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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Can Celiac Disease Prevent Cancer?
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15 posts in this topic

I was wondering if UNTREATED celiac disease can prevent cancer. I know this might sound stupid but bear with me. So here is my train of thought. If celiac disease is left untreated then the villi dont heal. If they dont heal then the body cannot grow and get nutrients. So if like a mole for ex. becomes cancerous it can not grow and spread because of the lack of nutrients. So maybe untreated celiac disease can maybe at least slow down cancer. I know this is really retarted but just tell me why this is not possible if its not or ur opinion.

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actually, the opposite - untreated celiac is misdirecting your anti-bodies, the disease fighters, to fight gluten.  so other things can sneak in and manifest (like cancer) - also, untreated celiac will make your whole body weak and sick.  and holes in your intestines, because when your body fights gluten,, it also wrecks your guts.  the holes allow bad cancer cells to get through to other parts of your body.  that's how i understand it.

 

now, that being said, and along the lines of your theory:  things aren't going to get absorbed through damaged villi - this is true - but all the vitamins and good nutrition aren't getting absorbed.  so, you're not going to get the anti-oxidants and whatnot that will help your body fight cancer cells.

 

for the sideways opposite theory:  i can't drink as many alcoholic beverages as i used to - i think my intestines weren't absorbing the alcohol before i started healing - my days as a power drinker (LOLZ not) are officially over - strictly beer only and if i drink wine, i better wear my helmet   :ph34r:

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actually, the opposite - untreated celiac is misdirecting your anti-bodies, the disease fighters, to fight gluten.  so other things can sneak in and manifest (like cancer) - also, untreated celiac will make your whole body weak and sick.  and holes in your intestines, because when your body fights gluten,, it also wrecks your guts.  the holes allow bad cancer cells to get through to other parts of your body.  that's how i understand it.

 

now, that being said, and along the lines of your theory:  things aren't going to get absorbed through damaged villi - this is true - but all the vitamins and good nutrition aren't getting absorbed.  so, you're not going to get the anti-oxidants and whatnot that will help your body fight cancer cells.

 

for the sideways opposite theory:  i can't drink as many alcoholic beverages as i used to - i think my intestines weren't absorbing the alcohol before i started healing - my days as a power drinker (LOLZ not) are officially over - strictly beer only and if i drink wine, i better wear my helmet   :ph34r:

thanks i get it now

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If all your villi are damaged and you are getting no nutrition - you would not live long enough to get cancer. So.....I guess it works as a cancer fighter.

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If all your villi are damaged and you are getting no nutrition - you would not live long enough to get cancer. So.....I guess it works as a cancer fighter.

Reminds me of cigarettes. They say people who smoke have a lower chance of getting alzheimers. Something about the way blood vessels react to nicotine. But I think it's probably because smokers don't live long enough to get it.

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Reminds me of cigarettes. They say people who smoke have a lower chance of getting alzheimers. Something about the way blood vessels react to nicotine. But I think it's probably because smokers don't live long enough to get it.

Ok...now it's my chance to respectfully disagree!  ;)   Not all smokers die young.  Many people who smoke live well into their 70's and 80's, in fact, cancer and alzheimer rates are higher today and there are fewer smokers.  Many people who have gluten problems also live a long time.  My family are loaded with them and both sides live well into their late 80's to late 90's. I had a few people on my father's side who actually died of malnutrition (undiagnosed Celiac) but others who most likely had it, lived until old age.  Life and death work in strange ways, sometimes.

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Gemini, that was my attempt at a bad joke. I am a smoker and when my friends start nagging me to quit I always pull out that alzheimers thing. Actually, for a while they thought it was true but new studies have refuted it. But it's fun to tell my nagging friends that although I may get lung cancer someday, it's better than getting alzheimers.

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Okay, I swear somewhere on here in a comment from someone who had cancer, that a doctor told the patient there was a negative side to treated Celiac re: cancer, and it had to do with nutrition boosting the cancer growth.

No, I'll never find it - it was 2 years ago...search away.

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Okay, I swear somewhere on here in a comment from someone who had cancer, that a doctor told the patient there was a negative side to treated Celiac re: cancer, and it had to do with nutrition boosting the cancer growth.

No, I'll never find it - it was 2 years ago...search away.

so it could potentially slow it down right?

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I don't know. When friends of mine had cancer one of the things their doctors stressed was getting good nutrition so they would have a stronger immune system to fight it. Also, wasting is one of the big problems with cancer so it would make sense that you need good nutrition to prevent or at least hold off that wasting.

 

Also, I firmly believe that many of my Mom's family members had celiac and EVERY ONE of them died of cancer. Except for Mom, none of them were gluten-free, but they all had the symptoms.

 

If everything we have learned about celiac says that untreated celiac can lead to cancer, why would anyone lean the other way? I mean, even if what Prickly said is true and some doctor claimed that treating celiac can lead to cancer, we ALL know that most doctors are worse than clueless.

 

Eat. Eat healthy. Eat whole foods. Not only will your celiac symptoms subside and your body heal, but you will feel better, have more energy, and therefore you will enjoy your life more.

 

OK, time to step down from my soapbox now. :)

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I don't know. When friends of mine had cancer one of the things their doctors stressed was getting good nutrition so they would have a stronger immune system to fight it. Also, wasting is one of the big problems with cancer so it would make sense that you need good nutrition to prevent or at least hold off that wasting.

Also, I firmly believe that many of my Mom's family members had celiac and EVERY ONE of them died of cancer. Except for Mom, none of them were gluten-free, but they all had the symptoms.

If everything we have learned about celiac says that untreated celiac can lead to cancer, why would anyone lean the other way? I mean, even if what Prickly said is true and some doctor claimed that treating celiac can lead to cancer, we ALL know that most doctors are worse than clueless.

Eat. Eat healthy. Eat whole foods. Not only will your celiac symptoms subside and your body heal, but you will feel better, have more energy, and therefore you will enjoy your life more.

OK, time to step down from my soapbox now. :)

Okay, back up. I didn't say treating Celiac can lead to cancer. What I said is there's a post somewhere on this forum from a cancer patient whose oncologist told her that increased nutrition benefits the cancer cells as well as the rest of the patient.

I did reply to the reply, above, but the forum ate it...

You can't selectively activate Celiac. It isn't a "treatment" for cancer. I'm not an oncologist, but I can understand how malabsorption can starve cancer along with the rest if the body's cells. And, I can see how a nutrient boost from reduced malabsorption could help cancer grow.

Ask an oncologist. I am not one.

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Sorry Prickly, I wasn't questioning YOU, I was just questioning what that doctor said. I'm no doctor either, but from what I learned with Kelly, certain things (like sugar) will feed cancer, but healthy foods feed the body and the immune system. I guess what I am getting at is this: if *I* had cancer, there is no way I would start eating gluten again in hopes that the malabsorption would slow the cancer's growth. Instead I would eat lots of good foods like broccoli and cut out the sugar. (And still make out my will.)

 

And when they pronounced me terminal, THEN I would go back to eating ice cream, and MAYBE I would have a burger and fries or some blueberry pie - but probably not because I'd already be feeling lousy enough without adding celiac symptoms.

 

It sounds to me that the OP might have cancer and might be toying with the idea of using gluten to slow it down. I am NOT a doctor, but to me the idea seems VERY counterproductive.

 

And OP, if I'm wrong, first of all I apologize, and second of all, I'll be glad (if you DON'T have cancer.)

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As I understand it:

 

Metabolic Cancer Therapy -- removing all carbohydrates which turn to glucose in the body -- all cells, including cancer cells use glucose as fuel.  When carbohydrates are removed all cells EXCEPT cancer cells can switch to ketones for fuel - thus the cancer cells are starved.  Our healthy cells have flexibility in fuel - cancer cells do not.

 

In my opinion - this should not be the only treatment for cancer -- but certainly cannot hurt should a person be diagnosed with cancer.

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From what I understand, untreated celiac can make certain forms less likely to occur, and certain forms more likely to happen. I believe untreated celiacs are more likely to have cancer of the small bowels, lymphoma, and pancreatic cancer (I think). That makes sense to me because of the damage inflammation would cause (lymphoma) and the area's directly affected my celiac disease that have been repeatedly hurt (intestinal cancer).

 

On the other hand, I know that celiacs are less likely to get breast cancer along with a few others (can't remember which).  This comes partially from the malnourished state that many celiacs live in. It's almost like being forced to fast, and it is documented that animals who fast tend to avoid cancers. It is thought that it has something to do with the resultant lowered levels of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). When these levels are lowered, your body is not focusing on making new cells but rather on taking care of the cells it has. This is possibly the link that causes some celiac children to have delayed or stunted growth; it's partially the reason some have a failure to thrive.

 

Lower IGF-1 levels are thought to be linked to lower cancer levels, and are often caused by malnutrition and low caloric intake; it also gets lower on a low GI diet. Higher IGF-1 occurs in some  individuals who consume a diet high in dairy, and possibly a diet high in protein. Excessively high levels are caused by a pituitary problem, as are excessively low levels.

 

I now know this stuff because I recently discovered I have excessively high IGF-1 - weird for a celiac. There are a lot of links out ther on it.

