When I presented my oncologist with reports from Sloan Kettering New York Hospital that said mushrooms had cancer fighting properties, and I told her I was going to include dried mushroom capsules in my daily regimen, she rolled her eyes. Excuse me…I didn’t roll my eyes when you said you were going to pump toxic chemicals into my body for 6 months!
That started me on a mission to find out what else my doctor wasn’t telling me…
Here are the top 5 things I would tell my cancer patients that your doctor isn’t telling you:
1. Eliminate dairy. Can you imagine your doctor telling you “Don’t drink your milk”? Not having milk with your dinner is…well…downright un-American. If the dairy council had their way, anyone caught not sporting a milk mustache would be shot on site. But dairy contains lactose (dairy sugar), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), and casein (dairy protein), which have all been linked to various forms of cancer. Populations who have diets high in casein, also have high cancer rates and in the lab, cancer growth can be turned on and off by increasing and decreasing the amount of casein in the diet. But don’t count on your doctor to clue you in on this fact. They still buy into the multi-billion dollar a year campaign by the National Dairy Council that milk is healthy. US schools do not get federal funding unless they serve milk in the cafeterias and encourage its consumption. (*see below)
2. Exercise 3-4 hours/week . Most doctors make the mistake of using the American Heart Association recommendations to mean overall “health” recommendations for all illnesses . The AHA states that “75 minutes a week” of vigorous exercise, with your heart rate in your target zone for your age, is suggested for cardiac health. Really? That’s 11 minutes/day. (Seriously, I can do that just by staring at John Stamos on a daily basis.) But for cancer prevention, you’ll have to up the ante. Studies indicate that women who exercise for over 3 hours per week reduced their risk of breast cancer by 40%. Even those who broke up their 3 weekly hours into 15-30 minute segments throughout the day showed risk reduction benefits.
3. Keep Vitamin D blood levels hovering at 55. Most doctors are using an outdated blood level range for healthy levels of vitamin D. Technically, if your blood levels are above 30 ng/dl you are in the “normal range” and your doctor probably won’t treat this normal level with vitamin D supplementation. However, with the explosion of research on Vitamin D and the role it plays in cancer as well as numerous other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, MS, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s, a level of 30 ng/dl is far from “normal”. A blood level hovering at 55 ng/dl. (some say 65-90(6)) is desirable and supplementation should be given to achieve this level and maintain it. It should be noted that everyone absorbs and produces vitamin D at different levels depending on many factors like the health of your gut and your age, so the only way to know how much you need, is by checking your blood levels.
4. Drink de-chlorinated lemon water throughout the day. Sure, your doctor will tell you to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. But what he/she doesn’t know is that the quality of that water has a major impact on your cancer risk. Chlorine is a by-product of all processed water. Even bottled water that has been filtered can contain chlorine. (Because 25% of all bottled water comes from the tap) When chlorine mixes with other impurities in the water it forms harmful THM’s or trihalomethanes, which have been linked to cancer. Filtering your water with a simple activated charcoal filter solves the problem. Pitcher type charcoal filters are easy to find, can be mounted to your tap, attached to fridge dispensers, or even attached right to your water bottle. Plus, adding fresh lemon juice to the water helps neutralize the acid pH that comes from pollutants and impurities we eat like meat, artificial preservatives and alcohol, and increases immunity helping to resist diseases like cancer.
5. Meditate to increase the power of your immunity. There’s something taboo about western physicians telling their patients to meditate. Suggesting to their patients that they start practicing mindful breathing or guided imagery would be like breaking out a big ole jar of leeches. It’s too ambiguous. They can’t choose “mindfulness” from the drug sample closet and they can’t do a blood test to see if they are being successful in their instructions. Be that as it may, meditation has been proven to have measurable positive effects not only on the mind, but also on the physical, aspects of your health. Mindful meditation can alter the specific cells in your body that fight disease thereby improving your immunity helping to reduce risk of cancer and other illnesses. And there are no unpleasant side effects!
So stop being a patient patient and start realizing that when it comes to reducing your risk of cancer, (and many other chronic diseases) you are the CEO of your own health. Get informed and think outside of the doc-in-the-box. You’ll learn how to get yourself healthy, and in the process, you may be able to teach your doctor a thing or two!
*Section 215.6 of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Act states ” Federal funds made available under the Program shall be used to encourage the consumption of milk through reimbursement payments to schools and child-care institutions in connection with the purchase and service of milk to children in accordance with the provisions of this part.”
T. Colin Campbell Whole, 2013 BenBella Books, Dallas, TX
Inger Thune, M.D., Tormod Brenn, M.Sc., Eiliv Lund, M.D., Ph.D., and Maria Gaard, M.D. “Physical Activity and the Risk of Breast Cancer” N Engl J Med 1997; 336:1269-1275May 1, 1997DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199705013361801
American Society of Clinical Oncology, accessed July 31, 2013, http://www.cancer.net/all-about-cancer/risk-factors-and-prevention/physical-activity/physical-activity-and-cancer-risk
Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, “Cancer Survival: Time to get moving? Data accumulate Suggesting a Link between Physical Activity and Cancer Survival” JCO August 1, 2006 vol. 24 no. 22 3517-3518.
Cedric F. Garland, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Robert P. Heaney. Vitamin D Supplement Doses and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range Associated with Cancer Prevention. Anticancer Research, 2011; 31: 607-612 [link]