Cancer occurs when something goes wrong with this system, causing uncontrolled cell division and growth. Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last 6 inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers.Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer killer overall and third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States in both males and females. Who is at risk for colorectal cancer. Men tend to get colorectal cancer at an earlier age than women, but women live longer so they catch up with men and thus the total number of cases in men and women is equal. Women diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer before age 50 are at increased risk of colorectal cancer. Woman with a personal history of breast cancer have only a very slight increase in risk of colorectal cancer. The average age to develop colorectal cancer is 70 years, and 93% of cases occur in persons 50 years of age or older. You have a higher risk for colon cancer if you have:Cancer elsewhere in the body.Colorectal polypsCrohn’s diseaseFamily history of colon cancerPersonal history of breast cancerUlcerative colitis. Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer within the colon or rectum, though there may be no symptoms at all. The most common presenting symptom of colorectal cancer is rectal bleeding. Cancers arising from the left side of the colon generally cause bleeding, or in their late stages may cause constipation, abdominal pain, and obstructive symptoms. On the other hand, right-sided colon lesions may produce vague abdominal aching, but are unlikely to present with obstruction or altered bowel habit. Other symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, or anemia resulting from chronic blood loss may accompany cancer of the right side of the colon.The first step to avoiding this ailment is prevention with regular tests at the doctor, but there are other ways of getting around this disease in between checkups. Nevertheless, it appears that increasing the fiber content in the Western diet would be useful in the primary prevention of colorectal cancer. It is recommended that physical activity messages promoting at least 30-45 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week be included in primary prevention interventions for cancer. The population prevalence for meeting proposed physical activity criteria for colon cancer prevention is low and much lower than that related to the more generic public health recommendations.Our bodies need lots of calcium and not only for building strong bones. Colon cancer prevention is one of the most exciting uses for calcium. However, instead of using calcium supplements, this study relied on low-fat dairy products to supply 1,200mg calcium per day. Investigators found this amount of calcium decreased the incidence of changes in the cells lining the colon, which is often seen in the initial stages of colon cancer. A significant protective factor is adequate dietary calcium intake during the period of maximum growth (ages 9-25 y), so that proper peak bone mass is achieved by age 20-30 y and maintained until mid-life, with only slow bone loss in the following years. As already noted, dietary surveys indicate a significant gap between the recommended calcium intake and the actual intake in the United States in the critical years of adolescence and young adulthood and later in life.
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in America, taking more lives each year than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. It is the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States, surpassing the dreaded breast cancer.The most common cause of lung cancer is long term exposure to tobacco smoke. Three to five years after quitting, the risk of getting lung cancer is reduced by half. For smokers the risk is significant due to the synergistic effects of radon and smoking as well as asbestos exposure.As dirt and smoke chemicals build up in your lungs, you have a higher change of getting lung cancer. Even non-smokers are not spared. People who constantly inhale secondhand smoke will also be likely to develop lung cancer.Overall, this type of cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat and it is no wonder that it is the major cause of cancer death in the world. Lung cancer can generally be categorized as small cell cancer and non-small cancer. Non-small cell cancer is more common while small cell cancer is harder to treat because it generally spreads faster.Lung cancer is very difficult to detect at an early stage, some symptoms may include a new or changing cough, along with hoarseness or shortness of breath or increased shortness of breath during exertion. Sadly, this type of cancer are usually detected only at late stage, and this greatly limit the treatments that is applicable to treat it.Once lung cancer is detected, a treatment plan is developed based on the patient’s physical health, whether the cancer is small cell or non-small cell and how extensively the cancer has spread.Treatments usually involve surgery to remove the cancer cells and surrounding affected cells depends on how far the cancer has metasized.In chemotherapy, drugs are given orally or through the vein to combat cancer cells. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the blood stream, travels through the body, and can kill cancer cells outside the lungs.Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation therapy) or from putting colloidal materials that emit radiation (radioisotopes) through thin plastic tubes in the area where the cancer cells are found (internal radiation therapy).Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. These are mainstream treatments used by many doctors in medical institution. However, patients that have exhausted these treatments often look for other options in alternative treatments, and often with encouraging results.Increasingly, more and more people turn to alternative treatment that reverse cancer through diet and lifestyle change. These treatments are usually inexpensive and aimed at repairing cancer cells instead of killing them.
