Monday, November 12, 2012

Foods to Avoid If You Have Bladder Cancer

If you have bladder cancer, you may have heard that you need to avoid meat, especially meats cured with nitrates. Or you may heard the key to beating cancer is avoiding sugar. But the real criterion that tells you whether a food helps you win the battle against bladder cancer is how it influences a process called methylation.

Methylation is a process of chemical modification that adds a -CH2 (methyl) group to a biologically active molecule digested from food or absorbed from the environment. In the genes that are most important to the development of bladder cancer, but not in the genes for all kinds of cancer, high levels of methylation turn cancer-causing genes off and switch cancer-fighting genes on. Low levels of methylation let cancer-causing genes run unchecked and leave cancer-fighting genes unactivated.

The process of methylation is best understood for a cancer-fighting gene called LINE-1. Anything that interferes with methylation limits the activity of LINE-1 and interferes with your body's ability to fight bladder cancer. Anything that increases methylation increases the activity of LINE-1 and increases your body's ability to fight bladder cancer.

What interferes with methylation? Benzene, lead, and organic pesticides interfere with methylation. They increase your risk of recurrence.

What assists methylation? In general, dietary antioxidants help the process of methylation. Green tea catechins increase methylation. Antioxidants of all kinds in fresh and, surprisingly, dried, fruits and vegetables increase methylation. So do the antioxidants in coffee and black tea.

Another way to reduce the concentration of the chemicals that interfere with methylation is to dilute them. If you can't afford organic, you can drink more water.

You can also keep the pH of your urine to the alkaline side. In alkaline urine, many toxins become bound to other chemicals that neutralize them.

Eating more plant foods and fewer foods of animal origin generally helps raise pH and alkalize urine. Hard cheese and smoked fish are especially acidifying, while farmer's cheese, milk, and ice cream are relatively harmless (just avoid getting too much sugar).

Alkalizing urine makes a big different. In March 2011, the US National Cancer Institute reported that alkalizing urine could offset the risk posed by two of the most significant risk factors for bladder cancer, smoking and overweight. Of course, if you smoke, it helps to stop. If you can't stop smoking, drink your water and eat your vegetables, keeping meat and cheese to a minimum.

Introducing My New Series on Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is possibly the most treatable--and preventable--of all cancers. More than any other kind of cancer except possibly cancers of the colon, bladder cancer is responsive to changes in diet that don't require complicated programs of herbal medicine or nutritional supplementation (although herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation sometimes help, and sometimes help a great deal). Bladder cancer isn't just about what you don't do, it's also about the positive steps you can take while you are achieving a cancer-free lifestyle.

And while people who are diagnosed with bladder cancer usually live, they also usually have more than one round with the disease. About 50% of the time when bladder cancer is treated in its earliest stages, another tumor appears within five years. Later diagnosis results in higher rates of recurrence. Still, people can and do live 5, 10, 20, and even 40 years after treatment, a few of them without ever experiencing a return of their tumors.

Nothing in these articles, and nothing on this site, is intended to get in the way of regular checkups and working with doctors. There is a growing body of evidence, however, that simple changes in diet alone are enough to reduce the risk of recurrence and prolong remission. Fighting and beating bladder cancer does not require anyone to eat strange foods or to buy out the nutritional supplement store. And bladder cancer is one of the relatively few cancers for which the principles of prevention are also the principles of cure.

Since bladder cancer in its early stages only involves the outermost cells in the lining of the bladder, keeping those cells free of dietary and environmental toxins is the key to staying in remission. But what is it about food that is toxic or detoxifying. I'll explain the distinction in Foods to Avoid If You Have Bladder Cancer.