June 9, 2012

Treatment pie

I'm fairly open about my cancer and its treatment, but one aspect of my treatment that I have tended to keep to myself is the nutritional and psychological changes I have made as a result of getting cancer. I've hinted a few times at providing a list of 'What to do' but I am uncomfortable doing this.

The aim of this blog

I mainly use this blog to communicate the science of colorectal cancer and treatment (despite the fact that posts related to the heart side of things attract the highest number of views). This is the void in cancer communication that I am hoping to fill.

Why patients do the things we do

I'm into evidence-based treatments and the use of science as a tool for knowing things. Cancer hasn't changed this, but having stage three bowel cancer did force me to look at a wider range of therapies than I had considered in the past. And I deviated from my normal decision-making framework and adopted therapies that don't lend themselves to being evaluated clinically. I called these choices Leaps of Faith, in the sense that it was my faith in the treatment that mattered. This faith stemmed from my need to tackle many different parts of my life simultaneously. It was me vs my tumour, and the stakes were high.

No two pies are the same

Given the personal and individual nature of dealing with cancer, I have never dumped my therapeutic choices onto others. I have a concept of a cancer treatment pie - where each slice is a different therapy, way of thinking or tool. Each person needs to bake their own pie and for this reason I'm not going to use the blog to promote the lifestyle choices or therapies that made up my pie.

What I can say is that there is very good, and generalizable, evidence that the following increase your risk of colorectal cancer (above and beyond age that is):

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Processed meats or a diet high in meat
  • A diet high in animal fats

For more information see what Bowel Cancer Australia has to say about preventing colorectal cancer.

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