Cervical Cancer Prevention: 10 Diet Tips for Susceptible Women

cervical cancer diet

In this section of our Guide to Cervical Cancer Prevention, you will find a collection of diet tips that may help women reduce their risk of getting cervical cancer. However, before getting into the tips, let’s take a quick look at what cervical cancer is:

Cervical cancer (cancer of the cervix) is the second most common cancer in women. In 2009, an estimated 11,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and an estimated 4,000 women will die from this slow- growing cancer. The cervix is the narrow part of the uterus through which babies are born. Cervical cells can go through many types of changes, most of which are harmless and not related to cancer. These changes can be caused by a number of factors, including HPV infection. HPVs (human papillomaviruses) are a group of more than 100 related viruses, many of which can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact. About 15 types of the 100 types of HPV can cause cervical cancer.

In most cases, however, HPV infections go away on their own. But sometimes, especially when the levels of the female hormone estrogen are abnormally high, cells infected with HPV turn into precancerous cells, which can become cancer. Instead of dying, the cervical cancer cells outlive normal cells, invade adjacent tissues, and sometimes spread to other parts of the body via lymph or blood (process called metastasis). So-called pap tests are performed by health care professionals to identify abnormal changes in the cervical cells.

Although a HPV infection is the most important risk factor for developing cervical cancer, it is not the only one. Research suggests that other factors, such as smoking and having given birth to many children, may also increase the risk of cervical cancer. Furthermore, certain dietary factors, described below, may influence the risk of cervical cancer. The paragraphs below describe 10 great diet tips that can help reduce your risk of cervical cancer.

Important notice: The information on this page and elsewhere on this website has not been reviewed by dieticians or medical professionals, and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of a professional health care provider.

 

#1: Choose Low Glycemic Foods

Low GI foods form the basis of all anti-cancer diets.

Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of the ability of carbohydrate-rich foods to raise blood sugar (glucose). Foods that are slowly digested — such as most non-starchy vegetables, legumes and fruit — encourage stable blood glucose levels and have a low Glycemic Index rating. Foods that break down quickly, including most refined carbohydrate-rich foods and potatoes, cause rapid fluctuations in blood glucose levels and are rated high on the Glycemic Index. Diets rich in high-Gi carbohydrates have been associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer. This link is likely to be related to the ability of high-GI foods to stimulate the production of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF), two hormones that have been shown to promote tumor proliferation, progression, and spreading within the body.

 

#2: Avoid Excess Protein

Already at the beginning of the 20th century, John Beard, a Scottish cancer researcher, proposed that the body’s primary defense against proliferating cancer cells is pancreatin. Pancreatin is essentially a mix of protein-digesting enzymes, but these enzymes also have another purpose: the eradication of cancer. Diets that are extremely rich in protein keep the pancreatic emzymes busy digesting protein, which means that little time is left for these enzymes to fight cervical cancer. Experts suggest that the body needs a protein-free period of approximately 12 hours a day in order to combat cancer efficiently.

 

Broccoli

I3C in cruciferous vegetables may help guard against cervical cancer.

#3: Eat Foods That Deliver I3C

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts have long been touted for their ability to prevent cancer, including cervical cancer. The cancer-fighting properties of cruciferous vegetables largely attributable to indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a natural compound that occurs in cruciferous vegetables when they are chopped, crushed, or chewed. Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to promote the detoxification of many harmful substances, including carcinogens, and to have strong antioxidant properties. Moreover, indole-3-carbinol appears have anti-estrogenic activitieswhich may provide additional protection against cervical cancer.

 

#4: Count on Curcumin

Curcumin, a phytochemical that gives turmeric its bright yellow color, has been shown to be capable of fighting almost any type of cancer. Researchers at the Institute of Cytology and Preventive Oncology (ICPO) near New Nelhi in India recently discovered that curcumin can also help fight cervical cancer by protecting the body from the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the main cause of uterine and cervical cancer. Curcumin appears to arrest the development of cervical cancer by inactivating the HPV that lurks inside cervical cancer cells.

 

#5: Consume Foods That Provide Ellagic Acid

Raspberries

Raspberries are the best dietary source of ellagic acid.

