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Integrative Medicine -Looking for other Cancer Survivors Utilizing Anti-Cancer Diet and other Integrative Practices

missbabsonmars's picture
missbabsonmars
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2010

I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer last year, had surgery and radiation and was told that the cancer had not spread beyond the unterine area. However, I went to the doctor at the end of December for bronchitis, had a chest x-ray, and they saw spots on my lungs. This led to CT lung scan and lung biopsy. Endometrial cancer had metastasized to lungs.

I am getting chemo. once a month. In addition to being treated at Kaiser, I am seeing an oncologist at UCSF Medical Center's Inegrative Medicine Center. I am on what's known as the anti- cancer diet (vegan, no sugar), as well as a program of daily exercise, a FEW supplments, yoga, meditation, prayer, etc. The recommendations are all based on scientific studies. (I like to say that , so people don't think I'm on a crazy cancer cure quest.) Note the term Integrative, as in these measures are designed to compliment not replace medical intervnetion.

I would REALLY like to find some other cancer survivors who many be utilizing this approach. I'm not posting this with the intention of debate but to find like-minded cancer survivors.

Babs in Sacramento

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 497
Joined: Dec 2009

Babs--

You'll find lots of information on this board about the anti-cancer diet. Many of us follow this approach and believe that we can create a hostile environment for cancer cells through what we eat and don't eat.

I would suggest that you search the uterine cancer board for "anti-cancer" and check out all the threads that pop up. There is even one discussion that provides recipes.

I'm so sorry about your recurrence, but you will get tons of support here.

Jill

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Babs,
As Jill noted, there are a number of others on the board who are very much into treating this disease from all angles not just traditional medical care. Dr. Servan-Schreiber's Anti-cancer book is my go-to reference book. As well, the Simontons' classic book Getting Well Again has a great to deal offer. Are you getting your chemo at UCSF? And is that how you got into the Integrative Medicine Center? I am also treated at a UC Medical Center but my gyn-onc is somewhat 'old-school,' something I do have a problem with and he is head of the department. So the integrative approach is on my own along with support from those on this site who are utilizing this whole body treatment. Although I am currently preparing to restart chemo as the disease continues to rear its ugly head, I do believe the overall benefits of the integrative approach are why I am still here - 3 1/2 years since diagnosis, which was Grade 3, Stage IV at time of debulking surgery.

Welcome to the site no one wants to need but thankful that it is here.
Annie

Cler
Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2011

Hello,

I was wondering if you could tell me more about the diet you are on. Is a vegan diet with no sugar recommended for all cancers or particularly uterine cancer? I am trying to decide on a dietary approach to fight this now so any info you have would be very useful.

Also, which supplements are you taking and how did you decide which to take? Is the exercise programme quite intensive or is it a gentle programme?

I am doing yoga. i love it so much I have a new dream of becoming a yoga teacher if I can stop these recurrences happening. I also meditate - trying Buddhist and Mindfulness.

I am facing my second recurrence in 7 months so all advice you have I would appreciate wholeheartedly.

Thanks!
Cler

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2835
Joined: Jun 2010

A second recurrence in 7 months has got to take its toll on your emotions, Cler. I'm so sorry to hear that. Welcome to this group, Babs. I hope you will find it very supportive.

I've changed my diet significantly to primarily plant based and I avoid sugar. I'm not perfect, but my taste is changing and this way of eating is really becoming my norm and I like it. I don't know how much of a difference it will make in my outcome, but it's healthy overall anyway. I don't deny myself something if I really want it and maybe that will pass, too. We had steak last night and I would have been just as happy eating just the vegs, but of course, I ate the steak.

Sugar is difficult to avoid as it's in just about anything prepared. I eat primarily fresh things I prepare myself. I like to cook, and like my cooking, so it's not a big deal.

I'm interested in what UCSF has to say. How did you get referred to Integrative Medicine there?

Babs, I see you're in Sacramento. I'm just up the road in Woodland. Small world.

Annie, which UC do you receive your care? I'm at UC Davis. Again, small world.

