Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A New Approach to Fighting Cancer

"You've got cancer."  These are words that no patient wants to hear from their doctor.  The impact of those three words can be devastating and has affected millions of individuals and families in the U.S. and worldwide.  In fact, it’s estimated that over 1.5 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer this year and a little over 500,000 will die from cancer in 2010¹.
Modern medicine has come a long way in it's attempt to tackle cancer.  Five year survival rates for all cancers in the U.S. was at approximately 50% in the mid 1970’s and has climbed to 68.5% as of 2002¹.  The conventional forms of cancer treatment include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  All of these approaches aim to remove or kill the existing cancer cells and have been proven effective in many cases but they usually come with a price.  Many patients experience extreme fatigue, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, complications from surgery, etc.
But what if there was a different way to approach cancer?  An approach that could either compliment conventional treatments or even prevent cancer from developing in the first place.  And what if this approach had little to no side effects?  Wouldn’t this be revolutionary in our war against cancer?
It turns out that there is a safe and very effective way to prevent and/or treat cancer that has been flying under the radar for years.  This approach has to do with the foods we consume.  What we eat has a huge impact on the development and progression of cancer in our bodies.  There are two main concepts that I want to talk about today by which food enacts its cancer fighting powers.
The first concept deals with the ability of different amounts and forms of protein to either turn on or turn off cancer cell growth.  This theory was first discovered in an experiment done in India in 1968.  A known carcinogen called aflatoxin was given to rats which had been shown to predispose them to liver cancer.  One group of rats was fed a 20% protein diet while the other group was fed a 5% protein diet.  The 20% protein group all developed liver cancer and died while none of the 5% protein group acquired cancer and they remained healthy².  This experiment was repeated by Dr. Campbell and colleagues in 1992 when they divided up two groups of rats and fed them either a 20% or 5% casein diet (casein is an animal-based protein that makes up approximately 80%-87% of the protein content in milk).  Dr. Campbell’s experiment produced the very same results³.
Dr. Campbell wanted to take this one step further and decided to design another experiment where he divided the rats up into 3 separate groups.  The first group was fed a 20% casein (animal-based protein) diet.  The second group was fed a 20% soy (plant-based protein) diet.  And the third group was fed a 20% gluten (plant-based protein from wheat) diet.  All the rats were again given the known carcinogen aflatoxin and the results were rather remarkable.  The 20% casein group all developed cancer while the 20% soy and gluten group was found not promote cancer growth⁴.
It has become quite evident that both the amount and the type of protein consumed plays a major role in cancer development.  Plant-based proteins appear to be safe and effective at preventing cancer development and progression while too much animal-based protein does the exact opposite.  The cutoff point for the ability of animal-based proteins to “turn on” cancer growth was shown by Dr. Campbell to be at the 10% mark⁵.  In essence, you have the ability to either “turn on” or “turn off” cancer growth based on the foods that you eat.
The second concept that I want to cover is a newer area of research involving antiangiogenic treatments to fight off cancer.  Angiogenesis is defined as the growth of new blood vessels from existing ones.  Why is this important in the battle against cancer?  Because cancer cells much like normal cells can’t grow and develop unless they are supplied with oxygen and nutrients to do so.  It makes sense doesn’t it?
There are a handful of new medications that have been FDA approved to fight different forms of cancer by exerting antiangiogenic effects on the existing cancer tumors.  While these new medications are proving beneficial they also have side effects (although much less pronounced than conventional chemotherapy) that include elevated blood pressure, bleeding problems, mild blood clotting, skin toxicities, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, etc.  They should not be discounted though and are definitely worth discussing with your oncologist if you’re finding yourself battling cancer.
What’s even more exciting is that you can still get these same antiangiogenic effects from foods that you eat without any of the side effects that the medications exhibit.  Plant-based foods which predominantly include fresh fruits and vegetables exert these same benefits and are equally or even more effective than various medications used as antiangiogenic therapy.  And not only can you obtain the benefits from these foods while battling cancer you can also consume these foods as a method of preventing cancer development in the first place.  This is truly exciting and empowering news!
To learn more about this subject please watch the following video by Dr. William Li (President, Medical Director, and Co-founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation).

Dr. Keith Block has also revolutionized the approach to treating cancer by combining both conventional strategies (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) with alternative and often safer progressive strategies (antiangiogenic, nutritional, & supplemental treatments).  Dr. Block founded and currently runs the Block Center which focuses on Integrative Cancer Treatment.  He has also written a very resourceful and useful book for cancer patients titled Life Over Cancer that you can check out below.

In conclusion, based on what science has shown us it is quite clear that you can dramatically reduce your chances of getting cancer if you consume a diet that consists of less than 10% of it’s total caloric intake from animal-based proteins and consume more plant-based foods that are rich in cancer fighting substances such as phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  To learn more about how to do this please visit my website below.
I wish you the very best in your quest to prevent or even fight cancer whatever your situation may be.  A life without cancer would be a true blessing.  Even though we never have a 100% guarantee on whether or not cancer will be in our future just knowing that you have a significant amount of control over this is a very comforting feeling.

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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

Check out Dustin Rudolph's book The Empty Medicine Cabinet to start your journey towards better health. This step-by-step guide leads you through many of today's common chronic diseases (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more), giving you the facts on foods versus medications in treating these medical conditions. The book also contains an easy-to-follow guide on how to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet as a part of an overall lifestyle change, producing the best possible health outcomes for you and your family. Hurry and get your copy today!

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1 Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD,, based on November 2009 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, 2010.
2 Madhavan TV, Gopalan C. The effect of dietary protein on carcinogenesis of aflatoxin. Arch Pathol. 1968 Feb;85(2):133-7.
3 Youngman LD, Campbell TC. Inhibition of aflatoxin B1-induced gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase positive (GGT+) hepatic preneoplastic foci and tumors by low protein diets: evidence that altered GGT+ foci indicate neoplastic potential. Carcinogenesis. 1992 Sep;13(9):1607-13.
4 Schulsinger, DA, Root, MM, Campbell, TC. Effect of dietary protein quality on the development of aflatoxin B1-induced hepatic preneoplastic lesions. J. Nat'l. Canc. Inst. 81, 1241-1245 (1989).
5 Dunaif, GE. Campbell, TC. Dietary Protein Level and Aflatoxin B1-Induced Preneoplastic Hepatic Lesions in the Rat. J Nutr. 1987 Jul;117(7):1298-302.

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