talking to a urologist) says to me that given the rise in the PSA level it would be sensible to do a biopsy of the prostate. I’d been vegan for three years and vegetarian for five when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but of course I grew up eating all the nitrates and nitrites in processed meats, using toxic household cleaners, and personal hygiene products containing parabens, etc. What we do need is honest information that can help us make the best decisions for our health. The definition from The Vegan Society is: “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. Lung cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer are down by even smaller numbers. One reader of this blog brought to my attention a study linking low vitamin B12 to increased risk for colon cancer. I am 5’8″ and weighed 236 pounds. Ginny Thanks for sharing. I completely agree. And it’s possible that some vegans become complacent because of this. It’s about time this myth about veganism being a miracle cure for what ails you was put to bed. These two should remind us that we are not disease-proof. There are some that call going hungry for a meal rather than eating a questionable item “rigid” but I just call it walking the talk. You can omit risk factors for oncogenesis from your life, but there is still a small probability you can get cancer, and be s*** out of luck. No guarantees with this or any other diet. Originally Answered: Can vegans still get cancer? I’ve lost three friends to colon cancer. Ginny, thanks so very much for your honest, thorough evaluation of reality (and for answering the absurd myths that just won’t die). Having said all of that – I feel absolutely wonderful about my diet and my body feels lighter. Angela, am sorry you experienced BC.I just recently got through it as well.I had surgery, chemo, radiotherapy and seventeen rounds of herceptin…I really enjoyed the above article and following comments.I believe that chronic stress can leave our immune system depleted, and so, perhaps we are less able to fight off disease.This conclusion, I came to, post BC, as I was very fit person, before diagnosis.I found I had many people in my life that drained and stressed me, so, if the relationships weren’t repairable, I let them go…best decision ever.All the best with your recovery, all small positive changes, that you feel are best for you, will add up to big positive change. Thank you for another great article Ginny. Eating plant based needs to go hand in hand with eliminating processed foods…and fried foods. She had been given up for dead when she came to my class with multiple myeloma, and 8 years later, she is a thriving vegan who has been able to dump much of the regimen she was on before the diet. And I have seen many so-called vegans who still stuff their faces with cookies, pies, and ice cream, even though they contain butter, eggs and milk. […] Messina on öelnud: „Sõltumata vanusest võime veganitena eeldada, et meie kaastundliku toitumisviisi… See on oluline punkt, mida tasub alati meeles […]. I had a lousy diet for many many years. Stop eating the foods then are making your stomach turn inside out, like I did . People who eat vegan and vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease and a higher risk of stroke, a major study suggests. It doesn’t mean that vegans should start drinking milk to reduce their colon cancer risk, but it does mean that it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of this nutrient. It’s unfair when anyone dies of cancer at such a relatively young age, but especially so when they are doing all of the right things—Gibb didn’t drink alcohol either—that should protect against this disease. Vegan diets are linked to a 35% reduced risk of prostate cancer. I would venture a guess that not all vegans are eating healthy! He wrote that book in 2003….you should pick up the one he wrote in 2014, “The End of Dieting”. Nope–cancer rates have hardly changed since the introduction of GMO foods. They bring no benefit to this world whatswhoever! Have to wonder how much of the increase in cancer rates depends on the ability to detect it. I did write about this a little bit in Vegan for Her–in the chapter on depression and stress–because it’s such an important part of health. This is the reason that I try to avoid the word “vegan” in my clinic. Vegetarians are less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters, according to several newspapers. In fact, vegans — those who don't eat any animal products including fish, dairy or eggs — appeared to have the lowest rates of cancer of any diet. I certainly hope if I come down with something that people will not doubt my diet now and will acknowledge that all the remnants of the past may not have disappeared. A real, healthy, consciencious vegan diet – an ideal echological lifestyle, I should say – is not for everyone .We were not all born to be a Mozart, a Leonardo Da Vinci, An Einstein, of course. Sugar is vegan but still not the best thing to eat. One other note, we don’t know every morsel the late Robin Gibb ate or what he did not eat. When Vegans Get Cancer. I was wondering