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Off Target in the War on Cancer

September 09, 2008 | 35,768 views

unhealthy lifestyleThe U.S. war on cancer has been fought for almost four decades now, since it was officially launched in 1971. It may be time to admit that the effort has often targeted the wrong enemies and used the wrong weapons.

Throughout the industrial world, the war on cancer remains focused on commercially fueled efforts to develop drugs and technologies that can find and treat the disease. But this struggle essentially ignores most of the things known to cause cancer, such as tobacco, radiation, benzene, asbestos, solvents, and some drugs and hormones. Many modern cancer-causing agents, such as gasoline exhaust, pesticides and other air pollutants, are simply deemed the inevitable price of progress.

Most cancer is not born, but made. Both public health and social justice demand a greater focus on the causes of cancer, rather than treatment. But the FDA and EPA often lack the authority and resources to monitor and control tobacco smoke, asbestos, and the cancer-causing agents in food, water and everyday products. Under antiquated laws, chemical and radiation hazards are examined one at a time, if at all. Of the nearly 80,000 chemicals regularly bought and sold today, fewer than 10 percent have been tested for their capacity to cause cancer or do other damage.

No matter how much efforts to treat cancer may advance, the best way to reduce cancer's toll is to keep people from getting it in the first place -- something that is being largely ignored by the modern cancer-fighting enterprise.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Over 1.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2008, according to the American Cancer Society. Yet, almost all of the media attention, the charitable “walks,” and certainly the drug-companies’ dollars are focused on finding a treatment or a “cure.”

The “cure” in the eyes of modern medicine involves varying degrees of toxic chemicals, chemotherapy, and radiation -- some of the very same things that cause cancer to begin with. Rarely is the idea of real cancer prevention spoken about, and that is the point that Devra Davis, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health and director the Center for Environmental Oncology, is trying to make in the article above.

Despite nearly four decades of work directly dedicated to stopping cancer, this disease is still regarded as a mysterious gremlin that claims victims at random. In reality, though, the major causes of cancer are no longer a mystery, and neither are the routes of prevention.

Getting Serious About Cancer Prevention

There’s a lot of talk about genetics and family history when it comes to cancer, as though it’s predetermined from the day you are born whether or not you will get this disease. Aside from instilling unnecessary fear in many people, this mode of thinking leaves you powerless to do anything but sit and wait to get sick.

In reality, your genes have very little to do with your likelihood of getting any disease. Your genes are merely storage facilities, and they have no intelligence whatsoever. What IS important, however, is the expression of your genes and the stimulus that actually causes your DNA to replicate proteins..

According to the field of epigenetics -- a fascinating field you can explore in this video if you’re not yet familiar with it -- the power of your own thoughts can affect the expression of your genes -- and even potentially cure cancer and other diseases.

Along with your thoughts and emotions (and let’s not forget your stress levels), your lifestyle choices also influence the expression of your genes.

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently proved this point with some amazing data. The study involved men with prostate cancer who declined surgery, hormonal therapy, or radiation and instead participated in an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention while undergoing careful surveillance for tumor progression.

The men made changes in their diets, exercised moderately, used stress management techniques and also participated in a psychosocial support group, and these changes influenced the expression of hundreds of genes. Specifically:

• Some of the changes positively impacted genes that help fight cancer
• Other changes helped turn off genes that promote cancer development

Even the American Cancer Society states that “one-third of all cancer deaths are related to diet and activity factors,” and this study helps show in a concrete form why that might be.

Conventional medicine makes it seem as though getting cancer is akin to choosing the short straw -- it’s all fairly random and there’s nothing you can do. Well, there are always exceptions when someone in seemingly perfect health gets cancer (like Lance Armstrong), but when that happens there is usually a serious, underlying emotional element present.

The bottom line here is that there’s a lot you can do to lower your chances of getting cancer -- you and your family CAN take control of your health.

Top 12 Tips to Prevent Cancer

I believe you can VIRTUALLY ELIMINATE your risk of cancer and chronic disease, and radically improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it, by following these relatively simple risk reduction strategies.

  1. Reduce or eliminate your processed food, sugar and grain carbohydrate intake. Yes, this is even true for whole unprocessed organic grains, as they tend to rapidly break down and drive your insulin and leptin levels up, which is the last thing you need to have happening if you are seeking to resolve or prevent cancer.

  2. Control your fasting insulin and leptin levels. This is the end result, and can be easily monitored with the use of simple and relatively inexpensive blood tests.

  3. Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality krill oil and reducing your intake of most processed vegetable oils.

  4. Get regular exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.

  5. Normalize your vitamin D levels by getting plenty of sunlight exposure and consider careful supplementation when this is not possible. If you take oral vitamin D and have a cancer, it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly.

  6. Get regular, good sleep.

  7. Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have.

  8. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.

  9. Limit your exposure and provide protection for yourself from radiation produced by cell phones, towers, base stations, and WiFi stations. 

  10. Avoid frying or charbroiling your food. Boil, poach or steam your foods instead.

  11. Have a tool to permanently reprogram the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favorite tool for resolving emotional challenges, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). German New Medicine is another powerful tool.    

  12. Eat at least one-third of your food raw. Personally, my goal is 85% raw and I am usually able to achieve that.

Considering how important this issue is for nearly everyone you know, you might want to forward these tips to your friends and relatives. You can easily do this by using the “E-mail to a friend” button in the left-hand section of this page.

[+] Sources and References

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