• Daurice Cummings-Bealer

Mushrooms & Cancer

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

To continue this month on cancer prevention, another delicious food I would like to talk about when it comes to fighting cancer is the mushroom. For generations, people have known that mushrooms promote health and vitality by performing certain functions that other food is unable to do.

There are also mushrooms that we should not consume so just which ones are the most beneficial to us. Due to modern medicines' interest in mushrooms, we now understand the importance of mushrooms better than we ever have before. For centuries people have understood that mushrooms reduce inflammation, boost our immune system, and give us more energy.

Now researchers have learned that medicinal mushrooms have plenty of healing properties. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, antimicrobial, and great as prebiotics. They are also much better than the current anti-cancer drugs in aiding the body to avoid disease. Now a new study has shown that mushrooms aid in reducing the risk of cancer when consumed on a regular basis.

Previous clinical trials found that extracts from mushrooms complement both conventional radiation treatments as well as chemotherapy by counteracting the common negative side effects of cancer such as nausea, anemia, bone marrow suppression, and even lowering the immune system.

A recent study was able to look at over 36,000 men between the ages of 40 and 79 and discovered that by eating mushrooms just three times a week reduced the risk of prostate cancer significantly.

There have been numerous studies with various mushrooms over the years and have learned that medicinal mushrooms have their own unique abilities when improving our health.

Some mushrooms are great to eat while others are strictly for medicinal purposes and are best used as a daily supplement. Here is a list of a few medicinal mushrooms that you should consider:

*Agaricus Blazei Murill mushroom is called Tokyo’s cancer secret. The Medical Dept. of Tokyo University, National Cancer Center Laboratory and the Tokyo College of Pharmacy has shown a complete recovery in ninety percent of guinea pigs injected with 180 sarcoma cancer cells. The pattern of other mushrooms was seen again as agaricus blazei murill activated macrophage and interferon immune activity leading to tumor shrinkage, a halt in metastasis, and reduction of recurrences in cancer. It has also been shown to reduce the side effects in patients undergoing chemotherapy for endometrial, cervical, and ovarian cancers.

*Cordyceps are rare and found on caterpillars in China. They stimulate the immune system and help increase the body’s level of cancer-killing cells. They have also been used for treating severe asthma, type 2 diabetes, improving kidney function (especially with patients undergoing kidney transplants), and according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, boosting endurance.

*Reishi mushrooms have been called the “mushroom of immortality” for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also aids in targeting and killing cancer cells. By improving the immune function reishi mushrooms reduce the chance of secondary attacks on vulnerable cancer patients. They also fight inflammatory breast cancer by disrupting cell spheroids and inhibiting cell invasion in cancer cells. These particular mushrooms help to regulate programmed cell death, killing the dividing cancer cells.

*Shitake mushrooms help lower cholesterol, boosting immune function and energy levels. The Journal of Oncology also published research suggesting that consuming these mushrooms slow the development of some types of cancer cells.

*Lion’s Mane mushrooms boost memory and improve cognitive function. The National Institute of Health reveals that consuming Lion’s Mane can aid in repairing damaged nerves and slow the growth of cancer cells. These are one of the few medicinal mushrooms that are delicious when added to your dish. If you aren’t into consuming them on your plate you can find them in extracts so you can enjoy all of the benefits of mushrooms.

*Maitake mushrooms, also known as the “dancing mushroom” also slows down the growth of cancer cells. When taken by cancer patients it reduces the side effects of nausea and hair loss. It also helps diabetic patients maintain acceptable blood sugar levels and aids in weight loss.

*Oyster aka abalone mushrooms are known as looking similar to seafood is popular in many dishes. They boost your overall health due to them being rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants allow them to fight free radicals and boost the immune system allowing them to fight serious infections and against cancer.

*Turkey Tail mushroom is the world’s most studied mushroom. This is due to the cancer-fighting abilities of Turkey Tail. In Japan, it has been used in cancer treatment plans for over three decades. It also alleviates some side effects cancer patients undergo during aggressive, painful chemotherapy treatments.

