Breast cancer in men is not too common, and only comprises one percent of total breast cancers. While the number of cases is small, they are rising as men keep getting fatter and fatter. Guys, we are not immune to it just because we have male genitalia that produces testosterone. In case you didn’t know it, our bodies also produce estrogen. The fatter you are, the more it produces. Men with naturally high levels of the female hormone estrogen have a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Men with the high levels of estrogen are two and a half times more likely to develop breast cancer than men with low levels of the hormone. Fella’s, as you are sitting on your duff and feeding your face with unhealthy food and drink while getting fatter by the day, think about this implication for your body; Increased estrogen can cause more breast tissue to develop than normal. High levels can lead to the development of a condition called gynecomastia. This happens when the amount of breast fat tissue is abnormally high. Yes, there are some medical reasons why you might not be able to control your estrogen levels, but there is one crucial component that is entirely within your control.
Cancers of all types are an evil bitch that will destroy your quality of life and rob you of every bit of your dignity if you allow it. Cancer is an equal opportunity offender and does not give a damn about your race, gender, sexuality, religion or socio-economical back ground. Cancer does not give a shit who or what you are, it takes out the rich among us as rapidly as it takes out the poor. It will kill those who have lived the healthiest of lives and spare those who did not. Often, there is no rhyme nor reason to who it affects and why. There is nothing right nor fair about cancer, you might have never touched a cigarette in your life, yet find yourself dying with lung cancer. You may have never touched a drop of alcohol in your life, to only perish from liver cancer. Sometimes we might get a form of cancer simply because of an unlucky draw of the short stick. As powerless as we might feel against the ravages of cancer, there are still steps we can take in order to improve our quality of life should we or a loved one become afflicted.
You are not entirely a helpless victim!
As if cancer is not enough of an insult to the human body, many of the treatments are akin to rubbing salt into a wound. Many treatments can be debilitating by making you even sicker than the disease the medicines are designed to help slow down or cure. If you have been diagnosed with any type of cancer, it is imperative on your part to maintain your immune system the best you possibly can. The tricky part is cancer cells develop from our own cells, therefore our immune system doesn’t always know that it should attack them. Sometimes the immune system knows that cancer cells shouldn’t be there, but more often our immune system doesn’t notice cancer cells. Cancer cells can even turn off the immune response so that the immune cells don’t attack them.
You can fight back!
Common sense would dictate that if cancer can trick our immune systems when they are healthy, then it could really run roughshod over your body if your immune system is weak. Our immune system gets weakened when the cancer itself or treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, affects the bone marrow. Blood cells are made in the bone marrow and when it’s affected by cancer or its treatment, the number of blood cells that are made are lower than normal. When blood cell counts are low, the body can’t fight off an infection very well.
Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle.
Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. People who are malnourished are more vulnerable to disease. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
Maintain a healthy weight.
If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
Get adequate sleep.
Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
Try to minimize stress.
Regular exercise is also one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Just like a healthy diet, exercise contributes to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
A cancer diagnosis may leave us feeling helpless. There is little we can do by ourselves to stop the progression, therefore we must place our faith and trust in doctors and other medical professionals to heal us from the ravishes of cancer. If you do not want to feel quite so helpless, then make it a point to be proactive in the treatment of your disease. The doctors and their staffs will do all they can medically for you, therefore if you want to be cured, you must stand up and do your part of the fighting too.
You have choices to make.
You can choose to live as healthy as you can by eating a nutritionally sound diet. You can choose to follow your doctor or nutritionists orders by eating or not eating foods as they have directed.
You can choose to try to keep your body as physically fit as possible under the circumstances. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including those of the breast (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium (the lining of the uterus), esophagus, pancreas, and kidney, among others. Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more estrogen and insulin, hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.
You can choose to maintain a healthy mindset and a fighting spirit.
You can take actions to protect yourself from getting cancer in the first place.
The evidence for this is strong. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.
Do you have a running reel of negative thoughts and possible catastrophic outcomes playing constantly in your head? So many people do. When we allow negative thoughts to loop continually we are causing a constant release of cortisol, our major stress hormone to be released. The health implications of this are huge. High cortisol levels cause inflammation which lies at the base of almost all major health problems, including heart disease and even some cancers. Skin problems, gastrointestinal issues and depression are often exacerbated by this one habit that is within our control.
People who display optimism tend to have better immune function which affects all disease processes. Learn to control those inner voices of doom to improve your overall health and enjoy your life so much more.
