Using Diet to Cut off Blood Supply to Tumors
The incidence of cancer continues to rise at an alarming rate. In 2014, cancer accounted for nearly 1 out of every 4 deaths, and was the second most common cause of death in the US. So, quite likely, you have had a family member or close friend with some form of cancer. The American Cancer Society predicted "In 2014, there will be an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the United States. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the U.S. accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths." The numbers have increased and "In 2017, there will be an estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths in the US." This is trending in the wrong direction.
As discouraging as these statistics sound, we are not powerless in the fight against cancer. Studies show that the rate of cancer in a population is directly proportional to the percent of animal fat consumed in the diet of that population. Adopting a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet, being physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight can offer powerful protection against developing cancer. This blog will address one of the ways plant foods help by "cutting off the supply lines to cancerous tumors." You will want to share this exciting information with your family and friends!
Dr. Michael Greger's video below explains how a "tumor cannot grow without a blood supply." It also cannot exist "in a volume greater than about size of the ball at the tip of a ballpoint pen without a proper blood supply. Angiogenesis is critical to tumor growth." (Angio means vessel, genesis is the creation of new blood vessels.)
Dr. Greger presents several important points in this video:
(1) Everyone has cancer cells inside their bodies. "By age 70, microscopic cancers are detected in the thyroid glands of virtually everyone." Although cancer cells are present in everyone, "they can't grow into tumors any bigger than that tiny dot size, no more than 10 million cancer cells before needing to get hooked up to a blood supply. So tumors diabolically release angiogenic factors, chemicals that cause new blood vessels to sprout into the tumor. The most important one is called 'VEGF' (vascular endothelial growth factor). But we can suppress 'VEGF' with Ve-ggies."
(2) "Many of the phytonutrients we know and love in seasonings, fruit, berries, broccoli and beans can block cancer's stimulation of new blood vessels. They're ideal for prophylactic long-term use against breast cancer because of their reliability, availability, safety, and affordable price. Dietary agents used to suppress angiogenesis may be an important step in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, and in fact all types of tumors. The review concludes that we have convincing evidence that dietary plant constituents possess the unique ability to affect tumor angiogenesis, which may be deemed advantageous in the prevention and treatment of human breast cancer."
(3) Most of the studies conducted were performed in a petri dish. When human blood vessel cells are stimulated, they begin forming tubular structures. These structures develop into new capillaries, providing a blood supply to the new tumor. However, when plant flavones were added, like 'apigen' or 'luteolin', tube formation was blocked. These flavones are found in foods such as citrus, celery, peppers, and throughout the plant kingdom. Similarly, "fisitin" which is found in strawberries and many other fruits and vegetables, also significantly shrank the formation of new blood vessels.
(4) The following plant foods were highlighted in the video: Artichokes, Apples, Basil, Black pepper, Blueberries, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Sprouts,Cabbage, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Ginseng, Green tea, Kale, Lentils, Lima beans, Mushrooms, Nutmeg, Olives, Onions, Oregano, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Purple rice, Rosemary, Scallions, Spinach, Sweet potatoes, Tomatoes, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Turnips, Watercress, and Winter squashes (to name a few). Notice how many of these are cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables contain unique cancer-fighting phytochemicals called isothiocyanates. These compounds "detoxify and remove carcinogens, kill cancer cells, and prevent tumor growth." Read Additional Information on Cruciferous Vegetables.
Dr. Greger sums up the evidence nicely by saying, "The daily consumption of natural foods containing adequate flavonoids could be beneficial for the prevention of cancer metastasis or could improve cancer prognosis. Given the power of plants, one might speculate that the foundation of an anti-angiogenic approach to cancer might be a whole food vegan diet."
For additional information regarding diet and cancer, click on the links below: