DEFENCE AGAINST CANCER*
Cancer is on the increase, unlike cardiovascular disease (and deaths from it) which in recent years has shown some decline. It is approaching the time that one in three of us (and possibly eventually one in two) will experience cancer at some time in our life, and many of us will die from it, in spite of the billions of dollars spent on research, and the mega-millions of dollars spent on cancer tests and treatments (the cancer industry).
The following figures, relating to cancer in Australia, are those of The Australian Bureau of Statistics (), The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Report: "Cancer in Australia - an Overview 2012 () and The Australian Government Cancer Australia ().
In 2011-2012 there were 326,600 people with the diagnosis of cancer. This is 1.5% of the population (men 1.8% women 1.2%). Cancer was more common in older age.
· There were 66,393 new cases of cancer diagnosed.
· There were 108,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed.
· 62,000 were in males. Age-standardised this represented 595 cases per 100,000.
· 46,000 were in females, 394 cases per 100,000.
· There were 114,137 new cases of cancer diagnosed.
· 64,342 were in males.
· 49,795 were in females.
· It is estimated that more than 120,700 Australians will be newly diagnosed with cancer (based on the 20 most commonly diagnosed cancers and excluding basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin).
· The estimated incidence of new cancer diagnosed in males is 67,260. Age-standardised, this represents 558 cases per 100,000.
· The estimated incidence of new cases diagnosed in females is 53,460. Age-standardised, this represents 405 cases per 100,000 population.
· The most commonly reported cancers 2012 are expected to be prostate cancer, followed by bowel cancer, breast cancer, melanoma of the skin and lung cancer.
In 2011 there were 43,721 registered deaths in Australia from all forms of neoplasm. (In 2010 there were 42,844). This is 29.8% of all registered deaths. 24,741 were males and 18,980 were females.
· Deaths from cancer of the digestive organs were 11,903 with pancreatic cancer being the most common (2,416) followed by cancer of the colon (2,077).
· Deaths from cancer of the respiratory system and chest were 8,405, with deaths from lung cancer being 8,108 (96.5%).
· Deaths from prostate cancer were 3,294 (2,852 in 2002).
· Deaths from breast cancer were 2,914 (2,698 in 2002).
Cancer – “A Largely Preventable Disease”
Up until 2014, the most common cause of deaths in Australia was cardiovascular disease, with cancer coming a close second. It was announced on 4th February 2014, World Cancer Day, by the World Health Organisation, that cancer has overtaken heart disease as the biggest killer in Australia and globally.
If there is a positive family history of breast, prostrate or colon cancer, to name but three of the most common ones, what should we do? Just wait until the cancer is diagnosed? And then go down the orthodox medical therapeutic pathway of surgery and/or radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy (the slash, burn, poison way)? Or perhaps for breast cancer, as is increasingly popular in the USA, bilateral mastectomy if there is a strong genetic predisposition (no breasts, no breast cancer)?
Getting medical screenings for these three cancers (mammogram, PSA levels, occult blood test) is a personal decision, but ones which are strongly recommended by your GP and Medical Specialists, aided by the Government. Are they necessary (there is increasing evidence that such screening does not prolong life)? Such screenings are aimed at diagnosis, not the prevention, of cancer.
The co-author of the WHO World Cancer Report, Professor Bernard Stewart, said the main message was that cancer is a "largely preventable disease." He is the head of the Cancer Control Program at the South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit. The professor also said: "We can't, as a world, treat our way out of the burden of cancer. We now know for certain that the vast majority of cancers are attributable to what have been called "lifestyle choices", or decisions people make about their own situation."
Terry Slevin is the founding chair, Occupational and Environmental Cancer Risk Committee of the Cancer Council of Australia. He is one of the Cancer Council's foremost experts in public health research and health promotion. Referring to the WHO World Cancer Report, he said that the report indicated that, in 2012, between 2.4 million and 3.7 million deaths world-wide were preventable.
Nutrition and Cancer Defence
If we really want to win the war against cancer, we must improve the nutritional quality of our diet.
Many of the 150 Collison Newsletters have been devoted to this all important question of cancer prevention through diet and lifestyle. All my newsletters are devoted to better health and longevity. They have been listed for your convenience as the February 2014 newsletter The Collison Newsletters. The following are specifically relevant to the topic of this newsletter. If you want to be proactive in your defence against cancer, please act on the recommendations set out therein.
Nutritional scientists have shown in multiple and repeated studies that people who eat more natural plant foods - vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds etc - are less likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Defence
But are all vegetables equally protective?
To defend and protect ourselves against cancer, our diet should contain, or focus on, foods with the most powerful anti-cancer effects, and we should eat plenty of these foods each day, flooding our bodies with the protective substances within them.
We are familiar with the antioxidant effects that our bodies derive from the phytochemicals that are present in plant foods (see my January 2010 newsletter Phytochemicals for a full description).
However the unique phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables offer superior benefits because of their unique abilities to modify human hormones, detoxify compounds, and prevent toxic compounds from binding to human DNA, preventing toxins from causing DNA damage that could lead to cancer. Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and in a different area of the cell, the enzyme myrosinase. When we blend, chop, chew these vegetables, we break up the plant cells, allowing the myrosinase to come into contact with the glucosinolates, initiating a chemical reaction that produces isothiocyanates (ITC's), which are powerful anti-cancer compounds. ITC's have been shown to detoxify and remove carcinogens, kill cancer cells, and prevent tumours from growing. Chopping, chewing, blending, or juicing cruciferous vegetables is necessary for these ITC's to be produced.
Dr Joel Fuhrman reports that he has “plotted cancer incidence in 25 countries against unrefined plant food intake and found that as vegetables, beans, and fruit consumption goes up 20% in a population, cancer rates typically drop 20%. But cruciferous vegetables are different; they have been shown to be twice as effective. As cruciferous vegetable intake goes up 20%, in a population, cancer rates drop by 40%.”(Reference: www.drfuhrman.com/library/cancer_alert_go_cruciferous.aspx)
Observational studies have shown that eating ITC-rich cruciferous vegetables protects against cancer. For example (reference: library/anti-cancer-foods-cruciferous-vegetables.aspx):
Twenty-eight servings of vegetables per week decreases prostrate cancer risk by 33%, but just 3 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week decreased prostate cancer risk by 41%.
One or more servings of cabbage per week reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by 38%.
One serving per day of cruciferous vegetables reduced the risk of breast cancer by over 50%.
Breast cancer survivors who eat cruciferous vegetables regularly have lower risk of cancer recurrence - the more cruciferous vegetables they ate, the lower the risk.
Cruciferous vegetables were the topic of my October 2008 newsletter Cruciferous Vegetables. All about these interesting cancer preventing foods is set out in that newsletter. The following is a list of common cruciferous vegetables:
Include in your diet, as a priority, these important cancer protecting foods, both raw and cooked, and eat a variety of them.
The evidence is clear that cruciferous vegetables play a major and unique role in the widely recognised protective effects of natural plant foods against cancer, and are the most important component of a healthy cancer-protective (and cancer-treatment) diet.
The more you consume cruciferous vegetables, the greater your protection. They are the first line of defence against cancer.
My book How to Live to 100+ years free from Symptoms and Disease sets out in detail the dietary guidelines on how to have a healthy life, with longevity.
Remember, however, that lifestyle is more than just diet, although diet is one of the most important aspects. Correct weight, regular exercise, not smoking, controlled alcohol consumption, positive mental attitude, to name but a few aspects of a healthy lifestyle, are all linked to prevention of cancer.
*Copyright 2014: The Huntly Centre.
Disclaimer: All material in the huntlycentre.com.au website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.