So You’ve got Cancer. Now what?

So you just found out you have cancer. What do you do?

First take several deep breaths and relax. Now take a few more deep breaths.  Cancer can be terrifying and the thought of radiation burns, losing your hair from chemo, and surgery are scary, You’ll feel like you are helpless, but you can do far more than any oncologist will tell you (because he wasn’t taught either).  Read on and I’ll try to put cancer into perspective and how it can be managed and even possibly prevented.

First, how did you get cancer. Simple we all get cancer during or lifetimes, probably 10-20 times.   But your own immune system can efficiently deal with cancer. Your immune system can recognize cancer cells when they are just a small cluster of cells, or maybe even just one or two. Your immune system goes into action, moves in, and dispatches the errant cancer cells.

If your immune system is compromised then the young cancerous cells may take hold and start growing and poof, you have cancer, but it might be ten to twenty years before it is detectable. Now there are some very rapidly growing cancers, but many take years to become detectable.

So there is a two pronged attack you can take, and for all of us without a “Cancer” diagnoses these are the things we can do to reduce the chance of developing cancer and slow its growth.  If you have the diagnosis these steps will help manage it and slow its grown and in some cases can even turn back the tumor and it will shrink.

Like any battle you want to weaken your opponent and build your strength – Your immune system is your strength.

To Weaken Cancer:

  • Starve It – Cancer cells love sugar, tumors will take in all the sugar they can get and sugar to cancer is like spinach to Popeye The Sailor.  Sugar comes from multiple sources. It isn’t just the sugar in sodas and candy bars, but highly refined foods that are quickly broken down into sugars. Immediately eliminate these from your diet: All sweetened drinks, sodas, fruit juice, anything made with flour or wheat flour, processed foods, potatoes, white rice, etc.
  • Learn the glycemic index. This is a rating all foods have that indicates how quickly a food will raise your blood sugar. You want to stick to low glycemic index foods like vegetables, many fruits, meats, beans, dairy, etc.  Here is one source, but you can do a Google search and find others http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/glycemic-index .  Try to keep the bulk of your diet to foods under 55 on the glycemic index.
  • Cripple Cancer – Cancer cells have some sneaky tricks to hijack your body for its benefit. For example tumors release a chemical which will stimulate the surrounding blood vesicles  to grow towards the tumors to bring it more blood, which means more sugar.  Turmeric, the yellow spice in Indian curry can block this signal. So if the tumor can’t get more blood, then it can’t grow, or its growth will be slowed. Other foods which help fight cancer are broccoli, Brussels sprints, dark colored berries, green tea, turmeric, and many more.

Boost your immune system.

Numerous studies have shown that your own immune system can be very effective against cancer when it is just starting. In fact there is one strain of mice that are immune to cancer. So the stronger your immune system is, the better if can fight.

  • Eliminate Stress. Back to my first suggestion – Take several deep breathes. you need to Cancer cell attacked by lymphocytestotally destress. So practice any method of distressing (except alcohol and drugs) meditation, focused deep breathing, yoga, running, fishing. Doesn’t matter what it is, do it. When you are stressed your immune system shuts down. Think back to our ancestors – Stress is good at times, especially when a lion is staring you down. Your body shits into fight or flight mode, adrenaline pours into your veins and you’re ready to run as fast as you can (now you can’t outrun a lion, but you can try and outrun they guy next to you)  At this point your body sounds the alarm and shuts down non essential systems, like your immune system and puts all its resources to keep you alive for another day. If you’re constantly stressed, you’re immune system will suffer.

Fortunately we don’t live with the risk of being a lions dinner that often today, but our body doesn’t know that. Job, family, and money stress cause the same reaction. So you need to learn to relax and let your immune system be as strong as it can be. If someone cuts you off on the freeway you’ll go into flight or flight mode, hit the breaks and swerve to avoid an accident. But after that be thankful you weren’t in and accident and forget it. Don’t dwell on that jerk for the next hour.

