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Alternative Cancer Treatment - Can Diet affect Cancer ?

May 14, 2008
No other sector of oncology is considered more controversial and complex than the relationship between cancer and one's diet. Everyone wants to believe that there is some miracle diet which can dramatically affect the likelihood of cancer, or better yet, a diet that can actually cure cancer once it has been contracted. But as of right now, there is no conclusive evidence of the effect diet can have on cancer.

Reputable sources all seem to agree that there is no diet that can cure cancer. There is also no evidence strong enough to support the belief that any diet can prevent an individual from contracting cancer. However, there are many studies that suggest that the occurrence, recurrence, and even survivability rates could potentially be affected by the foods an individual selects.

Though these studies are far from positive, they have been examined by many researchers at Cornell University. The researches have been able to correlate lower death rates and an increase in survivability rates when individuals take certain dietary measures.

In one study examined (the Nurses Health Study), 1,982 women who had already developed breast cancer were followed for an average of 13 years. Over 1,200 had cancers that had not metastasized (spreading of a primary tumor to other areas producing secondary tumors of the same type). Survival rates of cancer patients whose disease has spread are known to be much lower (21% five-year survival, as contrasted to 86% for those whose cancer has not metastasized).

Some in the first group ate larger amounts of poultry and fish, containing protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They had significantly lower risk of death than women in the group who did not consume as much. Further, women who ate large amounts of hydrogenated oils had a significantly higher death rate.

Another study was conducted by the National Caner Institute in which 2,400 individuals were studied. Of these individuals 975 women, who had already contracted breast cancer consumed a low fat diet consisting of 33.3 grams of fat per day for five years. Another 1,462 women consumed 51.3 grams of fat per day. The group consuming the lower amount of fat experienced a 42% reduction in their rate of recurrence.

The problem with many of these studies is that they are observing only associations, not causation. It is extremely unclear from the data which has been compiled what data is actually relevant. Do the dietary decisions of these women merely reflect the fact that women who focus on maintaining a healthy diet also tend to make healthier lifestyle choices overall? Or, are the foods these women consume actually helpful or harmful, and to what degree?

As with most studies that involve fruits and vegetables, the answer is uncertain. Aside from those which contain antioxidants any effect that is beneficial just isn't known with complete confidence. In this instance, however, the evidence does support that foods which are high in antioxidants do aid in the reduction of the chance of contracting breast cancer.

Free radicals in the blood stream are ionized atoms that are known to be able to harm cells. Antioxidants 'gobble them up' - reduce the amount by combining with the free radicals, rendering them harmless.

The studies on fat, however, are less clear. The leading theory says that since high estrogen levels are widely known to correlate with a greater risk of breast cancer and fat acts as an efficient storage of estrogen, then lowering fat therefore lowers the risk.

Some individuals believe that eating fat will make you fat, this conclusion is flawed. Consuming fat doesn't necessarily cause a higher body fat content. Rather, eating more calories than one expends can cause the body to store excess fat. This causes the body to have a higher body fat percentage. Fat also contains more calories per unit weight than other foods. The route is not direct.

Aside from the difficult to interpret or incomplete evidence, there is one thing that all experts mutually agree on: maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet are always smart decisions. Whether these decisions lower the risk of contracting breast cancer or not, for the 1 in 12 women who will contract breast cancer at some point in their life, being in the most optimal health aids in combating the disease before, during and after.
About the Author
Can there really be a natural way to fight cancer cell ? Yes, fucoidan, was proven scientifically to do just that. The extract from brown seaweed. Visit my site at Alternative Cancer Treatment see how this wonderful food is backed by more then 600 indepandent research.
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