As I sat back and watched the Chicago Bears (what happened to your offensive line?) and NY Giants NFL game …, I could hardly contain myself at the ‘pink breast cancer awareness’ craze; players’ pink shoes, pink goal posts, pink chin guards, arm bands, hats, posters, and other pink marketing material. The “race” is on…
This is one of the most difficult blogs or articles I’ve ever written. I’m also currently writing a book, having a tough time with the cancer chapter too. The easy transition for me in my book’s cancer chapter is that it is dedicated to a dear friend, Edith Meyer, God rest her soul, who lost her battle to cancer in August 2006. I’ve lost several friends to cancer and continue to watch friends and loved ones affected by this almost-90%-preventable disease!
This blog is difficult not because I can’t find enough research (it’s been out there!) or have enough excellent resources, it’s that there are emotional issues, and perhaps negatively held beliefs and also so much politics involved with cancer from the ‘races’ to find cures, to pink buckets of chicken (what was Susan G. Komen Foundation thinking!?), to the well-meaning pink ribbon campaigns, to big pharma’s ties to cancer organizations, to the big business of the ‘cancer industry’.
This does NOT mean that I need to take a militant approach or to “point the finger”, this means that I need to be loving in my approach and point the way! So please, don’t get angry here…please read on…and please know that as always, my mission is to protect life, educate, inspire, encourage and enlighten others. Finding the way is better than finding fault. Always seek the truth, go one level deeper! My goal is to save lives, perhaps yours, your child’s, your spouse’s, your parent’s or your friend’s by gifting and sharing this info with others. Cancer is preventable and we don’t always have to ‘race’ to find a cure, you’ll see why. Edith, this one’s for you, with love…
Cancer: the problem (and solution!) – We are fighting cancer on the wrong battlefield! This is not to discredit vital cancer research in certain areas; this is to shed some light on where cancer starts and where it could stop. There is now overwhelming evidence that up to 95% of most cancers can be PREVENTED by proper diet and lifestyle choices and perhaps environmental factors. Many researchers, medical professionals and even institutions are agreeing; only about 3-5% of cancer is genetic.
So why are we ‘racing’ to find a cure when the answer may be at the end of our forks? Why are we not ‘racing’ to PREVENT and ‘racing’ to TEACH? I can tell you…there’s not a lot of money to be made in teaching people to eat more fruits and vegetables, namely a plant-based diet. Teaching nutrition and disease prevention may be honorable, just not lucrative…I know because it’s now my life’s work!
If you or a loved one have cancer, or a loved one has died from this disease, please know that there is no fault or blame aimed at you. Guilt is not healthy and serves no one. I will provide research, so please don’t ‘shoot the messenger’! :~)
I just finished my series of lectures “Eat to Beat Cancer” a couple of weeks ago in So CAL. The responses were varied from ‘Amens’ to ‘OMGs’, to ‘why has no one mentioned this before?’, and to absolute gratitude for the information. As you look over the research, think about your own diet and lifestyle choices. Are you ‘racing to get cancer’ or are you racing to keep your health? Let’s look at some research:
- According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, less than 3% of all breast cancer cases can be attributed to family history and genetics.
- According to Dr. David Heber, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, author What Color is Your Diet, only about 5% of cancer is genetic, saying that “most cancers are not inherited.” Diet and nutrition play key roles.
- According to American Cancer Society and Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, only 5%-10% of cancer cases are genetic. A vast majority of cancers, at least 90% then, occur in people with no family history of the disease. Although we cannot change our genetic make-up, we can modify our diet and lifestyles to protect and prevent cancer.
- According to Walter Willett, Harvard Medical School, diet prevents up to 75% of certain cancers.
Diets that are high in animal protein including dairy have been linked to cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, pancreas, uterus and prostate:
- Red Meat and Dairy Products Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk (J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009)
- Colorectal Cancer is due to consumption of meat (especially in fast food) (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009)
- Meat and High-Glycemic Foods Increase Kidney Cancer Risk (J Am Diet Assoc. 2009)
- Excess Body Fat Causes Cancer – Panel Also Implicates Red Meat, Processed Meat and Alcohol (AICR & WCRF Nov 2009)
- Fat stimulates the production of estrogens, which encourage the growth of breast cancer cells. High-fat diets increase estrogen levels(pcrm.org)
- Uterine and Ovarian cancers are both linked to fatty diets in epidemiologic studies (pcrm.org)
- Prostate Cancer is strongly linked to dietary factors: animal products: milk, meat, eggs, cheese, cream, butter, and fats. (pcrm.org)
- Increase in Cholesterol = increase in Cancer of liver, rectum, colon, lung, leukemia, brain, stomach, esophagus. (China Study; pg 78-79 Dietary cholesterol comes from animal protein.)
- Cancer causing chemicals (Dioxin and PCBs) are from animal products 90-95% of the time! (Ice cream, dairy, meats…) (CS; Food Revolution)
I heard a physician on Larry King Live say that ‘genetics loads the gun; diet and lifestyle pull the trigger’. So we can all agree that a loaded gun can sit around safely in closet for 70 years…it’s when someone removes the gun from hiding and pulls the trigger that causes the damage! With genes being the bullets in the gun, think of your diet and lifestyle choices as the trigger (cancer-promoting foods) or the safety lock (health-promoting, disease prevention foods)!
In my lectures, I say that it’s not that we bring ‘bad genes’ to the table, it’s that we bring ‘bad recipes’ to the table. Families who eat the same cancer-promoting, heart disease-causing foods year after year and then pass those poor eating habits on to others will have high disease rates. By the same token, those families who pass on healthy eating habits, vegetarian, low-fat diets will have lower risks of disease. We have the ability to prevent cancer, heart disease and other diseases EVERY day, at EVERY meal.
If you believe you have the power to control your genes, your health and your longevity, you are an empowered patient. If you believe that your genes (remember it’s only about 5-10%), control your health you fall into the helpless victim category. Even if you test positive for a certain cancer gene, you don’t have to ‘turn it on’! We make choices daily to ‘turn on’ or ‘turn off’ cancer genes; these genes must be expressed. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of the best-selling book, The China Study, says “nutritional manipulation can turn cancer on or off.” He continues…”genetic fatalism continues to define the nation’s mindset.” This is why we fear cancer and why money is made on and from this disease.
BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 are among some genes that influence breast cancer risk. The mere presence of BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 or any other breast cancer gene does not guarantee disease occurrence. Dietary and environmental factors play a central role in whether these genes are expressed (The China Study, pg 162). In my next post, I will speak about breast cancer, the pink ribbon campaign, and the politics of profits.