Anne Mercer Larson
June 3, 2016.
Updated May 31, 2017; June 1, 2018.
Amazingly, there are almost 15.5 million of us now in the United States who have survived some type of cancer. I am one, are you?
That fact is both a celebration and a challenge!
The rates of new cancer cases are decreasing in men and staying about the same in women, says the report. Currently, the number of new cancer cases for every 100,000 people is 437, according to the CDC. This data set also lists the top 10 cancers by new cases and by cancer deaths.
The good news is that the number of cancer survivors is growing. This is partially due to a growing and aging population, but improved treatments and earlier detection are all helping people to live longer.
By 2026, that number will grow to more than 20 million—including everyone who’s ever had cancer from the time of diagnosis for the rest of their life—according to estimates in a new report, “Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures 2016-2017,” developed in collaboration by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Cancer Institute. Both the report and an accompanying journal article in ACS’s CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians were released June 2, 2016.
We are like veterans of a war…
The report also stresses what I’ve learned personally, life after cancer is often not the same. What special challenges do we face after treatment? In some respects, we are like veterans who come home from one or more tours of duty fighting an enemy. We have employed every bit of weaponry in the traditional health care arsenal: surgical strikes, chemical warfare, radiation, and now increasingly, complimentary and integrative care methods.
But, like any war veteran, we suffer post-war physical and mental challenges. The war may be over for now, but we worry about being redeployed. Our bodies are not the same. Some of us are missing body parts we depended upon or were very fond of! All of us are on higher alert for infections that plague people who have endured multiple attacks on our microbiome from antibiotics, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal treatments, and extreme stress.
Improve Your Health, Improve Your Survival
One major change is that these treatments weaken your immune system, according to the CDC, Improving Cancer Survivor’s Physical Health. If we had chemotherapy, we are more likely to get infections, including bacterial infections, through everyday activities or from health care settings. And the infection is often serious enough to require a hospital visit for one in 10 cancer survivors who receive chemotherapy.
“One major change is that these treatments weaken your immune system. Cancer survivors who are treated with chemotherapy are more likely to get infections, such as bacterial infections, through everyday activities or from health care settings.” CDC, Improving Cancer Survivor’s Physical Health
A few simple steps can lower the risk for infection, according to the CDC—daily bathing, brushing your teeth several times a day, and avoiding cuts and scrapes where possible are a good start.
Especially critical is eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Your war-torn gut needs reconstruction! Did you know that over 70% of your entire immune system resides in the wall of the colon and is intimately tied to the type of bacteria in the colon? That means a plant-based diet—minus sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats—is a great way to build up the beneficial bacteria that boost the immune system and reduce cancer risk.
In a recent study in JAMA Oncology, 992 colon cancer patients who followed the ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention (commonly called the ACS guidelines) had 42% lower risk of death during the study period—and a higher 5-year survival rate.
Equally compelling are the results from a study examining cancer-preventing health behaviors in 65,838 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Researchers found women who followed the ACS’s nutritional and physical activity cancer prevention guidelines had a lower risk of total, breast, and colorectal cancers and lower cancer-specific mortality—specifically a 17% lower risk of any cancer, 22% lower risk of breast cancer, 52% lower risk of colorectal cancer, 27% lower risk of all-cause mortality, and 20% lower risk of cancer-specific mortality.
It’s never too late!
“Pay attention to the things that make you feel good and try to repeat them!” — Dr. Judith Mercer Shrider, 1936-1996
Did I strictly follow the ACS’s cancer prevention guidelines? Honestly, no. How about you, are you watching your diet and exercising if you are a cancer survivor or want to decrease your risk for cancer?
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is never too late! The better I eat, the better I feel. The better I feel, the nicer I am to be around, and the more productive I am in my work. The healthier I am, the more resistant I become to unwanted bacteria, viruses, and fungal assaults. What an amazing discovery!