Suzanne

HellieC's picture
HellieC
Posts: 524
Joined: Nov 2010

Like many of the ladies on this site, I am also trying to follow the "anti-cancer" book diet. I believe that there may be a pocket guide to this, which you can download, available at:

www.penguin.co.uk/anticancer

Some followers do not allow any animal protein or dairy products. I allow myself both, but not every day and in very small quantities (e.g. half a chicken breast is one portion for me) and try to buy organic/free range in both meat and dairy. My plate is mostly vegetables or salad. I can't always buy organic, but i wash everything thoroughly in a veggie wash to remove as much dirt and pesticides as possible. My breakfasts are nearly always a "no sugar added" muesli with berries, pineapple or other fruit. I eat multi grain bread and use a scrape of butter rather than processed spreads. I don't use jams (jellies) but have found a delicious apricot spread in the UK (it comes from France) which is made with fruit and fruit juices with no sugar. For snacks, I have fruit, nuts/seeds etc. I am not perfect (the occasional biscuit, chocolate or burger does sneak in) but I am much better than my pre cancer diet!

I also take supplements - a multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin C (plus calcium) and the "controversial" vitamin B17 (extracted from apricot kernels) with zinc. I don't know if this will have any effect on my cancer, but I do feel more "in control" and at least if it does recur again I will not look back and say "if only .....".

Thee is a lot of diet advice available on the internet, but most of us seem to rate the anti-cancer book mentioned as a sort of "eating bible"!

With kindest wishes
Helen

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I am so sorry to hear about your recurrance. I try and follow the Anti-Cancer Diet...especially the blueberries. Lots of broccoli. Take a turmeric capsule daily as well as a multiple vitamine and calcium supplement.

Please let us know how you are doing. I am glad you started this discussion.

Susanna23
Posts: 66
Joined: Dec 2010

Hello Babs and thanks for bringing up this subject. I've learned such a lot from the dietary discussions on this site. I am very anxious to do all I can do avoid a recurrence (I had a stage 1A uterine carcinosarcoma treated with surgery and six rounds of carbo/taxol - have just completed treatment and had a clear CT scan so all is well at present). I bought the AntiCancer book that many others have referred to in December, just before starting chemo and have since adopted many of the ideas in it.
I have been a fish-eating vegetarian for many years so meat is not an issue for me. I eat fruit, esp berries, and as many different types of vegetable as possible, esp kale, spinach, sweet potato, tomato. Also flax seed oil and turmeric (just discovered turmeric pickle in my local Asian grocers). I bought a juicer and most days I have some combination of beetroot, apple, celery, carrot, cucumber, ginger, lemon, citrus, berries - whatever is to hand, I don't really follow juicing recipes. I did not take supplements during chemo but have started on vitamin D3 and a multivitamin aimed at skin, nails hair (for obvious reasons!). Oh, and green tea, of course...Have just returned from my GP for regular blood pressure check which I had neglected during treatment and she has ordered me a complete blood check including lipid profile, thyroid etc and to my surprise Vitamin D! (I was going to have this done privately - never had it done before).
The other thing is that I'm being treated at UCLH (London) and there is a free complementary medicine center there (I wouldn't call it integrative) where I've been having Reiki healing - apparently I can continue to have this post-chemo as well and am off tomorrow for a session.
I wish you all the very best with your treatment and do visit us often - you will find this site very helpful, I'm sure.
Best regards
Susan

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Norma,

Where do you get the Tumeric capsules??

Laurie

jmnye
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2010

Babs -

Yes - I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc in March 2009. My PET/CT 2 years later shows that I am clearn, clear, and healthy. I attribute it to the anti-cancer diet (no sugar), yoga, guided imagery. It works! Yes. Do it all!

Jane in sunny southern CA

missbabsonmars's picture
missbabsonmars
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks to ALL of you for responding. I am and getting medical treatment at Kaiser (chemo.) and continue to eat according to the dietary guidelines as described in the books you all have mentioned: 100% vegan diet, no sugar (including honey, evaporated cane sugar), 4 - 6 cups of green tea per day, lots of filtered water.

In addition, I'm attending yoga classes 5 days a week minimum and also walking, cylcing, and kayaking. I also have a spiritual practice.

i have so been wanting to connect with others who are following these guidelines. Your stories are giving me lots of hope to keep going.

The books i'm reading tell me NOT to look at statistics, but I do get a bit freaked out at times.

evertheoptimist
Posts: 140
Joined: Jan 2011

I am curious as to what kind of supplements they recommended to you at UCSF integrative oncology center. can you share that with us?

missbabsonmars's picture
missbabsonmars
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2010

The supplements recommended by Dr. Donald Abrams, oncologist, at the UCSF Center for Integrative Medicine include: a mushroom supplement called Stamets 7, which is a synergistic blend of 17 mushroom species, Omega 3 Fish Oil (I am 100% vegan), Vitamin D, Calcium. I am not taking a multi-vitamin anymore, as it contained iron. Dr. Abrams says that if I am eating a balanced diet, I don't need to take additional vitamins and minerals (except D and Calcium). (I should note that in addition to his work at the Osher Center, Dr. Abrams is the Chief of Hematology-Oncology at SF General Hospital.) I am getting medical treatment at Kaiser and paying out of pocket to go to the Osher Center.