  • Sleep – You must get a good nights sleep every night.
  • Exercise is also necessary for several reasons. It will help you relax and it will boost your immune system’s strength.
  • Probiotics – 70% of your immune system comes from the good bacteria in your gut. Good probiotics can keep these strong. You can eat fermented foods like sauerkraut or yogurt (not the store bought type which is full of sugar)  If you can’t eat sauerkraut daily, then take a probiotic supplement.
  • Vitamin D – get out in the sun in summer and supplement throughout the year.
  • Immunity boosting foods – Garlic, gensing, medicinal mushrooms like shiitake and miatake

Fuel your body

I talked about starving cancer, but you need to fuel your body.  This is basic healthy eating 101, so I’ll be brief:

  • Drink lots of pure water – Reverse osmosis water is best. avoid tap water and vitamin water type drinks or sugared sports drinks. Just water with a little lemon if you like.
  • No GMO foods. Genetically modified foods are in many packaged foods. Assume that if it has corn or soy that it is GMO unless it says Non-GMO or Organic.
  • Organic – eat organic as much as you can. If you can’t find everything organic, then google the Dirty Dozen list of the most heavily contaminated produce.
  • Get high quality protein, Grass fed beef, pasture raised chickens and eggs that feed off the ground and no grains.
  • Only wild caught seafood.
  • Good fats. Avocados, wild caught salmon, nuts, coconut oil, etc.
  • Fruits and veggies – Like your mother said, eat lots of different fruits and vegetables. Look at the glycemic index of fruits though, some, like bananas can be too high on the glycemic index.
  • Stop Smoking

Here are some extra special foods that you need several times a day to keep cancer at bay, or to fight it back.

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Green tea
  • Dark colored berries
  • Other anti-oxidant rich foods.

Supplements

With today’s depleted soils foods no longer have the nutrients they did a century ago.  So you must supplement. You need an top rated and very pure multivitamin then optimizers to add more of the cancer fighting compounds like curcumin (Tumeric), garlic, antioxidants, etc.

To learn more I highly recommend the book “Anti-Cancer and new way of life” by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber. He is a MD who found he had an aggressive brain tumor an after the course of his initial treatment he felt there was more that could be done that his oncologist wasn’t aware of. so he dug into the published medical research database at www.pubmed.gov and was amazed at all the research there was regarding foods and cancer.  It is an easy read. It can get technical at times, but he brings it back up to common language. He has some good charts of which foods work best against various types of cancer. For example tomatoes can actually fuel breast cancer.

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Disclaimer – I’m not proposing that any of the above can treat or cure cancer as per the FDA only FDA approved drugs, chemo, surgery, and radiation can treat or cure cancer.  The recommendations above are primarily foods and foods are naturally occurring compounds and can not be patented so no pharmaceutical company will spend the money to gain FDA approval to use, for example, turmeric or garlic as an FDA approved treatment for cancer. There is though a large volume of published medical research which shows many foods can have a positive impact on cancer.

 

What is Selenium and why do I need it?

Selenium is a trace element that is essential in small amounts, but like all essential elements, it is toxic at high levels. Humans and animals require selenium for the function of a number of selenium-dependent enzymes, also known as selenoproteins. During selenoprotein synthesis, selenocysteine is incorporated into a very specific location in the amino acid sequence in order to form a functional protein. Unlike animals, plants do not appear to require selenium for survival. However, when selenium is present in the soil, plants incorporate it non-specifically into compounds that usually contain sulfur.


So what does selenium do?


In a nutshell, literally, selenium can help thyroid functioning, it has been shown to be effective in cancer prevention. It can help to reduce lipid oxidation (as in making cholesterol from good to bad). It maintains the antioxidant functions of vitamin E and C, and many other cellular functions are dependent on selenium.


How much do I need and where do I get it from?


Selenium is found mainly in some Brazil nuts (when grown in selenium rich soils) and shell fish. Most supplements do contain some selenium, but the forms differ greatly in absorbability. Only the Selenomethionine form is 90% absorbed, the other, less expensive forms, are barely absorbed if at all.  So if your supplement contains sodium selenite, sodium selenate or salts such as selenium oxide, etc, then you are wasting your money.


It is recommended that an adult should have between 200 mcg up to 400 mcg of selenium daily. It is estimated that the average person gets about 70 mcg or less daily from diet. If you live, or consume foods, from depleted areas such as the US North West, North Central, and North East, AZ, NM, some areas of China, and New Zealand then you may be getting much less. The RDA is 40 mcg, so below that level problems with selenium deficiency can appear, but the benefits occur at levels over 200 mcg.


What do I do?


I take a twice daily multi-vitamin which provides me with 200 mcg of Selenomethionine per day. I also munch on a few nuts a day (brazil nuts are one of my favorites.)  As I’ve often said make sure you take only pharmaceutical grade supplements so you are sure that if it says it contains 200 mcg of selenium that it actually does.



More details


Below are more details about exactly what selenium does and tables of selenium rich foods and the upper limit for different age groups.


