Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Vegan diet fights cancer

As many readers know, October was Breast Cancer month, but they may be unaware of some of the statistics that are associated with this disease. Yes, although there may be some new, more effective, targeted methods of treatment and better digital mammograms for earlier detection since 1999 when I was diagnosed, the following facts are still frightening:
•  One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
•  ln 2020 an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected.
•  About 42,170 women are expected to die in 2020.
•  And for women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer besides lung cancer.
Clearly, a cure or simple pill as a preventative is something we would all like, but such an unrealistic hope is a long way off. In the meantime women should not despair, for with a diet change, they may have about an 85% chance of avoiding breast cancer. Listen to one of the country’s leading breast cancer surgeons, Dr. Kristi Funk, as she links food and breast cancer risk. Better yet read her book, “Breasts: The Owners Manual,” in which she states “You can fight the disease with your fork.” She says, “The best method (although not full proof, I’m afraid) is an anti cancer diet that is plant-based.”
A second main reference source is the Mayo Clinic in its Healthy Lifestyle Bulletin, which states, “Fill your plate with food that grows from the ground.” After studying nearly 70,000 volunteers about their diets and tracking them over time, they conclude that Vegans, those who don’t eat any animal products — including fish, dairy or eggs — appeared to have the lowest rates of cancer of any diet.” 
A third important contributor is Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a widely-known plant-based doctor, who just recently, on Oct. 24, pointed to an 8-year study that followed 50,000 women who consumed the largest amounts of cow’s milk compared to those who consumed the least. The end result showed “that dairy increases breast cancer risk.” In reply to the dairy industry’s “Got Milk” campaign, Dr. Fuhrman says, “I hope it’s the unsweetened soy, almond, or hemp — non dairy-kind.” Dr. Fuhrman also emphasized in a recent teleconference, entitled “The Udder Confusion about Milks” the warning, “The concentrated protein in milk with its high hormone level such as IGF-1 can lead to certain cancers.”
And a fourth guideline comes from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who have produced billboards in Washington, D.C., warning that dairy raises breast cancer risk and said “Ditch Dairy.”
And finally I would like to add a personal warning based on my own experience. After a double mastectomy and biopsy 21 years ago, I was told by my oncologist that I would need nine months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation to combat the 27 positive lymph nodes. Although this demanding regimen was successful, I learned that in order to prevent a metastasis I should probably do something more, and that important step was to give up all dairy foods and eventually all animal foods.(This recommendation was based upon Dr. Colin Campbell’s advice and those doctors who followed him.) Fortunately I am still alive and hope and urge other women to follow the same instructions in order to prevent being the one in eight who will be breast cancer patients.
Stay well and eat more plants,
Pat Davies
Middlebury 

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