5 Keys to Prevent Cancer

by Steven Carney on March 14, 2016

This is post #128 on the site (about 5 keys to preventing cancer and why they improve overall health and longevity).

The site is a collection of breakthrough articles and resources at your fingertips, so feel free to browse the information here. Whether you have health, life or prosperity challenges, I can help you achieve the life you desire. I offer a unique mix of coaching, support and experience from multiple certifications and success with my own life challenges: a childhood illness, blood sugar problems, year-round allergies, thyroid issue, etc.

If you read this entire post, you will discover that most cancer is preventable! If every adult started following the recommendations, tips and expert information included in this post, we could cut new cancer diagnosis (and other chronic disease) by 50% or more over the next 10 years!

So yes, this information can change your life, allowing you to avoid most chronic disease and increase your longevity in a year or less. It’s somewhat long and detailed so feel free to read it in several sections. Let’s demystify cancer and other chronic diseases!

What is cancer?

Although there are many types and forms of cancer, cancer is traditionally described as a group of mutated cells that continue to divide uncontrollably (mitosis), rather than die at a preprogrammed time (apoptosis).

If those early cancer cells are not caught and destroyed by the immune system (T cells and Natural Killer/NK cells are known to destroy mutated cells), those cancer cells can spread through blood, the lymph system, or other tissues (metastasize) to other areas of the body. Their normal cycle of life, programmed cell death and orderly replacement is altered on a basic level.

The traditional idea is that cancer cells are rogue cells with mutated DNA, and if the immune system does not catch them early on (some cancer cells are able to trick the immune system, making it harder to detect those cancers), they will grow, disrupting the activities of other nearby cells and organs they may be in (lungs, colon, stomach, skin, pancreas, etc.).

And while cancer is often assumed to be a disease of older adults, young adults can get cancers too, including melanoma (skin), colon, leukemia (blood), lymphoma (lymph nodes), breast and testicular cancers. Many of those cancers are increasing in younger adults, so we all need to focus on our health early on. Here are some links with more information:

http://www.cancer.gov/research/progress/snapshots/adolescent-young-adult 

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerinyoungadults/detailedguide/cancer-in-young-adults-cancers-in-young-adults 

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/insecticide-pesticides-childhood-cancer-1750.html 

Remember, you replace about 1 billion cells every hour so the chances of daily mutations are significant. Indeed, most experts say that we all have cancer cells in us every day. It’s the immune system’s role to catch and destroy them as they arise.

Over time, cancerous cells form groups and those can grow into tumors, harming nearby cells and organs (this happens largely because of angiogenesis, where cancer cells are able to send out signals to grow more blood vessels, especially Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), stimulating new blood vessels to feed the tumor with oxygen and nutrients). Angiogenesis is also the basis of weight gain from increased fat, but it’s often controllable with diet and lifestyle, something I will cover in detail below.

Although a small percent of cancers are more likely to develop because of inherited genes and defects (about 5-10%), most are driven by lifestyle choices (smoking, poor diet/nutrition, inactivity, high stress, poor sleep, a weakened immune system, etc.). Other areas like exposure to chemicals or radiation can trigger cells that are more likely to mutate and become cancers.

Medical people often claim that cancer is simply a result of aging or bad luck. You can inherit bad genes but never activate them and in fact, many people who reach their 80s and 90s have gene defects that remain silent (unexpressed) and inactive. So about 80% (or more) of most cancers are driven by environmental and epigenetic factors, including habitual lifestyle choices (more details and tips below).

http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/what-is-cancer 

Your Immune System And Its Role In Fighting Cancer

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14710949

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184418/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272092.php

http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/intro/

Traditional risk factors for cancer

As mentioned above, there are common cancer risks, such as smoking, chemical exposure or radiation, and many experts now say that lifestyle choices play a larger role than previously thought.

