Beating Cancer

cancer cellAge-old wisdom tells us to eat a high plant diet, meats from the wild or pastured, be active every day, limit alcohol consumption, and avoid the health risks of obesity and metabolic syndrome. A cancer diagnosis is not too late; starting these habits helps prevent and makes treatment more effective.
But age-old wisdom never needed to address sugar. Our ancestors rarely ran across a honey hive, running tree sap, and never thought of corn-stalks as sweet. But now sugar’s on every corner and added to every box to the tune of 150 pounds consumed each person, every year.

If you have cancer or disease, you need to remove ALL added sugars, NOW!

And the rest of should also. Incorporate as many of these steps as you can:

Get some sun & eat cold-water fish: Vitamin D regulates the cell’s ability to break down and recycle dysfunctional or unused parts (a process called autophagy) (Tavera-Mendoza, 2017). Analyzing data from nearly 27,000 individuals across a decade, the farther serum 25[OH]D (prohormone vitamin D that the liver makes from D3) drops below 50 nmol/L, the greater risk of getting cancer, having more advanced cancers, larger cancers, metastatic cancers, having a treated cancer come back, dying from cancer, and also dying from cardiovascular problems. People with very high D, serum values above 125 nmol/L had similar good health to those approaching the 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL) healthy range (Gaksch 2017).

Promote a positive outlook:
Have a good belly laugh, get some “just for me” time, take a nap, watch a funny movie, meditate, spend time with loved ones, touch and be touched. These all immediately increase natural killer cell activity—part of your body’s ability to fight cancer and infected cells (Hayashi 2007).

Reduce inflammation: This is a big one! Cancer cells form, divide and metastasize in a chronically inflamed body. The healthy body has the ability to recognize and eradicate sick, dying, or altered cells.

Choose your food: That perfect, pristine, no nonsense kind of diet–high in vegetables with some fruits, clean poultry and wild fish lowers risk of cancer or recurrence of cancer by about 30%.

What about red meat? Studies linking red meat with cancer evaluated commercial, grain-fed meat. Grass-fed beef is high in anti-inflammatory fats, precursors for Vitamin A and E, cancer fighting antioxidants, and simply not the problem (Daley 2010). Why? Ruminant stomachs are designed to make grass into nutrients; when fed grains they become inflamed and loaded with pathogenic bacteria which shed toxins into the meat and milk of grain-fed or grain-finished cows (Zhang 2016). When you eat or drink those anti-foods, your body thinks it is under attack (inflammation) and the rBGH and estrogens often given commercial cows stimulate cancer growth. In fact, the role of dietary fat in aggressive cancers—untainted by fat-stored hormones and toxic chemicals—remains unclear.

Lose weight in a healthy fashion: Improve natural killer cell activity (Bähr 2017). The perfect cancer host is obese (inflamed), living on packaged foods (so-called healthy or not), and using popular skin care products (that often contain estrogen-like chemicals). Maintain or return to a healthy weight to reduce cancer risk.

Excessive weight, weight gain or obesity is responsible for one of every five diagnoses of cancer in the US (Bähr 2017). Central (around the waist) obesity increases the risk of dying from “breast cancer” by 34% and is a source of excess estrogen that fuels many cancers (Amadou 2013).

Get and stay active: regular physical activity greatly reduces the risk of dying from all cancer types. Risk of breast cancer decreased by 3% for each 4 h/week spent walking at 2 miles/h or 1 h/week spent jogging at 10 minute miles. Risk decreased 5% for more vigorous exercise (Wu 2013). Both low intensity, longer duration and high intensity physical activity can lengthen lives and quality of life by protecting from all causes of illness and death (Kopperstad 2017).

Sleep: Sleep too little (under 7 hours per night) or too much (more than 10 hours regularly) is associated with higher risk of death from all causes (Collins 2017). Individuals who habitually sleep less than 6 hours nightly have a 62% greater risk of dying from cancer than those who snooze at least 7 hours each night.

Balance your blood sugar by correcting your diet: Both high blood sugar levels and high insulin levels (given to “correct” high blood sugar in diabetics) provide a selective advantage for the growth of cancer cells (Amadou 2013).

Restore health to your thyroid rather than take thyroid hormone medications: While hypothyroid individuals do have greater risk of cancer, thyroid hormone treatment increases cancer cell division, migration, and invasion and reduces the chances of beating cancer (Sarosiek 2016).

Alcohol is a carcinogen. Even moderate amounts of alcohol increased gastric cancer risk (Ma 2017). Although 1-2 glasses of wine may be cancer and cardiac-protective, the more a person drinks all other alcoholic beverages, the higher the risk for breast and pancreatic cancers (Brennan 2010) possibly because alcohol blocks liver function including removing excess estrogen.

Reduce your risk and even reduce early stage cancer with nutrient-dense foods and whole foods supplements:

Supplements? Micronutrients in supplement form have very different effects depending on source, chemical form, dosage, combination with other nutrients, etc. The reason supplement studies show mixed results is they largely test one individual synthetic product. Vitamins and minerals do not work individually in the body; in their natural food form they are synergistic complexes. This is often confused both by the synthetic manufacturing companies as well as by researchers who use isolated compounds in their studies.

