Tag-Archive for » cancer «

@ Heart disease, Diabetes and Cancer ….

Heart disease, Diabetes and Cancer have common links

Diabetes and Cancer Link (1)

Eating to Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer (2)

High-fat Dairy May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer Death (3)

From American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)
(1) A strong body of evidence now suggests that people with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing several cancers.
(2) * Same diet that reduces the risk of cancer also prevents heart disease
Cutting cancer risk with heart health
(3) High-fat dairy may increase risk of breast cancer death

If you like this page share it with your friends.

Please send your comments through the ‘ABOUT – Contact’ page.

@ ‘Counting breaths’ helped me calm myself during my mammogram

First of its kind report from a woman, on how she practiced ‘Counting breaths’ to calm herself during a mammogram screening. Prior to the screening, she was practicing the technique to get sleep and to be calm under stress.  

“I had to repeat my mammogram to clear the doubt of the radiologist on the first screening report. This time, more views were taken than before, some of them with extra compression, to get a clearer picture. In one of the views it hurt and I yelled. One more hurting view was  going to be taken. This time I didn’t want  to yell like a baby. I badly needed a coping technique. The ‘counting breaths’ technique came to my mind (1). I immediately started counting my breaths. The hurting view was done in a few seconds and I went through it without distress.

It was a big relief for me to have this technique handy for coping with such a stressful situation.”

(1) Counting mode
(2) Tip mode
(3) Segment mode


I have been using the ‘tip mode’ (2) or ‘segment mode’ (3) whenever I opened my mouth for dental work. Absolutely no stress! My dental surgeon who did root canals and extractions under local anesthesia commented every time “I wish all my other patients were like you!”

Related pages
Relief from Anxiety – Success stories
Relief during dental work

If you like this page share it with your friends. 

@ American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) – Useful Links

AICR (1) is a  cancer charity that fosters research on diet and cancer prevention, interprets the evidence and educates the public about the results. It is part of the World Cancer Research Fund global network.

Study: Cutting Premature Death with AICR Recommendations

Cancer infographics

Cancer – Facts vs Fears

Ten ways to reduce cancer risk

Eat well for life

Move more for life

Cancer resource 48 page on-line booklet for Cancer Survivors

The facts about – Cancer: Facts vs Fears

Top Eight Findings in Cancer Prevention

(1) AICR

Related links
Search for – World Cancer Research Fund

If you like this page share it with your friends.

* Risk factors for death from ‘Cancer’

Many of us are aware of the risk of ‘Heart disease’, know its risk factors like smoking, cholesterol, LDL, stress etc. and take them seriously. But the risk for ‘Cancer’? Not so serious? Wait!

You may be surprised from the US Government data for 2009. According to Center for Disease Control (1), Cancer is the second highest cause of death in the USA, very closely following heart disease. In 2009 heart disease caused 599413 deaths as #1 and Cancer was a close 567628 as #2. Cancer deaths are 95% of heart disease deaths, in spite of all the advances in screening and treatment! How less likely is death from cancer compared with death from heart disease? Hardly any difference.

If cancer is almost as likely to cause death as heart disease, do we know its risk factors? Can we do anything about the risk factors, rather than wait for it to be detected too late, as a death sentence?

I found from my personal experience that these are the popular beliefs and practices

  • Most cancers are genetically influenced and can’t be prevented. Exceptions are caused by smoking, exposure to asbestos and some chemicals.
  • Screening can’t detect all cancers. In some cases, by the time it is detected, it may be too late and it may not be possible to save life, only prolong it by a few years.
  • When it strikes, the treatment options are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. After successful treatment, its recurrence is very likely and is a life long threat.
  • During and after treatment, hardly any self care prescriptions are given about what a patient can do, to reduce the risk factors and try to prevent its recurrence.

In this context, the book “The Cancer Survivor’s Guide – Foods that help you fight back” (2) by Neal Barnard M.D (3) may deserve your attention. The author cautions that you should involve your doctor in making any dietary changes. Other experts focus on the role of Smoking cessation, Environmental toxins, Exercise, Stress management and Social support in preventing and fighting cancer. Some links are at (4).