how Gibbs might have ended up with cancer. I appreciate your straight-forward writing style and your honest, kind tone. At any age, we vegans can expect that our compassionate diet has the added advantage of lowering our risk for certain diseases. I do believe that a plant-based, whole-foods, vegan diet offers good protection…but it’s not a guarantee and it’s definitely not a kooky “get-slim-fast” plan. At age 70, and a 40 year vegetarian and last 5 years a vegan, I have my first colonoscopy in 15 years tomorrow morning (the first was completely clear) after nursing a sick friend with terminal colon cancer. We all know that Steve Jobs (self-described vegan) died of pancreatic cancer but we don’t know what version of the vegan diet he followed. Ditto when vegan softserve hit the Twin Cities. Cancer rates have doubled since the release of GMOs into our food system. I know it is misleading when you read their headline: “many cancers continue to decline”, when in fact most continue to grow. There was a lot wrong with that Seralini rat study. Since there are vegans that do die of cancer, one would have to analyse every detail of their diet, environment and genetic background to find a possible cause. Cancer is not one disease, and there isn't one single cause. It is ironic that a person who has espoused vegetarianism will now undergo this procedure which I have, heretofore, thought of as necessary for those who take rotten care of themselves. Depending on where Gibb was getting his nutrition information, this might have been a factor, although there is very little research on this. It’s entirely possible that maintaining a vegan diet might minimize some cancers but it also might cause some others. Huge fan of the Bee Gees, and still heartbroken over the loss of Maurice years ago, and now Robin. Fred. I always keep that in mind when someone either trys to tell me that all my health issue will be cured by going vegan or someone winges about how veganism didn’t save them from X so they gave it up. Each trait should be evaluated individually. Can these diets help lower your cancer risk? I went vegan and experienced a big improvement in my health. I had no polyps or ‘iffy’ looking areas, but my father died of colon cancer, so I have to go in every 5 years instead of 10. I have not deluded myself since then about some special protection I might have. And that is what this post is about. Geeze, people are so fast to tell stories. Isn’t really the case that we are adrift in this willy nilly universe which has a seeming lack of order and uniformity. Thanks for this post, Ginny! For someone who used to think that a piece of meat+corn+potato=well rounded meal to suddenly understand how to balance their nutrition would take a real commitment on their part. Reading Steve Jobs’ autobio I’m struck by his faddy eating since an early age and then him suffering cancer. It appears to be mainly to do with our balance of omega 6 and omega 3 where they are both essential fatty acids but both compete for the same enzymes to function properly in our bodies. Being vegan it’s only a tiny tool in order to get healty but not the only one, and even then, i mean, you could be vegan and eat lot of crap. I’m gonna say yes after 37 years yes. He eventually concluded that it is animal protein that makes cancer cells grow and thrive. Robin Gibb was drinking and using drugs for years. Secondly,would like to ask. Then I discovered a lump and it’s cancerous. But regarding cancer rates, I was talking about incidence, not death from cancer. Some people just get them. 29 years of quasi vegetarianism: would not eating the fish have kept the PSA number lower? Incorrect. On the other hand, a vegan diet that includes processed and food-like products, GMOs, oils and especially sugars will not. Great article! I’ve been keeping up with the GMO topic so I think I can help. Have you ever wondered what causes this increase of cancer deaths? The greatest number of vegan cancer victims are usually in the rock music industry and are casualties of drug use, like Linda McCartney, whose veganism could not compete with years of smoking marijuana and subsequently succumbed to breast cancer. What was the book you recommended about vegan for women – did you write a book or is it on the blog. Today they said my liver looks suspicious. Certainly. Factors to weigh in….enviromental, chemical exposure during pregnancy. I seldom drink and don’t use drugs. However, what about all the chemicals we face each day in water, food and the air? Overall, colorectal cancer rates in AHS-2 were lower than the population at large and AHS-2 non-vegetarian eat very little meat (54.5 g/d or just 4.5 servings per week). So,don´t give up .Let´s trust the healing power of our own body, let´s trust Nature. My mom, aunt & both sisters had breast cancer, estrogen receptive and we were part of the original breast cancer gene studies. An important conversation to have. I can tell you I didn’t get a colonoscopy because I was vegan. Thanks for the great article. We were made to eat from the garden. How do we explain cultures that consume plenty animal and are not plagued by modern day issues we face in more developed countries? Plant-based meat covers 2% of all packaged meat options. as is the lycopene-rich pasta sauce i had with *processed* al dente pasta a few days ago. Today, as you may know, cancer is the second leading cause of death. The absolute risk of developing colon cancer for people following the Western diet is to 2.5%.15 Having one first-degree relative with colon cancer increases the risk to 4.7%, and with two relatives the risk becomes 9.6% (up to the age of 75).”