The McDougall Newsletter
A six-to-eight page bi-monthly publication containing up-to-date and timely health-related information as well as some tasty McDougall Recipes. The cost is: $20.00 per year. Or $3.25 per single copy. The cost outside the U.S.A. is $24.00 per year. Send orders to: The McDougalls, P.O. Box 14039, Santa Rosa, CA 95402. Or call the McDougall Offices at 707-576-1654.

Below is an excerpt of one of the Articles from the May / June, 1997 issue of "The McDougall Newsletter" as well as a Recipe for Frozen Banana Smoothies We will be changing this page every month, so keep checking back!


A low-fat vegetarian diet and a healthy lifestyle should be fundamental parts of every cancer patient's treatment program. This is especially true when the cancers, like breast, prostate, colon, and kidney cancer, are known to be caused, at least in part, by the rich Western diet. But, even cancers caused by other habits, such as smoking, are influenced by diet. For example, 60% of Japanese men smoke cigarettes, yet they have one-fourth the chance of dying of lung cancer as American men. Their healthier diet of mostly rice and vegetables helps them to defend against and to repair the damage from cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke. In addition, lung cancer patients who stop smoking are known to live twice as long as those who continue to smoke.

Unlike other commonly recommended therapies, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery; advice on diet and lifestyle is unique in that it has the potential to do so much good and absolutely no harm. No one throws up, looses their hair, or dies from eating healthy foods. Even if a patient's life were not prolonged (and I firmly believe it will be), the years left will be enjoyed with a higher quality of life. Therefore, all cancer victims should be encouraged by their doctors, friends and families to eat a starch-based diet with vegetables and fruits, exercise, and clean up bad habits.

Most of the scientific research to date on diet and cancer has focused on breast cancer. But, these same findings can be used to support a healthy diet as an important part of the treatment of other cancer patients.

Animal Studies Support Diet Therapy
Studies on experimental animals, as well as population studies of humans, support a dietary cause for breast cancer. The relationship between total fat intake and incidence of breast cancer in rodents treated with cancer-causing chemicals is almost linear, suggesting a dose-response. Most animal studies show that fats and oils promote the growth of tumors and that animals receiving diets higher in cholesterol show more frequent tumors and metastases. A cholesterol-free, fat-free diet retards the growth of tumors in animals and prolongs their survival time. There is a dose relationship here also: the lower the fat in the animals' diets the slower the growth of the cancer (J Natl Ca Inst 87:1456, 1993).

Human Data Supports Diet Therapy

Worldwide there is a lower incidence of breast cancer among women who eat a diet based on plant foods, and a higher incidence in Western countries where a diet of rich foods, high in fats and low in cancer-protective elements found in plants, is consumed. When women move from a country of low incidence to a country of high incidence their risks of developing breast cancer increase.

Dietary advice about preventing cancer has been proposed by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs in 1977, the National Cancer Institute in 1979, the National Academy of Sciences in 1982, the American Cancer Society in 1984, and the Surgeon General of the United States in 1988. All these organizations agree that we should cut down our intake of meat, high-fat dairy products, and fats and oils from all sources, and that we should increase grains, fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets to prevent breast cancer.

Don't Throw Gasoline on a Fire

Factors influencing breast cancer induction, such as diet and its resulting obesity and hormone changes, also affect the subsequent course of the disease. Therefore, the next obvious step is to stop "adding fuel to the fire" and apply the same dietary advice given for prevention to those unfortunate women with this disease. Factors that cause cancer are also believed to encourage its growth. By changing from the rich Western diet that promotes breast cancer to a diet that supports good health, further growth of cancer could be slowed and the woman's life would be prolonged.

Supporting the Host

The clinical course of breast cancer is highly variable. Some women will die soon after the lump in their breast is discovered, while others will survive twenty years or more in apparent good health, only to die eventually from their original cancer. The goal of every cancer patient is to be one of those who lives for many years. The course of breast cancer and, ultimately, the time of death are determined by the patient's ability to resist the aggressiveness of the tumor. This contest is commonly referred to as the host versus tumor relationship.

