A New Perspective on Cancer

A New Perspective on Cancer

The body is made up of trillions of cells, which consistently grow, divide and die. Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells do not die—they divide out of control, due to damaged DNA, and can spread throughout the body. Cancer is the proliferation of malfunctioning cells.

If the blood, the living environment of cells, is unhealthy, the cells will be unhealthy as well. Cells become susceptible to abnormal functioning when substances enter the bloodstream and alter it. Low-oxygen and low-pH (acidic) states set up the conditions for cell malfunction and tax the immune system. Seventeen percent of the immune system is located in the digestive tract. What we eat has an immediate effect on blood and cell health.

Half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will develop cancer. Worldwide, 7.6 million people died of cancer in 2008 (13 percent of all deaths) (World Health Organization). Those in developed countries are less likely to die of cancer than those in developing countries, but are more than twice as likely as to be diagnosed with it. The main reasons for higher cancer numbers in affluent societies are diet and exposure to tobacco and cancer-causing substances in the workplace.

Gender, ethnicity, and age can all help predict a person’s risk for various types of cancer. The strongest predictors are environment, lifestyle, and genetics.

Cancer has many causes. Up to 23 percent of cancerous growths in developing countries, and 8 percent in developed countries, are caused by infectious agents. Hepatitis B and C viruses can cause liver cancer. Human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause cervical and anogenital cancer. Helicobacter pyloribacteria can cause stomach cancer. Vaccinations, therefore, can be important to preventing certain cancers.

Hereditary cancerdevelops from one or more gene mutations passed from parent to child. The most common types are breast, ovarian, prostate, and colorectal. Tests are now available for these gene mutations. However, sporadic cancers—occurring by chance in individuals with no known genetic risk factors or family history—are much more common. Thus, environmental and lifestyle factors play a greater role than genes.

One recent, large study in the United Kingdom searched for links between cancer risks and 14 lifestyle factors: tobacco, alcohol, bodyweight, exercise, occupation, infections, radiation, reproductive history, post-menopausal hormone use, and certain foods. The 14 factors were found to be responsible for 42 percent of cancers. Unhealthy diet caused 10 percent of new cancers; tobacco caused nearly 20 percent. Tobacco is the world’s single largest preventable cause of cancer. Tobacco use accounts for at least 30 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths; 80 percent of those death are from lung cancer (American Cancer Society).

Frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancers of the larynx, lung, esophagus, stomach, colon, and cervix, by promoting healthy digestion and blood and balanced pH. Unfortunately, Western nations favor highly caloric diets rich in fat, refined carbohydrates, and animal protein. Combined with low physical activity, the typical Western diet is not conducive to healthy blood and immune function. Drastic lifestyle changes are needed for a significant decrease in cancer numbers.

Other than prevention, the second most effective approach is early detection, so treatment can begin early. Evidence suggests that recent declines in cancer mortality in some countries are due to early detection. Detection improvements include advances in imaging technology and better education about early symptoms. More than 30 percent of cancers worldwide could be cured if detected early and treated (World Health Organization).

Conventional medical treatment focuses on eliminating the cancer cells, not the cause. These treatments help many people live longer, but at great financial cost, with physical side effects and further deterioration of the immune system. The most common treatments are drug-based therapies (chemotherapy, radiation) and surgery. Immunotherapy shows the best promise; it’s safer and aligns more closely to a natural systemic approach, because it strengthens the immune system rather than only attacking cancer cells.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which use non-invasive, non-pharmacological treatments, are increasingly recommended by healthcare providers. Thirty-eight percent of Americans in 2007 used CAM (American Medical Association). Naturopathic systems, like acupuncture and other Chinese medicine, can help relieve pain and other side effects of drug-based cancer treatments. Numerous U.S. hospitals now offer therapies like meditation, yoga, and tai chi. But hospitals still use these as complements to drug-based therapies, not as substitutes.

Cancer is a complex disease with multiple causes. But one thing is certain: a healthy blood and immune system are key to cell function. Whether engaged alone or as a complement, non-toxic, natural approaches should be central to prevention and treatment. A diet filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans is the #1 preventative method, and a key part of facilitating the body’s innate self-healing capacity.


© 2018 Keyvan Golestaneh

Encountering Death

Encountering Death

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? —Mary Oliver Death is utterly acceptable to consciousness and life. There has been endless time of numberless deaths, but neither consciousness nor life has ceased to arise. — Adi Da Understandably, most people… Continue Reading

The Spectrum Of Bodywork

The Spectrum Of Bodywork

Most of us have heard of massage, physical therapy and chiropractors, but not other therapeutic methods such as others like Cranial-sacral, Structural therapy. Massage comes in many different styles, from well-known Swedish, Sports and Thai massage to lesser known systems like neuromuscular. Osteopathy and Chiropractic are similar in many ways. Chiropractor generally works on the… Continue Reading

To Supplement, or not to Supplement?

To Supplement, or not to Supplement?

Yes, in some cases, but in many cases, no. There is no definitive answer, because each person is different with different needs. In general, clinical evidence shows that it’s best to get your nutritional needs from the food you eat. Health and nutritional supplements have skyrocketed in popularity. The variety of available products and contradictory… Continue Reading

10 Health and Medical Myths

10 Health and Medical Myths

A myth develops when an idea or ethos is assumed to be “natural” or the way things are. It’s a way of naturalizing something that is not. Society and culture are built on our ability to create myths. It creates a consensus reality. Myths aren’t just about gods and goddesses. It’s not only the ancient Greeks and Romans, or tribal cultures in the Amazon that live by myths, all societies do. They are presuppositions we have which we take for granted as given.

Unfortunately what we assume to be true isn’t always the case. Instead of unquestionably believing something, it’s better to look at the evidence, to uncover the truth. We can go our whole life acting on assumptions that are wrong and suffer because of it. A good example of going beyond accepted knowledge is “Freakonomics” (S. Levitt & S. Dubner). The authors took commonly accepted truths and overturned them by researching the facts and uncovering the evidence.

Because we rely so much on the media and the Internet for information, myths are spread not only by word of mouth, but as fast as viruses. The downside of a mediated world where information spreads instantaneously is that misinformation also moves as quickly! It’s hard for the general public to separate what is true from fiction. When it comes to health and medical issues the situation is even worse. Most people rely on the biomedical establishment and government agencies for guidance. But there are often institutional and economic forces that keep them stuck in the status quo. They change slowly. It can take years before scientific research and new treatment approaches make it to doctors and health practitioners. They may also be uneducated about available effective alternatives.

Many people now use the Internet to look for answers. The Internet is a double-edged sword. You can find just as much misinformation as reliable answers. Anyone can publish anything and there are no editors or authorities to certify for accuracy. It’s more important then ever to use reliable sources and critical thinking before you accept something as a “truth”.
Here is a list of commonly accepted health myths:

1/ You need to eat dairy products to get enough calcium. False. Vegetables, like broccoli and kale contain the highest source of calcium.

2/ You can’t get enough protein if you don’t eat meat. False. Plant sources have the full range of amino acids and are an excellent source of protein (beans, legumes, quinoa, seeds, nuts). They are also low in fat. They only lack B12, which is not a protein.

3/ Taking antibiotics for a cold or flu can help. False. Antibiotics have zero effect on viruses, which are the cause of most colds and flu. Over-prescribing antibiotics has created stronger more resistant bacteria, which is a real danger.

4/ You need drugs, like statins to lower your cholesterol. False. An appropriate diet can work faster at lowering cholesterol. It’s also safer because statins have adverse side effects.

5/ Mental illness can be treated best using drugs and/or psychotherapy alone. False. Depression and other psychological problems can be treated more effectively using an integrated approach that includes lifestyle changes.

6/ Auto-immune diseases like arthritis, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), fibromyalgia and MS are not treatable. False. Many auto-immune diseases like psoriasis and arthritis can be treated successfully naturally, and others can be slowed and managed better.

7/ Many common allergies you are born with are only manageable with medication. False. Most airborne or seasonal allergies to hay or pollen and some food allergies can be successfully treated naturally.

8/ Type 2 diabetes is not curable. False. Unlike type 1 diabetes, adult onset type 2 is treatable naturally and in many cases is reversible.

9/ Taking antacids for heartburn and acid reflux solves the problem. False. They suppress the stomach’s ability to produce acid, which is needed for digestion. By suppressing the symptoms they damage the stomach lining.

10/ Calorie counting in order to lose weight is effective. Calories are not the only factor in weight management. If the body cannot absorb nutrients and eliminate waste effectively, and if you don’t exercise sufficiently your weight may be difficult to control.

These do not cover all the health and medical “myths” but they do cover many of the most common health issues people face. The bottom line is that the medical and health field is changing quickly today, and you can no longer take for granted what you and your parents took as truths. It’s good to question “truths” that have been taken for granted because many of them may no longer be valid. Your health and wealth may depend on it.

The post 10 Health and Medical Myths appeared first on Expatriates Magazine Paris.

Continue Reading

The Case for Meditation

The Case for Meditation

How do you make a case for something? Science, a method that looks at evidence systematically, is one way to do this. Another way is anecdotal evidence, less rigorous than science but it is nevertheless valid. Traditional medicine has used it for centuries, far longer than scientific methods. Science starts by suspending assumptions about what… Continue Reading

Healthy Heart

Healthy Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Europe and the United States and according to the European Heart Journal (August 2014) is estimated to account for 29-30% of deaths worldwide. One study (J. Family Practice, July 2011) reported that more than 70 percent of U.S. women and… Continue Reading