In the battle against cervical cancer, ellagic acid may well be your best weapon. Scientific evidence suggests that ellagic acid can effectively eliminate cervical cancer causing substances by activating certain detoxifying enzymes in the body. Ellagic acid also seems to be able to prevent carcinogens from attaching to cellular DNA. Furthermore, ellagic acid has been shown to stimulate the immune system to destroy cancerous cells and to induce normal self-destruction of human cancer cells. Ellagitannin — which is converted into ellagic acid by the body — is found in a number of red fruits and berries, raspberries being one of the best dietary sources of this extraordinary cervical cancer fighting phytochemical. Also some nuts, such as walnuts and pecans, contain ellagic acid.

 

#6: Avoid Foods That Contain Nitrates

Nitrates are natural substances found in the air, surface water, ground water, soil, and plants. Food manufacturers also use nitrates are also to give processed and cured meat a deep red color. Once consumed, the body can convert nitrates into nitrites, which can turn into nitrosamines. Scientific evidence suggests that nitrosamines can cause cancer in humans. However, certain antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, have been shown to effectively inhibit nitrosamine formation. As vegetables usually contain large amounts of antioxidant substances, nitrosamine formation is usually not a concern when you eat vegetables and other plant foods. This is supported by epidemiological studies of human populations which show no link between a high consumption of nitrate-containing vegetables and cancer, but which indicate that diets rich in nitrate-containing processed foods can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.

 

#7: Avoid Foods That May Be Contaminated with Aflatoxin

Select Fresh Grains, Nuts and Legumes. Some fungi that grow on food can produce carcinogenic substances during processing, storage, and transport. These substances include aflatoxin, a poison produced by a fungus called Aspergillus flavusAflatoxin may cause cervical cancer due to its ability to damage DNA. Peanuts are particularly susceptible to aflatoxin invasion, but also many other foods, including whole grains, legumes, and nuts may be contaminated. Aflatoxin is resistant to cooking and freezing, but you can greatly reduce your risk of exposure by:

only consuming fresh seeds, nuts and grains (or at least you should avoid nuts and grains from last year’s harvest)
looking for signs of proper storage and avoiding foods from countries that have substandard storage requirements
discarding nuts that look or taste suspicious
eating green vegetables that are rich in chlorophyll — chlorophyll has been shown to reduce aflatoxins levels

 

Kiwi_fruit

Vitamin C, abundant in kiwis, has numerous health promoting properties.

#8:  Ensure a Sufficient Intake of Vitamin C and E

Vitamin C and vitamin E have strong antioxidant powers and properties that help boost the immune system. Therefore, a diet rich in vitamin C and vitamin E may help reduce your odds of developing cervical cancer. In addition to their antioxidant and immune sytem boosting activities, vitamin C and vitamin E can inhibit the formation of nitrosamine, a potentially carcinogenic substance. However, the impact of vitamin C on nitrosamine formation might be relevant only if there is no fat in the stomach: A group of researches replicated the chemical conditions of the upper stomach and measured the impact of vitamin C on the production of nitrosamines, both when fat was present in the stomach and when it was absent. In the absence of fat, vitamin C decreased the levels of nitrosamines, but when some fat was added, vitamin C actually boosted the formation of nitrosamines.

 

#9:  Reduce Fat Intake, Especially From Animal Fat

Rich in arachidonic acid, animal fat has been associated with an increased risk of cancer. Arachidonic acid has been shown to enhance cancer growth and to facilitate its spread, and some studies suggest that arachidonic acid may also destroy immune cellsinvolved in the protection against cervical cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in fatty fish, flaxseed and walnuts, are believed to have a protective effect against cervical cancer. However, even then you might want to limit the total intake of fat to approximately 20% of total caloric intake because all fatty acids stimulate the production of bile which may be converted into apocholic acid, a proven carcinogen, if a lot of fat stagnates in the gut for too long.

