I remember when it was sort of unusual to know people with cancer. That was forty years ago. But now it’s so common place, it’s positively scary. I personally know five people who’ve had it. Four have recovered and one person died. Avoiding cancer seems to be getting harder than ever, to accomplish.
The friend who died also lost both his father and his brother. They all had the same kind of cancer. And no, they weren’t all coal miners suffering from Black Lung disease or even smokers. Two of them were university professors so their risk factor wasn’t due to their work.
IS IT THE LUCK OF THE DRAW OR IS SOMETHING ELSE AT WORK?
There’ve been lots of studies that point to lifestyle issues that cause cancer. But most people assume that it’s all up to the ‘luck of the draw’. Will you be a winner and not get cancer? Or will you be one of those unfortunate ‘losers’? Will you hear those heart sinking words, “I’m sorry but your tests show that you have cancer”.
ARE THERE ANY COUNTRIES THAT ARE BETTER AT AVOIDING CANCER?
A look at Wikipedia will give you a rundown on the cancer rates of most of the countries in the world. Those rates are given, per 100,000 people and are actually very interesting so I thought I’d share a few relevant ones here and then point out something really interesting.
Cancer rates by country, per 100,000
- France 324.6
- Australia 323.00
- United States 318.00
- Canada 295.7
- UK 272.9
- India 106.6-200
(Because India has such a large, rural population, there are some reporting issues when it comes to India’s cancer rates . So the 106.6 is the closest ‘firm’ figure that I could find, but another page did suggest that it might be as high as 200. But the point is, that it’s still significantly lower than the named western nations, which begs the question, Why? (But we’ll talk about that in a bit alrighty?)
HAVE THE SURVIVAL RATE PERCENTAGES IMPROVED AT ALL?
After all these years of cancer research, you’d think there’d be better cancer treatment success rates but that doesn’t seem to be the case. While there have been huge improvements in screening and early detection methods, once you’re diagnosed if it’s stage 3 or 4, the survival rates are still pretty terrible. They’re usually measured 5 years at a time and can range from 78% to as bad as only 5% and all dependant on what stage it was diagnosed at. And according to the previous link, the survival rates have only improved by about 5% in the last 40 years. At this point, survival past that fateful ‘5 year’ mark is very dependant on how early it’s diagnosed.
So are you all feeling positively gloomy at the thought of those facts and figures? Well I’m so thrilled to tell you, there are a few ways that will help you avoid cancer altogether.
6 TIPS FOR AVOIDING CANCER
- Eating a plant based diet that is filled with nutrients that fight cancer.
- Use protection when working with any substances that are known carcinogens.
- Lead an active lifestyle.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Use curcumin in your cooking.
- Use curcumin therapeutically to benefit your body in all kinds of ways, including avoiding cancer.
WHICH FOODS ARE RECOMMENDED TO BE HELPFUL IN AVOIDING CANCER?
In 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research issued a report that was reviewed by an international panel of scientists. It was subsequently accepted and released as ‘gospel to that point’. The upshot was, that 20% of cancers are linked to diet, excess weight plus inactivity. And they recommended an increase in the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains because of the powerful nutrients and antioxidants they contained.
THE POWER OF PLANT NUTRIENTS IS A GAME CHANGER…
They went on to say that those plant nutrients reduce inflammation in the human body. When chronic inflammation is there, cancer can develop. As well, where tumours have the ability to cause whole new blood systems to develop to feed themselves, plant nutrients also have the ability to shut down that system of angiogenesis or development of new blood vessels.
Foods of particular interest as cancer preventers would be garlic, berries, tomatoes, and broccoli. Add cauliflower, leafy greens, pumpkin, cinnamon, red onion, apples, papaya to that wonderful list. Many of the important phytonutrients are in the skin so eat the unpeeled fruits or veggies as often as possible.
IS SOY HELPFUL OR HARMFUL WHEN IT COMES TO AVOIDING CANCER
Soy has been used in the food industry for decades. But it was likely when public interest started focusing on soy as a protein alternative, that an interest arose in suggesting the dangers of soy. But with all of the following in mind, Dr. Michael Greger provides a bit of information. He’s on record saying that 3-5 servings of soy products per day is perfectly safe for the average consumer.
- Related Posts: Reverse Aging Through Exercise
- Eat the Colours, Steer Clear of Health Problems
- A Plant Based Diet? 12 Reasons Why You Should Switch Now.