. In the 2015 paper from EPIC-Oxford (19), there was no difference in all cancer mortality between vegetarians (including vegans) and regular meat-eaters (0.93, 0.82-1.05). Yes. If the results of the biopsy are not good, I will go to Australia a couple of years earlier than I had thought I would. We spoke to Lindsey Wohlford, MD Anderson Cancer Center employee dietitian. So far, none has been cancerous, but a few have come close. It’s important to keep in mind that feeding large amounts of isolated nutrients to animals doesn’t really predict what happens to humans eating actual food. In this 21st century of life with chemicals, it’s hard to avoid. And we can’t look at cancer rates over the past 100 years and pull out one or two changes in the environment and say that they are the cause. I carry four genes for colon cancer ad cancer is rampant in my family. Thanks for this comment, Sabine. So why then would some vegans get cancer? There are no guarantees in life. Maybe someday if the health insurance industry, Republicans and frightened misinformed TEA party members let us have National Healthcare this wouldn’t be an issue for you. © 2020 The Vegan RD. “So it’s never too late to start eating more healthfully” since plant food may affects enzymes that spread tumors???? Why does it worry me? On the internet. I havent yet studied your source study that supports the above..but I wanna ask you sth or tell you where do I find the confusion. I take b12 and calcium supplements (and others as recommended by Ginny and Jack). There you’ll find an extensive article and good reasons not to have a colonoscopy by Dr. McDougall. “bullet proof” thoughts can be harmful. Hi! Second, most other countries in the world have either banned GMOS, or require labeling, for a reason. Thank you! I for one, was doing it for probably 10 years. Good article thank you. A lot of people have read T. Colin Campbell’s book “The China Study” and read about how rats fed casein protein from dairy got cancer whereas when protein was reduced to less than 5% of calories the tumors shrunk. They’re having a joke, ok? Otherwise the statistics are skewed. The fact is, though, that cancer incidence is on the decline, so that doesn’t really make much of an argument regarding GMOs. It’s something that is well outside my area of expertise. In a pooled analysis that included 2246 vegans from the Oxford Vegetarian Study and EPIC-Oxford, the risk of developing any cancer was significantly reduced by … Thank you so much for this article. Anyway it’s not rocket science. 1:1 ratio is ideal but currently our modern diet is out of balance with too much Omega 6 at sometimes 10:1 or 20:1 or even greater mainly due to the current swamping of our foods and cooking with the modern scourge of processed vegetable oils which are very high in omega 6, with the exception of olive oil as in the Mediterranean diet. A little indiscretion on occasion is alright, only if you can handle it without it triggering a binge attitude. Vegan or not – there’s no way to monitor for organic, GMO and general quality of ingredients under those conditions. As one author (J. Morris Hicks) points out, the term “vegan” conjures up images of what people don’t eat (i.e., meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.). In this group of men, vegan diets were the only form of vegetarian diet linked with lower prostate cancer, and this association remained even after adjusting results of the analysis for weight. Vegans Get Less Cancer! Subjects were excluded if they had a prior diagnosis of cancer (except for non-melanoma skin cancer). We could easily say Organic food causes autism for example: http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2013/02/organic-food-causes-autism.html. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. That is why Fuhrman and Campbell refer to their diets as plant-based, or nutritarian. So think twice and don´t fall for the lies of the evil dairy industry. I think the idea that a vegan diet is “disease-proof” simply sets people up for failure and they may ultimately walk away from a vegan diet if it didn’t ‘work’. Exercise, meditation, counseling–there are lots of different things to try. Disco is all about people enjoying themselves and their lives. Not surprisingly, vegans, whose diets easily meet these requirements, are at the lowest risk for cancer. Inform yourself in independent, reliable sources on the internet, like this: http://www.naturalnews.com/031255_milk_health.html. Thanks Ginny, I am a counsellor myself I thought I got rid of all that stuff I know it;s work ongoing but it;s still there. Then there are some