20 million people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and over 85 million diagnosed with prediabetes in the United States.
Studies show that people with Type 2 diabetes are 2X as likely to develop certain types of cancer as those without diabetes.
This means that the next epidemic to afflict the population will be that of cancer, unless the incidence of diabetes can be reduced.
Fear is what most people feel upon receiving a diagnosis of cancer—and perhaps you have experienced this fear. The capacity to feel fear is an integral part of human nature, but so are adaptations that allowed our ancestors to survive many life-threatening situations for tens of thousands of years. My objective in writing this book is to share with you that it is possible for anyone confronted with the prospect of dying from cancer to lessen the degree of threat that cancer makes on your life. There are real actions you can take to prevent yourself from dying from cancer.
In a nutshell, you will learn that if you have been diagnosed with a solitary cancer, such as a tumor, it may cause symptoms due to its location or size. But in a vast majority of cases, a solitary cancer can be treated, or removed. It is when that cancer releases thousands of cancer cells that roam all parts of the body, scouting for suitable locations to start their own housekeeping that makes cancer life threatening. If even just a few succeed, they can create enough disruption of metabolic processes in the body to endanger life itself. They do so by confiscating nutrients your normal cells need to sustain themselves, not just in one site but in multiple parts of your body.
Think of cancer as an iceberg in the ocean and you are a ship approaching it. One can’t know the true size of the iceberg by looking at the top of it. You can only see the portion above the water, and what is beneath the sea is usually far larger. Similarly, one can’t know how long a cancer has been in existence when it is detected; it may have been growing for years if not decades. One can navigate around a solitary iceberg once the location and the direction of movement is known. Similarly, more often than not, one can survive a solitary cancer once the location and size are known. But the chance of an accident increases when one has to navigate around multiple icebergs. In the same way, when the number of cancers in the body is increased, the chance of survival is reduced.
My message is that many types of cancer are survivable—and this book will serve as your guide around the iceberg. In reading these pages, you will see that the body can continue living while accommodating a solitary cancer. There are actions you can take to prevent it from spreading, even if there are complications. How to use this knowledge to face the threat and survive is the good news you will get in these pages.
The why of cancer
Cancer has been present throughout human history. Our 21st century science has come a long way to understand cancer, how some cancers (but not all) are caused, how some cancers (but not all) may be successfully treated, and how some cancers (but not all) can be prevented from occurring in individuals. But, in general, the prevention and complete eradication of all cancers still eludes us.
This book is my contribution to the literature on cancer and reflects my decades of study as a trained MD to think about the human body and the causes of disease, especially cancer and diabetes. I will present new ideas and insights into what cancer fundamentally is, how it occurs in the body, why it is so hard to “cure,” and what choices each of us individually has (and collectively as a society as well) to prevent cancer-related death. My explanations for why cancer happens are extremely important to understand, especially if you have been diagnosed with it.
Who this book can help
My objective in writing this book is to reduce the incidence of cancer-related deaths in general, but especially in four populations.
- This book will be an invaluable resource for anyone who has already been diagnosed with cancer localized to a single site of origin and not yet colonized in another part of the body.
- I also write this book for anyone who believes they are at risk of cancer due to heredity, lifestyle, working conditions, stress levels, or for any other reason. As you will see, my strategy about preventing death from cancer opens a new path to understanding it and being able to take actions to ensure it does not happen to you.
- I also seek to help anyone who is a survivor of cancer, so you can better understand what you can do to live as long and as well as possible. Many cancer survivors succumb to the same or different cancer years after their first diagnosis and treatment, but it is possible to influence this outcome.
- Lastly, this book will be especially important for anyone with Type 2 diabetes, who are twice as likely to develop certain types of cancer compared to individuals who do not have diabetes. I became familiar with this statistic because I have been researching and studying Type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years. During this time, I developed new theories and ideas to explain how high blood sugar develops and becomes Type 2 diabetes. In 2015, I published a book, Eat Chew Live to explain those concepts and teach people how to avoid Type 2 diabetes. Along my journey to understand high blood sugar and diabetes, I became especially intrigued as to why people with high blood sugar levels have a higher incidence of cancer than people who do not have high blood sugar. In applying my knowledge about the cause of Type 2 diabetes to the biology of cancer, I learned and developed several insights that I believe help explain the link between diabetes and cancer.
The diabetic audience for this book is a growing one. According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2015 there were 415 million people living with diabetes in the world and, that number will climb to 642 million by the year 2040. Given that diabetes is considered a serious epidemic now, this statistic means that cancer is likely to follow and become the next epidemic as more and more diabetics develop it. The growth of cancer cases will impact the financial resources of both developed and developing countries, as well as the pocketbook of every individual who is affected. Therefore, another objective of this book is to explain a methodology to reduce the incidence of cancer in people who have high blood sugar such as those diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes. Understanding this will help you decide what to do to prevent cancer and how to do it.
Overall, my sincere hope is that the information in this book will help you and your loved ones – no matter which of the above groups you might belong to: healthy but concerned, diabetic, a survivor of cancer, or newly diagnosed with cancer. Your journey with me begins by understanding how cancer starts, how it survives and spreads, and how you can starve it so a single tumor or localized cancer site can be successfully treated without your unknowingly setting up the conditions that help cancer spread throughout the body.
