Is Eating a Plant-Based Diet a Cure for Cancer?
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Promotion occurs when the initiated cells continue to replicate themselves and grow into cell masses that eventually will be diagnosed. This is a long growth phase occurring over months or years and is known to be reversible.
Progression occurs when the growing cancer masses invade neighboring tissues and/or break away from the tissue of origin (metastasis) and travel to distant tissues when they are capable of growing independently at which point they are considered to be malignant.
KF: Why do some people get cancer, and other don't? What percentage is genetic, and what percentage has to do with diet?
TCC: Although the initiated cells are not considered to be reversible, the cells growing through the promotion stage are usually considered to be reversible, a very exciting concept. This is the stage that especially responds to nutritional factors. For example, the nutrients from animal based foods, especially the protein, promote the development of the cancer whereas the nutrients from plant-based foods, especially the antioxidants, reverse the promotion stage. This is a very promising observation because cancer proceeds forward or backward as a function of the balance of promoting and anti-promoting factors found in the diet, thus consuming anti-promoting plant-based foods tend to keep the cancer from going forward, perhaps even reversing the promotion. The difference between individuals is almost entirely related to their diet and lifestyle practices.
Although all cancer and other diseases begin with genes, this is not the reason whether or not the disease actually appears. If people do the right thing during the promotion stage, perhaps even during the progression stage, cancer will not appear and if it does, might even be resolved. Most estimates suggest that not more than 2-3 percent of cancers are due entirely to genes; almost all the rest is due to diet and lifestyle factors. Consuming plant based foods offers the best hope of avoiding cancer, perhaps even reversing cancer once it is diagnosed. Believing that cancer is attributed to genes is a fatalistic idea but believing that cancer can be controlled by nutrition is a far more hopeful idea.
KF: You said that initially something attacks the genes, chemicals or other agents; like what?
TCC: Cancer, like every other biological event--good or bad--begins with genes. In the case of cancer, gene(s) that give rise to cancer either may be present when we are born or, during our lifetimes, normal genes may be converted into cancer genes by certain highly reactive chemicals (i.e., carcinogens).
Consider 'cancer genes' as seeds that grow into tumor masses only if they are 'fed'. The 'feeding' comes from wrongful nutrition. It's like growing a lawn. We plant seeds but they don't grow into grass (or weeds) unless they are provided water, sunlight and nutrients. So it is with cancer. In reality, we are planting seeds all of our lifetime although some may be present at birth, not only for cancer but also for other events as well. But this mostly does not matter unless we 'nourish' their growth.
The chemicals that create these cancer genes are called 'carcinogens'. Most carcinogens of years past have been those that attack normal genes to give cancer genes. These are initiating carcinogens, or initiators. But more recently, carcinogens also may be those that promote cancer growth. They are promoting carcinogens, or promoters.
Our work showed that casein is the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered.
Aside from chemicals initiating or promoting cancer, other agents such as cosmic rays (energetic particles) from the sun or from the outer reaches of space may impact our genes to cause them to change (i.e., mutate) so that they could give rise to cancer 'seeds'. The most important point to consider is that we cannot do much about preventing initiation but we can do a lot about preventing promotion. The initiating idea is fatalistic and outside of our control but the promotion idea is hopeful because we can change our exposure to promoting agents and reverse the cancer process, thus is within our control.