Fight Cancer, Find Strength in Exercise

Exercise is STRONG medicine. We all know it keeps us fit, but many reports claim it can also help PREVENT cancer, like prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Some California cancer patients are putting EXERCISE to the test, while undergoing treatment, they’re pumping iron and hitting the mat; via The Los Angeles Times.

Diet is important too! Certain foods, like soy beans, garlic and apples, have POTENT anti-cancer effects. Now, imagine if you pair a HEALTHY eating with exercise!

Soy Beats Breast Cancer

A new study, in the International Journal of Cancer, claims soy foods REDUCE the risk of breast cancer tumors, both estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative tumors; Reuters reports.

Actually, the BENEFITS of soy have been widely reported. Soy helps against stroke, heart disease and soybeans do NOT lower sperm count, but you SHOULDN’T go overboard with soy products, Dr. Fuhrman insists a soy foods-based diet isn't a good idea.

Obesity Linked to Cancer, Heart Attack and Miscarriage

Obesity is a HUGE problem in the United States. And yet, A LOT of people don’t realize it. A new study, in Obstetrics & Gynecology, claims many women are unaware that obesity can lead to certain cancers, like colon cancer and breast cancer; Reuters reports.

Now, obesity HURTS your heart too. Another study, this time in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ties obesity to early risk of heart attack. One researcher told Reuters, “Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature heart attacks.”

That’s NO joke! Neither is having a miscarriage. And new a study in Fertility and Sterility claims obese women are 67% more likely to have a miscarriage than normal weight women; via Reuters.

Wow! That’s three HUGE reasons to maintain healthy bodyweight.

Vegetable Oil Linked to Breast Cancer

New research in the International Journal of Cancer claims omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, found in vegetable oil, may increase breast cancer-risk in postmenopausal women, but heterocyclic amines in cooked meat and fish DON’T up cancer-risk; Reuters reports.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on the study. Here’s what he had to say:

Of course processed foods, including refined carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar increase a women's risk of breast cancer. And, the findings in this study are also logical, that the use of vegetable oils, which are also low-nutrient processed foods, would increase risk of breast cancer as well.

As humans we are designed to eat and thrive on natural foods in their natural state. Eating an avocado is nothing like consuming avocado oil and eating corn oil cannot be compared to eating corn. Oil is high calorie, low nutrient food; the definition of junk food. When we eat plant fats in their natural state, such as in seeds and nuts, the scientific studies are clear, they have the opposite effect (of oil), lowering risk of all-cause mortality and extending lifespan.

Even olive oil is junk food! Olive oil MIGHT be an improvement over saturated animal fats, but Dr. Fuhrman insists, processed oils are a MAJOR contributor to our overweight modern world.

As for heterocyclic amines, they’re NOT healthy either. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine points to studies linking both grilled meat and grilled chicken with cancer-risk. Water-based cooking, like steaming, is MUCH safer.

Surprise, Living Healthy Helps Women Live Longer

This report is a no-brainer, but still worth a mention. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital have determined that women living healthfully have a DECREASED risk of premature death.

The study appears in The British Medical Journal. Reuters is on it:

Dr. Rob van Dam and a team from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital followed 80,000 nurses for more than two decades.

The women kept detailed records of their diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, weight, smoking and disease history. Over the study period, 8,882 of the women died, including 1,790 from heart disease and 4,527 from cancer.

Some 28 percent of these deaths could have been avoided if the women had never smoked, the researchers said.

And 55 percent of the deaths could have been avoided if the women had never smoked and exercised regularly, eaten a healthy diet low in red meat and trans-fats and maintained a healthy weight, they said.

Smoking played the biggest role in causing premature death, and alcohol consumption played the smallest, they said.

I’m no scientist—just a BIG dummy—but I’m pretty sure this would apply to men too. But ladies, your health is important. Take obesity. Not only will it ruin your figure, but being overweight can boost your risk of pancreatic cancer.

Oh, and make sure you EXERCISE! Previous research suggests exercise can help ward off breast cancer. And if you’re looking for a good workout, consider using kettlebells; from The Washington Post.

Do Low Cholesterol Levels Cause Cancer?

I thought it was important for me to construct a public reply to a recent medical study that reported both high cholesterol and low cholesterol were associated with higher cancer rates because too many people are still confused about this, including the scientific research community. This is because so few people have performed a comprehensive, in-depth review of the scientific research on nutrition and cancer, so they base their decisions on a narrow and incorrect interpretation of the literature. This recent article and the comments by the media and even by physicians and scientists illustrate pervasive ignorance and confusion about human nutrition.

The study in question was published in the August 26th issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).1 It showed that people whose LDL cholesterol was below 2.8 mmol/L (109) had a higher risk of certain cancers (primarily lymphatic and blood cancers) and people whose LDL cholesterol was above 3.9 mmol/L (152) had a higher risk of certain cancers (primarily breast and digestive tract) as well.

My book, Cholesterol Protection For Life, covered this issue in more depth. In it, I explained that certain illnesses, especially cancer, lower cholesterol levels by decreasing the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol and that having a low cholesterol in spite of an unhealthy (high) cholesterol-promoting diet could be an early sign of an undiagnosed cancer. The types of cancers that have been reported to cause low cholesterol levels include lung, liver, lymphatic and hematopoietic cancer, the same cancers associated with low cholesterol in this study.2

My book, Disease-Proof Your Child, reviews the science and explains that cancer is predominantly caused many, many years before it first appears (over 40 years) and that cancerous cells are present in the body for over 10 years prior to diagnosis, when the clump of cancerous cells eventually become large enough to be viewed by the human eye or when the first signs or symptoms appear. This study only followed people for less than 5 years. They recorded the cancers that occurred in the last 2½ years of the study.

The findings were not surprising, but consistent with the main body of literature on this subject. We would expect people who are eating a diet that promotes high cholesterol would have higher cancer rates, because the same diet-style that promotes high cholesterol and heart disease also promotes cancer. We would also expect to find that very low cholesterol was also associated with more cancers occurring because some people in the cohort would have undiagnosed (occult, early stage) cancer that would eventually become diagnosed in the last 2½ years of the study. Their low cholesterol was a sign of early (undiagnosed) cancer, not a cause of their cancer. These people have low cholesterol in spite of not earning low cholesterol with nutritional excellence. Their cancer caused the low cholesterol, not the other way around.

What I stated in Cholesterol Protection For Life is that a low cholesterol that is earned through adherence to a diet rich in vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and other health-promoting foods will protect you against heart attacks and cancers, however if you have a very low cholesterol that you did not earn via healthy living and a healthy diet, it might be a sign that a disease is present that lowers cholesterol, such as cancer.

To conclude, don’t be alarmed if your cholesterol is low, if you have earned it. Low cholesterol earned through high vegetable consumption and a micronutrient rich diet is linked to protection against all cancers, and populations eating a vegetable-centered-diet earn low cholesterol levels and have dramatically lower rates of cancers along with lower heart disease rates.3 This does not have to be such a confusing subject. Its simple, the prescription is nutrition for improved health and a longer life!

To learn more, check out DiseaseProof's cancer and cholesterol catagories or visit the library at DrFuhrman.com.

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Cancer-Risk, Hotdogs of Doom...

This is fitting. Amidst the Maple Leaf deli meat killing spree The Cancer Project has released a TV commercial attacking hotdogs as a cancer-risk. See for yourself:

 

Finally, a gutsy ad! Hotdogs are not your friend. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman considers processed meats one of the WORST meat options—along with red meat. Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the PCRM and head of The Cancer Project, defends the commercial. Via CBS News:

Check the label of a name-brand hot dog, and chances are fat provides around 80 percent of total calories, more than double what's often advised. What's more, saturated fat and trans fat - the fats most strongly linked with artery-clogging - are common ingredients, in some cases providing at least half the fat content.

The hot dog council called the new ad an alarmist scare tactic, but the promoters, a group called The Cancer Project, defend their campaign.

Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, called the ad "a way to raise appropriate concern about a deadly concern." Barnard also heads The Cancer Project, an offshoot of his anti-meat advocacy group.

Hot dogs may be considered as American as apple pie, but Barnard said it's time to change that tradition.

"Children are born with no traditions whatsoever," he said. "You or I might think a hot dog, that just goes with baseball ... We can always change our traditions to be healthful."

The new ad is based on an analysis of five studies in adults by scientists working with cancer research groups not affiliated with Barnard's.

Their report last November said eating 50 grams a day of processed meats for several years increases colorectal cancer risk by 21 percent. That equals about one hot dog a day or two deli slices of bologna or five slices of bacon.

There’s a hotdog council! I’d love to see their cholesterol numbers. Now, despite the wiener consortiums self-preservation exclamations, processed meats DON’T support health and DO increase cancer-risk, but don’t take my word for it. Remember this post: News from The Cancer Project.
 

Applegate Cancer-Free, Following Double Mastectomy

After testing positive for a gene mutation associated with breast cancer, actress Christina Applegate opted to have both her breasts removed. A drastic measure, but the now cancer-free star of "Samantha Who” is optimistic about her future. Via the Associated Press:

She'll undergo reconstructive surgery over the next eight months.

"I'm going to have cute boobs 'til I'm 90, so there's that," she joked in the interview, which aired Tuesday. "I'll have the best boobs in the nursing home. I'll be the envy of all the ladies around the bridge table…"

… Applegate's cancer was detected early through a doctor-ordered MRI. She said she's starting a program to help women at high risk for breast cancer to meet the costs of an MRI, which is not always covered by insurance.

The news of breast cancer initially shook her up, she said.

"I was so mad," she told "Good Morning America." "I was just shaking and -- and then also immediately, I had to go into ... 'take-care-of-business-mode,' which was ... I asked them, 'What do I do now? What -- what is it that I do? I get a doctor, I get a surgeon, I get an oncologist? What do I do?' "

The actress said she quickly made appointments, and also changed her diet to one consisting of fish, grains, beans and vegetables, avoiding processed foods.

Great job Christina! Dropping the processed foods is just what the doctor ordered. Diet is a HUGE factor in the development of all cancers, not just breast cancer. Not to mention exercise has also been shown to ward off cancer.

For more, check out: Christina Applegate's Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

Christina Applegate's Breast Cancer Diagnosis


Christina Applegate’s diagnosis of breast cancer at age 36, brings to our awareness the question, why now, after so many millions spent on cancer research, do so many women still get and die of breast cancer? This diagnosis in such a young celebrity will incite a new media frenzy for more donations for cancer research. Cancer research means more testing for new drugs. I doubt any significant reduction in cancer deaths will result as long as we ignore causation and still expect to discover new poisons to defeat cancer. Deaths from breast cancer have increased throughout the last century and modern medical care has done little to halt this trend.

Imagine if that money was instead spent on educating the public about the environmental and nutritional causes of cancer. We could slash breast cancer rates by 70 to 90 percent if the money that went to cancer research (almost exclusively drug research) instead went to fund a huge publicity campaign to beat cancer at its roots. How many people know, childhood diets are the main cause of adult cancers? I have studied this subject for years, read thousands of studies and wrote a book about it called Disease-Proof Your Child. However, I learned not many people care about this subject. Knowledge about real cancer prevention is not politically correct and the spread of this message is unlikely to happen as the social, economic and political climate in the modern world revolves around promotion of processed foods and dairy products as the center of childhood nutritional practices. It is blasphemy to produce scientific studies that expose our present day feeding practices as cancer-causing. This message is not what people want to hear, they want a magic pill. Information about cancer causation does not fly in the media.

Flip around the dial, listen to the discussions about cancer in the media and read the articles. Do any of them bring up diet as the cause of cancer? Do the television personalities discuss that over 60 percent of food consumed in America is junk food? That’s right, we have crossed over the 60 percent line, white flour, (pasta, bagels, crackers) sweeteners, oils, chips, processed cereals, soft drinks and other junk foods are the vast majority of what we eat. Add cheese and other dairy foods, full of hormones and saturated fat, and you have a simple formula to create the cancer explosion we have seen in the modern world over the last 75 years. Put low micronutrient, high glycemic carbohydrates together with lots of cheese in your child’s mouth and boom, watch the cancer-creating experiment unfold (it usually takes about 40 years).

Now, while articles tussle with the argument of whether breast MRI’s or mammograms are more appropriate as an early detection tool, those in the know realize that there is no such thing as early detection and all cancers diagnosed with radiographic techniques must be large enough to be visualized with the human eye, so they have been there more than 10 years already.

When Christina Applegate’s publicist reports “it was not serious and caught in the early stage” we know that is not factual. Present medical science has no way of determining whether cells have spread outside the breast. A stage zero cancer means that it less than 2 centimeters and no cancer was found in the lymph nodes, however that still does not tell us that it was caught before cancer cells have spread. Most invasive breast cancers have seeded the body with cells by the time a mammogram or MRI can detect it. Negative lymph nodes on a biopsy does not tell us the cancer is still localized to the breast because a small number of cells are for practical purposes invisible.

There are both aggressive and non-aggressive breast cancers. It was not announced which type Ms. Applegate has, but the more aggressive breast cancers are more common in young women. They spread out from the breast at an earlier stage.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer that spreads locally and there is no significant advantage to early detection because these cancers are not generally life threatening and can be detected later when they are larger with a good prognosis. Hopefully Christina has this type. Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is an example of breast cancer that is more aggressive.

Genetics plays a minor role, not the major role. Dietary practices have been identified by scientific studies as the primary cause of breast cancers. The countries with the highest incidence of cancers of the breast are in North America, Western Europe and Australia, while in contrast, the occurrence is lowest in Southeast Asia.1 For example, when compared to the United States, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand have only one-twentieth the amount of breast cancer in the 50-75 age bracket. Breast and Prostate cancer are the most prevalent cancers in America.

Diets lower in animal products (especially cheese) and higher in unrefined plant foods account for these dramatic differences. When people from a low risk country migrate to the United States, their cancer rate increases considerably and the cancer rate in their offspring jumps up to match other Americans. This demonstrates that the lower incidence of these cancers is not due to a lower genetic susceptibility in Asians, but rather due to the exposure to Western dietary practices.2 Plant-derived micronutrients reduce toxic stress and arm the body’s defenses against cancer.

The growing body, with its dividing cells, is at greater risk when exposed to all types of negative and toxic influences. In adults, our valuable genetic material (DNA) is wound up in a tight ball, like the rubber bands on the inside of a golf ball. When we are young and cells are replicating and growing, the DNA unwinds, exposing more of its surface. This makes it more susceptible to damage from toxic exposure. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, infants and toddlers have a ten times greater cancer risk than adults when exposed to gene-damaging chemicals.3 In a similar manner, an unhealthy diet can do substantially more damage to a young body than an adult one. The fact is, the earlier in life, the greater the potential for damage.

The idea that eating an anti-cancer diet in our childhood is more important in determining cancer risk than waiting to eat healthy as an adult, has been tested in animals by Dr. Jerald Silverman of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State with a grant from the American Institute for Cancer Research. He chose to study a strain of mice very susceptible to breast cancer. He put one group on a diet low in fat their entire lives and with the other group he switched them from a high fat diet to a healthier low fat one at different times; some before puberty, some at puberty and some after puberty. The study showed the same thing we see in human studies; those mice fed the high fat diet early in life had more cancer and more of the cancer spread to the lung, and the earlier the change to the healthier lower fat diet the better the mice fared.

The things we are exposed to earlier in life are crucial to our later health. If a nuclear power plant exploded nearby, dousing us all in heavy radiation, it would not cause a significant increase in cancer occurrence for at least 30 years. For example, the excess risk for breast, prostate and colon cancer among atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki continues to be observed today, and persists throughout the lifetime of the survivors. The largest grouping of the radiation-related cancer deaths for these common cancers occurred in the period from 1986 to 1990, forty to forty five years after exposure.4

Recent studies have also found fruit eating during childhood had powerful effects to protect against cancer in later life. A 60-year study of 4,999 participants found those who consumed more fruit in their childhood (highest quartile) were 38 percent less likely to develop cancer of all types as adults.5 There is much more here and the science is fascinating. I could go on and on with hundreds of more studies, telling this story, of food and other factors initiating cancer, but the point is—we already know enough about how to beat breast cancer. We can implement good science to win the war on cancer. We can do it now. We must eat right America.

For adults at risk or who already have cancer, nutritional excellence is a critical intervention one can use to reduce risk and significantly increase the chance of survival.

Eat a high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet as described in my books, Eat To Live and Eat For Health. Green vegetables are the most powerful anti-breast cancer food. Take note that a vegetarian diet does not show protection against breast cancer as much as a diet rich in green vegetables, berries, and seeds. It is the phytochemical nutrient density and diversity of the diet that offers the most dramatic protection against cancer, not merely the avoidance of meat or fat. Continue Reading...

Health Points: Tuesday


"What I learned about those first two seasons is they are long. They are a grind, especially with the Western Conference not getting any easier,'' Roy said.

Roy hired a trainer, Ron Tate, who focuses heavily on stretching in addition to weight lifting. He also forces Roy to drink a gallon of water every day before 2 p.m.

In previous summers, Roy would play basketball nearly every day. Now he plays maybe twice a week, even though the Blazers would prefer it was one or less.

"I think I have gotten smarter with the way I work,'' Roy said. "It's not so much pound, pound, pound. It's more stretching and lifting with lighter weight but more reps.''
“What they are doing is developing their own system for evaluating things,” said Dr. Warwick L. Morison, professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s photobiology committee, which tests sunscreens for safety and effectiveness. “Using this scale to say a sunscreen offers good protection or bad protection is junk science.”


Dr. Morison has no financial ties to sunscreen makers, and his work with the Skin Cancer Foundation is unpaid.

Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, said the database and rating system were based on an extensive review of the medical literature on sunscreens. Of nearly 1,000 sunscreens reviewed, the group recommends only 143 brands. Most are lesser-known brands with titanium and zinc, which are effective blockers of ultraviolet radiation. But they are less popular with consumers because they can leave a white residue.

Olympic host city Beijing was shrouded in haze on Monday 11 days before the Games begin, raising anxieties about whether it can deliver the clean skies promised for the world's top athletes.


The city's chronic pollution, a sometimes acrid mix of construction dust, vehicle exhaust and factory and power plant fumes, has been one of the biggest worries for Games organizers.

Beijing has ordered many of its 3.3 million cars off roads and halted much construction and factory production in an effort to cut pollution before the Games open on August 8.

But a sultry haze persisted on Monday, and state media said Beijing might be forced to restrict more cars and shut more factories if the pollution persists.
"At baseline, before they were supposed to be following a diet or exercise plan, we found on weekends, people gained weight," study author Susan Racette, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis said. During the week, the weight would decline. But the weekend effect was strong. "If you translate it out to a year, it could have increased weight by 9 pounds."


Before the intervention, participants ate an average of 2,257 calories on Saturday compared to just 2,021 during the week. But the average activity on weekends overall didn't differ much from average weekday activities. So, it was the food, not the lack of activity, that was to blame, Racette said.

Racette monitored the participants for a year after they started the intervention, and the weekend indulgences continued. The calorie restriction group stopped losing weight on weekends, while the physical activity group gained slightly (about .17 pounds). There were not significant weight changes in the controls on weekends.

Four years ago, ahead of the Athens Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed caffeine from its list of banned substances in sport. This was "presumably because WADA considered (caffeine's) performance-enhancing effects to be insignificant," notes Mark Stuart in a commentary published in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.


Stuart, a BMJ editor, has worked with doping control for past Olympic Games and helped train medical staff for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

Despite questions about caffeine's effects on athletic prowess, Stuart points out, studies indicate that many athletes still use the stimulant. In a study published last month, for example, researchers found that of 193 UK track-and-field athletes they surveyed, one-third used caffeine to enhance performance -- as did 60 percent of 287 competitive cyclists.
Numbers like those, coupled with ads for sleep aids, persuaded yoga instructor Shanon Buffington that the time was right for a workshop she developed.


"Most of us don't sleep like babies anymore," the instructor said as participants gathered last month for her "Yoga for Better Sleep" workshop at Dallas Surya Center for Yoga.

"We're typically tired, and when we do rest, we don't sleep well.

"My goal," she said, "is to give you a toolbox of techniques." These include breathing techniques, relaxing restorative poses and an introduction to Yoga Nidra, a guided visualization.

These yoga tools work, Buffington says, by calming the autonomic nervous system, specifically by nudging the body toward the parasympathetic, or "rest and digest," state as opposed to the sympathetic, or "fight or flight," state.

A new study has found that high bone mineral density (BMD) predicts a greater likelihood of developing breast cancer, independent of how high her risk is on the often-used Gail model.


The two measurements together might be used in tandem to better predict breast cancer risk, the researchers said.

The findings, which were expected to be published in the Sept. 1 issue of Cancer, follow closely on the heels of other research linking different aspects of bone health with breast cancer risk. One study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in May found that Zometa (zoledronic acid), a drug used to treat osteoporosis, lowered the risk of breast cancer recurrence in premenopausal women.

And another study released this spring found that women with breast cancer who have a vitamin D deficiency at the time of their diagnosis were more likely to have a recurrence or to die from their disease. Vitamin D is also critical to bone health.
Fitness and exercise have been shown to slow age-related changes in the brain in healthy people. The latest finding suggests people with early Alzheimer's disease may still benefit.


"The message is essentially if you have Alzheimer's disease, it's not too late to become physically fit," Dr. Sam Gandy, chairman of the Alzheimer's Association's Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, said in a statement.

Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City studied the relationship between fitness and brain volume in 56 healthy adults and 60 adults with early Alzheimer's disease. All were over the age of 60.

Broccoli Wallops Prostate Cancer!


