In my twenty-five years of practice, I’ve seen many changes with cancer research and treatment, some of them good, some of them bad. Some chemotherapy drugs have become less toxic and more specific, some drugs are better at cancer management, and we’ve made headway on certain types of cancers. However, since the 1920’s, every decade has delivered the same false promises of new cures, new techniques, and greater hope.
Personally, I have continued to experience an increase in cancer cases among my patients on a weekly basis. Worldwide, global cancer rates are expected to increase by 50% to 15 million by 2020 (World Health Organization, 2013). The jury is in, folks. We are not winning the war on cancer.
Can we even prevent cancer in the first place, though?
Beyond controlling obvious risk factors like smoking, eating junk food, and prolonged sun exposure, there are several contributing factors under the radar. Addressing these can go a long way in preventing or reversing cancer!
1) High Stress Lifestyle: Studies have shown that stress can promote cancer indirectly and directly (Moisse, 2010).
Advice: Learn how to process stress correctly, adopt a positive attitude, and implement stress-relieving techniques like meditation or yoga on a weekly basis.
2) Vitamin D Deficiency: The majority of us are vitamin D deficient, and this has been associated with an increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, and hypertension (Holick & Chen, 2008).
: For information on vitamin D deficiency and how to combat, read my post here
3) Sugar Overabundance: Many people don’t realize how toxic sugar really is; after all, it feeds bacteria and disease.
Advice: To avoid overgrowth of negative bacteria and cells in the body, it is crucial to avoid all processed foods, sugary foods, and even too much fruit.
4) Acid-Producing Foods: Human life requires a tightly controlled, slightly alkaline pH of about 7.35 (Schwalfenberg, 2011). Consuming highly acidic foods – such as bread, cereal, processed foods, soda, dairy, and excess protein can deliver a high load of acid to the body. The body must buffer this by pulling minerals, from the body, which compromises health in a variety of ways (Woglom, 1922).
Advice: Focus on eating a Mediterranean diet abundant with a variety of diversely colored vegetables and fruits. Also, include healthy fats like olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds, wild-caught fish, and avocadoes.
5) Sleep Deprivation: As one of the most underrated necessities of health, sleep deprivation has been shown to interfere with biological processes essential for health and quality of life. It can cause oxidative stress that is linked to cancer (Noguti, Anderson, Cirelli, & Ribeiro, 2013).
Advice: Practice good sleep hygiene by: Shutting off all lights, maintaining a calm routine before bed, staying away from eating too late or consuming caffeine in the afternoon, managing stress, and aiming for 7 - 8 hours for the body to rest, repair, and recover from the day’s stressors.
6) Chemical and Radiation Exposure: There are over 80,000 chemicals in our environment today coming from sources that we don’t even think of – mattresses, foods, pillows, paint, cosmetics, water, mosquito spray, etc. These are most certainly linked to cancer development. For instance, scientists have found a connection between specific chemicals and industrial waste and an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Steelquist, 2006).
Additionally, I feel electromagnetic radiation that surrounds us all will make major headlines in the future for its negative effects. It already has proven capabilities of changing genetic expression at the cellular level. For instance, cell phone radiation is tied to reduced sperm count and motility (Desai, Kesari, & Agarwal, 2009).
Advice: Avoid as much chemical exposure as possible by drinking filtered water, choosing organic foods, a non-toxic mattress, etc. Also, make small changes like using your phone on speaker so that you don’t get as much exposure to your head.
Now, when you look at this whole list, don’t despair and become compulsive about everything. Stress is one of the worst toxins for the human body, and the Law of Reasonableness must prevail. Normal precautions should be taken into consideration, and even a few simple steps in life can go a long ways for cancer prevention!
Desai, Nisarg, Kesari, Kavindra, Agarwal Ashok. Pathophysiology of cell phone radiation: oxidative stresses and carcinogenesis with focus on male reproductive system. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.
22 October 2009. http://www.rbej.com/content/7/1/114
Holick, Michael, Chen, Tai. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008.
Noguti, J. Anderson, ML, Cirelli, C., Ribeiro, DA. Oxidative stress, cancer, and sleep deprivation: is there a logical link in this association? Sleep Breath.
1 February 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23371889
Woglom, Wm. H. Acidosis, Alkalosis and Tumor Growth. Cancer Research.
3 August 1922. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/jcanres/7/2/149