It’s necessary to assess your thoughts. If a large majority of your thoughts tend to be negative then you are probably catastrophizing. Do you focus only on the negative? Do you ignore the possible positive outcomes in a given situation? If so, then it’s necessary to take action to think in more positive ways.
Humor is a powerful tool in learning to lighten up. I refuse to listen to or watch anything that makes me feel bad. Life can be difficult on the best days so why add negative input from negative people who are bent on creating drama? Avoid those people and control your environment to remove negative input from real life people and media. Seek out funny and enlightening media when you are surfing the net or watching T.V. Leave the sad, violent and scary stuff alone. It won’t do anything good.
Get some exercise, with your doctor’s permission. Vigorous exercise can produce endorphins which not only make you feel better in the moment but have a positive impact on the brain that makes you feel more able to cope in the long run. You will develop a better body in the process and that always helps our state of mind.
Negative thoughts can lead to binge eating. Binge eating will almost always keep you from your weight management goals.
Eat a well balanced, healthy diet with adequate amounts of healthy fats such as those found in salmon or walnuts. Avoid sugar because it is a source of empty, excess calories. Sugar will cause you to crave more sugar and eventually forego healthy foods for junk. Your brain has to have proper nutrition to perform optimally. As you eat more and more sugar, the pounds will pile on which will most likely add to your anxiety and depression. Just say “No!”
If your negative thinking is chronic and debilitating you might consider professional counseling. A licensed therapist can guide you into a better way of thinking that can benefit both body and mind.
Surround yourself with positive people and create a life that you love. With time and deliberation and sometimes professional help, you can pull out of the habit of negativity. Your happiness is worth the work.
You have heard it said that you are what you eat. While this is a definitive Truth, there is nowhere that this is more important than during cancer treatment. Proper nutrition can have great benefits for those engaged in the fight of their life with cancer.
Muscle atrophy and malnutrition are common among people who have cancer. Lack of physical activity over an extended period of time along with a decreased appetite causes muscle loss. Plenty of lean protein in the diet will help to prevent this debilitating condition. Without adequate muscle, the patient is at an increased risk for falls and a farther downward spiral of appetite and nutrition because muscle increases your metabolism which drives your appetite. Stay healthier by nourishing your muscles.
The Perfect Storm
It is necessary to restrict added sugar in the diet because added sugar causes inflammation in the body which causes changes in DNA and can lead to cancer development. The excess calories from sugar are used to rapidly create more cells and every time we make a new cell there is a chance for the DNA code to be faulty. Sugar also increases fat cells and when those fat cells are stored as visceral fat which surrounds our vital organs, our hormone levels are affected in a way that influences when cells divide and die. Visceral fat also exists in a low oxygen state due to it’s compact storage deep within the body. Cancer thrives in a low oxygen state so the extra visceral fat gained by the excess calories from sugar greatly increases the risk of cancer development and proliferation. Obesity is a known contributor to cancer risk.
At David’s Way we encourage a low carbohydrate diet with no added sugar or simple carbs which break down into sugar. A study of tumor growth in glucose based diets as opposed to a low carb, or ketogenic diet, revealed that tumor growth INCREASED by 32% in people on the glucose based diet but DECREASED by 24% in those on the ketogenic diet. While one study is not definitive, the results cannot be ignored. (1)
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats along with the lean protein may also decrease the chances of forming new cancer cells due to the phytonutrients and fatty acids abundant in these foods. Fatty acids are also believed to help preserve muscle mass and function in cancer patients during treatment. Processed meats, all refined carbs, salt and alcohol may increase your risk of cancer. At David’s Way we promote these healthy foods and avoid the cancer causing foods that are believed to increase the risk of the development and proliferation of cancer cells. Visit often and read our articles and use our recipes. We’re here to answer your questions and encourage you on your journey to better health.
I first heard that phrase about 20 years ago and had absolutely no idea about what it was supposed to be. Turns out that there were people around me who believed that bad traits passed from one generation to another by some mystical means other than just genetics. True, there are some tendencies that are familial and some outright inherited maladies, but they are few and far between. Almost all of the negative health and life issues that we have are a direct result of the choices that we make, not genetics, and certainly not some mystical, spiritual curse. Believing this falsehood is simply an excuse to under achieve and fail at life. Believing this is an excuse to abandon all effort to be responsible for the health choices that you make. Mom became diabetic at age 40? If that’s the case, it’s Mom’s choices that caused it. Make different choices. I had an Aunt who died a terrible death from throat cancer. I loved her. She was my favorite Aunt. She smoked, a lot, and never quit. Do her children have a similar risk? Possibly, they also smoke and the genetics are secondary compared to that decision.
