The Diet Cancer Story
My wife was been “free of cancer” for well over 5 years, but at her last mammogram checkup they discovered a growth they could not otherwise account for and want to do another byopsy-type lump removal. This inevitably raises the heady and frightening spectre of “cancer” once again. As I write, this “ectomy” is still in our future, so the results and reactions are also “still in our future. We’ve been there, several times, but that won’t make a diagnosis of malignancy any easier, any less emotionally traumatic, even though the “period of adjustment” is eased somewhat.
So after 8-9 years cancer free she was diagnosed in January, 2005 with another lump and it was removed in early April, 2005. Yes, it was malignant, but, in the doctor’s words, it was a ‘friendly” tumor. Our “period of adjustment” has been much easier this time around.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in North America (after heart and other cardiovascular diseases) with lung cancer heading the list, followed by bowel, breast, prostate, pancreas and other malignancies. Cancer prevention is therefore a top for health authorities. Of known cancer causes, smoking tobacco accounts for about a third of the cases and diet is blamed for another 30-70 per cent, although the relationship between food and cancer is hazier than for tobacco, and there are no pat answers.
In general, cancer risks can be diminished by avoiding tobacco use, protecting skin from ultraviolet rays, limiting alcohol intake and – according to the latest evidence – by eating enough fruit and vegetables. Recent results from many studies link low intakes of fresh fruit and vegetables to high cancer rates. Some researchers claim that inadequate intakes of fruit and vegetables double the risks of cancer at many sites – as well as markedly increasing risks of heart disease and cataracts. Since only about 10 per cent of North Americans eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables, there’s ample room for improvement in fighting cancer. (Very recent studies suggest that anti-inflammatories, such as ASA/Aspirin and other nonsteroidals may help to prevent some cancers.)
Diet-cancer links are complex to unravel
As foods are complex mixtures and people make wide and varied choices, it is hard to prove definite relationships between food and cancer. Much of what is known about the dietary causes of cancer comes from epidemiological studies (that examine the distribution and risks for disease). Epidemiological comparisons of cancer rates in different countries and how they change offer clues. When people migrate to a new country and mimic its lifestyle, they soon acquire the same cancer rates as those in the adopted country. For example, if Japanese people (who have low rates of breast and colon cancer but high rate so stomach cancer) move to the U.S., they acquire typical American cancer rates – high colon and breast cancer rates, low risks of stomach cancer. fenbendazole for humans cancer