Considerations for preventing cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), exposure to a wide variety of natural and man-made substances in the environment accounts for at least two-thirds of all cancer cases in the United States.

by Dr. Frank George — 

We all harbor a stash of environmental chemicals in our bodies. Which chemicals can be tolerated, and which trigger or hasten the development of cancerous cells? And what about diet?

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), exposure to a wide variety of natural and man-made substances in the environment accounts for at least two-thirds of all cancer cases in the United States. Environmental factors include cigarette smoke, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, formed when meat and coal are burned), some infections, exposure to certain medical drugs, hormones and radiation. Chlorine and fluoride, common in city water systems, are known carcinogens.

Poor diet and lack of physical activity also make the list. Physical inactivity is now related to cancers of the colon, breast and prostate. In 1966, Otto Warburg, a Nobel Prize recipient, said that while cancer has many secondary causes, it has only one primary cause: lack of oxygen in the body’s cells. Exercise increases oxygen, which inhibits cancer cells.

The modern Western diet promotes cancer. Dr. Weston Price, in his well-documented travels to study nutrition in the late 1930s, found that there were far fewer incidences of cancer in traditional cultures like the Eskimos of Alaska and the Maasai of Africa, even though they ate a high-fat diet.

Today it is fashionable to say that lean meat is good for us. Yet arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which help fight cancer on the cellular level, are found mostly in animal foods such as butter, organ meats, cod liver oil and seafood. Traditional Eskimos ate almost no vegetables. Beware of fashionable diet advice that changes course every five to 10 years. Solid nutrition information is available from the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Our ancestors never ate chemically altered fats like margarine, or chemically altered sugars like aspartame. For that matter, they didn’t eat much sugar or flour. Their animals grazed naturally, unlike today’s cattle that are fed corn, soy, hormones and steroids. The vegetables consumed by our ancestors were grown in mineral-rich soils; today’s soil is virtually depleted of nutrients. Our ancestors also ate a lot of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids; we eat a lot of inflammation-causing vegetable oils. Our ancestors never drank soymilk washed in aluminum, or filled their teeth with mercury.

When you look at migrant studies, you find that as people migrate from an area of low cancer risk to an area of high cancer risk, the cancer rates go up. And vice versa. “The migrant studies very clearly tell us that the wide range of cancer rates is largely driven by environmental causes,” said Aaron Blair, Ph.D., chief of the Occupational Epidemiology Branch in NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

A 2008 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that diet and lifestyle approaches might alter how hundreds of genes express themselves after only a few months’ time. Genes associated with cancer, heart disease and inflammation were turned off, whereas protective genes were turned on.

It might be wise to take time to consider what’s in your environment and on your plate.

 

Frank George, D.O., M.D.(H), was the first osteopathic physician in the U.S. to train in IPT, and taught IPT to other doctors. www.Euro-Med.us.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2009.

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