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Tuesday
Oct252011

The Best Cancer Prevention Ever - Children and Good Food

We recently received an email asking for input about how to nourish our children with healthy food, considering the barrage of junk food that children are exposed to on a daily basis. This particular reader had changed her family's diet after a cancer diagnosis, but was having a hard time with all the fake foods given to her children once they entered school.

For those of you with school-aged children (or who have raised children), you know all about the constant "treats" given to our kids at school, sometimes multiple times each week, or even each day. Unfortunately, just like there are harmful conventional cancer treatments, there is "conventional" food, which is chock full of ingredients that are harmful physically and mentally. There might be no better sign as to how brainwashed we've become about bad food than the fact we impair our children's developing bodies, and at school no less, thus putting them at a big disadvantage for focusing and learning.

So we were asked: Given our cancer journey, and given our devotion to food-as-medicine-and-medicine-as-food (to quote Hippocrates), how do we handle this with our own kids?

The answer is multi-faceted. First and foremost, we notify teachers from day one that our children are on a restricted diet. As with any food, the best way to ensure the very best quality is to make it yourself. Packing daily snacks and lunches is fairly easy, especially if you make the lunches more tempting than anything your kid(s) could order at school. We spend a lot of time and energy involving our children in food preparation, and we also put a lot of effort into getting them excited about eating only healthy foods and ingredients. The end result is that our daughters feel like the OTHER kids are shortchanged!

To handle the frequent birthday and holiday parties, as well as treats handed out as rewards, we make sure to provide an ample supply of homemade treats (usually muffins made with healthful grains and natural sweeteners) that we replenish every month or two. For example, when someone passes out cupcakes to celebrate a birthday, my child gets one of my muffins (stored in a school freezer or refrigerator).

If there's ever a situation where one of our girls was not given a muffin (maybe her class was offsite and forgot to bring one along), then we tell her to tell us after school, at which point we go get one of our healthy treats as an extra-special after-school snack. Again, we never want our kids to feel like they are missing out. In our opinion, it's not enough to KNOW that the food is better--kids really have to be excited about it. If they're not, then it's just one more thing they'll feel compelled to rebel against, and this can lead to eating problems/disorders down the road.

We also give our kids some leeway to eat unhealthful foods, in order to counteract the "forbidden fruit" effect, and also to give them a chance to feel the effects of eating bad food. And once a child has eaten only good, whole foods for a while, he/she will feel it quickly and clearly when ingesting fake foods/ingredients. We ask our girls to "check in" with how they feel after they have "regular" cake at a birthday party. Again, after many years of this, our kids consistently express feeling very lucky that they get to enjoy treats that actually help and fuel their body, and they're happy to avoid the stomach aches, headaches, and numerous other effects of "cheap fuel."

It can be challenging enough to provide healthy food to our children every day in a tantalizing way, even with no outside temptations. But it's extra frustrating once we get our children into the habit of eating well, only to be undermined by addictive, destructive junk food offered during school. We recommend starting with your own child(ren), making sure he/she/they is/are on board. Then, we're also fans of working at school-wide levels to improve eating habits. Some schools are implementing policies where food treats are not allowed. Instead, all treats (including birthdays and rewards) are activity-related. For example, a child gets special time with a teacher for her birthday, or kids get to play a game, preferably one involving physical activity. These new programs are being well-received by staff, parents, AND children.

The fact of the matter is that between birthday parties and occasional playdates, parents will often have to loosen the dietary reins. But allowing our children's precious bodies to be fueled by junk food 1-3 times week, or more, during the school year is no longer loosening the reins. It's letting the horse run amuck.

As we noted, now that our oldest is 9 years old, we have lessened our oversight slightly, to give her more control over making her own decisions. Luckily, she is still choosing to say no to junk food just about all of the time. In fact, she recently has begun expressing sadness for the children who eat junk food all the time. This is because she understands, at a visceral level, how important food is for our bodies, and that healthy food can be both good for our bodies AND taste really good. Seeing this mindset on the part of our daughters is easily one of the most gratifying aspects of our cancer journey.

 

Friday
Sep302011

Breast Cancer Aware-less Month

We're one day away from the so-called "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," when companies and mis-labeled breast cancer "awareness" organizations turn everything pink. And then monetize it.

