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More Than 1 in 3 Common Cancers Could Be Preventable

March 17, 2009
More than a third of common adult cancers may be preventable in the U.S., and this does not even count cancers that could be prevented by not smoking OR factor in the benefit of optimizing vitamin D levels.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and its sister organization, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), estimate that in the U.S. eating a nutritious diet, being physically active, and keeping body fat under control may prevent:

• 38 percent of breast cancers
• 45 percent of colorectal cancers
• 36 percent of lung cancers
• 39 percent of pancreatic cancers
• 47 percent of stomach cancers
• 69 percent of esophageal cancers

• 63 percent of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, or larynx
• 70 percent of endometrial cancers
• 24 percent of kidney cancers
• 21 percent of gallbladder cancers
• 15 percent of liver cancers
• 11 percent of prostate cancers

Diet, physical activity, and limited body fat could prevent 34 percent of those 12 cancers overall in the U.S., and 24 percent of all cancers. Cancer surpassed heart disease as the number one killer in America in 2005 and now causes nearly 560,000 deaths in the United States each year. Worldwide, by 2030 over 26 million people a year may be diagnosed with cancer, with 17 million people dying from it.

In other words, cancer is growing at alarming rates, which is particularly frustrating since the vast majority of cases could be prevented by lifestyle changes that include exercise, losing weight, eating healthy and optimizing vitamin D levels.

And though this article doesn’t mention it, well in excess of half of the cancers worldwide would simply disappear if vitamin D levels were optimized.

What is Fueling the Cancer Epidemic?

A large part of what is fueling the rise in cancer rates has to do with the food many are using to fuel their bodies: sugar. Soda is actually the number one source of calories in the United States, and processed junk foods make up a large portion of the rest.

This is a major problem because cancer cells require sugar to thrive AND when you eat sugar (or refined carbs that are rapidly broken down into sugar) it causes your body to release insulin.

Over time, if you eat too many grains and sugars, your insulin production increases, which over time contributes to insulin resistance. This means you will require even more insulin to produce the same effects, and it starts you on a vicious cycle.  

Normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer, which is good news because controlling your insulin levels is relatively straightforward.

First, limit your intake of processed foods, grains and sugars as much as possible to prevent your insulin levels from becoming elevated in the first place. Next, exercise regularly, as this will drive your insulin levels down.

Sunlight: The Often Overlooked Cancer Fighter

If people around the world optimized their vitamin D levels, about 30 percent of cancer deaths -- which amounts to 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States -- could be prevented each year.

On a personal level, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure.

The notion that sun exposure actually prevents cancer may still be a new one for some of you, so I highly recommend you watch my one-hour vitamin D lecture to clear up any confusion. But here is a brief primer … vitamin D has a protective effect against cancer in several ways, including:

• Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
• Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
• Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
• Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous

You typically need enough sun exposure to turn your skin the lightest shade of pink. If you have enough skin exposed you will produce about 20,000 units of vitamin D this way. Exposures any longer than turning your skin the lightest pink will not produce any additional vitamin D and potentially lead to premature skin aging and increase your risk of skin cancers.

When sun exposure is not an option (such as during the winter), a safe tanning bed or oral supplementation can be used, but again, to find out the details on how to use vitamin D therapeutically, and doses to take if you already have cancer, please watch my very important one-hour lecture.

The 11 Top Changes You Can Make Right Now to Prevent Cancer

The most powerful cancer-prevention methods are available to you right now, with no prescription or doctor’s visit needed. In fact, reducing your cancer risk is more about taking control of your health than perhaps any other factor. With that in mind, here are the simple steps you can take to virtually eliminate your cancer risk:

1.      Normalize your vitamin D levels with safe amounts of sun exposure, and monitor your vitamin D levels to make sure they’re in the therapeutic range.

2.      Control your insulin levels: Make certain that you limit your intake of processed foods and sugars as much as possible.

3.      Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats, such as those from krill oil.

4.      Get appropriate exercise. Again, one of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down, and controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.

5.      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.

6.      Have a tool to permanently erase 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 this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

7.      Only 25 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic.

However, please understand that, frequently, fresh conventionally grown vegetables are healthier than organic ones that are older and wilted in the grocery store. They are certainly better than no vegetables at all, so don't use that as an excuse. If you are a carb nutritional type you may need up to 300 percent more vegetables than a protein nutritional type.

8.      Make sure you are not in the two-thirds of the population who are overweight and maintain an ideal body weight.

9.      Get enough high-quality sleep.

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

11. Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them and try to eat a good portion of your food raw.
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