Virginia Integrative Health
410 Pine Street Southeast
Vienna, VA 22180
Prevention Tips For Cancer – The Child of Inflammation
Cancer is the child of inflammation. Some medical professionals, all very well educated and with amazing credentials, may disagree, but most may agree that some process – prolonged infection, excessive stress, poor eating habits, toxic exposure, lack of activity – modifies or damages our DNA.
In cancer development, this can lead to changes in protein expression and creation, which leads to inflammation, further damaging DNA until it is no longer able to “correct” DNA misfires. More than likely in most cases, it is a combination of the above and other factors that take things far enough off the rails that cancer develops.
So, rather than talking treatments, let’s talk prevention. After all, isn’t a physician a much better doctor if they can prevent a patient from ever getting cancer, opposed to treating it once it develops? There’s a reason why acupuncturists in China thousands of years ago used to be compensated by their patients as long as they were fit and healthy, and not when they were ill.
It may sound overdone or trite, but prevention of the vast majority of cancers can be immensely impacted with diet and exercise. There is a rapidly growing base of evidence linking increased physical activity with reductions in several types of cancers, including colon (24% decreased risk), breast (12 – 40% reduction), endometrial (20% reduction) to name just a few. In a review by NIH, some types of breast cancer were reduced by as much as 70%.
Fortunately, the requirements for physical activity are not onerous. In 2016, the American Cancer Society revealed that at least 13 different cancers were reduced by exercise, requiring only 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (walking at 3mph) per week. Even better news is that more and more studies are finding that when it comes to exercise, intensity is king. The harder you exercise, the less you need. More recent research is revealing that two 20 second sprints three times per week may also do the trick.
In regards to diet, it’s all about keeping sugar content low, intaking high quality proteins and fats, while eating a balance of alkalizing vegetables (the body works better when alkaline, cancer likes acidity). Rapidly absorbing sugar, high amounts of sugar, or both, is highly inflammatory, damaging DNA and blood vessels, which leads to weight gain (which itself is a significant risk for cancer development).
There’s more to the total equation, but these basics are building blocks to leading one’s best cancer free life. A good functional medicine practitioner can help uncover more about specific metabolic state and challenges and maximize results. Remember, in this case, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure – it could be worth your life.