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Will  I "Get" Cancer?

Most likely you will, but you may never know it. 

As we age, the likelihood of developing a malignancy is higher than when we were younger. There are many factors in why this is true, including living in a toxic environment for many decades, an environment that is much worse today than it was 2 generations ago. These toxins run the gamut from chemicals, heavy metals and GMOs, to electromagnetic fields. No one today escapes these exposures. The question is: How successful are we in being able to eliminate and prevent exposure to these toxins? Our immune systems and our bodies have the capacity to kill cancer cells and tissues that are still in their early stages of growth, if we help them to do this.

While genetics can play a role in why we develop a malignancy as we age, this is only a small part of the equation. Specific blood tests can sometimes detect inherited reasons why we do not detoxify well. These include genetic tests like 23andme, which anyone can order online, and also includes certain tests for mutations (like MTHFR) which your doctor can order for you through regular lab tests. Also, Vitamin D testing is important for everyone.

The other reason why some people do not detoxify well is due to diet, which plays a significant role in  how well the liver (our main organ of detoxification) functions in its multifaceted work for our well-being.

A third reason is the pharmaceutical drugs that many people today are being prescribed. It is estimated that if you are on more than 5 drugs, the number of interactions and side effects of these drugs rises steeply, and can impair liver function. 

A fourth reason, and one that includes many of us, is how balanced we are in our psyches--our mental and emotional states.

What can you do? Be proactive and change your life!

What can you do to prevent a cancer from manifesting in a way that is detectable on physical exam or scan? 

First, observe your food habits, and if necessary, change them to healthier foods. Many people do well with a Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory type of diet. Read these email newsletters from our nutritionist Victoria Abel on how diet relates to health, or schedule an appointment with her to get dietary recommendations that are specifically tailored to your individual needs. 

Second, work on any and all unresolved psycho-emotional conflicts on an ongoing basis. This means making a commitment to be in a state of daily and ongoing mindfulness. For example, if you find yourself becoming angry or reactive in certain situations, or feeling sad or despairing, observe this, write about it, pray or meditate about these thoughts and emotions, and talk about it with people you trust.

Third, commit yourself to the often necessary lifelong process of ongoing detoxification. There are many ways to do this: 

1. Drink dandelion tea, to help detoxify the liver.
2. Keep your bowels moving well--twice daily is best.
3. Exercise, either with consistent and regular walking or an appropriate work-out regime .
4. Take good liver and kidney herbs that support these organs in eliminating the toxins that can often lead to the gene mutations behind cancer.
5. Work with a good naturopathic or integrative physician who can advise you on which homeopathic remedies will help you detoxify best.
6. Eat foods that help the liver and kidney systems to work better, preferably organic foods and GMO-free foods.
7. Sleep well, and if you are not doing so, use herbs and nutrients like low-dose melatonin or L-tryptophan, or see a good practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
8. Take Vitamin D daily, at least 5,000 IU's per day. Almost everyone we see here has low blood Vitamin D levels, even in sunny Arizona.
9. Refrain from holding cell phones up to your head when talking; use a blue tube device for this instead.
10. Stop watching TV so much. TV is driven by commercials, which are often deceptive and fear driven, to sell products that are often toxic. 

Beyond this, relax and enjoy life as much as possible. I am a firm believer that the degree to which we can devote our life to serving others helps us relax internally, and gives us motivation to stay alive and do the often difficult work of staying healthy. This devotion to service keeps us in right relationship with the divine, and with other people. 

And if you develop a detectable malignancy?

If in spite of doing all of this you do develop a detectable malignancy, do not be rushed into any mainstream therapies. Rather, take stock of yourself, and get advice from practitioners who know how to address people with a cancer diagnosis. The exceptions to this rule are if your cancer is causing any bowel  or other organ obstruction or perforation (rupture), or any bleeding that is clinically significant. In these cases you may need urgent surgery. Otherwise, there often is no hurry to undertake any mainstream therapy for cancer, as a cancer takes many years to develop and grow to a detectable state.

I know that many people just want to "get it out" or "kill it."  However, unless urgent, take some time to prepare for any surgery that may be required, or any chemotherapy that may be needed at some point in your therapy process. 

Change to a low inflammatory diet, and start on some good supplements. Many people I see as an integrative cancer physician already are doing much of this. 

Online reading and ordering is a two-edged sword: there are both good quality and poor quality herbs and nutrients out there. As I advise all the people I consult for: source is everything. We often must work to find our way through the maze of conflicting or deceptive information and to get advice from those with experience. 

Ultimately, the word cancer reminds us of our mortality. This is something all of us need to face at some point in our lives. Some people work on dying daily, meaning letting go of old habits and thoughts and emotions. Come to terms with death and dying as a key part of life and living. 

In sum, do what you can to follow these guidelines, become more loving, and trust in the goodness of the life we are given. And don't drive yourself crazy in worry or fear of "getting" or "killing" a cancer.

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