Supporting Cancer Treatment Naturally
Supporting Cancer Treatment with Natural Therapies
You may have been led to believe that the only route to treating cancer is our medical system. But chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are designed to do one thing – to reduce or eradicate cancer in your body.
What you may not know is that natural therapies can play a vital role in supporting your body during cancer treatment, and getting you the best health outcome available.
Before I go into how Naturopathy can support cancer treatment, it’s important to understand that Naturopathy views cancer as a chronic disease developed over a long-term period. While there are many things you can do to help prevent cancer, this week I want to focus on what you can do once you have been diagnosed.
Change your lifestyle:
There are three major areas of your life that impact how your body responds to cancer treatment. The benefits of these cannot be stressed enough.
- Exercise – in the past, people being treated for cancer were often told to rest and reduce their physical activity. This is sound advice if movement causes pain, shortness of breath or rapid heart rate. However, newer research suggests that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, but it can improve how well you function physically, as well as your quality of life. We recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise 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. You want to make sure you’re giving your body every chance to recover of a night.
- 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. Meditation or gentle yoga are great ways to take a moment to relax, de-stress and ensure your mind is up for the battle you’re facing.
Change your diet:
- Drink filtered water to reduce your exposure to contaminants – ensure you’re drinking at least 2 litres per day.
- Eat a range of coloured fruits and vegetables to stimulate your immune system and give your body essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Think red capsicum, orange carrots, yellow lemons, green spinach, blue blueberries and purple eggplant. Dark green veggies are full of nutrients and are definitely your friend!
- Eat organic foods – they contain higher levels of essential nutrients and importantly, they aren’t covered in nasty pesticides.
- Reduce your red meat intake – it’s harder to digest and places strain on your detoxification process and is often full of added hormones.
- Boost your intake of protein by eating good quality fish and vegetarian sources of protein like lentils, beans, nuts, chickpeas, eggs and yogurt.
- If you eat grains, make sure they are whole grains – breads with a high glycemic index raise your blood sugar quickly which can have a negative impact (see Insulin Resistance below).
How a Naturopath can help:
Naturopaths focus on assessing and treating five key areas that can contribute to the progression of cancer.
- Inflammation – this is the body’s response to trauma, which can distract the immune system from fighting abnormal cells. Long-term inflammation can be the result of infections, allergies, leaky gut, arthritis, toxins (heavy metals), or even surgery (root canal).
- 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.
- Hormonal – your hormones can create an environment which stimulates the progression of abnormal cells into cancer. Addressing this imbalance is particularly important for both breast and prostate cancers, which often feed on oestrogen.
- 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. Your pancreas responds by producing more and more insulin to combat the sugar-overload, causing excess inflammation and fuel for cancers.
- 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.
You should always seek the advice of a qualified Naturopath experienced in the area of cancer support. If you are under medical care, your doctor should be advised of any natural medicines you are taking.
For more information on cancer support or to see a Naturopath, call us on (02) 4961 4075.
Are you looking for more support?
Click here to download our free guide containing information on how natural health can help support your cancer treatment.