Pancreatic Cancer Prevention: Go Veg | 11/05/09

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More Fruit, Veggies, Less Sugar, Red Meat

The recent loss of beloved actor Patrick Swayze to pancreatic cancer at age 57 is a sad but compelling prologue to  November's Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Swayze lived a year and a half after diagnosis -- about three times the six month median survival time.Called the "stealth cancer," pancreatic cancer accounts for just 2% of new U.S.cancer cases -- yet is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths, in part because the cancer is so difficult to detect (tucked behind the small intestine, the pancreas is a small organ which produces insulin and releases enzymes that help aid digestion).As  prevention is key, here are a few things you can do to minimize your risk:

  • Eat at least two cups of vegetables a day -- yams, carrots, onions and dark leafy greens - to halve your pancreatic cancer risk, according to a study funded by the National Cancer Institute.Other research suggests a protective benefit from spinach, onions and cabbage, which respectively contain antioxidants kaempferol, quercetin and myricetin
  • Load up on beans, artichokes and beets, which are among the top whole-food sources of folate, linked to lower pancreatic cancer risk.Supplements do not have the same benefit
  • Avoid processed meat and limit red meat, which are linked to a 70% and 53% increased risk respectively.Compounds formed during the cooking process may be more to blame than saturated fat since poultry, dairy and eggs are not associated with increased risk.
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened soda and sugar added to drinks and cereal -- which is associated with a 90% increased risk of developing the cancer.
  • Quit smoking! You know cigarettes cause lung cancer, but smokers are also 2-3 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.


    4 Comments | Leave a comment


    I come from a long line of grocers and butchers - huge meat eaters and cigarette and cigar smokers. When I was just 4 years old and told by my father to wait in the car while he went into a building, I decided "a little while" was too much time in a hot car; and I soon found myself up those 4 steps and inside looking for daddy. It was a slaughterhouse!!! I am now 72 and this is so fresh in my memory. My parents sat me down and explained how "lucky" I was to have meat at the table 3 times a day and should be so grateful. This was during the 2nd World War when other families had stamp rations for meat and butter. Growing up I was made to sit at the table and eat everything on my plate; but once I could decide for myself, I became a vegetarian; an almost vegan. Being in the family of grocers we had everything....including high cholesterol, heart attacks and diabetes and cancer. They have all died in their 40s and 50s and I am still going strong at 72. Does this tell you something?
    Joy Ray


    You give me hope Joy. I've gone vegan for 4 months now. My mother died at 46, my grandfather at 55, cousin at 44, lots of by-passes in my family. I feel like I have a lot to look forward to now.

    Just watched the promo on You-tube for "Healing Cancer from the Inside Out." It makes a story like this about Patrick just seem so tragic.


    Thanks for your encouraging comments Rayofjoy. I too grew up in a meat and potato's family like many others. My wife and I at 57, have been meat free for several years (15?) and there is nothing better than natural living food. We don't push our life stile on others but wish my frail mother at 83 would stay away from those hot dogs. We still have to discipline ourselves everyday on the temptation for some of the processed junk food out there but we are so sensitive to it now it's very very limited. We totally believe in the health benefits of a vegan diet.


    It makes me so happy to see so many folks wanting to live a healthy and long life. My husband is 78 and I am 72 and it just breaks my heart when I see such unhealthy individuals half our ages being pushed around in wheel chairs or on walkers because they are too obese to walk on their own....or to watch them in restaurants devour huge amounts of this carcinogenous greasy flesh from some poor tortured animal and then to lay in their intestines for 3 whole days and putrify in a temperature of 98.6 degrees. No wonder cancer and heart disease and diabetes is on the rise, not to mention other ailments. I am NOT sitting in judgement at all; just very sad. So when folks write in about the wonderful change in their diets, I am truly ecstatic. I would love everyone to feel and look as we do.

    There are so many alternates on the market these days with "fake meat" that there truly is no excuse for not being a vegetarian. I never run out of ideas of what to make for a meal WITHOUT resorting to eating flesh. There are "ground rounds" I use in pasta sauce, tacos, burritos, potatoes au gratin, and so much more. There is fakin' bacon which tastes just like the real stuff without the poisons, "spare ribs", "non chicken chicken" and "non turkey", "beef strips", tofu which can be made into anything and seitan, and an "orange chicken" sold at Lassens which can compare to the real Chinese version...and so very much more. Combine all of this with organic brown rice and organic noodles and potatoes and fresh vegetables, and you can live so many more years. And don't forget the rice and beans alone for protein as well. The American people are so "overly proteined" which contributes to even more health problems.

    My husband and I are nearly vegans - not quite, but we do drink the Almond Breeze instead of cow's milk, and organic soy butter and ice-cream. We get the organic cage-free eggs from "happy chickens" but they are still eggs...and we do eat cheese now and then, although I have switched recently to soy cheese.
    We are not perfect, but at least a step in the right direction.

    When one feels so good and healthy, it is normal for one to wish this on others. I come from a long line of very sick relatives and in my own family - folks died in early 50's and brother not quite 40, and aunts, uncles and cousins; all died in their 50's...EVERYONE of them had grocery stores and it was the "good life and the good food" that killed them.

    Please folks when someone writes from their heart for your well being, please do not interpret this as being critical. Not necessarily true.

    Blessings to you all.

    Joy Ray

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