Lung Cancer Wellness Protocol
Lung and bronchus cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with over 225,000 new diagnoses in 2012, and an estimated 87,750 and 72,590 deaths predicted to occur in men and women, respectively. This is nearly as many cancer deaths and prostate, breast, and colon cancer combined.
85% of all cases are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with most patients diagnosed after the disease has advanced.
Lung cancer has a mortality rate that has changed very little, getting slightly worse over the last 40 years.
In the United States 85-90% of all cases are due to tobacco smoking, making this a very preventable condition.
Eat a plant-rich diet, with diverse fruits and vegetable, emphasizing cruciferous (broccoli, cauliflower, kale) and colorful fruits and vegetables, and flavonoid rich foods (citrus, dark chocolate, tea).
Smoking increases the risk for lung cancer by a factor of 10-30 fold compared to “never-smokers.”
Second-hand smoke is also thought to contribute to nearly 20% of lung cancer cases among non-smokers, raising lung cancer risk approximately 30% versus those with no exposure.
Because smoking is responsible for such a large percentage of lung cancer cases, it is often ignored that non-smoking causes of lung cancer are still one of the top 10 causes of cancer mortality. This includes occupational exposure to known lung carcinogens, such as asbestos, arsenic, nickel, and radon, as well as environmental air pollution, such as that caused by fossil fuel combustion.
Dietary factors also influence the risk of lung cancer, as diets higher in fruits and vegetables are protective, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.
ENVIRONMENT MATTERS Avoid exposure to environmental toxins – air pollution, radon, wood smoke, etc.
Screening CT scans - May be of benefit for those at high risk, such as older individuals with a long history of smoking.
Imaging - Including CT, MRI, and positron emission tomography will likely be used to monitor treatment efficacy and detection of recurrence.
Vitamin D levels - Vitamin D levels have been associated with both risk of developing lung cancer and survival among lung cancer patients.
C-reactive protein levels - Elevated C-reactive protein levels have been associated with a greater risk of early death, and may help guide appropriate anti-inflammatory treatments.
STAY ACTIVE Be physically active – this has been shown to be associated with a better quality of life among lung cancer patients.
- Brightly colored, fresh vegetables, leafy greens and fresh fruits (choose organic if possible)
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, which have high levels of DIM & isothiocyanates
- Whole foods (foods that are as close to their natural form as possible)
- Low sugar/low glycemic diet (Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) are measures of the effect on blood glucose level after a food containing carbohydrates is consumed)
- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold water fish such as sardines, wild-caught salmon, cod, mackerel, tuna
- High fiber, from whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits
- Healthy fats, from avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, cold water fish
- For animal protein, choose lean poultry and fish over red meat, and aim to view meat as a condiment rather than a staple. Try to choose grass fed and organic meats and eggs whenever possible. Eat no fish larger than a salmon to minimize environmental contaminants, including mercury.
- Processed and grilled meats. Also, try to limit intake of red meat
- Fast foods, fried foods, baked goods and packaged, processed foods
- Sugar, sweeteners and artificial sweeteners
- Vegetable oils, shortening, margarine and anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
Multiple nutritional supplements have been associated with reduced cancer incidence and/or cancer progression. This list contains those with the greatest evidence-based benefit.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Clinical trials with the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, have shown improved nutritional status, better functional status, reduced inflammation, and improved effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents.,, Additionally, GLA, another omega-3 found in Evening Primrose oil, helps to maintain balance in the fatty acids and enhances the anti-inflammatory effect.,
2-3 grams combined EPA & DHA per day, with at least 1-2 grams of a GLA source.
A high intake of this antioxidant has been associated with a reduced risk of developing lung cancer, as it appears to influence several anti-proliferative pathways.,
200-400mg, three times per day.
Pterostilbene & Resveratrol
Found in red wine and grapes, this antioxidant inhibits the invasion and metastasis of lung cancer cells.
100-200mg per day.
Lower levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk for developing lung cancer as well as lung cancer death.
Suggested dose is that sufficient to raise vitamin D blood levels to >40 ng/mL, which may require 5000 IU per day or more.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Shown to protect healthy cells from oxidative stress and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells, and when combined with N-acetylcysteine was found to restore function to the immune cells of cancer patients.,
300mg, 1-2 times per day.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
An important antioxidant and building block for glutathione, NAC inhibits cancer growth by multiple mechanisms, and may have synergistic effect when used with alpha lipoic acid, EGCG, and isothiocyanates., It may be most indicated for those with genetic variants impairing glutathione production.
600mg, 2-3 times per day.
Green Tea Extract
Catechins, antioxidants found in green tea, particularly ECEG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), have been shown to have numerous anti-cancer effects, and may enhance chemotherapy effectiveness.
1g EGCG and mixed catechins.
The pharmacologically active component of the spice turmeric, curcumin inhibits tumor growth by multiple mechanisms, and has shown synergistic function with several chemotherapeutic agents.
1-2g per day of Meriva® or Longvida® curcumin.,
A hormone, supplemental melatonin intake has improved survival in a number of cancers, and may enhance conventional therapy effectiveness.,
At least 3mg at night, preferably time-released.
Various components of vitamin E have shown anti-cancer properties. Although alpha-tocopherol is often used in clinical trials, when given alone it may deplete other important components of vitamin E.,
200-400 IU per day of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols.
Vitamin K-2 (MK-7) has the longest half-life, meaning it is the most stable, of all forms of vitamin K. Shown to improve bone and cardiovascular health, higher intakes of this form have also been associated with reduced cancer incidence & fatality, and may improve effectiveness of other therapies.,,
100 mcg vitamin K-2 (MK-7).
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