Editorial Issue 162 Print Email

At 15 years of publishing Positive Health PH, watersheds and milestones are perennial events, eternally in abundance. At this particular juncture, PH Online Sept Issue 162, one year after PH became available exclusively online and a week before I am to present a Cancer and Nutrition lecture to practitioners and graduate students of Centre for Nutrition and Lifestyle Management, I have been reminiscing and ruminating about what progress, if any, has been achieved, particularly regarding Complementary and Natural Approaches to healthcare and Cancer treatment.

Perhaps a most important impetus for launching Positive Health PH back in 1994 was the dearth of authoritative information about clinical developments and research in the numerous diverse disciplines encompassing Complementary Medicine. Despite the many thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of published research studies regarding Nutrition and Cancer, which I painstakingly catalogued into a Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, now known as Penny Brohn Cancer Care, people including my dear cousin Elaine who died of breast cancer, were still being told that vitamins could interfere with chemotherapy.

With regard to mainstream cancer treatment, little appears to have changed, in that surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are still the major treatments offered; diet and nutrition are still not taken seriously, despite the numerous promising research studies and clinical cases. As most of these studies are not randomized controlled trials, their results are largely ignored by the medical establishment, who are led and financed by the pharmaceutical companies.

In recent years, the internet has enabled research to be read by all interested parties; research has burgeoned regarding the molecular basis for nutritional elements in various cancers and large long term cancer trials with people. This issue features research updates by Liu and colleagues about the inhibition of prostate cancer by selenium www.positivehealth.com/research-view.php?researchid=3983 by Kim and colleagues about the anti-tumour properties of ginger for colon and lung cancer www.positivehealth.com/research-view.php?researchid=3984 and Huang and colleagues regarding the inhibition of tumour metastasis by lycopene at the molecular level. www.positivehealth.com/research-view.php?researchid=3985  

PH Online Issue 161 featured research updates by Carmody and colleagues regarding the effect of diet along with mindfulness practice upon quality of life (QOL) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in men with prostate cancer www.positivehealth.com/research-view.php?researchid=3968 and by Key and colleagues regarding cancer risk among meat eaters, non-meat eaters who ate fish (fish eaters) and vegetarians.

And there have been numerous highly publicized reports from international agencies including the World Cancer Research Fund quantifying how various foods, drinks, and lifestyle factors including exercise, alcohol and smoking play a major role and contribute to cancer. The following extract is from the WCRF's Second Expert Report – www.wcrf.org  

"Since the early 1980s, relevant United Nations agencies, national governments, authoritative non-governmental organizations, and researchers and other experts in the field have agreed that food and nutrition, physical activity, and body composition are individually and collectively important modifiers of the risk of cancer, and taken together may be at least as important as tobacco.

"By the mid-1990s the general consensus became more solidly based on methodical assessment of the totality of the relevant literature. Thus: 'It is now established that cancer is principally caused by environmental factors, of which the most important are tobacco; diet and factors related to diet, including body mass and physical activity; and exposures in the workplace and elsewhere.' This statement introduces the recommendations made in the first WCRF/AICR report.

"Expert reports may be accompanied by guidebooks written for general readers. Thus: 'A healthy eating strategy... is an important part of protecting yourself against a long list of diseases. These include heart disease, stroke, several common cancers, cataract formation, other age-related diseases, and even some types of birth defects.

"When combined with not smoking and regular exercise, this kind of healthy diet can reduce heart disease by 80 per cent, and stroke and some cancers by 70 percent, compared with average rates'. This is a conclusion of a book written by a member of the Panel responsible for this Report."

There appear to be highly malevolent forces around, worldwide, including CODEX and the EU Directives, which are intent upon restricting the availability to individuals of vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines which may crucial roles in our ability to fight cancer. Until these battles are won – please read the Brief Takes in this issue and log on and sign the petition at Consumers for Health Choice www.consumersforhealthchoice.com – my suggestion is that we all, individually, research our conditions and ensure that we avail ourselves of particular nutrients and herbs which may save our lives.

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