Saturday, August 25, 2007

More nutrition news

Before you ask, my back has felt better this week. Lots better. So, so far I am not calling back for an MRI. I'll let you know if that changes.

Now--the LA Times today has a really terrific article about nutrition and cancer. It talks at length about foods purported to lower cancer (or recurrence) risk, and the strengths and flaws in various studies. I'm happy to see many of the recommendations of my nutritional oncologist, Rachel Beller, validated in the article. She really seems to base her approach on solid research and evidence, which of course appeals to me.

Among the key points for me:
  • In one study, breast cancer survivors who ate 5 servings of fruits/veggies a day and exercised regularly achieved a 44% decrease in the rate of recurrence. That's great! Those who only ate the veggies, OR who only exercised, did not get any benefit.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts), tomatoes, spinach, apples, and blueberries are among the key foods that have been shown beneficial.
  • The benefits come from the whole foods themselves, not supplements of just one nutrient or chemical at a time.
  • Excess weight is the #2 risk factor for cancer, behind only smoking.
  • A scary factoid: for Americans, 52% of "vegetable" consumption comes from just 3 sources: iceberg lettuce, potatoes, and canned tomatoes. Yikes!
So, Rachel has me getting the vast majority of my calories these days from veggies and fish (or tofu), with fruit and yogurt close behind--and the items on the list are definitely staples. And I'm playing volleyball for hours a week, and walking Kibble as well (though less than he'd like). Everything is as organic as possible, so that there aren't toxins and chemicals competing with the positive effects of the food. I'm almost down to my goal weight, which removes that as a risk factor.

It is hopeful and amazing to think that there could be a cell sitting inside me, with the potential of turning into another tumor (or of starting a cascade of cells tumbling in metastatic unison to become something really ugly), but what I'm doing could stop it. It's like Schrodinger's cat: I do one thing, and I get cancer. But I do another thing--perhaps the thing I'm doing by following Rachel's advice--and I live 50 more years cancer-free. That cell just sits there, and thinks about it, and then shrugs and stays healthy.

Anyway, everyone: Lose weight if you need to lose it, eat good things, and move your body! Let's all give the giant middle finger to cancer!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That nutrition news is terrific. You know what else would be terrific? If you posted a new photo of yourself! (Finally, I came up with a comment for this entry, thanks to you. I like to have a comment for all your entries, to show how much I care. TYTB and ILYMTYLM.)

M L said...

Hi Jen,
Thanks for your posts! I found your blog through, About.com, and am writing you to ask for your feedback and advice regarding a new cancer support initiative I am helping to launch.

The Experience Project (http://www.experienceproject.com) is looking to launch an online cancer support network–called The Cancer Support Project (CSP)–in the month of October to coincide with breast cancer awareness month. The Experience Project itself is built around dynamic groups of users who come on to the platform, share narratives and personal stories anonymously around their life experiences (for example, "My mother has cancer" or "I have cancer") and then connect with others who are going through, and who truly understand, the same experiences.

The central goal of the Cancer Support Project (CSP), in turn, is to provide a hub for emotional and psychological support around cancer, online - something that is currently not widely addressed, as most sites today focus on strictly information and therapy. We are using the platform of The Experience Project as the base for CSP given the existing community, culture, and technology on the site.

For cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and their friends, we hope that CSP will empower them with a rallying point of emotional support through the online community of shared heartfelt stories. We would like to partner with nonprofits, foundations, and high-profile individuals who believe in this cause–users will benefit greatly from the resources and information that these partners offer.

I'd love to get your feedback or any thoughts you may have regarding this project, as well as non-profits, foundations, and individuals whom you think would be excited about participating in the support network.

Many thanks,
Mindy

Jenny said...

Hi folks!

I love getting comments--keep them coming. If you want a response (as a couple of recent ones seem to) please leave an email address so I know how to contact you.

Mindy, your project sounds great and I'd recommend that you check out The Wellness Community, which has just launched online support groups and may be a good partner for you!