I also recommend the guide on “Prostate cancer prevention – Nutrition and Exercise” published by the Prostate cancer foundation (5).

Diet related suggestions from many sources are following. Diet is one of the key factors. Other equally important factors from other sources are exercise, relaxation and social support.

  • Enhance Fiber and cut down Fat: Diets high in fiber and low in fat, reduce the amount of estrogens (female sex hormones) circulating in the bloodstream, reducing the likelihood that cancer cells will multiply or spread. Fiber prevents colon cancer. It strengthens the immune system.
  • Avoid Dairy Products: Typical dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, and so forth) are high in fat and cholesterol. Dairy products appear to play an important role in cancer risk. The Physicians’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that men who frequently consume dairy products had a higher prostate cancer risk.
  • Avoid Meat: Many research studies have shown that cancer is more common in populations consuming diets rich in fatty foods, particularly meat, and much less common in countries with diets rich in grains, vegetables, and fruits. This is partly due to the high-fat and fiber-free characteristics of meat compared to plant foods. When meats are cooked, cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines form within the meat.
  • Increase Antioxidants: They are powerful cancer fighters mainly found in vegetables and fruits. They assist in halting free radical damage, which can otherwise lead to cancer development.
  • Immune system’s role in fighting cancer: Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and zinc can help the immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. Foods rich in fat and cholesterol can interfere with immunity. Studies show that vegetarians have approximately double the natural killer cell activity (natural killer cells engulf and destroy cancer cells) compared to non-vegetarians.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Healthy weight control is essential for warding off a variety of chronic diseases, and studies have shown that slimmer people are less likely to develop cancer. In addition, trimming excess weight may also improve survival after cancer has been diagnosed.

(1) CDC
(2) The Cancer Survivor’s Guide – Foods that help you fight back
(3) Neal Barnard
(4)  American Institute for Cancer Research
(5) Prostate cancer prevention – Nutrition and Exercise (Full text)   Abstract of key points

Related Pages

If you like this page share it with your friends. 

Please send your comments through the ‘ABOUT – Contact’ page.

* Burping and itchy skin cleared by quitting dairy milk

I am sharing my dairy milk experience.  I am  a vegetarian as are my family members.  All my life, my diet was  white rice,  vegetables, lentils, home made yogurt and fruits, two half cups of black tea with sugar and milk and occasional sweets, a typical Asian Indian diet.

While in India for 60 years, I consumed about 2 table spoons dairy milk added to black tea brew, twice a day (less than 60 ml). After settling down in the USA, my daily breakfast was a big bowl of milk (250 ml) with cereal, an increase of 300 %.  Moreover, in India I was not eating any cheese. Here I was eating cheese in Pizza and many other foods regularly, though not daily. My physical activity also was drastically reduced.

After being in the USA for some time, I had severe burping. I had several large dark patches on my lower legs, which itched badly and I had to scratch them compulsively. I ruled out stress as a cause for both of these non threatening problems. I was not inclined to take any medications. On a hunch, as an experiment, I stopped all dairy milk consumption since one year. In its place I consumed soy milk.

I experienced remarkable results:
No more burping. The itching is reduced by 99%. The colored scaly patches on my legs gradually cleared up, showing smooth normal skin.

My subsequent reading of some books (1) confirmed the adverse impact of dairy milk on some people.

Did excess milk cause my prostrate cancer (2), which is seen very rarely in India? Probably. Read the web page at (3).

(1) Nutrition – Books and Journals
Cancer – managing with, control and prevention – Books
What’s Eating Your Child?: The Hidden Connection Between Food and Childhood Ailments
(2) At age 66, I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. I was in good health overall, not having any of the common problems at this age – Heart disease, Hypertension and Diabetes. I was also not on any medications.  I had cryosurgery to destroy the prostrate gland using ultra low temperature. Due to rising PSA (Indicator of likely prostrate cancer  growth) within two years, I had Radiation therapy to totally destroy the cancer cells. None of the three  doctors who treated me over many years told me that my diet had any impact on my cancer recurrence, even when I asked them. That was when I started taking interest in the field of nutrition.
(3)  ‘Milk consumption and prostrate cancer’ by Neal Barnard M.D

If you like this page share it with your friends. 

