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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Watching Dr Oz 1/5/12: Stomach Cancer – Rates, Risks, Prevention, Supplements, Cheap and Easy Foods, Recipes

The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: January 5, 2012
The Cancer That is Eating You Alive: Stomach Cancer

  • Stomach cancer rates on the rise
  • Risk factors for stomach cancer
  • Foods to fight stomach cancer risks
  • Supplements to prevent cancer
  • Cheap and easy cancer fighters from the pantry
  • Three recipes utilizing pantry cancer fighters

It may be eating you alive and chance are you won't know it until it's too late. Dr. Oz explains that stomach cancer rates have been on the decline since the 1960's but starting in 1993 there has been a steady increase. What is causing this rise? What are the risk factors for stomach cancer? How can you support your body to reduce your risks?


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Starting in 1993, cancer rates in Caucasian have been on the rise. African and Latino populations have historically had the highest rates but that has changed.

Over one million deaths worldwide are attributed to stomach cancer and it often goes undetected until the cancer is in a late stage. The symptoms of stomach cancer mimic many other diseases and concerns making it harder to detect. Living with symptoms, that continue to worsen, for five years or more is, sadly, not uncommon.

Too often, the symptoms are diagnosed as irritable bowel or stress: vomiting, night sweats, pressure under the breast bone, trouble swallowing.

Audience member Diane shared that her grandmother had cancer and passed it along to six of her children who all died of the disease. To protect themselves, she and 12 other members of her family chose to have their healthy stomachs removed.

Back when he was in college, Dr. Oz says that medical students were taught that stomach cancer happened to older men who smoked and drank. Today, the picture of stomach cancer includes women along with men and a world ethnic diversity.

Peter Kozuch, MD, Medical Oncologist, says that cellular repair requires that the genes to be called into action on a frequent basis. Genetic mistakes happen during replication and as the repair cells are called into action more often these genetic mistakes are more likely to occur, the body cannot edit them out.

Robynne Chutkan, MD, Gastroenterologist, [Assistant Professor, Georgetown Hospital and Founder of the Digestive Center for Women] says that the diet, diet eating foods that can cause cancer, is a big culprit in the stomach cancer story. The bacteria H. Pylori also is on the increase at the same time that cancer rates are rising.

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer
  • Get full fast
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Bloating after meals

There are lots of things that can cause these symptoms so how do you tell the difference? Having indigestion doesn't mean you have stomach cancer. Dr. Chutkan says that stomach cancer can be a concern when there are multiple symptoms, the symptoms are severe, and the progression is rapid. She gave the example of nausea that causes loss of appetite along with rapid weight loss is cause to contact a gastroenterologist and have them look complete a scope of the stomach to check the health.

Dr. Oz explained that the stomach is on the left side of the body in the shape of a backward “C”. The stomach has five layers each with a difference function.

[Starting from the outer most, the five layers of the stomach are the serosa, subserosa, muscularis, submucosa and mucosa. Thanks for a listing of the layers. Dr. Oz went through these in hyper-speed mode. For a man who says he doesn't drink much caffeine he sure talks like a college student after drinking a gallon of espresso!]

When food enters the stomach the mucosa lining secretes mucus and digestive juices but when the bacteria H. Pylori has proliferated it stops the mucus from entering and doing it's job of protecting the tissue from the harmful acid which can breakdown the lining and allow cancer to move in.

Debbie, for the audience, shared that she experienced trouble swallowing food was told it was stress. She accepted that for a while until the nausea got worse and her stools turned into black tar. She went back to her doctor and demanded that he look further to find an answer. She was diagnosed with late stage stomach cancer.

Where did you find the confidence to keep pushing your doctor for more tests?
Debbie says that you have to be your own best advocate, you have to communicate with your doctor and tell them something isn't right, until they hear you. She says her doctor felt bad about the initial diagnosis of stress but went forward with testing to find the cause. The cancer is now dormant and she is well.

Dr. Oz showed a tissue sample of a stomach that was removed because of cancer. The five layer lining which is normally extremely thin had becomed thickened and tough. In this case, and in many cases, Dr. Oz explained, the spleen was removed to increase the chance of survival.

Stomach Cancer Risk Factors

Knowing your risk factors can help reduce the chances of contracting stomach cancer.

Stomach Cancer Risk #1: Processed, Cured and Smoked Meats
Meats such as deli cuts, hot dogs, bacon, and sausage are treated with chemicals, called nitrates, to process them. Nitrates are known to produce cancer producing substances. Dr. Chutkan says that there is no current federal regulations stating how much nitrate intake is too much. Small amounts can be handled and processed out of the body but how much is too much?

[Many health food stores will carry meats that are labeled to not contain nitrates. The meats are still processed and should be lower on the intake list but they can be a healthier option over meats containing nitrates.