Leafy green vegetables are super foods! There power is especially prevalent in the fight against cancer. Here’s some research from Dr. Fuhrman:
Halt the growth of breast cancer cells.
  • Drug Discovery Today: “Sulforaphane is a chemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sprouts and kale. This compound is a potent inducer of protective enzymes that provide defense against cancer-causing chemicals. Researchers have discovered that sulforaphane can halt human breast cancer cells in their tracks and have identified a new mechanism of action for the compound.”
  • Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology: “Taken together, our data indicate that isothiocyanates derived form broccoli and Rorripa inhibit metalloproteinase 9 activities and also suppress the invasive potential of human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in vitro. The inhibitory effects observed in the current study may contribute to the suppression of carcinogenesis by diets high in cruciferous vegetables.”
Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Carcinogenesis: “Our results are compatible with the hypothesis that ITCs from cruciferous vegetables modify risk of colorectal cancer in individuals with low GST activity. Further, this gene-diet interaction may be important in studies evaluating the effect of risk-enhancing compounds in the colorectum.”
Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells.
  • Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry: “A variety of studies have suggested a cancer protective role of cruciferous vegetables. In the present study, we investigated the effect of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a major indole metabolite in cruciferous vegetables, on cell proliferation and in vitro markers of angiogenesis in phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-stimulated endothelial EA hy926 cells. The results showed that I3C inhibited the growth of EA hy926 cells in a concentration-dependent manner.”
  • Carcinogenesis: “Cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of ITCs that are highly effective in affording protection against cancers in experimental animals induced by a variety of chemical carcinogens (2–8). In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that ITCs may inhibit proliferation of human prostate cancer cells. We found that AITC significantly inhibited proliferation of PC-3 and LNCaP human prostate cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner.”
Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.
  • Cancer Research: “The results show that phenethyl isothiocyanate and sulforaphane and their N-acetylcysteine conjugates given in the diet after lung adenomas have already developed could inhibit the progression to adenocarcinomas. The inhibitory effects of these compounds are likely to be associated with a combination of reduced cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. These findings are important for future research of lung cancer chemoprevention and therapy in smokers and ex-smokers with early lesions.”
Speaking of research, a new study has determined that isothiocyanates—a phytonutrient found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables fights cancer. Reuters reports:
The researchers also took tissue samples over the course of the study and found that men who ate broccoli showed hundreds of changes in genes known to play a role in fighting cancer.

The benefit would likely be the same in other cruciferous vegetables that contain a compound called isothiocyanate, including brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, rocket or arugula, watercress and horse radish, they added.

Broccoli, however, has a particularly powerful type of the compound called sulforaphane, which the researchers think gives the green vegetable an extra cancer-fighting kick, Richard Mithen, a biologist at Britain's Institute of Food Research said.

"When people get cancer some genes are switched off and some are switched on," he said. "What broccoli seems to be doing is switching on genes which prevent cancer developing and switching off other ones that help it spread."
Makes me feel extra good about the steamed broccoli I ate last night! Here’s a quick quote from Dr. Fuhrman on isothiocyanates. Have a look:
Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.
No doubt, green veggies are an important ally against cancer. Just check out: Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer.

Prostate Cancer, Radiation, Cancer-Risk

External beam radiation—used in the treatment of prostate cancer—may actually increase men’s chances of developing other cancers. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News is on it:
"We saw an increased risk for lung, bladder and rectal cancer among patients treated with external beam radiation for prostate cancer," lead researcher Dr. Naeem Bhojani, from the University of Montreal's Department of Urology, said during a Monday teleconference at the American Urological Association annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

"However, in absolute terms, the absolute risk associated with the development of secondary malignancies in patients exposed to external beam radiation therapy is quite small," Bhojani said.

Among the treatments for prostate cancer are surgical removal of the prostate, called radical prostatectomy; implanted radioactive seeds that deliver radiation specifically to the prostate gland; and external beam radiation, which is a non-surgical procedure that delivers radiation to the prostate from outside the body.

Bhojani said external beam radiation is probably a better treatment choice for older patients rather than younger patients with longer life expectancies, who may be at risk for developing these secondary cancers.
Remarkably this is not the first time we’ve seen something like this. Mammograms can also heighten cancer-risk. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Mammography can be the cause of a woman’s breast cancer. When calculating its supposed benefits, we need to include in the equation the percentage of women whose breast cancer was promoted by the radiation exposure from the mammograms themselves. The younger you are when the mammograms are performed, the greater the risk of radiation-induced cancer.1,2
Before choosing any form of cancer-treatment, it’s probably a good idea to explore all your options. Consider this. From Dr. Fuhrman:
Quite a few enlightened physicians and urologists agree with the treatment options I describe in this newsletter. They no longer recommend local treatments (such as radiation and prostate surgery) directed at destroying the prostate. Instead, they have become experts in hormonal blockade. However, my approach goes farther than this because I add a nutritional protocol to prevent and treat cancer, which includes most of my general dietary recommendations for excellent health in general.
For other cancer news, check out DiseaseProof’s cancer category.
Continue Reading...

Monday: Health Points

Smaller studies have linked tooth loss to different cancers, but this is the largest study to date, and the first conducted within an Asian population, the researchers say. It's also the first study to show a link to lung cancer.

Of course while widespread inflammation could explain the link between tooth loss and cancer risk, the reseachers say that tooth loss in the cancer patients may simply reflect unhealthy behaviors that contribute to cancer risk. Furthermore, people who have lost teeth may not be able to eat a healthy diet, and diet is also a factor in cancer development.
Kevin Kopjak doesn't care much about carbs, fat, sodium or high-fructose corn syrup.

He generally reads only two things on a nutrition label: the portion size and the calories. He says the strategy has helped him to lose and keep off 100 pounds.

"Counting calories seems to work for me," says Kopjak, 29, of San Francisco, who initially did Atkins and several other diets before switching to counting calories. "But it's a lot of discipline. When I first started, I had an Excel log where I literally wrote everything I ate down."
Many cities and towns across the country, including Los Angeles, already recycle wastewater for industrial uses and landscaping.


But the idea of using recycled wastewater, after intense filtering and chemical treatment, to replenish aquifers and reservoirs has gotten more notice lately because of technological advances that, industry leaders say, can make the water purer than tap water. San Diego and South Florida are also considering or planning to test the idea, and Orange County, Calif., opened a $481 million plant in January, without much community resistance, that is believed to be the world’s largest such facility.

None of the proposals or recycling projects already under way send the treated water directly into taps; most often the water is injected into the ground and gradually filters down into aquifers.
Omega 3 fatty acids bound to phospholipids deserves to be further considered as a credible natural alternative and may have beneficial effect on impulsivity in ADHD patients, recent in vivo French study reveals. While several studies have reported beneficial effects of omega-3 in hyperactivity, French researchers have hypothesized that Vectomega could have specific positive effects on impulse control.


These research findings have led to the initiation of two multi-center studies currently underway in France and Germany utilizing Vectomega on hyperactive children. Vectomega, a natural whole food Omega 3 fatty acid bound to phospholipids and peptides, is the end result of a French governmental research project.
5 Superstar Veggies
Artichokes
Radishes
Broccoli
Red chicory
Leeks
7 Stellar Seasonings
Sage
Rosemary
Marjoram
Thyme
Tarragon
Cumin
Fresh ginger
Garlic
Mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were twice as likely to have reported using pet shampoos containing a class of insecticide called pyrethrins as those of healthy children, according to survey results presented Thursday at the International Meeting for Autism Research in London. The risk was greatest if the shampoo was used during the second trimester of pregnancy.


Meanwhile, another study suggests that exposure to organophosphate insecticides double the risk of developmental disorders, including autism. Organophosphates have previously been linked to Gulf War syndrome.

While many chemicals have previously been blamed for triggering autism, there have been very few rigorous studies designed to investigate the link.
I would be hard-pressed to find a food substance that attracts as much controversy as milk. Whether or not it is beneficial to overall health, whether or not it helps weight loss, whether we should buy raw or pasteurized, low fat vs. full fat - the list goes on and on. Hence, I hope to make an attempt to navigate through the speculation, possibilities and try to come up with some ideas on how to think about this issue.


Who to Believe?
On one side, we have groups like the PCRM and PETA (read: Milk is evil). On the other end of the spectrum is the Dairy Association (read: milk is essential for optimal health). In addition to health debates, there are political, ethical and environmental factors to consider. Like most other issues, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Let's try and find that middle.
Women deficient in the "sunshine vitamin" when they were diagnosed with breast cancer were 94 percent more likely to have their cancer spread and were 73 percent more likely to die than women with adequate vitamin D levels, the researchers said.


More than three-quarters of women with breast cancer had a vitamin D deficiency, the researchers reported to an upcoming meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"The women with the lowest vitamin D levels had the highest risk of death from breast cancer," Dr. Richard Schilsky, of the University of Chicago and president-elect of ASCO, told Reuters in an interview.

Exercise Helps Ward Off Breast Cancer

According to new research girls who start exercising at a young age protect themselves against breast cancer later in life. The Associated Press is on it:
Middle-aged women have long been advised to get active to lower their risk of breast cancer after menopause.

What's new: That starting so young pays off, too.

"This really points to the benefit of sustained physical activity from adolescence through the adult years, to get the maximum benefit," said Dr. Graham Colditz of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the study's lead author.

Researchers tracked nearly 65,000 nurses ages 24 to 42 who enrolled in a major health study. They answered detailed questionnaires about their physical activity dating back to age 12. Within six years of enrolling, 550 were found to have breast cancer before menopause. A quarter of all breast cancer is diagnosed at these younger ages, when it is typically more aggressive.
Maybe if you’re a mother or father of a young girl the two of you could get out and exercise together!

News from The Cancer Project

Dr. Fuhrman forwarded this to me. Here are some great studies from The Cancer Project’s spring update. Take a look:
Meat Consumption Increases Breast Cancer Risk
The more meat a woman eats, the greater her risk of breast cancer, according to a new study of postmenopausal Danish women. The study looked at 378 women who developed breast cancer and matched them to control subjects who did not develop breast cancer. A higher intake of meat—including poultry and fish, as well as red meat and processed meat—was associated with a significantly higher breast cancer incidence rate. Every 25 gram increase in consumption of total meat, red meat, and processed meat led to a 9, 15, and 23 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, respectively. However, the degree of risk may depend on genetics. Certain genes activate the carcinogens (heterocyclic amines) found in cooked meat. The study showed that women with genes that rapidly activate these carcinogens are at particular risk of breast cancer if they eat meat. (Egeberg R, Olsen A, Autrup H, et al. Meat consumption, N-acetyl transferase 1 and 2 polymorphism and risk of breast cancer in Danish postmenopausal women. Eur J Canc Prev. 2008;17:39-47.)
More Studies Link Milk to Prostate Cancer
Men who consume low-fat and nonfat milk face an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to two new studies in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

One study included 82,483 men in the Multiethnic Cohort Study, 4,404 of whom developed prostate cancer over an average follow-up of eight years. Researchers found no association between prostate cancer risk and calcium and vitamin D intake, whether in the form of food or supplements. However, the study did find a positive association between consuming 1 cup or more per day of low-fat or nonfat milk and developing prostate cancer.

The other study included 293,888 participants in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study. Consuming two or more daily servings of skim milk was associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer.

Several previous studies—including two large Harvard studies—have shown that milk-drinking men have a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer. Researchers offer two possible reasons for the association: Milk drinking increases blood levels of insulin-like growth factor, which is associated with cancer risk. It also decreases activation of vitamin D precursors. Vitamin D helps protect the prostate against cancer. (Park S, Murphy SP, Wilkens LR, et al. Calcium, vitamin D, and dairy product intake and prostate cancer risk: the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;166:1259-1269. Park Y, Mitrou PN, Kipnis V, et al. Calcium, dairy foods, and risk of incident and fatal prostate cancer: the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;166:1270-1279.)
Does Childhood Dairy Intake Increase Later Cancer Risk?
Children who consume a high-dairy diet—equivalent to nearly 2 cups of milk per day—have almost three times the risk of developing colorectal cancer in adulthood compared with children who consume less than half a cup of milk per day, according to a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These findings held true after researchers adjusted for differences in meat, fruit, and vegetable intake, as well as socioeconomic status. (Van der Pols JC, Bain C, Gunnell D, Smith GD, Frobisher C, Martin RM. Childhood dairy intake and adult cancer risk: 65-y follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86:1722-1729.)

Friday: News from You...


Lignans are plant compounds found in seeds, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. In laboratory studies, lignans have been shown to impact hormone levels and tumor growth. Researchers from Roswell Park and the University at Buffalo evaluated the dietary lignan intakes of 1,122 women diagnosed with breast cancer who participated in the Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer Study (WEB Study) between 1996 and 2001. Lignan intake was calculated based on responses to a questionnaire that charted intake of over 100 foods.

The study found that dietary lignan intake had no relevance among premenopausal women with breast cancer. However, in postmenopausal women, those with a high lignan intake were 70% less likely to die from breast cancer.
Makes sense to me. Just ask Dr. Fuhrman, “Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation.”

Taking antioxidants like vitamins A and E to prolong life may actually have the opposite effect, new research has found.


A review of 67 studies involving more than 230,000 people found "no convincing evidence" that the vitamins prolonged life, the Press Association reported.

"Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality," according to the researchers.

However, other health specialists said the research was "flawed" and the supplements were safe to take.
I doubt vitamins are poison pills. I wonder, if you take vitamins, but continue to eat an unhealthy diet, would those vitamins REALLY help? Food for thought—pun intended.

  1. Helps you lose weight. Since fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber, the more of them you eat, the fuller you feel.
  2. Fights cancer. In a comprehensive review of the best research on fruits, vegetables, and cancer by an agency for the World Health Organization, the authors concluded that eating more vegetables "probably lowers the risk of cancers of the esophagus and colon-rectum" and "possibly reduces the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, stomach, larynx, lung, ovary, and kidney."
  3. Promotes heart health. A 14-year-long Harvard study of nurses and other health professionals found that the more fruits and vegetables a person ate daily, the lower that person's chances were of developing heart-related health problems like heart attack and stroke.
  4. Lowers cholesterol. According to a study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, people who ate more than four servings of fruits and vegetables a day had much lower levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol than those who ate fewer servings.
  5. Reduces bowel problems. The fiber in fruits and vegetables relieves constipation and helps prevent diverticulosis and colon disease.
  6. Improves vision. Eating your vegetables may help prevent vision problems associated with aging.
Pretty cool! And Lilly had this to say, “Seems that just about EVERYONE is hopping on the more veggies bandwagon!

Breast Cancer: Drinking, Trans-Fat, Soy...


New research has linked alcohol consumption to an increased risk of breast cancer. Reuters reports:
The analysis of data from more than 184,000 women is the biggest of three major studies to conclude that drinking raises the risk of breast cancer for older women, Jasmine Lew, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute and the study's lead investigator said on Sunday.

The research found that women who had one to two small drinks a day were 32 percent more likely to develop a hormone-sensitive tumor. Three or more drinks a day raised the risk by 51 per cent.
More bad news, trans-fat is also being associated with a higher breast cancer risk. More from Reuters:
They found that women with the highest blood levels of trans-fats had about twice the risk of breast cancer compared to women with the lowest levels.


"At this stage, we can only recommend limiting the consumption of processed foods, the source of industrially produced trans-fatty acid," the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
But this is good to hear. A compound in soy has been found to lower the risk of breast cancer: Reuters again:
Researchers found that among more than 24,000 middle-aged and older Japanese women, those with the highest levels of the compound, called genistein, were only one-third as likely as other women to develop breast cancer over 10 years.


Genistein is one of the major isoflavones, plant compounds found in soybeans, chick peas and other legumes that are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen, and are believed to bind to estrogen receptors on body cells.
So, to recap, drinking bad, trans-fat also bad, soybeans good!

Grapefruits Cause Breast Cancer?

The New York Times investigates the claim that GRAPEFRUITS can INCREASE breast cancer risk—what the heck? More from Anahad O’Connor:
The British Journal of Cancer that found an increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who ate large amounts of grapefruit. In the group of women, more than 46,000 over all, those who ate about a half a grapefruit every other day had a 30 percent higher risk of breast cancer than those who ate none, even after other risk factors were taken into account…


…That analysis used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 77,000 women 30 to 55 over many years. The scientists looked at intake of both grapefruit and grapefruit juice and found no rise in breast cancer risk, either among women over all or among postmenopausal women.
I don’t know, but I have a hard time believing any fruit or vegetable causes cancer—what about you?

UPDATE: Here's what Dr. Fuhrman had to say:
This is not new. I have been advising women on DrFuhrman.com not to consume too many grapefruits, not more than 2 weekly for the last year or so just to play it safe. The issue is a compound in grapefruit that interferes with the breakdown of estrogen. Whereas green vegetables aid in the breakdown of estrogen for easy excretion of excess by the body.

Health Points: Monday

When he became a psychiatrist in the 1970s, John Ratey didn't expect to evolve into an exercise buff. But today, the Harvard University professor and expert in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder calls exercise the single most important tool people have to optimize brain function…

…Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, can improve cognitive performance, soften the effects of stress, help fend off addiction-related cravings and tone down the negative consequences of women's hormonal changes, Ratey says. When it comes to psychiatric disorders, he calls exercise "one of the best treatments we have."
Bacteria can cause rhinosinusitis -- an inflammation of the sinuses -- but a virus such as the common cold is often a more likely culprit so antibiotics seldom work, the researchers reported in the journal Lancet.


Yet doctors still dole out the drugs more than they should. In the United States, for instance, 80 percent of sinus patients are prescribed an antibiotic while the proportion ranges from 72 percent to 92 percent in Europe.

"What tends to happen in practice is when patients have had symptoms for a while and go see their family doctor, the doctor assumes they have a bacterial infection and gives them antibiotics," said James Young, a statistician at the University Hospital Basel, who led the study.
In the new study of about 5,000 adults, the college-educated with household incomes of more than $75,000 a year had much less of a blood protein linked to heart disease than did the poorer or less educated - as long as they weren't overweight.


But as weight crept up, so did C-reactive protein in the blood, a sign of inflamed tissue that can lead to blocked coronary arteries, says Cathy Bykowski, a psychologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

That's not surprising, because excess body fat is known to increase the protein, she says.
New research suggests that people who don't get enough sleep tend to weigh more -- and that sleep can affect levels of the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin.


"There is a dynamic balance between proper sleep and proper health. Sleep deprivation affects weight and a lot of other things. If you cheat sleep, there are a number of consequences, including affecting your hormones, appetite and mood," said Dr. Patrick Strollo, medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Sleep Medicine Center.
At first glance, the $45 session just looked like a bunch of boys having fun, not surprising since Lego Club members have good language skills and average or above-average intelligence. In contrast, children at the severe end of the autism spectrum may be mute and have catatonic behaviors.


But signs of problems were soon evident. A boy wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt stood amid the hubbub, staring at the floor, obsessively pulling the hem of his shirt - until leader Greg Shugar gently drew him into an activity. At a table, Lily Brown, another leader, helped two boys revise their "script" - a sheet of lined paper covered with angry scratch-outs and scribbles.

Jonathan Shanahan, 13, of Riverton, rocked from foot to foot and acknowledged that earlier that day, in school, he threw a pencil at a classmate.

"He's my archrival," Jonathan declared, holding a winged Lego beast he had created.
Breast-fed babies appear to be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they reach adolescence, according to findings published in the medical journal Diabetes Care.


"Dramatic increases in childhood obesity and the emergence of type 2 diabetes in youth motivate research to identify lifestyle approaches to primary prevention of both conditions," write Dr. Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and colleagues.
Folate
Use: To improve heart health


Why it works: Folate and other B vitamins help break down excess homocysteine -- an amino acid that can damage the inner lining of arteries -- possibly reducing the risk of heart disease.

Daily intake: 400 mcg

Best food sources: 1/2 cup cooked asparagus (134 mcg), 1 cup raw spinach (58 mcg), 1/2 cup cooked lentils (179 mcg)
Type 1 diabetes occurs because of pancreatic beta cell damage. These cells are responsible for insulin hormone production. The disease is becoming more common and it is expected to increase by 40% in 2010, compared to 2000.


The study showed that those suffering from type 1 diabetes have lower levels of vitamin D and are common in countries with less sunlight. It is well known that sunlight exposure stimulates vitamin D production and that supplement intake without sunlight exposure doesn't mean anything.

Lack of vitamin D is previously linked to autoimmune disorders, and this new study shows another key role of vitamins in health.
Breast cancer patients who are overweight have more aggressive disease and are likely to die sooner, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.


A dangerous type of breast cancer, known as inflammatory breast cancer, was seen in 45 percent of obese patients, compared with 30 percent of overweight patients and 15 percent of patients of healthy weight.

"The more obese a patient is, the more aggressive the disease," said Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, who led the study.

Confusion Says: Diet Linked to Breast and Ovarian Cancer

This Reuters report got me excited—diet tied to breast and ovarian cancer risks—but when I started reading it, right away I found problem. Can you spot it? Take a look:
Women who eat diets rich in meat and dairy may have a decreased risk of breast cancer, while those who bulk up on fiber, fruits and vegetables show a lower risk of ovarian cancer.


The findings, published in the International Journal of Cancer, add to questions surrounding the role of diet in women's risk of the cancers…

…Using detailed dietary questionnaires, the researchers identified four common dietary patterns in the study group: an "animal product" pattern, which was heavy in meat and saturated fat, but also zinc, calcium and certain other nutrients; a "vitamins and fiber" pattern, which besides fiber was rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables; an "unsaturated fat" pattern that contained high amounts of vegetable and fish oils, as well as vitamin E; and a "starch-rich" pattern high in simple carbohydrates, vegetable protein and sodium.

Overall, the study found, women who followed a pattern rich in vitamins and fiber had a 23 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who consumed the lowest amounts of those foods and nutrients.

