Recent biochemical research into the metabolism of the essential fatty acids seems to have uncovered a major underlying cause of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. This biochemistry tells us that this cause is the modern American diet and that simple dietary change is capable of preventing these cancers.
Finding the cause of a disease and then removing that cause is called primary disease prevention; the disease never occurs and wellness is continuously maintained. In recent years, this definition has been changed to mean preventive medical care, namely early diagnosis and treatment. This new type of prevention utilizes regular medical checkups aimed at early diagnosis. Thus, when a disease reaches the point where it can be diagnosed, the disease is managed by regular doctor visits, prescription drugs, and surgery. This is not primary prevention.
The Growing Cancer Problem
According the World Health Organization, attack rates of cancers of all types are increasing steadily worldwide with no real cure in sight. Early estimates for 2013 cancer rates in the US by the American Cancer Society are: Breast cancer, 235,000 new cases and 40,000 deaths; prostate cancer, 239,000 new cases and 30,000 deaths; and colorectal cancer, 143,000 new cases and 51,000 deaths.
Commonly Mentioned Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
- High dose radiation
- Weight gain after age 18
- Obesity or overweight after menopause
- Physical inactivity
- Alcohol and smoking
- Long menstrual life
- Recent use of oral contraceptives
- Not having children
- First child after 30
- High breast tissue density
- Family history of breast cancer
Comments on Risk Factors
Except for ionizing radiation and obesity, all of the risk factors listed above are unproven associations that are not very useful in determining the true underlying cause of breast cancer. Associations cannot be used to prove the cause of disease because associations are simply statistical data that show relationships. For example, people who wear skirts have a strong, but meaningless, association with breast cancer. This is why the validity of all associations must be proven by reliable scientific data.
As to the listed risk factors, high dose radiation is known to cause cancers in humans and animals. Consequently exposure to all ionizing radiation, including medical x-ray must be carefully controlled.
The association of obesity and/or overweight after menopause with breast cancer indicates that these women are more likely to get breast cancer than women of normal weight. This association does not prove that obesity is the cause of breast cancer. However, it suggests that breast cancer might have the same underlying cause as obesity and overweight, namely diet.
Biochemistry is a Hard Science
Biochemistry describes the natural laws of all life, including human life. It is a “hard science” because to be valid, all biochemical findings must be reproducible. All new biochemical findings are published in the open literature and available to all other biochemists for confirmation and validation. If a new finding cannot be duplicated by others, that finding is branded as not repeatable and promptly discarded. As a result, biochemistry published in the open literature is very likely to be accurate.
Cancer Risk Number 1
Biochemistry says that the American diet contains a great excess of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. This excess is the result of America’s long-term, heavy use of vegetable fats and oils. When dietary linoleic acid enters the body, it is immediately converted to the chemical 13S-HODE by an enzyme called 15-1 lipoxygenase. An enzyme is a special kind of protein that causes and controls biochemical reactions. The chemical 13S-HODE induces rapid cell proliferation, a phenomenon that makes certain breast tissues, colorectal tissues, and prostate tissues susceptible to cancer.
The rapid cell proliferation is first seen as a benign lump in a breast, a polyp in the colon, or swelling of the prostate. Cells that rapidly multiply have an increased chance of mutating and some of these mutated cells will become cancerous.
Additionally, the excess dietary linoleic acid will also be converted by other enzymes into biochemicals that induce whole body, low level chronic inflammation that supports cancers and other non-infectious diseases.
It is very difficult to eliminate excess linoleic acid from today’s diet because vegetable fats and oils are used in nearly all processed foods and the amount of linoleic acid in food is not shown on the label.
Cancer Barrier Number One
Biochemistry says that the above mentioned 15-1 lipoxygenase enzyme strongly prefers EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), a component of fish oil. Thus, when fish oil is added to the diet, the EPA will monopolize the 15-1 lipoxygenase enzyme and prevent it from producing 13S-HODE. Instead, the 15-1 lipoxygenase enzyme converts the EPA to biochemical with anticancer properties.
This dietary EPA will also nullify all other untoward effects of excess linoleic acid. It is estimated that about four teaspoons of fish oil daily are required to overcome the current average dietary intake of linoleic acid.
Cancer Risk Number Two
Absent adequate dietary EPA supplementation, the journey toward cancer will continue.
Cancer Barrier Number Two
It is known that cancer cells require two special biochemical conditions in order to survive and grow: These are high levels of glucose in the blood and an oxidizing environment inside the body.
A diet that includes no sugar or starch and ample antioxidants, will not support the growth of cancer cells. In such a case, a benign lump in the breast may never become cancerous. To successfully eliminate sugar and starch from the diet, the lost sugar and starch calories should be made up by animal fats.
Cancer Risk Number Three
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a killer of cancer cells. However, the average intake of dietary of vitamin C in America is very low. Few people supplement with vitamin C and the vitamin C dose in a daily glass of orange juice is far too small to have a significant protective effect against cancer.
Cancer Barrier Number Three
As mentioned earlier, cancer cells require high levels of glucose and an oxidizing environment inside the body in order to survive. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and will overcome the cancer’s required oxidizing environment.
Vitamin C will also kill cancer cells. A cancer cell cannot tell the difference between vitamin C and glucose because the glucose molecule and the vitamin C molecule are structurally similar. Importantly, these two molecules are not chemically the same.
When the blood contains lots of glucose, the cancer thrives. But, when the blood contains lots of vitamin C and very little glucose, the cancer cells, hungry for glucose, will grab the vitamin C, mistaking it for glucose. The vitamin C, once inside the cancer cell, emits hydrogen peroxide that kills the cancer cell. Vitamin C does not kill healthy cells because healthy cells contain catalase, an enzyme that instantly destroys hydrogen peroxide. Cancer cells do not contain catalase, hence are killed by the hydrogen peroxide emitted by the ascorbic acid.
For cancer prevention, it is very important to know that both glucose and vitamin C depend on the limited amount of insulin in the bloodstream to escort each of them throughout the body. When the blood is rich in glucose, there is no room for vitamin C. This is a pro-cancer environment. When there is a small amount of glucose in the blood, the vitamin C is free to travel throughout the body. A bloodstream rich in vitamin C creates a powerful anticancer environment.
To prevent cancer, blood glucose levels must be consistently low, hence dietary intake of sugar and starch (high glycemic carbohydrates) must be avoided. This is a ketogenic or near ketogenic diet.
- – Preventive Step One
- Reduce or eliminate dietary intake of vegetable fats and oils
- Include EPA (fish oil or krill oil) in your diet
- Preventive Step Two
- Avoid dietary sugar and starches (high glycemic carbohydrates)
- Replace above carbohydrate calories with equivalent calories of animal fats
- Include dietary antioxidants from colored vegetables and dietary supplements
- Preventive Step Three
- Take oral vitamin C, at least 2000 milligrams or more per day
- Vitamin C is not toxic
- Ramp up vitamin C dose with age so as to reach 6000 milligrams per day at age 60
Note that the human body has three built-in barriers against breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. All three of these barriers have been defeated by the modern American diet.
The above anti-cancer diet will protect against obesity and the other non-infectious, inflammatory diseases that now plague this country.
Remember that primary prevention does not cure cancer. Once cancer has established itself, it is no longer preventable and medical treatment is the only option.
Up to six months may be required for the new diet to reach equilibrium and become effective. Be aware that cancer prevention requires serious, long-term dietary change.
And finally, overdoses of ionizing radiation, including x-rays, are known to cause cancers. These doses are accumulative; thus total exposures must be kept within safe limits.