Special Preventive Factors
abnormal cell division that is characteristic of tumor growth.
Your body is made up of millions of tiny cells. Can- cer is just a group of cells which do not grow normally, but instead reproduce themselves wildly and errati- cally. Calcium is known to be important in cell divi- sion. Any substance which releases calcium from cells causes the cells to divide. Therefore, researchers sus- pect that a lack of calcium intake in the diet may help trigger this abnormal cell division.
A rare disease, parathyroid gland cancer, appears to be caused by hypercalcemia—an excess of calcium in the body. The parathyroid regulates calcium metabo- lism and hyperthyroidism. However, normal people will not have a problem with hypercalcemia—but, instead, with too little calcium intake.
Dr. Willard A. Krehl, M.D., a University of Iowa nutritionist, says that a lack of magnesium will lead to chronic exhaustion and, in some cases, may result in enlargement of the prostate and perhaps a form of can- cer.
Foods rich in magnesium include wheat germ and green, leafy vegetables.
Magnesium in the body can also be interfered with excesses of calcium, protein, and vitamin D.
Dr. Jack Schubert, of the University of Pittsburgh, has found that sensitivity to radiation is related to the amount of copper in the tissues: the lower the copper content, the less sensitive the person is to injury by radiation.
So too much copper can be a problem. But, in con- trast, Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that oxygen is vital to the health of the cell, and that it is the cell deprived of oxygen which becomes malignant. Dr. Schubert dis- covered that some copper is needed in the system in order to increase oxygen utilization. Therefore some copper may be needed, to provide enough of the needed oxygen to the tissues.
Among the foods richest in natural copper are al- monds, Brazil nuts, broccoli, and beans.
Phosphorous may be important in cancer pre- vention; for investigators have discovered that phos- phorous is more easily lost from cancer cells than from normal cells.
Phosphorous is the one mineral which is found in all foods and, generally, is adequately supplied to the body. However, in cases of diarrhea, phospho- rous (as well as calcium) can be excreted in exces- sive amounts from the body. In addition, there must be enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach for phos- phorous to be absorbed.
Dr. P. Bois, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Depart- ment of Anatomy at the University of Montreal, Canada, reported, in April 1968, to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, meeting in Atlantic City, that a deficiency in magnesium might be, what he called, “a basic cause” of human cancer.
In research done at Montreal, Dr. Bois demon- strated that merely eliminating magnesium from the diet of rats would trigger tumor growth in them within an average of 64 days. This was considered surpris- ing, since rats rarely develop cancer spontaneously. Of special interest, the cancer began in the thymus gland, and later went to other parts of the body, eventually resulting in lymphoid leukemia.
Dr. Bois noted that, if the diet is high in fats or lipids, the person may need more magnesium than he ordinarily would.
It has been theorized that a lack of magnesium may result in low calcium and phosphorous levels, lead- ing to a malignant condition.
In an article in Nature, Bois stated his theory that lack of magnesium in the diet may result in migration of the mineral from the nucleus of the cell to its outer portions, triggering chromosomal changes, followed by
In her book, Human Nutrition: Report No. 2, Ben- efits from Nutrition Research, C. Edith Weir, Ph.D., mentions the importance of iodine in the diet:
“There is recent evidence, March 1970, that dietary iodine deficiency may contribute to breast cancer, at least in rats. Demographic studies reveal that human breast cancer incidence is high in iodine-deficient ar- eas.”
Symposium chairperson, Kedar N. Prasad, Ph.D., director of the Center for Vitamins and Cancer Research at the University of Colorado, addressed a gathering of top nutrition researchers who met at Denver in June 1983. He said this:
“The role of dietary factors in the treatment and prevention of cancer is becoming increasingly evident. It represents a whole new frontier of cancer research.”
The keynote speaker at the meeting, Linus Pauling, Ph.D., said this:
“I think that someday historians may say that the major anti-cancer advance in the last quarter of this century was the recognition of the value of vitamins and nutrition in prevention and treatment.”
Scientist after scientist stood to his feet to present detailed research reports to the gathered assembly. In most instances, they spoke of research with vitamins A, C, or E—how well patients had responded and a number of the cancers eliminated, simply by giving them one or the other of those three vitamins. Rarely were all three, or even two given; yet the results—with only vitamins A, C, or E given alone were still outstanding. For example, Maurice M. Black, M.D., of New York Medi- cal College, and his colleagues gave vitamin A to pa- tients with various cancers and saw the patients re- spond, with some of the patients recovering. Then he switched to only giving vitamin E, and saw “essentially