Last week the Mammoth Health Naturopath team attended a practitioner seminar on our role in supporting people who have been diagnosed with and being treated for cancer. It has been researched that 70% of people who have been diagnosed with cancer sought and used complementary medicine in addition to receiving conventional care₁
With an estimated 114,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia in 2010, it is expected that one in two Australians will be diagnosed by the age of 85 (Cancer Council of Australia, 12/12/11).
A diagnosis of cancer brings a very different set of emotions and fears than that of say, cardiovascular disease. Even though cardiovascular disease claims more lives than cancer it produces far less fear and social stigma.
One key factor of a cancer diagnosis is the disempowerment a person may feel following diagnosis. It can be difficult for people to know where to start after receiving such life-changing news. Many cancer patients feel there is nothing they can do to manage their disease except return for recommended follow-up visits. This contributes to feelings of helplessness and loss of control₂ Our role as natural healthcare practitioners is to lessen the fear and give hope. We can help transform the fear into understanding and empowerment by giving our time, our support and our holistic and professional advice. Our aim is that of support and empowerment.
Genes are only a small part of the picture
5-10% of cancer can be attributed to genetic factors. And a whopping 90-95% is caused by environment₃ The thing is, cancer just doesn’t “hit” out of the blue. Tumours are thought to be generally growing over a 3-10 year period.
It is now considered that modern lifestyle creates a favourable terrain for cancer. The “Seed and Soil” hypothesis of cancer was first described in 1889 by English surgeon Stephen Paget, whereby malignant cells only germinate in unhealthy soils. Some biological characteristics of target organs cannot be changed (eg. cell surface receptors), but there are many factors that we can influence – factors that detrimentally alter the terrain or soil. Our role is to work on the many factors that detrimentally alter the terrain or soil and potentiate cancer progression, and optimise a healthy “terrain”₄
The Top 3
We have total control over the following three factors that can not only optimise our terrain to help prevent cancer but also improve our long term health of cancer survivors.
1.Reduce toxic exposure
Minimising toxic exposure is an obvious place to start. Since the industrial revolution there have been millions of man-made chemicals introduced into the environment. Xenochemical environments, environmental pollutants, carcinogens in foods, alcohol and tobacco account for an incredible 59-71% of all cancer deaths₅ It is absolutely vital to minimise our toxin exposure (in our foods, cleaners, cosmetics, skincare etc.) and support our body’s detoxification processes. It is also important with your annual detox program to understand our phase I, II, and III enzyme activity. Whilst we recommend an annual detox it is very important to do this professionally. Many over the counter and quick fix detoxes produce excessive Phase I enzyme activity (without also addressing phase II & III) and this results in excessive production of “reactive intermediates” which are known carcinogenics. (for all those interested, I give an in-depth and easy to understand presentation on the three phases of detoxification at our Vitality seminar on Wednesday 22nd August at 7pm in-store. Bookings Essential).
Obesity is now considered as carcinogenic as smoking. The type of fat that puts us at real risk is the visceral fat – the fat that lies around the stomach. This is the fat that causes metabolic syndrome and diabetes. You significantly increase your risk of developing and recovering from cancer if your waist measures more than 102cm for males and 88cm for females. And if this is the case for you your number one aim needs to be fat loss.
3.Diet & Exercise
Diet is a key factor in determining carcinogenic potential and cancer progression. It goes without saying that including plenty of fruit, vegetables and salad is very protective. For optimal terrain we advise a minimum 3-4 cups of salad, three cups of vegetables and 2 fruits every day. We recommend reducing refined carbohydrates (which break down into simple sugars) and including plenty of nuts, seeds, healthy fats and protein-rich foods.
It is now thought that the single Number 1 most effective thing you can do to protect from cancer and increase cancer survival rate is exercise. Thirty minutes a Day, Every Day. You don’t have to like it – You just Have to Do It!
“Because it’s Not a Rehearsal”
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