Monday, August 9, 2010

The workings of my mind

The question that plagues me from an intellectual standpoint: what the hell has changed in the last 2-3 years that would make what is supposed to be a very slow-growing cancer into something that seems to be resisting conventional treatment.

First, let me admit a slight change in the way I think:

A few months ago, I wrote a blog entry on the environment and cancer. I think I came off as saying that since we don't definitely know many of the dietary and lifestyle factors that contribute to the ability to survive and enter remission that they're not important. That is not what I believe.

In the past few weeks/months, I have come to terms with my strong belief that although we will NEVER have a world free of cancer, we CAN reduce the incidence and prolong survival for many people. I recently re-read a piece written by Robb Wolf where he discusses the possible benefit of a ketogenic diet on cancer and during which he cites a paper that says "our understanding of the molecular underpinning of cancer has exploded; yet this has translated into few advances in treatment or survivability. The authors also make the point we have plenty of information to make lifestyle and environmental changes that will dramatically reduce the OCCURANCE of cancers. Aside from smoking little effort has been placed in the prevention category."

In my life, when things began to change (get harder) with regards to my thyroid cancer the following changes were taking place:
1. More stress (medical school, newly married, new child)

That's about it. My activity level has stayed about the same since I was about 8 weeks gestational age, so cycling doesn't seem to be a culprit. Although I am now having VERY SERIOUS questions about the high carbohydrate diet that fuels high performance cycling and its affect on cancer cells. I never actually blogged about this, but at some point after my January treatment I underwent a self-induced experiment of a vegan diet where 60-90% of my calories came from low-glycemic grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. I'm not calling causation or even correlation, but during this same period my tumor marker went up. There is abundant data to support the the high need for glucose of cancer cells. Hell, this is the entire principle of the PET scan which I'll have in a couple of weeks at Wash U. Maybe Robb Wolff is right and the ideas in this article from Time magazine have more basis in truth than the epidemiological observational studies supporting that a low-fat, high Cho diet is the way to live a healthy life. Who knows.

Anyway, these are the things I think about.


rudy said...

there are a lot of unregulated chemicals out there. chmical manufacturers are currently allowed to use 'proprietary' chemicals in all sorts of household products without safety testing or much regulation. who knows. evidently nobody can - without 40 years of studies, so why mess around and take chances. they are pretty ubiquitous, but with a simple lifestyle many of them perhaps can be avoided. ask yourself ' is this something i REALLY need - or am i just getting it because i watch a lot of commercials.

on an individual level, life is fragile, unpredictable and unfathomable. but in some ways we are all living it together, as you have intimated in your blog. thanks again for doing that.

Capturing CoMo said...

With my daughters' delays I have seen a huge change in their progress as we change their diet. I don't think diet is the only key in health but modern society and medicine definitely ignoring a link between the two. How can what we fuel ourselves not affect what happens to our bodies?