I was speaking in Milwaukee a few weeks ago to a large Komen group and a young lady, just 26 years old, came up to me and said, “I have estrogen receptor negative breast cancer…I don’t fit into the same mold as other women. So, what kinds of foods should I be eating?”Eight years ago, when I was writing Challenge Cancer and Win!, that same question sent me to the National Library of Medicine to find an answer. I couldn’t find one. While we have thousands of studies specific to breast cancer, it is only recently that researchers are focusing on the dietary link to breast cancer based on estrogen receptor status.As you probably know, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. Most women will be diagnosed with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer-which means that their cancers are spurred on by excess estrogen in the body. Many studies have helped us formulate certain dietary recommendations specific to this kind of cancer. But what about the individuals who are diagnosed with estrogen receptor negative breast cancer-a type of cancer that accounts for nearly 25% of all breast cancer diagnoses?Recent studies have surfaced in the last five years and now we have a game plan for estrogen receptor negative breast cancer survivors too! In a study published in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that women who scored high on Harvard University’s Alternate Healthy Eating Index had a lower risk of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer. This index provides guidelines describing the “gold standard” for cancer risk reduction and includes recommendations to consume a daily intake of the following: 9 servings of fruits and veggies, 7+ grams of dietary fiber, eating three times more chicken and fish than beef, lamb and pork, consuming 30-40% less saturated fat than polyunsaturated fats, eating less than 3 grams of trans fats and consuming 1 ounce of nuts or soy. So, basically, the researchers recommend a diet that is rich in plants. That’s no surprise. And those recommendations apply to any woman concerned with breast cancer, or any cancer or disease for that matter.In August 2005, a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention revealed that researchers looked at folate intake and risk of breast cancer characterized by hormone receptor status. Remember that folate is a B vitamin given to pregnant women to help prevent birth defects. B vitamins play a crucial role in many body functions, including accurate cell division. For optimal health, we want accurate cell division-we want those healthy cells to keep duplicating themselves so we have even more healthy cells! The researchers found that women whose diets were deficient in folate had an increased estrogen receptor negative breast cancer risk. Higher folate intake was not associated with a lower risk of developing estrogen receptor breast cancer. So, while it makes sense for everyone to strive for accurate cell division and consume foods rich in folate, those individuals with estrogen receptor negative breast cancer may want to add these folate-rich foods to their daily checklist: fruits like cherries, oranges and strawberries, beans and peas, and dark, green leafy veggies. Alcohol, by the way, robs the body of folate and other B vitamins, so it’s prudent to enjoy alcohol only occasionally, if at all.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers found that high intakes of linoleic acid were associated with more than a 300% greater risk of estrogen receptor negative disease than estrogen receptor positive disease. Linoleic acids are found in polyunsaturated fats like cottonseed, soybean, and corn oil as well as vegetable-based margarines. We have certainly seen a link to all breast cancers with the intake of excessive polyunsaturated fats (sources for linoleic acid) but this study offers significant insight for those individuals with estrogen receptor negative status. I would recommend exclusive use of extra virgin olive oil and butter, rather than margarine. And don’t forget the hidden fats found in crackers and other bakery products. It’s time to choose non-hydrogenated food products if you haven’t paid attention to this suggestion already.In a final study, Roswell Park Cancer Institute researchers published their findings in Breast Cancer Research Treatment journal in October 2006. They found that among premenopausal women, there was a reduced risk of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer for those women who consumed the highest lignan intake. We see benefits of lignans in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer studies as well. Lignans, a fibrous compound, are found in flaxseed, and to a lesser degree in sesame seeds, and kale. Ground flax seed can be added into soups, stews, cereals, waffle and pancake batter, tossed into a salad, mixed into a smoothie or stirred into a glass of orange juice.The take home message is simple: dietary recommendations for estrogen receptor negative breast cancer survivors are similar to those recommended to estrogen receptor positive breast cancer survivors. It’s time to eat more fruits, veggies and fiber containing foods like grains and beans, limit alcohol and fats, use olive oil and butter and include flax in your diet. I believe that impact of these studies is more profound: For those of you with estrogen receptor negative breast cancer, when you read nutrition information specific to breast cancer, you can rest assured that the majority of those recommendations will apply to you too. You are not alone! Isn’t that positively wonderful?