Last Updated: July 9, 2019, Marc Woodard
It is a fact that one or more factors – environmental toxins, poor diet, sedentary and other unhealthy lifestyle habits can cause cell mutation, formation of cancerous tumors and metastasis of those cells. Those at highest risk are those predisposed to cancer genetically.
Are we all doomed to get cancer? The simple answer is NO.
Although the mortality rates caused by cancer are on the rise, so is the survivorship through lifesaving treatment and lifestyle change. However to minimize the risk of getting cancer requires taking cancer prevention seriously.
It is a fact, cancer mortality rates throughout the globe have increased over the last decade. 7.6 million People died of cancer in the world during 2007. 13% of all deaths are due to cancer” (American Cancer Society 2007). Unfortunately Cancer is among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012 (World Health Organization, 2015).
The number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030″ (cancer.gov 2019). Although the data shows us cancer cases are on the rise, so is survivor-ship. “More than 16.9 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2019, and this number is projected to grow to more than 22.1 million by January 1, 2030. These estimates do not include carcinoma in situ (CIS) of any site (except urinary bladder) or basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers.” (Miller, Kimberly D., et al. 2019). It appears increased survivor-ship projections is the result of a combination of an increased aging population, advances in early detection and treatment.
The number of cancer survivors continues to grow in the United States despite overall declining age standardized incidence rates in men and stable rates in women. This reflects an increasing number of new cancer diagnoses resulting from a growing and aging population as well as advancements in early detection and treatment. “Given this estimated projection and the various physical, financial, and other types of challenges that may come with survivorship, researchers concluded it is crucial to increase efforts to help cancer survivors live longer and healthier lives” (Miller, Kimberly D., et al. 2019).
As previously stated – the data tells us cancer cases are on the rise and with the advancement of science and prevention education [health literacy] cancer patients and those in remission are living longer. It appears more likely than not mortality rates associated with all types of cancer over the next decade is estimated to decline significantly and this is good news. As curing cancer is becoming a real possibility.
How does one get cancer? There many ways one could acquire cancer through environment or habitual factors and behavioral actions. But one must also consider genetic predisposition. Does cancer run in the family? If a family member has had cancer, suspect you have a predisposition to a similar type of cancer. Once you’re aware of a family history, it is prudent to take preventative action to minimize the risk of getting it.
The American Cancer Society defines cancer as a disease which differs widely in cause and biology than any other. There are approximately 9 risk factors leading to cancer: Tobacco smoking, alcohol, diets low in fruit and vegetables, limited physical exercise, unsafe sex, urban air pollution, domestic use of solid fuels and contaminated injections (Hep B & C).
Once cancerous tumors form they continue to grow and divide at the cellular level and frequently spread to other parts of the body[metastasis]. Regardless of metastasis the immune-lymph and circulatory blood systems go into overdrive to kill and remove the intruder cancer cell. Once cancer tumors are formed, they can affect other healthy cells surrounding them. They have the ability to target other tissues and organs throughout the body, spread and infect, grow and further divide making it impossible for the body’s defense systems to remove the cancer.
Unless medical treatment is received in a timely manner to stop a malignant growth… remission may not be possible. Especially if the cancer metastasizes [spreads to other parts of the body]. It is for this reason, if diagnosed with Stage 2-3 cancer, it becomes very risky to put off conventional cancer treatment to target and kill it. Once cancer reaches stage 4, the odds of remission and survival is reduced regardless of treatment choice. Survival increases when immediate diagnosis and conventional treatment is applied during the early stages of cancer diagnosis. Through the advancements of preventative medicines and science and lifestyle change survivor rates continue to climb.
If an unhealthy lifestyle and/or environment continues its course over an extended period of time, it becomes more likely cell mutation will occur. It is through toxic environment [stress, toxins, pollution, etc., causing agents]; and/or unhealthy habits and behavior[sedentary lifestyle, smoking, drugs, drinking, etc.,] and when genetically predisposed creates an incubator for cancer to form and reside.
Although the body is capable of filtering and removing many toxins through the lymphatic and circulatory systems – it has limitations. It is the frequency, duration and toxicity on genetic expression that puts these systems into overdrive. When we get sick, it is because our filtration systems are unable to keep up with the stress induced and toxins attacking it.