Is It Learned?
There is a state of mind called “Learned Helplessness” that is believed to occur when someone is exposed to traumatic events that they cannot control. Over time, the individual “learns” that he cannot control events around himself and simply doesn’t try. Feeling that we can’t control traumatic events leads to loss of motivation to the extent that even when we are presented with the opportunity to change the course of our lives, we may not take advantage of the opportunity. This “loser” state of mind cripples the individual in decision making because he feels that his decisions won’t make a difference. Feeling helpless in the face of trauma and unable or unwilling to change the course of action by deciding to take control, leads to depression in most people with learned helplessness. This is a deadly personality trait when we are faced with decisions concerning our health.
Is It A Decision?
In the original experiments on this topic, it was discovered that dogs who did not try to avoid negative stimuli had not, however, learned helplessness. They had not learned control. (1)The difference is profound. In order to “learn” helplessness, or the lack of control, we must first decide to take control and then be unable to do so. If an individual is afraid of failure simply because that’s all they have ever seen or been exposed to, then they have not made a decision to break that consecutive chain of failure, dysfunction and sickness that may have existed in their family for generations. They have not learned helplessness, they simply have not learned control. Therein is the problem.
I remember when I actually believed that “skinny” girls were just genetically gifted. Never mind that my Mother, who was 5’7″ and about 110 pounds, ate very little and almost never sat down. For some strange reason, I ignored the obvious. Truth be known, it was easier to believe that she had great genes, that were somehow vastly different from mine, than to see the truth of the matter. While I would binge on brownies at every chance, she might eat one, maybe not even one. While I preferred the life of a sloth, she was a busy bee. I have mentioned “Janice” a few times. She was a lovely girl, close to my age in my 20’s who had a rock star body. While I struggled to fit into a size 12 or 14, Janice was a lithe size 5 or 7. Guess what. I finally ask her what she ate. She showed me a tray of freshly cut vegetables in her fridge and she told me that she ate those veggies all the time and seldom got hungry between meals. I was at her house for meals. They were healthy meals of grilled lean meats and veggies, fruit for dessert and no munchies at the parties unless you wanted the fresh veggies. She did not deviate and was not swayed by the negative comments of those around her concerning her diet. She was in control. So was my Mom. Both Janice and my Mom had obese Mothers. They had made a conscious choice to take control, to do better than their upbringing. Genetics be damned.
What would your life be like if you decide, right now, to take control over the things that you have refused to exercise control over until this moment in time? Would you be different tomorrow? What about this time next year? Would you still eat the same things, smoke, drink alcohol and hang out with the same people? Remember, if someone doesn’t encourage you to be healthy, they are not your friend and do not have your best interest at heart. I challenge you. Exercise your ability to create your life and take control today. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
There are many factors involved in the development of cancer, some that we can control and others that we cannot. Genetics and environmental hazards are considered beyond our control, while our diet is almost completely within our control. While the science is not there to say that any particular foods definitely cause or prevent cancer, there are relationships between diet and cancer which research has revealed. (1)
There is evidence that higher calcium intake can lower the risk of cancer, specifically colorectal cancer. It is believed to bind to acids in the body and thereby protect the lining of the GI tract from damage. Above 2,000 mg per day however, is considered to increase the risk of prostate cancer. Most doctors agree that a daily intake of 500-1000 mg. is a good level to optimize calcium’s good effects on the development of cancer. One cup of Cabot Greek Plain Yogurt, made with whole milk, contains 400 mg. This yogurt also has 16 mg. of protein per cup. Fage Plain Greek Yogurt has more protein and less calcium. Choose the one that you like the best. There are many excellent brands available. I prefer the full fat versions because they do not have the tangy taste that’s associated with yogurt. Bone-in fish such as sardines are also a rich source of calcium. One small Atlantic sardine, 2-2/3 x 1/2 x 1/4 inches, has 46 mg. and if you eat sardines, you know that you eat a lot more than one.
A 2016 study revealed that foods with a high GI, 70 or above, are associated with an 88% increased risk for prostate cancer. These foods include sugar-sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices and processed foods such as pizza. Foods that are low on the GI such as beans, are linked with a 32% lower risk of both prostate and colorectal cancers. In March of 2015 a study showed a 50% increased risk for lung cancer among people who ate a high GI diet. At David’s Way we always promote a low GI diet.
