Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Cancer Post

OK, so this post has been in the back of my mind for a while.  Cancer comes up too often.  It pops up in conversation, in the news, and afflicts loved ones way too often.  Millions if not billions have been spent trying to cure this disease yet it afflicts greater numbers of people every year.  The most recent case that saddens me is the husband of one of my wife's co-workers.  The man spent the better part of his life as a pastor.  He is a noble man with nothing but great intentions.  He recently retired.  Not too long after his retirement and the birth of his first grandchild he has been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer.  It's just not fair.  Cancer has also recently afflicted one of my family members and the wife of one of my co-workers.  It's everywhere and it aint no fun for anyone involved.

The latest research being done is to prevent glucose hoarding by tumors.  This article discusses an experimental drug with promising results:

 ".....they showed that the new agent both stops glucose from entering cancer cells and suppresses the cells' ability to metabolize the sugar.

Starved for fuel, the cancer cells begin consuming themselves, a process called autophagy -- self eating -- accompanied by other biochemical events that lead to the cells' death by a natural process called apoptosis."
It has long been known that cancer cells thrive on and hoard glucose from the bloodstream.  All dietary carbohydrates get metabolized down and end up as glucose in the blood.  It doesn't matter whether it is high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, whole wheat, or fructose from fruit.  It all ends up at varying levels as glucose in the blood.  Here is a lecture from one of the top cancer research centers on this topic (credit to Fathead for bringing this gem to my attention).  If you don't want to learn the science then skip to the 27 minute mark for the real meaty part.


Like I said, this concept of glucose feeding cancer is not new stuff to the medical world.  Yet not many people seem to know about it.  Many of the medical students in the video, after watching a very well done 27 minute lecture that they should have easily comprehended, still felt too much fat verses too much carbohydrate would increase cancer rate.  Bottom line of this lecture is don't eat so much carbohydrate that it allows cancer cells to proliferate into tumors.

Another cancer treatment being explored is anti angiogenesis or the prevention of the growth of blood vessels.  There is a drug being studied that will cut off blood supply to tumors.  
"New 'anti-angiogenic' medications that attack the blood vessels within tumours are showing promise in starving many types of cancers by reducing their blood supply."
I first heard of anti angiogenesis from a lecture by William Li.  He believes that starving cancer can be accomplished via the right foods in the diet.  Here is a list of foods he recommends to prevent vascular proliferation into tumors:


As you can see, many of these foods are paleo friendly and definitely should be part of a well rounded diet.  Some do contain carbohydrates but raise blood glucose much less than say whole wheat for instance.  If one had cancer, it may be a good idea to avoid the foods on the list that raised blood glucose the most.

In my opinion, cancer doesn't happen by chance.  We may not yet know exactly what causes cancer.  Based on what we do know, it seems wise to eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices but still keeps blood glucose levels low.  Fat is needed in order for us to be able to absorb many nutrients from plant based foods yet it also helps to keep blood glucose levels down.  The standard recommendations of avoiding nearly all fats and eating healthy whole grains seems very counter to a diet that today's cancer experts think may help prevent cancer.



MAS said...

Excellent post and great video. The only thing I would add is that Intermittent Fasting would seem to be an excellent tool for preventing cancer.

Chuck said...

@MAS While I am familiar with the theory that extended fasts have a cleansing effect, I wonder if you could expand on your thought. Also, I think the speaker does hit on possible effect of fasting in the Q/A at the end.

MAS said...

@Chuck - Briefly, when a cell stops receiving nutrients it preforms a self-cleaning function called autophangy. Damaged proteins are consumed for fuel. However, this process doesn't take place when new nutrients are entering cell. said...

This post is so informative. I would love for you to come
share it at FAT TUESDAY. I hope you will
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and link to each week! said...

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week!