Prebiotin has become my go-to supplement. After my treatment, I realized I so needed to rebalance my gut, which was totally dysfunctional due to chemotherapy, antibiotics, and improper nutrition. I did my research and learned that taking probiotics alone was not the answer. Although beneficial, probiotics are fragile and can easily be killed by stomach acid, time, and heat.
I eventually found Prebiotin, which I purchased and used. In a few weeks, I noticed I felt better. As promised, the prebiotic fiber in Prebiotin was helping to feed the good bacteria in my gut, which helped to shift the balance in my microbiome. The number of beneficial bacteria colonies were increasing, while the growth of “bad” bacteria was being suppressed. I was so impressed with the change in my health that I eventually joined the company.
A full-spectrum fiber made from chicory root, Prebiotin is the #1 most medically researched and trusted doctor recommended prebiotic formula for digestive health. The prebiotic fibers in Prebiotin, oligofructose-enriched inulin, or OEI, are proven to stimulate good bacteria growth throughout the entire colon, not just one side. War is never fought on just one front.
As I often point out to friends and family, prebiotics don’t actually “kill” bad bacteria. They simply help good bacteria repopulate your war-torn gut, crowding out the bad invaders.
Go from Surviving to Thriving!!!!
For a lifetime of great gut health…Just Feed It!™ with Prebiotin
Are you one? If you have a health experience as a Cancer Survivor, caregiver, family or friend of a survivor that you would like to share with us, please go to our Contact page and tell us your story.
For more about my personal cancer journey and those of others, visit Joan Lunden’s site, Stories of Courage:
Anne Mercer Larson is the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Marketing & Public Relations for Prebiotin… Even before becoming a survivor herself, Anne consulted with physicians and hospitals and a premier producer of award-winning cancer videos and books on the development of cancer marketing strategies. She authored two peer-reviewed articles, one in Cancer Management Journal which was also included in the International version, and another for California Hospitals Magazine.
As a consultant Anne volunteered, assisting with the initial strategic planning for the Orange County Breast Cancer Partnership, facilitating the initial planning meeting of county medical and social service providers, to provide breast cancer screening for the under-served. Anne also served as Publicity Chair for the Orange County 1995 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Anne helped increase registrants from 7,500 to 12,000. She holds a B.A. and a Masters in Organizational Behavior. For more about Anne and other team members, click on Prebiotin’s About Us page.
American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute. Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures 2016-2017. June 2, 2016.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Hereditary cancer risks: How information can open up opportunities. CTCA, April 24, 2018.
CDC: Improving Cancer Survivors’ Physical Health. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/survivorship/basic_info/survivors/index.htm
Rock CL, Doyle C, Demark-Wahnefried W, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012 Jul-Aug;62(4):243-74. doi: 10.3322/caac.21142. Epub 2012 Apr 26.
Sawyer, Abigail. Can a high-fiber diet lead to a better immunotherapy response? 1 Mar 2019. Accessed April, 2019. https://www.biotechniques.com/cancer-research/can-a-high-fiber-diet-lead-to-a-better-immunotherapy-response/
Social Security Association blog. Social Security Supports National Cancer Survivors Day. June 5, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2016.
Thompson CA, McCullough ML, Wertheim BC, et al. Nutrition and Physical Activity Cancer Prevention Guidelines, Cancer Risk, and Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014;7(1):42-53. DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0258 Published January 2014.
Van Blarigan EL, Fuchs CS, et al. Association of Survival With Adherence to the American Cancer Society Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors After Colon Cancer Diagnosis The CALGB 89803/Alliance Trial. JAMA Oncol. Published online April 12, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.0126.
Additional List of Cancer Resources:
Related Pages on Prebiotin.com website:
Why Prebiotics Might Help During & After Cancer Treatment, Prebiotin.com, October 19, 2016
Breast Cancer Awareness & The Gut Microbiome: Fight Back With Food! Prebiotin.com, October 19, 2016
Military Gut Microbiome: Unique and Universal, Prebiotin.com, April 18, 2017