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Questioning the legitimacy of cancer specific foods

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Maybe I am the only one bothered by this.  You listen to Dr. Oz and some others and they say things like 

For breast cancer, eat . . .

For brain cancer eat . . .

For kidney canceer eat. . .

For colon cancer eat. . .

For bone cancer eat. . .

And the list goes on.  So much of it is hypothetical.  Cancers are such complext diseases, and the only common element has to do with changed DNA causing uncontrolled cell growth.

I think we need to pay attention to diet to keep healthy and keep our immune system functioning at high levels.  But I am very bothered by the one to one correspondence of certain foods to certain cancers.  I don't think there are foods for specific cancers, as even breast cancer is composed of all different types.

I just am bothered by the allegations with no real scientific proof.   Anybody else?

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Comments

  • SusansGarden
    SusansGarden Member Posts: 754
    edited March 2012
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    I hear ya sister!  I totally agree with the needing to keep healthy.  Make good food choices 90% of the time.  Stay physically active and get consistant exercise, etc.

    However, since being diagnosed...I do make a conscious effort to throw more "anti-cancer" foods & supplements in the mix then I used to.  Beets, Kale, brussel sprouts, etc.

    I personally don't feel the need to go "overboard" with it.  I still drink wine.  I don't freak out if I have a random bite of a Twinkie.

    I guess if it makes you feel better (mentally) to religiously follow some of these things...then more power to you.  But if it stresses you out trying to avoid the kabillion cancer causing things and freak out if you forgot to eat 10 beets in a day.....then relax about it a little.  Because they say stress causes cancer too!  We can't win. Wink 

  • pickle
    pickle Member Posts: 70
    edited March 2012
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    I agree. I am so sick of all the speculation of what to eat and not eat. I have always been a healthy eater. I don't like sugar or sweets. I love veggies and a bit of fruit. I don't eat a lot of fruit except berries because I find some are too sweet.

    I have always eaten whole grain bread, rice, whole wheat pasta. I love Kale, brussel sprouts, bok coy, broccoli, spinach etc and eat greens on a daily basis. Fish, lean meats

    I take 2000 iu of Vit D and 1000 iu of B12 on the recommendation of my onc.

    I drink wine and I do treat myself to pizza, potato chips, and stuff occasionally. Oh yes...I am a closet smoker which is the worse thing I could do. (I'm working on it)



    I haven't had a cold, flu or anything for years..well except BC 3 years ago...lol

    I have 2 close friends that go to a naturopath and spend a small fortune on stuff and they are always fatigued, get colds frequently, flu etc. they are unhealthier than me. I am lucky because I have never had many colds or anything throughout my life. I have a bit of depression since my dx but I am dooming out of the fog. Started walking 45 mins a day which is really helping.



    Now, I am not saying that supplements don't work. We all have a different chemistry make-up. No one has the same DNA so it seems to me that what works for some doesn't work for others and I think that people really get oversold on supplements.



    Whether you are healthy, have diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis or whatever ...

    it is common sense to eat healthy, exercise(doesn't mean you have to run a marathon), Etc. I try to follow the 80/20 rule with food on my plate



    Our bodies and cancer are very individual and very complex. So I don't know how Dr Oz knows what foods are better for specific cancers. Where is his research?





  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 205
    edited March 2012
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    I pity those like the OP with the blinders on who don't bother to get educated about this issue and can tell same someone is bored and provoking a little action, da !

    I could bombard this thread with so much info your head would spin, but I won't bother.  They say ignorance is bliss...I'll leave you with it Smile

     


    Examples of nutrient compounds with anticancer activity on the regulatory proteins/receptors above:

    Inhibition of NF-kB: (resveratrol, curcumin, EGCG, isoflavones, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3, pomegranate extract, ashwagandha, gingerol, milk thistle, lycopene)

    Reduction in 5-LOX: (omega-3 fatty acids, boswellia extract/AKBA, curcumin, lycopene)

    Inhibition of Ras: (curcumin, limonene, vitamin E, garlic extract/diallyl sulfide)

    Reduction in COX-2: (omega-3 fatty acids, berberine, feverfew, gingerol, EGCG, curcumin, resveratrol, milk thistle, gamma tocopherol)

