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New study sheds light on why cancer often strikes those with healthy lifestyles August 21, 2018

Posted by Dreamhealer in Cancer, cancer prevention, cancer therapy, Cancer Treatment, oncology, Research.
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Most cancer mutations are due to random DNA copying ‘mistakes,’ not inherited or environmental factors, Johns Hopkins researchers say.

A new study by scientists at Johns Hopkins provides evidence that random, unpredictable DNA copying “mistakes” account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer.

The researchers say their conclusions are supported by epidemiologic studies showing that approximately 40 percent of cancers can be prevented by avoiding unhealthy environments and lifestyles. But among the factors driving the new study, they add, is that cancer often strikes people who follow all the rules of healthy living—nonsmoker, healthy diet, healthy weight, little or no exposure to known carcinogens—and have no family history of the disease, prompting the pained question, “Why me?”

“It is well-known that we must avoid environmental factors such as smoking to decrease our risk of getting cancer. But it is not as well-known that each time a normal cell divides and copies its DNA to produce two new cells, it makes multiple mistakes,” says Cristian Tomasetti, assistant professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “These copying mistakes are a potent source of cancer mutations that historically have been scientifically undervalued, and this new work provides the first estimate of the fraction of mutations caused by these mistakes.”

Adds Bert Vogelstein, co-director of the Ludwig Center at the Kimmel Cancer Center: “We need to continue to encourage people to avoid environmental agents and lifestyles that increase their risk of developing cancer mutations. However, many people will still develop cancers due to these random DNA copying errors, and better methods to detect all cancers earlier, while they are still curable, are urgently needed,”

Tomasetti and Vogelstein’s research will be published Friday in the journal Science.

Current and future efforts to reduce known environmental risk factors, they say, will have major impacts on cancer incidence in the U.S and abroad. But they say the new study confirms that too little scientific attention is given to early detection strategies that would address the large number of cancers caused by random DNA copying errors.

“These cancers will occur no matter how perfect the environment,” Vogelstein says.

In a previous study authored by Tomasetti and Vogelstein in the Jan. 2, 2015, issue of Science, the pair reported that DNA copying errors could explain why certain cancers in the U.S., such as those of the colon, occur more commonly than other cancers, such as brain cancer.

In the new study, the researchers addressed a different question: What fraction of mutations in cancer are due to these DNA copying errors?

To answer this question, the scientists took a close look at the mutations that drive abnormal cell growth among 32 cancer types. They developed a new mathematical model using DNA sequencing data from The Cancer Genome Atlas and epidemiologic data from the Cancer Research UK database.

According to the researchers, it generally takes two or more critical gene mutations for cancer to occur. In a person, these mutations can be due to random DNA copying errors, the environment, or inherited genes. Knowing this, Tomasetti and Vogelstein used their mathematical model to show, for example, that when critical mutations in pancreatic cancers are added together, 77 percent of them are due to random DNA copying errors, 18 percent to environmental factors (such as smoking), and the remaining 5 percent to heredity.

In other cancer types, such as those of the prostate, brain, or bone, more than 95 percent of the mutations are due to random copying errors.

Lung cancer, they note, presents a different picture: 65 percent of all the mutations are due to environmental factors, mostly smoking, and 35 percent are due to DNA copying errors. Inherited factors are not known to play a role in lung cancers.

Looking across all 32 cancer types studied, the researchers estimate that 66 percent of cancer mutations result from copying errors, 29 percent can be attributed to lifestyle or environmental factors, and the remaining 5 percent are inherited.

The scientists say their approach is akin to attempts to sort out why “typos” occur when typing a 20-volume book: being tired while typing, which represents environmental exposures; a stuck or missing key in the keyboard, which represent inherited factors; and other typographical errors that randomly occur, which represent DNA copying errors.

“You can reduce your chance of typographical errors by making sure you’re not drowsy while typing and that your keyboard isn’t missing some keys,” Vogelstein says. “But typos will still occur, because no one can type perfectly. Similarly, mutations will occur, no matter what your environment is, but you can take steps to minimize those mutations by limiting your exposure to hazardous substances and unhealthy lifestyles.”

Tomasetti and Vogelstein’s 2015 study created vigorous debate from scientists who argued that their previously published analysis did not include breast or prostate cancers, and it reflected only cancer incidence in the United States.