people who have a gene for cancer. It is very easy to get complacent when you feel you are doing things right. I once read somewhere that veganism is not a magic bullet. I still get angry when I read an article about preventing cancer. And It’s Easier than You Think, For World Vegan Day: 5 Things to Know About Veganism, On Privilege, Priorities, and Processed Foods in Vegan Diets. Lifestyle, diet and exercise can limit the chances of a transformed cell line establishing itself in the body, but a cell line will transform for its own reasons. My preference is to eat fresh local stuff so I can see where it comes from, whatever it is. Ginny, thank you so much for telling it like it is. His advice to his adult son upon learning of his terminal illness: see a doctor yearly and have a colonoscopy as directed by a physician. Many things have changed in our environment over that time and it’s a huge task to figure out which of them are related to cancer. If you like it, that’s your opinion. Key told the press that the results were interesting and suggest there “might be some reduction in cancers in vegetarians and fish-eaters and we need to look carefully at that,” according to a BBC report. People have lost “tons” of weight following his advice and also some have reversed serious health problems…. I know, except for fish. Many many scientific institutions have weighed in on it enough for a healthy consensus. But we should also be wary for another reaction that is quite common: when a vegan gets sick for whatever reason many people around them will automatically think that it has something to do with the veganism. Sabine, I’m not defending GMOs. Int J Cancer 2008;122:2057-61. If you are acidic and vegan, take another look at the non animal foods you are putting in your body. What I am trying to say is: To be a real Vegan is not for everyone Most vegetarians, even vegans, end up eating refined sugar, refined white flour, processed oils, and many, many other well known cancer cells promoters. “Cancer incidence in vegetarians: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC- Oxford).” Timothy J Key, Paul N Appleby, Elizabeth A Spencer, Ruth C Travis, Andrew W Roddam, and Naomi E Allen. Here’s what she had to say. Omega 6 causes inflammation which is necessary and omega 3 has a calming effect but these need to be in balance. My point is I think there is more to it than whether you eat meat or don’t eat meat. When he wrote it in 2003 I suppose the idea was more controversial and he tried harder to sell the idea so maybe to some it seems like snake oil or shopping channel. I need to lose another 50. http://sleuth4health.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/is-gm-food-safe-experts-around-the-globe-answer/. I have a friend who is a vegetarian and she has ice cream in huge amounts all of the time. It develops over decades, and there is evidence that it’s what you ate 20 or 30 and 40 years ago that matters the most, not what you are eating now. And – eating a great diet doesn’t remove any of us from the knee-deep cesspool of contaminants our species has created of our planet. We all know what that does to our bodies. I am certain this is because I am living in alignment with my beliefs. . You can be a raw foodist and still eat fish sushi or oysters and p this does not make you vegan. After my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer her older sister had many polyps removed and is now in her 80’s. If the cells begin to morph and spread, all the right food won’t make that much of a difference. The lower consumption of dairy, the lower the osteoporosis (together with other chronic diseases that milk and its derivatives cause). The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) may supply you with a whole list of international and independent studies that are credible, scientific and quite alarming. The raw foodists also remind people that vegan is good but it is not as good as raw vegan. Cancer rates (especially in children) are increasing at an alarming rate. “Robin’s twin brother, Maurice, died in 2003 from a twisted bowel.” Genetics can play a huge role in developing pre-cancerous colon polyps. Eating too much meat has been linked to cancer. They bully farmers, have increased our pesticide and herbicide use, we have now super bugs and super weeds, and they have not fed the starving! In addition whole brown rice cooked, tofu, nuts, coconut and olive oil, soy milk, or other vegetal milk. Should I call myself a semi-vegan? BPA in plastic and cans. (That’s especially true for things like heart disease and hypertension which are more sensitive to current dietary habits.). We eat a super-healthy diet with tons of veggies, lentils, etc. I had my first colposcopy 6 years ago. I remember a few years back when I was in his house, he used a lot of cooking oil in his food preparations. In fact, even in human studies (done in Europe) it is seen that the genes that are inserted into GM soy can transfer into the DNA of bacteria that lives inside of us, and cause long term problems, especially to women and their unborn children. For a detailed report on the subject go to