    Inhibition of Caspases: (cucumin)

    Inhibition of PARP: (curcumin)

    Inhibition of AMPK: (curcumin)

    Inhibition of Galectin-3: (modified citrus pectin)

    Inhibition of E-selectin: (alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids)

    http://www.integrativeoncology-essentials.com/ioeblog/employing-a-multi-pronged-anticancer-approach-using-natural-supplements-and-whole-foods/
     

  • pickle
    pickle Member Posts: 70
    edited March 2012
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    Dr Oz lists many specific foods which are available in the grocery store without having to take lots of supplements.

    I think The OP was stating that Oz says certain foods for specific cancers. I personally believe that the foods he mentions for all cancers is great but I'm not convinced that certain foods are specific for certain cancers.

    I like Dr David Schreibers book.

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited March 2012
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    Not to start an argument, because I'm sure he has his fans, but WTH does Oz know about what foods fight cancer?  Isn't he a cardiothorasic surgeon? I've never seen his show and I'm sure he probably has his "experts" guiding him, but I find it strange that anyone would take one of Oprah's minions seriously. I think he might qualify as a Dr. with the ability to entertain, but not a scientist.

    Edited to remove a comment that crossed the line.

  • candygurl
    candygurl Member Posts: 24
    edited March 2012
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    There is science behind it.   "Can we eat to starve cancer?   William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating specific cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9bDZ5-zPtY

    Dr. Oz had Mr. Li on his show a last year.  We are not plants. Our bodies needs real food  to function properly.   "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates

  • Mallory107
    Mallory107 Member Posts: 14
    edited March 2012
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    Dr Oz is not putting himself out there as an 'expert' on anything.  He brings people in that ARE experts on the topics that he is discussing.  You have obviously never watched his show.  Furthermore it is apparant that you realize other people DO watch and enjoy his show thus your inflammatory comments. 

    There are many studies behind why certain foods are cancer fighting.    I for one am glad to know this and am happy to add in these proven foods to my diet.  I feel like every little bit helps and if I can do something as easy as eat brussel sprouts and kale then why not?  These would be good for me even if I didn't have cancer to worry about.

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited March 2012
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    Zuvart, I totally agree with you (and Hippocrates).

  • greenfrog
    greenfrog Member Posts: 73
    edited March 2012
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    Erm, yeah, well, lovely mad old Hippocrates also said that eunuchs never get gout or go bald. And that the best way of curing hunger is to drink lots of white wine. And that health is simply achieved by balancing our blood, phlegm and red and black bile. 

    Just saying.Laughing

  • Ang7
    Ang7 Member Posts: 568
    edited March 2012
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    Gosh Maud~

    Way to jump on the OP.

    She was not trying to start a fight and you jumped right in and started making rude comments.

    "They say ignorance is bliss...I'll leave you with it."

    How can we have real discussions with put downs like these?

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited March 2012
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    Did he really? That's hilarious.....maybe I spoke to soon about agreeing with old Hippocrates Foot in mouth
  • pickle
    pickle Member Posts: 70
    edited March 2012
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    I agree that certain foods help our immune sytem etc. in general. I just don't think we are anywhere close to knowing what /if any "specific" foods fight "specific" cancers. Example. Does broccoli aid in helping breast cancer but not pancreatic cancer? Which is what the OP was asking.

  • dogsandjogs
    dogsandjogs Member Posts: 677
    edited March 2012
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    I'm supposed to watch stuff that has too much vit K in it because of being on a blood thinner. Other than that, I eat pretty much what I want, but in moderation. I don't really think certain foods cause cancer or that others prevent it. But that's just my opinion

  • dogsandjogs
    dogsandjogs Member Posts: 677
    edited March 2012
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    And I can't eat too much broccoli because of the vitamin K.  So what do I worry about, getting a stroke or cancer?  It makes your head spin---

  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited March 2012
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    Agreed pickle. Boosting our immune system is always a plus. You could drive yourself crazy thinking about what food is going to help what cancer. Hell, if I thought drinking my own pee would rid my body of this thing, I'd do that too.