Processed Meats and Red Meat
Studies consistently show that eating around 2 ounces of processed meat per day increases the risk of colorectal cancer. There is a similar risk for red meat, believed to be associated with the heme iron that is in all red meat.
In 2014 a study found that a higher BMI increases the risk of developing many of the most common cancers. A 34 pound gain is linked to a 10%, or higher, risk of developing gallbladder, kidney and liver cancers. The hormones and inflammatory proteins produced by fat cells can promote the growth of cancer. We advocate knowing your body fat percentage and keeping it in a healthy range. The number on the scale is not as important as the number of fat cells in your body since they are the trouble makers.
Antioxidants are known cancer fighters. The problem is that sometimes people take supplemental antioxidants for periods of time but across the span of their lifetime, they go lacking in nutritional sources for these nutritional superheroes. It is generally accepted that it’s wise to get your antioxidants from a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Try to include bright colors like dark green, orange, purple and red fruits and vegetables for the most protection.
According to a study in the Journal of American Medical Association in 2016, good nutrition combined with other healthy habits offers the most protection from cancer. Low risk groups presented as those who do not smoke, drank no more than two servings per day of alcohol, and had a BMI of 18.5-27.5 and engaged in 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. At David’s Way, we always tell you to ask your doctor to suggest an exercise program for you to follow. You are a powerful influence in your likelihood of developing cancer. You can increase your risk astronomically by poor nutritional habits and inactivity or you can take control and raise the odds of living to old age, cancer free.
I have personally known a few people who have passed away from colon cancer, and being as it is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, odds are you also have lost a loved one or an acquaintance to colon cance. While nothing can guarantee you will never be diagnosed with colon cancer, there are lifestyle factors you can take to mitigate the risk of you ever having it. These factors are consuming a healthy diet, and not living a sedentary lifestyle. There are some risk factors we cannot control, yet I want to ensure that you are made aware of all the risk factors that are under your control. There are more than some might believe. But first:
Causes of colon cancer.
From Mayo Clinic:
Doctors are not certain what causes most colon cancers.
In general, colon cancer begins when healthy cells in the colon develop changes in their DNA. A cell’s DNA contains a set of instructions that tell a cell what to do.
As I have written in Macronutrients, the Building Blocks of Life we must ensure that our diets receive enough protein to provide us with the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce and can only come through what we consume. A human body whose diet is lacking in these essential amino acids over a period of time will damage your DNA, which in turn only increase your risk of cancers.
Healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way to keep your body functioning normally. But when a cell’s DNA is damaged and becomes cancerous, cells continue to divide – even when new cells are not needed. As the cells accumulate, they form a tumor.
With time, the cancer cells can grow to invade and destroy normal tissue nearby. And cancer cells can grow to other parts of the body to form deposits there (metastasis),
Factors that may increase your risk of colon cancer include:
Older age. Colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age, but a majority of people with colon cancer are over 50. The rates of colon cancer in people younger than 50 have been increasing, but doctors are not sure why. Could it simply be that many younger people have not grown up with healthy dietary habits and live sedentary lifestyles? You have to wonder the percentages of those under 50 with colon cancer who grew up eating sugary treats and eating fast food burgers and fries along with delivery pizzas.
A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps. If you have already had colon cancer or non-cancerous colon polyps, you have a greater risk of colon cancer in the future. This would be your wake up call to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Inflammatory intestinal conditions. Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Chrohns Disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer. I knew an individual once who I thought was about insane as even though he had Chrohns Disease, he still ate foods that would trigger it in a bad way. Simply because, in his own words, “No one is going to tell me how to live my life”. That is good and fine, but for the fact these conditions along with cancer always affect others in your life too.
Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk. Some gene mutations passed through generations of your family can increase your risk of colon cancer significantly. Only a small percentage of colon cancers are linked to inherited genes. The most common inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk are familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch Syndrome, which is also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). If you know that you have inherited syndromes that leave you at a high risk for colon cancer, it is imperative that you live as healthy a lifestyle as you can, otherwise you are likely to become another familial statistic.