Breast Cancer Action (BCA), a respected watchdog organization, recently announced its "Raise a Stink!" campaign, "which urges Susan G. Komen for the Cure to immediately recall their commissioned 'Promise Me' perfume and to commit to putting patients before profits by taking every precaution when it comes to the ingredients in the pink ribbon products they promote."  Read more about the Raise a Stink! movement here.

It's remarkable that in 2011, companies and organizations claiming to want to reduce the incidence of breast cancer (as well as all cancers) are the very ones using chemicals and ingredients known to cause cancer. Indeed, the Breast Cancer Awareness brand itself is owned by the pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca, which profits directly from people having cancer. (AstraZeneca is the maker of several breast cancer chemotherapy drugs.) Here's a summary of the controversy on Wikipedia, referring to the great work done by BCA:

"Sometimes referred to as 'National Breast Cancer Industry Month,' critics of NBCAM point to a conflict of interest between corporations sponsoring breast cancer awareness while profiting from diagnosis and treatment. The breast cancer advocacy organization, Breast Cancer Action, has said repeatedly in newsletters and other information sources that October has become a public relations campaign that avoids discussion of the causes and prevention of breast cancer and instead focuses on “awareness” as a way to encourage women to get their mammograms."

(Mammograms, by the way, are the engine that powers the massive apparatus of over-treatment of breast cancer, to the tune of staggering profits for those providing the procedures and drugs.)

As consumers, we must continue to educate ourselves and use our collective power to demand safe ingredients only. As we say in our book, there's a better "standard of care"--everything you put on, or in, or around your body is either helping cancer, or it's helping your body. That's true prevention.

To use a phrase coined by Breast Cancer Action, it's time to stop the "pinkwashing." We can do so much better than this. It's time for true prevention. It's time for smarter, safer products, and smarter, safer treatments. It's time to come up with a new mantra for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We humbly suggest this one: It's time to declare peace on breast cancer.

Thursday
Sep292011

One Year In

It's been about a year since we began our quest for smarter, safer treatments for breast and other cancers, so we thought this would be a good time to reflect on the past year's journey.

Although we've been very happy with the publicity our book has received, much of what we've been doing over the past year has been behind the scenes. First and foremost, we've been connecting with lots of readers, patients and practitioners alike who are interested in a complete approach to cancer. There's definitely a movement unfolding, and we can't wait to share more about that soon.

And as for our public efforts, we've been very active connecting with people on Facebook and Twitter, but, we've developed a bad habit of posting here on our blog only occasionally, and then falling into long periods of silence. Part of that is just bad habit (shame on us!), but part of it has to do with working hard to line up really great content to share from the patients and practitioners who are declaring peace on cancer. We'll definitely be doing a better job of keeping this blog active.

We'd also like to take a moment to thank the many readers who write to us. Many of you have shared your own stories with us, and we're always touched by the incredible strength you all exhibit.

The best part about the first year of our mission to share our story is the constant stream of good news we've found about treating cancer in smarter and safer ways. We can declare peace on cancer! Unfortunately, there are still plenty of warmongers out there, spreading the illogical fear that we have to remain at war with cancer in order to be "safe." We're here to tell you that this just isn't true. You can get well again, and you don't have to get sicker first from one-size-fits all toxic treatments.

Our hope is that we can all come together to overcome the grim "war" approach to cancer, with its belligerent treatments, and replace it with an integrative approach that cures cancer, not in one way, but in 100 ways.

Thanks for listening,
Hollie & Patrick

Tuesday
May242011

Is Your Breast Cancer Tamoxifen Resistant?

I've received a lot of criticism for rejecting chemo, radiation, and five years of hormone therapy (Tamoxifen, specifically). (See our Criticism category.)  I've been told that I was "just lucky" and that I was (paraphrasing here) a complete idiot for turning them down. I want to give some specific information about how solely rejecting hormone therapy helped to save my life. Read on if you don't believe me. 

Studies published in 1990, 1995, and 2000 (all well before my diagnosis in 2002) provide critical information for patients with tumors that have certain characteristics. The studies all confirm that ER+/PR- breast cancers are less sensitive to Tamoxifen, and that Tamoxifen is less effective on HER2+ tumors. They further confirm the finding that the HER2 pathway interacts with the ER pathway, rendering them Tamoxifen resistant. More recently (in 2005; see the Arpino study referenced below), a meta-analysis of seven studies concluded that metastatic breast cancer over-expressing HER2 was resistant to Tamoxifen.

