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

Refined foods raise the blood sugar level. They are simple carbohydrates such as white flour, wheat flour, refined sugar, pastries, white pasta, white bread, white rice, French fries, all chips, cakes, soft drinks and other junk foods.

Drinking alcohol is the same thing as drinking sugar right out of the bag.

HIGH CHOLESTEROL LEVELS

The only source of dietary cholesterol comes from animal foods. Cancer cells have higher demands for cholesterol (and sugar).

HIGH SEX HORMONES

High fat foods are the main culprits for raising sex hormones. Milk is full of bovine estrogen from cows. Body fat also stimulates the production of estrogen. This is the reason that overweight women have higher cancer risks.

Pesticides and other chemical toxins raise estrogen levels. Since 95 percent of the pesticides Americans consume come from meat and dairy products, they’re getting a double-boost of hormones when they eat animal foods.

Eating a high-fiber diet removes excessive sex hormones from the body and lowers estrogen levels.

Many studies have linked high testosterone levels to prostate cancer. Eating animal foods stimulates the production of testosterone. Eating any farm animal today adds to your hormone overdose because large corporate farms use hormones to increase animal growth and output.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Prescription drugs are highly concentrated and synthetic so they are very hard on your liver.

How To Be Successful

Your diet must be totally plant-based. No animal products are allowed. You must totally switch. You cannot get good results by only making a few changes.

You must be strict with yourself. If you want a chance at reversing cancer, you will have to be the demanding Queen of nutrition. You don’t have to restrict food portions if you are eating the correct foods.

The only soy food allowed on this diet is the whole soybean (edamame). The only rice product allowed is whole brown rice.

Use whole-wheat pastas or whole-wheat breads. Make sure the label on grain products says whole-wheat, sprouted wheat or organic rolled oats. Don’t buy breads or pastas that list multigrain or stoned wheat as the main ingredient as those are not whole grains.

A low-fat plant based diet is about eating natural, whole plant foods. All animal products are excluded because they promote cancer. Even though refined (packaged) foods are technically plant-based, they should not be included as they will diminish your benefits.

Some people think they can defeat cancer by drinking organic milk or eating organic eggs and meats. Saying organic animal products are better for you is like saying organic tobacco is better for smokers. Organic animal foods will plug up your arteries and promote cancer just as fast as non-organic animal foods.

Fish is not a health food. A survey of a large number of postmenopausal women showed that the group who ate fish had higher rates of breast cancer.

The Power of the Mind

As a practical matter, attitude is important. Positive thinking can enhance your life while anger, stress and depression can suppress the immune system. If you had two groups of people and one group relied on the mind (or spirit), while the other group relied on a good cancer-fighting diet, the nutritional group would win easily. The mind can be a healer for some people, but proper nutrition is the key to consistent success.

Exercise

Exercise is an essential part of this nutritional plan. Active Americans get a fraction of the cancers that sedentary Americans get. Cancer hates oxygen and exercise oxygenates tissues.

Walking is probably the best exercise for us. It’s easy, cheap and gets you outdoors. Always get at least half an hour of exercise a day.

Get out in the sun occasionally. It’s the best way to get vitamin D.

Vitamin D

During the summer, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., fair-skinned people should get 10 minutes of sun exposure, while very dark-skinned people should get 30 minutes several times a week. Never allow yourself to get sunburned.

Vitamin Supplements

Cancer is not a deficiency disease of a single nutrient. Synthetic supplements can cause more problems than they can help. If you want to supplement, do it with greens and other vegetables in your juicer or blender. Juicing or blending can be life saving for seriously ill patients who are unable to eat much.

How Do You Get Started?

Drastically changing your diet is hard.  You have been on your current diet for many years so you don’t even have to think about it. The easiest way to start is to get a cook book with low-fat, plant-based recipes to give you ideas and inspiration.

If you want more information on the “why” of eating this way, you will want to purchase my book, Diet and Cancer: Is There a Connection? If you have all the information you need right now and just want to get started, order my cook book, Coco’s Healthy Cooking. In the cook book you will be able to find a number of recipes which fit the cancer-fighting criteria that is listed here.  Both books are available on Amazon.

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© 2010-2013 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 women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.”

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May
23

PSA and Prostate Biopsies

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My husband ran into a friend on the golf course yesterday and mentioned that he had missed seeing him.  That golfer had quite a chilling story to tell.  A few weeks ago, his doctor recommended that he have a PSA test.  His levels were considered “high” so he was sent off to the urologist’s office.  That specialist suggested he needed a prostate biopsy to rule out cancer.  It was to be a routine procedure, so our golfer friend agreed to it.  Within 2 days of having it done, he was rushed back to the ER and diagnosed with a massive infection and spent nearly 10 days in the ICU close to death any number of times.

According to a story on NPR,s Morning Edition, that same scenario is being repeated across the country.  Well over a million U.S. men are thought to get prostate biopsies every year, but specialists are worrying about an increasing risk of complications.  Namely, an especially hard-to-treat bloodstream infection that can send men to the ICU and require weeks of heavy-duty antibiotic treatment.

Dr. Robert Nam of the University of Toronto published a study in the Journal of Urology that documents a steady increase in infections serious enough to require hospitalization among all men undergoing prostate biopsies.  “The rate went from 1 percent to 4 percent in a 10-year period,” Nam says.  If one million men are undergoing prostate biopsies, that is suggesting that 40,000 could be suffering serious infections.

Dr. Robert Nadler of Northwestern says the infection risk is causing a lot of soul-searching about prostate biopsies.  He says, “This is forcing urologists to really step back and take a look and say, ‘Does this patient really need a biopsy?’ ”

© 2010-2011 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 women around the world how to develop a healthy lifestyle.” 

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