Present modes of treatment, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, try to change this relationship with methods aimed at removing or weakening the tumor. However, many years of experience with these treatments have been generally disappointing and have left investigators wondering if any real progress has been made in the war against breast cancer. Now it's time to start paying attention to strengthening the host, especially through better nutrition. The data in humans supporting the positive influence of a healthy diet on the survival of women with breast cancer is convincing.

Healthy Women Survive Longer

The rate of progress of breast cancer seems to be predicted by several dietary-dependent risk factors. Overweight women with high levels of cholesterol live half as long as slimmer women who have low levels of cholesterol. Reducing the levels of the hormones, estrogen and prolactin, by means of drugs or surgery can retard the growth of established breast cancer, cause regression of tumors, and prolong survival. All four of these prognostic factors--body weight, cholesterol, estrogen and prolactin levels--can be lowered by changing to a low-fat, starch-based diet. The results would be reflected in a longer life.

Survival of patients with localized breast cancer is 8% to 93% higher in countries with lower fat intake (Japan) compared with those of higher fat intake (United States) (Breast Cancer Res Treat 20:73,1991). For example, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients in Japan is 74.9 percent as compared with 57.3 percent for breast cancer patients in Boston. Compared to Japanese patients, American patients also have more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis, more aggressive tumors on microscopic examination, and higher rates of recurrence. Japanese women have a considerably lower fat intake in their diets.

Vegetables Control Cancer

Changing from the typical American diet of 38% fat to a starch-based, McDougall-type diet of 7% fat should make a significant difference in how long you live with breast cancer. However, it's not just the fat that is involved in the progression of cancer. Excess calories, animal fat, vegetable fat, cholesterol, and environmental chemicals are all known to encourage cancer growth, and all of these are found in high concentrations in the Western diet made of meats, dairy, eggs, oils, and highly processed foods. Dietary fiber, antioxidant substances like beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and other phytochemicals are all known to inhibit cancer development and growth, and all of these are found in plant foods.

Scientists propose several mechanisms by which diet could influence the growth or spread of cancer: by affecting the production of reproductive hormones, like estrogens and prolactin, by alteration of the structure of the cell membranes, by changing the number of hormone receptors on the cells, by affecting small hormones called prostaglandins and by affecting the communication between cells. Anticancer activity found with the plant-derived vitamin, beta carotene, acts as an antioxidant than not only stops the initiation and promotion of cancer, but also inhibits its spread (Epidemiol Rev 15:110, 1993).

Check the accuracy of this information with your doctor before applying information in this newsletter to your health care. Don't change your diet or medication without your doctor's advice.
Thank you!
John McDougall, M.D.

If you would like to read more about Sensible Cancer Therapy or the other articles in this issue:

  • Progestins Fail To Prevent Uterine Cancer
  • Hormones and Blood Clots
  • Diabetes and Fiber
  • Declining Sperm Counts
Call and order the May / June issue of The McDougall Newsletter for $3.50.

Here is one of 6 Recipes you will find in the May / June, 1997 issue.

Frozen Banana Smoothies

Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

  • 1 cup frozen banana chunks cup frozen fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)
  • 1 cup fruit juice (orange, pineapple, apple, etc.)
Place all ingredients in a blender jar and process until smooth.

Hint: To freeze bananas, peel, slice into chunks, freeze on a baking sheet, then store in a covered container in the freezer.

The other Recipes are:

  • Miso Vegetable Broth
  • Cream of Celery Soup
  • Spinach Buns
  • Mexican Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce
  • Beans & Franks
  • Baked Beans

Call 1-800-570-1654 and order your copy of the May / June 1997 McDougall Newsletter. Or Better yet, subscribe, and keep these fact filled Newsletters coming every 2 months.