RE-THINKING CANCER TREATMENT


Cancer has now overtaken heart disease as the number one cause of death globally. According to the World Health Organisation, there were 14.1 million cases in 2012 alone.

But that’s not the worst part. The report also found that cancer is a “largely preventable disease” often caused by lifestyle choices, or decisions people make about their own situation.

While I believe it is absolutely crucial that we all work to prevent cancers before they occur, this week I want to focus on the choices you have once you have been diagnosed with cancer.

A new approach

You may have been led to believe that there is only one route to treating cancer – and that is through the medical system. However, growing numbers of patients are choosing to complement their medical treatment with naturopathic medicines and advice to get the best health outcome available.

The medical model views cancer as the enemy within, which must be eradicated. Naturopathy views cancer as a chronic disease developed over a long-term period. Similar to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, dietary and lifestyle changes can play a dramatic role in reversal of cancer.

The naturopathic way

When a patient presents with cancer, Naturopaths focus on assessing and treating five key areas that can contribute to the progression of cancer. They are:

1. Inflammation – this is the body’s response to trauma, which can keep the immune system pre-occupied and allow abnormal cells to be missed. Long-term inflammation can be the result of infections, allergies (including asthma), leaky gut, arthritis, toxins (heavy metals), or surgery (root canal).

2. Immunity – an unbalanced immune system can also compromise the body’s ability to recognise abnormal cells. Immune balance can be affected by low-grade chronic infections (such as glandular fever, herpes virus, mycoplasma and chlamydia), chronic allergies, medications (steroids), chronic stress and dietary and lifestyle factors such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.

3. Hormonal - your hormones can create an environment which stimulates the progression of abnormal cells into cancer, so it is important to address any imbalances. This is particularly important for both breast and prostate cancer, which are contributed to by oestrogen dominance. One of the reasons these cancers have become more prevalent is the increasing number of sources of foreign oestrogens that are entering our systems through our environment. These include plastic water bottles (Bisphenol A), pesticides, and beauty products (phthalates), which all contain known endocrine disruptors.

4. Insulin Resistance – if you eat an excess of sugar and carbohydrates over a long-term period, your cell insulin receptors may start to fail, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. This causes the pancreas to produce more and more insulin to combat the sugar-overload. There is a twofold effect:

  • Sugar in excess is inflammatory, suppresses the immune system and may be used as fuel by cancer cells.
  • Excess insulin has a growth-hormone-like effect on abnormal cells and may promote the proliferation of cancer cells.

5. Digestion & Detoxification – similar to chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the majority of cancers occur over a long-term period due to unhealthy dietary and lifestyle choices. It is extremely important to address these areas to optimize your body’s ability to detoxify (liver function) and restore balance.

These are further explained by Lise Alschuler, a naturopathic doctor from the United States who herself has overcome breast cancer.

There are also three major areas of lifestyle change that can massively impact on these five treatment areas. The benefits of these factors cannot be stressed enough.

  • Exercise – studies suggest that women that begin to exercise again either during or soon after treatment for breast cancer can increase their five year survival rate by over 50 per cent. We recommend 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Sleep – less than eight hours sleep a night is, in my opinion, sleep deprivation. Your adrenal glands (stress coping system) recover between 9pm and 1am, so it is important to get to sleep early. A good night’s rest is also important for liver detoxification, which happens between 1am and 3am.
  • Stress management–stress exacerbates all five of the key drivers of cancer, so it is crucial to recognise if you are under stress and develop strategies to cope. Cancer expert Ian Gawler promotes meditation and mindfulness practices as one of the best ways to deal with stress and cancer. We particularly like the Smiling Minds application, which you can download for free on any smart phone.

If you have any more questions, you can call us to book a FREE 15 minute chat with one of our Naturopaths to see how we can help you. Call now on (02) 4961 4075.

Yours in health

Peter Mullen

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