CAUSES OF CANCER
Every day we see research that tells us that diet and lifestyle choices are a major driver of most cancers. Therefore, if you are currently fighting cancer or interested in cancer prevention it makes perfect sense to make sure you are eating the right diet and living the best life for you.
Some of the diet and lifestyle drivers of cancer include:
- High carb/sugar, toxic fat laden, low nutrient diet
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol and recreational drugs
- Environmental toxin exposure
- Lack of sleep
- Type 2 diabetes
My approach to working with clients who have had a recent cancer diagnosis and are currently going through treatment, is to find a diet, lifestyle and supplementation program that will support their treatment regime, help them to recover from the treatments and disease and to prevent cancer from returning. This may occur in a tiered approach i.e. tier one for treatment phase, tier 2 for recovery phase and tier 3 for prevention phase.
Tier one for treatment phase usually includes keeping weight up (or taking it off if they are very overweight – obesity drives cancer), providing as much super nutrition as we can in the diet while fighting symptoms such a nausea and lack of appetite and any other consequences of surgery and treatments. I work closely with my client’s medical team for this part and am particularly mindful of medications. I usually recommend nutrient dense, easy to prepare and digest meals that can be batch cooked and prepared by friends and relatives as required.
Tier two for recovery phase will include a bit more testing and diet and lifestyle changes as energy and appetite returns. It’s time to get a bit more robust with the nutrition content of the diet and work out an individualised plan for my client on an ongoing basis. Therapeutic diets may help shorten the recovery phase and prevent the cancer from returning. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation destroy immune cells, but normal cells can also be affected so there is a strong focus on cellular repair as well as returning the person to full immune health.
Tier three – the prevention phase – is a very important tier – we want the cancer to go away and never return. Many people I see go straight to tier 3. They may have strong family history of cancer or have had a scare with some minor changes in some cells or may have had a previous experience with cancer. Evidence has shown that attaining and/or maintaining a healthy weight and consuming a diet that is predominantly plant-based, low in red and processed meats, simple sugars and refined carbohydrates, limits alcohol and provides all of the nutrition required through food may aid in preventing cancer. For example, there is very strong research to suggest that an excessive consumption of red and processed meats, particularly if they have been barbecued (increases heterocyclic amines), may be linked to the occurrence of bowel cancer, and that excess alcohol consumption may be linked to the occurrence of breast cancer. When a person is checked for cancer via a CT scan, they are first injected with a sugar solution as cancer cells will soak up glucose more than any other cell. This may suggest that high blood sugar may drive cancer and research suggests that diabetics, and those with insulin resistance have a greater risk of developing cancer. So cutting back sugar in the diet may be very important for cancer prevention.
As with all areas of health, each person is treated as an individual and their own health history, genetics, diet, lifestyle and habits are taken into account when formulating a cancer treatment/recovery/prevention plan.