Today is “World Cancer Day” – do we need one?
Every day, I hear about cancer, or I see a “Please share this pink ribbon or fund raising coffee morning…” on Facebook.
What really amazed me today, was to hear that effectively we are losing the battle against cancer, in that according to a new global cancer report compiled by UN Agency, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows 1:
- As a single entity, cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide 2 – there were an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012
- Global cancer incidence over four years increased by 11%* to an estimated 14.1 million cases in 2012 – equal to the population of India’s largest city (Mumbai)3
- Cancer cases worldwide are forecast to rise by 75% and reach close to 25 million over the next two decades
These are frightening statistics, “forecast to rise by 75%…” So what are we to do?
The press release for World Cancer Day http://www.worldcancerday.org/press-release-wcd-2014 also suggests that practical solutions are needed to “to reduce premature deaths must have prevention as their cornerstone.
- Development of National Cancer Control Plans
- Awareness programmes against modifiable risks factors (my emphasis)
- Cancer screening programmes – shown to have decreased some cancers by at least 25% 1
- Introduction of HPV vaccination programmes”
I highlighted that bullet above as I am firmly of the belief that there are things we can do….
Here are some ideas. They are not an exhaustive list and I am not a doctor. I am simply sharing some resources and thoughts that may help you to reduce your risk of joining these statistics or help you, your friends or family in their fight against cancer….
First of all, I am not saying you have to do what I have done and choose to eat a 95-98% no-added fats, whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet. Most of my friends and anyone who reads my website (www.plantalicious.com) and Facebook posts know that I follow a WFPB diet. Am I saying that you have to do so too? Let me say it again – “No”! Your diet is entirely up to you. What I want to do is to encourage you to consider what you can do. I believe that we are not helpless victims when it comes to our health. Our bodies have a terrific ability to heal themselves and can thrive when given the right fuel. They will even put up with years of abuse. What I want to do is to share some thoughts and ideas based on what I have learned as I have embraced this way of eating.
Firstly, did you know that people eating plant-based diets, in general, tend to have much lower cancer rates? This is likely due to a few key factors:
- WFPB diets are high in fibre. Fibre is an important nutrient that helps to remove excess hormones (esp for hormone-driven cancers), toxins, carcinogens, etc., Fibre is a great component of a cancer-fighting diet! Unfortunately, you can not get the same effect from a fibre supplement. There are two types of fibre, both of which are important.
- Vitamins & Minerals. Vitamins and Minerals are abundant in WFPB foods, especially leafy greens. The body uses them specifically to fight off disease. (Take a look at the Nutrient comparison chart in the book: The China Study to show the difference between animal and plant food nutrients).
- Cruciferous Vegetables – these have shown to be the most potent cancer-fighters, actually stopping the growth of cancer cells. “Do you like any of these?” (broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, spring or mustard & collard greens, etc…Can you incorporate more in your diet?
There is an over whelming amount of information on Cancer, where can you look for reliable and evidence based information? Website and resources I’d recommend:
What type of cancer do they have…. Is it hormone-driven? (breast, prostate, endometrial, etc…)
- Have you considered the notion of dairy stimulating production of hormones. And, also the effect of fat and obesity on these cancers?
- What if it is Colon cancer? Take a look at the evidence linking the intake of meat with colon cancer
- Another resource that is the single best explanation I’ve ever read on digestive diseases and why meat (particularly its sulphur is the culprit) – Dr McDougall’s Digestove Tune-Up http://www.drmcdougall.com/health/shopping/books/dr-mcdougalls-digestive-tune-up/
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has some incredible free Factsheets that are vwell-referenced (Here’s a link: http://www.pcrm.org/factsheets/ – although it looks like they require you to give them your email before you can access them.
- They also have a FREE version of their Cancer Survivor’s Guide book available for download – http://pcrm.org/shop/byNealBarnard/cancer-survivors-guide
￼￼Should I take a load of supplements to help in my Cancer Treatment?
- It is important to understand the difference between a supplement (an isolated nutrient) and a whole food (which contains a symphony of nutrients). You definitely get more “bang for your buck” with a whole food. Particularly, fibre which (see above) is an important part in fighting disease.
- Taking isolated supplements can be dangerous. We override the body’s ability to determine how much of that nutrient needs to be absorbed by taking a supplement – in some cases, this has been credited with causing heart disease, cancers, advanced aging, etc…
So this is not an exhaustive list, but I hope that it helps you and yours either avoid some of the cancers that lifestyle changes can prevent and improve your ability to fight cancer should you be diagnosed with it.