Many of you must be weighing up the risks and benefits of spending time with loved ones over Christmas this year and wondering what’s best to do. There are no magic answers and the government is right to highlight the potential downside of celebrating together. But maybe there are things – over and above the current public health advice – that we can do to protect ourselves from infection and, more importantly, to ward off the worst case COVID scenario if the virus manages to get through our defences?Continue reading
I’m thrilled to be part of the YOUR LIFE AND CANCER 2020 conference that has already provided so much hope and information to cancer patients all over the world. I was delighted to be invited to talk on one of my favourite topics, Nutrigenetics, along with one of my favourite colleagues, Emma Beswick, founder of Lifecode Gx.
When preparing for my talk the question that was going around in my head was: ‘What is the most important message that people need to understand about their genes?”
If you are diagnosed with hormone receptor positive breast cancer before menopause you will most likely be prescribed Tamoxifen, a selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. The key benefit of this drug is that it protects hormone sensitive breast tissue and tumour cells from the effects of growth-promoting oestrogen – without completely suppressing oestrogen in the rest of the body. It’s a win-win!
There’s no doubt that Tamoxifen saves lives, but leaving oestrogen in circulation has been shown to increase the risk of other hormone-mediated cancers, and a proportion of women find that Tamoxifen adversely impacts their quality of life with increased pain, depression, headaches and mood changes – which can be severe. In my experience most women show tremendous courage in dealing with the balance of risks and benefits of breast cancer treatment and accept the downs with the ups. But in this case you don’t need to settle for the downside: nutritional therapy can help you mitigate the extra risk that Tamoxifen poses and minimise the mood and menopause effect that some women experience, without diminishing the benefits of the drug: a win-win-win!Continue reading
Last week was the first of the new Thursday lunch time ‘weekly chat’ sessions: a chance to get together each week to discuss all things related to breast cancer, diet and lifestyle.
The issue that seemed to be on our minds was the urge to snack: more literally the urge to take a handful of something instant, crunchy, and uber tasty and put it into our mouths. We agreed that lockdown, with more time on our hands and in the home, makes snacking a more pressing issue.Continue reading
Triple negative breast cancer accounts for around 15% of breast cancers, and it is a more diagnosis common in younger women. This subtype of breast cancer tends to share similarities with BRCA-related disease, being more likely to be linked to faulty DNA repair and reprogrammed cellular metabolism. TNBC tumours don’t exhibit the over-expression of oestrogen and growth receptors found in other forms of breast cancer, and this lack of modifiable receptors tends to be seen as bad news. But all it really means is that we don’t currently have any specific adjuvant medical treatments, which makes it all the more important to look for other modifiable factors, such as diet and lifestyle.Continue reading
“If you can keep your immune system while all around are losing theirs…”
I hesitated before using, or rather abusing, this Rudyard Kipling quote because there’s nothing funny or flippant about the state we and our loved ones find ourselves in. Nevertheless, with no medical treatments available for coronavirus, maintaining a strong immune system is the name of the game. Cancer patients will be all too familiar with this dilemma and, in many ways, the advice for coronavirus builds on what you already know. Natural medicine, as far as we know, cannot stop you becoming infected, nor can it offer a cure, but research suggests you maybe able to reduce your chances of hospitalisation by improving your metabolic status. Continue reading
A post in The Guardian today includes the news that gut bacteria may influence bowel cancer risk. How confusing! For years we’ve been taught that cancer starts with genetic mutations. So how can bacteria be involved?
Our growing understanding of tumour metabolism provides new opportunities to conquer this dread disease. But it also brings a new threat: people are confused between what their tumour ‘eats’ and what their body needs to eat. Do you know the difference?
As I write this, I am listening to Handel’s Messiah playing in the background – an age old Easter ritual for me. As well as calming my soul and lifting my heart, it reminds me of the underlying pagan theme of this time of year — the cycles of nature: spring and summer, flower and fruit, birth and death. It’s a message that all of us affected by cancer need to take to heart. Continue reading
It’s great to be able to share some good news about breast cancer: the headlines today report that improvements in surgery and radiotherapy techniques are helping to keep more women alive. But did you know you can further increase the effectiveness of treatment with simple diet and lifestyle changes? Continue reading
When I cured myself of irreversible, pre-cancerous proliferative verrucous leukoplakia (PVL) my specialist surgeon was, I think it’s fair to say, gobsmacked. It’s something he had never seen before, and believed to be impossible. The five nasty white patches on my tongue melted away leaving a perfect pink patina, in five months flat.
One of the nicest things that happened for me in 2018 was being featured in IHCAN Magazine, the official publication for complementary medicine practitioners. As it’s not available to the general public I’m re-blogging the article here so you can see what I’ve been up to, and maybe even learn a bit more about me…
On 13 October I will be joining Dr Etienne Callebout and Dr Marcus Stanton at the Cavendish Conference Centre for a day that will focus on breast cancer and immunity. I will be talking about personalised breast cancer protocols and the methods I use to help clients identify and manage personal risk factors in order to optimise health and happiness after diagnosis. The event is aimed at a professional audience and you can book your ticket at http://www.nouveauhealth.co.uk. Come and say hello!
