Asia Braces for More Cancer

According to the Associated Press Asia will soon face surging cancer rates as more and more of the population adopt the bad habits of the West; poor diet, smoking, and drinking. Margie Mason reports:
Smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy foods — all linked to various cancers — will combine with larger populations and fewer deaths from infectious diseases to drive Asian cancer rates up 60 percent by 2020, some experts predict.


But unlike in wealthy countries where the world's top medical care is found, there will likely be no prevention or treatment for many living in poor countries.

"What happened in the Western world in the '60s or '70s will happen here in the next 10 to 20 years as life expectancy gets longer and we get better control on more common causes of deaths," said Dr. Jatin P. Shah, a professor of surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who attended a cancer conference last month in Singapore.
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Seize the Tomato

Do you like tomatoes? I do. Honestly, I eat them almost everyday—I love those hard slicing tomatoes. Now, tomato devotion isn’t exactly a bad thing. Dr. Fuhrman considers tomatoes one of his top ten super foods for health and longevity:
Top Seven Foods for Good Health and Longevity
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
Cancer protection—a good idea! The Cancer Blog seems to think so too. Check out this post talking about the anti-cancer properties of this special veggie—oh, I mean fruit. Look:
Tomato fruits (yes, they are not vegetables) contain lycopene, a pigment and phytochemical that is extremely healthy and can even be found in higher-end nutritional supplements and holistic cancer-preventing compounds. Is it really that good?


From all I've read, yes it is. Just like blueberries, tomatoes are excellent and natural ways to help ward off cancer while being tasty and ultimately nutritious at the same time.
Pretty cool—right? Dr. Fuhrman gives tomatoes more praise in this post. From Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus:
Tomatoes have been a hot topic in recent years because their consumption has been linked to dramatic reduction in the incidence of common cancers. One of the tomatoes' heavily investigated anti-cancer phytochemicals is lycopene, which has been shown to be protective against cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancers.

The Wrong Dose of Chemo

Wow! This article made my head spin. According to Reuters, children with cancer often receive the wrong dosage of chemotherapy and these errors can lead to the need for additional treatment—because that’s actually what someone with cancer wants, more invasive treatment! Unreal. Julie Steenhuysen reports:
The problem has a lot to do with lack of common standards for delivering these life-saving, but highly toxic, drugs, said Dr. Marlene Miller, director of quality and safety at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.


Miller and colleagues evaluated data on medication errors collected in a national database from 1999 to 2004.

They looked at a total of 829,492 errors reported in 29,802 patients.

Of the errors, 310 involved kids on chemotherapy. Of those mistakes, 85 percent reached the patient, and nearly 16 percent of those were serious enough to require additional care.

Miller likens the problem to the issues most parents face when trying to figure out how much of the analgesic ibuprofen to give a child because the dose must be calculated based on weight and age.
If you ask me, it makes me wonder if chemotherapy is even an option worth pursuing. Is chemotherapy really all its cracked up to me? Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer:
Our technologically-advanced society is suffering from the highest rates of cancer ever seen in human history, rates that are also much higher than in less developed parts of the world. Since 1999, cancer has surpassed heart disease and has become the leading cause of age adjusted mortality for Americans younger than 85. Despite more than a hundred billion dollars in cancer research-- invested largely in the development of drug chemotherapy and screening and detection techniques--we have lost the war on cancer. While there has been a slight reduction of cancer-related deaths in the last 25 years, this is largely the result of the decrease in lung cancer deaths that has resulted from a reduction in cigarette smoking during this timeframe. Mortality rates for most cancers have stayed remarkably steady.


Chemotherapy has contributed to the progress made against cancer deaths from fast-growing cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer, and childhood cancers such as osteogenic sarcoma. But for the major cancers affecting most adult Americans, chemotherapy adds less than one year of disease-free life to those treated.
Here are a few more posts of note:

More Good News for Exercise

Yesterday we learned that exercising early in life really pays off later in life—very cool! And now, Reuters is reporting that exercise after breast cancer treatment improves quality of life. Read on:
Previous studies have shown that exercise improves physical and psychological health for breast cancer survivors, but it has been unclear if the benefit came from the exercise itself or from the increased attention women got from participating in the programs.


