According to a recent report by the World Health Organization, based on research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, cancer will soon hit a new benchmark. In 2012, cases of new cancer were estimated worldwide at 14 million but are slated to rise to 22 million within the next 2 decades. Why the rise? The World Health Organization blames smoking and obesity, but is that all there is to it?
The most common cancers were lung cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. The cancer that caused the most deaths was of the lung, nearly 20% of cancer deaths. The liver and stomach were each nearly 10% of cancer deaths. They further go on to point that “the burden of cancer internationally has doubled over the last 20 years, and it will double over the next 20 years.” With more and more research on cancer every day, how can this be? Are we really winning the war against cancer? The only conclusion that can be drawn from this report is a resounding ‘no.’
So who’s to blame? With absolutely huge amounts of money being spent on research and treatment, what are we getting for our money? A cancer rate set to double? The report is quick to blame western civilization and our “bad habits” that are being exported exponentially. I can’t really argue against that point because I see patients every day in my office living tragic lifestyles. Of course everyone knows that smoking causes cancer. In fact, it’s a wonder that anyone still smokes despite all the evidence pointing toward not only cancers, but strokes and heart disease. But, what of the other potential exposures? Are people even aware of how their habits, lifestyles, and choices may be killing them?
According to some sources, there are over 80,000 potential toxins in our environment, many of them are known carcinogens. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration even allows over 14,000 non-food chemicals in our food supply, many of which Americans consume as “healthy” alternatives to actual food.
For example, artificial sweetener is a common non-food chemical additive. Some sweeteners like saccharine have been linked to increased cancer rates, yet people continue to lace their food with it as a healthier alternative to sugar. It seems like it’s almost impossible to find foods nowadays that are not laced with chemicals, from antibiotics in our meats, to medications in our drinking water. Our food is laced with preservatives, colors, flavor enhancers, dyes, and limitless other additives. Combine this with lack of exercise, poor sleep habits, high stress, and generally poor nervous system health and you have a recipe for disaster.
Think your medications are healthy? Well, that depends on your perspective. They’re definitely healthier than dying. A better solution would be to work to achieve true health, rather than just covering up the symptoms of your disease with more chemicals. That is a task you need to work through with your doctor. You can’t get health from a bottle, only symptom control. A true healthcare provider will work with you and for you to move you away from disease and back toward health, not just placate your symptoms.
So, what’s the solution to this cancer crisis? Worldwide, we’ve spent almost too much money to count, so why can’t we get a handle on this life-threatening disease? The answer could be that we’re not addressing the right problems. Rather than spending nearly all of that money on research for cancer treatments, would we be better served to allocate larger portions to cancer prevention? We should be investing in identifying potential exposures and then working to eliminate the potential for risk.
So, are you going to wait for this to magically happen? You shouldn’t. You have more control than you know. If you really want to prevent cancer and preserve your health, here are some practical steps you can take to lower your risk:
1. Eat better – Anything you put in your body that’s not food is a poison. You remember what food is, right? It’s those pesky fruits, vegetables, and healthy meats. No, soda isn’t food. Alcohol is a poison. Artificial sweetener is toxic. Even your medications come with some risk. Instead of buying pre-made or packaged convenience food, you’ll have to start cooking again. This means fresh and organic as much as possible. If it’s not food don’t eat it.
2. Limit your exposure – We are constantly under assault from our external environment. Everything from our cleaning products to air freshener and non-stick cookware has potential toxins in it. Did you know that plastic is a potential toxin and when microwaved may leach some of those toxins into your food? If it’s made in a lab, it most likely has the potential to be a toxin, bad news for you. One of the best things you can do to decrease your cancer risk is consider all of your decisions and do your research before you make them.
3. Avoid destructive habits – This would include regularly exposing yourself to known recreational toxins such as cigarette smoke and alcohol.
4. Boost your exercise – Sure people who exercise can get cancer. Lots of professional athletes have even struggled with this disease. That being said, however, cancer rates statistically plummet in people who regularly exercise. Think 30 minutes 3 times a week is enough? I would argue it’s not for a human organism genetically designed to get 12-16 hours of movement per day. You may not be able to prevent it altogether, but at least to can decrease your risk.
5. Limit your weight – Simply put, less tissue means fewer cells. Fewer cells mean a decreased risk that some of them will become cancerous. Additionally, fat cells have an affinity for toxins. So, the heavier you are, the more likely you are to be storing accumulated, potentially cancer causing, toxins.
6. Maintain a healthy nervous system – Your nervous system is the circuitry for the body. It controls everything from motion to immune system. It’s impossible to keep maximum health with a corrupted nervous system. Exercise is a way to keep the nervous system functioning at a high level. Spinal adjusting by a trained chiropractor, too, can also decrease nervous system interference. I won’t say that chiropractic is a definite cancer preventative, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. Physiologically, a healthy nervous system is critical to a healthy immune system, which should, theoretically, keep cancer at bay. Sadly, less than 2% of Americans get adjusted regularly.
If you want to beat cancer, you need to take control of your health. Don’t ever live under the illusion that you can never get cancer but also never believe that cancer is inevitable or inescapable. If you can take control of your health, make better decisions, and think of health as a journey and investment, perhaps you can reap the rewards of better health and a longer cancer-free life. Be well.
Source: USA Today, Cancer to Skyrocket Worldwide, WHO report faults smoking, obesity, and increased population; by Nancy Hellmich, February 5th, 2014