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From what I understand, untreated celiac can make certain forms less likely to occur, and certain forms more likely to happen. I believe untreated celiacs are more likely to have cancer of the small bowels, lymphoma, and pancreatic cancer (I think). That makes sense to me because of the damage inflammation would cause (lymphoma) and the area's directly affected my celiac disease that have been repeatedly hurt (intestinal cancer).

On the other hand, I know that celiacs are less likely to get breast cancer along with a few others (can't remember which). This comes partially from the malnourished state that many celiacs live in. It's almost like being forced to fast, and it is documented that animals who fast tend to avoid cancers. It is thought that it has something to do with the resultant lowered levels of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). When these levels are lowered, your body is not focusing on making new cells but rather on taking care of the cells it has. This is possibly the link that causes some celiac children to have delayed or stunted growth; it's partially the reason some have a failure to thrive.

Lower IGF-1 levels are thought to be linked to lower cancer levels, and are often caused by malnutrition and low caloric intake; it also gets lower on a low GI diet. Higher IGF-1 occurs in some individuals who consume a diet high in dairy, and possibly a diet high in protein. Excessively high levels are caused by a pituitary problem, as are excessively low levels.

I now know this stuff because I recently discovered I have excessively high IGF-1 - weird for a celiac. There are a lot of links out ther on it.

I have Chronic Leukocytic Leukemia. The better my intestines, the better my immune system. The better my immune system the lower my white blood cell count. The lower my white blood count the less I see my oncologist. Not seeing my oncologist as frequently makes me a happy camper!! I do follow a strict gluten-free diet.
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    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      If you don't get the diagnosis you are happy with go to another doc.  Try to find a Celiac Friendly doc.  OR you can do what i did and give up and just go gluten free.  I didn't need a doctor to confirm that if my gas, bloating, migraines, depression, joint pain, rash, dry skin and brittle nails went away when i went gluten free that i must have celiac.  AND 6 months after i went gluten free on my own i had some blood tests repeated that i had done when they were trying to figure out what was causing my severe rash, all the things that were "wrong" with me or abnormal in the the first blood tests, went to normal on the second test.  INCLUDING MY THYROID LEVELS! Oh, i didn't mention that during this time they diagnosed me with early hashimotos.. 6 months later i was miraculously cured from this progressive thyroid disorder according to the blood test results.  I didn't have hashimotos to put it bluntly.   I am almost 10 years gluten free with no positive Celiac diagnosis.  But let me tell you this,  My daughter's neurologist did a DNA test on her 1 year after she too went gluten free and it came back positive for Celiac.  so.  js.     That's my story..  in short.
    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      Were you officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease at the time she wrote that?  And, if so, for how long were you diagnosed & gluten-free but still complaining of those symptoms?
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie By the sounds of it you could have gluten sneaking in somewhere, or maybe blood sugar issues,  or just plain anxiety, but it would be good to know for sure so you know what to do next. I think maybe the best course of action would be to see your GP and  tell him/her all your symptoms.  Book a double appointment as we say in the UK (but that isn't always possible!)  I dread seeing my own GP because as lovely as she is she is very fond of sending me for blood tests (which always seem to include liver function, thyroid and full blood count) which for someone with health anxiety isn't the recipe for a peaceful night's sleep!  But she is right, those particular blood tests, and others, can hold important clues when one has a lot of vague symptoms.   Celiac testing is of course another set of tests, which Flowerqueen has described well above.    If you do have all these tests and anxiety continues to be a problem, whether caused by by celiac disease, another medical condition or just being a stand alone problem, one book that I would recommend that really helped me understand the condition is 'At Last a Life' by  Paul David. I found it an immensely helpful tool in my recovery.   There is also a website. http://anxietynomore.co.uk/   Keep us posted Cristiana      
    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      Unfortunately I feel this may be common.  For 6 years I was told I was fine.  Lungs fine, chest fine, just anxiety.  It was not until I pressed the anemia issue that I got a blood test.  Now I am a bit of a squeaky wheel to my doctor.  She referred me to Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN which has a celiac center.  I will meet with Dr. Murray (who is a leader in celiac research) next Friday.  If nothing else, you could always come to Mayo Clinic.
    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      I read a summary report a doctor wrote about me. I thought doctors were more knowledgeable about celiac disease these days, but I guess not. The doctor diagnosed me with psychosomatic disorder when I told her the symptoms (including anxiety since the intestines regulate this) I had from years of undiagnosed celiac disease that affected my ablity to function. Please let me know if you had any disabling symptoms. I have heard stories of how others felt like they were dying. I felt the same way. I didn't mention that I felt like I was dying to my doctor, though. I just can't believe she thought my symptoms from celiac disease were all in my head like celiac disease isn't a real disease.
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