To isolate the effects due to exercise from those due to attention, Dr. Amanda J. Daley, from the University of Birmingham, and her associates designed a study that included not only an active exercise group but also a placebo exercise group as well as a usual-care group.

The participants were 108 women who had been treated for breast cancer between 1 and 3 years before, and who were physically inactive.
You just can’t beat some good old-fashioned exercise!

Multivitamins Linked to Prostate Cancer

Wow, this’ll make you think twice about downing those Flintstone vitamins. New research claims taking too many multivitamins may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men—eek! More from the Associated Press:
Government scientists turned to a study tracking the diet and health of almost 300,000 men. About a third reported taking a daily multivitamin, and 5 percent were heavy users, swallowing the pills more than seven times a week.


Within five years of the study's start, 10,241 men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Some 1,476 had advanced cancer; 179 died.

Heavy multivitamin users were almost twice as likely to get fatal prostate cancer as men who never took the pills, concludes the study in Wednesday's Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Here's the twist: Overall, the researchers found no link between multivitamin use and early-stage prostate cancer.

The researchers speculate that perhaps high-dose vitamins had little effect until a tumor appeared, and then could spur its growth.
Kind of a damning indictment—don’t you think? But this begs the question, how safe are multivitamins? Could they actually lead to health problems? In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains that multivitamins containing high-dose vitamin A and beta-carotene do elevate cancer-risk. Take a look:
The main concern with taking a multivitamin is that it may contain a high dose of vitamin A or beta-carotene. Ingesting large amounts of these nutrients may interfere with the absorption of other carotenoids, such as lutein and lycopene, thus potentially increasing the risk of cancer.1 10-1 There is also concern that supplemental vitamin A induces calcium loss in urine, contributing to osteoporosis.
Now, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t against vitamins. According to him very few people eat perfectly, which makes supplementing a good idea—it’ll help make sure your body gets all the important substances it needs. So considering all this cancer-talk, what kind of multi should a person take? More from Eat to Live:
There are multiple vitamins available today with natural mixed carotenoids in place of vitamin A and beta carotene that also contain extra plant-derived phytochemicals. Look for this type of multiple.
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Fruits and Veggies Beat Up Lung Disease Risk

Surprise-surprise, a diet rich in fruits and veggies helps prevent lung disease. Let’s hear it, a big collective—duh! Even though we all know it, it’s still worth a read. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
People who follow a "Mediterranean" diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish cut their risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by half, researchers report.

COPD, a lethal combination of emphysema and bronchitis, is expected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

Smoking remains the primary cause of COPD, according to the report in the May 14 online edition of the journal Thorax.

Therefore, "The first message is that people have to stop smoking," said lead researcher Dr. Raphaelle Varraso, from INSERM, Villejuif, France. "And then, that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish may help to reduce risk of COPD."

And, if healthy food can cut the odds for COPD, unhealthy eating could do the opposite, he said. "In smokers and ex-smokers, a diet rich in refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts and French fries may increase the risk of COPD," Varraso said.

His group collected data on almost 43,000 men who took part in the U.S. Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which started in 1986. The study included more than 50,000 U.S. health care professionals ages 40 to 75.

Every two years, the men were asked about their lifestyle, including smoking and exercise, diet and medical history. Detailed diet information was gathered every four years.

Nutritional Wisdom: Dangers of the Atkins Diet

I admit. It’s easy to poke fun at the low-carb lifestyle. What can I say? I’m a sucker for low-hanging fruit. But truth be told, Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that carbohydrate restrictive diets—like the Atkins Diet—are no way to achieve optimal long-term health. You only have to check out these posts to see why:

But despite all this, millions of people pledge allegiance to a fad diet centered on animal fat. A huge concern for Dr. Fuhrman because—as he points out in the posts above—any diet where the majority of calories come from animal products increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and a whole host of life-shortening maladies.


As you’ve seen, I’m quick to knock low-carb living. And so is Dr. Fuhrman, but, he’s smarter than me—yes, a little brownnosing here—so when he takes Atkins-type diets to task, he really exposes them for the over-hyped danger zones that they are.