 

#10:  Ensure a Sufficient Intake of Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral vital to the production of more than 200 essential enzymes in the body, one of them being superoxide dismutase (SOD). The role of SOD in the antioxidant system of the body is well documented, indicating that this powerful enzyme may provide protection against cervical cancer by destroying harmful free radicals. In addition, zinc may also reduce the risk of cervical cancer by helping the immune system to eliminate abnormal or worn out cells before they multiply themselves and become potentially cancerous.

 

 



Visiting physician sheds new light on Lyme disease

Article Source: http://www.mvtimes.com/2016/07/13/visiting-physician-sheds-new-light-lyme-disease/

 

This past Friday, Dr. Nevena Zubcevik, attending physician at Harvard Medical School and co-director of Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown (SRH) traveled to one of the nation’s front lines in the public health battle against Lyme disease to speak to a group of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital physicians. “I wanted to do this presentation by Skype because of all the ticks you have here,” she joked.

Dr. Zubcevik was at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital (MVH) to speak at grand rounds, a weekly meeting of clinicians, which on this day was open to the public, resulting in an overflow crowd at the Community Room just off the hospital lobby.

Over the course of the hour, she shared the most recent findings that she and her colleagues have made on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, in particular on the 10 to 15 percent of patients who suffer long-term symptoms, defined by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). She discussed the protean nature of tick-borne diseases, the importance of public awareness, and the urgent need for the medical community to step up its game.

“Graduating medical students and doctors really aren’t educated about the gravity of this epidemic,” she said. “There’s a gap there that needs to be filled. We’re all responsible to educate our young doctors about what this entails.”

Dr. Zubcevic said the recent revelation that actor, singer, and songwriter Kris Kristofferson was cured of dementia once he was properly diagnosed with Lyme disease should be a lesson for medical professionals on how pervasive the disease is, and how often it is overlooked.

“Sudden-onset dementia should really be a red flag for Lyme [disease], especially in people with compromised immune systems,” she said.

“Everyone over 50 has a compromised immune system.”

Dr. Zubcevik said that doctors and parents should know that Lyme presents differently in children than it does in adults. “71 percent of the time, headache is the most common symptom in children,” she said. “Mood disturbance, fatigue, and irritability are also frequent symptoms in children. If they are acting out in school all of a sudden, get them tested.”

Dr. Zubcevik cited a particularly compelling example of undiagnosed Lyme disease where a 29-year-old male had been institutionalized four times for schizophrenia. After a series of tests, and in concert with a psychiatrist, Dr. Zubcevik began a course of daily antibiotics on him. “The first month he could remember what he had for breakfast,” she said. “The second month he could read a chapter of a book, and after six months he was back to normal. He could tolerate light and sound again, which he couldn’t before.”

Tick truths challenged

Dr. Zubcevik said recent research debunks several commonly held beliefs about the transmission and treatment of tick-borne diseases.

“The conception that the tick has to be attached for 48 hours to inject the bacteria is completely outdated,” she said. “There are studies that show that an attachment of 15 minutes can give you anaplasmosis,10 minutes for the Powassan virus, and for the different strains of Borrelia burgdorferi, we have no idea.”

Dr. Zubcevic said the notion that children, infants, or pregnant women should not be given doxycycline is also outdated. “Dermatologists have prescribed doxycycline to kids for years to treat acne; why not for such a debilitating disease?”

She also said the two-day course of doxycycline, often prescribed for people who find a tick embedded on their body, has little or no prophylactic value. “It should be 100 to 200 milligrams of doxycycline twice a day for 20 days, regardless of the time of engorgement,” she said. “It is not a two-day thing.”

The blood tests currently used to detect the presence of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the Western blot test.

Dr. Zubcevik said research has shown there are 10 different strains of Lyme disease in the United States, and many of them do not test positive on the traditional Western blot or ELISA tests. In a previous email to The Times, she wrote that with current testing, 69 out of 100 patients who have Lyme disease may go untreated.

“The bull’s-eye rash only happens 20 percent of the time,” she said. “It can often look like a spider bite or a bruise. If you get a bull’s-eye it’s like winning the lottery. Borrelia miyamotoi, which we have a lot in Massachusetts, will not test positive on either test. That’s a huge problem, so the CDC is moving toward a different kind of test.”

