2017 has arrived, so it’s time to get going and keep going with good, uncomplicated New Year’s resolutions. But facing several helpful lifestyle changes that can produce better health for cancer patients, it might be hard to decide what to work on first. We’ll address that problem by suggesting three major priorities for cancer patients this year. If you use these for your resolutions, you’ll be taking concrete steps to improve your overall health and ability to tolerate and respond to cancer treatment.
Resolution 1: Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
Inflammation in your body is a major driver of cancer growth. That’s the primary motivation to reduce excess inflammation. But that’s not all inflammation does. Inflammatory molecules called cytokines also contribute to cancer-induced fatigue, the most widespread side effect plaguing cancer patients. Of course, there are drugs and supplements that fight inflammation, but eating a diet that promotes inflammation at the same time you are trying to reduce it by taking supplements or drugs is like trying to run up a down escalator! Continue reading
Evidence of the ability of inflammation to both initiate and fuel cancer has been accumulating since at least the 1980s. In fact, any chronic inflammatory disease – such as arthritis, bronchitis, fasciitis, colitis, and asthma – can increase the risk of cancer. For example, according to a 2000 study, approximately one in every ten patients with ulcerative colitis will eventually develop colorectal cancer. By another estimate, chronic inflammation may precede at least one-third of all cancers. However, it isn’t just the risk of cancer that is a concern when chronic inflammation is present.
A study published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology demonstrated that patients with high blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) were two to three times more likely to die prematurely or have their cancer return than patients with lower levels. Continue reading
The final installment in our supplement series will take a look at some of the reliable resources available to consumers for supplement and herbal information.
There are several places one can look to find concise information about a botanical supplement. This brief list of sources is evolving, and new credible sources are being compiled as more clinical evidence is validated:
- The Complete German Commission E Monographs – Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines by Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Busse WR, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS (eds.)
This book is an English translation of the standard European reference for all herbals.
- The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs by Blumenthal, M.
This book is unique in that it provides a list of all brand-name products used in various clinical trials. This list is particularly useful since all products used in clinical trial must meet current GMP standards, and are thus more likely to be quality products. The book includes concise monographs of about 40 commonly used herbal supplements. It also briefly summarizes the current clinical evidence that supports or refutes the purported claims of the herbal. Continue reading