Cancer Watch - March-April 2004

Originally published in March-April 2004 icon

Cancer Watch eye

High salt diet links to stomach cancer

Cancer Research UK has published results of an epidemiology study on stomach cancer showing a strong link with highly salted foods (British Journal of Cancer). High salt has been shown to induce atrophic gastritis, a precursor to this cancer.

The study reviewed 40000 people in Japan over an 11-year period. Those people who consumed 12-15 gms of salt a day had twice the risk of stomach cancer.

Other findings from the study showed that smoking and a low consumption of vegetables and fruit also increased risks, especially in men,

Ed: The average American male consumes 12 gms, and the average UK male 8-10 gms. In The Tree of Life, published June 2003. we showed how high potassium and magnesium and low sodium were the essential ingredients of health. Indeed the formula was even used by Dr Max Gerson 60 years ago.

We believe 1 gm of salt is the maximum you should consume a day and that the FSA target of 6 mgs is far too high. Apart from stomach cancer and heart disease, an excess of sodium negatively affects all cells in the body making them inefficient, more acid and reducing oxygen usage. All precursors of cancer

As regular readers know, we have been warning about salt for over a year.

Californian study links smoking and breast cancer

In 2003 Cancer Research UK linked teenage girls smoking to a 70 per cent increased risk of breast cancer later in their life.

Now a study of 116,544 female teachers in California showed that current smokers increased their risks by 30 per cent. This risk increases with level of smoking.

The study was published in the National Cancer Institute Journal and also showed that the risk was highest amongst those who started smoking before 20 years of age.

Macmillan help you relax and breathe

Macmillan Cancer Relief has launched a free CD called relax and breathe designed to help a wide variety of patients in their struggle with cancer It aims to give patients and carers a tool to self manage their symptoms and also to be a tool for health professionals. The CD has been produced by Macmillan Cancer Relief and the Institute of Cancer Research. You can obtain a copy by contacting the Macmillan resources line on 01344 350 310

Higher Gleevec dosage and myeloid leukaemia

The M D Anderson Cancer Center In Texas reports a small research showing that twice the normal daily dose of Gleevec dramatically improves results in cases of chronic myeloid leukaemia. Lead researcher Jorge Cortes MD lead the study that looked at newly diagnosed early stage CML. Eighteen months after starting the test, 28 per cent of the 114 patients treated with 800 mgs of Gleevec a day had no evidence of the disease. By 24 months the figure was 48 per cent.

Cigarettes: cutting down doesn’t cut out

Researchers reporting in Nature (22 January 2004) conclude that cutting down on smoking is no way to prevent cancer. Although the study only followed 100 people, urine samples were taken from participants and these showed little decline in cancer causing agents despite cutbacks of 75 per cent by some smokers. The only answer: Quit totally.

Taxol delivery improved for breast cancer

At the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, delegates were told of Abraxane, microscopic particles of paclitaxel (the generic name for Taxol) bound to albumin, a blood protein. The albumin appears to help the drug reach the tumours more effectively

Moreover, the use of albumin means that Abraxane does not require Cremaphor, a toxic solvent currently used to deliver Taxol. Cremapbor actually causes some of the side effects associated with taking Taxol. Worse, to avoid these side effects doctors even give patients steroids before giving them Taxol. Steroids themselves have side effects and research shows they create a negative environment to cells in the body.

Despite giving a higher dose of Abraxane only 9 per cent of women experience severe white cell reduction with the new treatment. It also seemed to delay the worsening of tumours more than Taxol (New York Times)

Garlic linked to cancer cure

Allicin is one of the active ingredients of garlic, and has been known to kill debilitating yeasts and microbes for centuries.

Now researchers at the Weizmann Institute in lsrael have developed an antibody laced with a precursor of allicin. Labelled a "smart bomb" by Professor David Mirelman, the precursor changes to allicin in cancerous cells and destroys them. On the other hand, allicin is harmlessly broken down by healthy cells

Prostate and skin cancer rates soar in UK

The Office of National Statistics has just published figures on the most common cancers.

Over the nine-year period to 2000, prostate cancer rose 62 per cent, breast cancer 8 per cent while melanoma increased 64 per cent in men and 45 per cent in women.