* Shortage of sleep and heart disease

This is an article forwarded by a friend. He is not sure of  its author.

What killed Ranjan Das and Lessons for Corporate India

A month ago, many of us heard about the sad demise of Ranjan Das from Bandra, Mumbai. Ranjan, just 42 years of age, was the CEO of SAP-Indian Subcontinent, the youngest CEO of an MNC in India. He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. It was common to see him run on Bandra’s Carter Road. Just after Diwali, on 21st Oct, he returned home from his gym after a workout, collapsed with a massive heart attack and died. He is survived by his wife and two very young kids. It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India. However, it was even more disastrous for runners amongst us. Since Ranjan was an avid marathoner (in Feb 09, he ran Chennai Marathon at the same time some of us were running Pondicherry Marathon 180 km away), the question came as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumb to heart attack at 42 years of age. Was it the stress? A couple of you called me asking about the reasons. While Ranjan had mentioned that he faced a lot of stress, that is a common element in most of our lives. We used to think that by being fit, one can conquer the bad effects of stress. So I doubted if the cause was stress. The real reason however is … everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to make do with 4-5 hours of sleep. This is an earlier interview of Ranjan on NDTV in the program ‘Boss’ Day Out’:

http://connect.in.com/ranjan-das/play-video-boss-day-out-ranjan-das-of-sap-india-229111-807ec fcf1ad966036c289b3ba6c376f2530d7484.html

Here he himself admits that he would love to get more sleep and that he was not proud of his ability to manage without sleep, contrary to what others extolled.

The evidence last week:
I was working with a well-known cardiologist on the subject of ‘Heart Disease caused by Lack of Sleep’. While I cannot share the video nor the slides because of confidentiality reasons, I have distilled the key points below in the hope it will save some of our lives.

Some excerpts …..

  • Short sleep duration (<5 or 5-6 hours) increased risk for high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night. Paper published in 2009.
  • As you know, high BP kills. .. Young people (25-49 years of age) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Paper published in 2006. ..
  • Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. Paper published in 1999. ..
  • Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!! .. Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Paper published in 2004. ..
  • Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease. Paper published in 2006.

Ideal sleep for lack of space, I cannot explain here the ideal sleep architecture. But in brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times. The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type. For you to be mentally alert during the day, the latter part of sleep is more important. No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, you are mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess (lack of non-REM sleep), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down (I’ve been there, down that lane)

Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sleep to repair the running related damage. If you want to know if you are getting adequate sleep, take the Epworth Sleepiness Test below. Use this form from Stanford University.


How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations, in contrast to feeling  just tired? This refers to your usual way of life in recent times. Even if you have not done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have affected you. Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:

0 = no chance of dozing

1 = slight chance of dozing

2 = moderate chance of dozing

3 = high chance of dozing

SITUATION                      CHANCE OF DOZING

Sitting and reading____________

Watching TV ____________

Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g a theater or a meeting) ____________

As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break ____________

Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit ____________

Sitting and talking to someone ____________

Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol ____________

In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic ____________

Interpretation: Score of 0-9 is considered normal while 10 and above abnormal.


In conclusion Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising (marathoning!), maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. In my opinion, that killed him.

If you are not getting enough sleep (7 hours), you are playing with fire, even if you have low stress. I always took pride in my ability to work 50 hours at a stretch whenever the situation warranted. But I was so spooked after seeing the scientific evidence last week that since Saturday night, I ensure I do not even set the alarm clock under 7 hours. Now, that is a nice excuse to get some more sleep.

Unfortunately, Ranjan Das is not alone when it comes to missing sleep. Many of us are doing exactly the same, perhaps out of ignorance. Please share this article with as many of your colleagues as possible, especially those who might be short-changing their sleep. If we can save even one young life because of this email, I would be the happiest person on earth.

PS: Incidentally, just as human beings need 7 hours of sleep, you should know that cats need 15 hours of sleep and horses need 3 hours of it. So are you planning to be a cool cat or a dumb horse?

If you like this page share it with your friends.

