Mitchell L. Gaynor, M.D. is Founder and President of Gaynor Integrative Oncology and Clinical Assistant, Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College, affiliated with Cornell University and New York Hospital. He has held the position of Director of Medical Oncology at The Strang Cancer Prevention Center where he still serves as a consultant. He is also former Medical Director and Director of Medical Oncology at the Weill-Cornell Medical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine.He has served on the Executive Review Panel at the Department of Defense - Alternative Medicine for Breast Cancer Sector and the Smithsonian Institute"s Symposium on New Frontier in Breast Cancer and the Environment. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer at hospitals, conferences and universities throughout America and abroad.
Mitchell Gaynor: I think the first thing people should know about breast cancer prevention is that it’s never too late and people ask me all the time, they’ll say “Dr. Gaynor, isn’t it too late for me, I’ve smoked two packs a day for the last 30 years” or they’ll say “Dr. Gaynor, isn’t it too late for me, everybody in my family had breast cancer or lung cancer” or “Dr. Gaynor, isn’t it too late for me, I’ve been 50 pounds overweight for most of my adult life and I’ve had all the bad habits, consumed all the processed food, too much sugar, isn’t it too late?” The answer is very clearly, even if you’ve had breast cancer, it’s never too late, the reason that it’s never too late is because you still have an immune system, you still have a detoxification system and you can do a lot of thing to support both of those body systems. So a lot of what integrated oncology really looks at, how do you support your detoxification system, what is the detoxification system. That’s the part of your body, that’s the enzymes found in most abundantly in your liver, but in almost every organ system, your lung, your gut, your intestine all have detoxifying enzymes that break down a lot of the cancer causing chemicals that are ubiquitous in our environment that we’re all exposed to and there was a fascinating study done by Kathy Helzlsouer at Johns Hopkins University that was published also in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and she examined women with and without breast cancer. What she found was interesting, she looked for one of the most common detoxifying enzymes called GSD or glutathione S-transferase. What the study found was is that women with the lowest levels of GST were four times as likely to develop breast cancer as women with the higher levels. Now one of the important things from this and many other studies and we can measure detoxifying enzyme levels and there’s a lot of genetic variability into how people detoxify. So for instance people who detoxify in their lung, cigarette smoke more slowly they’ve been found in some studies to have an elevated risk of lung cancer. There are a number of nutrients that have been found to increase detoxifying enzyme levels and it’s amazing to me because a lot of people think when you talk about gene therapy that that’s something that’s a hundred years away and maybe it’s some distance promise. The fact of the matter is every person is doing gene therapy, every time he or she eats okay. So all the nutrients you’re putting in your body for better or for worse are doing things at the level of your DNA. So to get back to the detoxification story, vitamins A, vitamin C and Vitamin E, the three most common antioxidant vitamins, they do a lot of things besides protecting your body against free radicals. For instance there’s an area of the DNA called the ARE or antioxidant responsive element, the antioxidant vitamins bind to the ARE and this area is very close the area that codes for all the detoxifying enzymes in your body. So they bind to it and up regulate or increase the production of these detoxifying enzymes. That’s critically important, but those antioxidant vitamins that maybe one of their most important roles but there are a lot of other nutrients that increase detoxifying enzymes and people need to know about these. This is the kind of wisdom that can help people, the nutrients in garlic helps increase detoxification. There’s a nutrient in broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, the cruciferous vegetables called sulforaphane, that’s one of the most powerful inducers of detoxifying enzymes. There’s a nutrient in turmeric which increases-- turmeric is what gives curry it’s yellow color, induces detoxifying enzymes and by the same token, there’s a lot of beneficial things people can do for their immune systems.
Recorded on: 5/13/08