The reason for the increased prostate incidence was deemed due to increased detection through the PSA test.

Ed: Interestingly all the rapidly growing cancers are oestrogen driven as we have reported before. The report doesn’t show figures for child cancers either As always the researchers give credit to the PSA test for spotting prostate cancers. Yet the PSA test is only 70 per cent accurate, and dairy and exercise, if taken before the test, will result in high readings. The PSA is if anything viewed as flawed and likely to over-diagnose the incidence of a disease where cancer charities in the US say 90 per cent of cases could probably be left for ten years or more without taking any action.

The main reason these cancers are growing is the plethora of chemicals surrounding us that once in our bloodstreams, mimic the action of oestrogen. This has been understood for over 20 years and the Government takes no action. We continue to report on this huge modern threat to our health. Only last month the WWF report showed heavy levels of toxins in our bodies, confirming the threat reported by the Royal Commission in 2002

Head X-rays can cause harm

A research team from Karolinska Institute Stockholm, in conjunction with teams from Harvard and Athens followed 3000 men who had been given radiation treatment to the head when they were children.

The report in the British Medical Journal says that the more radiation the boys were given before the age of 18 months, the lower their subsequent IQ. The levels of radiation were similar to those given in, say, a CT (computerised tomography) scan.

Researchers concluded that the risks and benefits of CT scans in, say, minor head trauma, need re-evaluating.

New model for tumour growth

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research has produced a new model for tumour development that treats tumours henceforth as an integrated part of the body in which they grow. (Ed: At last!!!) And the model links calorie intake to growth rate of tumours and allows for age of patient, since children’s cancers grow faster.

Chlamydia link to cervical cancer

Jorma Paavonen (University of Helsinki) in an article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2003 has linked chlamydia once again to some cervical cancers. A link between certain HPV strains and cervical cancer is already well established and a link between chlamydia and ovarian cancer has also previously been shown.

This new research measured serum levels of antibodies in women with cervical cancer and Walter Stamm of the University of Washington, Seattle, stated the findings were consistent with the view that chlamydia trachomatis infection may be a co-factor contributing to cervical cancer.

The disappearing minerals

David Thomas has produced a report analysing 64 foods for mineral content by using government data over the last 60 years. Since 1940 vegetables have lost 76 per cent of their copper, 46 per cent of calcium, 27 per cent of iron, 24 per cent of magnesium and 16 per cent of potassium. Figures for fruit were 19, 16, 24, 15 and 22 per cent respectively. He also noted that the falls were most dramatic in the 1978 and 1991 period where, for example, be highlighted a fall of 57 per cent in zinc (Report: UK Medical Research Council).

Mycotoxin alert in cereals

Researchers from the Food Standard Agency have found mycotoxins in 174 samples of 335 brands of breakfast cereals. Although the agency said all the levels were minimal, in 21 cases the levels were above those currently being set by the EU as safe for children under 3 years of age.

Mycotoxins have been implicated in the cancer process, and are linked to fungus that grows on grains and is particularly prevalent in grains stored for long periods, Oats are often particularly affected.

A positive attitude may not help

Many books and articles tell a cancer sufferer to "be positive". This is totally unrealistic especially when going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Not east of all, depression is linked to reduced blood oxygen levels and vice versa. And cancer patients have lowered oxygen levels.

At ICON, we have always taken the view that patients should surround themselves with positive people to help in those down times. But we never chase people to "be positive’ themselves.

New research says it doesn’t matter anyway!! Researchers from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne looked at patients with cancers offering only 10 per cent 5-year survival rates and concluded that optimism per Se had little effect on survival rates.

’A realistic sense of hope was to be encouraged’, said researchers.

Ed: This work does, however, conflict with previous studies which showed clearly that optimism overall increased determination, eating and lifestyle factors, and did lead to longer survival rates. Possibly the results were due to the type of cancer chosen (a type of lung cancer) and its poor survival rates. Whether it would be true for breast cancer, for example, where survival rates, per Se, are more optimistic, is another matter However we do feel that this clamour for patients to be optimistic is not only unnecessary but can make them feel guilty and inadequate in some way and is to be discouraged.

Cancer Watch - March-April 2004
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