Frequent and liberal application of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF has been proven to help prevent skin cancer (click the link for full details), but there are also certain foods that can boost your body’s natural ability to protect itself against skin cancer. If you are a skin cancer or melanoma survivor, adding these foods to your diet may help increase your protection against recurring incidents of skin cancer.
Grapes have been found to offer strong natural protection against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays which are a primary cause of skin cancer. Researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain discovered that naturally-occurring compounds in grapes called flavonoids protect skin cells from UV radiation.
Milk Thistle contains the plant extract silibinin which University of Colorado researchers at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have found has the ability to kill skin cells that have been mutated by UVA radiation, the type that causes skin cancer. If they do not die, mutated cells typically turn cancerous. Silibinin also protects the skin from sunburn-causing UVB radiation, offering a double-dose of protection.
Strawberries have photo-protective properties that offer natural UV ray protection, according to a study conducted at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy. These berries also contain powerful antioxidants that promote cell survival and minimize DNA damage.
Coffee lowered the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by 11% in a study conducted by researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit. The more coffee you drink, the greater the protection. In the study, drinking 6 cups of coffee boosted skin cancer protection to 36%. Researchers suspect caffeine kills sun-damaged cells.
With all the publicity breast cancer and prostate cancer receive, many people assume they are the top cancer killers in the U.S. While breast and prostate cancers are the two most frequently diagnosed cancers, lung cancer, only third in number of diagnoses, actually kills twice as many people as its more common cousins.
Current and former smokers comprise the majority of lung cancer victims, but non-smokers are also at risk, particularly if they have lived with a smoker or worked in a smoke-filled environment. In some cases, the dangers of second-hand smoke can elevate cancer risk to the same level of cigarette smokers.
The bad news for lung cancer victims is that the 15% 5-year survival rate has remained unchanged over the past four decades, despite the tremendous progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment that has resulted in greatly improved cancer survival rates for many other types of cancer.
Symptoms that mimic common respiratory illnesses and the late arrival of symptoms make early detection of lung cancer difficult. Researchers have been working to develop better screening procedures that could prompt earlier lung cancer discovery and treatment. At Stanford University, researchers have had some success using a lung CT scan to diagnose lung cancer. Among study participants, early detection improved lung cancer survival rates by 20%, but the high level of false positives (95%) remains problematic.
Actress Valerie Harper will share her battle with cancer in an NBC prime time documentary to air later this year. Valerie won viewers’ hearts in the 1970s as feisty Rhoda Morgenstern, first on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and then on the spinoff Rhoda. First diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, a recurrence spread to her brain. In March, the 73-year-old actress was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare and terminal cancer of brain membrane.
Hoping to encourage other cancer victims to keep fighting, Valerie granted documentary camera crews unprecedented access to her daily struggle with cancer. The camera follows Valerie as she discusses traditional and alternative cancer treatments with doctors, undergoes experimental treatments and weathers cancer’s ups and downs with her husband and daughter.
“I can’t say it’s terminal,” Valerie has said. “I’m saying it’s incurable so far, but we’re all terminal. No one is getting out of this alive. The key is, don’t go to the funeral until the day of the funeral.”
Cancer research has made tremendous leaps just in the past decade. New genetic research is expanding our understanding of cancer and how it attacks the body, holding promise for the development of new and more efficient cancer treatment and delivery systems. However, it is our body’s own immune system that most cancer experts believe holds the ultimate key to developing a cure for cancer. A proven treatment protocol, immunotherapy is believed to offer the most promising path to a cancer cure.
For more than 60 years, Issels Integrative Oncology has been a leader in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer. Click here to review our cancer case studies.
A breakthrough British study has identified cell behavior that researchers at University College London believe explains why cancer spreads. Aptly called “chase and run” by its discoverers, the mechanism describes the interesting interaction between healthy and diseased cells in the body.
The discovery is expected to aid in the development of new and even more effective immunotherapy treatments for cancer. But the British researchers have even higher expectations for their discovery. They believe they are on the path to finding an immunobiologic cure for cancer.
The study has identified what researchers call the “chase and run” effect in which diseased and healthy cells chase each other around the body. When cancer is present, it is believed that this game of cellular tag promotes the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The British researchers believe that it should be “fairly easy” to stop the chase and run effect and keep tumors in one place.
If their theory proves true, it could revolutionize cancer therapy, making it easier to treat and remove cancer tumors.
“‘Most deaths are not due to the formation of the primary tumor.” study spokesman Roberto Mayor told the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail. “Instead, people die from secondary tumors originating from the first malignant cells, which are able to travel and colonize vital organs of the body such as the lungs or the brain. This happens because the cells get healthy ones to follow them.”
The study was conducted on frog embryos, not cancer cells so additional research will be required; but the initial findings are promising.
In the great debate over which is better for you — coffee or tea — both offer excellent health benefits, including the ability to help prevent certain types of cancer. For cancer survivors and those actively fighting cancer, the substances in coffee and tea may give your immune system a boost and improve mind-body function, particularly your ability to cope with cancer-related stress.
In our previous post we discussed the benefits of coffee; today we focus on the cancer-fighting benefits of tea (some findings may be preliminary or based on small patient samplings, but all offer promising avenues for further research). It should be noted that while herbal teas may confer their own benefits, they do not offer the benefits noted below.
Tea. Many people find the ritual of drinking tea to be a relaxing and comforting experience. There is a mindfulness to “having a cuppa” that creates a feeling of harmony between mind and body.
Antioxidants. Tea contains high concentrations of free radical-neutralizing antioxidants. Free radicals can cause cell damage that contributes to the development of all types of cancers. When possible choose green tea which contains the highest concentration of polyphenol antioxidants.
Skin cancer. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tea may help protect your skin against sun damage, decreasing your risk of skin cancer.
Breast cancer. In studies, drinking green tea was associated with lower breast cancer risk. Tea can interfere with chemotherapy drugs, so talk to your oncologist.
Tea and coffee offer general benefits in the battle against cancer; whereas Issels’ cancer vaccines are formulated to provide specifically targeted cancer-fighting results.
Coffee or tea? Whichever side of the beverage debate you stand on, you’ll be pleased to know that both popular beverages offer health benefits that may help prevent certain types of cancer. If you are already fighting cancer, substances in coffee and tea may boost your immune system and improve mind-body function, enhancing your ability to cope with the stress of having cancer.
Here’s a rundown on the latest findings (some findings are preliminary or based on small samplings, but all offer provocative avenues for further research):
Coffee. If you’re one of those people who can’t get their motor revving in the morning without a jolt of java, you’ll be happy to know that your morning cup of coffee comes with quite a few unsuspected benefits. If coffee gives you heartburn, try a darker roast. A substance in dark roast coffees inhibits the production of stomach acid. Just remember; as in all things, moderation is the key. The benefits listed are based on consumption of 2 to 4 cups of coffee per day.
Skin cancer. Just one cup of coffee a day may lower melanoma risk by 11%. Coffee may also aid cell repair and help the body absorb harmful ultraviolet rays, decreasing skin cancer risk.
Endometrial cancer. Coffee decreases the body’s levels of estrogen and insulin which may help lower endometrial cancer risk.
Mind-body benefits. Women benefit from coffee drinking more than men. Drinking 3 cups of coffee a day can lower women’s risk of depression by 15%. Drink a fourth cup of coffee and depression risk drops by 20%. Coffee also helps women cope with stress.