Tomasetti and Vogelstein now report a similar pattern worldwide, however, supporting their conclusions. They reasoned that the more cells divide, the higher the potential for so-called copying mistakes in the DNA of cells in an organ. They compared total numbers of stem cell divisions with cancer incidence data collected by the International Agency for Research on Canceron 423 registries of cancer patients from 68 countries other than the United States, representing 4.8 billion people, or more than half of the world’s population. This time, the researchers were also able to include data from breast and prostate cancers. They found a strong correlation between cancer incidence and normal cell divisions among 17 cancer types, regardless of the countries’ environment or stage of economic development.

Tomasetti says these random DNA copying errors will only get more important as societies face aging populations, prolonging the opportunity for our cells to make more and more DNA copying errors. And because these errors contribute to a large fraction of cancer, Vogelstein says that people with cancer who have avoided known risk factors should be comforted by their findings.

“It’s not your fault,” says Vogelstein. “Nothing you did or didn’t do was responsible for your illness.”

In addition to Tomasetti and Vogelstein, Lu Li, a doctoral student in Tomasetti’s laboratory in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also contributed to the research.

Article retrieved from: https://hub.jhu.edu/2017/03/23/cancer-mutations-caused-by-random-dna-mistakes/

Pre-Sale Discount Ending June 30 June 29, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Cancer, integrative cancer care, Naturopathic Medicine.
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Integrative Cancer Careintegrative cancer care vancouver

                                                                                                                                                 Just a reminder the presale discount for Dr. Adam McLeod’s new book, Integrative Cancer Care: The Power of Being Informed, ends tomorrow on Tuesday June 30, 2015! This book describes evidence based natural therapies that are available and how they can be used in an integrative cancer setting. Become an informed patient and get involved in your own healing.

Presale discount: $20 tax included

Regular price: $24.95 plus tax

Order your copy today through the online bookstore.

http://dreamhealer.3dcartstores.com/Integrative-Cancer-Care-The-Power-of-Being-Informed_p_20.html

Ketogenic Diet June 22, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in healthy fats, ketogenic diet, Naturopathic Medicine.
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Ketogenic Diet

By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

The ketogenic diet is commonly used to treat epilepsy and it also appears to have applications in an integrative cancer setting as well. The concept behind the diet is that by changing the composition of the foods you eat it will fundamentally change the energy metabolism in your nervous system. The diet consists of consuming high amounts of fats while avoiding carbohydrates. This diet can be a challenge to maintain but in specific cases it is certainly worth the effort.

This high fat and low carbohydrate diet forces the body to burn fats for energy rather than sugars. Normally the brain uses glucose (sugar) as its primary source of energy but if there is a shortage of sugar the liver then converts fats into ketone bodies. These ketones pass into the brain and replace glucose as the primary source of energy. High levels of ketones in the blood are very strongly correlated with a decrease in the frequency of epileptic seizures.

Healthy cells within the nervous system are able to easily shift their metabolism to become dependent on ketone bodies. Cancerous cells within the nervous system have very high energetic requirements and they struggle to shift to this new energy source. As a result cancers that are of nervous tissue origin are vulnerable to the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet slows down the rate of growth of brain tumours because the cancerous cells do not have an abundant and useable energy source under these conditions2,3,4. In my experience the ketogenic diet works synergistically with DCA in patients with brain tumours. The evidence for the use of the ketogenic diet with brain cancers is overwhelming. There is also evidence to suggest that this diet can be helpful with other forms of cancer5. The results from the Ketogenic diet on brain tumours are far more dramatic than with other forms of cancer.

This diet is very difficult to maintain for long periods of time and it takes discipline to do it properly. I always recommend the ketogenic diet to patients with brain cancers, however, I do not regularly recommend it to patients with other forms of cancer. Although there is some evidence to suggest that it can still be helpful, it is often very stressful for patients to adhere to this strict diet plan. In advanced metastatic cases it can be helpful to begin the ketogenic diet because it slows down the rate of growth by changing the energy source for the cancer. In localized cancers that do not originate from the brain, the effect of the ketogenic diet is minimal. This diet is not a cure for cancer but it can certainly help to slow the growth and it can be used safely in conjunction with other medical treatments.