The current consensus is that about 80% of cancers are connected to lifestyle choices, such as excess daily sugar intake (and other refined carbs), processed and junk foods (full of GMO products like corn, soy and GMO veggie oils), artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, with most vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants removed. Additional lifestyle factors include excess weight/obesity, a lack of healthy activity, high-stress levels, excessive alcohol use, poor sleep, etc.

I will cover the 5-key lifestyle areas in detail below (lifestyle drives most chronic diseases based on hormonal, metabolic and genetic changes that disrupt health).

Here is a list of traditional risk factors for most cancers. Notice that most of these are avoidable (and I’ll show you why age, family history and infections are largely avoidable too):

  • Age
  • Tobacco use
  • Diet/nutritional intake
  • Alcohol use
  • Obesity/excess weight
  • Family history
  • Infections
  • Chemical exposure
  • Radiation/sun exposure

Here are a few links that explore common cancer risks (remember that age is not a reliable risk factor; unhealthy daily lifestyle choices are often the basis of the age claim, see details below):

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/

http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk

http://www.health24.com/Medical/Cancer/Cancer-treatment/80-of-cancers-preventable-20120721

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515569/

https://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/facts/factors-contributing-to-cancer

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866629/

http://newhope.com/ingredients/bpa-linked-obesity-diabetes

The above links cover some initial information about cancer risks and how lifestyle, through epigenetics, contributes to cellular mutations and eventual diseases like cancer. The research study ending in 5569 is especially insightful, showing that a high number of cancers are not age or inherited genes specifically, but lifestyle choices that increase the probability for genetic changes.

This quote from the introduction of that study ending in 5569 accurately summarizes the interplay of inherited and epigenetic gene effects:

“Human biology is actually far more complicated than we imagine. Everybody talks about the genes that they received from their mother and father, for this trait or the other. But in reality, those genes have very little impact on life outcomes. Our biology is way too complicated for that and deals with hundreds of thousands of independent factors. Genes are absolutely not our fate. They can give us useful information about the increased risk of a disease, but in most cases they will not determine the actual cause of the disease, or the actual incidence of somebody getting it. Most biology will come from the complex interaction of all the proteins and cells working with environmental factors, not driven directly by the genetic code”

In fact, if you look at chart #1 in that study, you see that only about 10% of cancers are attributable to inherited genes or defects, while about 90% are from lifestyle choices like nutrition, weight, tobacco and alcohol use (they often go together), and things like infections, which are often more preventable than people realize. And just adding diet and weight risks together totals 50% or more of all cancer risks and causes.

This video also explores some new insights into cancer, modern medicine’s corruption and why cancer develops from an unhealthy physiology:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR8SQzCJK0Q

This recent article I wrote on immune health is a good start for how to avoid infections and how to minimize their duration and impact, including systemic inflammation, common in unhealthy lifestyles and a driver of cancer (more details below):

Immune Health Secrets

This link goes to a detailed interview/article with Mitch Gaynor, MD. It’s a great overview of cancer, immune function and how lifestyle can help keep cancer at bay:

Dr Mitchell Gaynor: Getting to the Root Cause of Cancer

Some worthwhile videos with various experts and their views on the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells:

Now, here are details that explore the mechanics of cancer development. Some of these are still being debated and they may not explain every cancer in everyone but they are important elements of cancer development and things more people should understand (again, many of these developments can be avoided).

Oncogenes and cancer

As cells mutate and continue to divide, they are often called oncogenes. Those cells increase the proliferation and growth factors of nearby cells, causing cancer to spread and form larger groups of cells. Once established, oncogenes and their effects on nearby cells can act like a run-away train. Those defective cells continue to multiply and form a larger mass called a tumor. Tumors can also grow and expand to other areas through blood or other tissues By then, the cancer has metastasized and it becomes harder to reverse or cure.

