Friday, February 18, 2011

Latest research and interesting stuff

Every day I receive an email from the "Science Blog" that contains links to interesting research studies.  The studies are about all kinds of topics, including cancer, diabetes, etc.  I am going to start posting links and comments about some of these studies as I think there is some interesting stuff going on.  I also think some of it is less than scientific; so as time moves forward, we'll see what pans out and what doesn't.

Today's blog has a link to an article entitled "Further research needed to develop evidence-based nutrition guidelines for cancer survivors".  It states an interesting statistic...4% of Americans are cancer survivors.  That seems like a staggering number; the US population is just over 307 million.  So 12 million of us have fought!  The article goes on to state that cancer patients die of non-cancer related deaths at a rate much higher than the general population.  The hypothesis is that good nutrition would prevent some of these deaths.

Well, how about this idea...

In the article it lists cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteopenia and osteoporosis, functional impairment, and other endocrine disorders as leading causes of death.  Go figure...
  • Chemo agents such as adriamycin and herceptin are known to cause heart damage in some patients;
  • In order to minimize side effects, chemo patients are pumped full of steroids, leading to soaring glucose levels and weight gain thus triggering diabetes in some patients;
  • Anti-hormone therapy administered to breast cancer patients is known to cause osteopenia and osteoporosis in up to 22% of patients, it also raises cholesterol and blood pressure, and can cause weight gain;
  • The taxol chemo agents cause neuropathy in up to 74% of patients and it doesn't always go away after chemo treatment has ended;
  • Chemo brain is real.
  • Chemo agents can ruin a person's immune system and lead to leukemia years later.
Good nutrition is important, don't get me wrong.  But thinking that lack of good nutrition is the big problem with premature death of cancer survivors seems just a little simplistic, and it seems to place the blame on the patients without regard to the unavoidable side effects of treatments that are supposed to save their lives . 

Finding cancer treatments that target cancer cells while leaving the rest of the body "intact" seems like a better place to spend your research dollars.