November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, which marks an especially appropriate time to draw attention to cancer prevention. Unlike other cancer diagnoses, those with pancreatic cancer face survival rates that have not improved much over several decades.
The American Cancer Society estimates more than 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011, and approximately 94 percent of pancreatic cancer patients will not survive past five years after diagnosis.
It takes an average of 6.8 years for a pancreatic cancer cell to spread to other organs, and an average of 2.7 years from then until the patient’s death, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
The good news is that diet can be protective against pancreatic cancer. An Italian study in Cancer Causes and Control shows that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce pancreatic cancer risk. Those who consumed the most fruits and vegetables had an estimated 40 percent decreased risk, compared with those who ate the least. The study found that frequent meat consumption can double risk and that table sugar and white potatoes also increase risk. The researchers suspect insulin resistance may play a role in pancreatic cancer.
The Cancer Project, a project of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, developed a public service announcement featuring Jennifer Landon focused on pancreatic cancer. To view the PSA, click here.
Yachida S, Jones S, Bozic I, et al. Distant metastasis occurs late during the genetic evolution of pancreatic cancer. Nature. 2010;467:1114-1117.
Polesel J, Talamini R, Negri E, et al. Dietary habits and risk of pancreatic cancer: an Italian case-control study. Cancer Causes Control. 2010;21:493-500.
Running for Our Health
Cancer survivor and PCRM supporter Kyle Macy is running in the ING New York City marathon on Nov. 6, and hopes that his efforts will raise both awareness and funding for The Cancer Project’s and PCRM’s lifesaving work. In the three previous marathons that Kyle has run, he has raised more than $4,500 and helped us spread the word about the vital link between nutrition and good health. Please show your support for Kyle and PCRM by becoming a sponsor of his 2011 New York City Marathon. To sponsor Kyle, visit our website.
Food for Life Instructor Spotlight: Lisa Dahlmeier
Food for Life instructor Lisa Dahlmeier was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2004. Cancer was new to Lisa and her family and came with many questions. She went on to receive the standard treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. Fortunately, her body responded to the treatments and the cancer was in remission. At that point, Lisa’s doctor told her she had a 70 percent chance of being cured and that she should “go back to life as normal.” With cancer, life is never truly normal, but for the most part, she went on to live as she had before the diagnosis. Not long after, the cancer returned. Her doctor’s encouraging words were gone and replaced with words like mortality rate, lethal chemotherapy, and stem cell rescue.
In January 2006, she underwent an autologous stem cell transplant. After recovering, she decided that going back to life as normal was not a good idea. Instead of living in fear of another reoccurrence, she began to research nutrition and how it affected cancer risk and growth. She was directed by the librarian at her cancer center to a book titled, The Cancer Survivor’s Guide by Neal Barnard, M.D. Lisa discovered that what she ate really did make a difference in her body’s ability to fight cancer and chose to make dietary changes immediately. She was determined to take back control of her life.
Today, Lisa is in her sixth year of remission and has since started her own company, Planted For Life, through which she teaches Food For Life nutrition and cooking classes in St. Paul, Minn. Lisa also offers one-on-one consultations and private cooking classes. She loves her consulting work and thoroughly enjoys teaching others about a plant-based lifestyle and its many benefits. One of her deepest desires is to have people benefit and learn from the circumstances she overcame rather than to have to experience it first-hand.
For more information regarding Planted For Life, visit www.plantedforlife.com. Her current Food for Life class series runs through Nov. 15, and classes take place on Tuesday. To see the listing, visit our website.
Thanksgiving Menu: Tasty, Comforting Meals for a Veg-Friendly Holiday
PCRM’s nutrition team is thrilled to share with you a Thanksgiving menu filled with tasty, healthful, comforting dishes sure to satisfy anyone’s holiday appetite. The recipes featured here are traditional - but have a fun and interesting twist. We hope this will inspire you to prepare holiday meals without indulging in high levels of fat, salt, and sugar. Recipes in this month’s featured menu include samples from former Food for Life instructor Ellen Jones’ new book, Eat Vegan on $4 a Day, and Dr. Barnard’s 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart.
