Thursday, October 29, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Red and Processed Meats Cause Cancer
Red and processed meat products are linked to cancer, according to a report from the World Health Organization published today in Lancet Oncology. Researchers from around the world examined more than 800 studies looking at the cancer-causing properties of red and processed meats. The authors highlighted a meta-analysis that found a 17 percent increase in risk for colon cancer per 100 grams of red meat consumed and an 18 percent increase risk with 50 grams of processed meat consumed, and ultimately concluded that they are “probably carcinogenic to humans” and “carcinogenic to humans,” respectively. Researchers also observed associations between red and processed meat products and stomach, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Processing and other cooking methods for meat, including curing, pan-frying, and smoking, produce various carcinogenic chemicals.
Bouvard V, Loomis D, Guyton KZ, et al. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. Lancet Oncology. Published online October 26, 2015.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
BREAST CANCER OVERVIEW
- New cases: 234,580 (total); 232,340 (women); 2,240 (men)
- Deaths: 40,030 (total); 39,620 (women); 410 (men)
What Is Breast Cancer?
Is Breast Cancer Genetic?
BREAST CANCER "AWARENESS"
Costs of Breast Cancer Screening and Treatment
Dr. Cary Gross, MD reported costs associated with breast cancer screening in a Yale University School of Medicine study earlier this year, in January of 2013. In this study, costs associated with breast cancer screening and initial workup for Medicare beneficiaries were evaluated between 2006 and 2007. Dr. Gross and colleagues reported the following:
"We found that the Medicare fee-for-service program is spending over $1 billion per year on breast cancer screening and workup of suspicious lesions. This accounted for over 45 percent of the $2.42 billion total spent by Medicare on screening and the initial treatment phase of breast cancer...
Additionally, study results indicate that for women 75 years or older, annual screening-related expenditures topped $410 million. Age-standardized screening-related cost per beneficiary varied more than two-fold across regions (from $42 to $107 per beneficiary)...
'In summary, the costs of breast cancer care in the Medicare population, when incorporating screening costs, are substantially higher than previously documented and the adoption of newer screening modalities will likely contribute to further growth,' the authors conclude. 'The growth trajectory may be steeper than projected owing to Medicare’s reimbursement strategy, which supports rapid adoption of newer modalities, frequently without adequate data to support their use.'"
Much of these costs remain hidden due to public and private insurers picking up the bill. Patients see (and pay for) only a fraction of the total costs of breast cancer screening, workup, and treatment while huge profits are realized by pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and all those in the healthcare system providing their services to combat this disease. This is not to say that all is wasted. Some patients will absolutely require the best medical care available to beat this disease. However, most of these scenarios will involve cases of more advanced, serious, and invasive forms of breast cancer. Much of the screening done today detects early stage breast cancer, which as you saw in the evidence from the Cochrane Collaboration and NNT reviews does more harm than good. Efforts should instead be focused on preventing breast cancer in the first place instead of making people "aware" of the disease.
BREAST CANCER PREVENTION (AND TREATMENT)
Breast Cancer Incidence (And Differing Dietary Habits) Around The World
Recent meta-analysis of studies on dietary fat, fat-containing foods, and breast cancer risk have shown this same correlation. Higher meat and saturated fat intake have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer by 17% and 19% respectively . The rich-western diet is literally serving as a cash-money machine for our current breast cancer "awareness" initiatives. The dark red regions below may as well be painted in $100 bills to more accurately reflect the link between breast cancer and our profit-based medicine system.
Breast Cancer, Diet, and HormonesOne reason why animal foods and other high-fat foods tend to increase the risk of breast cancer is due to their ability to boost female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in the body, specifically estrogen levels . Higher levels of estrogen have been associated with higher incidences of breast cancer in postmenopausal women . Hormone replacement therapy (Premarin, Prempro, Activella, etc.) have also been associated with this same increased risk of breast cancer in women—specifically up to 20% greater risk in women of white, Asian, and Hispanic descent .
Best Foods to Include (and Avoid) in a Breast Cancer Prevention StrategyYour best chance at warding off breast cancer is simple. Avoid processed and animal-based foods. These are typically higher in fat and contain animal protein, both of which have been linked to higher rates of several types of cancer including cancer of the breast . Fried foods, packaged products, pastries, beef, chicken, fish, milk, etc. all fit this bill and should be avoided if you wish to give yourself the best chance at remaining cancer free. Alcohol consumption also significantly increases risk of breast cancer in women . As little as one alcoholic drink per day increases women's risk of breast cancer by 4%. Three or more alcoholic drinks per day increase breast cancer risk by 40%-50% in women.
Instead, women should focus on developing a diet incorporating fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts/seeds. These are the foods with an abundance of cancer-destroying phytochemicals and antioxidants to them. In particular, the food items below have been shown to have even more cancer-fighting properties amongst those in the plant kingdom in regards to breast cancer:
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.) are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer 
- Mushrooms have a protective effect against estrogen receptor positive and progesterone receptor positive breast cancer cases 
- Flaxseeds are a great source of dietary lignans which have been shown to reduce breast cancer risk with regular consumption . For more information on the benefits of flaxseeds in breast cancer prevention watch this video.
Can Breast Cancer Be Treated With Diet?It appears that diet can play a significant role in the treatment of breast cancer after diagnosis. An article in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in 2006 reported markedly improved survival rates in postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer who consumed a more plant-rich diet . Their diet was low in fat, high in fiber (*note* fiber is only found in plant foods), high in fruits and vegetables, and contained more micronutrient-rich plant foods with folate, carotenoids, and vitamin C.
There are also many case reports of women defeating breast cancer by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. Ruth Heidrich, Anneliese Moore, and Kelly Binkoski are three women who did just that. You can read Ruth's story here, Anneliese's story here, and Kelly's story here. One of the most inspiring stories comes from Jessica Bowen. She overcame stage 3 breast cancer as she talks about in the video below.
Early detection has been proven to do more harm than good. It boosts profits of major corporations, businesses, and individuals alike involved in providing these services while breast cancer rates remain largely unchanged. If we want to win the war on breast cancer we need less medical care not more. By taking personal responsibility for your health and adopting healthy dietary habits in the form of a whole foods, plant-based diet you'll give yourself the best opportunity possible to never have to face this disease in the first place. You owe it to yourself to do so.
8 Lands WEM, Hamazaki T, Yamazaki K, et al. Changing dietary patterns. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990;51:991-993.
14 Seitz HK, et al. Epidemiology and pathophysiology of alcohol and breast cancer: Update 2012. Alcohol-Alcohol. 2012 May-Jun;47(3):204-212.
15 Terry P, et al. Brassica vegetables and breast cancer risk. JAMA. 2001;285(23):769-776.
16 Shin A, et al. Dietary mushroom intake and the risk of breast cancer based on hormone receptor status. Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(4):476-83.
17 Lowcock EC, et al. Consumption of flaxseed, a rich source of lignans, is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Cancer Causes Control. 2013 Apr;24(4):813-6.
18 McEligot AJ, et al. Dietary fat, fiber, vegetable, and micronutrients are associated with overall survival in postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(2):132-40.
The Plant-Based Pharmacist's Blog: The Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.