Optimizing the odds of avoiding cancer recurrence: Go jogging in your Speedo or bikini!
Optimizing the odds of avoiding cancer recurrence: Go jogging in your Speedo or bikini!
I have been looking around, mostly on pubmed ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ ), for non-chemotherapy strategies to reduce cancer recurrence and mortality. To avoid an overlong post, I will summarize very briefly the information I have found, with hopefully a link to one supporting study. If the topic interests you, I encourage you to go to pubmed and read more. Of course, all of this information is from my perspective only and you should use it as a springboard for discussion with your doctor or your own research.
Vitamin One of the most surprising results of my research was the impact of vitamin D on colorectal cancer recurrence and mortality. One article reports, “Freedman et al demonstrated in one of the largest prospective studies including 16,818 participants that CRC mortality was inversely related to serum 25(OH)D level. Individuals with serum levels of 50-80 ng/mL and > 80 ng/mL had a relative risk of CRC mortality of 0.44 and 0.28, respectively. ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4419060/ ) That is a 72% reduction in colorectal cancer mortality for those with a serum 25(OH)D level of 80-100ng/mL!
The research on vitamin D levels is solid, but there are some indications that the vitamin D levels may be protective, rather than a form of treatment. Also, simply taking a vitamin D supplement may not be enough, there is some indication that the greatest benefit comes from exposure to the sun. That’s why jogging in your Speedo or bikini may be good for you!
Serum vitamin D levels apparently increase slowly, over weeks or months. On a personal basis, I had my vitamin D level tested and it was 29 ng/mL, surprising to me because I do a lot of outdoor activities in a sunny climate. My goal, needless to say, is to raise the level to more than 80 ng/mL. I have not started jogging in a Speedo yet, but I have stopped using sunscreen and I wear shorts and take my shirt off on my daily walks. Think of that, a potential 72% reduction in colorectal cancer mortality–way more than you get from Oxaliplatin–for the cost of some
embarrassment, sunburn (and potentially an increased risk of skin cancer–but the colorectal cancer would probably get me before the skin cancer). See also: http://www.impactjournals.com/oncotarget/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path=16597&path=53092
Exercise: The second part of my title–go jogging in your Speedo, is exercise. For a high level of exercise (more than 9 hours per week) there’s a 23 to 63% increase in overall survival and more than 50% increase in CRC free survival, let’s just call it an easily justified 50%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150459/ See also, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4922494/
Coffee: Have a cup of coffee, better yet four or more, before or after your jog in your Speedo. Solid research demonstrates that consuming 4 or more cups of coffee a day resulted in a 52% reduction in overall mortality. http://ascopubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1200/JCO.2015.61.5062
The Bone Zone: Along with vitamin D, described above, I found a cluster of supplements I generally relate to bone and joint health, have a cancer fighting component as well.
Calcium and milk: A higher intake of calcium leads to reduced mortality by 38 to 41%. One study noted, “postdiagnosis total calcium intake was inversely associated with all-cause mortality (relative risk [RR] for those in the highest relative to the lowest quartiles, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53-0.98; Ptrend = .02) and associated with marginally statistically significant reduced colorectal cancer-specific mortality (RR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.33 to 1.05; Ptrend = .01). An inverse association with all-cause mortality was also observed for postdiagnosis milk intake (RR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.94; Ptrend = .02), but not vitamin D intake.” In that study, calcium intake was over 1156 milligrams a day. So take a couple of calcium pills with a glass of milk (or a healthy dose of cream in your coffee) after your Speedo jog. http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2014.55.3024?utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=J_Clin_Oncol_TrendMD_0&utm_source=TrendMD
Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM: Another popular supplement usually associated with bones and joint pain is Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM. So far, the studies I have mentioned deal with the recurrence of colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, I could not find any that dealt with recurrence with these supplements, but there are studies dealing with the initial occurrence of colorectal cancer, plus what I call “test-tube” studies that were generally favorable. One study said, “Any use of glucosamine and chondroitin, which have anti-inflammatory properties, over the previous 10 years, was associated with significantly lower . . . CRC risk: HR: 0.73 (95% CI: 0.54, 0.98) and HR: 0.65 (95% CI: 0.45, 0.93), respectively. There were also statistically significantly inverse associations of fish oil: HR: 0.65 (95% CI: 0.42, 0.99), methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): HR: 0.46 (95% CI: 0.23, 0.93). . . with CRC risk. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2814533/ Let’s just guess that a combined Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM supplement could give you a 35% reduction in colorectal cancer.
