Thursday, December 30, 2010

Clean - a Great Way to Think About Maintaining Health

As we make our New Year's resolutions, we often think about eating better, or trying exercise more, but often it is with some vague concept of what it takes to be healthy.  We all know there are things we should do to stay healthy - but it is a little easier to follow our new standards if we can imagine our body having to manage everything we put in it.

Like the engine of your car would not run if you put sludge in it - better gas and the occasional flush makes it run better.  It is the same for our bodies.

Health maintenance is about keeping the systems clean and working efficiently - and this also helps to keep the cancer away :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fighting Cancer with Mushrooms

As a cancer patient we have to navigate so much information about our treatment.  The pressure to decide what to do is immense - your doctors want you to immediately go into chemotherapy and/or radiation to kill the cancer before it spreads.  Sometimes, dealing with the emotional trauma, and constant push and pull from the doctors, and for some people: maintaining jobs, we feel like we have little time to research other options to improve our chances of survival.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was very lucky to have two friends help me find naturopathic doctors to guide me in complementing my treatment with immunotherapy.

Probably the most important component of that treatment was mushrooms.  It is now routinely administered alongside chemotherapy in Japan, and the cancer fighting properties of mushrooms are being confirmed with numerous studies around the globe.

But all the research in the world means nothing until you see it in your own body.  When I first met with my ND, the testing revealed my NK Cell (the cells in your immune system that fight cancer) count was 1/5th of what a normal cell count should be.  Also, these cells were not aggressive, or active in fighting the cancer cells.

Amazingly, while I was going through the stress of life, and the stress on my body from the treatment, testing revealed that my NK cell count came back into the normal range.   Not only was it protecting me from the damaging effects of radiation, but my body was growing stronger!

Today, years later, I am still cancer free.

If you have cancer, or you have had cancer, there's a good chance your NK cells are weak.  They do not rebuild on their own.  It makes sense to take some mushrooms, even little amounts over time have a cancer-preventative effect.  I think they are critical to survival.

These are the mushrooms I have taken: Host Defense

I buy my supplements from - they have the best prices for the quality brands I like, great resources, good service, and low shipping rates.  You can save $5 on your first order if you enter code: KAT704 when you check out.  The best thing to do is work with a Naturopathic Doctor who can test your immune system and customize the treatment to you, but at a minimum, make sure you are getting the nutrients you need to fight the cancer now.

Live Strong!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Circulating tumor cells predicted recurrence, death in patients with early-stage breast cancer

Circulating tumor cells predicted recurrence, death in patients with early-stage breast cancer

ScienceDaily (2010-12-10) -- The presence of one to four circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood of early-stage breast cancer patients almost doubled patient's risk of cancer relapse and death, and five or more CTCs increased recurrence by 400 percent and death by 300 percent, according to Phase III results of the SUCCESS trial. These cells were found in patients after surgery but before chemotherapy treatment.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Word From The Wise: Wishing You a Mindful Holiday Season

I saw this wonderful post (click link below), and it seems to be just what I need this holiday season - not tips on being healthy, not even reducing stress, but experiencing the holiday with mindfulness - have a happy holiday :)

A Word From The Wise: Wishing You a Mindful Holiday Season: "Normally people wish you a happy, joyous, and peaceful holiday. So, why on earth would I wish you a mindful holiday season? Well, being min..."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Living Life More Fully after a Cancer Diagnosis

One of challenges of surviving cancer is dealing with the emotional side of the diagnosis.  There are days when you feel well and you hope you will survive, and there are days when you feel tired and afraid that you will succumb to the cancer if it comes back, or you might feel a little pain from stress, tension, aging... anything, and the fear that it might be another tumor makes you lose sleep at night, which makes you more tired, and weaker... it can be a terrible cycle - often causing depression.

This book 'The Power of Now' has been incredibly helpful to me in processing the emotions that come with being a cancer survivor, and just dealing with the struggles of every day life.  Especially now, with the holidays upon us, it's important that we be present in the moment.   Emotions will come and go -  if we can just let them flow through our bodies, we can more fully enjoy the moments that bring us joy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Study Claims that More Fruits and Vegetables Do Not Protect Against Cancer

Over the past few days there have been several articles showing research that claims that eating more fruits and vegetables does not protect against cancer (see link). I would be interested to see the research that was conducted. Of course, if you eat more fruits and vegetables, it will not prevent cancer if you also smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol, or you don't take care of yourself in other ways.

There have been numerous studies that show cancer fighting properties in fruits and vegetables: the famous Linus Pauling studies using large doses of vitamin C to extend the lives of terminal cancer patients, Vitamin A in it's natural form (not the synthetic form), and Vitamin D and E, all have been shown to be cancer preventative, if not also useful in treating cancer.

I will accept that it would be foolish to think that you could prevent cancer by eating one or two more fruits or vegetables a day, the intake would have to be significantly more than the "Eat 5 a Day" campaign. But even healthy people produce cancer cells daily. A healthy immune system stops the cancer. So, if eating fruits and vegetables is important to staying healthy, then it also is important in preventing cancer.

I often question the purpose of studies like this. I can understand the desire to show that eating fruits and vegetables will not make up for an unhealthy lifestyle, but often when they release their findings, the message seems to be:  well, there's no point in eating more fruits and vegetables.  (Yikes!!!)

Nothing could be further from the truth. A constant supply of cancer fighting antioxidants is a great way to keep our immune system strong.

Our bodies are fighting cancer every day.  We don't want to encourage the cancer to grow by eating poorly, or smoking, etc.  But whatever we do, however we choose to live our lives, eating more fruits and vegetables is an important part in bringing our body into balance, reducing cancer-causing toxins, and strengthening the immune system.  I consider this fighting cancer.