  • greenfrog
    greenfrog Member Posts: 73
    edited March 2012
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  • leggo
    leggo Member Posts: 379
    edited March 2012
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    We must have been posting at the same time dogsandjogs. So true...Seems like we always have to trade something for our choices. Head always spinning......

  • kerri72
    kerri72 Member Posts: 6
    edited March 2012
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    This fixation on specific foods makes me nervous too. Since being diagnosed I've tried to take a "do no harm" approach to my diet instead - lots of variety, all things in moderation, not too much of any one food just in case there are unintended consequences. In the 20 years before my diagnosis I ate lots of soy in all forms on a daily basis, which I believe for me was a mistake. Now I cycle through different foods - one carton of almond milk, then an oat milk, then rice, then goat kefir, etc. I'd rather miss out on the benefit of loading my diet with a specific food than cause myself harm by eating too much of something that's supposed to be cancer-fighting and turns out not to be. I still eat lots of cruciferous vegetables but not an inordinate amount. For all I know, I may have a genetic mutation that causes broccoli to fuel my cancer - who the hell can really say?

  • Annabella58
    Annabella58 Member Posts: 916
    edited March 2012
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    I went all organic, heavy veggie/fruit/ exercise and got cancer.

    Went back to eating a normal diet with the occasional pizza and yup, sugar too.

    Cancer free 4.5 years.

    Eat what you want in moderation, be vigilant but don't go crazy.  Try to eat healthfully.  Dr. Oz seems a loon sometimes, but he means well.  There is some verity to certain cancers responding to certain foods (ie: broccoli kills bc cells in a petri dish) but one would need to literally live on it.

    I think that we all need to just be moderate, vigilant and healthful genrally.  But if you want a pizza and a glass of wine, from this we don't die.

    Smoking tho....yeah, we do.

  • pickle
    pickle Member Posts: 70
    edited March 2012
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    Annie..agreed. Moderation. I think I'll have pizza and wine tonight, after all, it's TGIF

  • husband11
    husband11 Member Posts: 1,287
    edited March 2012
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    Sure, its television, and Dr. Oz has to say exciting things to captivate an audience with astounding medical discoveries.   At times, overstating what is "known" with any certainty.  That said, addressing the issue of a genetic component to cancer, being damage that can't seemingly be reversed, the expression of genes is modified by the chemical environment surrounding the dna.  The field of epigenetics studies this phenomenon.  Genes that switch on or off as a result of chemical signals.  It's entirely possible that what we eat, influences the expression of genes, to either our benefit or detriment.  So, I wouldn't rule it out.  I do though take extragant claims with a grain of salt.

  • 1Athena1
    1Athena1 Member Posts: 672
    edited March 2012
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    I find diet to be the least credible of all claims about what can prevent/cure cancer. To be sure, extreme bad eating could play an indirect role, but in such cases you likely die of heart failure first.

    It's always good to remember that humans die of other things besides cancer, and that a decent diet is a good way to stave off premature death for those reasons. I'm not an expert by any means but complementary measures against cancer such as supplementation, exercise, not smoking and clean air seem to have more evidence-based research to back them.

  • Racy
    Racy Member Posts: 974
    edited March 2012
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    Ladies, this is a good discussion and I agree with most of the responses here. I do like Dr Oz.



    The recommendations that Dr Oz gives are consistent with those in the book Foods that Fight Cancer. The science behind the recommendations is explained in the book.



    It's definitely worth reading this book if you haven't already. Anticancer, which was mentioned above, supports the exact same dietary approach plus many lifestyle factors.

  • MariannaLaFrance
    MariannaLaFrance Member Posts: 166
    edited March 2012
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    I like healthy foods and they make me feel good. So I eat them. I actually buy into the science of nutritional therapy, having known what life is like after getting severely malnourished. It was not pretty, ladies. I had neuropathy, weakness, vertigo, night blindness, cloudy thinking, nausea, diahrrea, and acne.  

    If being deficient can cause those types of effects, I imagine that being well nourished can certainly help the body. I've known two extremes, and I choose the side of good nutrition. It just seems to be.... well, common sense, really.

