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Surviving cancer, continued

Bill FoxBy Bill Fox/Columnist

In my last column, I summarized a book entitled Radical Remissions – Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Kelly Turner, who earned her doctorate by interviewing thousands of cancer patients who seemed to have spontaneous remissions from cancer. Through these interviews, Kelly explores the power of the human spirit and the innate wisdom of the body to overcome the diagnosis of cancer. Throughout, Kelly uses examples of people she interviewed and tells their stories of how they beat cancer.

Almost all of the survivors mentioned nine common factors that contributed to their healing. The nine factors were: radically changing their diet, taking control of their own health, following their intuition, releasing suppressed emotions, increasing positive emotions, embracing social support, deepening spiritual connections, having strong reasons for living and lastly using herbs and supplements often under a doctors supervision.

She states that she is in no way opposed to conventional cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, but a select few have overcome cancer by finding other means, and previously these survivors had never been studied.

Kelly was disappointed when discovering that most doctors receive only one week of nutrition education. She believes if doctors had more knowledge of nutrition, they would see that we are indeed what we eat.

Here then, I will look at the survivors who radically changed their eating habits after their initial diagnosis of cancer, noting that there was a common thread. Basically the survivors ate no sweets, no meat, no diary and no refined foods. Why?

Researchers say cancer cells consume sugar or glucose at 10 to 50 times more than do normal cells. The average American (and I assume Canadian) eats the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Therefore cutting refined sugar consumption out of your diet may be a way of starving cancer cells.

In terms of dairy products, researchers say there are two main reasons we should all cut back on dairy products. First, dairy is the breast milk of another animal and as such, it is packed with hormones and proteins meant to make a baby calf grow, not humans. One of the main proteins found in cow’s milk is casein, which makes cancer cells grow. Secondly there are unhealthy chemicals found in cow’s milk including bovine growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. Many of the survivors that Kelly interviewed drastically reduced or eliminated dairy products, at least until their cancer had completely gone. You might appreciate, then, the similarities in eating meats. Again most of the meat we eat contains growth hormones and antibiotics. She says if we do choose to eat meat it should be organic, free-range, hormone and antibiotic free, and grass fed which is the natural food for cows.

Many of the survivors Kelly studied had returned to the diets of their great-grandparents, who ate homegrown vegetables and whole grains, while rarely eating expensive delicacies like meat and sugar and enjoyed significantly lower cancer rates than we do now.

In summation, Kelly also found that the survivors increased their vegetable and fruit intake, ate organic foods and would drink only filtered water, not tap water. Tap water contains chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals all of which have been associated with cancer in certain studies.

At the end of each chapter, Kelly has action steps that we might all be encouraged to follow. For example, she recommends that we reduce slowly, perhaps cutting back one less sweet, one less serving of dairy, and one less refined food a day. She also suggests we eat at least one vegetable or fruit with every meal. It is also important that we prioritize what organic foods to buy, certainly meat and diary but also fruits and vegetables especially apples, celery, tomatoes and mushrooms, etc. that absorb the most pesticides. It is not all about what we should eat, but Kelly also recommends lots of substitutes which space prevents me from getting into here.

I cannot recommend this book enough for cancer survivors or those of us that have lost relatives to cancer. You can learn more at this book’s website at