Frequently Asked Questions About Cancer
With the significant jump in the occurrence of cancer over recent decades, many people today have questions. Let's take a look at some of them:
1. How do I know if I have cancer?
Most of us today have a cancer brewing inside our bodies, and most of these cancers will never be diagnosed by modern diagnostic methods. This is because our immune systems, assuming we take care of them, are always on the lookout for cancer cells, and kill them before they grow enough to be able to be detected by modern diagnostic methods.
2. What are the underlying causes of cancer today?
This has changed over the years. Today, almost all of us live in a sea of toxins: environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and radiation, to say nothing about our poor diets. The cumulative effect of all these is chronic inflammation in our bodies, a weakening of our capacity to detoxify, and immune system weakening, as well as nutrient deficiencies, such as Vitamin D or iodine. However, most cancers today are not inherited, though genes do play a role because of DNA mutations that are often due to environmental influences.
3. What can I do to prevent cancer?
First, eat well. Second, work on resolving underlying psycho-emotional conflicts, which can and often do weaken our immune systems and therefore make us more vulnerable to cancer and many chronic illnesses. Third, work with a qualified holistic practitioner, like a naturopathic doctor, an integrative medical doctor, or Chinese Medicine practitioner, to support you and your body holistically.
4. What diagnostic tests do I need to do to see if I have cancer?
First, pay attention to your body and its symptoms. If you notice pain that persists, or a change in bowel movements, seek a good physician to help you determine the cause. And by the way, a mammogram does not prevent breast cancer. It is one way among many to see if there is a possible cancer in the breast. We will address this issue of mammograms in future articles. A number of years back, the craze was to do total body CT scans to detect cancers, but the high radiation exposure precludes doing CT scans unless clinically indicated. This was called "preventative" medicine, but scans do not prevent, they detect. The same principle is true with mammograms.
5. How can integrative and naturopathic medicine help me prevent cancer and/or treat an already diagnosed cancer?
Integrative and naturopathic physicians, as well as trained and licensed practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, are skilled at looking deeper into your body's functioning, physiologically and biochemically, often by looking at your tongue, hearing your voice, and evaluating comprehensive lab test results, as well as understanding the meaning of your symptoms on a deeper physiological level. These areas are often not addressed currently in modern medicine, and is why our health care system would do well to include holistic practitioners in their insurance plans.
Holistic practitioners know how to suggest food changes and prescribe herbs and nutrients, which can help us detoxify better and help support our nervous and hormonal systems, and also to help protect from side effects of modern oncology treatments, some of which may be necessary.
6. Why do I not hear more about how integrative and naturopathic medicine can help me prevent or help in my cancer treatment?
The answer to this is somewhat complex. One problem today is that our health care system is really a sickness-based system, focused on diagnosing and treating disease. There are many reasons for this, which can include the often excessive influence of pharmaceutical companies for funding what is deemed effective medicine, while almost completely ignoring the effectiveness of many herbs and nutrients.
7. If I have a cancer, what type of practitioner do I work with?
Focus on putting together a team of practitioners who can help you. These often will include an internist, a surgeon, a urologist, or an oncologist, and also needs to include integrative and naturopathic physicians, nutritionists, and traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. Think in terms of a team approach, and use your common sense and intuition while listening to and asking questions of your practitioners.
In sum, do your due diligence and be flexible and vigilant in caring for yourself, and be fearless in asking good questions to those on your therapy team.