By: Dr. Ellen Kamhi, The Natural Nurse.
CANCER- just hearing that word out of a doctors mouth sends fear through the listeners mind. Many people react with the thought- how could this happen to me? However, in most cases, cancer does not just HAPPEN. It can be traced to specific causes, and most of those causes are under the control of people themselves. Smoking is one behavior that directly increases the possibility of getting cancer.
Another is allowing oneself to be overweight. In fact, obesity increases the risk of getting three of the most common types of cancer — breast, prostate and colorectal, and also endometrial, gallbladder and kidney cancers.
Obese men are 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cancer than their lean counterparts, while obese women are 40 to 50 percent more likely.
Researchers are not certain how being overweight increases cancer risk, but they do know that excess fat changes the way the body uses glucose, forcing the pancreas to produce extra insulin, which appears to encourage tumor growth. Also, fat changes the way estrogen acts in the body, which may stimulate some cancers, such as those of the breast, prostate and uterus. Being significantly overweight may also makes it more difficult for doctors to find tumors before they grow dangerously large.
The exact program which leads to significant body fat reduction – increasing exercise and the consumption of vegetables, along with decreased consumption of junk food – is highly cancer protective as well. In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetables have been shown to have other vital health-promoting substances. In one recent study, researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, have found that vegetable consumption, particularly intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, lowers the risk of prostate cancer in men.(Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2000;92:61-68). Cruciferous vegetables in particular, may exhibit a more powerful effect against cancer than other vegetable due to their high isothiocyanate content. Isothiocyanates activate enzymes present in cells, which, in turn, neutralize carcinogens. It would be best to choose organic vegetables, because pesticide ingestion has also been linked to an increase in cancer.(Ardies, C. M.; Dees, C. Xenoestrogens significantly enhance risk for breast cancer during growth and adolescence. Medical Hypotheses, 50, 6 ,1998,457-464)
Overall detoxification aids the immune system to function at an optimum level. This is the bodys natural defense against the development of cancer. Organic fresh fruits and vegetables, raw, steamed and juiced, provide an excellent foundation. They are nourishing and easy to digest, with plenty of naturally occurring fiber. Skin brushing, jumping on a mini-trampoline, and using a sauna, are all part of the detoxification program, particularly aimed at keeping the lymphatic system flowing smoothly, which discourages the growth of cancer.
A Mention of Mind/Body
It cannot be emphasized enough how important spiritual and emotional work is to the support of continued wellness. Taking some time to connect with the spiritual/emotional aspects of life is a supremely important aspect for preventing cancer. It is well known that cancer patients who attend support groups actually live longer.( Spiegel D, Bloom JR, Kraemer HC and Gottheil E. Effect of psychosocial treatment on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Lancet. ii: 888-91. 1989). These results cannot yet be fully explained through science, but is well understood in the teachings of metaphysics as well as by indigenous shamanic healers throughout the ages.
Herbs Can Help
In order for the body to properly detoxify, it is necessary to clean out the natural filters; the liver and kidneys. Dandelion, a common weed, is used both as a food and medicine everywhere in the world where it grows. It is a potassium sparing diuretic,that works to cleanse and support both the liver and kidneys. Herbs which contain berberine, such as Oregon Graperoot and Goldenseal support the liver, and Milk Thistle has been scientifically proven to be liver protective.(Gupta, O. P.; Banerjee, S. K.; et al, Anti- inflammatory and anti-arthritic activities of silymarin acting through inhibition of 5- lipoxygenase. Phytomedicine 7:1, March, 2000, 21-24) Turmeric, the orange colored spice used in curry has additional benefits, and has been shown to have anti-tumor activities.( Navis I, Sriganth P, Premalatha B. Dietary curcumin with cisplatin administration modulates tumour marker indices in experimental fibrosarcoma. Pharmacol Res. 1999; 39(3):175-179). I keep some in a shaker and regularly add it to food right at the table.
Herbal combinations can be used as teas, capsules or tinctures. A well known combination which may give additional protection against cancer contains sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella), burdock root (Arctium lappa), slippery elm inner bark (Ulmus fulva), turkey rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), red clover (Trifolium pratense), and watercress (Nasturtium officinale). Most of these herbs grow wild on Long Island. Once you learn to identify them, you can grow and pick your own, use them fresh, or dry them for year round availability.
A specific kind of mushroom, Maitake mushroom(Grifolia frondosa), contains a specific polysaccharide, called beta-glucan . One component , 3-branched, B-1,6-glucan. increases white blood cell motility and overall function of the immune system. Perhaps the ancients were not so far off , when they concluded that these mushrooms increase “chi” , which is movement or energy!!
Ellen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®,(www.naturalnurse.com) is the author of The Natural Medicine Chest, Arthritis, The Alternative Medicine Guide, and Cycles of Life, Herbs and Energy Techniques for Women. Contact: http://www.naturalnurse.com , Facebook The Natural Nurse, 800-829-0918