On the other hand, the animal-product pattern was linked to a similar reduction in breast cancer risk.
Meat and dairy decrease cancer-risk—since when! Uh hello, The China Study? Here’s a quote from The China Study. Author T. Colin Campbell, PhD drops the hammer on milk:
What protein consistently and strongly promoted cancer? Casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein, promoted all stages of the cancer process. What type of protein did not promote cancer, even at high levels of intake? The safe proteins were from plants, including wheat and soy.
Okay, let’s see what he has to say about animal protein in general. My guess is the cattle ranchers of the world are going to be just a wee bit upset. More from Dr. Campbell:
Indian researchers had studied two groups of rats. In one group, they administered the cancer causing aflatoxin, then fed a diet that was composed of 20% protein, a level near what many of us consume in the West. In the other group, they administered the same amount of aflatoxin, but then fed a diet that was only composed of 5% protein. Incredibly, every single animal that consumed the 20% protein diet had evidence of liver cancer, and every single animal that consumed a 5% protein diet avoided liver cancer.
Make no mistake about it. Animal products are no friend to cancer-prevention. Now, Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Campbell are friends, so, here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s take on all this:
Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function.
Trust me, he’s not kidding. Plants are strong medicine! Take green vegetables for example. Leafy green or cruciferous vegetables are potent cancer-fighters. Check it out:
These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells2
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer3
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells4
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.5
Good stuff and the sooner you start eating lots of veggies—the better! Consider the plight of young women and breast cancer-risk. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.6
The newswires are a virtual ping-pong of what’s good for you and what’s not—drawn your own conclusions—here, this might help. From the European Journal of Cancer Prevention:
The aim of this study was to investigate whether polymorphisms in N-acetyl transferase 1 and 2 modify the association between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer. A nested case-control study was conducted among 24 697 postmenopausal women included in the 'Diet, Cancer and Health' cohort study (1993-2000). Three hundred and seventy-eight breast cancer cases were identified and matched to 378 controls. The incidence rate ratio (95% confidence interval) for breast cancer was 1.09 (1.02-1.17) for total meat, 1.15 (1.01-1.31) for red meat and 1.23 (1.04-1.45) for processed meat per 25 g daily increment in intake. Compared with slow acetylators, the IRR (95% confidence interval) among fast N-acetyl transferase 1 acetylators was 1.43 (1.03-1.99) and 1.13 (0.83-1.54) among intermediate/fast N-acetyl transferase 2 acetylators. Interaction analyses revealed that the positive associations between total meat intake and red meat intake and breast cancer risk were confined to intermediate/fast N-acetyl transferase 2 acetylators (Pinteraction=0.03 and 0.04). Our findings support an association between meat consumption and breast cancer risk and that N-acetyl transferase 2 polymorphism has a modifying effect on the association, indicating that the association is confined to only genetically susceptible women.
Alright, since we’ve already crossed over into nerd territory. Let’s look at one more study. It appeared in the International Journal of Cancer. Here’s the abstract:
Meat intake has been positively associated with risk of digestive tract cancers in several epidemiological studies, while data on the relation of meat intake with cancer risk at most other sites are inconsistent. The overall data set, derived from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1996, included the following incident, histologically confirmed neoplasms: oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus (n = 497), stomach (n = 745), colon (n = 828), rectum (n = 498), liver (n = 428), gallbladder (n = 60), pancreas (n = 362), larynx (n = 242), breast (n = 3,412), endometrium (n = 750), ovary (n = 971), prostate (n = 127), bladder (n = 431), kidney (n = 190), thyroid (n = 208), Hodgkin's disease (n = 80), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (n = 200) and multiple myelomas (n = 120). Controls were 7,990 patients admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications in diet. The multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest tertile of red meat intake (7 times/week) compared with the lowest (3 times/week) were 1.6 for stomach, 1.9 for colon, 1.7 for rectal, 1.6 for pancreatic, 1.6 for bladder, 1.2 for breast, 1.5 for endometrial and 1.3 for ovarian cancer. ORs showed no significant heterogeneity across strata of age at diagnosis and sex. No convincing relation with red meat intake emerged for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, liver, gallbladder, larynx, kidney, thyroid, prostate, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myeloma. For none of the neoplasms considered was there a significant inverse relationship with red meat intake. Thus, reducing red meat intake might lower the risk for several common neoplasms.
Ultimately it’s your call, but I think the evidence is clear, eat more veggies and less meat. So, when you read headlines like this, you got to dig deeper and THEN see if you believe it.
Continue Reading...

Puberty before the Age of Ten

Hard to believe? No. It’s reality. Sandy Maple of ParentDish shares her feelings on premature puberty in her own family. Take a look:
I know several women, including my daughter Christy, who hit puberty before the age of ten. Breast development is considered the first sign of the onset of puberty, but lord knows it isn't the only one…


…One new study claims that environmental toxins may be to blame. The mycoestrogen zearalenone (ZEA), which has properties similar to estrogen, can be found naturally in the environment but is also structurally similar to anabolic growth agents used in animal breeding…

…Clearly, the true cause of this phenomenon is yet to be discovered and it very well may be a combination of many factors. But as a parent of a young girl, the trend concerns me.
Certainly a dicey topic, but one we’ve talked about before. Here’s a refresher from last month’s post, Girls and Puberty, Sooner and Sooner:
Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse…


…Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification1...

…Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve2…

…Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.3
Now, I scanned this out of Disease-Proof Your Child—and yes, I did a bad job—but, it should help put things into perspective. Check it out:


Hopefully this influences parents like Sandy to ratchet up their kids’ diet.
Continue Reading...

Girls and Puberty, Sooner and Sooner

It’s hard to fathom that an eight-year-old girl might be developing sexually, shouldn’t they be playing with toy ponies and think boys are icky—which we are—but apparently more and more young girls are starting puberty early. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:
Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse. How early are our children developing today? At age eight, almost half black girls and 15 percent of white girls start developing breasts or pubic hair. At age nine, those numbers change to 77 percent of black girls and a third of white girls.1
This is an uncomfortable topic—even for a bull the china cabinet like me—but this is a serious matter and one that the medical community might be taking too lightly. Susan Brink of The Los Angeles Times investigates in Girl, You'll be a Woman Sooner Than Expected. Here’s an excerpt:
What's clear is that physical appearance is getting ahead of other aspects of girls' maturity. They might be perceived as far older than they are, even when they're still rummaging through their mothers' closets to clomp around in oversized high heels.


"My daughter started developing breasts maybe around age 8," says Rhonda Sykes of Inglewood. "She was still into her doll phase and dressing up to play." So Sykes began having frank mother-daughter conversations about curves and changing bodies a bit earlier than she expected.

"Whatever they look like, they know nothing," says Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families. "Eight- and 9-year olds are learning to make change for a dollar. These are children who are learning the most fundamental facts in school. Imagine trying to teach that child the fundamentals of sex. They're not even playing Monopoly yet. They're still playing Candyland."

The medical community calls earlier puberty normal, the trend goes hand in hand with the obesity epidemic, and science has not yet pinpointed the reasons. And yet, when girls who are still children in the minds of their parents start developing breasts, many of their mothers remember that it happened later in their own lives -- and wonder why.
Brinks' report sites diet as a potential contributor to the problem of early puberty. She’s smart to do so. According to Dr. Fuhrman the standard American diet—which is responsible for all the obesity—is a major culprit. He explains:
Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification.2 Clearly, changing the diet of our children after the age of eight is not futile.
This graph might make things a little clearer for you. I scanned it—horribly—out of Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. It compares sex hormone levels in individuals eating a Western diet and those consuming a more vegetable-based Asian diet. Take a look:


The concern with all these sex hormones centers on lifetime cancer risk. Dr. Fuhrman explains why, check it out:
Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve.3
Also, studies have revealed the effects of different varieties of foods on puberty and cancer risk. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.4
As far as DiseaseProof goes, this is a common conclusion. The advantages of a vegetable-based nutritarian diet are profound. Dr. Fuhrman is stresses this in his new Food Scoring Guide. Here’s a quote:
Increasing your consumption of high-nutrient fruits and vegetables is the key to disease resistance, disease reversal, and a long, healthy life. The potential reduction in disease rates shows no threshold effect in the scientific studies. That means that as high-nutrient vegetables and high-nutrient fruits increase as a major portion of caloric intake, disease rates fall in a dose-dependent manner—the more the diet is comprised of these foods, the better your health will be.5
Granted, the problem is serious and apparently growing, but the good news is there is a solution, maybe the real problem is getting everyone on board.
Continue Reading...

Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer Risk

According to new research, hormone replacement therapy can raise the risk of an uncommon type of breast cancer. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
They found women who took combined estrogen/progestin hormone-replacement therapy for three years or more had four times the usual risk of lobular breast cancer.


Their study, published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is one of dozens trying to paint a clearer picture of what dangers might come from taking HRT to treat menopause symptoms.

"Previous research indicated that five or more years of combined hormone-therapy use was necessary to increase overall breast-cancer risk," Dr. Christopher Li of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who led the study, said in a statement.

Meat, a Bad Idea for Breast Cancer

No one wants cancer. In Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains that the best way to prevent cancer is adopting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Take a look at this:
Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.
Conversely, eating lots of animal products and meat has the opposite effect. Need proof? Check out this study in the International Journal of Cancer. Here’s the abstract:
Meat intake has been positively associated with risk of digestive tract cancers in several epidemiological studies, while data on the relation of meat intake with cancer risk at most other sites are inconsistent. The overall data set, derived from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1996, included the following incident, histologically confirmed neoplasms: oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus (n = 497), stomach (n = 745), colon (n = 828), rectum (n = 498), liver (n = 428), gallbladder (n = 60), pancreas (n = 362), larynx (n = 242), breast (n = 3,412), endometrium (n = 750), ovary (n = 971), prostate (n = 127), bladder (n = 431), kidney (n = 190), thyroid (n = 208), Hodgkin's disease (n = 80), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (n = 200) and multiple myelomas (n = 120). Controls were 7,990 patients admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications in diet. The multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest tertile of red meat intake (7 times/week) compared with the lowest (3 times/week) were 1.6 for stomach, 1.9 for colon, 1.7 for rectal, 1.6 for pancreatic, 1.6 for bladder, 1.2 for breast, 1.5 for endometrial and 1.3 for ovarian cancer. ORs showed no significant heterogeneity across strata of age at diagnosis and sex. No convincing relation with red meat intake emerged for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, liver, gallbladder, larynx, kidney, thyroid, prostate, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myeloma. For none of the neoplasms considered was there a significant inverse relationship with red meat intake. Thus, reducing red meat intake might lower the risk for several common neoplasms.
You just can’t be solid concrete research. Want more? Get load of this study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. The PCRM sent it over:
A substudy of the Diet, Cancer and Health study, a prospective cohort study established to evaluate the role of diet and cancer among 24,697 postmenopausal Danish women, was set up to evaluate the relationship between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer. This nested study looked at 378 women who developed breast cancer and matched them to controls who did not develop breast cancer. A higher intake of meat (red meat, poultry, fish, and processed meat) was associated with a significantly higher breast cancer incidence rate. Every 25 gram increase in consumption of total meat, red meat, and processed meat led to a 9, 15, and 23 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, respectively. However, the degree of risk may depend on genetics. Certain genes activate the carcinogens (heterocyclic amines) found in cooked meat. The study showed women with genes that rapidly activate these carcinogens are at particular risk of breast cancer if they eat meat.
Now, for more ways to prevent breast cancer, Dr. Fuhrman whipped up this list of ways women can protect themselves. Have a look:
1. Do not drink alcohol.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Do not take estrogen.
4. Have babies and nurse them for two years each.
5. Avoid dietary carcinogens, which are predominantly found in fatty fish and dairy fat.
6. Eat a high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet as described in my book, Eat To Live. Green vegetables are the most powerful anti-breast cancer food. Take note that a vegetarian diet does not show protection against breast cancer as much as a diet rich in green vegetables, berries, and seeds. It is the phytochemical nutrient density and diversity of the diet that offers the most dramatic protection against cancer, not merely the avoidance of meat or fat.
7. Take a multivitamin to assure nutritional completeness and take at least 100mg of DHA daily.
8. Use one tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily.
9. Don’t grill or fry foods. Steaming vegetables or making vegetable soups should be the major extent of cooking.
10. Exercise at least three hours a week, and maintain a lean body with little body fat.
I’m no doctor, but, I bet these tips would help against all cancers. What do you think?

Mammogram Misses

Mammograms are practically the poster-child for breast cancer, but, Dr. Fuhrman contends they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. He talks about it here:
The American Cancer Society, The American College of Radiology, and the National Cancer Institute still support the discredited notion that mammograms “prevent” breast cancer. Mammograms are entrenched in the practice of conventional medicine. The politics and economics within the world of medical policy-making govern the messages that are disseminated to the public. The fact is—at best—mammograms detect, they do not prevent. To use the word prevent in the same sentence as mammograms is a tremendous distortion of reality. The only proven approach to prevention of breast cancer is the adoption of lifestyle modifications that help stop cells from becoming cancerous in the first place.
And now this, it seems that even top doctors are missing the signs of breast cancer on mammograms. Kyung M. Song of The Seattle Times reports:
Researchers examined nearly 36,000 mammograms read by 123 radiologists and found that a woman's odds of getting accurate results vary widely depending on who is doing the reading. The worst radiologists missed nearly 40 percent of the tumors and misidentified 8.3 percent of their patients as having nonexistent cancers.


The top performers tended to be doctors at academic medical centers and those who specialized in breast imaging. But even then, the cancer went undetected in one of five women who turned out to have cancer, while 2.6 percent had false-positive results…

…"Mammography is not perfect. But it's still the best thing at detecting breast cancer," said Diana Miglioretti, an associate investigator at the Group Health Center for Health Studies and the study's lead author.

Traditional mammograms, taken with low-dose X-rays, are notoriously difficult to read. Benign and malignant lesions can look alike. A speck of tumor can be hard to discern from the surrounding breast tissue. Accurate readings rest largely on a radiologist's skill.
Again, Dr. Fuhrman is not thrilled about mammograms. In fact, he believes all the hubbub about mammograms is largely based on fear. He explains:
More than a decade ago, the American Cancer Society recommended that women get a baseline mammogram at age thirty-five, followed by annual screenings beginning at age forty. The campaign to position mammograms as the key weapon in the fight against breast cancer was initiated by the American Cancer Society, with a number of medical groups joining the fray. Instilling fear about breast cancer was a campaign strategy. To achieve this, the American Cancer Society used greatly exaggerated numbers and faulty math to overstate breast cancer risk. They admitted they did this—and continue to do it—to promote mammograms.1 They still trumpet the claim that women face a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetimes.
He’ll also tell you that the idea of “early detection” is essentially a myth, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s more from Dr. Fuhrman:
Mammograms never detect “early” breast cancer. By the time a cancer is visible to the human eye on a mammogram, it is already teeming with over a hundred billion cancer cells—which have been there for at least eight years—and it already has had ample time to spread to other parts of the body. In the majority of cases, the cancer has spread outside the breast, but the small groups of cells that have traveled to other parts of the body may be undetectable for years.
Now, to make matters worse, according to Dr. Fuhrman, mammograms might actually CAUSE breast cancer. Here’s a quote:
Unfortunately, mammography can be the cause of a woman’s breast cancer. When calculating its supposed benefits, we need to include in the equation the percentage of women whose breast cancer was promoted by the radiation exposure from the mammograms themselves. The younger you are when the mammograms are performed, the greater the risk of radiation-induced cancer.2,3 According to Michael Swift, M.D., chief of medical genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, between 5,000 and 10,000 of the 180,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year could be prevented if women’s breasts were not exposed to radiation from mammograms. Over a million American women carry the gene for ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), which makes them unusually sensitive to the ionizing radiation in X rays and five times more likely to develop breast cancer.4
Personally, if I had boobies, I’d think twice about getting them squished—EEK!
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Booming China, Booming Disease

Here’s some not-so good news from China. First from the AFP, the Western influence on Chinese diet is causing a spike in breast cancer cases. More from the report:
Increasing numbers of Chinese urban women are suffering from breast cancer due to unhealthy diets and a spike in work stress in the rapidly modernising country, state media said Tuesday.


Breast cancer is up 31 percent in the financial hub of Shanghai over the past decade, and 23 percent in the capital, Beijing, according to data from the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention cited by the China Daily.

"Unhealthy lifestyles are mostly to blame for the growing numbers," the paper quoted Qiao Youlin, a cancer researcher at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, as saying.
And now, it seems increased pollution is causing a lot more birth defects in China. Here’s another report from the AFP. Check it out:
The rate of defects appeared to increase near the country's countless coal mines, which produce the bulk of China's energy but are also responsible for serious air and water pollution, the China Daily newspaper said, quoting government officials.


Birth defects nationwide have increased from 104.9 per 10,000 births in 2001 to 145.5 last year, it said, citing a report by the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

They affect about one million of the 20 million babies born every year, with about 300,000 babies suffering from "visible deformities."
My hope is China learns from the mistakes of other heavily industrialized nations…like us!

Women's Health: The Good, The Bad

Okay, let’s start with the good. A new study shows exercise has nice benefits on women’s hearts. More from the prolific Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Researchers assessed cardiovascular risk factors and exercise levels in more than 27,000 women, ages 45-90 (average age 55) enrolled in the Women's Health Study who were followed for more than 11 years for new diagnosis of heart attack and stroke.


Women who exercised the most were 40 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who did the least amount of exercise.

"Regular physical activity is enormously beneficial in preventing heart attack and stroke," lead author Dr. Samia Mora, instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in the divisions of preventive and cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a prepared statement.
Sadly, there are two sides to every coin, onto the bad news. Another studied has determined that weight-gain increases breast cancer risk. This time Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
Women who gain weight any time after the age of 18 are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who maintain a stable weight, a new study suggests.


In other words, when it comes to breast cancer, there's no good time to gain weight as an adult.

"We found that weight gain throughout adulthood as well as weight gain at specific stages of life were associated with risk of breast cancer, compared with maintaining a stable weight," said study lead author Jiyoung Ahn, a fellow with the nutritional epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute's division of cancer epidemiology and genetics. "Specific stages include during early reproductive years, late reproductive years, and perimenopausal and postmenopausal years."
Well, if all this doesn’t convince you. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on obesity and exercise:
After carefully examining the twenty-five major studies available on the subject, I have found that the evidence indicates that optimal weight, as determined by who lives the longest, occurs at weights at least 10 percent below the average body-weight tables. Most weight guideline charts still place the public at risk by reinforcing an unhealthy overweight standard. By my calculations, it is not merely 75 percent of Americans that are overweight, it is more like 85 percent…


… Exercise is important for healthy psychological function and to maintain significant muscle and bone mass as we age. It has been shown to improve mental function; to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; and to improve sleep patterns, aiding healthful cycles of deep sleep.

Health Points: Tuesday

The program, which targets childhood obesity, is in more than 100 New York City schools plus 20 schools in other states and 20 in Cape Town, South Africa, where a non-governmental organization became interested.

The children earn prizes like medals and certificates each time they notch 26 miles — a marathon — and they can track their progress on personal Web pages.

The running club is best known for putting on the New York City Marathon, which draws world-class runners and hobbyists alike on the annual race through the five boroughs. But foundation Executive Director Cliff Sperber said the purpose of the Mighty Milers isn't to raise a new generation of marathoners
Spurred by the growing crisis in child obesity, the nation’s schools have made “considerable improvements” in nutrition, fitness and health over the last six years, according to a new government survey that found that more schools require physical education and fewer sell French fries.


The survey, which is conducted every six years, shows that more schools than six years ago offer salads and vegetables and that fewer permit bake sales. More states and school districts insist that elementary schools schedule recess and that physical education teachers have at least undergraduate training. More states have enacted policies to prohibit smoking at school and to require courses on pregnancy prevention.

Perhaps most striking, 30 percent of school districts have banned junk food from school vending machines, up from 4 percent in 2000. Schools offering fried potatoes in their cafeterias declined, to 19 percent from 40 percent.
The November 29 meeting will consider a request from the Center for Science in the Public Interest to limit salt in processed food and to require additional health information on food labels about salt and sodium content of foods, among other changes.


In 2005, the group petitioned the FDA to reclassify salt as a food additive, rather than its longtime designation as a food "generally recognized as safe."

It has cited the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure. Cutting salt intake can reduce changes of developing and curtail the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
"Calcium deficiency, due either to low calcium in the diet or to vitamin D deficiency, is very common in older women, who are also the population at highest risk of breast cancer and breast cancer bone metastases," lead researcher Dr. Colin R. Dunstan pointed out to Reuters Health. Metastasis occurs as cancer progresses and the cells spread from the primary site to attack other areas of the body.


Dunstan of the ANZAC Research Institute in Concord and colleagues conducted dietary studies in a mouse model of breast cancer growth in bone. The results are published in the journal Cancer Research.

The researchers found that after breast cancer tumor was implanted into the animals, the mice that were feed a diet containing only 0.1 percent calcium showed signs of high bone turnover compared with the animals feed a diet with a normal 0.6-percent calcium content.
It's Halloween and you're watching your fat intake. However, you aren't willing to completely sacrifice the chocolately goodness of the holiday. Which of the following is the lowest fat treat to sneak from the kids loot pile?
  • Butterfinger bar
  • Milky Way bar
  • plain M & M's
  • Snickers Bar
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • Kit Kat bar
If you live in an area where shopping for organic food poses a challenge, don't throw in the all-natural kitchen towel! Many Americans in similar circumstances have found the perfect solution: community supported agriculture, or "CSA." First popular in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s, the CSA movement has -- pardon the pun -- taken root with a vengeance in the United States, where it is sometimes referred to as "subscription farming."


How, exactly, does a CSA work?

By definition, CSAs are composed of "a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The spraying is aimed at the light brown apple moth, an invasive species from Australia that has infested 12 California counties stretching from north of San Francisco to Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fears that if the moth, which consumes 250 varieties of plants, crosses into the San Joaquin Valley, the infestation could cause up to $2.6 billion in losses.


Hundreds of residents reported feeling short of breath and sharp stomach pains after spraying began. Environmentalists quickly sued, claiming the state never prepared an environmental impact report to ensure the airborne chemical droplets were safe for residents and aquatic life.

In lifting the ban, O'Farrell found the agriculture department's health-monitoring plan adequate to address concerns of residents. The government monitoring program will "accept and investigate" medical complaints after the pesticide is sprayed, the judge wrote.
British researchers found that among more than 10,000 adults who were followed for five years, women who routinely slept for six hours or less were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to develop high blood pressure.


Compared with women who said they typically got seven hours of sleep a night, those who logged in six hours were 42 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, while those who routinely slept no more than five hours had a 31 percent higher risk.