In conjunction with the compound thioredoxin, thioredoxin reductase participates in the regeneration of several antioxidants, possibly including vitamin C. Maintenance of thioredoxin in a reduced form by thioredoxin reductase is important for regulating cell growth and viability


The thyroid gland releases very small amounts of biologically active thyroid hormone (triiodothyronine or T3) and larger amounts of an inactive form of thyroid hormone (thyroxine or T4) into the circulation. Most of the biologically active T3 in the circulation and inside cells is created by the removal of one iodine atom from T4 in a reaction catalyzed by selenium-dependent iodothyronine deiodinase enzymes. Three different selenium-dependent iodothyronine deiodinases (types I, II, and III) can both activate and inactivate thyroid hormone by acting on T3, T4, or other thyroid hormone metabolites. Thus, selenium is an essential element for normal development, growth, and metabolism because of its role in the regulation of thyroid hormones


Selenoprotein P is found in plasma and also associated with vascular endothelial cells (cells that line the inner walls of blood vessels). The primary function of selenoprotein P appears to be a transport protein for selenium (6). It also functions as an antioxidant that protects endothelial cells from damage induced by such compuonds as peroxynitrite.


15 kDA selenoprotein (Sep15) is mammalian protein located inside the cell. Here, it binds UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase, an enzyme that senses protein folding. Sep 15 has a redox function and is also implicated in cancer prevention.


Antioxidante properties – Selenium works in conjunction with other minerals (copper, zinc, iron) and support the activity of vitamin E in limiting the oxidation of lipids (fats) It is the oxidation of the lipid cholesterol which causes LDL cholesterol to become sticky and become “bad”. Selenium also matins the antioxidant function of Vitamin C.


Selenium deficiency may exacerbate the effects of iodine deviancy.


Selenium deficiency results in decreased activity of the several enzymes. Even when severe, isolated selenium deficiency does not usually result in obvious clinical illness. However, selenium-deficient individuals appear to be more susceptible to additional physiological stresses.


several diseases which are found to be common in areas where the soil is selenium deficient are Keshan disease, a cardiac disease. Kashin-Beck disease is characterized by the degeneration of articular cartilage between joints (osteoarthritis) and is associated with poor selenium status in areas of northern China, North Korea, and eastern Siberia


Selenium deficiency has been associated with impaired function of the immune system. Moreover, selenium supplementation in individuals who are not overtly selenium deficient appears to stimulate the immune response


There is a great deal of evidence indicating that selenium supplementation at high levels reduces the incidence of cancer in animals. More than two-thirds of over 100 published studies in 20 different animal models of spontaneous, viral, and chemically induced cancers found that selenium supplementation significantly reduces tumor incidence. Geographic studies have consistently observed higher cancer mortality rates in populations living in areas with low soil selenium and relatively low dietary selenium intakes.


Some studies have reported that low dietary selenium intakes are associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. A case-control study within a prospective study of over 50,000 male health professionals in the U.S. found a significant inverse relationship between toenail selenium content and the risk prostate cancer.


Sources of Selenium:

Food Serving Selenium (mcg)
Brazil nuts (from selenium-rich soil) 1 ounce (6 kernels) 544*
Shrimp 3 ounces (10-12) 34
Crab meat 3 ounces  41
Salmon 3 ounces 40
Halibut 3 ounces 40
Noodles, enriched 1 cup, cooked 38
Rice, brown 1 cup, cooked 19
Chicken (light meat) 3 ounces 13
Pork 3 ounces 35
Beef 3 ounces 16
Whole wheat bread 2 slices 23
Milk, skim 8 ounces (1 cup) 5
Walnuts, black 1 ounce, shelled 5





Supplements
Selenium supplements are available in several forms. Sodium selenite and sodium selenate are inorganic forms of selenium. Selenate is almost completely absorbed, but a significant amount is excreted in the urine before it can be incorporated into proteins. Selenite is only about 50% absorbed but is better retained than selenate once it is absorbed. Selenomethionine, an organic form of selenium that occurs naturally in foods, is about 90% absorbed. Selenomethionine and selenium-enriched yeast, which mainly supply selenomethionine, are also available as supplements. The consumer should be aware that some forms of selenium yeast on the market contain yeast plus mainly inorganic forms of selenium. Both inorganic and organic forms of selenium can be metabolized to selenocysteine by the body and incorporated into selenoenzymes
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for Selenium
Age Group  UL (mcg/day) 
Infants 0-6 months  45 
Infants 6-12 months  60 
Children 1-3 years  90 
Children 4-8 years  150 
Children 9-13 years  280 
Adolescents 14-18 years  400 
Adults 19 years and older  400


Green tea can protect your skin from UV damage and benefit your skin.