Aspirin: After your run in your Speedo, you might be feeling a bit sore and want an aspirin. Go ahead and take it. After initially promising research about aspirin, it seems its effect is limited to certain types of colorectal cancer. Early studies showed a 50%+ improvement, but a 2017 publication said, “In the three studies, median (maximum) follow-up was 5.1, 5.8 and 7.5 years, respectively. 3,033 incident CRC cases were identified in Study 1, 3,174 in Study 2, and 12,333 in Study 3. Current use of low-dose aspirin was associated with a significantly reduced risk of 34%, 29% and 31% in the three studies, respectively; corresponding RRs (95% CIs) were 0.66 (0.60-0.73), 0.71 (0.63-0.80) and 0.69 (0.64-0.74).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27428004 I have no in-depth information about my type of cancer, so I am taking a reduced dose aspirin daily, and a full dose aspirin on the many days I am sore (jogging in a Speedo takes some effort at my age), so let’s just say aspirin gives a 30% increase.
Vitamin K: I do not know much about Vitamin K, but to my understanding it falls within the “bone zone,” supplements that are generally related to bone and joint health. The results about the influence of vitamin K on colorectal cancer are preliminary and mostly based on “test-tube” studies, but they are encouraging and I include a vitamin K supplement in my regime. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-vitamin-k-idUSTRE62U4VO20100331
Tree nuts: After your jog, you may also want to enjoy a handful of tree nuts. Eating two servings of tree nuts a week resulted in a 42% increase in disease free survival and a 57% increase in overall survival in a recent study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4560032/
Multivitamins: Along with your lunch, why not take a multivitamin/mineral supplement. I found no reported studies on the impact of multivitamins on the recurrence of colorectal cancer, but I found support for about an 8% reduction in initial occurrence of colorectal cancer. It is probably worth it, just in case. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25335850
Folate (Vitamin B9): Have some Brewer’s Yeast. At lunch time I drink KAL Brand Fortified Brewer’s Yeast Flakes. I admit, it is temporarily as miserable as having an Oxaliplatin infusion, but the horrible taste soon passes. This product is rich in many B vitamins and trace minerals including Folic Acid. Having a high level of serum Folate (Vitamin B9) is linked to a 25% reduced risk of recurrence of colorectal cancer ( http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0300060516650075 ) and a 50% reduction in initial occurrence of colorectal cancer ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4981802/
) A deficiency in folate is a special problem for people who drink alcohol, and low folic acid makes them particularly susceptible to colorectal cancer. (
http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/11/3731S.full ) People who drink alcohol (that’s me) have an increased risk of a folic acid deficiency. If you are going to enjoy your evening glass of wine, some Brewer’s Yeast at lunch may help.
Diet: What you eat has impact on your risk of recurrence. Looking only at initial occurrence of colorectal cancer, a pesco-vegetarian diet (vegetarian diet plus fish) produces a 43% lower rate of cancer compared to a non-vegetarian diet. ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4420687/ ) For colon cancer recurrence, a “Western diet” characterized by high intakes of meat, fat, refined grains, and dessert was 3.25 times more likely to lead to recurrence as opposed to a “prudent diet” characterized by high intakes of fruits and vegetables, poultry, and fish. ( http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/208423 ) I have adopted a pesco-vegetarian diet to optimize my odds.
Curcumin/Quercetin/Reservatol: There’s a packet of plant derived products that show great promise in both helping with chemotherapy and acting alone to attack cancer. The problem is that the research is very preliminary and deals mostly with test tubes and rats. Nonetheless, there is justification in considering supplementing your regime with these chemicals.
Wine: After a long day of exercise and sun-tanning, you may be tired. Enjoy a vegetarian dinner made with Turmeric (curcumin) and then have a glass or two of wine. Although alcohol consumption may be related to the initial incidence of colorectal cancer, having one or two drinks a night (especially of red wine) is related to a lower recurrence of CRC, and in at least one 2017 article, an 11% better overall survival and disease free survival. http://abstracts.asco.org/199/AbstView_199_193741.html
Melatonin: Once you head to bed, consider some melatonin. One study says 20 mg. of melatonin reduces chemotherapy side effects and increases one year survival rate by 23.85% (general cancer, not colorectal specific). Melatonin is absorbed in the colon, an area that may have been compromised by surgery or cancer. Supplementing with melatonin seems promising, but has not yet been studied much. But it is part of my regime. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22271210
Please let me know what supplements and strategies you have found to increase your odds. I have found that my doctors say nothing about these issues, yet there is solid evidence that lifestyle strategies and supplements can make a big difference in one’s chances of colorectal recurrence and mortality. This is my life we are talking about and I am very serious about learning all I can to stay alive. Let me know what you have learned.
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