There was, however, no clear relationship between amount of sleep and blood pressure among men, the study authors report in the journal Hypertension.

Health Points: Tuesday

J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.
Scientists reported progress yesterday toward one of medicine’s long-sought goals: the development of a blood test that can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, and even do so years before truly debilitating memory loss.


A team of scientists, based mainly at Stanford University, developed a test that was about 90 percent accurate in distinguishing the blood of people with Alzheimer’s from the blood of those without the disease. The test was about 80 percent accurate in predicting which patients with mild memory loss would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease two to six years later.
A diverse group of low-income women participated in the study, Dr. Alyson B. Moadel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, noted in an interview with Reuters Health. "Our patients really enjoyed the yoga classes, it was very well received by them," she said. "It really fit in with their own cultural interests."


There is mounting evidence that yoga can improve quality of life in both healthy and chronically ill people, Moadel and her team point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, while quality of life may be particularly affected for cancer survivors who belong to ethnic minorities and other underserved minority populations.
The ban on phthalate makes California the first U.S. state to impose severe limits on a chemical that is widely used in baby bottles, soft baby books, teething rings, plastic bath ducks and other toys, said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, the bill's author.


"I think parents will be comforted that when they buy one of these chewy products it will be safe," Ma told The Associated Press on Sunday after the bill was signed into law.
New suspected cases of foot and mouth disease in sheep have been reported in Britain, the environment ministry said on Monday, in another county from the confirmed cases in this year's outbreak.


A three-kilometre (1.8-mile) temporary control zone has been imposed around premises close to the town of Rye, near the southern English coast, after sheep showed possible symptoms of the disease. Tests were being carried out.
Good news for us early birds who grit their teeth to get through the afternoon because our evolutionary bio-rhythms are at their lowest ebb.


Research by Liverpool’s John Moores University has shown that the mere thought of an afternoon siesta can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. The length of the nap is irrelevant as it is in the minutes just before we drop off when the beneficial changes to our body take place.
President Hu Jintao said Monday China would step up efforts to improve food safety and prevent the spread of animal diseases, in a speech opening the Communist Party's five-yearly Congress.


"We will intensify efforts to prevent animal and plant epidemic diseases and improve the quality and safety of agricultural products," Hu said.

Later in the speech, he said: "We must ensure food and drug safety."
A turning point came in 2002, scientists conclude Monday in the annual "Report to the Nation" on cancer. Between 2002 and 2004, death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year.


That may not sound like much, but between 1993 and 2001, deaths rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year.

The big change was a two-pronged gain against colorectal cancer.

Friday: Health Points

In just under 2 percent of these patients, the mild knee arthritis was accompanied by non-small cell lung cancer. All patients were middle-aged men who had been heavy smokers for most of their lives. Once the cancer tissue was surgically removed, the knee pain cleared up as well.

About 85 percent of all lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Unless it is caught early, non-small cell lung cancer is difficult to treat. It spreads to the bones in one in five cases and is well advanced by the time it is diagnosed in half of all cases.
Mmm mmm, this is about as easy a freebie you'll ever see and I encourage you to take advantage of it before 11:59pm on September 29, 2007. But don't wait until the last minute because only one million of these coupons will be distributed and then they are gone…


…Easy peasy and it's FREE FOOD! If you ask for the chicken to be chargrilled without the bun, then they'll give you plenty of greens to wrap it in. And the Diet Coke can be replaced with unsweetened tea if you'd like that better.
After the salmonella strain, Salmonella Schwarzengrund, was detected in two dogs in the homes of two of the ill persons, and in unopened bags of dog food produced by Mars Petcare in the Everson plant in Fayette County, the company voluntarily recalled two brands Aug. 21. The plant was closed last week for inspection and cleaning. Officials from the company could not be reached to update the plant's status.


Further investigation of the outbreak is a collaboration between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials in the affected states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The break in the case -- tracing human sickness to dog food -- was made by Pennsylvania investigators, led by Dr. Stephen Ostroff, director of the bureau of epidemiology at the state Health Department.
San Francisco's Mayor Newsom, is supporting better nutrition options at schools with a $500,000 grant to the SFUSD Student Nutrition Services (SNS). What will be done with the money? SNS is planning to install salad bars at 25 SF schools this year, including three schools with Urban Sprouts gardens: June Jordan School for Equity, Excelsior Middle School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.
Researchers for the first time used the National Cancer Data Base, a tumor registry maintained by the American College of Surgeons, to explore these issues, using more than 170,000 cases diagnosed in 1998. Ten percent were in black women.

The study focused on the 95,500 women whose cancers were invasive rather than still confined to a milk duct. About 39 percent of such tumors in black women were estrogen receptor-negative, or ER-negative, compared with 22 percent of those in white women.

Estrogen helps tumors grow. Drugs that block this hormone, like tamoxifen and a newer class of medications called aromatase inhibitors, work against these cancers.
This characterization of the 1918 pandemic virus (serotype H1N1) as "swine flu" came back to haunt us in 1976, when H1N1 caused the death of a solider at Fort Dix, New Jersey and triggered a mass vaccination campaign here in the U.S. (with its subsequent fallout). Since then, sporadic human cases of swine influenza have been reported, either clincally (such as this one in Iowa earlier this year, or subclinically, as described in this research. Now in Ohio, they're looking to see whether swine flu has again jumped into humans. More after the jump.
After analyzing a year’s worth of sales data, Hannaford found that customers tended to buy leaner cuts of meat. Sales of ground beef with stars on their labels increased 7 percent, and sales of chicken that had a star rating rose 5 percent. Sales of ground beef labeled with no stars dropped by 5 percent, while sales of chicken that had a zero-star rating declined 3 percent.


Similarly, sales of whole milk, which received no stars, declined by 4 percent, while sales of fat-free milk (three stars) increased 1 percent.

Sales of fruits and vegetables, however, remained about the same as they did before the ratings were introduced. All fresh produce received stars.
The frequency of hot flashes among the women decreased 50 percent over six weeks. Flaxseed contains lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans have weak estrogen characteristics. Dr. Pruthi cautions that this was a pilot study and further study in a large, randomized placebo-controlled study may not turn out such results.
  • Not sure what to say about this one, but, get a load—a big load—of China’s newest pop-stars. Brace yourself. Maureen Fan of The Washington Post reports:
On stage, however, the four members of a singing group known as Qian Jin Zu He are strong and confident, belting out their signature rap song, "So What If I'm Fat," passing out photographs of themselves and signing autographs.


The lead singer, 26-year-old Xiao Yang, is 375 pounds; the others in the group are between about 200 and 300 pounds. Together, they tour the country, performing at nightclubs, paint factories, garment industry conventions and shopping malls.

Their success has been modest, but given the powerful discrimination against the obese in China, Xiao said her discovery by a talent agent has been "like a tree branch saving me in the water."

Acrylamides Not So Bad?

We all know acrylamides are bad news, but just in case you need a refresher course. Check this out from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Acrylamide turns up in all kinds of tasty foods, including french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers. But it's difficult for consumers to figure out how much acrylamide is in a particular meal or snack…


…Not only do processed foods and fast foods often contain dangerous trans fats and other additives, but they also can have high levels of acrylamides. When processed foods are baked and fried at high temperatures, these cancer-causing chemical compounds are produced. Many processed foods, such as chips, french fries, and sugar-coated breakfast cereals, are rich in acrylamides. Acrylamides also form in foods you bake until brown or fry at home; they do not form in foods that are steamed or boiled…

… Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard it. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil. Experiment with low heat cooking to prevent nutritional damage to the food and the formation of dangerous heat-generated compounds.
So when you consider this, it makes a headline like this one seem pretty outrageous; Studies Dispute Acrylamide-Cancer Link. WebMD reports:
New research involving 100,000 women found no evidence of a link between consumption of acrylamide, a chemical found in french fries and other foods, and breast cancer…


…Acrylamide is produced naturally when foods including starchy foods are exposed to high heat during cooking. The chemical is commonly found in processed potato products such as french fries, breads, and cereals. It is also present in coffee and cigarette smoke. In the U.S., 30% of calories consumed contain acrylamide, according to the researchers…

…But while acrylamide is known to promote cancer at very high doses in rats and mice, none of the human studies reported to date have shown dietary levels of the chemical to be cancer causing, epidemiologist Lorelei Mucci, ScD tells WebMD.
Whenever I’m confronted with research that makes me say, “What the—.” I run it by Dr. Fuhrman. And here’s what he had to say:
My thoughts are that junk food does cause cancer, but these studies will always show nothing because once you smoke 10 cigs a day, your risk does not increase significantly more if you smoke 40. But the main reason is that breast cancer is a disease caused by what we ate in our childhood.
On that note, here’s some info on breast cancer from Disease-Proof Your Child:
Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.1 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.2
For more on acrylamides, see Acrylamides are Bad News.
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Wednesday: Health Points

"It's clear in all the literature that the more days of school you miss, it really sets you up for such negative outcomes: drugs and AIDS and (teen) pregnancy," said Andrew B. Geier, lead author of the study. "At this early age to show that already they're missing school, and missing school is such a major setup for big-time problems, that's something school policy people have to know," he said.
I hate it when I fit the mold for some not-so-great research finding. Like the recent news about how women with early-stage cancer of the left breast (that's me) who are treated with radiation following lumpectomy (me again) face an increased risk of developing radiation-related coronary damage.
The new recall involves 18.2 million magnetic toys globally, including 9.5 million in the United States. All have magnets or magnetic parts that can be dislodged.
Vegetarians and fish eaters are getting a 6% discount on life insurance premiums by Animal Friends Insurance. The company's managing director told The Guardian that "The risk of vegetarians suffering from some cancers is reduced by up to 40% and from heart disease by up to 30%, but despite this they have to pay the same life insurance premiums as meat eaters.
People who smoke are about four times more likely to develop a leading cause of severe vision loss known as age-related macular degeneration, Australian researchers reported on Monday.
Hey, don't work so hard! Researchers recently found that moderate exercise, like 30 minutes of daily walking, may actually be better than rigorous exercise in preventing heart disease and diabetes. Lead author lead author and exercise physiologist Cris Slentz said the studies "show that a modest amount of moderately intense exercise is the best way to significantly lower the level of a key blood marker linked to higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. More intense exercise doesn't seem to do that."

Powerful Flax

The Cancer Blog knows flaxseed is one heck of a super food. Take a look:
Flax, also known as Common Flax or Linseed, is an annual plant that grows to 120 cm tall, with slender stems. Native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India, its leaves are green, its flowers blue, its fruit round and containing glossy brown seeds. Grown for both its seeds and its fibers, parts of this plant are used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, and soap. The seeds, like what sit in my refrigerator, come in two forms -- brown and yellow or golden. The yellow, golden variety is the one most often consumed.


Consumption of flax seed is good for several reasons, thanks to lignans that power it with nutrition. It contains beneficial levels of omega-3 fatty acids, promotes heart health, lessons the severity of diabetes, and has anti-cancer properties. A series of research studies at the University of Toronto have shown that flaxseed can reduce tumor growth in mice, particularly the tumors found in human post-menopausal breast cancer.
Dr. Fuhrman’s down with flax too. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Flax seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Use ground flax seed in oatmeal, or add them to whipped frozen bananas, stewed apples, and cinnamon and nut balls. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.

War Against Cancer, Serve Beef?

Sounds pretty silly—right? Especially since the consumption of red meat is directly linked to the development of cancer. Now I don’t take my word for it. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman points to this study (one of many studies referenced in the book) that illustrates the red meat-cancer connection. Here’s the abstract:
Meat intake has been positively associated with risk of digestive tract cancers in several epidemiological studies, while data on the relation of meat intake with cancer risk at most other sites are inconsistent. The overall data set, derived from an integrated series of case-control studies conducted in northern Italy between 1983 and 1996, included the following incident, histologically confirmed neoplasms: oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus (n = 497), stomach (n = 745), colon (n = 828), rectum (n = 498), liver (n = 428), gallbladder (n = 60), pancreas (n = 362), larynx (n = 242), breast (n = 3,412), endometrium (n = 750), ovary (n = 971), prostate (n = 127), bladder (n = 431), kidney (n = 190), thyroid (n = 208), Hodgkin's disease (n = 80), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (n = 200) and multiple myelomas (n = 120). Controls were 7,990 patients admitted to hospital for acute, non-neoplastic conditions unrelated to long-term modifications in diet. The multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for the highest tertile of red meat intake (7 times/week) compared with the lowest (3 times/week) were 1.6 for stomach, 1.9 for colon, 1.7 for rectal, 1.6 for pancreatic, 1.6 for bladder, 1.2 for breast, 1.5 for endometrial and 1.3 for ovarian cancer. ORs showed no significant heterogeneity across strata of age at diagnosis and sex. No convincing relation with red meat intake emerged for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus, liver, gallbladder, larynx, kidney, thyroid, prostate, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and multiple myeloma. For none of the neoplasms considered was there a significant inverse relationship with red meat intake. Thus, reducing red meat intake might lower the risk for several common neoplasms. Int. J. Cancer 86:425-428, 2000
Apparently the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation didn’t get the memo, because they seem to associate themselves with some very beefy fundraisers. Ray Kellosalmi of Globe and Mail Update reports:
In the past couple of years, a number of rodeos across Canada, most notably the Calgary Stampede, have taken part in a fundraising campaign for the CBCF called Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Supported by the Wrangler clothing company, the campaign raises money through the sale of pink Wrangler shirts and other pink-themed merchandise, a percentage of which goes to the CBCF.


Everyone seems to benefit. Wrangler's brand is promoted and the CBCF gets money for cancer research. And the rodeo can associate itself with a worthy cause — quite handy to blunt criticism over its controversial treatment of animals (although one anti-rodeo activist recently told a Calgary newspaper that it was like putting pink icing on a cow pat).

But, while the CBCF joins the cowboys, cattle producers and meat companies at rodeo barbecues across the country, shouldn't it consider the health implications of the product it is indirectly helping to promote? In 2007 alone, several pieces of research have made connections between meat consumption and breast cancer.

(via The Cancer Blog)
I don’t find this all that surprising because after all, can’t you just hear the low-carbers saying, “No! But, uh, beef taste good. Me chew beef. Duh!" Oh! Check this out. If you're a guy, beef is especially worrisome: Beef Bad for the Boys.
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Junk Science: Fruits and Veggies Not Good For Cancer

Yup, can you hear it in the distance? The dangerously food-addicted are rejoicing. Because according to new junk science—oops, I mean “research”—eating lots of fruits and veggies doesn’t protect against breast cancer—yawn. So, if you like a good laugh. Reuters reports:
The study tracked 3,088 U.S. women. Half followed a diet with the widely recommended five daily servings of vegetables and fruit. The other half ate a diet doubling that intake.


Those who consumed twice the vegetables and fruit in a diet also high in fiber and low in fat were no less likely to avoid a recurrence of breast cancer or death than the women who followed the five-a-day diet.

The women, all of whom had been treated successfully for early-stage breast cancer, participated in the study from 1995 to 2000 at seven places in California, Texas, Arizona and Oregon. They were followed for between six and 11 years…

…The researchers emphasized nutrient-dense vegetables like dark, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and carrots, and did not count vegetables such as iceberg lettuce and white potatoes.

The researchers said the study did not look at whether eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit and fiber and low in fat earlier in life would reduce the risk of ever getting breast cancer.
Oops! Sorry, I almost nodded off. Reports like this are boring—but typical! One day fruit is good, next day it’s bad. Then veggies are up, and then their down. It’s like a rollercoaster of junk science and all it does is confuse people—want the truth? Dr. Fuhrman offers it up in Eat to Live:
There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.


Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.

It may never be possible to extract the precise symphony of nutrients found in vegetation and place it in a pill. Isolated nutrients extracted from food may never offer the same level of disease-protective effects of whole natural foods, as nature “designed” them. Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients, which work in subtle synergies, and many of these nutrients cannot be isolated or extracted. Phytochemicals from a variety of plant foods work together to become much more potent at detoxifying carcinogens and protecting against cancer than when taken individually as isolated compounds.
I’m with Dr. Fuhrman on this one. Plant foods are nutritional heavy weights—take green vegetables for example. But, since this report is buzzing around the newswires and thumping the bloglines, I figured I’d ask Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts. And here’s what he had to say:
This reminds me of something that happens with some of my new patients.


The patient comes back to see me after six weeks of supposedly following the diet I prescribed and not only hadn't they lost weight, but they had gained.

I said are you sure you are eating the exact diet I told you to follow? And the following ensues:
Patient: "Of course, I ate all that stuff!"


Me: "And nothing else?"

Patient: "You mean I was not supposed to eat my old diet too?"
These people actually gained weight and ate more fat as the study progressed. And the people who have actually read my materials know three critical facts:
1. A high cruciferous diet, with lots of raw greens is the only effective nutritional intervention for women who already have breast cancer.


2. The natural history of breast cancer which is caused by early life standard American diet cannot be changed by moderate changes, later in life.

3. A healthy diet has a high nutrient-per-calorie density, which means that empty calories and extra body weight has a significant negative impact on your health, even if you consume healthy foods along with it.
But hey! Maybe you need more convincing? Now, I’m no doctor, but here’s my professional advice. Get yourself some nice ripe pieces of fruit or some crisp veggies—right now I’m munching on some cantaloupe—kick back, and check out these posts for more information on how plant foods help protect us from all diseases, not just cancer. Enjoy:
Now don’t be shy. This is only a quick list of posts. Be sure to check out DiseaseProof’s categories. There you’ll find a lot more content—I know, I wrote most of them—the Cancer, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease categories are particularly good. Oh, and if you want to know just how much fruits and veggies you should be eating, take a look at this:



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Kick Breast Cancer the Veggie Way

Next time you hear someone say something like this, “Who the hell cares about the veggies anyway? You don't need them and there is absolutely nothing essential about them.” Show them this post fro m The Cancer Blog, Plant-Based Diets Key in breast Cancer Survival? Here's a bit:
A senior nutritionist with The Cancer Project even stated that "Women coping with breast cancer deserve to know that plant-based diets and regular exercise can spell the difference between life and death." If that's not a stark reminder of the importance of a plant-based diet for breast cancer patients, I am not sure what is.
When you talk nutrition with Dr. Fuhrman, one of the first things he brings up is cancer-prevention. He insists that if you want to avoid many of our nation’s chronic maladies? A vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet is the answer. Need proof? Here’s some stuff about veggies and cancer-prevention. From Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer:
Cruciferous Vegetables
While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds-- especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.


These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer.4
As far as nutrient density goes, green vegetables are heavy-hitters. Check out the Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables.

(Oh, and the insane veggie-hating quote was from this post, Will America Ever Eat Better? Continue Reading...

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!

Cancer: Humans Need Plant Matter

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.

Humans are genetically adapted to expect a high intake of natural and unprocessed plant-derived substances. Cancer is a disease of maladaptation. It results primarily from a body’s lacking critical substances found in different types of vegetation, many of which are still undiscovered, that are metabolically necessary for normal protective function. Natural foods unadulterated by man are highly complex—so complex that the exact structure and the majority of compounds they contain are not precisely known. A tomato, for example, contains more than ten thousand different phytochemicals.

It may never be possible to extract the precise symphony of nutrients found in vegetation and place it in a pill. Isolated nutrients extracted from food may never offer the same level of disease-protective effects of whole natural foods, as nature “designed” them. Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients, which work in subtle synergies, and many of these nutrients cannot be isolated or extracted. Phytochemicals from a variety of plant foods work together to become much more potent at detoxifying carcinogens and protecting against cancer than when taken individually as isolated compounds. Continue Reading...

Breastfeeding Protects Against Breast Cancer

Dr. Fuhrman is a big advocate of breastfeeding. He believes it is an essential human function. It’s also a pretty popular topic here on DiseaseProof. Here are a couple good posts on breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding makes headlines at least a couple times a month. Like this for example. ParentDish relays new research claiming that breastfeeding may prevent breast cancer. Take a look:
[Breastfeeding] helps reduce the breast cancer risk for women who wait until after 25 to have children, as previous research has found that these women are more prone to the disease. In fact, after analyzing data on a number of women aged 55 and older, doctors found that breastfeeding help ward off breast cancer regardless of what age the women started giving birth.


Seeing as the average age for starting a family is 25, and current trends indicate the majority of women are waiting until they're older to have kids, this information seems particularly relevant.
Dr. Fuhrman would agree. In Disease-Proof Your Child he echoes similar sentiments. Check it out:
Nursing helps protect against breast cancer. During lactation, the secretion of estrogens in a woman’s body falls to virtually nil, and continuing to breast-feed for a prolonged period has a significant effect on resetting her estrogen to a lower level thereafter.1 Maximum protection is achieved after breast-feeding for approximately two years, which corresponds with the baby’s immunologic development, maximizing protection against disease for the baby as well. So breast-feeding plays a role in protecting both the baby the mother from developing cancer.


The American Cancer Society reports that reports that approximately 200,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United Stats in 2002 and about 40,000 breast cancer deaths occurred.2 Despite extensive research and the establishment of breast cancer screening programs, these statistics have changed little in the past four decades. We must attack this disease at its roots and stop so much unnecessary suffering and death.
I’m not sure you can say it any better than that.
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Exercise vs. Breast Cancer Risk

Exercise never seems like a bad thing, and, unless your workout involves being chased by a pack of rabid dogs, you can always use some. Here’s more good news. According to a new study exercising for five or more hours a week can cut women’s breast cancer risk in half. Emily Brown, Bloomberg of The Boston Globe reports:
Strenuous or moderate exercise from the teens to about age 50 reduces the risk of some types of breast cancer by as much as 55 percent, according to a study published in yesterday's issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Previous studies asked women about current exercise habits and not activities over time.


"It's long-term activity that matters," Leslie Bernstein, one of the study's authors, said in an interview. "This may explain why asking women what they currently does not adequately capture physical activity relevant to breast cancer risk. It is really activity during reproductive years and into the early 50s in our study, which predicts breast cancer risk."