Borrelia miyamotoi also has the potential to spread rapidly, since it’s transmitted directly from mother to offspring. Nymphal deer ticks need to feed on a mammal, most likely the white-footed mouse, to contract the virulent Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.

In addition to Lyme disease, Islanders are also vulnerable to coinfections such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia, which can also go undetected. “Babesiosis is a malaria-like disease that can persist for months or even years,” she said. “Patients who can’t catch their breath are a red flag for babesiosis.”

Double whammy

Dr. Zubcevik described deer tick nymphs as “the perfect vector” because of their diminutive size — the size of the “D” on a dime — and because of the analgesic in their saliva that often makes their bite almost undetectable.

The bacteria they inject are equally crafty.

“Borrelia burgdorferi is an amazing organism; I have a lot of respect for it,” she said. “It is a spirochete, meaning it can corkscrew into tissue as well as travel in the bloodstream. It can do whatever it wants. It’s twice the speed of a [white blood cell], which is our fastest cell. It’s so strong it can swim against the flow of the bloodstream.”

Dr. Zubcevik said there are videos that show a white blood cell pursuing a spirochete, which evades capture by drilling into tissue.

“It’s really easy to see why this adaptive bug can avoid the immune system,” she said.

Dr. Zubcevik said doxycycline stops the bacteria from replicating, but it doesn’t kill them. The rest is up to the body’s immune system, which is the reason some people suffer for so long.

“There’s a lot of neurotoxicity, which is why people feel so bad all over. It’s like a toxic warfare going on inside the patient’s body.”

Controversy continues

Last week, Governor Charlie Baker rejected the legislature’s controversial budget amendment that would have required insurance companies to cover the cost of long-term antibiotic treatment which chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) advocates maintain is the most effective treatment for their symptoms. The Massachusetts Infectious Disease Society, representing more than 500 infectious disease specialists, does not recognize CLD, and urged the governor to reject the amendment, asserting that long-term intravenous antibiotic therapy can be dangerous and possibly lead to “superbugs” that are immune to current treatments.

The CDC also does not recognize CLD or the use of long-term antibiotics for PTLDS. “Regardless of the cause of PTLDS, studies have not shown that patients who received prolonged courses of antibiotics do better in the long run than patients treated with placebo,” the CDC website states. “Furthermore, long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease has been associated with serious complications.”

However, the website also says, “Recent animal studies have given rise to questions that require further research.”

Dr. Zubcevik diagnoses the condition with a different name — “persistent symptoms related to Lyme disease.”

“I’m new to this field,” she said. “For me there’s no controversy. We have to innovate, we have to find solutions. [SRH] has connected with top scientists from all around the country. Studies show that after treatment in mice, dogs, and monkeys, Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria are still there. This has also been shown in human tests.”

Citing the work of Dr. Ying Zhang at Johns Hopkins Lyme Center, she said the most likely effective remedy will be a combination of several antibiotics. In a previous interview with The Times, Dr. Zhang said he has worked on an effective PTLDS treatment for six years, and that current Lyme disease treatments may not clear bacterial debris, or “persisters,” which may be one of the possible causes of PTLDS. Dr. Zhang said that his work on tuberculosis (TB) is his primary focus; however, advances in fighting TB, e.g. using new combinations of drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have yielded promising results in the fight against “persisters.”

“There’s also a need to develop a more sensitive test,” he said.

Patient advocate

Although she started out at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital focusing on the neuropathy of concussions, Dr. Zubcevik branched out into treating people with Lyme disease in part because both maladies can cause similar cognitive impairment. “I heard Lyme disease patients say they can’t remember what they had for breakfast, or they get lost driving home,” she said. “It sounded the same as concussion symptoms, so we started doing PET scans.”

Positron emission tomography, or PET scan, is an imaging test that uses a radioactive substance that shows brain functioning. Dr. Zubcevik said PET scan of a patient with persistent Lyme disease symptoms showed a brain colored in blue and purple hues, where a healthy brain presented with shades of yellow and green. She showed an image of the patient’s brain after six months of intravenous antibiotics, which was dominated by shades of yellow and green.

