Monday, November 3, 2014

Post for Breast Cancer Issue

Over the years I have had the chance to work with many cancer patients, the majority having been patients diagnosed with breast cancer.  Even though these patients were under the care of good oncologists, they were looking for a different perspective and understanding of their condition.  Understandably their goal was either to give themselves the best chance at full recovery or to prevent a recurrence.  


Of course we don’t know every factor that goes into creating cancer, and I certainly don’t.  It does seem like two factors are pretty consistent in cancer case.  We know that chronic inflammation is a risk factor, for example when people are exposed to substances like asbestos that get into their lungs and act as a chronic irritant.


Additionally we know that immune suppression is a risk factor for cancer.  So for example when people are put on immune suppressive drugs for an auto-immune condition this increases their risk of getting cancer.  Or when someone has a disease that suppresses their immune system that can often increase their risk of cancer.


I have come to the conclusion that food allergies can also be a risk factor for cancer.  A large majority of people the come to me with cancer come back positive for food allergies.  They come back at a higher level than people with lesser symptoms or people that don’t have symptoms.


I think the problem with food allergens is that they have the potential to create both inflammation and immune suppression at the same time.  They create inflammation because the body reacts to these foods as if the body were under attack by a bacteria of virus.  That is what an allergy is, the body has made the mistake of association the proteins in food with the proteins on the outside of a bacteria or virus that would be a danger to us.


At the same time the body is creating inflammation by being exposed to the food that is sees as a threat, the immune system is being depleted and distracted.  Any energy and effort that out body puts into fighting a food means that is can not devote those same resource to actually protecting us from cancer.


When we multiply this chronic reaction times five, ten or twenty years than we become more and more vulnerable to the depleting effects of these foods.  I would say that over 95% of the people that come for support with their cancer cases show up with food allergens.  One of the most common allergens is an allergy to eggs.


Of course I don’t know why egg allergens seem to make us particularly susceptible to cancer.  I can take a guess and it is only a guess.  We know that the cells that we are allergic to in eggs are cell that will become other tissue.  We might call some of these cells undifferentiated stem cells.  Well we know that one of the theories around cancer is that the cells loose their differentiation.  Cancer cells in our body are cells that seems to have lost their knowledge of where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing.


So perhaps there is some special distraction and diversion that we have of the immune system when we have a egg allergy.  In any case this allergy leaves up particularly susceptible to cancer in my experience.


When we talk about allergens there is another important thing to know.  There are three major ways that the body responds to food allergens.  There is the short term reactant that takes place in a few hours, there is the medium reaction that takes place within the first week, and there is the long reaction which takes place within the first month.


Even though people who are tested for allergens are most often tested for the short term reaction, I find it is the medium and long term reactions that can cause the most problems.  For years we have worked and getting and refining the right testing for these allergens.


Another important thing to realize is that when we talk about these allergens is that even if a person is having an obvious reaction to the foods often these allergens may not show up right away if they are the long term reactions.  Often the symptoms may not show up until weeks


Even is a person does not eat their food allergens as a whole food they still need to watch and see if the things they are allergic to are ingredients in foods they may be exposed to frequently.


And remember these are not just going to affect the stomach and intestines when we have a food allergy.  There are many tissues in the intestine that share similarities to other tissue in our body.  The thyroid gland and pancreas come to mind.  So often we will see a person with thyroid problems in the family or diabetes in the family we will see an increased risk for cancer.  This goes back to embryology and the fact that many tissues in different places start out together.