http://www.drmcdougall.com, click on “search” and type in “colonoscopy”. And although it is impossible to know for sure, it is likely if my mother had a colonoscopy earlier she may still be alive today. B12 you get from supplements or multivitamins, Great as it is, (and I do eat more salads thanks to him), there is a “shopping channel” vibe to it that scares me a little. Thank you! In my case, it was genetic. The environment of vegetarians’ colons—the types of bacteria that live there, for example—is significantly different in ways that protect against cancer. Some vegans eat a lot of processed soy foods and many of these are made from GMO soy. And the gist of it was that we should all be eating a heavily plant-based diet filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. I also know vegans who don’t like vegetables. Dave – the French study with rats on GMO used the very same type of rats and test methods as Monsanto does for their 90 days studies. There are many factors for getting cancer but just because someone says they are vegan that does not mean that they ate healthy all of the time. We all want a sense of control over our future. Avoid sugar, oils and processed foods especially fake meats. Pay your money, take your chances. The researchers said their findings pointed to the need for more research in this area, especially given the rather surprising finding about higher colorectal cancer rates among the non meat eaters. I’m morally opposed to rape and torture, so I won’t ever rape or torture. Learn more about calorie deficits…. We have been exposed to cancer causing chemicals are whole lives, outside of what we are eating. Vegan eating is not a guarantee of escaping dreaded diseases, and many advocates try to promote veganism as a health plan. BTW glyphosate is actually a pretty benign pesticide when compared to their counterparts. “The overall cancer incidence rates of both the vegetarians and the nonvegetarians in this study are low compared with national rates.”. I do not know what percent of the American population follows a diet anything like what he recommends but I think it is less than five percent despite almost 75% being overweight or obese. A non issue. are all good. But the real point of my article is that even when we are eating and living as healthfully as we possibly can, it does not make us bullet-proof against cancer. Contrary to Dr John McDougall´s approach and instructions she adopted greens instead of grains, and reversed her cancer. Check out the site- thedoctorwithin.com If you asked me, It’s 1% of people who actually really care about the environment, and how they leave it for their children. I come to them prepared to ask questions based upon my knowledge of the information available to me (published study results). Although I am fine feel quite depressed. They have reported on a study which found that vegetarians are 45% less likely to develop cancer of the blood (such as leukaemias and lymphomas) and 12% less likely to develop cancer overall. Anytime some doctor suggests a procedure just ask if he’s had it. I haven’t eaten meat for 35 years, but I eat plenty of other things that vegans would disapprove of. I’ve only been vegan for months. Colonoscopic polypectomy and long-term prevention of colorectal-cancer deaths. As of 2018, the size of the global vegan food market was calculated to be worth $12.69 billion. Was there fluoride in their water, did they live in a toxic city, did they have vaccinations in their lifetime or take antibiotics?, the list goes on and on. All those plant enzymes that inhibit the Warburg effect like say Oelic acid on the skin of apple probably works best on the skin of the apple instead of inside our bodies. Calcium regulates cell growth in ways that are thought to lower risk for certain cancers. Although not a popular opinion among vegan activists, I agree With The Vegan RD. I’ve yet to meet a vegan who, when offered a goodie, turns it down due to just not eating/liking sugar. My fault for being a crappy vegan, however. According to the Center for Disease Control: Cancer rates in men is down by 0.6%. So, being a “real Vegan” doesn’t really have anything to do with eating perfectly; it’s not just a diet, it’s in how we live our lives. I stopped reading Eat To Live as well. Thanks so much for helping educate folks that cancer can come no matter what you do. Wish me luck tomorrow! We got a local shop that makes vegan donuts and everyone flipped out! I only get b12 from nutritional yeast but maybe I need to add a supplement. Mock meats and cheeses are GROSS. Early detection is critical! It can take decades before cancer is detected. What vegans DO eat is far more important. Why are you so upset just ‘cos a couple of people on the internet don’t like disco? Absolutely. I was just a stubborn idiot ! (another thing we have no longterm studies on are vegan diets BTW) I think it’s a shame that with the well established safety record of genetic modification some still insist on torturing poor animals in experiments. So it’s never too late to start eating more healthfully.”. 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