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Alternative Cancer Treatment - Relation between Diet and Cancer

May 13, 2008
No area of oncology is more complex and controversial than the relationship of cancer and diet. Everyone would like to believe that there is some diet which can substantially affect the likelihood of cancer, or better still to cure it once contracted. But to date, the evidence of the effect of diet is unclear and often inconsistent.

All reputable sources agree that no diet outright cures cancer. Nor is there strong evidence to support the view that any particular diet prevents contracting it. But there are many studies that suggest that occurrence, recurrence and survivability may be affected by the foods we choose.

Though far from certain, many studies examined by researchers at Cornell University were able to correlate lower death rates - an increased five or ten year survivability, with certain dietary choices.

The Nurses Health Study which examined 1,982 women who had already developed breast cancer. These women were followed for an average of 13 years. Of those women 1200 had breast cancers that had not yet metastasized (spreading of a primary tumor to other areas of the body thus producing a secondary tumor of the same type). If an individual's cancer has spread then typically their survival rates are known to be much lower.

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 carried out by the National Cancer Institute of more than 2,400 individuals. A subset, 975 women, who had contracted breast cancer consumed a low fat diet (33.3g per day) for five years. Another 1,462 consumed 51.3 g per day. The low fat group experienced a 42% reduction in recurrence.

The difficulty with all these studies is they are looking only at associations, not causation. It's unclear from the data what is relevant. Do these dietary choices reflect only the fact that women who focus on maintaining a healthy diet are making healthier lifestyle choices overall? Or, are the foods themselves actually helpful or harmful, and to what degree?

As with many studies that involve fruits and vegetables the answer remains unclear. Aside from those foods which contain antioxidants, and effects deemed beneficial are not done so with confidence. In this case however, the evidence is strong. Foods high in antioxidants can and do aid in reducing the chances of contracting breast cancer.

Free radicals circulating throughout an individual's blood stream are ionized atoms that are widely able to harm cells. Antioxidants act to reduce the amount of free radicals by combining with them, thus rendering them harmless.

But fat studies are less clear. The leading theory says, since high estrogen levels are known to highly correlate with higher breast cancer risk, and fat efficiently stores estrogen, then lowering fat 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.

Despite difficult to interpret or incomplete evidence, there is one thing all experts can readily agree on: maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are wise choices. Whether they lower the risk of contracting breast cancer or not, for the 1 in 12 women who will get it sometime in their life, being in optimal health helps combat it before, during and after.
About the Author
The scientifically proven food that consistently show ability to destroy cancer cells is fucoidan. The essence of 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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