Family history of colon cancer. You are more likely to develop colon cancer if you have a blood relative who has had the disease. If more than one family member has colon or rectal cancer, your risk is even greater. I got my first wake up call to what a horrible disease colon cancer can be when I was but a little boy. My great uncle Floyd passed away from colon cancer. Even though I was quite young when he passed, I still remember the sight and smell of the poor man rotting from the inside as cancerous abscesses formed inside his colon. I still remember family members having to keep him clean as the rancid drainage poured out of his rectum as he laid in his bed helpless. Such a sad demise of a man who had been robust enough to make his way in life as a family farmer. This disease took a tough man and made him feeble and helpless in the end.
Low fiber, high fat diet. Colon cancer and rectal cancer may be associated with a typical western diet, which is low in fiber, high in fat, and calories. Research in this area has had mixed results. Some studies have found an increased risk of colon cancer in people who diets high in red meat and processed meat. Ok, even if you are not going to think about yourself, at least consider the children who may be in your life. It is a simple fact that is obvious to the naked eye, that in America today we have an over abundance of children with weight control issues. I have written about this sad state of affairs at Child Neglect, Abuse Related to Obesity. While the occasional Happy Meal, pizza and ice cream cones are not a problem when used as a treat, think of what you are doing to your child when this is about all that you feed them. No parent in the right mind want to doom their children to a early death from colon cancer, but when you do not instill healthy dietary and physical activities into their young lives, you most certainly increase their risk. What misery do you want to bring upon them by never taking the time to instill into them healthy habits during their formative years and there after?
A sedentary lifestyle. People who are inactive are more likely to develop colon cancer. Getting regular physical activity may reduce your risk of colon cancer. Is your life really so busy that you truthfully cannot dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes for yourself to at least go for a walk? Or, are you just making excuses as a walk might not be as interesting as the latest drama playing on the boob tube? Ask yourself if your life is worth more to you than some of your tasks at hand that you use in order to prevent you from healthy physical activity. Truth be told, even those of us who thrive on exercise often have to drag ourselves into getting started on some days. But, we do it whether we want to or not.
Diabetes. People with diabetes or insulin resistance have an increased risk of colon cancer. If you make the personal choice, you can manage and or reverse your type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance as I written about here, and here as well as in many other articles.
Obesity. People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying from colon cancer when compared to people of normal weight. With very few exceptions, this part of your life can be controlled once you make the personal choice to do so. If you are obese, you know that your dietary habits are not good. You can lie to anyone, everyone, including yourself that your eating is not a problem, yet the truth will always come out when you have to sit at a table in a restaurant because you no longer fit in a booth. You know you have a problem when you are eating the same amount of calories per day as a hard core trained athlete might. You know something needs done when walking up stairs becomes a chore and you have lost your pride to asking for seat belt extenders when buckling up on an airline. With all the problems which arise from obesity, you certainly do not need anymore piled onto your plate. You can promote Self Lovely all day long for your obesity and that of others, but this is going to be made more absurd once you begin leaking smelly, bloody puss from cancerous abcesses in your colon. Davids Way is dedicated to giving you all the information you require to lose weight in a healthy manner in order to get to a good body fat percentage for your body.
Smoking. People who smoke have an increased risk of colon cancer. Oh lord, how much needs to be said about smoking. It is not rocket scence to figure out this is the dumbest and one of the dirtiest habits one can have. Just don’t.
Alcohol. Heavy use of alcohol increases your risk of colon cancer. Moderate or social drinking is fine for some, but for others, keeping it moderate or social is not possible. If you have ever experienced a hang over, black out or the joy of puking in a ditch, you know this shit is not so good for you either. Evaluate what is truly important in your life.
Radiation therapy for cancer. Radiation therapy directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers increases your risk of colon cancer. Your therapy for any type of cancer is strictly between you and your physician. Ensure before you ever undergo an type of treatment that you first, fully understand the risks compared to the benefits.
Lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of colon cancer:
Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Be sure you are consuming enough fiber to keep your bowel functions regular and normal.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
Exercise most days of the week. Get up and move your body with a purpose. For your exercise to truly benefit yourself, then you must get your heart rate elevated into the aerobic, fat burning zone for at least 30 minutes, at least 4 days per week.
Maintain a healthy weight or body fat percentage. We concentrate more on body fat percentages as you can actually have yourself to what is considered a healthy weight while still having an unhealthly level of visceral fat.
Screening for colon cancer.
Doctors recommend that people with an average risk of colon cancer consider colon cancer screening around age 50. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner.
Several screening options exist – each with it’s own benefits and drawbacks. Talk about your options with your doctor, and together you can decide which tests are appropriate for you. (1)