These circulatory filter systems have 3 basic functions. 1) To clean the blood and remove waste from the body. 2) They absorb and transport fatty acids from the intestine and digestive system. 3) The lymph node cells called lymphocytes provide immunological defenses against disease-causing agents [i.e., cancer]. When you increase cancer risk factors these lymphatic and circulatory filter system(s) become less functionally efficient at removing cancer causing toxins.
Lifestyle Changes Everyone Can Make to Reduce Cancer Risk
- Obesity increases risk of developing cancer. Reduce body weight through healthy diet and exercise.
- Reduce processed foods consumption and eat more whole foods.
- Reduce refined sugars, excessive fats and heavy processed foods. Increase plant based foods to decrease risk of prostate and breast cancer (men/women).
- Studies have linked stomach cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer with grilled meat and red meats in general. Carcinogens are released through the burning of the aromatic hydrocarbon which often occurs when you overheat and burn fats. Then inhale the carcinogenic burnt smoke fumes. If you burn cooking oils, open the windows, dump and refresh it.
- Cancer trials suggest that vitamin supplementation and/or consumption of fruits and vegetables will reduce cancer risks.
- Take a daily vitamin & mineral supplement daily. Especially if you’re not getting 3-4 servings per day of plant foods.
- Give up artificial sweeteners (Aspartame). Controlled animal studies reveal a strong connection to cancer, obesity and diabetes. Read your food labels carefully. There are now +6000 food products under various labels that list Aspartame as other sweetener, sugar substitute and as a healthy sweetener alternative. Sodas, flavored water, specialized coffee’s, processed baked deserts, candy and even some diet foods have high concentrates of Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners in them.
- If you live in a heavily carbon monoxide or chemical producing environment and/or the drinking water smells & tastes like chemical and/or suffer from respiratory problems and health is suffering – consider moving out of the area if possible. If not possible, filter your water and indoor air filtration systems.
- Exercise more – If exercising outside, do so on low smog days and indoors on high smog days. Also don’t burn wood or other heating fuels in unvented room space.
- Remove toxic home use products and replace with clean green products.
- The sun and man-made equipment produce UV (Ultraviolet) rays. These UV rays are known as electromagnetic radiation. The sun is our main source of this radiation. Man-made UV radiation is produced by tanning beds, x-rays and welding torches for example. Limit exposure to electromagnetic radiation by cover up and/or use UV protective sunscreen and sunglasses to avoid overexposure of the sun’s rays when possible.
- Stop smoking and consuming alcohol and rec/non rec drug use. Minimize vaping [electronic cigarettes] habits. Early patient cases and medical experts show an aggravation connection to circulatory and lung systems through inhalation of Propylene Glycol and nicotine within these vaping devices.
- Practice safe sex and never use a shared or unsterilized needles.
- Get frequent medical checkups – no less than annual.
The incidence of cancer cases rise dramatically with age and genetic predisposition. And when unhealthy lifestyle environment and activities are added those risk factors increase significantly. The good news for those unfortunate enough to experience cancer symptoms and treatment – there is a huge support network in preventative and evidence based medicine leading the way to increase survivorship and finding a cure. Through continued health literacy, prevention education and early stage cancer detection and treatment, patient survivorship will continue to increase as projected.
It is through the efforts of the medical and research organizations increased survivorship and finding a cure is possible. For survivors, the medical community has a plan to help you stay fit healthy and live long lives through enhanced provider services. “Future research should also focus on identifying best practices for engaging cancer survivors in adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle at the policy, health care system, and individual patient levels. Models for the integration of comprehensive care for cancer survivors and their caregivers, including self management, wellness and healthy lifestyle promotion, and cancer rehabilitation, are beginning to emerge. As the evidence base grows, efforts at the individual, provider, system, and policy levels will help cancer survivors live longer and healthier lives” (Miller, Kimberly D., et al. 2019).
Miller, Kimberly D., et al. Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Statistics, 2019 – Miller – – CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians – Wiley Online Library. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, American Cancer Society, 11 June 2019, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21565.
American Cancer Society 2007
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2016, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2016/, based on November 2018 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2019.
World Health Organization [WHO] 2015
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2015-19 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.