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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meat and dairy cause increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

The arrival of 20 kilograms of fine pork produ...Image via Wikipedia
A recent Swedish study has shown that eating just one sausage, or two pieces of bacon a day, will increase one's chance of getting pancreatic cancer by 19%.  More here.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the more lethal forms of cancer.  The awareness of this deadly disease has been raised by its notable victims, to include Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze, Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  Joan Crawford, and Michael Landon, to name a few.     

The pancreas produces the enzymes that break down the fat and protein in meat, so it is not a far stretch to hypothesize that overloading the digestive track with a diet rich in meat will overtax the pancreas and make it susceptible to cancer.  A prospective 2009 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed that risks of pancreatic cancer were directly related to the intake of dietary fat of animal origin.  This was a huge study, with the dietary intake of over 500,000 people being reviewed.

Only 4% of patients with pancreatic cancer survive more than five years after their disease is diagnosed. It would seem that this is a particularly viral and aggressive type of cancer, but in reality, pancreatic cancer cells take years to mature to the point of detection.  Research published in the journal Nature reveals that pancreatic cancer takes 20 years to grow to the point where it is diagnosed by conventional medical methods.   This is actually good news, giving people several years to change their nutritional intake patterns before the point of no return.

Once at the point of detection, the cancer is so advanced, there is little that can be done to stave it off.  However, in the preceding twenty years before detection, can a vegetarian diet reverse or even cure this deadly disease?  There is little research into this area (why would the cancer industry waste money on a simple and inexpensive cure?) but one study shows a constituent of cruciferous vegetables such as watercress called phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) stopped pancreatic cancer from developing in a hamster model that was given a cancer-causing agent (a carcinogen known as BOP) (Nishikawa A et al 2004). Other studies show that vitamins A, C, and E, as well as selenium and curcumin were toxic to tumor cells but not to normal cells.

There are reports of advanced pancreatic cancer patients who made a complete recovery through diet alone. Some long-term pancreatic cancer survivors credit the Gerson diet for saving their lives. This diet regime consists of a strict regimen of organic juicing, coffee enemas, and a supplementation program.  One of these survivors recounts her success story on the Health Explorers radio program (  As amazing as her story is, it is important to note that the Gerson web site does point out that the diet is not very successful with pancreatic cancer patients who have already compromised their system with chemotherapy.  Those who go to the Gerson Clinic before undergoing traditional cancer treatments with chemo and radiation have the best results.

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