    As we say in marketing, garbage in = garbage out. 

  • motheroffoursons
    motheroffoursons Member Posts: 80
    edited March 2012
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    Maud, I have not had any interaction with you, and I think you responded quite rudely.

    All I am saying is the one-to-one correspondence of foods to types of cancers is overly simplistic to the point where it is misleading.

    In response to your notes, I read some of the articles about cucurmin.  I do not read from fronts for companies that sell supplements, etc., but mostly sites that end in .edu  There are mixed results, and most investigations are in a petrie dish.  I remember reading years ago that even applesauce stops cancer cells in a petrie dish.  Furthermore the articles indicated the level of curcumin needed would not obtained by taking curcumin orally. That being said, there PROBABLY is some compound in curcumin that will lead to less inflamation and cancer. However, this needs to be explored scientifically. It holds promise.

  • lucy88
    lucy88 Member Posts: 100
    edited March 2012
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    You might actually try reading the peer review studies of the power of specific foods' biochemistry on cancer. You can read millions of studies on pubmed.com, the National Library of Medicine Database.

    I find it's helpful to read up before offering an opinion.

  • Bluebird-DE
    Bluebird-DE Member Posts: 1,233
    edited March 2012
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    Kerri - I'm with you on revolving foods, I do the same, not just because it might be 'fueling' the cancer, but that the source might not be as nattural or organic as necessary, such as almond milk.  Do they irradiate the almonds before making the milk?  They do all almonds unless says otherwise, so what about the milk. 

    The simplicity of 'eat this food for this cancer' is misleading, and for me, so many cancer-fighting foods are out due to thyroid and because I do not want to take the chance that they are estrogen traps. Still, I feel food is our medicine.  And I know I am doing  this at my best.

  • motheroffoursons
    motheroffoursons Member Posts: 80
    edited March 2012
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    Dear Lucy,

    You said I should research on pub med.  I just spent an hour on it, typing in food and cancer.

    I found a few studies indicating green tea and curcumin might be beneficial (but not for just one type of cancer).  I also found the following abstract from the site you recommended.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22190993

    GROUND:

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Body weight and nutrition are known to play an important role in its pathogenesis. The question thus arises whether lifestyle factors might influence the prognosis of breast cancer, potentially offering new approaches for secondary prevention.

    METHODS:

    We selectively searched the Medline database for all studies and meta-analyses on this topic that were published from 1966 to June 2010. We evaluated the cohort studies, interventional trials, and meta-analyses with respect to three target variables: tumor recurrence, tumor-specific mortality, and overall mortality.

    RESULTS:

    A high body-mass index (BMI) at the time of diagnosis of breast cancer is associated with higher overall mortality, as is weight gain at later times. A low-fat diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and fiber seems to be weakly associated with a better prognosis. On other hand, there is no evidence for any benefit from micronutrients, supplements, or antioxidant foods. Alcohol consumption does not affect the outcome in breast cancer. Two intervention trials of reduced fat intake showed no effect on survival, but the target of the intervention was not met in either trial.

    CONCLUSION:

    The intervention trials yielded negative results. Nevertheless, in view of the methodological difficulties in this area of research and the overall life situation of women with breast cancer, the authors recommend a health-promoting lifestyle with avoidance of overweight and a low-fat diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and fiber.

    Again, I found that leafy vegetables and tomatoes (lycopene) were recommended, but it was not a one to one correspondence to each type of cancer which was my complaint in the beginning.

    The one to one correspondence is oversimplfied.

  • Angelfalls
    Angelfalls Member Posts: 83
    edited March 2012
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    I agree that the one-to-one correspondence is overly simplistic. BC is not one, simple disease, so common sense dictates that not all BCs will respond in the same way to nutrients, chemo, supplements, etc. This is the very opposite of the personalised treatment that many researchers are advocating and working towards.

    But good nutrition to bolster the immune system is common sense, too.

    And Maud, I also agree that your comments were out of line. We are all entitled to our own opinions and to be treated respectfully on these boards.

    Angelfalls xx

  • Shrek4
    Shrek4 Member Posts: 519
    edited April 2013
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