Animal Fat and Cancer

In preparation for this post I decided to sift through DiseaseProof’s archives for posts discussing the link between animal products and cancer. And in the end, even I was surprised by the number of them. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Meat-Disease Connection
“Red met is not the only problem. The consumption of chicken and fish is also linked to colon cancer. A large recent study examined the eating habits of 32,000 adults for six years and then watched the incidence of cancer for these subjects over the next six years. Those who avoided red meat but at white meat regularly had a more than 300 percent increase in colon cancer incidence.3 The same study showed that eating beans, peas, or lentils, at least twice a week was associated with a 50 percent lower risk than never eating these foods.”
Do Primitive Peoples Really Live Longer?
“Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.1”


Magical, Mythical Protein?
“Study after study has shown that as protein consumption goes up, so does the incidence of chronic diseases. Similar studies show that the incidence of chronic diseases also goes up when carbohydrate and fat consumption go up. This is because if the consumption of any of the macronutrients exceeds our basic requirements, the excess hurts us. Americans already get too much protein (and fat and carbohydrates), and this is reflected in soaring increases in the diseases of excess—heart disease, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and numerous others.”
Now this brings me to these graphs, which I’ve been sitting on for a while now, and honestly I don’t know why. Dr. Fuhrman sent them over months ago with this batch of graphs that illustrate the relationship between animal and plant foods and heart disease. So, without any further ado, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s graphs on animal fat and cancer:

Animal Fat vs. Cancer Above Age 55


Animal Fat vs. Female Breast Cancer


Animal Fat vs. Intestinal Cancer

And for more information on cancer and animal products, take a look at these previous posts:
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The Mammogram Debate: Cause or Cure?

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Unfortunately, mammography can be the cause of a woman’s breast cancer. When calculating its supposed benefits, we need to include in the equation the percentage of women whose breast cancer was promoted by the radiation exposure from the mammograms themselves. The younger you are when the mammograms are performed, the greater the risk of radiation-induced cancer.1,2 According to Michael Swift, M.D., chief of medical genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, between 5,000 and 10,000 of the 180,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year could be prevented if women’s breasts were not exposed to radiation from mammograms.Over a million American women carry the gene for ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), which makes them unusually sensitive to the ionizing radiation in X rays and five times more likely to develop breast cancer.3

The decision to screen for breast cancer using mammograms should not be made lightly or based solely on emotions. Intuition, hope, and compassion can lead to the conclusion that screening mammograms should save the lives of young women, and it is frustrating that science has demonstrated otherwise. Our desire to help a loved one by “doing something about it” is instinctive. When it comes to breast cancer, the question is not whether to do something or not, but rather what to do about it. It is wrong to instruct patients to depend on mammograms, knowing that they will inevitably undergo the anxiety and frustration of repeated exams, callbacks, biopsies, and unneeded surgeries for nothing but a false sense of security. As caregivers, we need to tell our loved ones and all women that there are proven steps they can take to help prevent cancer from ever developing in the first place. (See Ten Ways to Help Prevent Breast Cancer.)

All the misleading publicity devoted to mammograms undercuts the urgently needed efforts to teach women that dietary and lifestyle changes are their best weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Women are continually urged by doctors, private and government agencies, and the media to undergo mammograms. How much better it would be if the same amount of effort would be put into telling women that those who eat four to five servings of vegetables per day have a 46 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those eating only one to two servings per day, and that women who eat six fruits per day have a 35 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those eating fewer than two fruits per day.4

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:

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The Mammogram Debate: Facts vs. Vested Interests

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

The business of medicine is rarely deterred by facts. The findings of the Danish researchers did nothing to change the position of the American Cancer Society, The American College of Radiology, and the National Cancer Institute. These institutions still support the discredited notion that mammograms “prevent” breast cancer. Mammograms are entrenched in the practice of conventional medicine. The politics and economics within the world of medical policy-making govern the messages that are disseminated to the public. The fact is—at best—mammograms detect, they do not prevent. To use the word prevent in the same sentence as mammograms is a tremendous distortion of reality. The only proven approach to prevention of breast cancer is the adoption of lifestyle modifications that help stop cells from becoming cancerous in the first place.

Controversies in the medical literature rarely reach the public. In the case of mammography, doctors almost never admit to patients that the benefits from mammograms, if any, are marginal at best. This does not mean that some women will not be diagnosed with breast cancer early enough to have a curative lumpectomy. For that woman, the mammogram will have extended her life. However, for every woman whose life is extended, there are almost an equal number who would have lived longer had their breast cancer not been discovered and treated. For those women, the medical treatments will shorten, not lengthen their lives.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:


The Mammogram Debate: On the Ship of False Hope

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

On the ship of false hope Mammograms in all age groups are a very poor screening tool. About 5 percent of mammograms are abnormal or suspicious, and of these 80 to 93 percent are false positives that cause unnecessary anxiety and further procedures, including surgery. If that were not enough to question the reliability of mammograms as a diagnostic tool, consider the unfounded reassurance that results from the false negatives that occur in 10 to 15 percent of women who already have breast cancer that will manifest clinically within one year.

In the October 2001 issue of The Lancet, the Nordic Cochrane Centre of Denmark published a follow-up report on its groundbreaking 2000 analysis of the efficacy of screening mammograms in reducing breast cancer death.1 The new report confirmed the earlier findings. After reviewing the seven largest mammography-screening trials, no benefit attributable to mammograms was found for any age group. The new research focused on the ability of mammograms to reduce total mortality because, as stated by the report’s authors, this is the only “reliable” measure of benefit.2

The Danish researchers found numerous flaws in the mammography-screening trials. They found that the studies under review did not tally fatal cases that were misclassified or that were triggered by cancer treatment such as radiotherapy. For example, none of the leukemia deaths and cardiac deaths occurring as a result of chemotherapy for breast cancer and none of the increased cases of fatal lung cancer caused by radiation to the breast during diagnosis and treatment were ever considered in prior studies. Lung cancer is a known late-stage side effect to breast cancer radiation,3 and congestive heart failure is a known late side effect of the cardiac toxicity of chemotherapy.4 The Cochrane researchers found that the studies’ claims that mammograms reduce breast cancer deaths by 25 to 30 percent were invalid, since those investigators did not consider all other deaths related to breast cancer treatments.

The researchers also found that the studies that claimed to show some benefit from mammograms for women in their fifties and sixties were 1) biased in favor of screening and 2) incorrect because they only looked at breast cancer mortality, not all-cause mortality. Based on this highly respected review, The Lancet editors concluded, “There is no reliable evidence from large randomized trials to support screening mammography at any age.”

The recent reassessment of the 2000 Cochrane analysis also confirmed that breast cancer screening with mammograms creates an overuse of aggressive treatments. The authors reasoned that the mammograms detect lots of slow-growing tumors that will never progress to cancer within the patient’s lifetime and classify these as cancer. These account for the mammograms’ so-called “successes.” There are cellular changes that may be histologically cancerous but biologically benign. Carcinoma-in-situ may be treated by bilateral mastectomy even though they do not progress to invasive disease—ever. The flawed studies count these as mammogram successes, when they are not. At the same time, the cancers that are truly invasive are not really caught early enough to make a difference. The patient only appears to live longer because the disease is diagnosed earlier. As stated previously, the same percentage of women are dying at the same ages they were before the widespread use of mammograms. The inescapable conclusion drawn from these carefully performed investigations is that mammograms do not provide a survival benefit in any age group. Those who benefit are balanced out almost equally by those who are hurt.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:

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The Mammogram Debate: Multibillion Dollar Industry

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Mammograms have been positioned as the centerpiece of women’s health care, and they are the most prevalent “medicine” delivered to our female population. Women shuffle from their doctors to radiologists and back, and if their mammograms show abnormalities, they are transferred to surgeons for needle biopsies and excisional biopsies. Today’s woman goes to doctors to get yearly mammograms and breast exams with little thought given to the medical literature on these subjects and the shocking facts it reveals. Suffice to say, gynecologists whose practices revolve around giving postmenopausal women estrogen replacement therapy (a disproved and dangerous practice) and ordering mammograms will have little left to do if women become better informed about the risks associated with mammograms.

Mammograms help detect breast cancer, and they help detect it earlier than other diagnostic tools. But in the process, they cause a lot of fear and result in countless unnecessary breast biopsies. In order to uncover cancer and not give false reassurance, radiologists are forced to advise biopsies even when the findings suggest the chance of cancer is small. More than 80 percent of all breast biopsies are negative for cancer.1 In addition, these mammograms with false positive results (sent for biopsy and then found to be negative) occur most frequently in the forty to fifty age range. By the time a woman has nine mammograms between the ages of forty and forty-nine, her chance of having a false positive result that requires her to have a biopsy is 43 percent.2 Nearly half of all women getting mammograms are eventually sent for biopsies to evaluate “suspicious” findings. When a woman with risk factors (such as a family history of breast cancer) gets nine or ten mammograms between ages thirty-five and fifty, her chance of the radiologist finding something suspicious and sending her to get a biopsy that returns negative for cancer rises to 98 percent.

The problems caused by false positives and unnecessary biopsies might be acceptable if the increased use of mammograms saved women’s lives. But it does not appear from the statistics that many lives are being saved by this so-called “early detection.”

Between 1970 and 1990, as more and more women got mammograms at the urging of the medical profession and health authorities, breast cancer rates rose 24 percent. As expected, more cancers were being detected, and they were being detected “earlier.” Five- and ten-year survival rates improved, and it appeared that women were living longer with their cancers. But those figures were misleading. Sadly, the exact same percentage of women still died of breast cancer at the same age as they did prior to the widespread use of mammograms. (See chart below.) Increased use of mammography has accomplished little more than giving an increasing number of women the painful knowledge that they have breast cancer.



For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:
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The Mammogram Debate: A Campaign of Fear

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

More than a decade ago, the American Cancer Society recommended that women get a baseline mammogram at age thirty-five, followed by annual screenings beginning at age forty. The campaign to position mammograms as the key weapon in the fight against breast cancer was initiated by the American Cancer Society, with a number of medical groups joining the fray. Instilling fear about breast cancer was a campaign strategy. To achieve this, the American Cancer Society used greatly exaggerated numbers and faulty math to overstate breast cancer risk. They admitted they did this—and continue to do it—to promote mammograms.1 They still trumpet the claim that women face a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetimes.

Where does this one-in-eight figure come from? It is a cumulative probability derived from adding up all the chances a woman has of developing breast cancer between birth and age 110. Since women do not generally live that long, this figure is not based on reality. More sophisticated risk assessment gives the actual risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer before age sixty as about one in 500. Even women in their eighties do not face a one-in-eight chance of developing breast cancer. For example, at the age of seventy, the risk of developing breast cancer during the next ten years is one in twenty-three. In their zeal to help women, the American Cancer Society and other groups have created an epidemic of fear. Unfortunately, that fear has not been used to direct women to prevent breast cancer—by avoiding the causes of breast cancer. Rather, it has been used to convince women to think that using mammograms to find cancer after it already has developed is their best hope for survival.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:
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The Mammogram Debate: Myth of "Early Detection"

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Mammograms never detect “early” breast cancer. By the time a cancer is visible to the human eye on a mammogram, it is already teeming with over a hundred billion cancer cells—which have been there for at least eight years—and it already has had ample time to spread to other parts of the body. In the majority of cases, the cancer has spread outside the breast, but the small groups of cells that have traveled to other parts of the body may be undetectable for years.

Most breast cancers found on mammograms, even the ones with negative lymph nodes that appear to be localized, will later be found to have metastasized. Lumpectomy for breast cancers that are thought to be localized only stop the cancer in a minority of cases, because in most cases microscopic cancerous cells already have left the breast. Women with larger tumors or with positive lymph nodes are treated with radiation and then chemotherapy in an attempt to destroy both the localized cancer cells and those that have migrated.

Mammograms enable us to treat more patients who are found to have breast cancer, but if the treatments are not very effective, what good is it to detect it earlier? Chemotherapy for breast cancer still should be considered experimental, because the chemotherapeutic agents used have a dismal track record in producing long-term survival of more than 15 years. Chemotherapy has been shown to offer some survival benefit in young (pre-menopausal) women with breast cancer, because the cancer is more aggressive in that age range, but not a significant increase in life expectancy in older women.1,2 More aggressive cancers are more sensitive to chemotherapy.

Mammograms done in the thirty-five to fifty age range—before menopause—are even more controversial. Many respected medical authorities are clearly against mammograms in this age group. First of all, the risk of having breast cancer before age fifty is about one in a thousand. The dense breast tissue, and the high incidence of benign disease of the breast in young women, leads to decreased accuracy of mammograms. The chance of having breast cancer in this age group may be exceptionally low, but the chance of having an abnormal finding, necessitating further views, ultrasounds, and repeated tests and biopsies, is quite high.

In 1995, a meta-analysis of thirteen studies found no evidence that mammograms before age fifty saved lives. That same study did show a benefit for women over the age of fifty. Researchers at the RAND Corporation, a think tank in California, performed a cost/benefit analysis and did not recommend women below age fifty receive mammograms because—at a cost of over 1.1 billion dollars annually—there was no evidence of benefit.3

In January 1997, a National Institute of Health consensus conference was conducted to consider whether or not screening mammography reduces breast cancer mortality among women aged forty to forty-nine. The twelve-member panel represented the fields of oncology, radiology, gynecology, geriatrics, and public health. Thirty-two experts presented scientific data to the panel. The panel, working with this data and with data in the scientific literature, concluded that mammography recommendation for women in their forties was not warranted.4

Since this time, most researchers reluctantly have been forced to accept the consensus that mammograms are not beneficial in this age group. Many greeted this conclusion with dismay and outrage. Other groups, most notably the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association, reaffirmed their recommendations that even these younger women should get annual mammograms. By contrast, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Physicians do not recommend routine mammograms in the age range of thirty-five to fifty.

For more on The Mammogram Debate check out these posts:

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Health Points: Tuesday

The better restaurateurs never used trans fat and find it inexplicable that there’s an argument about it. They think it is not in their self-interest to feed people things that are likely to kill them.
Dr Miles Fisher, consultant physician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: "Santa is the archetypal picture of abdominal obesity." He added: "The image of Santa is of a round, jolly person and it is meant to be one of hilarity, but if you have obesity around your tummy, then it is very bad for you.
The apparent protective effect of alcohol has to do with something that happens in brain cells, the study found. The researchers also assessed more than 500 patients who suffered severe injuries to the torso and found no effect of blood alcohol levels on the death rate.
Yes, just two martinis to send me over the edge into the realm of intractable nausea and vomiting. What I would have given for a little Zofran... I had the displeasure of experiencing my scallops and salmon twice...
As with all studies relating to diet, however, there is always the possibility that the benefit stems from something other than an altered diet -- like increased intake of other foods like fruits and vegetables, weight loss, or better overall health that accompanies the decrease in fat.
A national stress survey the association conducted in January showed one in four people in the United States agrees that "when I am feeling down or facing a problem, I turn to food to help me feel better." The October survey showed that the proportion increases to one in three people during the holidays.
The study included 30 young women who would eat a meal of pasta with tomato sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese, under two different scenarios. In the first scenario, study participants were given a large spoon and told to eat as quickly as possible. In the other scenario, participants ate with a small spoon, which they put down after each bite, and were told to take small bites and chew each bite 15 to 20 times. When eating quickly, the women took in an average of 646 calories in 9 minutes. But when they slowed down, they consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes. The women rated eating slowly as more pleasant.
In general, doctors’ advice is listen to your body. If you are tired or achy, take a rest. Take days off and vary the intensity of your workout. Robert Irwin, a chiropractor in suburban Albany New York, counsels runners to watch out for signs they’re working out too hard, such as a resting heart rate 10 beats a minute over the normal rate.

“You have to have recovery time even if you are healthy,” Irwin said. “Give yourself some time to rest.”

Magic Beans

Beans, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them, but they’re actually pretty strong medicine. Now I’m no doctor, so I’ll defer to one. In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman points out that, among beans’ many other talents, they can decrease a person’s risk of colon cancer and even reproductive cancers. Take a look:
A large recent study examined the eating habits of 32,000 adults for six years and then watched the incidence of cancer for these subjects over the next six years. Those who avoided red meat but at white meat regularly had a more than 300 percent increase in colon cancer incidence.1 The same study showed that eating beans, peas, or lentils, at least twice a week was associated with a 50 percent lower risk than never eating these foods…


..Beans, in general, not just soy, have additional anti-cancer benefits against reproductive cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.2
Now, I doubt you thought about that when you were singing, “Beans beans a magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot.” Want more bean factoids? Vegan Grandma has got a whole bunch of them:
In some Eastern cultures, legumes have been a basic dietary staple for more than 20,000 years. The lima and pinto bean were cultivated for the first time in the very earliest Mexican and Peruvian civilizations more than 5,000 years ago, being popular in both the Aztec and Inca cultures.
Be sure to check out the part of the post where she lists the many different varieties of beans. You’ll see things like Adzuki Beans and Cranberry Beans—I’m getting hungry already! Continue Reading...

Ten Ways to Help Prevent Breast Cancer

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

Overall, no one can disagree with the fact that mammograms do nothing to prevent breast cancer and very little to save women’s lives from breast cancer. We just have not seen this happen in the era of extensive mammogram use. In the meantime, don’t just sit back and hope you don’t contract cancer. Be proactive and adjust your diet and lifestyle to achieve a high level of health, so that any abnormal cells never can overcome your body’s powerful immune defenses. Early, precancerous changes in the breast can be normalized by nutritional excellence. Women can prevent breast cancer, and even if they have cancer they can significantly increase their chances of survival with nutritional excellence.

The best ways a woman can protect herself from breast cancer are as follows:
1. Do not drink alcohol.
2. Do not smoke.
3. Do not take estrogen.
4. Have babies and nurse them for two years each.
5. Avoid dietary carcinogens, which are predominantly found in fatty fish and dairy fat.
6. Eat a high-nutrient, vegetable-based diet as described in my book, Eat To Live. Green vegetables are the most powerful anti-breast cancer food. Take note that a vegetarian diet does not show protection against breast cancer as much as a diet rich in green vegetables, berries, and seeds. It is the phytochemical nutrient density and diversity of the diet that offers the most dramatic protection against cancer, not merely the avoidance of meat or fat.
7. Take a multivitamin to assure nutritional completeness and take at least 100mg of DHA daily.
8. Use one tablespoon of ground flax seeds daily.
9. Don’t grill or fry foods. Steaming vegetables or making vegetable soups should be the major extent of cooking.
10. Exercise at least three hours a week, and maintain a lean body with little body fat.

Health Points: Tuesday

  • Get ready, here comes a big surprise—obesity is in the news again! Yup, you can pretty much bank on obesity always being in the headlines. Today The Chicago Tribune reports obesity has been linked to female infertility. Judy Peres has more:
"That association is pretty well established," said Dr. Roger Lobo, a reproductive endocrinologist at Columbia University. Heavy women often don't ovulate normally because their hormones are out of whack. If they lose just 5 percent of their body weight, he said, "some will ovulate and even get pregnant with no further intervention."
The CDC also offers weight-management classes, healthy grocery shopping seminars, health assessments, walking programs and other activities.

The agency also has improved its cafeteria fare and expanded its salad bars. Three years ago, the CDC began bringing in produce vendors so employees could buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Now, the produce carts visit three CDC campuses and boast daily sales of $2,000 to $3,000.
The researchers admitted they do not know why the extra pounds (kg) may protect premenopausal women from breast cancer, but noted obesity actually greatly boosts breast cancer risk after menopause, when the disease more often is diagnosed.
  • Does spicy food increase metabolism? To be honest, I never assumed it does. Anahad O’Connor of The New York Times investigated, and believe it or not spicy food can actually give your metabolism a kick—coming soon, the hot-pepper diet! Here’s more from O’Connor:
One study by Canadian researchers this year looked at a group of adult men and found that those who were served hot sauce with appetizers before a meal went on to consume on average about 200 fewer calories at lunch and in later meals than their peers who did not have anything with capsaicin. The researchers suggested that capsaicin may work as an appetite suppressant. But take heed: spicy foods can also worsen symptoms of ulcers and heartburn.
At least six states and some counties prohibit foster parents from smoking when foster children are present, says Kathleen Dachille, director of the Legal Resource Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation & Advocacy at the University of Maryland School of Law. "There are times when it's appropriate to regulate what people can do in their home," she says. "The state is responsible for that child."
Men with the highest levels of vitamin E in their blood were 18 percent less likely to die than those with the lowest levels, the researchers found. They also had a 21-percent lower risk of death from cancer, a 19-percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 30-percent lower risk of death from other causes.
Blues and purples: Keep memory sharp and reduce risk of several kinds of cancer, including prostate. Plums, eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes (and raisins).

Greens: Protect bones, teeth and eyesight. Kiwi, spinach, broccoli, Romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, honeydews.
Reporting in the journal Tobacco Control, a team from the National Health Screening Service in Oslo found that limiting the daily amount of cigarettes may be useful as a temporary measure when a smoker is trying to quit, but kicking the habit is the only real way of reducing the risk of smoking-related health consequences and early death.

Report: Fish and Soy Cut Cancer Risk

Reuters reports people who ate soy regularly are less likely to develop breast cancer. And, men who eat fish several times a week have a lower risk of colon cancer. Wait, so you’re telling me diet has something to do with cancer? No way! Yes way. Here’s more from this double discovery:
The women who ate the most soy-based foods such as tofu and miso when aged 5 to 11 reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by 58 percent, the researchers found…

…A second study presented at the meeting showed that men who ate fish five times a week or more had a 40 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer compared with men who ate fish less than once a week.
Researchers believe the isoflavones in soy and the omega-3s in fish have something to do with it. If you’re a DiseaseProof reader you already know how important macro- and micro-nutrients can be. But there are some important things to consider about fish and soy.