Are there studies about soy’s benefits?
Interestingly, there are numerous studies that have shown that the consumption of soy products decreases the risk of cancer. And it also prevents cancer cells from growing their own new blood system (see page 8,4.4.2 and 4.4.8, Genistein). Other studies of diets in various countries support that summation. For example, the breast cancer rate of American/Canadian women is 4-7x higher than among women in Asian countries. Those Asian women typically have a much higher intake of soy in the form of soy milk, tofu, fresh soybeans and tempeh.
Likewise, it was also found that children who grew up eating soy 1.5x per week during childhood, had a 58% reduction in breast cancer (page 8,top left) rates for women. And little boys who ate that amount of soy were found to have a similar reduction in the number of prostate cancer diagnoses later in life. It’s also been found that if patients ate soy products during treatment, they had an improved chance of beating the disease.
CANCER STEM CELLS AND WHO MIGHT GET IT!
Sayer Ji, of GreenMedinfo has written, ’Turmeric’s Smart Kill Properties Put Chemo and Radiation to Shame. Having a friend who recently finished both chemo and radiation therapy, reading this sentence was instantly intriguing. And especially as I use turmeric regularly in my cooking and both I and my husband take small doses daily in a glass of water.
THE WONDER OF STEM CELLS AND THE DANGER…
There’s a couple things we’ve all likely heard. One is that all our cells come from the stem cells in our bodies and that’s why they’re so important. Those wonderful stem cells repair damaged cells and they make new ones when the old ones finally wear out. The other is that we all have little individual, lone cancer cells floating around in our bodies.
IS A GENETIC PREDISPOSITION TO CANCER POSSIBLE?
Those little free floating cancer cells are actually cancer stem cells, or CSC’s. They are like the seeds of cancer. And when the environment or situation is right, they start to produce the cancer cells that grow up to become tumours. So while some may have a genetic predisposition to developing cancer, the rest of us are at risk for cancer as well. In fact, only 5-10% of all cancers that develop are actually due to the inheritance of an abnormal gene that predisposes a person to being diagnosed with it. The rest of the cancers are the result of lifestyle issues or work related problems like working with hazardous materials.
SO WHAT’S THE SCOOP ON TURMERIC AND AVOIDING CANCER?
Okay, so now we’ve determined that anyone can get cancer. But how does turmeric upend that possibility? It’s thought that the significant factor in it is a compound called curcumin. While chemotherapy and radiation can kill the cancer cells, the cancer stem cells aren’t affected at all. So a person with cancer may undergo both chemo and radiation as did my girlfriend, but when done, they’ll still have those damn cancer stem cells floating around looking for a new place to get started all over again. Even worse, during chemotherapy, it’s been shown that the number of cancer stem cells actually double during treatment for breast cancer. So you’ve killed the cancer….and now you have more cancer stem cells than when you started? How scary is that!
WHAT CAN CURCUMIN DO SPECIFICALLY?
But curcumin has the power to do two things. One, it shuts off the mechanisms which cause the stem cells to continue growing tumours. And two, it can kill those stem cells. Deadly as the effect on cancer cells is, it doesn’t have any effect on your normal healthy cells. The reasons aren’t completely clear and include the possibility that malignant cancer cells absorb more of the curcumin than your normal cells. There’s also a thought that the curcumin alters the microenvironment of your body, making it less hospitable to the cancer cells, while normal cells are comfortable. Or the third possibility is that the curcumin causes the cancer cells to morph back into normal cells.
THERE IS A TON OF RESEARCH! AND YET….
Whatever the reason, despite the 1500 citations from the National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE database pubmed.gov and 700 listed possible benefits in Turmeric Research , it’s unlikely that any doctor will ever recommend to patients that the inclusion of turmeric in your diet is an alternative to chemo or radiation. It’s also unlikely that your doctors will ever suggest it even as a preventative adjunct to your personal health care plan. Despite the vast array of studies and conclusions, the FDA has not approved it for this use. Considering the volumes of research already done, I can only imagine that it’s never progressed that far, due in part to the potential impact on pharmaceutical profits. But hey, while I can’t confirm that, being the sometimes suspicious person that I can be from time to time…..
