How we can prevent cancer in natural ways

by Robert M. Oliva

Cancer may soon exceed heart disease as the major cause of death. Most experts say that a majority of cancers are caused by diet and lifestyle choices. Luckily, there are many things we all can do to decrease the risk of developing this disease. Natural and effective strategies exist that have been shown to protect us from cancer. Read about them here...

Cancer rates have been rising for decades. Each year reports coming out of the National Cancer Institute have noted the increase in many cancers. It is estimated that 50 percent of us may develop cancer by the year 2010. The mainstream approach has been to do extensive research on finding a cure for cancer. This approach deals with the problem only after it has appeared. An alternative approach is to look at stopping cancer before it develops.

The approach of this article is on prevention. Stopping cancer from developing is preferable to having to combat the disease once it appears. Fighting cancer can be very burdensome. Wisdom dictates that we focus on doing those things that have been shown to reduce the odds of developing cancer. Luckily, there are many things we can do to better our chances of never having to face such a diagnosis.

Letís first look at some causes of cancer.

Causes: There are many factors that may cause cancer. There are lifestyle factors such as diet and behaviour. There are environmental factors such as pesticides, fertilisers and heavy metals. There are internal factors that include viruses, bacteria and parasites. There are even genetic predispositions in each of us.

Of all of these factors, lifestyle seems to be the most important. Some experts estimate that 70 percent of cancers come from how we live. Some have said that 60 percent of all female cancers and 40 percent of male cancers come from faulty nutrition and lifestyle.

The modern American diet is dangerous from a number of perspectives. First, our foods are denatured and processed. They are filled with sugars, preservatives, artificial colours and sweeteners. These foods do not supply us with adequate nutrition that can maintain our immune systems. Second, the foods we eat are contaminated with hormones and antibiotics and grown with chemical fertilisers. Third, foods grown with modern agricultural methods are low in zinc, selenium, magnesium and chromium. All needed to fight the free radicals that cause cancer.

Think of your car for a moment. To keep your car healthy you need to have it checked regularly and give it the best gas, oil and fluids. If you fail to do these things, eventually the car breaks down. It is similar with us. If we do not check our status and feed our bodies the best nutrients, it eventually gives out. One way it does this is by being unable to fight off the development of disease, including cancer.

Diet : Eating natural and whole foods, rather than processed denatured foods, keeps our bodies working to protect us from all diseases. Eating alkaline foods is especially important in preventing cancer. Alkaline foods balance the pH of the blood and help to prevent cancer cells from proliferating. These foods also contain phytochemicals which have proven to be potent cancer fighters. Our diets, ideally, should be 80 percent alkaline. The Alkaline Diet : Alkaline forming foods are mostly fruits and vegetables plus, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes.

Some of the most important fruits for you to eat are avocados, figs, grapefruit, melons, bananas, lemons, nectarines, olives, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, watermelon, etc.

Good vegetables include: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, mustard greens, onions, bell peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, and yams.

The cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collards and mustard greens contain indoles that are known as potent detoxifying chemicals in the body which may remove cancer-causing agents in the blood.

Alkaline forming legumes include string beans, peas, soybeans, lima beans, etc. Whole grains such as rice, amaranth, and barley are particularly good. Nuts and seeds include almonds, chestnuts, and pignolias.

Olive Oil is also good in preventing some cancers. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids which have been shown to have a protective effect against breast cancer in women. A new study has found that those of us who use olive oil have much lower rates of colon cancer regardless of how much produce we consume!

Helpful Supplements: Supplementing with antioxidants is important in preventing cancer. Many studies have indicated the role that antioxidants play in maintaining the immune system and scavenging for free-radicals. The most important antioxidants to consider are: beta carotene, vitamins A, C and E, bioflavinoids, selenium, glutathione, coenzyme Q10, and grape seeds. Others to consider are zinc, chromium, selenium, magnesium and folic acid. Hormones such as DHEA and Melatonin should also be looked at.

Herbs: There are many herbs that are helpful in preventing cancer. Herbs boost the immune system and stimulate specific organic functions for a short time.

The following herbs have all been shown to have anti-cancer properties: Aloe Vera, Astagalus, Ginkgo Biloba, Burdock, Echinacea, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Ginseng, Lentinan (shiitake mushroom extract), Red Clover, Essiac Formula, and Hoxsey Herb formula.

Psychological Factors: There are some who theorise that there is a cancer personality. It is thought that people who hold in anger are more prone to developing cancer. Although the verdict is not in on this idea, it may be important for those who wish to prevent cancer to look at themselves in light of this research. Anger is a way of making us feel strong when we feel weak or not in control of something in our lives. It may be helpful to use anger as a way of identifying those aspects of ourselves we need to address. In any event, it is important for all of us to learn how to constructively express our emotions to ourselves and those around us.

Exercise: Few people realise that one of the benefits of exercise is that it reduces the chance of developing cancer.

Those of us who exercise regularly have a lower incidence of cancers of the colon, prostate, endometrium and breast. Almost all research points to this fact. Sedentary lifestyles that create an overall sluggishness in the system also increase cancer propensity. Our bodies were made to move not sit.

What Not To Do:

Besides living in a healthy and natural way that lowers our cancer risk, it is important to avoid some very common behaviours that increase our chances of developing cancer.

Smoking: It is now widely accepted that tobacco is a cause of one of the most prevalent cancers, cancer of the lungs. Second hand smoke is associated with 17 percent of lung cancers as well as with cervical cancer. Chewing tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth. Stay away from all tobacco products!

Drinking: Drinking has been associated with cancer of the liver and breast cancer in women. Even moderate drinking increases a womanís risk of breast cancer fourfold. Please use extreme caution when deciding to consume alcohol.

Hormone Replacement Therapy:

Hormone replacement therapy is offered to postmenopausal women to reduce osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. However, what is not always mentioned is that there is an increased risk of cancers of the breast and uterus. Be very cautious when contemplating hormone therapy. Many doctors are not even aware of the increased risk of uterine cancer. Educate yourself.

Cautions Meat: In recent research meat has not been found to be a direct cause of cancer. The manner of preparation is probably more the culprit. Cooking meat on high flames, such as barbecuing, can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts.

Also, most meat in the United States is loaded with antibiotics and hormones. This may over stimulate our own bodyís hormone production and lead to cancer.

Vegetables: Produce grown in this country is treated with large amounts of pesticides many of which have been shown to cause cancer under certain conditions. However, almost all current research indicates that eating produce grown commercially is better than not eating it at all. Clean your produce thoroughly and keep eating your veggies. If eating organic foods is an option, go for it.

Treatment Summary: The best approach to preventing cancer is to live as naturally as possible. There is no magic bullet. But with some resolve we can eat right, exercise, supplement our diets with needed antioxidants, and learn to express our emotions constructively. We can also stop consuming all tobacco products and drink very moderately, if at all.

Prevention comes down to living as naturally as possible in our modern culture. The resources are there, we only have to use them.

Source: The Daily Independent, Dhaka, December 24, 2001