These article links explore a new syndrome called, Oncometabolic Syndrome, based on the Standard American Diet/SAD, excess weight and other metabolic imbalances. Oncometabolic Syndrome (or OMS) is based on the well-known Metabolic Syndrome, that adverse mixture of excess weight (especially a large waistline), high triglycerides, low HDL, high BP, high fasting glucose, etc., but it’s being given the new name because of its cancer-promoting qualities:

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/cancer-stress-toxins-1760.html 

http://www.lesleyjamesmd.com/the-onco-metabolic-syndrome-the-link-between-blood-sugar-and-cancer/

I can’t stress it enough. Prevention is the most effective approach for cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, arthritis, type-2 diabetes, etc.), driven by lifestyle choices about 80% of the time. Please make your health and immune system a priority every day.

The critical P53 gene

Along with oncogenes, mutations often occur in a key tumor suppressor gene (called P53), and when this happens, a critical defense system which limits tumor growth is also compromised. That gene acts like a guardian, helping to repair early genetic mutations, and P53 helps to keep the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells and tumors in check.

A good example of this effect is smoking. Smoking is strongly implicated in P53 mutations, as well as other lifestyle factors. Some research indicates that viruses can also inactivate the P53 gene/protein, allowing that virus to replicate more easily (and children who inherit a defect of th P53 gene are more susceptible to early cancers). Here again, keeping your lifestyle and immune system in tip-top shape is critical (see links about immune health).

The point of this is to show you how many things can go wrong at the same time (like most chronic disease development), and why a focus on prevention and a healthy lifestyle is so critical. Don’t take your health for granted for a single day of your life! As you get older, keep learning and growing about how you can optimize your health, energy and longevity. It’s really up to you because most doctors offer little help in preventing chronic diseases (they make money on sick people, not healthy people).

Here are more links about oncogenes and cancer:

http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/C/Cancer.html 

http://www.cancerquest.org/cancer-genes-oncogenes.html 

http://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/What-are-Oncogenes.aspx

http://www.cancerquest.org/p53-function.html

http://gan.sagepub.com/content/2/4/466.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21551/

Here are some links that show how to support or even repair the P53 gene:

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3452

Nutrigenomics: Beyond Basic Nutrition

http://alkalineandunrefined.com/produce-p53-cancer-fighting-human-protein/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3610718/ 

http://drjockers.com/the-p53-gene-and-cancer-development/

Stem cells and cancer

For several years, research has uncovered another contributor to cancer: mutated stem cells. Stem cells are mother cells that can give rise to many types of differentiated cells. There are 3 main groups of stem cells that support different areas and tissues. Stem cells are active throughout life, helping to heal wounds and repair injuries or tissues as needed: blood and immune cells, bone and connective tissues, plus nerve, muscle, blood vessel, skin and other tissue cells.

Stem cells are critical for healing many types of injury but they can also become mutated and contribute to cancer development. If that happens, they are turned from being healing cells into disease-producing cells. Here are some links with more details:

http://hsci.harvard.edu/cancer-0 

Stem Cells Health and Aging

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/mutations-cancer-‘stem-cells’-tracked-first-time 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150812151249.htm 

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/turmeric-extract-strikes-root-cause-cancer-malignancy

Inflammation and cancer

Systemic inflammation (or low-grade inflammation) is a common problem caused by a mixture of the SAD (Standard American Diet), high-stress, inactivity, poor sleep, etc. The SAD contributions are many, including a high sugar and refined-carb intake, refined, omega-6 veggie oils like soy, canola, cottonseed and similar oils, common in fried and processed foods.

Plus, almost all of those processed veggie oils are made from GMO crops now (but not labeled as GMO). If you include all the other junk carbs, processed and fast foods, the SAD is a health and pro-inflammatory disaster! After a few decades on the SAD, your genes will most likely be mutated and crippled. The SAD alone can trash your weight, your health and your genes!