I asked Dr. Abrams about some of recommendations found in the books on his reading list, i.e. the book by Dr. Block and The Definitive Guide to Cancer by Drs. Alschuler, where the authors recommend many additional homeopathic adjuncts to treatment, i.e. vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc. How should I say this properly? He only recommmends supplements that have been proven effective by scientific studies. That is not the say that there is not value in these other supplements, and I am not completely closing the door on this aspect of cancer treatment. However, at this time, for myself, it is enough for me to focus on the proper nutrition and other things I am doing on a daily basis.

I started practicing yoga about a month ago and absolutely love it. I'm going 5 or 6 times a week and find it so wonderful in forging the mind/body/spiritual connection so necessary for feeling good about myself. i also have a strong spiritual program, primarily buddhist based, and a tremendous support system in Alcoholics Anonymous. I celebrated 27 year sober on May 6.

I have been extremely fortunate in that I have not had some of the common side effects of the chemo. drugs I am on. Other than some hair loss, joint pain, and fatigue, I am okay. In fact, I tell people that other than the cancer, I am in excellent health. lol

I go in for a chemo. tx tomorrow. I will have one more at the end of June and then a CT AND a PET scan.

I am so very happy to meet all of you. How do I use this board to keep in touch with you like-minded gals? Is there a way to book mark or add you to a list somehow? Are any of you on Facebook? if so, please send me a friend request! Babs Weiss

evertheoptimist
Posts: 140
Joined: Jan 2011

thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.

I will definitely look into stamets 7. How many are you supposed to take a day?

I am a bit surprised that curcumin was not recommended to you. If anything, this is one thing that keeps popping up everywhere I look for recommendation for supplements for cancer patients

missbabsonmars's picture
missbabsonmars
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2010

Oh, I most definitely am doing the tumeric mixed with black pepper, lots every day! The articles I've read on curcumin suggest that tablets are not as effective.

I am following the anti-cancer diet for sure.

Stamets 7 I believe is just a trade name. I buy the product from a company called Fungi Perfect. Dr. Abrams also recommended another mushroom tablet called Cordyceps for fatigue.

evertheoptimist
Posts: 140
Joined: Jan 2011

the problem with just using tumeric is, if I remember correctly, tumeric has 2% of curcumin. So you have to have a bucket full of tumeric powder to get 6-8 grams of curcumin recommended by the MD Anderson cancer center.

RoseyR
Posts: 471
Joined: Feb 2011

A lot of you are asking how to use turmeric or what curcumin to take.

I'd like to share what I've learned about that subject from several books and online research.

According to Schreiber (in his book Anti-Cancer), turmeric isn't absorbed in our bodies unless we cook it in a bit of olive oil (organic and virgin, ideally) and add a dash of black pepper.

The potent anti-cancer component of turmeric is curcumin, however.

And while there are many curcumin capsules out there on the market, only Life Extension (as far as I know) makes one already combined with black paper (bioperine). It's called "SuperCurcumin" and comes only in 800 mg capsules, so two a day with meals would me a minmal dosage.

However, in his book Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients, Dr. Russell Blaylock advises us to take ANY curcumin capsule in a tablespoon of olive oil to further maximize its absorption. I've tried this with Supercurcumin (opened the capsule, added it to a tablespoon of olive oil and gulped it down) but have to warn you that it's a little acidic tasting (who cares, if it is saving our lives, right?) and that you need to wash your hands afterwards; curcumin will stain everything a bright orange. (Note that in nature, it's so often foods that are bright orange that are the healthiest.)

Sorry that I"ve been off the boards for a few weeks. Have just finished five weeks of pelvic radiation and am feeling just fine, remarkably. (Have had no fatigue, no urinary burning, no skin burn, and only very minor diahrrea--only after breakfast, for five or so days after treatment ended--and even this effect is already improving.) Now just need last three rounds of carbo/taxol to finish treatment.

Best,
Rosey

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 865
Joined: Jan 2009

The only problem with the pill form is that I don't think it contains pepper and doubt it is heated in olive oil. but if you can add those two things to it than great.

