HEATHER MOORE: What qualifies as ‘good news’ about cancer?

By HEATHER MOORE
Guest Columnist

(TNS) It’s not often that we see the words “good news” and “cancer” in the same sentence. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that more than 1,735,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018 alone and nearly 610,000 people will die from the disease. But recent news reports indicate that, across the board, death rates from cancer have gone down in America.

It’s too soon to celebrate — the death rate dropped by only about 1.5 percent, and some cancers are becoming more common — but it’s positive news nonetheless. It proves that it’s possible to beat cancer — especially if you eat wholesome vegan foods and make other healthy lifestyle changes.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) just issued a 10-point plan to help people reduce their risk of cancer by as much as 40 percent. First and foremost, the plan, which is based on data from 51 million people, calls for everyone to stop eating bacon, sausage, hot dogs and other meats, because there’s “no level of intake” of processed meat that doesn’t raise one’s cancer risk.

You’ve heard that advice before, I know, but consider taking it this time. Bacon cheeseburgers aren’t worth dying (or killing) for. We have other options — and ones that don’t involve chicken or cheese. Cancer rates will plunge dramatically if we all go vegan. The WCRF advises people to eat whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.

The organization also encourages people to opt for water rather than alcohol or sugar-sweetened drinks and to maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds are a big problem. Being overweight contributes to at least 12 types of cancer, including stomach, colorectal, breast, prostate and pancreatic.

It’s easier to maintain a healthy weight if you eat vegan foods rather than animal-based ones. That’s because vegan foods are typically low in calories and saturated fat. They also tend to be high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which help boost your metabolism, so you burn more calories. On average, vegans have lower body mass indexes, or BMIs, than vegetarians and meat-eaters do, and vegans are considerably less likely to suffer from obesity-related diseases.

A New York University study based on the health records of more than 3,000 volunteers found that those who ate legumes and other healthy foods had a 32 percent lower risk of obesity-related cancers. Consuming carbohydrate-rich vegan foods was associated with a 67 percent lower risk for breast cancer.

Dr. Jane A. Plant, a scientist and breast cancer survivor, believes that cancer is overwhelmingly linked to animal-based foods, particularly casein, which is the main protein in cow’s milk. She advises people to stop eating dairy foods in order to beat cancer. Studies show that women in Asia, where more soy products and other plant foods are consumed, are much less likely to develop breast cancer than women who eat the typical Western diet: meat, eggs and dairy-based foods.

Perhaps that’s why Ellen Pompeo, known for her starring role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” decided to go vegan — along with her husband and three kids — after her recent visit to Dr. Kristi Funk, the author of “Breasts: The Owner’s Manual,” which recommends going vegan to prevent breast cancer. One of my close friends went vegan after a mastectomy more than two decades ago and hasn’t had a relapse since. She’s healthier overall, and she feels especially good knowing that her food choices don’t harm animals or degrade the environment.

I hope more people will go vegan to prevent — or even reverse — cancer and other diseases. Then perhaps one day we can celebrate a greatly reduced death rate and, as a result, far less suffering for both humans and animals.

Heather Moore is a senior writer for the PETA Foundation. She can be reached at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 or visit www.PETA.org.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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