17 July 2012

Ian Gawler Blog: Multivitamins and cancer –

This week a very interesting piece of new research concerning multivitamins and breast cancer, and a little more of the travels, but first,

Thought for the day:

We believe nothing so firmly
 as what we least know
                                    Michael de Montaigne

Multivitamins improve some breast cancer outcomes 
– The Life After Cancer Epidemiology study.

Given how many people believe in and take multivitamins, it is a remarkable fact that little research has been published that scientifically investigates the relationship between multivitamin use and cancer outcomes.

Remarkable too, given this lack of research evidence, that many patients are told by oncologists that they are harmful, especially when taken with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. How do they know this? What is the evidence?

A new study, one of the first of its kind, provides some answers; answers that strongly suggest multivitamins may be helpful for women with early breast cancer, especially if they do have chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It also demonstrated that a healthy lifestyle extended survival.

In this study, 2,236 women diagnosed from 1997 to 2000 with early-stage breast cancer were questioned about their multivitamin use pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis.

Outcomes were then tracked yearly by self-report and verified by medical record review. The results were analysed, adjusting for socio-demographic, tumour, and lifestyle factors.

Overall, 54% of the women reported using multivitamins pre- diagnosis, and 72% of them post-diagnosis.

The use of multivitamins after diagnosis was not associated with any outcome – good or bad.

Persistent use of multivitamins before and after diagnosis was associated with a decreased risk of recurrence and total mortality that was not statistically significant.

However, protective associations from the multivitamins were found amongst those women who had been treated after initial surgery with radiation only, and both radiation and chemotherapy. To be clear, this research showed that multivitamins were not harmful, but actually improved outcomes when radiation or radiation and chemotherapy was given.

The research also demonstrated that women who consistently used multivitamins before and after diagnosis and ate more fruits and vegetables, as well as being more physically active had better overall survival.

The researchers concluded multivitamin use along with the practice of other health-promoting behaviours may be beneficial in improving breast cancer outcomes in select groups of survivors.

REF: Kwan ML et al, Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Nov;130(1):195-205. Epub 2011 May 11.

 2. Moscow is red.

We hear from the house sitter that the Yarra Valley continues to be cold and wet. Pardon me, but Russia’s weather was delightful – mid 20s and 5 minutes of rain in 2 weeks.

Who knew that in Russia, red means beautiful?

So the Red Square is the beautiful square. But it is next door to the Kremlin, which means fortress, and as we stroll across it like A-grade tourists, I cannot help thinking of James Bond and cold wars and Nikita Kruschev with his finger on the trigger of nuclear annihilation being stared down by JFK over the Cuban missile crisis.

It is a strange thing to be in this part of the world. The sun is shining. People are walking and talking. Children are laughing and playing. No obvious signs of revolutions past, of Stalin’s savage repression, of the communist regime’s days of power, or even of the Russian mafia and the move to democracy and a more capitalistic way of life. Just heaps of tourists, lots of work going into restoring things that interest tourists, incredibly clean streets, people getting on with their lives. As simple as that really.

And we walked through the Kremlin and across Red Square.

Then we did what so many of Russia’s Jews did – moved on to Israel.


 Israel workshops etc July 18 - 28

It will be a great pleasure to be back in Israel once more where I have been invited to make a variety of presentations. If you know anyone in Israel who may be interested, please forward the details.

i) Wednesday July 18th, 19:30-22:00, Evening Talk 
The Art of Living and Dying: contemplation, meditation and healing
Seminar Hakibutzim, Tel-Aviv
Sponsored by Tovana, Israel Insight Meditation Association

ii) Friday July 20th, 09:00-14:00, Master Class Workshop for Health Professionals 
An Integrative Approach for Major Illness - Applications of Meditation and Mind-Body Principles
Rabin Medical Center
Sponsored by the Integrative Medicine Department, Davidoff Cancer Center, Beilinson Hospital

iii) Friday July 27th, 09:00-16:00,One Day Workshop for the General Public
Health, Healing and Well-being: the Healing Power of the Mind
Beit Rishonim, Bitan Aharon
Sponsored by Taatzumot Association

iv) By Invitation Only:

Wednesday July 18th, 16:00-18:30: A meeting with leading Dharma teachers.

Saturday July 28, 19:00-22:00: An evening with leading integrative therapists and physicians.

For more information or registration:

Dr. Nimrod Sheinman, 0544-797466, nimush@zahav.net.il


Just give me the facts

Eating for recovery

Recovery from cancer is possible

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