Stomach Cancer Risk #2: Salty and Fermented Foods
Dr. Oz gave the example of soy sauce and beer in the fermented foods category. He says any fermented food can increase your stomach cancer risk. [Remember this statement for when we get to the next section about foods that reduce risk factors.]

Salt is found in more foods than most people realize. Salt damages the mucosa lining. People with a high risk for stomach cancer may take in as much as 9g of sodium per day. To compare, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than 5g sodium per day. Check your labels and be aware of how much salt you are really eating in a day.

Stomach Cancer Risk #3: H. Pylori Bacteria
H. Pylori is a bacteria that we know causes ulcers. Dr. Chutkan says that more than half of the population is infected with H. Pylori. This tiny bacteria causes chronic inflammation in the lining of stomach and burrows through the mucus layer allowing pepsin and acid to damage the inner layer of the stomach wall making a favorable environment for cancer

Stomach Cancer Risk #4: Family History
Those with a family history of breast cancer are also at risk for stomach cancer. There are specific genes for breast and ovarian cancer that are tumor suppressing genes. The body is designed to edit out unhealthy cells and these tumor suppressor genes are designed to edit out bad cells. If there is a defect in these suppressor genes, then the person is predisposed for genetic mistakes and at risk for damaged cells to proliferate

Diane, from earlier who chose to have her healthy stomach removed, says that living without a stomach has become a new normal for her. Chewing her food at least 25 times or the food comes back up, and eating six meals a day is her reality is she says it's living like you're supposed to be living.

When it comes to family history, people want to know how much risk that puts them in. Dr. Chutkan explained that only a small percentage of inherit stomach cancer from a relative, the number is 1-3%. If that family member was diagnosed with it before age 40 and if there have been multiple family members diagnosed with cancer then Dr. Chutkan says it's important to go see a genetic counselor who will try to look at genes from the person with the cancer diagnosis, compare them and determine if you have that gene. Having the same gene gives a person a 70-80% likely-hood of developing the cancer.

Foods That Fight Stomach Cancer

Dr. Oz says these foods go straight to the source and reduce risks for stomach cancer – by as much as 50%.

Neal Barnard, MD, Nutrition Researcher, joined Dr. Oz to recommend cancer fighting foods says that the more you put healthy foods to work for you, the more powerful it gets.

Citrus Fruits
Loaded with Vitamin C, all citrus fruits knock out free radicals that can damage DNA, the first step in cancer. Flavanoids, present in the peel or the zest, are also helpful to reduce cancer risks. Dr. Barnard recommends to shave some off some orange or lemon zest into your salad. He recommends eating at least one orange or tangerine per day. [You could also opt for grapefruit too.]

Sweet Potatoes and Carrots
The bright orange color in sweet potatoes and carrots is beta carotene that protects the food and protects you. Beta carotene sits in the cell membrane and protects the cell from possible cancers.
Caffeic acid, in both sweet potatoes and carrots, chokes out the blood supply to tumor cells. Dr. Barnard recommends eating a ½ cup of sweet potatoes per week and three carrots per week.

Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts contain the compound sulforaphane that inspires the liver to make enzymes that go about the system and remove. These enzymes can be produced and get to work within 24 hours. Collards and other greens and other greens also contain sulforaphane. Dr. Barnard recommends eating all of these green veggies with a spritz of lemon.

Garlic and Onions
Some people shy away from garlic and onions because of the smell they can leave behind on our breath. Garlic contains the compound allicin that is released once garlic is crushed. Dr. Barnard says don't cook the crushed garlic right away instead just wait 10 minutes. The entire allium family, including onions and leeks, cause a disruption of cancer cells. He recommends to eat eat a clove of garlic daily.

Three Supplements to Prevent Cancer

Prevention in a pill for the cancer that many fear most. Dr. Oz says these supplements can play an active role in reducing your risk of cancer.

Zinc – Breast Cancer
Zinc is essential for immune function and is needed when the body is having to continually repair damage to the DNA. Dr. Oz recommends taking 8mg of zinc daily as part of your multivitamin. Check the label of what you have at home to make sure your multivitamin is providing at least that much of zinc.

Calcium - Colon and Rectal Cancer
Low calcium levels hinders body functions. Having adequate amounts of calcium in the body can result with a 24% reduction in risk of colon and rectal cancers. Dr. Oz explained that calcium mops of fats that can stick to the colon wall making a ripe environment for cancer to grow. He recommends taking 600 mg of calcium along with 400mg of magnesium to prevent constipation, and take those amounts twice daily. As a side, he also recommended that the audience assistant take extra Vitamin D because of her dark skin. [No amount for Vitamin D was recommend but Dr. Oz has previously said on his show that he recommends 1000iu of Vitamin D daily.]

