Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cancer prevention - nutrition

The cost of cancer.  Whats the evidence for prevention?

Where cancer is concerned we need to keep our eyes open.  No one is suggesting that pleasure is a bad thing.  Pleasure is one of the fruits of peace.  Adopting a holistic lifestyle can be highly pleasurable.  More appetising food means we consume less bulk food.  Using our senses like smell to achieve relaxation and stimulation and balance again limits intake and is highly pleasurable. 

Below we list 10 material things for nutrition.  Dont forget the immaterial things.  Maintaining a good emotional balance through lifes challenges is crucial both to meeting them and to our wellbeing.  Dont forget the five factors of wellbeing. 

If you do adopt a more vegetarian diet dont forget to supplement with B vitamins.

A study by Oxford University has revealed that the cost of cancer exceeds £15bn a year in the UK. This is comprised of £7.6bn in economic costs, £5.6bn in health costs and £2.6bn for unpaid care (care provided by friends and family). For individual cancers, the greatest economic burden was attributed to lung cancer (£2.4bn a year), bowel cancer (£1.6bn), breast cancer (£1.5bn) and prostate cancer (£800m). Data such as this clearly drive home the monumental financial burden of cancer on this country, not just in terms of direct health care costs, but billions in lost earnings for patients and their families. And perhaps more harrowing, is that behind these stark and impersonal figures lies the real life stories of thousands upon thousands of people, whose lives have been blighted by this disease.

But when it comes to cancer prevention, we actually have more control over the odds of succumbing to this disease than you might think. An extensive report recently published concluded that nearly half (43%) of cancer cases in the UK are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors (1). This amounted to 134,000 new cases of cancer in 2010 that were potentially preventable. Here are 10 things you can do to slash your cancer risk.

Start early.  The earlier the start in adopting a holistic lifestyle the better.

1. Don't smoke. Predictably enough, smoking tops the list of preventable lifestyle factors, and remains the single biggest risk factor for both men and women, still responsible for a staggering 20% (or 60,000 new cases in 2010) of cancer in the UK.
2. Maintain a healthy body weight. It's well versed knowledge that being overweight goes hand in hand with the risk of maladies such as heart disease and diabetes, but much less well known is the now strong links with cancer risk. Recent years has seen an increasingly clear picture emerge, which shows that weight gain, overweight and obesity increases the risk of numerous cancers, such as cancers of the oesophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, colon, breast (post-menopausal), endometrium and kidney (2). It offers yet another reason to beat the bulge.  Inhaling Fennel plant oil has been found to limit the appetite.
3. Be physically active as part of your routine. Just like our body weight, we don't immediately associate being physically active with cancer risk. A good circulation is important to keep the body's defences working.   This can be as easy as parking your car a few blocks away from the office and walking.
4. Eat plenty of plant-based foods. Diets packed full of plant foods are associated with cancer protection.  fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, pulses/legumes, nuts and seeds. Getting five-a-day fruit and veg should be regarded as the bare minimum when it comes to cancer protection.Consider substituting processed white bread which is high in gluten for wholemeal and for spelt bread.  Now easily available in the UK from Tesco bakeries.
5. Limit intake of dairy foods, red meat and avoid processed meat. Red meat, and particularly processed meat are strongly linked with an elevated risk of bowel cancer. Jane Plants books on breast cancer are required reading for sufferers.  There is very little breast cancer in china.  There is very little dairy food.  Tells you something.
6. Drink water, Limit alcoholic drinks. We might hear that a modest amount of alcohol has a protective effect against heart disease risk, but the evidence in relation to cancer tells a different story. In fact, there is no level of consumption below which there is no increase in risk of cancer. Explore other stimulants such as inhaling aromatic plant oils available as convenient essential oils.  Flavouring essences can be added to tap or mineral water to make it more palatable and give an agreeable experience.
7. Limit consumption of salt. Whilst we do need some salt there is an increased risk of stomach cancer.
8. Minimise highly processed, refined, and fast foods and sugary drinks. No surprises here, junk is bad.
9. Vitamin D and the big 'C'. Vitamin D, the 'sunshine vitamin', is in worryingly short supply across great swathes of the UK population, especially during the winter months (3). Evidence continues to mount that insufficient vitamin D is linked to increased risk of common cancers, such as bowel cancer (4). Whilst you can get your vitamin D through 'safe' sun exposure in the summer months, adults in the UK can achieve and maintain an ideal vitamin D level (20-32ng/ml) during the winter by supplementing 1,100-1,200 IU of vitamin D daily from October through to March.
10. Seek out selenium. A modest selenium supplement (50-60mcg per day for women, and up to 100mcg per day for men) will help to maximise the body's cancer defences.
(1) Parkin DM, Boyd L, Walker LC (2011) The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010 Br J Cancer 105 Suppl 2:S77-81
(2) WCRF/AICR (2007) Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective Washinigton DC: AICR
(3) Hypponen E, Power C. (2007) Hypovitaminosis D in British adults at age 45 y: nationwide cohort study of dietary and lifestyle predictors. Am J Clin Nutr. 85(3):860-8
(4) Gorham ED et al (2007) Optimal vitamin D status for colorectal cancer prevention: a quantitative meta analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2007 Mar;32(3):210-6.
(5) Rayman MP (2005) Selenium in cancer prevention: a review of the evidence and mechanism of action. Proc Nutr Soc 64(4):527-42.

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