The Happy Housewives Club, episode 3

Health Points: Monday

Doctors say it is good news that the number of pounds gained is less than the widely believed 15, but bad news that "Generation XL" kids seem to be learning patterns of gradual weight gain that could spell trouble way beyond graduation.
  • Okay fellow gym rats, how many of you get stiff or sore from working out? It certainly happens to me from time to time. Jeannine Stein of The Los Angeles Times explains the right stretches can help get you right:
Your stiffness and soreness might be due to the fact that although weight-lifting increases the size of the muscle, it does nothing to make the muscles more flexible, according to Suzanne Martin, an Alameda-based physical therapist, Pilates instructor and author of the book "Stretching." For that, you need to stretch.
But a now-ponderous stack of research has shown that trans fats raise heart disease risk four to five times more sharply than do saturated fats. Trans fats both raise "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, and cause "good" cholesterol, or HDL, to drop, while saturated fats only raise LDL. Moreover, trans fats are linked to ailments such as diabetes and dementia, said Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard University's School of Public Health.
Scientists pointed to numerous factors that contribute to 32.7 percent of boys under 10 and 27.8 percent of girls being overweight: massive portions at meals, the "energy density" -- calories per gram -- of food eaten, children being drive rather than walking to school, and ethnic group, among others.
Obesity -- which affects one in every three Americans -- and the illnesses associated with it cost the United States some 90.7 billion dollars a year in health care costs, a University of Pennsylvania researcher said.
  • I don’t think this will alarm too many Eat to Livers, but we have an egg salad crisis. The Associated Press reports suspected contamination caused a particular brand to be recalled from seventeen states:
Ballard's President David Ballard said the company has temporarily suspended producing egg salad while it investigates the contamination. Consumers can return the 12-ounce containers of egg salad for a refund.
"There is an overwhelming number of studies that show a link between obesity and breast cancer," Cheryl Rock of the University of California, San Diego said at the annual conference of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO).

NY Times: Puberty in Preschool

In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman discusses the onset of early puberty in children consuming the Western diet. No one wants to think about preschoolers going through puberty, but a recent article in The New York Times investigates and the information is startling. Darshak M. Sanghavi reports:
Increasingly — though the science is still far from definitive and the precise number of such cases is highly speculative — some physicians worry that children are at higher risk of early puberty as a result of the increasing prevalence of certain drugs, cosmetics and environmental contaminants, called “endocrine disruptors,” that can cause breast growth, pubic hair development and other symptoms of puberty.


Most commonly, outbreaks of puberty in children are traced to accidental drug exposures from products that are used incorrectly.
In addition to these potential causes Sanghavi cites a study from The Lancet that connected breast enlargement among hundreds of Italian schoolchildren to estrogen contamination of beef and poultry.

Much of Disease-Proof Your Child describes the trend toward earlier puberty--which correlates with later cancer risk--and makes specific recommendations. Dr. Fuhrman describes how a diet heavy with fruit and vegetables, especially starting at a young age, can play a major role.
Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.1 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland2…


…Fat cells produce estrogen, so excess fat on the body during childhood results in more estrogen production. A large volume of high fiber from fruits and vegetables in the gut serves to lower circulating estrogen naturally. The high fiber and the resultant healthy bacteria that colonize the gut of a person consuming a high produce diet conjugates (binds together) estrogens so they are more readily excreted in the stool. As estrogen cycles into and out of the digestive tract, a person eating more animal products and less high-fiber vegetation reabsorbs more estrogen from the digestive tract, rather than losing more in the stool.

Diet powerfully modulates estrogen levels. One recent study illustrated that eight-to-ten-year-olds, closely followed with dietary intervention for seven years, dramatically lowered their estrogen levels compared to a control group with dietary modification.3 Clearly, changing the diet of our children after the age of eight is not futile. It will lower the risk of developing cancer, even when the most sensitive years affecting growth and age of puberty have passed. The good news is that we are not helpless after childhood to reduce the risk.
For more on this topic, check out these previous posts:
Continue Reading...

Breast Cancer Causation Is Multi-Factorial

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease-Proof Your Child:

Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.1 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.2

Experimental evidence suggests that the susceptibility of mammary tissue to carcinogens is greatest in the childhood and teenage years. The time during breast growth and development is a particularly sensitive period in a woman’s life, affecting the later development of breast cancer in adulthood. Teenagers who eat more high-fiber, high-antioxidant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts have less occurrence of benign breast disease, the precursor marker of breast cancer.3

Of particular concern is the pattern linking breast cancer to the early age of puberty we are witnessing in modern times. The average age of onset of menstruation in the nineteenth century was seventeen, whereas in the last fifty years in Western industrialized countries, such as the United States, the average age of onset of menstruation is twelve. The over-nutrition and heightened exposure to animal products, oils, and saturated fats4 earlier in life induces a rapid earlier growth and an earlier puberty. Earlier age of puberty increases one’s lifetime exposure to estrogens and is associated with a higher incidence of breast cancer years later.

Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—meat and diary—is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.5

Early puberty is strongly associated with breast cancer, and the occurrence of breast cancer is three times higher in women who started puberty before age twelve.6

A recent intelligently devised study investigated all twin sisters in northern Europe and England where on developed breast cancer and the other did not. The researchers found 400 cases of breast cancer in only one twin occurring before the age of fifty. They concluded that childhood growth before puberty (the twin with cancer was most often taller at age ten) and developing breasts before her cancer-free sister was the primary marker of the increased risk.7

Another recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 1,811 sets of twins and reported that for identical twins with cancer, the first twin to reach puberty was five times more likely to develop cancer at an earlier age.8 The link was even stronger when menstruation began before the age of twelve. Jo Ann Mason, M.D., of Harvard’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital said the implications of the study are worrisome given the gradual decline in the age of puberty in the United States and the rise in childhood obesity.

Physicians are seeing more and more girls with precocious sexual development, even before today’s average age of twelve, and medical studies confirm that the trend is real and getting worse. How early are our children developing today? At age eight, almost half black girls and 15 percent of white girls start developing breasts or pubic hair. At age nine, those numbers change to 77 percent of black girls and a third of white girls.9

The critical questions, which our nation generally ignores, are how harmful is this and what can be done about it? Obviously, this anomaly in human history where girls mature so young is threatening. We will undoubtedly see breast cancer occurrence continue to climb as today’s children reach adulthood. Cancer occurrence has been shown to occur many years after dysplastic changes occur to the breast, and these changes are often viable in teenagers.

It is of particular importance to note the most significant age range where dietary intake most critically affects the age of puberty. A 1999 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology followed children since birth and reported that the girls who consumed more animal products and fewer vegetables between ages one and eight were prone to early maturation and puberty, but the strongest predictor was a diet rich in animal protein before age five.10
Continue Reading...

Fish Eating and Breast Cancer

From the September 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

Both international comparisons and case-control studies around the world have documented a positive relationship between dietary fat and breast cancer. The Nurses Health Study involving 90,655 premenopausal women found red meat and high-fat dairy foods (cheese) to have the strongest association with an increased risk of breast cancer.1 It is well known that the fatty portion of animal products contains saturated fats, which are cancer-promoting. This is not surprising, since these same foods are associated with almost every other cancer as well.

However, further evidence in recent years has discovered another strong association—the link between fat-soluble pesticides such as DDT and dioxin with breast cancer. These organochlorine pesticides have received the most attention because their persistence in the environment gives them the ability to concentrate up the food chain. These pesticides are found in our food supply and in breast milk, and have the ability to be stored in the adipose (fatty) tissue of animals and humans. Women with breast cancer have been found to have higher levels of DDT in their bloodstream compared with age-matched controls without breast cancer.2 Even though these dangerous pesticides are now prohibited on food grown in America, they still remain in our environment and find their way back into our food supply through the fat in animal products, especially fish.

When a recent study looked at the relationship between fish intake and breast cancer, it found that women consuming a higher intake of fish have almost double the breast cancer incidence of women consuming little or no fish. This study followed 23,693 women until 424 of them were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers found that the preparation method (fried, boiled, or processed) and the type of fish did not matter. The significant association of breast cancer with fish consumption held firm for both lean and fatty fish prepared in any method.3

The bottom line is that for real cancer prevention and protection, we must avoid fatty meats, cheese, butter, and fish. Taking a non-fish derived DHA capsule is the best way to get a little extra of those favorable fish oils. I advise against eating fish for a source of these beneficial fats as fish is simply too polluted a food.

The scientific literature is routinely ignored by the media and health authorities. With a very high intake of clean produce and a low intake of cancer-promoting foods, millions of women’s lives can be saved every year. Green vegetables, fresh fruits, and beans have already shown a powerful dose-dependent ability to reduce breast cancer. Unfortunately, women are not given the clear message that true protection from cancer starts in the kitchen, not in the office of their doctor or radiologist. Continue Reading...

Alcohol and Your Health

From the September 2002 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:

A few years ago the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness Letter reported on new research about the so-called heart-healthy “benefits” of alcohol consumption. Previous studies had led to a recommendation that moderate consumption of red wine—but not other alcoholic beverages—helped reduce the risk of heart attack. What did the new research reveal?

If we were to rely on the Berkeley Wellness Letter for this information, the latest news would be that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage—red or white wine, even beer and spirits—can be heart-healthy. Unfortunately, their latest news is still woefully out-of-date. More recent studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation,1 a condition that can lead to stroke, and to higher rates of breast cancer.2,3

Alcohol is not actually heart-healthy. It simply has anti-clotting effects, much like aspirin.

Researchers have found that even moderate consumption of alcohol—including wine—interferes with blood clotting and, thereby, reduces heart attacks in high-risk populations—people who eat the typical, disease-promoting American diet.

Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks for men. Consuming more than this is associated with increased fat around the waist4 and other potential problems. For example, alcohol consumption leads to mild withdrawal sensations the next day that are commonly mistaken for hunger, which leads people to eat more than is genuinely necessary, resulting in weight gain.

It is worth nothing that alcohol’s anti-clotting properties have only been shown to grant some protective effect against heart attacks for people eating unhealthfully. There are no studies showing that this protective effect is valuable in low-risk individuals consuming healthful, plant-based diets with resultant low cholesterol levels. In my view, it is much wiser to avoid the detrimental effects of alcohol completely and protect yourself from heart disease with nutritional excellence. Continue Reading...

Chemotherapy: Lots of Side Effects

Dr. Fuhrman has written before about our country’s chemotherapy mentality:
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’s more from Dr. Fuhrman’s post:
  • A meta-analysis of chemotherapy for postmenopausal, estrogen receptor-positive women (the largest group of women with breast cancer) pooled the six largest studies to get the most accurate data on survival and complications. Here is what researchers concluded about the group treated with standard chemotherapy: “No significant survival benefit was observed.”1
  • In non-small cell lung cancer (the most common type), the 5- year survival is only about 10 percent. In stage 4, when the cancer has spread to distant sites, the 5-year survival is only 1.6 percent. After looking at multiple studies, it appears that treatment generally results in a very slight improved survival rate at 1 year, but this advantage disappeared at 30 months of follow- up.2
  • Even in small cell lung cancer where chemotherapy has proven effectiveness in life extension, the benefit adds only a few months of life, not years. And during this time the patient can experience serious—even life threatening— side effects from the treatment.
In the last bullet Dr. Fuhrman brings up the issue of side effects, and he’s not alone. A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows there are more side effects for using chemotherapy to treat breast cancer than expected. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News reports:
"When we looked at the rates of side effects commonly associated with chemotherapy, we found women experienced more hospitalizations or emergency room visits for these side effects than previous clinical trials would have estimated," said study author Dr. Michael Hassett, a clinical instructor in medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston.
Gordon reports that researchers made some startling discoveries:
The researchers looked at hospitalizations and emergency room visits in the year following the initial diagnosis for both women who received chemotherapy and those who did not.

Women on chemotherapy were much more likely to visit the emergency room or be hospitalized for any cause than women who didn't have chemotherapy -- 61 percent compared to 42 percent.

Fever and infection were the most common causes women were hospitalized or visited the emergency room. Low blood cell counts were the next most common reason, followed by dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Women who received chemotherapy also had more than $1,200 in additional health-care expenditures related to chemotherapy and more than $17,000 in additional costs for ambulatory care than women who didn't receive chemotherapy.
For women diagnosised with breast cancer Dr. Hassett offers this suggestion:
"Hopefully, women with breast cancer who hear about this study will understand that deciding whether or not to have chemotherapy must be made on an individual basis," Hassett said. "Women should talk with their doctors about both the benefits and risks of chemotherapy. For women with small cancers, the benefits may not outweigh the risks. On the other hand, for women with larger or higher-risk cancers, the benefits usually outweigh the risks."
For more of Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts, check out these previous posts: Re-Examining Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer and Chemo: Not Always the Best Option Continue Reading...

Exercise Powerfully Reduces Cancer Risk

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

Researchers at the University of Tromsø in Norway report that women who exercise regularly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer substantially. Their study involved more than 25,000 women age twenty to fifty-four at the time of their energy into the study. The researchers found that younger, premenopausal women (under forty-five years old) who exercised regularly had 62 percent less risk than sedentary women. The risk reduction was highest for lean women who exercised more than four hours per week; these women had a 72 percent reduction in risk.

Diet and exercise have a much more important role to play in cancer prevention than mammograms and other detection methods. Keep in mind that mammograms merely detect, not prevent, cancer; they show disease only after the cancerous cells have been proliferating for many years.1 By that time the majority of cancers have already spread from their local site and surgically removing the tumor is not curative. Only a minority of women have their breast cancers detected by a mammogram have their survival increased because of the earlier detection.2 The majority would have done just as well to find it later. I am not aiming to discourage women ages fifty to sixty-five from having mammograms; rather, my message is that this alone is insufficient. Mammograms, which do nothing to prevent breast cancer, are heavily publicized, while women hear nothing else about what they can do to prevent and protect themselves against breast cancer in the first place.

Do not underestimate the effect of a superior diet on gradually removing and repairing damage caused by years of self-abuse. Do not be discouraged just because you cannot bring your risk down to zero because of your mistakes in the past. The same thing could be said for cigarette smokers. Should they not quit smoking, merely because their risk of lung cancer can’t be brought down to zero when they quit? Actually, lung cancer rates are considerably lower (about one-fifth) in countries that have a high vegetable consumption, even though they may smoke like crazy.3 Raw fruits and vegetables offer powerful protection; leafy greens are the most protective.4

My main point is that our population has been ignoring those interventions that can most effectively save lives. We search for more answers because the ones we have found are not to our liking. Our most powerful artillery on the war against breast cancer, and cancer in general, is to follow the overall advice presented in my book Eat to Live and begin at as young an age as possible. Continue Reading...

Health Points: Monday

Tobacco accounts for one in five cancer deaths, or 1.4 million deaths worldwide each year, according to two new reference guides that chart global tobacco use and cancer. Lung cancer remains the major cancer among the 10.9 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, according to the Cancer Atlas.
A poll of more than 10,000 students in 23 countries showed more than half knew heredity was a risk factor. But less than five percent realized that eating and drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough exercise also had an impact.
I am a hypocrite. There are many well designed studies that proof that MSG is safe. If you just look at the science salt is much more dangerous, but there are hardly any scary websites about that. I still do not use it myself though. I do not explicitly avoid it, but products with MSG often are very processed or have ingredients I do not eat (animal products, lots of fat etc.). I wonder if I should give MSG a chance. I have not yet been able to find a way to make relatively inexpensive tasty low-sodium vegan soups and MSG may be the answer.
*It can create anxiety, stress, loneliness and increased likelihood for depression.

*It can cause problems with friendships and relationships.

*It can seriously impair academic and job performance.

*It can lead to underachievement and increased vulnerability to many self destructive behaviors.

*Worst of all, these negative consequences themselves reinforce the negative self-image and can take a person into a downward spiral of lower and lower self-esteem.
We in the United States take our health care for granted, but did you know that doctors take health care for granted, too? Many doctors spend more than a little of our time berating ourselves because we see patients in the clinic who have chronic diseases for which there is no cure and for which all we can do is attempt therapies which, if we are fortunate, provide only partial relief of symptoms. We feel like fakes, sometimes: able to cure some things, but most of what we see back is what we have been unable to cure, and these cases come back to us in the clinic and hospital over and over precisely because we are impotent to cure.

Chemo: Not Always the Best Option

Cancer and chemotherapy seem to go hand-in-hand in this country: You've got cancer? You need chemo. According to the Associated Press a new gene test challenges this preconception:

Claudia Lowry had a scary decision: Could she safely skip chemotherapy after surgeons removed her breast cancer?

Tens of thousands of women undergo chemo for breast cancer every year when they don't really need it, but doctors don't have an easy way to tell who can gamble on skipping the harsh drugs.

A simple gene test now promises to help women like Lowry make that nerve-wracking choice -- and a major government study is enrolling more than 10,000 patients around the country to see just how well it does the job.

Some doctors already feel many patients can do well without chemotherapy:

"Most of the patients are advised to have chemotherapy. Most of the patients are going to do very well without it," says Dr. Sheila Taube of the National Cancer Institute. "So how can we spare the patients that don't need it?"

Breast cancer is only the opening salvo. Researchers are furiously developing whom-to-treat gene tests for colorectal cancer -- particularly for early Stage 2 disease that doctors fear is being under-treated -- and other malignancies, too.

Today's guidelines for cancer treatment seem to be terribly inefficient:

More than 100,000 U.S. women a year are found to have early breast cancer that has a remarkably good prognosis: The tumors are small, haven't spread, and are hormone-sensitive. The vast majority would survive with surgery, radiation and hormone treatment. Yet guidelines today recommend chemotherapy as well for most of those women to catch the few who need more aggressive help.

In other words, 100 women get chemo, and the risk of harsh, sometimes life-threatening, side effects, to prevent two or three of them from relapsing.

Dr. Fuhrman is no stranger to this discussion, having voiced his opinions on chemotherapy in previous posts: Re-Examining Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer and Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer

Prevent Breast Cancer at Every Age

Wall Street Journal health journalist Tara Parker-Pope reports preventing breast cancer is not just a grown-up issue:

A growing body of evidence shows that a woman's risk for breast cancer may be determined far earlier in life. Cellular changes that can lead to cancer likely begin in childhood when breast tissue is just beginning to develop.


So while strategies like diet, exercise and -- for high-risk women -- prevention drugs like Tamoxifen may help stave off breast cancer in midlife, scientists are also beginning to look at prevention efforts for young girls. What's increasingly clear is that the health decisions parents make for their daughter in preschool, adolescence and the late teen years have the potential to dramatically alter her risk for breast cancer as she becomes a woman.

Parker-Pope explains childhood exercise is an import factor in cancer prevention:

Encourage exercise at a young age. Exercise early in life appears to lower a girl's hormone levels, and potentially delay the onset of her first period. The average age of first period today is about 12, but some girls start periods as early as nine or 10. Girls who don't get their periods until the age of 13 or 14 have a lower lifetime risk for breast cancer.


Exercise before puberty lowers body fat and also damps down hormone production by the pituitary gland, keeping hormone levels low longer and thereby delaying menstruation. "It's important to start things young," says Anne McTiernan, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle and author of the book "Breast Fitness." Dr. McTiernan suggests an hour of daily exercise for girls, including recess and gym class.

Parker-Pope goes on to point out the importence of a healthy diet in young girls' lives:

Limit Junk Food. Some research suggests that diet early in life and into adolescence can influence breast-cancer risk. In February, a Harvard study suggested a child's preschool diet could affect breast-cancer risk. Women who frequently ate french fries in preschool had a 27% higher risk for breast cancer as adults.

Modest reductions in fat intake during puberty can lower levels of hormones in a girl's body. Girls who eat diets higher in fiber appear to get their first period later. Some evidence suggests that increasing soy in the teen diet can also lower long-term breast cancer risk. Even though the data on adolescent diet and breast-cancer risk are mixed, it makes sense to encourage girls to eat fruits and vegetables and avoid unhealthy fats.

In The Wall Street Journal, the connection between healthy practices at a young age, and cancer later in life is news, and they should be saluted for being among the first major media outlets to really make the connection. Dr. Fuhrman looked at a lot of the same research in researching his book Disease Proof Your Child last year. The connection between childhood diet and exercise, early menstruation, and cancer is a major theme of his book, which has an entire chapter on the causes of cancer and other illnesses.

In this excerpt, Dr. Fuhrman explains the trademarks of the standard American Diet (SAD) contribute to earlier puberty in girls, which heightens lifetime risk of breast cancer:

The average age of onset of menstruation in the nineteenth century was seventeen, whereas in the last fifty years in Western industrialized countries, such as the United States, the average age of onset of menstruation is twelve. The over-nutrition and heightened exposure to animal products, oil, and saturated fats2 earlier in life induces a rapid earlier growth and an earlier puberty. Earlier age of puberty increases one's lifetime exposure to estrogens and is associated with a higher incidence of breast cancer years later.


Cohort studies, which follow two groups of children over time, have shown that the higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods—-meats and diary—-is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.3


Hopefully this is just the beginning of word starting to spread to parents that what they feed their young children can have a big effect on lifelong health.

Continue Reading...

Re-Examining Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

When people think cancer they inevitably think chemotherapy. For some patients the link is so strong that they request chemotherapy even if their doctor doesn't recommend it. But The New York Times claims more and more doctors are questioning the role of chemotherapy in treating breast cancer. Gina Kolata reports:

Today, national guidelines call for giving chemotherapy to almost all of the nearly 200,000 women a year whose illness is diagnosed as breast cancer. In the new approach, chemotherapy would be mostly for the 30 percent of women whose breast cancer is not fueled by estrogen.


So far the data are tantalizing, but the evidence is very new and still in flux. And even if some women with hormone-dependent tumors can skip chemotherapy, no one can yet say for sure which women they might be. Some doctors have already cut back on chemotherapy, but the advice a woman gets often depends on which doctor she sees.

It hasn't yet inspired wholesale changes in treatment.

"It's a slightly uncomfortable time," said Dr. Eric P. Winer, who directs the breast oncology center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "Some of us feel like we have enough information to start backing off on chemotherapy in selected patients, and others are less convinced."


Among the less convinced is Dr. John H. Glick, director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Glick tells his patients about the new data but does not suggest they skip chemotherapy. After all, he notes, the national guidelines were based on results from large randomized clinical trials. And the recent data indicating that some women can skip chemotherapy are based on an after-the-fact analysis of selected clinical trials.