As you probably know, the data protection rules are changing. The general data protection regulation (GDPR) is coming into force on 25 May 2018.
Because you opted to follow this blog your email is stored inside the WordPress machinery so that you automatically get an update when I post. I don’t use your email address in any other way.
I’d love to stay in touch and I hope you feel the same way. If so, you don’t have to do anything.
If you’d like to stop getting blog updates from me then you can ‘unfollow’ using the box in the sidebar.
Your weight is an especially sensitive subject after a cancer diagnosis. Everyone knows that being overweight is linked to a higher risk of cancer but after diagnosis we are also told that it’s not a good idea to lose too much weight. I have found that the science around weight and cancer is not well understood, giving rise to all sorts of unhealthy advice. So what are the facts? Continue reading
I’m sharing this post from Vicky Unwin’s great site, Healthy Living with Cancer. A Cochrane review is considered the gold standard for evidence evaluation. If you take this right back to Warburg’s theories, I suspect the benefits of yoga are closely linked to optimal oxygenation.
Perhaps more than any other disease, cancer prompts people to make major life changes. Research suggests that less than 10% of cancers are genetic in origin, meaning that diet, environment and lifestyle are responsible for the rest. Functional medicine looks at the complex interplay of these factors for individuals with a view to restoring healthy functioning to body systems. Continue reading
I’ve been a busy girl this week so I didn’t catch up with BBC’s Doctor in the House until Friday evening. When I did I was surprised it hadn’t made major headline news. After all, whenever there’s a story about the dangers of supplements you’ll find it all over the front pages of the papers. What a surprise, then, that a story showing how magically effective supplements can be didn’t get the same treatment! What gives?
For some time I have been concerned about the widespread use of the ketogenic diet as a sort of ‘party trick’. If you look online for ketogenic foods you will come across all sorts of crazy food combinations that seem to offer the ability to stuff your face with chocolate flavoured fat, or mountains of bacon and eggs, with no metabolic consequences. Even before I start thinking about the biochemistry, something fundamental in me knows that can’t be right. Continue reading
Have you ever had a period in your life where, despite the fact that everything looks the same on the outside, you know that everything has changed on the inside and will never be the same again?
Core to my MSc. programme is the idea that we are all unique, and that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet. You may think that’s a great way for nutritionists to justify their existence on the planet but the more I read, the more true it becomes. Continue reading
The Eatwell Guide is in the news yet again. Zoe Harcombe is doing a magnificent job of pointing out its many flaws, and I’m tempted to leave her to it. But I thought you might like to hear my views on it too. I’ll be brief! Continue reading
These last few days, during a gap between modules on my MSc, I’ve been enjoying updating my knowledge about the latest advances in cancer treatments. Our understanding of the way cancer behaves is changing and evolving, and with it our ability to influence its growth and behaviour. I’ve been closely following this field for a couple of decades and feel genuinely excited about the things I’m reading and learning. Continue reading
Or why bank holiday Monday might be the worst day to sunbathe ever.
I know! It’s another cloudy bank holiday in the UK, but if it were full-on sun we’d be stripping off, baring lily white legs and shoulders, and wondering if it will shine long enough to be worth getting the sun cream out. Is it a factor 15 or factor 30 day? Gone are the days of coconut oil and tin foil! Continue reading
In attempting to explain the importance of gut flora, I often ask people to imagine themselves as an outside-in planet.
Your digestive tract is densely populated with micro-organisms in a similar way to humans on the face of the earth, though the scale is somewhat different. While there are billions of humans on Planet Earth, there are trillions of bugs inside you – about ten times as many critters as you have cells, all eking out a living on you and from you. And, if you play your cards right, they have plenty to give you in return.
If you are positively prune-like at the end of Dry January then I hope you feel justifiably proud of yourself. Maybe you’ve seen some health benefits too? I’ve heard people say they sleep better, feel more alert, less depressed and can see improvements in their skin and digestion. It’s a great start to the year.
But what next? Continue reading
I have always been mad about biology. From the moment in Lower Remove classroom when I opened my first Biology text book under the watchful eye of Sister Prudence (who instructed us not to look, yet, at page 24 where all the books naturally fell open) I was hooked. Continue reading
Perhaps more than any other holiday, Christmas is the one where we take time off specifically (or so it seems) to beat ourselves up. It’s a time of excess drinking, eating, spending and partying, and it takes its toll. Continue reading
It’s three years this month since I wrote The Dissident Diet, based on my own experience of losing three stone, and a pilot study carried out with 16 people who needed to do the same. At the time it was ground-breaking, and more than a little brave, for a professional nutritionist to recommend a ketogenic diet when so many people in nutrition and medicine felt it was dangerous. Continue reading