Category Archives: Cancer

WHO: Red Meat, especially Processed Meat Causes Cancer

Although I believe the findings in the WHO report the conclusion of the WHO that eating processed meat, and even eating meat at all, causes cancer this information adds very little to my reasons not to eat meat.

Some of you may recall from a prior post that I chose to eat a plant based diet about the beginning of 2015.  So far I’m enjoying this choice, and finding I feel fine, like the food, and don’t feel deprived.  I believe that this dietary choice improves my odds of maintaining my health. I also feel good that I’m making a choice that supports my values on environmentalism.

My wife, my son and his girl friend made a date to watch a documentary called Cowspiracy tonight. It’s available on Netflix.   Making today an especially auspicious day I learned this morning listening to NPR about the WHO report stating their position that data concludes that eating processed meat (think bacon, pepperoni, sausage, hotdogs, etc) causes colorectal cancer, and that that red meat probably causes cancer. This is based primarily on a report of a comprehensive review of the world literature by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This is an important conclusion because colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

I’ve perused the comments of many friends, acquaintances  and others to this report.  Most are angrily defiant or defensive.  “Everything causes cancer.”  “God put animals on earth for us to eat.”  …  A few years ago I too would likely just buried my head in the sand and ignored this report.  Honestly in the large scheme of issues facing the worlds populace cancer caused by eating meat is not high on my list of concerns.  Unfortunately other issues related to eating meat are much nearer the top of my list.

The health consequences directly and indirectly related to animal husbandry really concern me.  About 1/3 of the ice free land on earth is dedicated to grazing or growing feed for livestock.  (per United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization).  Dead zones in our oceans are primarily caused by runoff from animal husbandry according to a Scientific American report.   Methane production from cattle may be a larger cause of global warming than energy production and use by humans.  Personally I find it much easier to eat a vegan diet than it would be to stop driving my car, heating my house and turning on my lights. I may be having a larger positive   environmental impact by a personal diet change than I could possibly have from limiting my energy consumption. For me this is a strong incentive to stay on a plant based diet.

I encourage readers to watch the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix or whatever other source is convenient and leave comments here about how they feel after watching.

The Mammograms or Not in Women 40-49 Controversy

As usual Dr. Kenny Lin, a former USPSTF member and prolific writer of “common sense” articles writes on how emotions rule rather than evidence and data when it comes to how people feel about breast cancer Check out his article: Countering the too neat narrative on screening mammography. Here are a couple of snippets for… Continue Reading

Personal Experience on a High Plant Based-Low Fat Diet

This post is unlike any I’ve put up over the years of DrPullen.com  It is largely anecdote and not based on enough hard data that I will convince my physician friends.  Intrigued?  Read on. My son Brett has been on a journey with his diet and health over the last few years.  He has become… Continue Reading

USPSTF “Strong” Recommendations for Preventative Services.

This article is the second in a series on the USPSTF recommendations to health care providers and U.S. residents on recommendations for preventative care services.  The previous article listed 16 “D” recommendations, i.e. things you should not do in an attempt to prevent health problems.  In that article I selected the most relevant “D”: recommendations,… Continue Reading

Cancer Care: Redefining the Best We Can Do

Sometimes it seems like in cancer care the lag between bench science breakthroughs and clinical care is painfully long.  In addition information on the latest therapeutic modalities is fragmented and proprietary between competing research and clinical centers of excellence.  It can seem nearly impossible for a patient or a practicing oncologist to both be informed… Continue Reading

Still Taking Turmeric Extract Curcumin C3 Complex

I posted a little over 3 months ago in a post called First Hand Anecdotal Evidence about the hopeful improvement in the level of CA-125, the tumor marker for my wife Kay’s ovarian cancer tumor marker, after she had started taking Turmeric Extract Curcumon C3.   She decided to start taking this at the recommendation of… Continue Reading

Watchful Waiting: Not just a Prostate Cancer Option

Watchful waiting has become a term often thougt of as an alternative to surgery, radiation, or other interventions for early stage prostate cancer. Watchful waiting is actually a viable option for many other conditions too. Most Mom’s know that tincture of time with watchful waiting lets their children have the opportunity to recover without intervention… Continue Reading

Angelina Jolie and Celebrity Health Advocacy

This week’s celebrity health health advocacy headlines have been dominated by the sensational NY Times article by Angelina Jolie going public after her prophylactic double mastectomy and her BRCA1 gene mutation.  When famous people are forced to deal with difficult medical decisions, as Ms. Jolie certainly had to face, their decisions and consequences are influential… Continue Reading