Lifestyle Oncology Learning Academy

Where treatment ends, lifestyle is the new beginning. Lifestyle Oncology Learning Academy (LOLA) is my multi-faceted sandbox for learning and maintaining an anti-cancer lifestyle through management of the 3M’s: Metabolism, Malnutrition and Mayhem.

It is important to address mayhem because if there is mayhem in life there will be mayhem in the body. Stress can cause us to unknowingly act in a destructive manner: late nights, regular alcoholic drinks, working long hours, sugary “energy” drinks, convenience/junk food; the list is endless. Maybe we could get away with one or two of these mayhem-makers but when we add them all together we *create* MAYHEM!

What *feels* like escapism for us can actually be damaging.  These behaviours compromise our immune system, increase inflammation, reduce our sleep quality, mess up our circadian rhythm  and as a result; stop our bodies from absorbing nutrients properly and increase our risk of illness.
My anti-mayhem gurus were Dr Kelly A TurnerMaya Fiennes and my equine therapist.

Find your gurus then find your own inner guru and address your stress1

Stress keeps the body in ‘fight or flight‘ mode which signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream and triggers the release of glucose ready for action.  If we don’t burn off energy after this stress event the result may be increased lactate2 which is the environment cancer loves.   The following research article2a confirms this and suggests intravenous vitamin C may act as a modulating factor on progression from stress response.  Another related topic which is currently being studied in a clinical trial2b is the link between increased osteocalcin levels and bone metasteses.  The following article2c confirms increased stress levels are associated with increased osteocalcin levels.  Is there correlation or causation at work between the two?  Only time will tell!

Indulge and relax in whatever brings you joy; engage in deep breathing3, yoga4 is particularly good for this. Breathing; I thought I’d pretty much nailed it just after birth but you can actually get more out of inflating and deflating your lungs. There is a book called “The Art of Breathing” by Dr Danny Penman, if you’re interested in improving your breathing technique further.

I like to get out into the countryside to fill my lungs.

Sleep deprivation5  :  It’s been suggested from various studies that night shift workers have a higher risk of cancer and recurrence.  This article6 similarly confirms dim lights may also have an impact on circadian rhythms and increase metastatic potential.  Here are some tips on how to get a better night’s sleep.  Breast Cancer Now have announced new findings suggesting there is no evidence that night shifts increase breast cancer risk.  I’ll hypothesise that perhaps the shifts may cause greater stress, burnout and unhealthy eating patterns if sleep patterns are not managed well, rather than the shifts themselves being the problem.  


1 Got Stress? It May Impact Breast Cancer Recurrence–it-may-impact-breast-cancer-recurrence.aspx

2 Rise in plasma lactate concentrations with psychosocial stress: a possible sign of cerebral energy demand.

2a  Mouse study reveals how chronic stress promotes cancer, identifies vitamin C as therapy

2b Circulating Osteocalcin-positive Cells in Breast Cancer Bone Metastasis (COP-BREAST)

2c Bone, not adrenaline, drives fight or flight response

3 The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults

4 Yoga into Cancer Care: A Review of the Evidence-based Research

5 Shift work and cancer risk: potential mechanistic roles of circadian disruption, light at night, and sleep deprivation.

6 Circadian/melatonin disruption by dim light at night drives human epithelial breast cancer to a metastatic phenotype

Further Reading

New Cancer Treatment Approach Targets Circadian Clock

How Fear Works