Eating and Drinking
by Darren Dahl
Breast cancer rages like an epidemic among us; it is
now the second leading cause of death among women next
to heart disease. Breast cancer now counts 2.6 million
women as its victims, about one in eight Americans,
many of whom don’t know they have cancer .
But there may be hope, a City of Hope, where a team
of researchers may have found a way to beat breast cancer
simply by filling our bellies with grilled portabella
and sautéed shiitake, partnered with a few sips
of vintage merlot.
Since 1913, the California-based City of Hope Cancer
Center’s (COH) pioneering research and treatments
have provided hope in our battles with life-threatening
diseases like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cancer. Recent
studies, funded by the American Institute of Cancer
Research and headed by COH’s Dr. Shiuan Chen,
have targeted cancer-causing culprits like the enzyme
aromatase, which is responsible for regulating our body’s
estrogen production .
Scientists have flagged estrogen and aromatase as the
leading culprits in sparking cancer growth; excessive
estrogen levels, or hyperestrogenemia, have repeatedly
been linked with cancerous breast tissue .
Armed with these facts, Dr. Chen and COH went after
a hormone-controlling cure.
COH researchers began their research by investigating
which vegetables played a role in suppressing the human
body’s estrogen levels. Although culinary favorites
green onions, celery, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli
proved themselves as essential ingredients to a vitamin-filled
diet, there was no correlation with estrogen or aromatase
levels. But, when the team turned to studying mushrooms
and grapes – they felt like they had struck cancer-fighting
In tests designed to analyze the impact of portabello,
crimini, and button mushrooms along with red grape juice,
red wine, grape seed extract on aromatase levels, the
COH researchers found something extraordinary; the more
mushrooms and grape juice their lab mice consumed, the
less aromatase and estrogen they produced. The initial
research results can be boiled down into simple logic;
lower estrogen levels means a lower probability of contracting
breast cancer. You don’t need a PhD to understand
that kind of math.
With their promising results in hand, Dr. Chen and
the COH team have begun to embark on a new two-year
study to unearth the specific components in mushrooms
and grapes that inhibit estrogen production. In the
meantime, let’s not forget that eating grapes
and mushrooms jam-packs us with nutrients, vitamins,
and anti-oxidants that help combat infections, prostate
cancer, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Sure, we may see a wonder-drug on our supermarket shelves
in two-years, but where’s the fun in popping pills?
Personally, I’m looking forward to eating and
drinking my way to a cancer-free life…
As a matter of fact, the City of Hope is providing
the ideal opportunity to experience what a cancer-free
life could taste like: Hope
à la Carte - Manhattan’s must-attend
event of 2003. On September 17, 2003 in the Waldorf=Astoria,
a collection of New York’s finest chefs will be
serving up mouth-watering mushroom and grape-themed
dishes that will do their part in the battle against
The dinner, at ($250?) a head, should bring in quite
a bit of money - all of which is going towards cancer
research. The proceeds will go directly to the City
of Hope, an organization whose aim for the 21st century
is nothing less than to win the fight against cancer
(To find out more about this event, click
here.) For 90 years, City of Hope's medical discoveries
have brought hope and healing to people everywhere.
Many of the procedures used in medical centers throughout
the world such as bone marrow transplantation were pioneered
at City of Hope. Recent advances in genetic research
and molecular medicine, combined with state-of-the-art
facilities and an environment that nurtures the best
and brightest thinkers, foretell an even more promising
future. The philanthropic spirit of our hundreds of
thousands of volunteers nationwide provides the support
that enables our doctors and researchers to continue
their lifesaving work. And with your support, we will
meet the goal.
the debate begin.