Dr. Zubcevik told the hospital gathering that many patients she sees have been suffering the physical, mental, and emotional effects of the disease for so long, they have lost the will to live. “I literally have patients who were just done,” she said. “They couldn’t go on. The first thing I do is validate their experience, and tell them, ‘I believe you.’ Sometimes they start crying because somebody finally listened. Some patients show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder because they’ve been ignored for so long. Marriages dissolve all the time because one spouse thinks the other is being lazy. Many chronically ill patients end up alone.”

Treatment at SRH borrows from many different disciplines. In addition to medication, it can include nutrition counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, mental health counseling, and referrals to infectious disease and other specialists as necessary.

Dr. Zubcevik said that the program was initially funded by a donation from a patient who was treated shortly after the clinic opened. “We’re always looking for more funding,” she said.

The current wait list at Spaulding is about four months.

Prevention, prevention, prevention

“Once patients are doing better, I will call harass them on the weekend to check if they are taking the proper precautions,” Dr. Zubcevik said. “Are they using repellant? Are they doing daily checks? Are they treating their dogs? I don’t want to do another PICC line [intravenous drug access] or PET scan.”

Dr. Zubcevik also said many people need to know proper tick removal — using tweezers to grab the head of the tick, not at the body.

“Don’t don’t squeeze the belly of the tick, it will inject the bacteria into your bloodstream. Do not use oils; it can make the tick vomit the bacteria into the bloodstream. If the tick is deeply embedded, go to the doctor.”

More information on SRH can be found at www.spauldingrehab.org/deancenter

More information on tick-borne disease prevention can be found on the Martha’s Vineyard Boards of Health Tick-Borne Disease webpage.

Numerous videos on Lyme disease prevention, including Dr. Zubcevik’s presentation, are available on the MVTV website.

If you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease you might be eligible to donate plasma or a blood specimen and earn up to $600 or more. Visit www.plasmamedpatients.com for more info or call/text 561-962-5093.

Increased Awareness of Tick-Borne Diseases Becoming Critical

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Written by: Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh 

To view this original article click here.

Last summer Felicia Keesing returned from a long trip and found that her home in upstate New York had been subjected to an invasion.

“There was evidence of mice everywhere. They had completely taken over,” says Keesing, an ecologist at Bard College.

It was a plague of mice. And it had landed right in Keesing’s kitchen.

“Not only were there mouse droppings on our countertops, but we also found dead mice on the kitchen floor,” says Keesing’s husband, Rick Ostfeld, an ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.

The Hudson River Valley experienced a mouse plague during the summer of 2016. The critters were everywhere. For most people, it was just a nuisance. But for Keesing and Ostfeld, the mouse plague signaled something foreboding.

babesa_research_donate_plasma_medical_lyme_tickborne_babesia clinical studies2

“We’re anticipating 2017 to be a particularly risky year for Lyme,” Ostfeld says.

Keesing and Ostfeld, who have studied Lyme for more than 20 years, have come up with an early warning system for the disease. They can predict how many cases there will be a year in advance by looking at one key measurement: Count the mice the year before.

The number of critters scampering around the forest in the summer correlates to the Lyme cases the following summer, they’ve reported.

babesa_research_donate_plasma_medical_lyme_tickborne_babesia clinical studies3

The explanation is simple: Mice are highly efficient transmitters of Lyme. They infect up to 95 percent of ticks that feed on them. Mice are responsible for infecting the majority of ticks carrying Lyme in the Northeast. And ticks love mice. “An individual mouse might have 50, 60, even 100 ticks covering its ears and face,” Ostfeld says.

So that mouse plague last year means there is going to be a Lyme plague this year. “Yep. I’m sorry to say that’s the scenario we’re expecting,” Ostfeld says.

How Lyme Disease Cases Have Spread In The U.S.

The number of confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases in the U.S. more than doubled from 2001 to 2015. In 2015, 95 percent of confirmed cases were reported in the 14 states labeled below.

babesa_research_donate_plasma_medical_lyme_tickborne_babesia clinical studies4

Notes

Because data are reported on the county level, the CDC randomly placed a dot within the county of residence for each case.