A report published online on April 27, 2011 in the Journal of Nutrition describesprotective benefits for green tea polyphenols against ultraviolet light-induced skin damage, as well as an ability to improve elasticity, density and other skin properties.
Researchers at the University of Witten-Herdecke and Heinrich Heine University in Germany assigned 60 women with light to normal ultraviolet sensitivity to receive a green tea beverage containing 1,402 milligrams per liter total catechins or a control beverage daily for twelve weeks. Before the treatment period and at six and twelve weeks, participants received a dose of irradiation to the skin from a solar simulator. Reddening, elasticity, roughness, scaling, density and water homeostasis were evaluated at these time points and blood samples were analyzed for flavonoids and other variables.
Ultraviolet-induced reddening of the skin was reduced by 16 percent after six weeks and 25 percent at 12 weeks compared to pretreatment responses among those who received green tea, indicating increased photoprotection. Skin elasticity, density, hydration, blood flow and oxygen saturation increased in those who received green tea, while roughness, volume and scaling declined. A decrease in scaling and volume and an increase in hydration were also observed in the control group; however, the degree of improvement was significantly less than that experienced by women who received green tea.
“Our green tea catechin beverage data are in accordance with the literature reporting protective effects of various polyphenols against UV-induced photo oxidation, induction of inflammation, oxidative stress, and DNA damage from different stress sources in cell cultures and animals,” the authors write. “The mechanisms underlying photoprotective effects of flavonoids in humans have not been elucidated; however, they are efficient antioxidants contributing to photoprotection in plants.”
“We demonstrated that ingestion of green tea catechins improved skin hydration, transepidermal water loss, density, and elasticity,” they observe. “These observed skin changes were probably an outcome associated with long-term consumption of green tea polyphenols and not likely a transitory response.”
What if you can’t drink several cups of green tea a day or you don’t like green tea? Well do what I do, take a high quality multivitamin which includes the beneficial green tea extract.
If you are in the metro Denver Boulder area, come by and see us at Bella Pelle Laser. We usually have these multivitamins on hand or can have them shipped directly to your house.  We are located in Broomfield and can meet all your laser hair removal needs.

Levels of Vitamin D needed to prevent cancer much higher than RDA levels

Our government says that the RDA of vitamin D is 400 IU/day for adults. That is great, at that level you probably won’t get rickets. You’re probably not concerned about preventing rickets. You’re probably interested in preventing cancer or type-1 diabetes though.


Recent research at UC San diego and published in the International journal of Cancer Research and Treatment though is showing that higher levels of Vitamin D, 4,000 to 8,000 IU/Day are necessary to prevent or markedly reduce by half the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Even in the general population including those who take vitamin D supplements 90% of the population is still vitamin D deficient, even based on minimal RDA levels.


Here is the link to the UC San Diego press release: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2011/02-22-vitamin-D-cancer-risk.htm


Here is the link to the published paper http://www.iiar-anticancer.org/openAR/journals/index.php/anticancer/article/view/215


You can’t get the amounts you need daily from your multi. Even the most popular multi only has a meager 500 IU/Day. The #1 rated multi in North America has a respectable 1,800 IU/day, but still far short of what you need to take daily. In the winter you can’t get enough vitamin D from the sun unless you are laying on the beach in Florida daily.  


Why would the government and FDA suggest an RDA of only 400 IU/day? The RDA values are based on the minimum levels you need to avoid diseases of deficiency like rickets, beri beri, scurvy, etc.  It is also economics. The pharmaceutical giants have tremendous influence on the FDA. If everyone started taking 8,000 of inexpensive Vitamin D tomorrow, within a few years the pharmaceutical companies would be losing billions of dollars by people not needing their very expensive drugs. For 70 cents  a day you could be taking 6,000 IU of a pharmaceutical grade Vitamin D and greatly reduce your risk of many cancers. Contrast that with the profits from a cancer drug which costs $8,000 per month!!!


For additional vitamin D select a high quality pharmaceutical grade supplement from a reputable manufacture. Often what you buy in the local store or internet store is manufactured by an unknown chemical company and just distributed by the firm you deal with. You have no idea of the quality control processes they have in place or the purity of the product. I’ve personally walked through some plants which anyone would find disgusting – like dogs walking around open containers of raw ingredients sitting on the floor. People smoking within a few yards, doors wide open to let what ever is outside, inside, and more. Contrast that to a company like Usana Health Sciences,  who has been certified as a pharmaceutical grade manufacture and follows quality and cleanliness procedures required by prescription drug manufactures. Their manufacturing area is cleaner than an operating room.