"We're in an era where evidence-based medicine should govern practice," Dr. Glick said.

For years Dr. Fuhrman has insisted chemotherapy isn't the sun, the moon, and the stars in breast cancer treatment. He explains in a previous post entitled Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer:

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…


Does Chemotherapy Work?
Let's see how effective chemotherapy actually is with a few common cancers.

  • A meta-analysis of chemotherapy for postmenopausal, estrogen receptor-positive women (the largest group of women with breast cancer) pooled the six largest studies to get the most accurate data on survival and complications. Here is what researchers concluded about the group treated with standard chemotherapy: "No significant survival benefit was observed."1
  • In non-small cell lung cancer (the most common type), the 5- year survival is only about 10 percent. In stage 4, when the cancer has spread to distant sites, the 5-year survival is only 1.6 percent. After looking at multiple studies, it appears that treatment generally results in a very slight improved survival rate at 1 year, but this advantage disappeared at 30 months of follow-up.2
  • Even in small cell lung cancer where chemotherapy has proven effectiveness in life extension, the benefit adds only a few months of life, not years. And during this time the patient can experience serious—even life threatening—side effects from the treatment.

No doubt this uncertainty among doctors further complicates an already difficult situation. Dr. Fuhrman provides some advice for those confronting cancer:

Every patient has to make her own decision. But if I were a woman with postmenopausal breast cancer, I would opt for surgery, without radiation and without chemotherapy, and would then pursue an aggressive nutritional protocol. I also would include antiestrogens if the tumor histology showed it to be estrogen receptor-positive.
Continue Reading...

Soy's Anti-Cancer Effects

A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests soy consumption may be linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. Amanda Gardner of The Healthday News reports:

Asian women have lower breast cancer rates (39 per 100,000) than Western women (133 per 100,000) and, when Asian women migrate to the United States, their breast cancer rates tend to go up. This suggests that an environmental factor, perhaps related to diet, is at play.


Attention has zeroed in on soy products (consumed more in Asia) as they contain high quantities of isoflavones, molecules that affect pathways that could change breast cancer risk. Indeed, more and more women are taking high-dose soy or isoflavone supplements because of their perceived benefits, which include lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

The questionnaire style of data collection makes some researchers leery. Nevertheless, the results are certainly interesting:

When the data was pooled, researchers found a 14 percent relative reduction in the risk of breast cancer among women who had a high soy intake. The association was somewhat higher in premenopausal women.

The scientists quoted didn't endorse soy supplements or refined soy products, but suggested foods like soy nuts and tofu may offer cancer protection.

You can read a lot about Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts on soy in these posts:

Soy Bean Thoughts from the Member Center

Dr. Fuhrman mentions in Eat to Live that soy products such as soy burgers, soymilk, and soy cheeses have grown in popularity, resulting in their widespread availability. Despite the positives of soy consumption, many people harbor worries over the bean. In the member center of DrFuhrman.com he talks with a few concerned members:

I.
Forum Member: Please give me some advice and direction concerning the use of soy milk, my physician is very upset with me that I started using soymilk, he states it is very dangerous and can cause many thyroid and autoimmune diseases, please clear this up for me, I am a 46 year old female who has had an hysterectomy and do not take any estrogen replacement.


Dr. Fuhrman: Is your physician a real doctor? Or does he just play one on TV? Before you accept a dramatic and radical claim about the dangers of soymilk, you should ask this person to show you some scientific medical journal articles that support his assertion.

Bottom line, there is evidence that substituting soy formula for breast milk has long-term harmful consequences, but no data to suggest that consuming soy milk as an adult has any negative health consequences as he claims. Keep the soymilk and get rid of the doctor.

II.

Forum Member: Should men with prostate problems (enlarged) or women who want to avoid breast cancer take ground flaxseeds? I read something about flaxseed oil and estrogen. Also, can soymilk be safely taken, or do soy products contain estrogen that may promote breast cancer?


Dr. Fuhrman: Of course. All people should regularly use some ground flax or hemp seeds, but not the oil. Soy does not promote breast cancer. In fact, research shows it has protective effects. This has been answered in depth with references on this forum in the past. Did you try to do a search for it?

That does not mean I recommend processed soy products or soy powders. It means using some tofu, frozen soybeans or some soymilk in your diet is okay.

III.

Forum Member: When I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid and began meds, I was told to stay away from soy products. I have much difficulty getting my body to lose weight and I attribute this to slow metabolism from the thyroid condition. Can you give me some information about soy and how it reacts with thyroid medications?


Dr. Fuhrman: I can assure you that eating some soy beans or tofu as part of a well-rounded diet will have zero effect on your thyroid gland. It is true that being raised on soy formula instead of breast milk as an infant increases your risk of hypothyroidism later in life, but this does not mean that eating some soy products causes thyroid problems.

Ten Reasons to Keep Eating Healthy Foods Despite Today's Headlines

Today's newspapers are blaring with crazy headlines. The New York Times, for instance, says that a "Low-Fat Diet Does Not Cut Health Risks, Study Finds."

Dr. Fuhrman draws no such conclusions. "This study compared two groups that both ate unhealthy diets," he says. "Look closely and you will see that the researchers compared a typical, disease-causing American diet, with one that was just marginally better, but still terribly unhealthy."

According to the study's authors, the "low fat diet" they told the women in the study to eat is as follows:

...postmenopausal women in the intervention group were advised to reduce total fat intake to 20% of energy and to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and 6 servings of grains daily; women in the control group continued their usual eating pattern.
As it turned out, the women in the low fat group actually ate just about one more serving of fruit or vegetable per day, fell far short of the even the modest 20%-of-energy-from-fat goal, and consumed the same number of calories as the women who did not modify their diets. As Gina Kolata reports in The New York Times:
In the first year, the women on the low-fat diets reduced the percentage of fat in their diet to 24 percent of daily calories, and by the end of the study their diets had 29 percent of their calories as fat. In the first year, the women in the control group were eating 35 percent of their calories as fat, and by the end of the study their dietary fat content was 37 percent. The two groups consumed about the same number of calories.
Preventing tough diseases like heart disease and cancer with diet requires an approach that is aggressive, multi-faceted, and nuanced. Dr. Fuhrman says research has already shown that simple interventions like those studied here are not effective:
The studies published this week in JAMA are nothing new. Those who conducted those studies should already be aware of hundreds of others studies that demonstrate "low fat" is not the key factor in disease causation. High phytochemical intake, including critical antioxidants in (high-fat) nuts, seeds and avocados contain heart disease and cancer fighting compounds. Eating more low-fat foods such as egg whites, chicken, and pasta does not expose us to the disease-fighting compounds in berries, seeds, nuts, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes and carrots.
Here are ten reasons why it still makes sense to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds:
1. Fruits and vegetables are the right things to eat, and among the best things they could have studied. But an increase of roughly one serving of vegetables and fruits per day--which is what was found in the study--does little to ward off cancer or heart disease. As described on DiseaseProof yesterday, I advocate a diet in which vegetables are 30-70% of calories, and fruit is 20-50% of calories.

2. A fixation on fat content is misleading. I do advocate little to no animal fats or oils (including olive oil). The fat from nuts and avocados is healthy and necessary, and for most of my patients I do not restrict it.

3. In this study, participants were encouraged to eat more grains, when in my diet--largely to achieve the potent anti-cancer and anti-heart disease benefits--I advocate replacing grains with vegetables as the basis of the diet.

4. Children were not included in this study. As we have discussed in greater detail previously, the best way to see the effects of diet on cancer is to examine the diets of children.

5. Even with this non-optimal diet, this study did find a correlation between diet and breast cancer. As The New York Times reports: "The women on low-fat diets had a 9 percent lower rate of breast cancer; the incidence was 42 per thousand per year in women in the low-fat diet group, compared with 45 per thousand per year in women consuming their regular diet."

6. The most important factor in preventing heart disease is LDL cholesterol. In this study, minor dietary changes were studied--and were found to make minor reductions in this all-important statistic. Imagine if they had studied serious dietary improvements.

7. Eating a diet heavy in bread, pasta, white meat, and processed foods can be low in fat, but is a very poor source of the micronutrition, especially phytonutrients, that contribute mightily to overall health. Many of the most important dietary interventions that we recommend were simply not studied.

8. The study was of post-menopausal women. The later in life they are started, the smaller effects dietary interventions can have.

9. Every time very healthy diets have been studied, they yield tremendous results. Consider the references below, as well as this evidence about diet and cancer, and diet and heart disease. In addition, the anecdotal evidence of my 15-year medical practice shows that not one of my active patients has had a heart attack.

10. For you hardened skeptics: there is no downside whatsoever to eating healthy food like fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Try it for six weeks. (The details are in Eat to Live.) You'll feel great.

Dr. Fuhrman has day-to-day experience helping people prevent cancer and heart disease with diet. He sees it working every day in his practice, and says this study fails to focus on some of the most important findings in nutrition research.

To win the war on cancer; these positive diet change must occur when we are young.

When our cells are growing they expose their DNA to the damaging effects of low nutrient and low phytochemical intake. The low consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts (only 5 percent of calories consumed by children) results in our unstoppable and growing cancer epidemic. Research scientists have been forced to accept the idea that the causes of cancer are usually set into motion more than 50 years before diagnosis. Our big artillery in the war on cancer is truly our in our kitchen; but we must start feeding our kids right to unleash the big guns.

Even though the factors initiating cancer causation cannot be eliminated with late-life dietary changes, nutritional excellence even later in life can have dramatic effects at lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease. But a much more aggressive change in diet is required to achieve that degree of protection than what was looked at in these recent studies. It has already been established that a diet-style which contains a much larger percent of calories from unrefined plant foods (ninety percent) has dramatic effects on the occurrence of heart disease.

My vegetable-based diet was studied in the medical journal Metabolism in 2001 and was found to lower LDL cholesterol 33 percent and have dramatic effects on cardiac disease markers. Similar plant-based dietary approaches, either vegetarian or near-vegetarian containing mostly vegetables, bean, fruits, and nuts, have also been shown to offer dramatic protection against heart disease, even when adopted later in life.

And finally, some relevant studies to consider:

Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.

Hu FB, Willett WC. Optimal diets for prevention of coronary heart disease. JAMA 2002 Nov 27;288(20):2569-2578.

Campbell TC, Parpia B, Chen J. Diet, lifestyle, and the etiology of coronary artery disease: the Cornell China study. Am J Cardiol 1998 Nov 26;82(10B):18T-21T

Esselstyn CB. Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic Through Plant-Based Nutrition. 2001 Autumn;4(4):171-177

Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer

We live in an era where the majority of Americans think that diseases strike us because of either misfortune, genetics, or unknown factors beyond our control. When serious disease "strikes," we run to doctors and expect them to fix us with a pill. Most people have no idea that most diseases--including cancers, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes--are the result of nutritional folly. Because they do not know that adults lived much longer centuries ago, they accept the myth that we are living healthier and longer today.

If we were taught from childhood that the diseases we suffer in the modern world are the tragic consequence of our toxic food environment, we wouldn't be in today's disgraceful situation--where people graduate from high school, college, and even graduate school without learning how to protect, preserve, and restore their precious health. With proper health education, we would learn that our bodies are powerfully resistant to disease when nutritional needs are met. Instead, we have become the victims of the high-tech, mass-produced food culture that is fueling a cancer epidemic unrivaled in human history.

Chemotherapy Mentality
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.

Science or Profits?
At present, pharmaceutical companies-- not independent medical or scientific researchers--control the vast majority of research and clinical trials. We have lost the judgment and rationale of independent experts and now depend on drug companies to honestly report the risks and benefits of drugs they manufacture and sell. This is like asking the fast-food industry to be in charge of our nutritional advice. The medical studies that drug companies pay for and publicize are heavily biased in favor of the drugs they sell. The economically powerful pharmaceutical industry and the large chemical-food conglomerates wield undue influence on government and the media. Accurate nutritional information is rarely reported because the media cannot produce stories that go against the interests of their advertisers. Instead, the media is quick to report on drug company press releases--self-serving propaganda announcing new anticancer "breakthroughs" that reinforce the myth that we are winning the war against cancer.

Mythical Breakthroughs
Most often, the so-called "benefits" described by drug companies announce improved "response rates," for example, when tumor burden is lessened. But an improved response rate means little if the patient does not survive longer. And even the cancer industry's meager definition of survival--living 5 years beyond diagnosis--can be misleading. If "advances" in chemotherapy result in a higher percentage of people surviving for 5 years than did previously, that can be reported as "progress." But if most of them still die between years 5 and 10, it hardly can be called a big success, especially if the same number or more people would have survived 10 years or longer without the chemotherapy.

Unless overall survival and quality of life are improved, it matters not if chemotherapy resulted in tumor shrinkage, or if a slight increase is seen in 5-year survival statistics. By using virtually meaningless terms like "response rates" and "disease-free survival," researchers can report results that make chemotherapy look more effective than it really is.

Unless patients do some investigating of their own, they have no way of knowing that the glowingly optimistic results reported in the press--and too often parroted by their doctors--are designed to lead them to chemotherapy even though it is a poor choice for both quality and duration of life. The false perception that chemotherapy offers significant life-span benefits for cancer sufferers is dramatically juxtaposed by the fact that so many more people die of cancer today than they did years ago. In fact, a Swedish study showed that the risk of developing cancer and dying of it was three times higher in people born in the 1950s compared with those born in the 1880s. Since 1958, cancer has increased 55 percent in men and only slightly less in women.1

Does Chemotherapy Work?
Let's see how effective chemotherapy actually is with a few common cancers.

  • A meta-analysis of chemotherapy for postmenopausal, estrogen receptor-positive women (the largest group of women with breast cancer) pooled the six largest studies to get the most accurate data on survival and complications. Here is what researchers concluded about the group treated with standard chemotherapy: "No significant survival benefit was observed."2
  • In non-small cell lung cancer (the most common type), the 5- year survival is only about 10 percent. In stage 4, when the cancer has spread to distant sites, the 5-year survival is only 1.6 percent. After looking at multiple studies, it appears that treatment generally results in a very slight improved survival rate at 1 year, but this advantage disappeared at 30 months of follow- up.3
  • Even in small cell lung cancer where chemotherapy has proven effectiveness in life extension, the benefit adds only a few months of life, not years. And during this time the patient can experience serious--even life threatening-- side effects from the treatment.

What Should You Do?
If you have cancer and are considering chemotherapy, it is wise to do a search on all of the studies done on the recommended therapy (using med-line, for instance), so an informed decision can be made. If this were done, most patients likely would refuse chemotherapy. Doctors generally hide and distort the realities of chemotherapy, talking to patients about "shrinking the cancer" and "killing cancer cells," not mentioning the fact that the therapy has not been shown to extend life.

Every patient has to make her own decision. But if I were a woman with postmenopausal breast cancer, I would opt for surgery, without radiation and without chemotherapy, and would then pursue an aggressive nutritional protocol. I also would include antiestrogens if the tumor histology showed it to be estrogen receptor- positive.

War Against Good Nutrition
While the "war against cancer" is being fought with the wet noodle of chemotherapy, we are observing a significant increase in some cancers, such as malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma, and prostate cancer. Our population is heavier and as cancer-prone as ever. While we are pouring billions of dollars into drug companies and cancer centers, millions of people continue to die from what should be a preventable disease.

Almost nothing has been done to teach people about the power of nutritional excellence to protect against cancer. In fact, the media regularly reports that nutrition does not affect cancer. For example, a recent New York Times (G. Kolata, September 27,2005,"Science Times") article reported that diet had only a "hypothetical" relationship with cancer. This ludicrous pronouncement was based on studies that showed that perimenopausal women who eat less fat still have high cancer rates. The Times evidently does not understand that modestly reducing fat and eating more chicken and pasta is not an anti-cancer program.

We are losing the war on cancer, and our government policies are actually worsening the problem. With all of the recent advances in science pointing to phytonutrient deficiency as the major cause of cancer, our efforts should focus on prevention; educating the public about proper diet and nutrition. Millions of lives can be saved. We also can eliminate the tragic consequences and family trauma of living with cancer---diagnoses, surgeries, radiation, chemotherapies, suffering, and premature death, which come from the cancer and very often from the treatment.

Avoiding Cancer
Your body is a self-repairing and self-healing machine. Human cells have all the features necessary to protect themselves from chemical damage to their DNA that eventually results in carcinogenic changes. A cancer cell is essentially a normal cell whose DNA has been damaged to the point that it can no longer control its replication. The process that is creating our modern epidemic of cancer is twofold. One aspect involves the exposure of our cells to damaging stresses such as chemical carcinogens, radon, acrylamides, and high levels of saturated and trans fats and animal protein. At the same time, we have a woefully insufficient dietary intake of plant-derived nutrients, which renders our cells incapable of functioning to their fullest potential for repair and maintenance.

Our cells have built-in, powerful mechanisms to remove or destroy toxic substances, inhibit DNA damage, repair broken DNA cross-links, and remove cells that are injured or abnormal before they become cancerous. In recent years, the term phytochemicals has been used to refer to the thousands of newly-discovered nutrients supplied by plants that---in addition to vitamins and minerals---are necessary for maximal immune system protection and for the promotion of cellular detoxification and repair.

Most of our knowledge about what constitutes the optimal cancer prevention diet comes from both human population (epidemiological) studies and animal studies. Populations that have a high intake of natural, unrefined plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and beans always have a low incidence of cancer, proportional to the intake of these phytochemcal-rich plant foods.

Even though other factors such as chemicals, pollution, and smoking play a role in cancer etiology, the scientific literature still illustrates that a better diet offers dramatic protection even against nondietary cancer promoters. For example, the Fiji Islands (where smoking rates are high) still has a dramatically lower incidence of lung cancer than Hawaii (where smoking rates are lower). This protection against lung cancer even in heavily smoking Fiji Islanders was shown to be the result of the high intake of green vegetables in Fiji.4

Examining data from numerous epidemiological studies, the World Cancer Research Fund concluded that the evidence that fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of oral, esophageal, lung, stomach, colon, pancreatic, bladder, and breast cancer was convincing. No single substance in a plant-based diet accounts for this relationship; rather, it is the synergistic effect of multiple phytochemical compounds (which number in the thousands).

The National Cancer Institute recommends eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. However, scientific studies suggest that more is better and that much, much more is much, much better at reducing cancer risk. It is a national disgrace that very few Americans follow this very minimal recommendation to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Cruciferous Vegetables
While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds-- especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.

These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:


  • halt the growth of breast cancer cells;5
  • dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer;6
  • prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells;7
  • inhibit the progression of lung cancer.8


What makes these studies even more fascinating is the discovery of the gene/diet interaction, which has shown that high intake of greens and cruciferous vegetables provides the food factors necessary to interact with--and prevent-- genetic defects from creating disease. This gene/diet interaction activates a battery of many genes, initiating DNA repair and other protection mechanisms.

These cellular repair and detoxification mechanisms are most powerfully induced by eating a mixture of both raw and cooked cruciferous plant foods. Some of the compounds are water soluble and heat stable, and absorption is increased when cooked, for example, in a soup. Other critical ITCs are heat sensitive and are better transmitted in the raw form.

Carotenoids & Polyphenols
Population studies show an association between high dietary intake of carotenoid-containing fruits and vegetables and reduced risk of prostate, breast, and head and neck cancers. A high dietary intake of fruits and vegetables provides a spectrum of carotenoids, including alphacarotene, gamma-carotene, betacryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein, and lycopene.

Vegetable juices (carrot, tomato, spinach, and other greens) represent a particularly potent form of carotenoids. Scientists have demonstrated that drinking carrot juice significantly reduces free radical damage to genes. Tomato juice and cooked tomatoes rich in lycopene and other potent antioxidants help reduce the oxidation of the "bad" LDL cholesterol and also have been shown to dramatically help protect against cancer. Carotenoid-rich extracts of carrots and tomatoes have been shown to substantially inhibit the early stages of liver cancer in animals.

Fruits also contain various key phytochemicals. For example, resveratrol, found in grapes, has been reported to exert a variety of anticancer effects. Studies have demonstrated that resveratrol causes growth inhibition of human colon and breast cancer cells. Ellagic acid, found in strawberries, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, is another polyphenol that has demonstrated anticarcinogenic potential in animal studies.

This article is from the Healthy Times newsletter, a complete archive of which is available to members of DrFuhrman.com.

Continue Reading...

"A Symphony of Phytonutrients" from Cruciferous Vegetables

While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds--especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects.

Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.

Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables
and the compounds they contain can do the following:

* halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
* dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
* prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
* inhibit the progression of lung cancer4

What makes these studies even more fascinating is the discovery of the gene/diet interaction, which has shown that high intake of greens and cruciferous vegetables provides the food factors necessary to interact with--and prevent--genetic defects from creating disease. This gene/diet interaction activates a battery of many genes, initiating DNA repair and other protection mechanisms.

These cellular repair and detoxification mechanisms are most powerfully induced by eating a mixture of both raw and cooked cruciferous plant foods. Some of the compounds are water soluble and heat stable, and absorption is increased when cooked, for example, in a soup. Other critical ITCs are heat sensitive and are better transmitted in the raw form.

Continue Reading...

Fishing for the Truth

Michael Hawthorne and Sam Roe of the Chicago Tribune report that the United States safety net for safeguarding consumers against the increased mercury levels in fish is in tatters. In the article the reporters detail the fate of one particular piece of fish:

Shipped from Singapore, the swordfish entered the U.S. this year without being tested for the toxic metal mercury.

When a fillet from that fish reached a display case at a supermarket in suburban Des Plaines, it carried no government warning labels, even though federal officials know swordfish often is so contaminated that young children and pregnant women should never eat it.

The Chicago Tribune actually bought and tested a portion of this fish, which produced alarming results:

When the Tribune bought and tested this particular piece of fish, the results showed not just high amounts of mercury, but levels three times the legal limit.

Hawthorne and Roe point out the dangers lurking in the fish and in the actions of U.S. health officials:

Even though mercury can cause learning disabilities in children and neurological problems in adults, regulators do not even bother to routinely check fish for metal. This leaves consumers with little idea about which fish are most hazardous.