Based on laboratory and animal studies, turmeric may inhibit platelets in the blood and increase the risk of bleeding caused by other drugs. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve® ).
Based on animal data,
o turmeric may lower blood sugar and therefore may have additive effects with diabetes medications.
o In animals, turmeric protects against stomach ulcers caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as indomethacin (Indocin®) and
o Protects against heart damage caused by the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin®).
o Turmeric may lower blood pressure levels and may have an additive effect if taken with drugs that also lower blood pressure.
o Turmeric seems to thin the blood.
o Turmeric may lower blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good" cholesterol). Thus, turmeric may increase the effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs such as lovastatin (Mevacor®) or atorvastatin (Lipitor®).
o Based on animal studies, turmeric may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a healthcare professional or pharmacist about possible interactions.
o When taken with indomethacin or reserpine, turmeric may help reduce the number of stomach and intestinal ulcers normally caused by these drugs. However, when taken in larger doses or when used for long periods of time, turmeric itself can cause ulcers.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Based on animal studies, turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba , some cases with garlic, and fewer cases with saw palmetto.
Based on animal data, turmeric may lower blood sugar. Individuals taking other herbs or supplements or diabetes medications should speak with a healthcare professional before starting turmeric.
Turmeric may lower blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good" cholesterol). Thus, turmeric may increase the effects of cholesterol-lowering herbs or supplements such as fish oil, garlic, guggul, or niacin.
Based on animal studies, turmeric may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
Turmeric may lower blood pressure and may therefore have an additive effect if taken with herbs that also lower blood pressure.

o It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
1. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
2. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
3. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
4. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
5. Is a natural liver detoxifier.
6. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
7. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
8. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
9. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
10. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
11. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
12. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
13. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
14. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
15. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
16. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
17. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
18. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
19. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

In India, turmeric is readily available and has been used by many as an antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises, and has also been used as an antibacterial agent. It is said to contain flouride, which is beneficial for teeth. In some countries, turmeric is also taken as a dietary supplement to help with stomach problems. The herb is being investigated for potential benefits in conditions of Alzheimer's disease, cancer and liver disorders. In Japan turmeric tea is a popular item in the city of Okinawa. Under the name of Avea, turmeric is sold as a treatment for depression.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health began four clinical trials for uses of curcumin (turmeric's active agent) in treatment for Alzheimer's disease, colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer.
A study by the UCLA Veterans Affairs in 2004 suggested that curcumin might inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients, and also may be useful in breaking up existing plaques of beta amyloids. It was noted that turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory in a variety of ailments in India.

Some other potential or considered benefits of turmeric which need more study include treatment against: tumors, cystic fibroris, psoriasis, breast cancer, lung cancer, and pain (as a pain reliever: antinociceptive).
Turmeric has long been used not only as a spice, but also for its medicinal properties as an herb. Below is a more expanded list of realized and potential turmeric health benefits. Note that not all have been studied. Some mentioned have received research, while others are folk remedies. Talk with a doctor or medical professional about the use of turmeric for specific medical conditions or situations before taking it as a medicine.

Alzheimer's disease
Antibacterial
Anti-inflammatory
Antiseptic
Arthritis
Breast cancer
Childhood leukemia (reduced risk)
Colorectal cancer
Cystic fibrosis
Depression
Fat metabolism
Inflammatory skin conditions
Liver detoxification
Lung cancer
Multiple myeloma
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
New blood vessel growth in tumors
Pain reliever
Pancreatic cancer
Prostate cancer (used with cauliflower)
Psoriasis
Rheumatoid arthritis
Tumors
Weight management
Wound healing

Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules. The purest curcumin has No sugars, No artificial colors or flavors, No dyes, No dairy, No fillers, or any other unnecessary compounds. Unlike most other brands, there is no Turmeric Fill (3 gms of Curcumin = 100gms of Turmeric), just the Active Ingredient Curcumin.
Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant. One way to reap the health benefits of turmeric is to drink turmeric tea. It's easy to make and tastes great with a little bit of lemon or honey.
Tumeric Tea with Ground pepper and cinnamon to taste

4 cups water
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
lemon (optional)
honey (optional)
bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and add ground turmeric. Simmer for 10 minutes.Strain into a mug using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Add honey and/or lemon to taste.
q Turmeric is the ingredient in curry that gives it a vibrant yellow color
q Women in India sometimes use turmeric paste to remove excess body hair.
q Dr. Eric Lattman of Aston University has identified turmeric as a natural antivenin for King Cobra snake bites.
q *A spoonful of turmeric added to the water in water-cooled radiators will stop leaks. Turmeric paste is a home remedy for sunburn and it is also an ingredient in many commercial sunscreens.

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