Cancer is, for many people, a frightening word but it does not have to be. Aside from the fact that nowadays there are many very effective early detection, diagnosis and treatment options available for cancer, there are several ways that we can protect our bodies from developing cancer in the first place. Many patients that I come across believe that cancer is not something you can prevent but rather just a matter of chance or genetics, or a combination of both; but this is simply not the case as we will see below. Let us first briefly touch on what cancer actually is.
What Is Cancer?
Cancer cells form on a daily basis in all of our bodies and as we age the number of these cancer cells being produced increases. This is why cancer appears to happen more commonly as we get older. The fact that these cancer cells do not develop many a time into solid tumours is due to our body’s natural defenses towards cancer cells. So cancer cells are just rogue, normal body cells that have become mutated in such a way that they become a law unto themselves. They do not follow the usual rules of replication or growth and so take over organ systems and can overwhelm the body. This is when people start to develop secondary cancers in body sites distant to where the original cancer formed; most commonly developing these secondary cancers in the liver, brain, bones and spine. Cancer can initially form in just about every tissue of the body and then spread. S
How to Protect Your Body from Cancer
Below are some suggestions to ward off cancer cells from forming in your body. The more of these you do the higher your protection against cancer formation.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables which contain antioxidants.
- Choose wholegrains over highly processed grains as wholegrains contain fibre known to reduce potential cancer-causing toxins from the bowel.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners due to the as yet unknown effects on cancer development.
- Add the spice turmeric to your food as it contains a compound shown to prevent cancer known as curcumin.
- Drink green tea as studies have indicated that it reduces the risk of developing many cancers.
- Avoid processed, charcoaled, and smoked meats, which produce nitrosamines, potential bowel cancer causing compounds. For similar reasons avoid over-browning your meat; rather choose to steam, broil, bake, or lightly stir-fry.
- Avoid getting sunburnt as UV radiation damage has been linked to the development of skin cancer. Interestingly, not getting enough vitamin D can also potential lead to cancer formation as vitamin D acts as an antioxidant (Refer to Simple Health Habit #47 for tips on safe sun exposure).
- Wear rubber gloves if using chemicals for cleaning or better still check for natural cleaning alternatives and personal care products. Do not use aerosolised air fresheners. Instead choose fresh flowers, natural orange spray, or scent pots.
- Avoid using non-stick cookwear that is cracked as this can leach toxic chemicals into your food. Instead opt to use stainless teal, ceramic, or glass.
- Avoid bisphenol-A (BPA) found in many plastic containers, plastic food wrap, water bottles, and canned foods, as this has been linked to cancer development amongst other health concerns. Look for BPA-free varieties or better still store food in glass Pyrex or stainless steel containers, avoid using plastic food wrap or at the very least do not heat food in the microwave covered in plastic wrap, and choose stainless steel water bottles.
- Practise stress-reduction strategies regularly.
- Quit smoking, which contains literally at least 40 known potential cancer-causing chemicals.
- Exercise regularly as this has been shown to reduce cancer incidence. Keep in mind that if you are undertaking heavy training consider taking an extra dose of antioxidants to buffer the high numbers of free radicals being produced in your body.
- Consider taking an extra antioxidant supplement if you are over the age of 50 years and you do not eat enough fruit and vegetables. Choose one that contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin D, vitamin E, as well as selenium.
Dr Cris Beer
Holistic Medical Doctor