*Chaga mushroom was limited to Russia and northern Europe for years. Now, due to its potential in boosting the immune system and fighting viruses, it’s becoming more popular throughout the world. New NIH studies show that the Chaga mushroom consists of properties that can fend off dangerous pathogens as well as fighting cancer.

So, when it comes to better health consider consuming mushrooms in your daily diet whether you add them to your meals or add them to your daily supplements.

As always check with your doctor when making changes to your diet while under the care for any illness or medications you may be taking.

To learn more about this topic check out the references below. You can also hear more on this topic and many others on the Anything & Everything w/Daurice Podcast, https://yopistudio.podbean.com/


Ng, M.L., “Inhibition of human colon carcinoma development by lentinan from shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes),” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2002; 8(5): 581-589.

Suarez-Arroyo, I.J., et al., “Anti-tumor effects of Ganoderma lucidum (reishi) in inflammatory breast cancer in in vivo and in vitro models,” PLOS ONE, 2013; 8(2): e57431.

“Inonotus Obliquus, The Chaga Mushroom,” Medicinal Mushrooms web site; http://www.medicalmushrooms.net/inonotus-obliquus-chaga-mushroom/, last accessed October 8, 2015.

Lemieszek, M.K., et al., “Anticancer effects of fraction isolated from fruiting bodies of Chaga medicinal mushroom, inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilat (Aphyllophoromycetideae): in vitro studies,” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 2011; 13(2): 131-43.

Chilkov, N., “Six Cancer-Fighting Medicinal Mushrooms,” Huffington Post web site, January 12, 2012; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nalini-chilkov/cancer-foods_b_1192207.html.

Kubo, E., et al. “Inhibitory effect of Cordyceps sinensis on experimental hepatic metastasis of melanoma by suppressing tumor cell invasion,” Anticancer Research, 2010; 30(9): 3429-3433. “Shiitake, Lentinula Edodes,” Medicinal Mushrooms web site;

http://www.medicalmushrooms.net/lentinula-edodes-shiitake/, last accessed October 8, 2015. Patel, S., et al., “Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review,” 3 Biotech, 2012; 2(1): 1-15.

Paul Stamets, “MycoMedicinals: An Informational Treatise on Mushrooms”, (MycoMedia Productions), 2002.

Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth and Expression of Key Molecules in Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Paul Stamets, “MycoMedicinals: An Informational Treatise on Mushrooms”, (MycoMedia Productions), 2002), 24-29.

Studies on the immuno-modulating and anti-tumor activities of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) polysaccharides.

Radical scavenger and antihepatotoxic activity of Ganoderma formosanum, Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma neo-japonicum.

Polysaccharides in fungi. XIV. Anti-inflammatory effect of the polysaccharides from the fruit bodies of several fungi.

Effects of ganopoly (a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract) on the immune functions in advanced-stage cancer patients.

A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects.

Protection against lung cancer patient plasma-induced lymphocyte suppression by Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides.

New triterpene aldehydes, lucialdehydes A-C, from Ganoderma lucidum and their cytotoxicity against murine and human tumor cells.

Ganoderma lucidum exerts anti-tumor effects on ovarian cancer cells and enhances their sensitivity to cisplatin.

A water-soluble extract from culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia suppresses the development of colorectal adenomas.

Ganoderic acid Me inhibits tumor invasion through down-regulating matrix metalloproteinases 2/9 gene expression.

The in vitro and in vivo experimental evidences disclose the chemopreventive effects of Ganoderma lucidum on cancer invasion and metastasis.

Isolation of an antitumor compound from Agaricus blazei Murill and its mechanism of action

Heavy Metals Accumulate More In Some Mushrooms Than In Others

Fungi and ionizing radiation from radionuclides

Paul Stamets, “MycoMedicinals: An Informational Treatise on Mushrooms”, (MycoMedia Productions), 2002), 57-62.


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