When I was asked if I would like to write a weekly blog for “Live Better with Cancer” I was thrilled. I love writing them, for if it only helps one person, it is totally worth it! I was pondering over the topic for this week's blog and thought I'd write about exercise and bone density … but there is a topic, that to me, above any other cancer related knowledge I have, is such a massive issue. I know what I am about to say will be controversial but hey ho! Here goes...
My year of cancer treatment was in 2010...and what a year! I learned so much: firstly about me and how I coped in a crisis and secondly, about cancer and nutrition. It was all self taught 'knowledge' gleaned from books, the internet and people in health food shops. The point is, I had faith in my juicing and in my clean diet and that played a huge part in it's success.
A couple of years later a very close friend was diagnosed with a very rare cancer. His decline was rapid ..the tumour was growing fast and cachexia (wasting syndrome) was extremely evident. While I was visiting him in hospital the nutritionist came round. There I was, armed with my special mushrooms and ultra clean spinach risotto, only to be told that was not the kind of food my friend needed to be thinking about! “ It's all about gaining weight again so if he fancies a cream bun, or a doughnut that's what he should have...”
I think my jaw probably dropped to the floor! Had I really got it so wrong? Thinking back, this event plus working for a guy who sells himself as a slimmimg/health guru but doesn't eat a single vegetable...led me to my degree in nutritional therapy at the College of Naturopathic Medicine.
If I wanted to genuinely help people I had to know that I had my facts straight.
Way back in the 1930s Otto Warburg made such a huge discovery that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for it...Otto discovered the main biochemical cause of cancer; or what differentiates a cancer cell from a normal, healthy cell.
“ Cancer has only one prime cause. It is the replacement of normal oxygen respiration of the body's cells by an anaerobic (i.e.,oxygen-deficient) cell respiration. ” - Dr. Otto Warburg
So what does this mean in layman's terms. It tells us that cancer metabolizes much differently than normal cells. Normal cells need oxygen. Cancer cells despise oxygen. ( If you're interested – read up about oxygen therapy!)
Another thing this tells us is that cancer metabolizes through a process of fermentation.
Any wine and beer makers will know that fermentation requires SUGAR.
Now cancer cells, we know, reproduce much faster than normal body cells. In fact their metabolism is about 8 times faster.
So when cancer starts to grow, the body is put under great strain trying to feed this raging metabolism. The cancer is continually on the verge of starvation and thus constantly asking the body to feed it. When the food supply stops, the cancer begins to starve unless it can make the body produce sugar to feed itself.
Going back to my friend with the rare and ridiculously fast growing cancer. He turned up at my door and I hope I hid my shock. The tumour was in his sinus below his eye and his face had become extremely distorted. He was exhausted, very scared and had lost a terrific amount of weight. I know now that this was 'cachexia' – the body producing sugar from proteins in a process called glycogenesis. Basically his muscle mass had resorted to feeding his cancer the sugar it needed.
He stayed a few days until his appointment, mostly sleeping but bizarrely (so I thought at the time) also frequenting local bakers and cafes for cake!
SUGAR FEEDS CANCER
This is a fact but it is not for me to tell people what to eat for their specific siuation.
This advice is information only...if the above information interests you, you should seek the help of a qualified nutritionist or dietician.
Please understand that any professional that offers you a meal plan should have met with you and know your blood chemistry. There is NO ONE DIET THAT SUITS ALL! Only general guidelines can be advised without a thorough assessment.
There are many 'cancer' diets out there. They all vary. Understanding where foods are on the glycaemic index is a good start for any healthy diet.
I firmly believe that nutition can play a fundamental part in our cancer treatment and recovery. If you do too, seek the advice of an expert near you.
Thanks, as always, for reading!