Most of us have been touched by cancer. Whether that’s directly due to a personal diagnosis or indirectly due to a diagnosis given to a friend, family member or a co worker, cancer can feel as though it is an epidemic that is growing. Whether or not those increasing diagnosis are due to improved awareness and technology or worsening conditions is a separate topic for a separate day. Regardless of what the case may be there’s no denying that if it hasn’t already, there is a strong likelihood that cancer at some point will touch us in a personal way.
Our bodies are always fighting cancer
Cancer occurs when there is an excess amount of abnormal cells that are dividing and reproducing uncontrollably. At a sub cellular level these abnormal growths are due to damage within the nucleus of the cell – specifically with the cell’s DNA. DNA holds massive amounts of information. Genes exist within the nucleus of a cell. Genes are a distinct segment of a cell’s DNA because they are coded instructions for making everything the body needs and for activating specific mechanisms including reparation, apoptosis and regeneration. There are roughly 30,000 genes in the human body, each with specific functions and instructions. While our scientific knowledge has improved regarding what each gene does, there are still many genes whose functions we are not certain about.
When cellular damage takes place within the nucleus, the cell can lose its ability to function correctly. Part of this damage can include its ability to repair cellular damage, causing it to act abnormally. The ability to heal damage is critical to survival. How often have we scraped our knee and seen how the body is able to heal, repair and regenerate in such a way that within a few weeks it’s as though we were never hurt in the first place. The body in and of itself has been built in such a way to be incredibly resilient. When its genetic information for reparation is damaged however, the cell is unable to live normally and poses a threat to the surrounding cells and the rest of the body. Apart from not functioning well, unhealthy cells produce toxins that damage surrounding cells and can put the entire microenvironment at risk.
Luckily there are plenty of safeguards in place that allow the body to take care of damaged cells, beginning with the damaged cell itself. When damage cells sense they pose a danger to the rest of the body they will perform apoptosis. Apoptosis essentially is cellular suicide. The cell will sacrifice itself for the greater good of the body. This is activated by the genes. If for some reason this genetic mechanism is damaged, the body has a secondary mechanism that the genes can activate via healthy neighboring cells. These cells can detect when a cell is unhealthy. When apoptosis fails, healthy neighboring cells send signals to the immune system requesting immune cells to eliminate or contain any damaged, abnormal cells.
When you take a moment to consider all the remarkable defense systems that the body has to maintain order, it becomes very easy to gain an appreciation for the body. The process of containing and eliminating damaged cells happens every day. It’s a daily battle the body fights to ensure that we’re able to arise each morning feeling our best to fulfill our daily responsibilities.
How do abnormal cells takeover?
We’ve outlined that cancer is defined as an excess amount of reproducing abnormal cells that are doing so at an uncontrollable rate. We’ve also highlighted that cells become abnormal due to cellular damage that affects the information and mechanisms the cell’s genes to repair and heal. While I just made this comment in my last paragraph, it’s important to emphasize again that the process of containing and eliminating abnormal, damaged cells is a common occurrence in the body. So how do abnormal cells take over?
The answer is frighteningly simple – abnormal cells take over when there is so much damage in the body that the genes used to defend the body against abnormal cells no longer work. Cancer is not something that develops over a period of weeks, months or a few short years. Cancer is a progressive disease that has developed because of abuse that our body continuously undergone over a prolonged period of time. On average, cancer takes approximately 12 years to develop. During that time due to lifestyle, exposure to chemicals, and a number of other factors the cells lost their ability to defend themselves against the ever increasing number of abnormal cells. It’s important to note that during that time, it is completely possible to visit the Doctor, get a number of laboratory tests done and not have any tests indicate that there is something wrong. That’s because the body will always fight to keep the blood as pure as possible. Although abnormal cells create toxicities and impurities, healthy cells will absorb them in order to keep the blood clean. Once cancer is detectable through lab tests, things have progressed significantly.
Common cancer culprits
Before going into common factors that contribute to cellular damage and cancer, I want to point out the difference between adults developing cancer and children developing cancer. Often times the question arises regarding how very young children can develop cancer. The actual way that cancer develops is the same regardless of age – there is an uncontrollable growth of abnormal, unhealthy, sick cells. Potential causes however differ when it comes to cancer. For example, children have not made lifestyle choices that would lead them to a higher risk of contracting this disease as is the case with adults. Instead, clinical research has shown that changes in certain cells in the body occurred while in the embryo and the cancer progressed while in the womb and continued to progress once born. This would lead to a faster cycle of cancer progression due to how quickly cells grow in children due to physical development.
As we review the causes and factors of cancer in this specific blog, I want to point out that we’re speaking of cancer that develops in adults, not young children. That said, here are some important aspects to consider when it comes to cancer prevention and cancer treatment.
Due to all of the advances that have been made many of us see food differently than our great grandparents or even our grandparents did. To put it simply, nothing will damage your body quicker than an unbalanced daily diet. The opposite is also true. Nothing will heal your body better than a balanced daily diet. Food is indeed meant to be enjoyed. However, if our daily diet consists of coffee or milk and some sort of carbohydrate, sugar laced product for breakfast; a fast food or prepackaged meal for lunch; and more carbohydrates, some meat and a few scant vegetables for dinner there is one thing I can guarantee you: you will get some sort of chronic illness. Perhaps it’s not cancer, but you will get some chronic illness that will be just as debilitating.
I know the way that I speak about food is a bit blunt, but I make no apologies about it. I’ve seen too many good people suffer because of bad eating habits. I’ve also seen a lot of people reverse their diseases by following programs and protocols that included improving their nutrition. With cancer this is so important because the genes that activate the self healing process that eliminate and contain abnormal cells can only be activated when there are specific nutrients available. Furthermore, in order to repair a damaged cell, the body needs elements and material that can only be derived from micronutrients and important food sources.
We’ve created blogs in the past that provide nutritional advice that goes into detail regarding what to eat and what to avoid. This much however I will say – processed sugars, packaged foods and animal products that have been created by animals raised with antibiotics and hormones all contribute to cellular damage. Packaged foods have chemicals used for preservatives, colors, etc that the body doesn’t respond well to. Many farms use synthetic hormones and antibiotics to accelerate growth of their product. This creates tissue damage in the animals and leaves residual contaminants such as drugs in meat, milk, cheese, eggs and butter. Processed sugar is one of the worst things that you can eat. Apart from having no nutritional value, it leads to weight gain and obesity which are closely linked to the development of cancer due to internal ongoing cellular damage and trauma that occurs due to excess fat pushing against and damaging tissues and organs.
Lack of Sleep
Detoxifying is an important part of the healing process. A major component of it occurs while we sleep. A full nights rest is required in order for our bodies to remove the waste matter and toxicities that are created by unhealthy cells. Even removing healthy cells that have died requires detoxification. Dead cells don’t simply disappear.
A full night’s sleep means 7 – 8 hours of sleep. If you are already sick with any sort of illness, it is vital that you get 8 hours of sleep. Children require 9 – 10 hours of sleep. While it is understandable that from time to time we may only be able to get 5 – 6 hours of sleep, this should be an exception. If we find ourselves getting little sleep on a frequent basis, the waste and toxins continue to build up. This creates internal damage that can lead to cancer. If we’re currently fighting cancer all of the unhealthy cells that the immune system is eliminating need to be removed from the body. While going through detox procedures can certainly help. Nothing is more effective than the body’s natural processes.
Exposure to Chemicals and Synthetics
Unfortunately chemicals are all around us. They can be found in our food, household cleaning agents and in common treatment plans that involved medication and pharmaceutical drugs. As you decide what to eat, how to clean and what to do to alleviate a headache keep in mind the following – anything the body does not recognize it attacks via the immune system.
These attacks occur because what we’ve been exposed to creates some level of damage. As part of the healing process inflammation, causing blood to rush to the area of concern carrying immune cells ready to attack and eliminate whatever is causing the damage. Constant exposure to chemicals and synthetics causes this process of damage and inflammation to become a chronic issue. Eventually the body just starts attacking the area without any consideration or thought for the tissues or cells that are healthy. Because of the constant damage, it simply thinks the whole area is a threat. This leads to a constant stream of damaged cells that are never healed and as a consequence cancer can ensue if they begin to grow abnormally at an accelerated rate.
Hormone treatments are also very dangerous as it relates the risk of cancer. HRT (Hormone Replacement Treatments) are very common for women. This is because a woman’s ovaries produce estrogen. After menopause, the ovaries stop producing estrogen. This can cause typical menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. HRT treats these symptoms by boosting a woman’s body with more hormones. There is very strong evidence that shows that HRT causes breast cancer, ovarian cancer and womb cancer. In fact, a study conducted by Cancer Research scientists in the United Kingdom looked at 1 million women and showed that different types of HRT can increase the risk of various cancers.
Stress, anxiety and emotional/mental factors
How we act and react to difficult or trying events in our lives is perhaps one of the most overlooked factors that lead to the development cancer. The mind and the body are so incredibly interconnected. Communication between the mind and body takes place by neurotransmitters through the nerves and hormones. How we perceive the world around us, what we consider to be a stressful event, who or what we consider to be a threat, and how we decide to act in the face of adversity all have strong physiological implications. Misbalances in the makeup of chemicals by the brain occurs as chronic stress progresses, affecting our endocrine system.
Whenever we’re under any kind of stress or anxiety the body goes through changes that empower us with the ability to find a solution to the problem. For the most part, we’re usually pretty good at finding solutions. The problem lies in finding closure. The ability to reconcile stressful episodes is the key to managing stress. Genuinely asking for forgiveness and extending forgiveness to ourselves and others is at the heart of most problems that deal with stress and anxiety. The ability to see that our manager didn’t say hi to us because he probably had things on his mind instead of jumping to the conclusion that he dislikes us saves us from the emotional and mental despair that puts our bodies on high alert and compromises our immune, digestive and endocrine systems.
Over time the inability to close out stressful episodes leads to the development of chronic stress. Chronic stress puts our body under the presumption that real threats are all around us. As such it changes some of its biological processes – weakening our organs and systems in order to provide additional energy distributions to our brain and muscles. During this process very potent hormones are produced that are meant to be temporary. However, under chronic stress the body continues to produce these hormones, leading to damage in the brain and body. The ability to alleviate and manage stress so that these episodes can be reconciled is critical to keeping a healthy mind and a healthy body.
Typical cancer treatments are very harsh on the body because they tend to focus on surgery or exposing abnormal cells to strong levels of radiation in an attempt to kill them. Phytotherapi recognizes that these treatments can provide a great help when cancer has significantly progressed.
At the same time, it’s important to understand that radiation and chemotherapy treatments also have very strong side effects. Because healthy cells are also exposed to these strong and deadly treatments side effects develop due to damage they sustain. This can lead to other chronic illnesses in the short or long term.
Common side effects include fatigue, chronic pain, mouth and throat sores and digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting. Bone marrow is also affected, causing blood disorders and a weakened immune system. Nerve damage is very typical as well and can cause motor skills problems, headaches, numbness or weakness in the extremities and burning/tingling sensations in the skin and muscles.
In addition to the physical components the mental and physiological effects are also great. The brain is often affected in chemotherapy treatments and patients experience difficulty in thinking, concentrating and recalling memories. Hormonal problems are also common. This is because of damage created to the pituitary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland is the master gland in the body that monitors and regulates the creation of hormones in other glands in the body. Other problems include sexual and reproduction issues in both males and females. Appetite loss is also very common, leading to malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss – both of which greatly affect the body’s ability to recover from chemotherapy treatment. Hormones that are incorrectly created will not be used by the body (similar to what happens with diabetics and insulin resistance). These excess, malfunctioning hormones are used by cancerous cells as a growth hormone.
Again – we want to emphasize that surgery, radiation and chemotherapy certainly have their place. These technologies have helped many people who otherwise would have little to no hope at surviving due to how advanced their cancers have been. In situations where they are used, it is very important that nutrition, sufficient water intake, proper sleep and stress management is closely monitored and tied to the overall treatment plan. This will assist in the body’s ability to heal and repair the damage the healthy cells sustained during the course of radiation or chemotherapy exposure.
Phytotherapi has designed a program based on the biological principles the body uses to repair and heal from cellular damage. By addressing nutrition, stress and providing tools that help strengthen the immune and digestive systems, it provides a support to help the body eliminate cancerous cells and strengthen healthy ones. The program includes tools to control stress, anxiety and other obstacles that prevent the body from healing itself. When following the protocols and advice, many individuals have been able to see positive results in their body’s fight against cancer and in their recovery from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.