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Managing and Avoiding Breast, Colon and Prostate Cancer

Cancers with a Hormonal Connection

By Jennifer Green, ND

The Three Most Common Cancers:  What You Can Do to Help Prevent Themcancer_pie_chart.jpg

Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with breast, colon, or prostate cancer, the three most common cancers faced by Americans today.  These three cancers are all tied to the natural hormones our body’s produce daily.  Research is showing that developing one of these cancers may well be tied to our lifestyle.

The Good News
We now have strong evidence that altering lifestyle habits may allow us to have more control over cancer prevention and recovery.  Some natural ways to help protect yourself are eating well, exercising, not smoking, and managing stress.

You Are What You Eat - The Good
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to focus on foods and supplements that have been shown to fight cancer.  For example, fruits and vegetables are cancer-fighting powerhouses.  They contain phytochemicals cancer_fighting_foods.jpgthat enhance the body’s immune system.  Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) contain glucosinolates which convert a cancer-producing form of estrogen to non-toxic breakdown products.  Apples, broccoli, kale, and spinach are particularly rich in calcium-D- glucarate, which may inhibit an enzyme associated with  increased risk of developing hormone-dependent cancers.  Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains contain fiber, which ensures elimination of toxins from your body.  Spinach, mangos, and papayas , nuts, seeds, and fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids- healthy fats that maintain essential cell function.  Supplements such as vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics, and antioxidants have been shown to help prevent and fight cancer.  Also, drink plenty of water to assist with transporting nutrients to cells and flushing out waste products.  Drink tea, especially loose-leaf green tea, which has tea polyphenols, proven inhibitors of tumor development.  Another anti-carcinogenic is curcumin, found in turmeric; sprinkle it on soups, stews and casseroles.

The Ugly
Some foods should be avoided because they are associated with an increased risk of cancer.  For instance,deli_meats_and_chips.jpg foods high in calories and low in nutrients are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, causing an increase in insulin.  Too much insulin may promote growth of breast, colon, and prostate cancer cells.  Also avoid nitrate and nitrite containing foods such as deli meats which are cured or smoked meats.  These substances keep food from spoiling, but also form highly carcinogenic compounds during digestion.  A diet high in omega-6 fats, found in meats and most vegetable oils, is associated with increased inflammation and an increased risk for cancer. Avoid them when you can.

Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire
Other lifestyle habits to encourage are stopping smoking. Not only does smoking increase your risk of lung cancer, but every other cancer as well.  Smokers are more likely to die of cancer than nonsmokers. 

The Program
exercise_is_medicine.jpgBeside conventional cancer treatments eating well exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and limiting stress are key prevention and recovery factors.  Regular exercise and adequate sleep both stimulate immune system activity, thereby helping your body fight cancer. 

Lastly, calm your mind and body through meditation, relaxation exercises, yoga or tai chi.  Learning to relax when you have been given the cancer diagnosis isn’t easy but taking control and practicing the basics of self-awareness can create a positive spin on a negative situation. Biofeedback is an excellent tool that guides patients in regaining mental self-control. It is a learned response that has helped many through all types of difficult times.

Prevention and Treatment

People with a family history of these cancers should be especially vigilant and proactive. Altering your lifestyle can be a strong deterrent to developing cancer. Patients who are fighting a hormonal related cancer should work closely with your oncologist. We also recommend finding a complementary medical clinic offering integrative care with a providers trained in dietetics, herbal and supplemental treatment, stress management, acupuncture, sleep training and exercise.

Cancer doesn’t have to be the last word. There is hope and these simple, natural methods to maintain health may help keep you from becoming a cancer statistic.  Take control of your health with these proven approaches.