Sign up to receive weekly recipes through our Food for Life Recipe of the Week e-mail program here.
Food for Life in the News
PCRM’s dedicated communications team makes regular coverage of The Cancer Project and the Food for Life program possible in newspapers, blogs, and television clips across the country.
One Dietitian’s Story Eric Sharer, M.P.H., R.D., L.D.N., attended PCRM’s spring 2011 new Food for Life Instructor training and, since then, has been teaching classes at the Block Medical Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment (BMC). As a Food for Life instructor at the center, Eric and his team work with a variety of patients dealing with a range of complications including multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues, as well as individuals simply interested in wellness. To learn more about his nutrition education work and what inspires him to do what he does every day, read the full article on Free from Harm’s website.
Jones College Student Combines Food and Color Palettes College students are commonly thought of as having poor diets, but Rice University health advisor and Jones College junior, Chris Keller, is making a determined effort to change that with his fellow students. His weapon of choice? The Nutrition Rainbow flyer—which he says took the campus by storm, “a brightly-colored, nutrient-packed storm.” The Nutrition Rainbow flyer—a piece that offers the public an easy, colorful guide to eating a healthful, balanced diet—is one of the more popular pieces of PCRM literature. To read the full article from the Rice Thresher, visit their website.
Mesa: La Casa Del Corte (11/9, 11/16, 11/23, 11/30) Mesa: Saladmaster Kitchen (10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/4) Mesa: Saladmaster Kitchen (10/14, 10/21, 10/28, 11/4) Mesa: Saladmaster Kitchen (11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/29) Yuma: Family Center of the Yuma Central Seventh-day Adventist Church (10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21)
San Diego: Cooking 4 Life, Inc. (11/07, 11/14, 11/28, 12/05) Pacoima (10/24, 10/31, 11/21, 12/19) Santa Cruz: New Leaf Community Markets (1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15)
Bridgeport: St. Vincent's Medical Center (9/27, 10/25, 11/29) Litchfield: The Litchfield Community Center (11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22) Pawcatuck: Stonington High School (10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17) Waterbury: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (9/16, 9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28, 11/4)
Fort Myers: Gulf Coast Medical Center (10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9) Naples: Cancer Alliance of Naples (1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 2/1) Naples: Cancer Alliance of Naples (3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28)
St. Simons Island: Island Natural Market (12/1)
Hinsdale: Wellness House (10/20, 10/27, 11/03, 11/10)
Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (1/12, 1/19, 1/26, 2/2) Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (4/26, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31) Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2) Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (9/20, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25)
Hagerstown: BCA-CV (11/28)
New Brighton: Grace Point Church (10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15) St. Paul: Betel Church (10/11, 10/25, 11/8, 11/22)
Philadelphia: Center on the Hill (10/18, 10/25, 11/1, 11/8) Waynesboro: Waynesboro Country Club (11/9)
Charleston: Holy Cow Yoga Center (10/22, 10/29, 11/5, 11/12)
Hurst: Hurst Senior Center (11/14)
Salt Lake City: Orson Gygi (11/3, 11/10, 11/17) Salt Lake City: Orson Gygi (1/5, 1/12, 1/19)
Redmond: Redmond PCC via The Cancer Lifeline (6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27)
Calgary, Alberta: Best Health Cooking Systems (11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 11/26) Magog, Quebec: Princess Elizabeth Elementary School (11/09, 11/19, 11/23, 11/30) Waterville, Quebec: Cafe au Vieux Presbytere (11/24, 12/1, 12/08, 12/15)
Birmingham: Grow UK Ltd (11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/23) Stoke on Trent: Healthier By Farr (11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 11/24)
Westerly: Adult Day Center of Westerly (11/2)
Belvedere: Eagle Health Solutions (11/12) Birmingham: Grow UK Ltd. (11/5) Birmingham: Grow UK Ltd. (11/19) Birmingham: Grow UK Ltd. (12/10) Birmingham: Grow UK Ltd. (1/7) Stoke on Trent: Healthier By Farr (11/12) Stoke on Trent: Healthier By Farr (12/7) Stoke on Trent: Healthier By Farr (1/4)
Advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research.