But here's the kicker: Women treated with Tamoxifen that had ER+/PR-/HER2+ tumors (which is what I had) had a higher likelihood of recurrence

Let me repeat: Numerous studies show that this specific conventional treatment would have increased the likelihood that my cancer would have recurred. A big part of the message that we're trying to share is that there's a subgroup of women with breast cancer who will only get sicker from one-size-fits-all, conventional-only treatments. These cancers come back with a vengeance, and the body is substantially damaged as well from the toxic treatments that didn't work. I was in that group. 

Unsettling, to say the least. 

I know there are many critics out there, and the truly sinister ones will somehow find a way to dismiss these studies. I'm hoping that the more open-minded critics will at least acknowledge that we can do better. The unavoidable truth is that my conventional doctors simply missed this research. It was presented to us by our integrative treatment team. 

The first question I understandably receive when sharing this part of my story in particular is, "Why? Why would your doctors recommend a treatment that is known to increase your chance of the cancer recurring?"

Based on the title of our book, I think that many people incorrectly assume that I'll give an answer such as, "Because doctors are evil!" This couldn't be farther from the truth. The majority of conventional doctors are well-intentioned people who truly want their patients to live well. 

The problem is multi-faceted. First, I believe that the system in which they operate is fundamentally broken. I'm specifically referring here to the "standard of care." You see, under the standard of care in 2002 (and still today, in many cases), if a patient presents with a tumor with my pathology, he/she is told to do chemotherapy, radiation, and five years of Tamoxifen. No questions asked. No customization of treatment. No individualization of treatment, except perhaps some debate on the specific chemo cocktail. (Shockingly, chemotherapy sensitivity testing remains largely ignored as a valuable tool in preparing smarter, safer cancer treatments.) I believe that either the doctors never saw these studies that I reference, or dismissed them because the standard of care is the final arbiter of treatment decisions, even when there is evidence to the contrary. At the very least, the standard of care takes much too long to incorporate important emerging information. At worst, it leads to potentially deadly medical mistakes for those who are in the blind spots of conventional science. 

Interestingly enough, I also believe that there are liability concerns for physicians who attempt to deviate from the standard of care. 

The second part of the answer to the question "Why?" is that the culture of the cancer industry is also severely broken. There is a frightening closed-mindedness to anything non-conventional, to any non-conventional ways of looking at cancer, or heaven forbid, of treating cancer. As we've said many times before, it's time to stop talking past one another. Both "sides" (conventional and non-conventional) have incredible things to offer, and we need to create a system that is interested in devising the smartest, safest individualized treatment protocols for patients. Luckily, there are practitioners out there that are already doing this, such as the ones that treated me. 

This inevitably means moving away from the vast amount of over-treatment that's currently being performed, and specifically the over-treating of cancer patients with highly toxic drugs that either aren't necessary, or that will only make patients sicker. Certain pharmaceuticals have their time and their place, and they can be part of an overall life-saving protocol, but not when they're used as they are currently, with no tailoring to actual patient needs, and with no cost-benefit analysis. There are better ways! 

In summary, if my doctors failed (for whatever reasons) to acknowledge and incorporate these studies about Tamoxifen, what other scientific data was ignored (for whatever reasons) regarding my recommended chemotherapy and radiation? We'll be tackling these related topics in future blog posts. In the meantime, some references about Tamoxifen resistance are listed below. We encourage you to talk to your practitioners about this to make sure you're not being subjected to a medical mistake.

References

L.D. Read et al., "Hormonal Modulation of HER-2/neu Proto-Oncogene Messenger Ribonucleic Acid and P185 Protein Expression in Human Breast Cancer Cell Line," Cancer Research, 50 no. 13 (1990): 3947-51.

R.J. Pietras et al., "HER-2 Tyrosine Kinase Pathway Targets Estrogen Receptor and Promotes Hormone-Dependent Growth in Human Breast Cancer Cell," Oncogene 10 (1995):2435-46

M. De Laurentiis et al., "Meta-Analysis of the Interaction Between HER-2 and the Response to Endocrine Therapy (ET) in Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC)," Proc ASCO 19 Abstract 301 (2000).