I believe everyone can do a lot to postpone or prevent the occurrence, halt the reoccurrence, or prevent the spread of cancer, so that you can be in charge of living a healthy life for as long as possible, experiencing what matters to you most.
Overview of this book’s Insights
Just as it helps to have a map to plan your journey, it can help to understand in advance the points I will be making in this book. In a nutshell, here is an overview of the insights I will impart to you:
- You may not know it, but during everyone’s lifetime, cancer cells are continually formed in your body at various intervals as a result of various metabolic activities and environmental exposures. Changes to the genes in charge of cell multiplication are happening constantly, leading to the potential for the uncontrolled division of cells—and that is what cancer is. Such genetic change occurs even in people with no genetic predisposition to cancer. To put it bluntly, cancer cells are a normal occurrence in every human being.
- Your immune system usually recognizes these wayward cells that are not functioning as they are supposed to. The immune system then sends out signals for those cells to self-destruct. Most of the time, this self-destruction occurs, but sometimes those initial cancer cells resist the signal and begin multiplying.
- The deadly element of cancer is when those cells continue to multiply and multiply. They then send out “daughter cells” to other parts of the body where they do the same. Soon the cancer cells take over space needed by normal cells, disrupting the functioning of bodily organs. Why do cancer cells do this? My insight here is that multiplying is the primordial survival mechanism of any cell. From the very first cell on Earth that divided into two so that it would have another cell, all its progeny cells, to survive when their own useful life was over, will multiply. The fact is, every cell with a nucleus is driven to divide. No matter what other cellular operations do not function in them, all cells are pre-programmed to reproduce if they are alive. This is an important key to understanding cancer.
- Since the primordial urge of a cell in the body is to multiply, there may be nothing we can do to prevent it. This means that we may never be able to “cure” the disease, technically speaking. What we can do, however, is to seek to limit the multiplying as well as to prevent an initial cancerous site from spreading to other parts of the body.
- All cells need energy to multiply, including cancer cells and their satellites. That energy comes from glucose. As you will learn, cancer cells are able to dominate over other cells by grabbing the glucose in the fluids surrounding cells, thus fueling themselves more aggressively to multiply beyond the level that the body’s immune system can handle. This is why people who have high blood sugar are at a greater risk of cancer than those whose blood sugar levels are normal.
- High blood sugar, as well as some of the medicines that are used to treat it, cause the pancreas to produce more insulin, the hormone that helps glucose get into cells where it is used for cellular fuel. The conundrum is, insulin is a growth hormone and so high levels of insulin actually stimulate cells to divide, including cancer cells.
- The combination of these two factors effectively means that the more carbohydrates you eat, the more glucose in your bloodstream, and thus the greater the risk that you are stimulating the production of insulin. This brings on a “double whammy” for diabetics with cancer (and even for pre-diabetics, people with somewhat high blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be called diabetic). The higher levels of insulin in the body act as a growth stimulant for cancer cells to grow and multiply, while the glucose provides fuel for that reproduction.
- Given the above insights, the best method to avoid the establishment of cancer, as well as prevent it from occurring in another part of the body or having it occur again after you have been treated for it, is to take these steps:
- Refrain from eating grains, grain-based products, and other high carbohydrate and sugar-laden foods in quantities that produce excess glucose in your bloodstream that will fuel cancer cells. You need to starve cancer cells to the greatest extent possible.
- Eat a diet of minimally processed vegetables, fruits, animal products, dairy, nuts, seeds, and fresh herbs and spices that will provide your body with the macro- and micro-nutrients your cells need to function optimally.
- At the same time, minimize your risks of introducing agents into your body through foods that can damage your genes. Such a diet will also help nurture the beneficial bacteria in the gut that strengthen your immune system, which is your body’s natural defense against cancer cells. The immune system is programmed to find and kill newly formed cancer cells, and so it must remain as strong as possible.
- Reconnect with your “authentic weight” – the weight your body is most comfortable at and which allows your blood sugar and insulin levels to stay in a normal range. Excess body fat is now recognized as a contributing factor in America’s cancer toll, ahead of tobacco.
- Exercise to condition your body and maintain your health, but do not count on exercise to lose weight.
- Avoid cancer-causing agents in the environment around you because they have the potential to cause genetic mutations that may trigger cancer cells to begin forming, growing, and multiplying.
- Avoid exposure to infective agents such as human papilloma virus that can cause persistent infection, resulting in cancer. Keep in mind that HPV vaccines can prevent the infection in most cases if taken between the ages 9 and 13.
Some of you may consider cancer as a physical condition to be dealt with by medical professionals. For someone else, it is one’s fate to endure. And for others cancer is an incomprehensible and fearful affliction. No matter what you feel, you can take actions to survive. If survival instinct of a cell makes cancer possible, as you will understand from reading this book, it is the same instinct that should prompt you to follow the precepts outlined. The knowledge you will obtain about the condition you did not expect or desire will clarify the significance of the diet-related decisions I offer you for surviving cancer.
Special insert on grains
A critical theme in this book is that grains and grain-flour products are a major source of nutrition for cancer cells. For this reason, I have also written a special Insert that you will find in Part 2 about why you need to avoid eating grains if you have been diagnosed with cancer. This is especially important if you are also pre-diabetic or diabetic, as the combination of high blood sugar and cancer are highly linked.