The best cancer-fighting foods include:

“Detoxifiers” cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress…

“Sulphurs” garlic, onions, leeks, shallots

“Reds” Peppers and tomatoes with powerful anti-oxidants

“Phyto-colors” Berries: (unsweetened) cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries; Roots: beets, radishes; Fruits: green apples

“Yellows” with carotenoids: acorn squash, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, yams

“Fats” Extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed flaxseed oil, fish and butter from pastured cows are anti-inflammatory

Mushrooms: Turkey tail, Maitake, Chaga, and Reishi boost the immune system synergistic with chemotherapy

Green tea interferes with every step of carcinogenesis. Five cups per day provides polyphenols as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories


Amadou, A., Hainaut, P., & Romieu, I. (2013). Role of Obesity in the Risk of Breast Cancer: Lessons from Anthropometry. Journal of Oncology, 2013, 906495.

Bähr, I., Goritz, V., Doberstein, H., Hiller, G. G. R., Rosenstock, P., Jahn, J., … Kielstein, H. (2017). Diet-Induced Obesity Is Associated with an Impaired NK Cell Function and an Increased Colon Cancer Incidence. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2017, 4297025.

Brennan, S. F., Cantwell, M. M., Cardwell, C. R., Velentzis, L. S., & Woodside, J. V. (2010) Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91(5), 1294-1302

Collins K.P., Geller D.A., Antoni M., Donnell D.M., Tsung A., Marsh J.W., … Steele, J.L. (2017) Sleep duration is associated with survival in advanced cancer patients. Sleep Medicine. 32, 208-212. Epub 2017 Jan 20.

Daley, C. A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9, 10.

Gaksch, M., Jorde, R., Grimnes, G., Joakimsen, R., Schirmer, H., Wilsgaard, T., … Pilz, S. (2017). Vitamin D and mortality: Individual participant data meta-analysis of standardized 25-hydroxyvitamin D in 26916 individuals from a European consortium. PLoS ONE, 12(2), e0170791.

Grundy, A., Poirier, A. E., Khandwala, F., McFadden, A., Friedenreich, C. M., & Brenner, D. R. (2016). Cancer incidence attributable to red and processed meat consumption in Alberta in 2012. CMAJ Open, 4(4), E768–E775.

Hayashi, T., Tsujii, S., Iburi, T., Tamanaha, T., Yamagami, K., Ishibashi, R., … Murakami, K. (2007) Laughter up-regulates the genes related to NK cell activity in diabetes. Biomedical Research, 28, 281-285.

Kopperstad Ø, Skogen JC, Sivertsen B, Tell GS, Sæther SMM (2017) Physical activity is independently associated with reduced mortality: 15-years follow-up of the Hordaland Health Study (HUSK). PLoS ONE, 12(3): e0172932.

Ma, K., Baloch, Z., He, T.-T., & Xia, X. (2017). Alcohol Consumption and Gastric Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis. Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research, 23, 238–246.

Sarosiek, K., Gandhi, A. V., Saxena, S., Kang, C. Y., Chipitsyna, G. I., Yeo, C. J., & Arafat, H. A. (2016). Hypothyroidism in Pancreatic Cancer: Role of Exogenous Thyroid Hormone in Tumor Invasion—Preliminary Observations. Journal of Thyroid Research, 2016, 2454989.

Tavera-Mendoza, L. E., Westerling, T., Libby, E., Marusyk, A., Cato, L., Cassani, R., … Brown, M. (2017). Vitamin D receptor regulates autophagy in the normal mammary gland and in luminal breast cancer cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(11), E2186–E2194

World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Washington DC: AICR, 2007

Wu, Y., Zhang, D. & Kang, S. (2013) Physical activity and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 137(3), 869–882.

Zhang, K., Chang, G., Xu, T., Xu, L., Guo, J., Jin, D., & Shen, X. (2016). Lipopolysaccharide derived from the digestive tract activates inflammatory gene expression and inhibits casein synthesis in the mammary glands of lactating dairy cows. Oncotarget, 7(9), 9652–9665.

Marie Sternquist

Marie Sternquist, MS CHHC is a graduate of the University of Colorado, with 30 years of health-related clinical research published peer-reviewed medical journals, Marie's interests lie in how chemical and metal toxicities affect our health, hormones and immune function—and how to heal these problems with whole foods. In 2014, Marie completed the Health Coach program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied 100’s of dietary theories with an emphasis on developing step-by-step nutritional programs and is currently working on her Nutritionist certification through the Masters in Functional Nutrition program and the University of Western States. Marie’s signature nutrition programs have helped thousands of people just like you regain health and quality of life. In 2016, Marie Sternquist completed her Advanced Level in Nutrition Response Testing®, joining her husband Dr. Greg Sternquist as an advanced clinician. Marie is also a wilderness explorer, skier, photographer and mom. Visit her at and

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