Maybe fruits and vegetables don't completely prevent cancer (we haven't found anything that does yet), but in my opinion, they are still an important part of the fight.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Many People Still Put Cancer Down To Fate

In a recent article in Medical News Today: Cancer Is Biggest Fear But 34 Per Cent Put It Down To Fate they explore the topic of fear of cancer, and the idea that most people still believe it is due to fate.

I appreciate the article's emphasis on debunking this myth. I think it does a great job encouraging people to look for signs of cancer, and check with their doctors about symptoms. That is all very important.

But I think the article fell short. Dealing with this myth is not just about looking for early signs of cancer - I think it is doubly important for people to consider cancer prevention.

As much talk as there is about cancer prevention, this myth makes all of that news fall on deaf ears. Unless you have cancer yourself, you often do not consider cancer prevention. Even people who have a loved one with cancer, will often dismiss the need to prevent cancer in themselves. This is where the myth and misunderstanding of cancer, and the belief that cancer is largely up to fate can be dangerous.

We all know that smoking causes cancer. And yet, I see nurses who care for cancer patients smoking on their break. We all know anti-oxidants fight cancer, but very few people eat enough raw fruits and vegetables on a daily basis... they are too busy, they believe that some people get cancer and other people don't.

Every body produces cancerous cells every day. So, cancer is not something that happens to some people and not others. The difference is when the cancer cells get out of hand, and begin to grow too fast for your body to deal with it.

So, give up the idea that cancer is due to fate and there's nothing you can do. Prevent cancer before it has a chance to grow. Know the signs of cancer and check with your doctor. More and more people are surviving cancer... multiple cancers. We are strong, we can fight this - it is not a matter of fate.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards - not an uncommon story for breast cancer

I have been following the story of Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer battle as if it were my own. An now it saddens me to discover that she is enduring another recurrence, now in her liver (see last nights article: Elizabeth Edwards' cancer has spread to liver), which her doctors say is not worth treating.

In many ways there are parallels: we both had breast cancer, and we both were married to men who put their career and personal desires before the family. Reflecting on this just confirms the studies that show a link between breast cancer and emotional conflict:

Breast (Milk Gland): Involving Care or Disharmony
Breast (Milk Duct): Separation Conflict
Breast (Left): Conflict Concerning Child, Home, or Mother
Breast (Right): Conflict with Partner or Others

hmmm... interesting that my cancer was in the right breast.

I was lucky to have the freedom to leave my unhealthy marriage. It was clear to me, that if my husband was going to put his needs before mine, when I was fighting CANCER, then he clearly was NOT my partner. It was easier for me to battle cancer alone, than to battle cancer and also battle my husband.

Unfortunately, Elixabeth probably didn't feel that she had a choice. She felt obligated to support her husband, in spite of the fact that he did not support her (although he didn't mind using her cancer to promote his campaign). She traveled with him, supporting his dream, when she should have stayed at home and rested.

But I also know that it would have been very hard for her to leave him, even if she wanted to, before the media exposed his true character. Leaving him would have meant negative publicity that would affect his campaign, and the lives of her children. But the emotional toll, and the emotions she had to suppress to get through it only makes it worse. She did the 'right' thing - but her cancer has recurred twice, and now she doesn't have long to live. She is dying now because she tried to be a dutiful wife, to a man who simply didn't care.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The China Study: An incredible journey of discovery as researchers see a direct link between cancer and diet...

This book is a MUST READ for anyone who is fighting cancer, or wants to do everything they can to prevent cancer and other chronic health issues.

Probably what is most fascinating about the book is that you feel as though you are making the discoveries along with the scientists. They don't just come out with what their lab results are and tell you what it means... it all begins with their own process of discovery. Their discovery becomes our discovery.

In the beginning, the researchers are asked to investigate high rates of liver cancer in the Philippines. Expecting it to be a problem among the poor children, the researchers were prepared to recommend a hearty American protein-rich diet to solve their nutrition needs. When they arrived, they found that the "Children who ate the highest-protein diets were the ones most likely to get liver cancer! They were the children from the wealthiest families."

Their journey of discovery continued in the lab, as the researchers literally were watching cancer tumors in mice grow as protein consumption grew (over 20% of their diet... compared with 30% which is the typical American diet). When the protein levels dropped below 5% the tumors literally stopped in their tracks. They were able to turn on and turn off the cancer growth like a light switch.

But the most amazing part of the book - a study that can never be repeated because the world is so developed that groups simply aren't isolated anymore - is The China Study.

In the 1970s, the premier of China, Chou EnLai, was dying of cancer. He initiated a nationwide survey collecting information about this disease that has confused doctors and researchers the world over. At the time, China still had many regions where families did not move, the children ate what their parents ate, who ate what generations before them ate. They were able to link cancer rates to the types of diets in the different regions. What they found was the areas that consumed high amounts of animal protein had the highest rates of cancer. The regions that used protein sparingly (a dish with mostly vegetables and small bits of meat) had the lowest rates of cancer.

The study goes further into analysis of different countries and their cancer rates....

This is an incredibly dense book, but amazing for a cancer survivor to read - especially if you don't want the cancer to return. It is amazing to think of the foods we eat having a direct impact on the growth of cancer cells. Just as we want to eat foods that fight cancer: raw vegetables and fruits, we want to reduce foods that may promote cancer.

This is information you won't get on the American Cancer Society website (it's a government agency and the beef lobbyists wouldn't allow it), which just reiterates our responsibility to fight our own cancer - and follow all the studies available to us worldwide.

You don't have to completely change your diet, just modify it. Reduce the foods that promote cancer. Increase the foods that fight it. Simple changes can have a significant impact on your survival!!