In How Not to Die, Dr Michael Gregor examines the top causes of premature death for heart disease, cancers, diabetes and more – and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to enjoy better health.
It’s a very BIG book with a HUGE reference section. Every month I’m going to try and pick out the key points for each section and I highly recommend reading the book for yourself. Prevention is better than cure. I am not advising anyone to follow the suggestions in the book, i’m just passing on the information.
Blood cancers can be categorised into three types: leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
Leukemia is a disease in which the bone marrow feverishly produces abnormal white blood cells that are unable to fight infection and also impair the ability of your bone marrow to produce normal red and white cells creating a diminished healthy blood cell count. This can lead to anemia, infection and eventually death.
Lymphoma is a blood cancer of lymphocytes, which are special types of white blood cell. Lymphoma cells can multiply quickly and collect in your lymph nodes, in the neck, armpits and groin. Lymph nodes help filter your blood. Like luekemia, lymphoma can crowd out healthy cells and impair your ability to fight infection.
Hodgkins Lymphoma is rare and usually treatable, it can strike young adults.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) covers all the dozens of other lymphoma. They’re more common and can be harder to treat, their risk increases with age.
Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, which are white blood cells that produce antibodies, the proteins that stick to invaders and infected cells to neutralise or tag them for destruction. Cancerous plasma cells can displace healthy cells form your bone marrow and make abnormal antibodies that can clog the kidneys. About 90% of myeloma sufferers are discovered with masses of cancer cells growing in multiple bones of their bodies i.e multiple myeloma. Most people with myeloma only live a few years after diagnosis. Though treatable it is considered as incurable. Prevention is key.
Fortunately, dietary changes may reduce our risk of all these blood cancers.
Foods associated with decreased risk of blood cancers
One study that followed 60000 people over 12 years found that those who consumed a plant-based diet were less likely to develop all forms of cancer combined. The greatest protection appeared to be against blood cancers.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy kill cancers cells as well as healthy cells. Some compounds in plants may be more discriminating.
Sulforaphane, an active component in cruciferous veg (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, watercress, bok choy, kohlrabi, raddish, turnips, rocket, cabbage, wasabi) kills human leukemia cells in a petri dish whilst having little impact on the growth of normal cells.
One study showed people with non-hodgkins lyphoma eating 3 or more veg servings daily had a 42% improved survival rate than those who ate less.
Other studies have associated high cruciferous veg intake with less risk of getting this disease in the first place.
Acai Berries, Walnuts, Apples, Cranberries and Purple Cabbage are also said to be great antioxidents.
Turmeric is also suggested to be beneficial although more studies are needed.
Animal viruses linked to Human Blood Cancers
From the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer) poultry tended to be associated with the greatest risk of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, all grades of follicular lymphoma, and B-Cell Lymphomas. The EPIC study found that risk increased between 56% and 280% for every 50 grams of poultry consumed daily.