Cancer Patients Need Proper Diet and Exercise (cont.)

Moderator: Would you recommend cutting out or down on dairy?

Hendel: I have a real struggle with the dairy product issue. On the one hand, osteoporosis is so rampant right now because we are living longer, but as a person who is a nutritionist and is a exercise provider, I think the calcium aspect of milk is important. But I do believe there are other ways to get calcium, and you can get adequate sources of it from leafy vegetables, soy, calcium-fortified orange juice, or even take supplements. A person can chew Tums or new Viactive chews. Or you can take those calcium horse pills. So I think you have to make a personal decision on that; I do like small amounts of dairy products in my diet, and I am a vegetarian. But there are groups of individuals out there, and Andrew Weil is one of them, who believes that the dairy group may not be as beneficial as we've thought. I don't condemn the food group, but I do think it's a personal choice.

Just because we've gone back to nutrition, there is one individual who's diet plan I'd like to mention -- Mishio Kushi, and he's one of the individuals funded by the NIH back in the 70s to do cancer research. He came out with a book called Cancer Prevention Diet, and he talks about key foods that are important to have, cancer inhibiting macrobiotic foods, and believes in yin and yang cancers. And he talks about specific yin and yang considerations; if you have this kind of tumor, its a yin tumor and you have to eat a certain way. I think that it's a very hard diet to follow; he does have a center back on the East coast, where you can go and learn cooking techniques, and he has disciples around the world who teaches the cooking techniques. I have a feeling that if I was struck with cancer, I don't have such a love with food to embrace his eating plan wholeheartedly, but I do recommend it for individuals with serious cancers and don't have too many choices with optimal therapy. But if you love food, and food deprivation will provide a serious disappointment for you, it's not the way to go. I had a family who came to me, with the wife who wanted her husband to do this diet, and the husband is seriously ill, and he made it very clear to me that he'd find this diet reprehensible, and from a mind/body connection, my answer is that I didn't think the diet would work for him because he was so negative about the diet. You want the individual to be behind the choices they're making to help their illness. I don't think that choice is for everybody, and one has to explore their options and where they want to be for cancer prevention or its treatment.

Moderator: What typical lifestyle habits do people need to change when diagnosed with cancer?

Hendel: I saw a wonderful article many weeks ago, called "Five Fairly Painless Ways to Decrease Risk", and the recommendations made were ones I say all the time. My number one choice is eat less red meat. Make it several times a month at most, and try not to eat well done meat within that subgroup. My second choice is eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. There are 200 studies that show that fruits and vegetables can reduce various cancers of the body. And as I mentioned before, in this particular subgroup, tomatoes do seem to have an impact on cancer. Produce is also packed with lots of antioxidants. Three, restrict alcohol intake to once a day for women, and twice for men. We do see that drinking is tied to higher rates of cancer. My next choice is to take folic acid and other antioxidants. Folic acid also has an anti-cancer potential against lung, cervical, and colon cancer. Then what we spoke about before; reduce your saturated fat and salt intake. If you're going to eat fat, choose from the good ones -- olive oil, avocados, nuts, soy and tofu... and choose from the Omega 3 groups. Those are the ones that are very beneficial to you. And an excellent diet cannot make up for a lack of exercise; thirty minutes a day of activity for 4 to 5 days a week will reduce the odds of obesity and to develop certain cancers.

I think it's also interesting to note that everyone has heard of H&R Block. And I think that most individuals don't know that Richard Block, it's founder, was diagnosed back in 78 with inoperable lung cancer, and he was told by his surgeon that he had 3 months to live. A friend of his insisted that he get a second opinion from a local oncologist, and this oncologist told him that he could cure the cancer, and put together a group of multi-disciplinary oncologists to offer him some options -- he underwent therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and immunization therapy (quite radical in those days), and he's now living 22 years later cancer-free and feeling great. A few things he mentioned as he discusses his particular route to health, was that you needed to lead a healthy lifestyle. You had to strengthen your immune system, maintain your weight through life, and if you're afflicted with cancer, then don't lose weight as you're undergoing therapy. He felt it was important to have a positive outlook and engage in many of the mind/body exercises out there. Ultimately, today, he still exercises and still eats the same way he did 22 years ago when he underwent this whole catastrophic event, so one has to assume that there are cancers that are not beatable, and no matter how hard you fight and engage in good lifestyle choices, they're still going to win. But we have to take our information from all the times people succeed in battling the cancers when the odds seem to be insurmountable. And diet and exercise plays a huge aspect to overcoming those types of cancers.

Moderator: How has the treatment of cancer changed over time?

Hendel: I think if we look at many of the studies that have evolved in the last twenty years, they weren't implicating diet back then as being a contributor to therapy or prevention. There were acknowledging that smoking was a contributor, and there were environmental causes of cancer. But I think that what's evolved is that particularly in Western culture, we see what happens when western culture goes into other cultures. If you look at the oriental group, when you see Chinese individuals or Japanese individuals come to America and westernize, you see certain rates of cancer go up in these populations. When certain fast food groups invade society that have never encountered that type of food, we see changes in the statistics of cancer in those areas. And one has to assume that it may not be the only cause, and we may not be able to point a specific food at the food or cause, but over 20 years, we've seen what happens in other populations when the western diet enters their realm, and we have to acknowledge that phenomenon. And based on that, you just have to log onto the many health websites that are on the net. One such as yourself, and the others out there, and across the board, they're making the same recommendations, to lower your fat, take vitamins, increase daily activity, limit alcohol, cut out smoking, and all across the board, they agree. I think you have to be compelled that so many groups have gotten together and agree on many of the recommendations.