Related pages
How can I Enjoy Quality Sleep?
Secrets of a “Great Night’s Sleep”
Relief from insomnia – Success stories

* “I practiced at my Dentist’s office”

I made a follow up visit on Nov 1,2011, to the kid’s group, at the American Cancer Society’s Hope club at Latham NY. There were 10 kids out of which 5 had attended my first session on Oct 4, 2011 (1) and 5 were new. There were 3 other adults. I asked each the five kids and adults who attended my previous session how they practiced the breathing technique and how they felt about it. Some of them said they practiced at bed time and some said they practiced in the morning. One 9 year old girl said she practiced at her dentist’s office, to calm herself. I asked her if she did it on her own or any one suggested to her, to use the technique. She said she did it on her own. See the amazing implication of this –

  • The 9 year old girl learned the technique and experienced its impact for about 2 minutes in a 15 minute group session. She received my 2 page hand out on the technique (2).
  • She clearly understood the technique and liked that brief experience. She internalized the technique, as her own self calming tool.
  • She was so comfortable with the technique that she remembered about it when she felt anxious at her dentist’s appointment and used it on her own to calm herself!

Does it not make sense to equip every child with this technique, as a simple and readily usable self calming tool, available life long, at no cost? Is it not as useful as the basic skills of reading the alphabets and counting the numbers? What an incredibly effective life long technique at no cost!

Some of the kids in this group lost a parent or family member due to cancer. As previously planned, I briefly shared with the group, my personal experience of losing my younger brother of 10 years in the year 1965, due to drowning in a lake (3).

I shared with the group the ‘Segment mode’ of focusing on breathing (4).

(1) Introductory seminar for kids at the Hope club
(2) ‘Calm yourself, anywhere, anytime’
(3) My brother Ramu died at the age of 10
(4) How can I do it?

 If you like this page share it with your friends.

* Seminar for kids at the Hope Club

I offered a short seminar of about 30 minutes to the kids and their coordinators and facilitators on Oct 4, 2011, at the ‘Hope club'(1). It was attended by about 10 children and 5 adults. Three of the kids had lost a parent due to cancer and other kids had a cancer survivor as a parent. The proceeding at the seminar is summarized below.

The participants introduced themselves. I demonstrated the ‘Tip Mode’ (2) to them, using one hand. We all practiced together, on one hand, counting the breaths aloud. They did one hand, counting aloud while I was watching their finger movements. Then they alone practiced the technique, till they completed 4 hands (alternating both hands), counting the breaths silently. They were given the choice of keeping the eyes open or closed. Most of them practiced eyes closed. The practice lasted for about  5 minutes. When they opened their eyes all the faces were smiling! This is a common observation.

I asked each participant to share with the group how he or she felt about the experience. They said that they felt relaxed or calm or good.

I asked each of them to share when they intend to use the technique.  Most of them said they would use the technique at bed time. Other ideas were – on waking up, when angry and when stressed.

I distributed a 2 page hand out of the technique “Calm yourself anywhere, anytime” (3), to every participant and the ‘Relax Anywhere, Anytime’ hand out (4) to the adults.

One adult asked whether the breathing should be deep or normal. I clarified that one should breathe normally. One should watch the in and out breaths like watching the waves in the ocean, sitting on the beach. This breathing is a passive observation of the in and out breaths, unlike Yoga breathing, in which the breathing is to be regulated, to meet given guidelines. The facilitators said they would reinforce the practice on the days the kids meet at the club. They would try it during the transitions from one activity to another.

We agreed to meet again after a month, to review the practice and share individual experiences. The tentative date set is Nov 1, 2011.

(1) The Hope club is located at 1 Penny Lane Latham NY 12110 is a part of the American Cancer Society. It offers free programs to support individuals suffering from cancer and their families, including children. I volunteered to offer my periodic seminars and follow up classes at this place to help its members with support from Tracy Pitcher the Director. The children’s programs are coordinated by Alana Streifert.
(2) How can I do it?
(3) Calm yourself anywhere, anytime
(4) How to be calm Anywhere, Anytime
(5) Report on the follow up visit

If you like this page share it with your friends.