I have always loved dogs and always will. October is National Adopt a Dog Month sponsored by the American Humane Society, so what better time to talk about how dogs can help your health. I grew up with dogDogs give us love. Proven scientifically although I don’t know why they spent the research money, I could have told them that
Its adopt a dog month. Go out and save a life. For every dog you save you save 2or 3 dogs. The one you adopted and if you adopted from a rescue organization you opened up a spot there for them to take in another dog from a shelter- which opens up a spot at the shelter. So 3 dogs saved. Oh, and don’t forget about adopting a cat.s. My first dog as a child was “Candy” a tough little cocker spaniel. She was a sweet, ornery little thing. My most vivid memory of her was coming home to find my Italian grandmother stuck in our recliner unable to get out of the recliner because Candy decided she didn’t want her to. Every time my little grandmother tried to get out of the chair it was a battle of wills- a snippy little cocker spaniel and an equally snippy little Sicilian Grandma. Candy won. Great memories.
Since that time, I have had many dogs who have lived long and wonderful lives. Most have been rescues. I recently looked at the statistics for euthanasia of shelter dogs over the last few decades and was pleasantly surprised to see that fewer dogs are being euthanized due to the efforts of shelters, rescue groups and heightened public awareness. I currently have two rescue Siberian Huskies. I never expected to own one Husky, let alone two, but what wonderful dogs. They both have interesting stories of abandonment and abuse, as most rescues do, but it never ceases to amaze me how they have adjusted and enhanced my life seemingly forgetting their past.
What can dogs do for you and your health and cancer?
- Dogs can smell cancer. This doesn’t surprise me as their sense of smell is so much greater than ours. This has been proven scientifically and is currently being researched as to how to benefit patients
- Dogs can give us companionship. This is very important on the dark days that we all have. They can lift depression and give us hope and the will to live.
- Dogs have health benefits like lowering our blood pressure
- Dogs provide endless entertainment and love.
- Dogs give us purpose.
- They provide exercise. You need to walk them. Take care of them. Throw a ball for them. All of this uses calories and provides exercise. Exercise is very important to fight cancer.
- Dogs give us love. Proven scientifically although I don’t know why they spent the research money, I could have told them that.
Its adopt a dog month. Go out and save a life. For every dog you save you save 2or 3 dogs. The one you adopted and if you adopted from a rescue organization you opened up a spot there for them to take in another dog from a shelter- which opens up a spot at the shelter. So 3 dogs saved. Oh, and don’t forget about adopting a cat.
Cancer. What a horrible word. It is one we all dread hearing. It is one, as a physician, we all hate saying. The word itself is not a death sentence even though at first sound it may appear to be. After you have had the diagnosis, after you have decided on a treatment course and after you have had a big cry. What can you do to help improve your survival odds?
There are many things you can do to be proactive. Many of these things are lifestyle changes and these are often not what we want to hear but are based on science. We all wish we could do what we want, eat what we want and remain healthy. But health requires work and so does improving your odds against cancer. MIND, BODY, SPIRIT.
MIND (set) is important. I have read skeptics who have said that cancer cells don’t hear meditation and prayer, but your body does. If you can get into a more relaxed state your body responds. If you are upset living without sleep-your body responds with various stress hormones. As difficult as it may be at this time in your life your need to regroup gather all of your strength for the fight ahead. Your family and friends all want to help you. Let them know what you need. A shoulder to cry on, prayers or someone to go to a movie with.
A good friend of mine is a psychologist and gave me the best advice, which I have shared with my patients over the years. When you are stressed get out of the house. Do something. Go for a walk. Go to the mall Just get out of the house. See a comedy. Laugh. The sillier, the better. And whatever you do NEVER I mean NEVER listen to Country and Western music. Nothing good can come from listening to some poor fool who is singing about having his pickup truck being repossessed, losing the woman of his dreams and his dog all in the same day.
BODY, Okay, here comes the lifestyle changes nobody likes. They are based on science so don’t scoff. We all know we need to do these things but it REALLY matters if you have cancer. It can definitely improve your odds of survival.
- Maintain a good body weight. Studies have shown being overweight increases your chances of developing many cancers. Having excess fat means your estrogen levels will be increased. Some breast cancers are fueled by estrogen.
- Eat a low-fat diet. Fat can convert to hormones. We want to decrease this as much as possible
- Exercise- even a walk around the block helps. Start slowly then increase in intensity. Exercise decreases your hormone levels.
- STOP SMOKING, need I say more.
- Take vitamin supplement. A study run by the US government showed that on average 41.6% of American are deficient on vitamin D. If you are dark skinned it is even worse since darker skinned people cannot absorb UVB light as well which means less Vitamin D.82.2% of African American are deficient of vitamin D and 69.2% of Hispanics. It doesn’t matter what ethnic group you belong to if you have a darker complexion then you have a higher incidence of deficiency.
- 107 countries participated in a study looking at how close the country was to the equator, less UVB light and lower vitamin D levels, and the incidence in breast cancer. It was demonstrated that the farther away from the equator the country was (lower vitamin D levels) the higher the incidence of breast cancer.
- Curcumin has been shown to have anti-tumor properties such as cell inhibition and apoptosis.
Many studies have shown that breast cancer patients with higher levels of vitamin D have a higher survival rate.
- British Journal of Cancer 2014 analyzed 30 prospective studies and found high blood levels of vitamin D were associated with a decrease risk of cancer mortality.
- Roswell Park Cancer Institute studied over 1,000 premenopausal women and found that higher levels of vitamin D decreased the odds of having triple negative breast cancer (an aggressive form of breast cancer) by 64%
- A meta-analysis published in Anticancer Research Journal 2014 showed the highest levels of vitamin D compared to the lowest levels of Vitamin D had HALF the death rate from their cancer.
SPIRIT, I truly believe we all have a spirit and this will help you through the challenges ahead. I have seen this over and over in my practice. I have witnessed people who survived but should not have. I have no medical reason for them to be alive but they are. I have seen such heartbreaking tragedy that I could not wait to get to my car to scream. But through it all there was such strength and love that I could not imagine a world with people not having a spirit. You can believe in a Higher Being or not, and you can believe that we have a spirit or not, but I chose to.
I have co-founded The Ola Kino Company, which developed Covitale-7, to help my patients with their fight against cancer and to decrease the incidence of cancer. Its ingredients are supported by hundreds of research papers, so I highly recommend it. Even if you chose not to use our product, the above recommendations will help you with your battle with breast cancer and I wish you all the best in your life.