In some cases, regulators have ignored the advice of their own scientists who concluded that mercury was far more dangerous than what consumers were being told.

In other instances, regulators have made decisions that benefited the fishing industry at the expense of public health.

In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains that consumption of fish creates a parodox:

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that interfere with blood clotting much the same way aspirin does. Once you have significant atherosclerosis, it is helpful to take such anti-clotting agents, especially if you continue a dangerous diet. These fish derived-fats also have some effect on protecting the arterial walls from damage from other fats.

However, the best way to prevent a heart attack or stroke is to follow a high-nutrient diet with little or no animal products, thereby ensuring that such blockages don't develop in the first place. Then eating fish won't matter. In fact, the reason fish-derived fats, EPA and DHA, are not considered essential fats is that almost all people have enzymes to convert the plant-derived omega-3 fat rapidly into EPA and DHA.1

Fish is a double-edged sword, especially because fish has been shown to increase heart attack risk if polluted with mercury.2 It seems that the cardioprotective effects of eating a little fish is lost when you eat lots of fish, most likely because lots of fish exposes you to high mercury levels, which can promote lipid peroxidation.3 Lipid peroxidation plays a major role in the development of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

Dr. Fuhrman provides important information to consider when deciding whether or not to consume fish:

Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.4 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.5 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.

Fish with Highest and Lowest Mercury Levels

Highest
  • tilefish
  • swordfish
  • mackerel
  • shark
  • white snapper
  • tuna

Lowest
  • salmon
  • flounder
  • sole
  • tilapia
  • trout

Source: Mercury levels in seafood species. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Office of Seafood, May 2001.

The bottom line: Choose fish over other animal products, but be aware that the place where it was caught, and the type of fish, matters. Don't accept recreational fish from questionable waters. Farmed fish is safer. Never eat high-mercury-content fish. Don't eat fish more than twice a week, and if you have a family history of hemorrhagic stroke, limit it further to only once a month.

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Nutritional Excellence vs. Cancer

Graciela Flores of Reuters Health reports that a study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that smoking lowers chances of surviving throat cancer.
Dr. Rajesh P. Dikshit, a member of the research team, says:

This is a very important finding. We knew that smoking is a cause of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer, but now it's clear that it affects survival as well. Alcohol consumption also had a negative effect on survival, but to a lesser extent than tobacco.

He explains that regular consumption of vegetables can actually improve cancer survival rates:
We found that a high intake of vitamin C significantly improved the patients' survival.

Eating vegetables and vitamin C is also something cancer patients should consider. Doctors are prescribing this already, but now we have demonstrated that these diet components improve the patients' survival, and perhaps make the treatment more effective.

The idea that vegetables can be an important tool in fighting cancer is central to Dr. Fuhrman's work. In Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live, for instance, he explains that the phytochemicals in plants appear to play an important role:
Phytochemicals, or plant-derived chemicals, occur naturally in plants (phyto means "plant"). These nutrients, which scientists are just starting to discover and name, have tremendously beneficial effects on human physiology. The effects of our not consuming sufficient amounts of them are even more astounding--premature death from cancer and atheroscleriosis.

A recent edition of Dr. Fuhrman's monthly newsletter Healthy Times provides some real-life examples of diet having dramatic effects after cancer diagnoses:
In my medical practice over the last 15 years, I have observed numerous people utilize nutritional excellence as their primary treatment for cancer. Although I have been witness to the deaths of some very special, brave and loving individuals, I also have seen some dramatic recoveries. For example:
  • I have observed a young woman with stage-4 metastatic colon cancer who made a complete recovery with no treatment except nutritional excellence and who had no further cancer noted on follow-up CT scans.
  • I have observed 8 women with CIN III of the cervix reverse the abnormality back to normal with my nutritional protocols in 4 to 6 months.
  • I observed a woman with metastatic breast cancer to the bones make a complete recovery, with no signs of recurrent disease.
  • I observed a woman with a positive biopsy for breast cancer who left the tumor untreated; the tumor shrunk and disappeared into a small scar.
  • I have seen many men with prostate cancer drop their PSA levels into the normal range and keep them there with this nutritional protocol with no further advancement of the cancer.

Is Organic Food Safer?

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease-Proof Your Child.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is up 10.7 percent over the last twenty years. Brain cancer is up 30 percent; osteogenic sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, is up 50 percent; and testicular cancer is up 60 percent in men under thirty. No one can tell us why. Scientific studies provide clues that are difficult to ignore:

  • Children whose parents work with pesticides are more likely to suffer leukemia, brain cancer, and other afflictions.
  • Studies show that childhood leukemia is related to increased pesticide use around the house.
  • Nine studies reviewed by the National Cancer Institute showed a correlation between pesticide exposure and brain cancer.
  • Exposure to weed killers in childhood increases asthma risk by more than fourfold.
All the dangers stated above are not the result of eating pesticide-treated produce. This clear link between pesticides and cancer is a result of chemical use around the home and farm.1 Clearly, it is not logical to eat organic food to avoid pesticide residue and then spray our homes with carcinogenic insecticides and weed killers used liberally in and around homes, interior plants, lawns, gardens, and even schools.

Because young children are the ones most susceptible to toxic exposures, the National Academy of Science has issued warnings and position papers stating that exposure to pesticides in early life can increase cancer rates down the road as well as increasing the occurrence of mental and immune system disorders.2

We must be careful not to expose our children to chemical cleaners, insecticides, and weed killers on our lawns. Chemicals used in pressure-treated wood used to build lawn furniture, decks, fences, and swings sets have been shown to place children at risk. When children are around, we must be vigilant to maintain a chemical-free environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causers. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple myloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach, prostate, and testes.3 But the question remains, does the low level of pesticides remaining on our food present much of a danger?

Some scientists argue that the extremely low level of pesticide residue remaining on produce is insignificant and that there are naturally occurring toxins in all natural foods that are more significant. The large amount of studies performed on the typical pesticide-treated produce have demonstrated that consumption of produce, whether organic or not, is related to lower rates of cancer and disease protection, not higher rates. Certainly, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using pesticides than not eating them at all. The health benefits of eating phytochemical-rich produce greatly outweigh any risk pesticide residues might pose.

It has been shown that women with higher levels of pesticides in their bloodstream have a higher risk of breast cancer.4 However, the pesticide shown in these studies to be connected to cancer was DDT, which is no longer used in food production and was banned by the U.S. government in 1972. The problem is that DDT is still in the environment and finds its way back into our food supply, predominately via shellfish and fish consumption. So purchasing organic fruit and vegetables will not lower our exposure to DDT if we are eating fish and shellfish regularly.

Keep in mind, there is a significantly larger exposure to toxic chemicals in animal products compared to plant food. By eating lower on the food chain and reducing our intake of animal products, one automatically reduces exposure to toxic chemicals. Plants have the least fat-soluble pollutants, animals that eat plants have more, and animals that eat animals have the highest levels of these toxic compounds. Fish that eat smaller fish will store the toxic compounds from every fish it ever ate, including all the fish eaten by the fish it just made a meal of. It is important to avoid lobster, shellfish, catfish, and predator fish such as tuna, bluefish, striped bass, shark, and swordfish, where toxins such as PCB, DDT, dioxin, and mercury are likely to build up due to the compounding effects of eating lots of smaller fish. One gets larger doses of more toxic compounds from these contaminated animal products than would be possible to take in from produce.

Organic food is certainly your best bet, to further limit exposure to toxic chemicals. No one knows for sure how much risk exists from pesticide residue on produce, but here's what we do know: the younger you are, the more your cells are susceptible to damage from toxins. It seems wise to feed our young children organic food whenever possible.

Of course, wash your vegetables and fruit with water and when possible, use a drop of dishwashing detergent and then rinse well to remove all detergent residues for a little more efficient cleaning. Specialty pesticide removal products have not clearly demonstrated any more effectiveness than mild soap and water.

Besides the heightened exposure to chemicals and pesticides from animal products, the most hazardous pesticides are used on some plant foods responsible for the majority of the plant-food-related dietary risk. These foods with the most pesticide residue are: strawberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, cherries, apples, and celery. Imported produce is also more likely to contain higher levels of pesticides.5

There is another reason to feed our children organic food when possible. Organic food usually has more nutrients than conventional.6 One study performed at the University of California at Davis found that foods grown organically had higher amounts of flavonoids, which have protective effects against both heart disease and cancer. The researchers found flavonoids were more than 50 percent higher in organic corn and strawberries. They theorized that when plants are forced to deal with the stress of insects, they produce more of these compounds, which are beneficial to humans.7 Overall, organic foods taste better, and organic agriculture protects farmers and our environment.

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Research: Diet as Children Affects Lifelong Cancer

Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease-Proof Your Child contains a huge new idea: that childhood diet plays an important role in many cancers and other chronic diseases that occur decades later.

Since the book came out, there has been even more research to support the theory. Alert DiseaseProof reader Rick Miller sent us an MSNBC article about new evidence that bad adolescent diets can inspire later breast cancer.

The article, by Karen Collins, R.D., focuses on a phytochemical found in soy, called genistein:

The University of Alabama researcher who presented the new studies at the conference said that genistein offered no protection from breast cancer when it was first given to animals in adulthood. But when the animals ate it before puberty, they had less breast cancer development.

The benefits were even greater when they continued to eat it into adulthood. The evidence suggests that the time around puberty offers a chance to imprint cells with a "blueprint" that creates cellular pathways for long-term protection.

NYTimes Tackles Cancer Prevention Through Exercise

A few weeks ago, Gina Kolata of The New York Times wrote the first in a series about diet's role in preventing cancer. Dr. Fuhrman wrote a lengthy response (one of his main points: by ignoring the influence of diet during childhood, she missed the major nutrition/cancer link).

Today marks the second article in Ms. Kolata's cancer prevention series, and it focuses on exercise. The article is well worth a read. While I'm sure there are those who would argue some of her conclusions, she touches on a lot of the same issues that Dr. Fuhrman often talks about--like the early onset of menstruation and its effect on breast cancer rates (one doctor she quotes, for instance, says girls only begin menstruating when they have excess calories).

But what struck me most was the clear presentation of a rather sad notion: we Americans seem to not want to learn from the best medical research, if it means doing "boring" things like eating right and exercising.

The article quotes several studies and doctors making clear that there is a strong correlation between exercise and colon cancer. But doctors who prescribe exercise have little luck:

"I'm pretty confident it will work," Dr. Sandler said of the exercise prescription. But, he adds, most patients dismiss that advice.

"They kind of blow me off," he said.

Dr. John Min, an internist in private practice in Burlington, N. C., loves exercise - he runs in marathons - and he believes it can improve health and possibly protect people from colon and breast cancer. But he does not even mention it to his patients as a way to protect against those cancers.

"Unfortunately, trying to get patients, even those who are very interested, to start exercising is very difficult," he says.

He said he has tried, and patients have left his office seeming excited about turning their life around. But they soon return to their sedentary ways.

"This is unfortunately what I have realized," Dr. Min said. "The ability for someone to significantly change their lifestyle, which they've lived with for years, is extremely difficult unless it is personally important to them. I can't make it personally important to them in the time of an office visit."


Hmm... that's seriously too bad. I'm interested in any ideas people might have about smart tactics to change that reality. Who knows how much healthier we would all be if we did simple, low-tech things like ate right and exercised?

Study: Lower Fat Diet Reduces Recurrence of Breast Cancer

As we have discussed previously, many studies point to a link between diet and cancer. Studies that consider long-term diets, and the diets of the very young, suggest particularly strong ties. Studies in which middle-aged people have made modest dietary changes for only a few years have had mixed results (which can create confusion and be discouraging for those who are interested in eating the healthiest diet possible).

In May, however, a study was released showing that women who had been treated for breast cancer decreased their likelihood of a recurrence with a modest reduction of fat intake. In a a question-and-answer session describing his study, Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center explains that the research involved more than 2,400 women as part of the Women's Intervention Nutrition Study.

After an average of five years, 9.8 percent of the women on the low-fat diet had a recurrence of cancer. Meanwhile, 12.4 percent of the women on a standard diet had recurrences. That's a 24 percent reduction. Impressively, women with cancers that were not sensitive to estrogen--and who therefore are not candidates for drugs like tamoxifen--had their risk fall even more, by about 42%.

The only dietary adjustment these women made was to eat an average of 33.3 grams of fat per day, compared to the "average diet" which contained 51.3 grams of fat. That is a very modest dietary adjustment.

In his books, Dr. Fuhrman describes a diet that is low in fat, but otherwise very different from the diet these women were following. Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations for cancer patients include fresh squeezed vegetable juices, blended salads, and his cruciferous vegetable containing soups. His menus are designed to contain optimal levels of phytonutrients as they occur in nature. Phytonutrients have been shown in scientific studies to boost the immune system's ability to defend itself against a cancer and actually enable the body to stop the growth of cancer cells. His results with many cancer patients have been dramatic, and make clear that the marginal benefits of reducing fat intake is only the beginning of what diet can do to ward off cancer.

NY Times Questions Diet as Cancer Prevention

In The New York Times today, Gina Kolata raises the question: can a healthy diet prevent cancer? After surveying the results of recent case control and cohort studies, she concludes that the benefits of a healthy diet are "hypothetical and elusive" when it comes to preventing cancer.

There's a lot of great research in Ms. Kolata's article, but unfortunately the studies she cites examine only modest dietary changes, over relatively short periods, in adults. A broader look at the research reveals a very different picture, and a convincing case that diet is an important tool in preventing cancer, especially in children and young people.

Understanding Different Kinds of Studies
There are different ways of studying the relationship between nutrition and cancer.
Epidemiological studies look at populations with varying characteristics for comparison. These have shown overwhelmingly that there is a connection between diet and cancer.
Case control studies compare two groups: one with the disease in question, and one without. (Past food intake is determined by questionnaires.)
Cohort studies follow two groups over time, looking for differences that appear years later.

As the Times acknowledges, hundreds of epidemiological studies show in any number of convincing ways that there likely is a connection between diet and cancer. In The China Study, for instance (which the Times earlier called "the Grand Prix of all epidemiological studies" and "the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease") researchers compared the varying diets in various Chinese towns, and found that as the amount of animal products increased in the diet, even in relatively small increments, so did the emergence of the types of cancers that are common in the West. The researchers noted that most cancers increased in direct proportion to the quantity of animal products eaten and decreased relative to the amount of fruits, vegetables, and beans consumed. Areas of China with exceptionally low intakes of animal products were virtually free of the cancers and heart disease that develop in most people living in Western countries.

The China Study is one of many epidemiological studies showing a diet-cancer connection. Among those aged 50-75, cancers of the digestive tract, breast, and prostate are 20 times higher in the United States than in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. The huge geographic variability in the incidence of these cancers suggests dietary factors as the main cause. When people from a low-risk country migrate to the United States, their cancer rates increase considerably, and their offspring get cancer at the same rate as other Americans. This demonstrates that the lower incidence of these cancers in Asia is not due to a lower genetic susceptibility in Asians, but rather to the lack of exposure to Western lifestyles.

Fat, particularly animal fat, has been implicated as a cause of cancer, while the consumption of fruits and vegetables had been shown to protect against cancer. For instance, Boyd et al reported on this in a 1993 study published in the British Journal of Cancer, as did Steinmetz et al in a 1996 article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and La Vecchia et al in a 1998 article in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. Studies on laboratory animals also implicate omega-6 oils and saturated fat intake as cancer promoters. (Examples include Hursting et al in a 1990 Preventive Medicine article, Zhao et al in Nutrition and Cancer in 1991, Fay et al in Cancer Research in 1997.)

The Times article draws heavily on the many recent cohort and case-control studies that have been something of a fly in the ointment. They have created confusion and doubt, because with a few exceptions, they have not confirmed the findings of the epidemiological studies.

Case control studies have shown an association with animal fat consumption and cancer, but this was not considered convincing evidence, as patients with cancer have a tendency to exaggerate their prior fat intake on diet recall questionnaires.

The cohort studies are more respected because they follow separate groups over a long time period. The cohort studies have not shown a clear-cut relationship between dietary fat (even saturated fat) and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon or have only shown a moderate relationship. The Nurses Health Study showed that American women who reduced their fat intake did not see a decreased incidence of breast cancer.

Why do the epidemiologic and cohort studies show different results? Do these conflicting results mean that saturated fat is not a significant risk factor for cancer? Is a high-fiber diet that includes large amounts of natural, unrefined plant foods such as fresh fruit, raw nuts and seeds, vegetables, and beans not protective? Is this huge amount of data collected in the China Project and other convincing epidemiological studies wrong?

Cohort Studies: Measuring Too Little, Too Late
Because all the epidemiological studies can't be wrong, there are two possibilities. The first is that these cohort studies followed adults who are past the age when diet plays a significant role. The middle-aged adults who attempted to eat more carefully to prevent cancer were already past the age when diet has its most powerful effect. In China, for example, the dietary pattern observed was present during gestation, infancy, childhood, and beyond.

The second possibility is that the lower ranges of saturated fat intake tested were not sufficiently low to be protective. The dietary variation from one group to another may not have been enough to show a significant difference. (For instance, people eating lots of pasta and chicken, but not lots of leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, etc. would be considered to be eating a low fat diet, but they would not be eating the diet that the evidence suggests would be optimal for cancer prevention. As I explain elsewhere, they key to a healthy diet is nutrient density.)

The bottom line is that these studies on adults in Western countries are not very accurate. They follow adults who made only modest dietary changes later in life, and who were likely past the age when dietary influence can have a profound effect on cancer occurrence.

Childhood Diet is Key
The piece of the puzzle that The New York Times missed is the research relating to diets during childhood. There is a mountain of evidence that suggests diet among children, especially very young children, can have a strong effect on the likelihood of later cancer. A lot of the reason why I wrote the book Disease-Proof Your Child was to put that research together all in one place.

When you examine what children eat and its effect on cancer, epidemiologic, case control, and cohort studies all fall much more in line with the idea that a healthy diet can reduce the likelihood of cancer.

This makes some sense: the growing body, with its dividing cells, is at greater risk when exposed to all types of negative and toxic influences. With loosely spooled DNA, children are literally more exposed.

Researchers have noted many examples of events in youth that cause cancer decades later. For example, the largest groupings of cancer spikes among those who survived the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings occurred 40 to 45 years after exposure (according to Pierce et al in a Radiation Research article published in 1996.)

Also in Japan, a forty-one-year National Nutrition Survey detected a massive drop in dietary fiber after World War II. An average intake of 27.4 grams per day in 1947 was reduced to 15.8 grams by 1963. Fat intake increased form 18 grams in 1950 to 56.6 grams in 1987. Twenty-three to 24 years after the heightened consumption of animal products began, there was a correlating increase in colon cancer. Those with the highest consumption of plant fiber in childhood had the lowest incidence of colon cancer.

In a 1998 study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, Caygill et al found that incidence of breast cancer correlated strongly with body weight---several decades before the cancer occurred. Those who were overweight as young women were more likely to get breast cancer. Some researchers conclude that dieting later in life may be too late.

Dr. Jerald Silverman of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State University used a grant from the American Institute for Cancer Research to study mice who are very susceptible to breast cancer. He fed some a high-fat diet. Other groups he switched to low-fat diets at various stages of their lives. The study showed the same things we see in human studies: those mice fed the high-fat diet had more cancer, and more of the cancer spread to the lung. The earlier the change to the healthier lower-fat diet, the better the mice fared.

Breast cancer is not the only cancer that has been shown to behave in this way. Colon cancer has a weak association with obesity in adults. But high body weight in adolescence correlates much more strongly with eventual colon cancer, according to Must et al in their follow up to the Harvard Growth Study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1992.

Engeland et al tracked 1.1 million Norwegian women, and found that women who were heavier and taller as youngsters were 56 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer. Their results were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2003. Similarly, Harvard Medical School researchers have found that women who reported being overweight by age eighteen were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer later in life.

Numerous studies report links between high caloric intake in childhood and cancer. Frankel et al reported in the British Medical Journal in 1998 that they studied 3,834 subjects for more than half a century, and found a positive association between calories consumed during early life and later mortality from every cancer other than those related to smoking. With every additional MJ/day (238 calories) there was a 20% increased risk of mortality from the most common cancers. Fewer calories consumed during childhood provided protection against all three common cancers. The researchers noted that their findings were consistent with similar animal studies and human studies showing correlation between height (which can be at least partly caused by high caloric intake, especially from high-growth foods like dairy) and cancer, and concluded that their study "confirms the importance of optimal nutrition in childhood."

Just as there are studies showing that diet during childhood can increase the risk of cancer, there are other studies demonstrating that certain foods can reduce that risk. For instance, Sullivan published research in Family Practice News showing that teenagers who eat more high-fiber, high-antioxidant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts have a lower occurrence of benign breast disease, the precursor marker of breast cancer.

In countless studies, early puberty has been repeatedly associated with breast cancer. But what causes early puberty? Lots of research implicates childhood diet.

In 1998, the UK Department of Health's Working Group on Diet and Cancer of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy made public their cohort study showing that higher consumption of produce and protein-rich plant foods such as beans and nuts is associated with a later menarche, and the higher consumption of protein-rich animal foods--meat and dairy--is associated with an earlier menarche and increased occurrence of adult breast cancer.

Similarly, a 1999 study published by Berkey et al in the American Journal of Epidemiology followed children from birth and found that the girls who consumed more animal products and fewer vegetables between the ages of one and eight were prone to early maturation and puberty. The strongest predictor of early puberty was a diet rich in animal protein before the age of five. Many studies have shown convincingly that estrogen levels in children can be managed through diet.

Cho et al followed 100,000 women between the ages of 26 and 46, and found that the younger the woman was, the greater effect diet could have on later breast cancer incidence. Those results were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2003.

These are just some of the ways that a healthy diet, especially for young people, can reduce cancer risk. As I describe in Disease-Proof Your Child, an excellent diet can also reduce exposure to pesticides and hormones--which have been shown in studies to have links to cancer. The book also explains how a diet rich in the healthiest foods can have a dramatic effect in reducing asthma, ear infections, allergies, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders.