Pathways to Common Risk Factors to Cancer

Good Morning and Welcome to Spring!  This is the season for so many health related focal points - hayfever, detoxing the body from Winter Warmers, rapid weight loss for a beach ready body and a chance to break into perhaps more exercise with more daylight.  I will cover my best and fairest tips for each of these topics in the weeks to come, but for now - Week 3 of exploring cancer is upon us...

As briefly as I can, in this piece I am attempting to simplify a very complex web of causes that create a change in your cells from a healthy cell to an unhealthy cell. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, I believe the explanation is that your body is currently presenting with cancer - as there are some research that does indicate the body can present with a tumour and then successfully metabolise it (particularly in the slower growing cells).  My recommendations on how to generally deal with these will be in next week's blog.

By the time a tumour is detected, there are literally thousands of cell reproduction activities that has occurred in order to make a clump of cancer cells presentable in our modern scanning techniques, so it is important to know that well before this happens, the terrain in your body must be favouring abnormal cell reproduction well before you find a lump, spot, lesion or malignancy.  Here are the types of terrain issues within your body that you CAN do something about years before and in the moments from a diagnosis.

1.  Gene instability - this is where your traditional concept of 'it runs in the family' comes from and is the most common factor to childhood cancer. There are genetic weaknesses that can spell a predictable outcome, but there are also what are called EPIgenetic issues that trigger or create instability in the genes with or without a family history.  Epigenetics is a term to describe all the factors that affect healthy gene transcription or expression - some of these are below.  These factors affect how your cells reproduce and spread and can start affecting a person from the time they are an foetus.  Knowing about a particular gene weakness in your family means that you can protect your genes with certain herbs and nutritional programs.

2.  Toxins - most of us understand that certain chemicals cause or increase our risk of having cancer when we age.  We must look at not only the exposure to toxins outside of the body but also the accumulation or poor elimination of toxins from within the body as well. Much at home testing can be done to measure your levels of toxin residue via hair, urine, saliva and faecal testing where required.

3.  Obesity - it is now considered that obesity carries the same percentage of risk for cancer as alcohol abuse and smoking - around 30%.  This is due to a number of factors but most importantly the carriage of fat tissue around the abdomen, inflammatory increases in the obese person, poor sugar metabolism (insulin resistance) and poor toxin elimination.

4.  Insulin resistance - as mentioned above this is the term used to describe problems with insulin production and utilisation when a cell is performing necessary cell maintenance, energy production, glucose metabolism and so on.  Insulin resistance is now identified as a real problem within the community - how many of you have a self confessed sugar craving?  This insulin resistance affects the energy production house of your cell - the mitochondria - as do most of these listed factors.

5.Inflammation - if cells in your body is exposed to enough inflammation, eventually it will malfunction - it is as simple as that. Imagine over cooking your food particulary the meat section - how does it look and taste?  Dry, hard, inflexible and unhealthy.  Basically inflammation (triggerd by insulin resistance and toxin residues) triggers adverse cellular metabolism and triggers problems within the cell changing how it behaves.

6.  Stress - we've been hearing in and out over the years that stress is bad for us, but only certain types of stress.  Hormesis is the term given to describe the kind of stress in the body that actually helps to increase your health status as it pushes certain chemical production to protect your body.  However, long term chronic stress or perception of threat to you can create other chemical changes which are not so healthy. This is one of the reasons why us Naturopaths are constantly suggesting meditation, tai chi, qi gong and the like to add balance to your life and create a chance for your chemistry to balance out again...and it feels great!

7.  Metabolic Acidosis - a situation where the body produces much acid residue from what it is exposed to - we know that a more alkaline state is a healthier place to be maintaining when it comes to diet and lifestyle management.  The higher the acidity in your urine, saliva and blood - the more likely the inflammation, problems with toxin elimination, stress chemistry and insulin resistance.

8.  Immune Surveillance - when it comes to keeping an eye on cell changes - your immune system contains the right stuff to alert the body to do something about a cell change that is not quite right.  If it does get out of hand, there is still much that can be done to help the white and red blood cells manage under fire, but by maintaining a good balance in the above listed areas, you help your immune system out a lot when it comes to cancer protection.

Remember - one single thing doesn't cause cancer to occur so it is safe to say stop focusing on one problem. Instead do what nature has intended and treat the body as a whole and address all of these factors day in and day out...

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