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Does Sugar Cause Cancer?

Just hearing the word ‘cancer’ is frightening, but knowledge is power. The more you know about cancer the more prepared you are when you or someone you know is diagnosed with this disease.

Everyone has questions concerning cancer and Michael Sherman, medical director for Contra Costa Oncology, would like to answer yours. Contra Costa Oncology has offices in Walnut Creek, Concord, San Ramon and Rossmoor.  If you have questions for Dr. Sherman, e-mail Donna Lynn Rhodes or Martha Ross, editor for Walnut Creek Patch, at martha@patch.com. 

Q:  Does sugar cause cancer? Should I avoid PET scans because it involves injecting a sugar substance?

A: This is a very common question. After being diagnosed with cancer, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans employ radioactive glucose to highlight individual cancer cells. While logic may suggest that cancer cells are growing fast and need more energy, the reality is cancer cells are self-derived making it hard to starve your immune system in a way that would hurt the cancer cells more than the healthy cells. Cancer cells, like our cells, will just use protein as an energy source and a well-balanced diet will certainly help keep you strong.  

Q:  Can cancer spread from person to person?

A: When you hear people talk about cancer spreading, they are referring to cancer spreading within their own body not from person to person. Cancer is an abnormal growth derived from a person’s normal cells. Once those affected cells grow unregulated, the cancer can spread to a lymph node or through the blood stream to other organs within your body, but you cannot "catch" cancer by coming in contact with someone who has it.

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