Curious to hear what that sounds like? You’re in luck. Because it just so happens this week’s episode of Nutrition Wisdom is on that very subject. Here’s a bit I transcribed from the show. In it Dr. Fuhrman talks about how dangerous an Atkins-type diet can be for children and others. In fact, it can have deadly consequences. Take a look:

In recent years with the skyrocketing popularity of the Atkins Diet, there’s been a proportional skyrocketed increase in sudden cardiac death in young women. That parallels the increase in ketogenic diets. Right now we know that sudden cardiac death means irregular heart beat, as in cardiac arrhythmia. There has to be a warning on the Atkins Diet! There must be a warning that severe carbohydrate restriction—restricted ketosis—when you go into ketosis because of severe carbohydrate restriction, as a weight control method. There could be a traumatic increase in sudden death.


There was an important study in the Southern Medical Journal about a sixteen year-old girl who died after two weeks of following an Atkins Diet. They found that she was in profound acidosis, with about a twenty point base deficit because undeniably keto-acidosis caused acidosis in the blood. In other words, you can become highly acidic. We get dramatic lowering of potassium levels, especially when you first start out on the diet.

The continual denial of the dangers by the people who embrace and promote this ketogenic diet—it’s understandable why—because people are often economically invested with their egos and their food preferences into this diet. But, the risk of carbohydrate restriction ketosis is very powerful and with a lot of studies done on children who were put on ketogenic diets for seizure disorders and they use this for people who have seizures that are retractable—meaning they can’t be helped any other way—and they warn the parents of these children that it increases the risk of kidney stones, kidney failure, increases the rate of infection, and sudden cardiac death, including cardiomyopathy and cardiac-arrhythmias. For example, one study following children put on ketogenic diets—like an Atkins-type diet—they showed fifteen percent developed cardiac enlargement and dilated cardiomyopathy. Of course the diet had to be stopped.

Another study followed 129 children and found that seventeen developed severe complications and four people died out of the 129; two of sepsis because of the increased risk of infection, one of cardiomyopathy, and one of lipoid pneumonia. The point is when doctors are very careful they know these are dangerous diets, and they advise people of the dangers, but if a person wants to try it it’s their right. But the claims made by the Atkins people, for example, Atkins himself used say prevent breast cancer with butter, reverse heart disease with fillet mignon, it’s all the lying and misinformation and lack of telling people the risks of a diet that has such a great amount of dangers.

Lying? Of course they’re lying. There are millions of dollars at stake here. Can’t let unsightly truths get out—politicians have known this for years, but fortunately the truth does eek its way out every once and a while. For example, get a load of this study in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Fuhrman emailed it to me the other day. Apparently prolonged consumption of a low-carbohydrate–high-protein diet is associated with an increase in total mortality. Read on:

Subjects methods:
Follow-up was performed from 1993 to 2003 in the context of the Greek component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition. Participants were 22 944 healthy adults, whose diet was assessed through a validated questionnaire. Participants were distributed by increasing deciles according to protein intake or carbohydrate intake, as well as by an additive score generated by increasing decile intake of protein and decreasing decile intake of carbohydrates. Proportional hazards regression was used to assess the relation between high protein, high carbohydrate and the low carbohydrate–high protein score on the one hand and mortality on the other.


Results:
During 113 230 persons years of follow-up, there were 455 deaths. In models with energy adjustment, higher intake of carbohydrates was associated with significant reduction of total mortality, whereas higher intake of protein was associated with nonsignificant increase of total mortality (per decile, mortality ratios 0.94 with 95% CI 0.89 –0.99, and 1.02 with 95% CI 0.98 –1.07 respectively). Even more predictive of higher mortality were high values of the additive low carbohydrate–high protein score (per 5 units, mortality ratio 1.22 with 95% CI 1.09 –to 1.36). Positive associations of this score were noted with respect to both cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

But sadly, this won’t phase the low-carb lemmings of the world. They’ll just yammer on and on about how much weight they lost and how great it feels not to give up their emotional attachments to fatty foods. “Whaa-whaa-whaa! Why can’t I eat steak wrapped in bacon and fried in butter every night—but I want it!”