G. Arpino et al., "EstrogenReceptor–Positive, Progesterone Receptor–Negative Breast Cancer: Association With Growth Factor Receptor Expression and Tamoxifen Resistance," Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97 no. 17 (2005):1254-1261.

 

Friday
May132011

Review - Cancer Strategies Symposium 2011

Back in March, we had the honor of speaking at the Cancer Strategies Symposium, in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was an intensive, three-day conference featuring some of the world's best integrative cancer medicine and practitioners. It was a welcomed validation of the wisdom that we'd discovered back in 2002, when Hollie rejected chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy (Tamoxifen) and additional surgery for her stage 2, grade 2/3, HER2+ (+3 overexpression) breast cancer.

In short, it was three solid days of smarter, safer cancer medicine. Our goal in writing our book has always been to act as a conduit for diseminating as much information as possible about cancer treatments that are as smart and safe as possible, and whose successes are scientific and evidence-based. In many cases, this includes certain conventional treatments. In most cases, it does not. In many cases, conventional treatments may well represent medical mistakes in dealing with cancer. The best cancer treatments are integrative, and incorporate healing tools and wisdom from a variety of sources (conventional, herbal, nutritional, etc.). They are not one-size-fits-all, narrowly-focused toxic treatments. 

If you're on Twitter, you can read our conference notes as they unfolded. Look for our tweets from March 25-27:

http://twitter.com/YouDidWhatBook

One of the most exciting things about the conference was the fact that it reflected a clear shift in the cancer world, one towards more open discussion of the limitations of conventional treatments and science, and one that includes a lot of evidence-based and smarter, safer treatments. The speakers were mostly conventionally trained MDs who had swtiched to practicing integrative medicine, and the audience consisted mostly of practitioners. Here's a rundown of the topics and speakers:

  • Moshe Frenkel, MD, "Integrative Oncology: Current state in US academic centers." and "Integrative Medicine: The Future -Thoughts and reflections: Personal reflections on integrative medicine and cancer care."
  • Dwight McKee, MD, "Principles of Integrative Cancer Medicine."
  • Jeanne Wallace, PhD, "Targeting Oncometabolic Syndrome: How to Individualize Diet & Nutrition Protocols to Improve the Efficacy of Integrative Cancer Care"
  • Bruce Shelton, MD, "Comprehensive Homeopathy as the Best Detox Method for Cancer Patients; Introduction to Equol as a Treatment for Prostate Cancer Patients."
  • Jason Miller, LAc, "The Role of Acupuncture in Cancer Patient Care"
  • Jean Painter, LAc, "Three Case Studies of Patients Undergoing Various Forms of Conventional and Alternative Cancer Treatment Along with Acupuncture and Supplemental Therapies."
  • Glenda Monasch, "Therapeutic Eurythmy - A Modern Movement Practice."
  • Steven Johnson, DO, "Iscador Therapy as an Archetype for Holistic Cancer Treatment."
  • Ron Hunninghake, MD, "The Riordan IVC Protocol: Intravenous Ascorbate as a Chemotherapeutic and Biologic Response Modifier."
  • Donald R. Yance, CN, MH, RH (AHG), SFO, "Collaborative Oncology: An Introduction to the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS), a Clinical Holistic Approach to Cancer Care Utilizing Botanical and Nutritional Medicine as Targeted Therapies."
  • Hollie and Patrick Quinn, "Citizen Science: A Patient Declares Peace On Her Cancer."
  • Gilbert Renaud, PhD, "Recall Healing – Unlocking the Secrets of Illness."
  • Master Hong Liu, Grandmaster of Qi Gong, "Medical Qi Gong: Integrating powerful natural healing principles & practices for prevention, treatment, optimal quality of health, and life."
  • Karl Maret, MD, "Electromagnetic fields and cancer."
  • Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, "Targeting Inflammatory Pathways for Prevention and Therapy of Cancer."

DVD videos of all lectures are available here, and CDs of the audio-only recordings are here. (For the record, we have no connection to the Healthy Medicine Academy.) The 2012 conference is already booked, and Dr. Bernie Siegel has been tapped for the keynote address.