Omega-3 – Skin Cancer
Dr. Oz says that we can beat off skin cancer if we are aware. He says that we all have cancer cells in our body but, with the right tools the body can get rid of those cancer cells. Dr. Oz recommends 600mg daily of omega-3 to support the body to beat the cells.

Cheap and Easy Cancer Fighters

Will Clower, PhD, Nutritionist and found of Mediterranean Wellness, says that continually tell him that the healthy foods are expensive and take too long to prepare so he has put together three groups of foods to keep in the pantry that are inexpensive and easy to prepare.

Orange foods contain beta carotene which is a massive antioxidant that cleans up the garbage that accumulates in our body.

Canned Pumpkin and Butternut Squash
Both canned pumpkin and butternut squash contain potassium and beta carotene. Dr. Clower likes to prepare his butternut squash with a little stick of cinnamon, Parmesan cheese and crunchy bread. Breast cancer is the most well researched type of cancer reduction connected with orange food intake. He cautions not to use the supplement form but to go for the foods. Dr. Oz shared that pumpkin blocks cancer from spreading. Dr. Clower recommends eating ½ cup pumpkin or 1 cup butternut three times per week.

All red beans are high in antioxidants and in fact three of the top four antioxidants on planet earth are beans. In addition, says Dr. Clower, red beans have a chemical that causes caner cells to commit suicide. Beans are particularly supportive of the body when it comes to colon cancer and lung cancer. He recommends to eat one cup of red or pinto three times per week and says they can be added to chili, stew, or as a side dish with almost any meal.

Cruicferous Vegetables
You can't keep fresh veggies in your pantry! But you can keep sauerkraut in our pantry! Be sure to include in cruciferous vegetables in your 5-9 daily veggie servings. Dr. Clower says that fermented foods, all fermented foods, are good for preventing colon, prostate, and breast cancers.

[Remember in the previous section where Dr. Oz said that fermented foods can contribute to stomach cancer risks? When then is it recommended to reduce colon cancer risks. I'm confused! But I'm going to continue to eat fermented foods such as yogurt, miso and tamari!]

Dr. Clower says to eat fermented foods as often as you can get them as it's hard to get an upper limit. The biggest problem is that most people don't know how to eat fermented foods, us as sauerkraut, anymore. He recommends to add it to a sandwich where it provides crunch and acidity, on it's own as a side or with pork chops and lentils for inexpensive meal that is quick to prepare

Recipes From the Pantry Cancer Fighters

Dr. Oz challenged three viewers to use the recommended cancer fighting foods from the pantry in a quick and easy recipe. The best part, is these foods can be stored in the pantry and ready to go at any time.

Cancer Fighting Spicy Pumpkin Soup featuring canned pumpkin. It's a dump recipe where the ingredients are chopped, or opened, and dumped into the pot to cook. Quick, easy and delicious!

Cancer Fighting BBQ Beans and Pasta featuring pinto beans. This recipe started as a salad and morphed into a pasta dish that takes about 10 to 15 minutes to prepare. A nutritious meal that's easy to make. Rinse the beans to reduce the sodium.

Cancer Fighting Salad featuring the cruciferous vegetable sauerkraut.
This viewer's father created the salad as a way to incorporate more healthy foods into his diet after a diabetes diagnosis. He turned sauerkraut into a salad that can be served along side any main course dish for a colorful and healthy meal.

Place your vote for this week's quiz
and return on Saturday for the answer.

Thank you for making Watching Dr Oz a success!


  1. I'm confused: Stomach Cancer risk #2 is Fermented foods such as soy sauce, beer, pickles. But under pantry cancer fighters are Cruicferous vegetables such as sauwrkraut. What makes the difference in the Fermentation???
    Please explain! Thanks!

  2. It was indeed confusing watching the show and hearing the contridiction.

    My opinion is that sauerkraut also contains beneficial bacteria where soy sauce does not. On the other hand, Dr. Oz has recommended dark beer as a healthy drink, in moderation, and pickles as well on other shows but here he says to stay away.

    In the world of food there are many that are wonderful in moderation, for most people, but in any amount greater than moderation or within a specific medical condition become a detriment to health.

    It doesn't make sense to me to recommend a food on one show as benificial and then to say it's a risk factor on another without any qualification, destinction, or explaination.

    Personally, I'm happy to continue eating fermented foods such as yogurt, tamari/soy sauce, and miso.

    If someone has several risk factors for stomach or any other cancer, then working with a knowledgable a nutritionist, in addition to medical care, would be a huge resource. It could, then, make sense to cut out some foods that in general are seen as healthy but for a specific condition and circumstance doesn't work so well.

    Does that provide any help to you Lynda? Let me know if you have more questions!

  3. This blog is great source of information which is very useful for me. Thank you very much.