The reality is that in order for this diet to have the desired effect you need to strictly adhere to the diet plan. The goal is to starve the cancer cells of their primary energy source, every time you consume sugar they immediately use this to produce energy. There are a number of good online resources that can help you transition to an effective ketogenic diet. One good website is:

http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com

Often when making such a dramatic dietary change the key to success is slowly transitioning to the new diet. In this circumstance it is best to make the transition as rapidly as possible and resources like the above website can help with that transition. It is very important to consult a Naturopathic doctor to determine if this is the right diet for you. This diet is not for everyone and it takes clinical judgement to determine if this is best option.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author.
He currently practices at his clinic, Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic, in Vancouver, BC where he focuses on integrative oncology.

References:
1) Freeman JM, Kossoff EH, Hartman AL. The ketogenic diet: one decade later. Pediatrics. 2007 Mar;119(3):535–43.

2) Zhou, Weihua, et al. “The calorically restricted ketogenic diet, an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 4.5 (2007): 5.

3) Nebeling, Linda C., et al. “Effects of a ketogenic diet on tumor metabolism and nutritional status in pediatric oncology patients: two case reports.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 14.2 (1995): 202-208.

4) Seyfried, Thomas N., and Purna Mukherjee. “Targeting energy metabolism in brain cancer: review and hypothesis.” Nutrition & metabolism 2.1 (2005): 30.

5) Schmidt, Melanie, et al. “Effects of a ketogenic diet on the quality of life in 16 patients with advanced cancer: A pilot trial.” Nutr Metab (Lond) 8.1 (2011): 54.

8th Annual Cancer Prevention and Healing Event April 13, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Healing.
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Dr. Adam McLeod will be holding a special Integrative Cancer Care and Prevention Lecture on Saturday, June 6th from 12PM to 3PM. Don’t miss out! You can purchase your tickets here.

8th annual cancer prevention and healing event

Fasting Before Chemotherapy March 30, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Chemotherapy.
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chemotherapy-vancouver-clinic

Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc

There has been a major movement lately for cancer patients to fast before and after an infusion of chemotherapy. When first hearing this, it sounds dangerous to encourage a patient to fast when their body is already stressed with chemotherapy. Fasting before chemotherapy has been used safely in several clinical trials1,4. It turns out that there is a significant amount of scientific data to support this therapy when the patient is properly supervised. This is a very interesting shift in thinking because the conventional approach in the past has been encouraging patients to get as many nutrients into their body as possible.

There are a number of metabolic reasons why fasting may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy while reducing the side effects2,3. Fasting triggers normal cells to enter into a protective mode. They rapidly become more efficient and this triggers a reduction in glucose and IGF-1 levels by more than 50%3. This rapid metabolic shift would be very difficult to achieve even with a very potent mixture of drugs. Cancer cells are unable to shift into this protective mode and this makes them more vulnerable to the chemotherapy than normal cells5. This is referred to as differential protection and it has the potential to transform conventional cancer care.

The length of fasting before chemotherapy varies significantly depending on which study that you look at. The most commonly recommended fasting period is 48 hours before chemotherapy and this continues until 24 hours after the chemotherapy infusion. During this fasting period ideally the patient should only have water. It should be as close to complete fasting as possible.

Although it is clearly uncomfortable not eating for a total of 72 hours, the research is indicating that this is a worthwhile sacrifice. The discomfort from hunger will actually decrease the severity of the side effects from the chemotherapy. It is also important to keep in mind that this starvation state is triggering a powerful metabolic shift in your cells that protects your cells while making the cancer cells more vulnerable to the chemotherapy.

As fasting before chemotherapy is further researched it is likely that other mechanisms will be discovered that explain this differential protection. Even without a fully defined biochemical mechanism for this protection, it is clear that fasting does make a substantial difference. Do not implement a fasting protocol before chemotherapy without the supervision of a qualified health professional. It is essential that you are monitored during this process because fasting is not safe for everyone.

If you are currently doing chemotherapy make sure that you contact a Naturopathic Physicianwho focuses on oncology. There are many different naturopathic therapies which not only increase the effectiveness of the chemotherapy but they can act to reduce side effects from the chemotherapy. These natural approaches are safe to use with chemotherapy when they are used under the supervision of an experienced Naturopathic doctor. A Naturopathic Doctor that works with oncology will take the time to look at your case and help you effectively integrate these approaches into your program.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative oncology. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

Medical Oncologists and Naturopathic Doctors Need To Work Together March 10, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Integrative Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Naturopathy.
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oncologists_and_naturopaths

Written by: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc

This year I had the privilege of attending the 4th annual ONCANP conference where Naturopathic Oncologists from around the world gather to discuss the latest research and advances in integrative oncology. It is exciting to see how rapidly the field is advancing and the information that was presented can certainly be applied in a clinical setting to anyone battling cancer.

