We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to cancer, that old saying carries a ton of truth. Can cancer really be prevented? Absolutely, but you need an effective strategy. Cancer is a "multifactorial" condition. It is not enough to do just one thing. You must create an internal environment that is hostile to cancer. In order to accomplish this goal, you will need to focus on four primary cornerstones.
1. A positive mental attitude; 2. A health-promoting lifestyle; 3. A cancer-fighting diet; 4. Proper use of nutritional supplements; Attitude, stress, personality, and emotional state are thought to predict the development of many diseases including cancer via their impact on the immune system. The prototypical cancer personality is classified as "Type C" a personality associated with the denial and suppression of emotions, in particular anger. Typically the Type C personality deals with stress through excessive denial, avoidance, and suppression/repression of emotions. The internalization of negative emotions is thought to contribute to the development of cancer by amplifying the harmful effects that stress produces on the immune system.
The importance of a healthy lifestyle in cancer prevention cannot be overstated. The key components are avoiding tobacco use and exposure to cigarette smoke, exercising regularly and avoiding alcohol or drinking only moderate amounts. Smoking dramatically increases the risk for all cancers and more than 30% of all cancer deaths are attributable to smoking. Quitting smoking dramatically reduces risk. Many experts believe that diet is the major cause of cancer in the United States and Canada and a mounting abundance of data seems to support them.Certain dietary factors are associated with an increased risk for most cancers while others are protective.
There are three key supplements that are essential in a cancer prevention plan: 1. A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral, especially one that provides sufficient levels of antioxidant nutrients. 2. A high quality "greens" drink. 3. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.A high-potency multiple vitamin and mineral is one that provides optimal levels of all essential vitamins and minerals. Such a product will not be a "one a day" product as it is physically impossible to get everything into just one pill. A high potency multiple will usually require two or three tablets be taken twice daily.
Your body needs a constant supply of essential vitamins and minerals. One of their critical roles is as components of enzymes - molecules that build or break down other molecules. Enzymes are in charge of repairing damage to cells including damage to DNA and cellular membranes. If your cells enzyme defense mechanisms are not up to par, because your body lacks one or more of the key nutrients the cell is vulnerable to malfunction. Cancer is one possible result. Most enzymes in the body have both a vitamin portion and a mineral portion.
Greens drink refers to commercially available products containing dehydrated barley grass, wheat grass, or algae sources such as chorella or spirulina - green super foods that are power packed full of cancer fighting phytochemicals, especially carotenes and chlorophyll. These dehydrated products are more convenient that trying to sprout and grow your own source of greens. An added advantage is that they tend to taste better than, for example, straight wheatgrass juice.Simply rehydrate by mixing with water or juice to form a green drink. Drink one to two servings daily. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are the omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil. Deficiency of these fats is associated with an increase risk for cancer and about 60 other
Conditions including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, skin diseases, and diabetes. Adding a fish oil supplement to your daily routine provides extra insurance that you are getting sufficient levels of these important oils. When selecting a fish oil supplement, it is essential to use a brand that you trust. Quality control is an absolute must to insure the product is free from heavy metals like lead and mercury, pesticides, damaged fats (lipid peroxides) and other contaminants. For prevention, take enough of the product to provide 200 to 400 mg of EPA and 100 to 200 mg of DHA on a daily basis.
For more information on what you can do to fight cancer, please consult How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine (Riverhead Trade Paperbacks; November 2003; $16.00). Michael T. Murray, N.D., is widely regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicine. He is a graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Murray is Director of Product Development and Education for Natural Factors Nutritional Products.