That’s not to say that the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t been hard at work. They also want to discover targeted chemotherapeutics to beat those cancer stem cells. But their findings thus far have been inconsistent with different kinds of cancers, unlike the multitude of studies with curcumin.
HOW TO HARNESS THE DRAGON-SLAYER POWER OF TURMERIC IN AVOIDING CANCER…
When I first began using turmeric, I’d read that it was quite helpful in managing the pain from arthritis. My right hand was giving me some problems and I thought it was worth a try. It wasn’t long before I noticed that the uncomfortable ache I’d been living with seemed to have disappeared. And shortly after that, I had my husband trying it for some of his aches and pains and he reported the same kinds of improvement for them.
AVOIDING CANCER STARTS IN YOUR KITCHEN…
I love a plant based diet for all kinds of reasons. But no matter how you cook, using turmeric improves your odds of getting and staying healthy. And avoiding cancer in particular, deserves the best odds wouldn’t you say?
It has a kind of pungent flavour to it, so it’s always advisable to use it lightly but liberally! Does that make sense? Probably not but I’ll explain. I use turmeric in all kinds of things. From putting a dash of it in a cup of hot warm soy milk with a touch of maple syrup, to including a little bit in practically everything I cook. From stir fry’s to stews, to soups to salad dressings. I’ve even used it occasionally in smoothies!
The thing is to adjust your amounts depending on how intense the other flavours in the food are. Typically, for a casserole that will feed my husband and I, 1/3 of a level teaspoon will do it. The other thing to remember with every use of turmeric is to include about half as much ground black pepper.
WHY YOU MUST COMBINE YOUR TURMERIC WITH ANOTHER COMMON SPICE…
While turmeric is so good for you, the curcumin in it has another interesting aspect to it. It isn’t terribly bioavailable. That means that while you might use an entire teaspoon of the stuff in your casserole or sauce, only a tiny little amount is actually absorbable by your body. But there’s a way to get around that! In black pepper is a compound called piperene. Piperene turns off the mechanism in your body, that prevents you from getting the full benefit of the curcumin that you added to dinner. In fact, it actually improves the bio-availability of curcumin to 2000%.
So always remember, if you’re adding turmeric to anything, include a small amount of black pepper. One more thing to remember too, is that curcumin is fat soluble, so including some food that is naturally oily (like an avocado or nuts) with your meal would help meet that challenge.
I know, lots of information, but I’ll just tie it all together for you so it’s easier to remember okay.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT TURMERIC
- It’s been studied many, many times.
- It’s safe to use in cooking and therepeutically.
- You must combine it with black pepper to get the full benefit.
- It is effective at killing cancer cells and cancer stem cells.
- It reduces inflammation in your body. And inflammation is a precursor to all sorts of diseases including cancer.
- The medical community approve a maximum of 2000 mg. That’s .4 tsp.
- Add in small amounts to almost all foods.
- It’s a pungent flavour, so add carefully to your favourite dishes.
Just a note here though. There are a few instances where the therepeutic use of turmeric should be definitely checked with a doctor. If you’re on a blood thinner drug, check with your doctor. If you have gall bladder problems kidney stones or are pregnant (not much chance in my crowd but gotta say it), talk it over with him or her first. But for the rest of us, well, just collapse into your new love affair with this beautiful spice!
So there you have it, my case for avoiding cancer by using turmeric. I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have about this wonderful spice! Whether your heritage includes it’s use or if you’ve only recently discovered it. I’d love to know what you think. In the meantime, be safe, be kind and enjoy your day wherever you are!
As always, I will remind you that I’m not a medical doctor. However, I’ve spent the last 20 years focusing on and learning to ‘grow’ my own health. And the things I’ve discovered in that journey is what I’m sharing here.
All either my own experiences plus the things that I’ve learned from the real experts! Those are the researchers and doctors who’ve seen the actual patients, worked in the labs and write the linked medical reports and commentaries that are sprinkled throughout these posts.
My goal is to motivate and help you find your best way to live a healthier and more peaceful life. I and Ageless at Sixty cannot be held liable for any resulting injury or adverse change in health status.
Whenever you decide to alter your lifestyle you should make a point of checking with your doctor. Particularly if you already have health issues or if the change can bring about changes in your health status whether good or bad. This would include changes to your exercise routines and any medications you might be taking or other supplements.
As well, this blog and each post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through them, I’ll receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.