Cancer is much easier to prevent than to treat. If you have a strong family history of any type of cancer, you may want to take a proactive approach to preventing it. In order to figure out how to prevent cancer, we need to take a look at what may cause cancer.
What Causes Cancer?
An excellent question and one for which no one has a definitive answer. Taking a holistic approach, there appears to be a number of factors involved in the development and progression of cancer:
- Initially there is DNA damage/genetic mutation – this in and of itself doesn’t necessarily lead to cancer. Genetic mutations occur regularly in the body, a healthy body is able to self-repair these before they get out of hand. Cells in your body also have a mechanism for the cell to die, cancer cells lack this programming and resist dying when they should.
- Cancer initiators – these are factors that can contribute to genetic mutation such as radiation or carcinogens
- Cancer promoters – these are factors that once there are cancer cells, can cause them to proliferate and allow cancer to thrive
- Cancer progressors – these can allow cancer to become more aggressive and spread or metastasize.
How Can We Prevent Cancer?
- Identify and remove exposure to carcinogens like pesticides, radiation, herbicides, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, lead, arsenic and chemicals from plastic.
- Enable healthy liver function to breakdown and excrete chemicals and heavy metals.
- Cancer prevention means addressing risk factors like smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, tanning and poor diet.
- Treat chronic health conditions that are strongly associated with cancer such as ulcerative colitis.
- Balance the immune system so that it works well to identify and remove cancer cells and to reduce chronic inflammation.
- Address viral infections that are linked to certain types of cancer such as HPV virus and cervical cancer, Epstein Barr virus and lymphoma, hepatitis B and C virus that are linked to liver cancer.
- Balance hormones so that they are not causing excessive proliferation of hormone sensitive tissues as in breast, prostate or endometrial cancer.
As a naturopathic doctor, my job is to guide you through these options and how to most effectively address each for lifelong cancer prevention.