Gut Bacteria Tied to Slower Metastatic Melanoma Progression

July 21, 2017
Volume 5    |   Issue 29

Some people think that skin cancer isn't a big deal, but that's a dangerously false assumption. Melanoma in particular is aggressive and deadly. So while it's important to protect your skin from the sun, it's also important to protect your skin from the inside to help avoid melanoma.

One area of research that's very exciting is the link between our microbiome (the bacteria living in our guts) to the rest of our health. It seems that scientists are discovering something new almost every day about how we can improve our health by making sure we have the right balance of bacteria in our guts. It turns out that cancer treatment may fall into this category as well, according to research being conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The researchers have been investigating the balance of bacteria in fecal samples from metastatic melanoma patients as part of a larger study of the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer. Immunotherapy harnesses the power of the immune system to attack cancer by shutting down checkpoints that slow down immune response. This allows the immune system to go all-out in attacking cancer cells. The researchers found correlations between the variety of bacteria in the fecal samples of patients undergoing this therapy and their rate of disease progression.

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The researchers assessed various groups according to how long it took the cancer to progress in at least half of the group members. In the patients with the highest microbiome diversity, by day 242, more than half still had not experienced cancer progression. In the medium-diversity group, it took 232 days for half to experience progression, and in the low-diversity group, it took only 188 days. Different strains of bacteria seemed to be influential as well, with some being associated with slow disease progression and other, harmful bacteria, with rapid progression.

This is an excellent reminder of why our microbiomes are important. To make sure you have plenty of good bacteria, eat a fiber-rich diet to feed them, consider adding fermented foods that agree with your digestion, such as yogurts, kefirs, sauerkraut, etc., exercise regularly, and take a high-quality probiotic like Advanced Probiotic Formula to supplement their ranks. I'll continue to tell you about ways that you can protect your skin from the sun so that you can reduce your risk of ever developing melanoma in the first place. But if you do, being prepared with a healthy microbiome can help you fight it.

To your health, naturally,



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