I was interested to learn at the conference that several cancer clinics in the United States have Naturopathic doctors working at hospitals in collaboration with medical oncologists. The results from this collaboration are nothing short of incredible. When the data is compared to the national standards it is clear that the patients are living longer with an increased quality of life in this integrative cancer setting. One stunning example was with Stage 3 Lung Adenocarcinoma patients where the overall survival was 36 months compared to the national average of around 12 months. Study after study showed that patients were responding more effectively to the chemotherapy and that they were having less side effects. I find it extremely frustrating that this integrative model is not universal given the abundance of evidence.

Major change is needed in the medical system to incorporate this integrative model because the bottom line is that it works. The problem at this point in time is that many Medical Oncologists refuse to work with Naturopathic Doctors at all. Instead, they tell their patients to avoid all natural supplements because they will interfere with the conventional treatments. This is simply not true and it is very easy to find robust evidence supporting these integrative therapies.

Patients are not stupid, when they are given a serious diagnosis they turn to the internet in search of answers even if their oncologist says that they are wasting their time. The problem is that patients do not have the medical knowledge to recognize which supplements are appropriate for them and which ones are completely contraindicated. By telling patients to avoid all supplements and avoid all Naturopathic Doctors, patients are driven to doing their own research and taking supplements without informing their oncologist. The reality is that they need professional guidance from a Naturopathic Doctor to pick the right supplements and the Naturopathic Doctor should then inform the Oncologist about the treatment plan that the patient is on. This creates a better healing environment for the patient and it ensures that everyone is on the same page about the treatment plan.

In the past I have had Oncologists scare patients about the most benign prescriptions or supplements. Patients have been told that Omega-3’s will accelerate tumour growth because it is an “antioxidant” or that EGCG “protects cancer cells” in a patient not even on chemotherapy. These statements are simply untrue and a quick literature search would reveal dozens of references regarding the safety and effectiveness of these supplements. I have also had a number of patients who were told to discontinue a prescription of Metformin or Celebrex only when the MD found out that a Naturopathic doctor prescribed it. In these cases the patients were responding very well to the chemotherapy and they were taking these medications during this entire time period. The pharmacist who filled the prescription also didn’t have a problem with it and I am sure that had a MD prescribed the exact same thing they would have never recommended that the patient discontinue it.

Patients should not be put in a position where they are being forced to make decisions based on one health care practitioner putting fear into them about another health care practitioner. If the medical oncologist has a problem with a prescription that I write, then they should contact me about it. Just as if I change a prescription from any medical doctor I will always make an effort to inform them of this change. It is not appropriate to put the patient in this position and scare them so significantly about something so minor. Having said that, I also feel that Naturopathic Doctors need to make more of an effort to reach out to medical doctors. We also need to make more of an effort to act collaboratively for the benefit of the patient.

When I say that we need to move to an integrative model I am not suggesting that patients should avoid chemotherapy. What this means is that we use evidence based treatment plans to work synergistically with conventional medicine. Very few of my patients are not doing chemotherapy or radiation because ultimately patients do best when they are adequately supported through these conventional therapies. What many medical oncologists do not realize is that very often Naturopathic Oncologists are encouraging patients to do the same plan that they recommended. Often the oncologist scared the patient away from the conventional therapy just based on how they described the treatment. As Naturopathic Oncologists, we make an effort to educate the patient and give them the support that they need through these conventional therapies. When patients feel supported they are more likely to follow through with chemotherapy and they will respond better to treatment.

I have send out many letters to medical oncologists informing them of the treatment plan and many do not even reply to my letter. A handful of oncologists have replied and I have a good relationship with these doctors. Medical Oncologists need to stop pretending like Naturopathic Doctors don’t exist or that we have nothing to offer. For the benefit of the patient every medical oncologist should make an effort to establish a good relationship with a Naturopathic doctor that they trust. Whether they like it or not, patients are seeking this integrative care and they should at least be directed to a Naturopathic doctor that can collaborate with the medical oncologist. We need to work together for the benefit of the patient.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative oncology. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

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