0ur wonderful U.S. of A. is far from perfect in fighting cancer. One of three people will develop cancer, and one of four will die from cancer. The natural defenses are weakened through our lifestyles choices. A good analogy is how radioactive sugar is injected into patients during P.E.T. scans to display where cancer cells accumulate. Cancer cells can only feed on sugar. Sugar is not a carcinogen, like tobacco, that creates cancer; however, it does help it grow. In America, in the 1800s, a person ate 12 pounds of refined sugar per person per year. Now, on average, 154 pounds is consumed per person per year. That is our poor choice.

David Servan-Schreiber, MD, Ph.D. was a neuroscientist when he had been diagnosed with brain cancer at 31 years of age. After going through the standard medical treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, at 37 it reoccurred. This led him to search for multiple evidence-based ways to lead an anti-cancer lifestyle. He wrote the book “Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life.” He also helped found Doctors Without Borders. From the information he compiled, I would like to share the following with you on what you can do to defend yourself against cancer.

Besides food, other lifestyle choices are important as well. The level of exercise has declined since our parents quit walking to school. A fifteen-minute daily walk would be more than the average American takes. This would release endorphins and toxins to help our defenses and immune function.

Daily, decide to make good choices with regards to food. Minimize carbohydrates and sugar by consuming “low glycemic index foods” listed at ada.org or glycemicindex.org. (For example, choose a wheat bagel over a donut.) Oregano, garlic, onion, thyme, mint, and basil are phytochemicals that destroy cancer cells and lower sugar. The most potent antioxidants, according to Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s research, are green tea and the spice turmeric (yellow curry). “Powerhouse foods” that eliminate toxins from the body are of the cabbage family, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and spinach. Since trans fats double the growth of breast cancer, avoid all oils unless they are olive or canola oil. Omega 3 is essential. If a person ate fish twice per week, it will decrease colon cancer by 70%.

Likewise, toxic chemicals exist in our environment now more than ever. One example is Bisphenol-A. It is a chemical estrogen found in plastics that transfers into food when heated. Bisphenol-A promotes the growth of existing cancer in the prostate, breast, or uterus. Choose to heat food in metal on the stove or in a glass dish in the microwave, not plastics.

Furthermore, maintain good support systems. In the U.S., we move on average every five years. This weakens our community support through friends and family. When cancer strikes, we need a strong social network to strengthen our stress responses and keep our cortisol hormones maintained. John Lennon said, that “life is what happens when you are making other plans.” Plan on being close to the ones you love before crisis hits.

Besides outside support, we need internal support as well. In America, every person over fifty has cancer cells in their body, according to Dr. Servan-Schreiber. For these cells to develop into full cancer, inflammation and/or a weakened immune state must exist. The immune system should constantly detect and destroy cancer. Inflammation around cancer cells stimulates growth while penetrating and invading neighboring tissue. Good nutrition, vitamin supplements, quality sleep, exercise, and minimal poor reactions to life stressors reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. “Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind” by Joyce Meyer is an excellent book on mental attitude while overcoming stressful situations.

Another proactive measure is to detect cancer early through annual exams. The P.S.A. lab test and digital rectal exam yearly, after forty in men, is the national guideline. Women obtaining their Pap smears and Mammograms are essential. Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopies are recommended in all adults past fifty and earlier for those with a direct relative with colon cancer. A chest X-ray is advised by the American Cancer Society after one has smoked twenty years. These tests could save your life.

Bottom line is you have a choice. Do not wait for the medical field to prescribe chemo, radiation, or medicines. Make decisions today that will build your natural defenses. In the meantime, you will decrease inflammation and strengthen your immune state. This will lead to minimizing Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and maximize the overall better quality of life. It’s your choice.

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