So an overall lifestyle that is based on the SAD (more details below), with little activity, high stress and poor sleep is a systemic-inflammation monster! Most adults have a hs CRP blood test that is often above 3, which is too high. A CRP (C-reactive Protein) level of 3 or 4 indicates a smoldering level of inflammation, which overworks your immune system and increases gene mutations and chronic health problems. See more details about inflammation in this link:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/inflammation-and-chronic-disease

With those basics of cancer risks and development covered, here are the 5 keys to cancer prevention! Although I list them separately, they often work synergistically in complex ways. I wish all adults would follow the 5 keys below. If they did, we could cut new cancer cases and other chronic diseases by 50% in the next 10 years. Sadly, these 5-key areas are ones most standard medical practitioners get little education or training in! First up is nutrition and dietary factors.

1. Nutrition

Many researchers agree that unhealthy dietary habits are a significant contributor to chronic disease development, including cancer. Dr. William Li, MD and others have said that dietary factors drive about 35% of cancer development, with obesity another key driver (remember that unhealthy nutrition and excess weight account for about 50% of all cancers). Excess weight often drives inflammation, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and angiogenesis (the growth of extra blood vessels), because fat cells are not simply storage, they are metabolically active and increase their blood supply like cancer does)!

Nutritional intake can significantly increase cancer risk or inhibit it, including angiogenesis. As mentioned above, cancers need angiogenesis to develop tumors (tumorigenesis), then continue to spread, using those same blood vessels that help the tumors grow. Without angiogenesis, cancer cells or groups tend to remain tiny and never progress to a more serious level.

The link below is packed with critical information about the destructive effects of sugar/HFCS (and by extension), all refined carbs like breads, cereals, pastas, cookies, snack cakes, crackers, rolls, buns, chips and soda. Sweetened beverages like energy drinks, fruit juices and bottled teas and coffees are also laden with sugar. Yes, sugar is everywhere and it’s used on purpose. It helps to trigger cravings and dependency, but it will destroy your health over time!

Plus, many of those same processed and junk foods are made with GMO crops, including most corn chips and puffs, and most snacks made with common veggie oils. Most soy, corn, canola and other veggie oils are all GMO oils now (but not labeled to keep you in the dark)! See previous posts on GMO foods on this site.

If I had to pick the number 1, cancer-causing dietary source, it would be sugar (and other refined carbs that quickly turn into glucose), because they form the basis of most processed and junk foods (remember, wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than sugar so it is NOT healthy), and they will spike your glucose, trigger insulin (which turns glucose into fat) and inflammation, harm immune function and provide food for hungry cancer cells.

In fact, some research has indicated that a single can of soda can cut immune system responsiveness by 50%, leaving you more vulnerable to all those mutating cells and their potential to spread. So yes, I’m one of those who recommends cutting all sources of processed sugars and refined carbs (also known to contribute to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, systemic inflammation, cognition and mood issues, etc.).

And as you will see below, inactivity, high stress and poor sleep can also degrade immune function, so we all need to be more proactive about protecting our immune system with lots of TLC.

Here are some good links with more info:

5 Reasons Cancer and Sugar are Best Friends

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130201100149.htm

http://drsircus.com/medicine/cancer/sugar-cancer-growth-research

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/research-reveals-how-sugar-causes-cancer

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/304636.php

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/high-blood-sugar-brain-health-1753.html

Sugar Identified as a Top Cause of the Global Cancer Epidemic

Wheat: The Bad and the Ugly!

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/lung-cancer-carbohydrates-1770.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/omega-3-foods-breast-cancer-1767.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/toxins-cancer-detoxification-1758.html

Many people don’t realize that an average meal triggers thousands of genes! Those genes help to regulate digestion, absorption, metabolism, hormones, energy production, etc. The following quotes from previous articles offer background and some dos and don’ts for good or bad nutritional choices, including diseases like cancer.

This first quote is from a 2011 study called, Feed your genes: How our genes respond to the foods we eat. They tested slightly overweight Norwegians at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The researchers came to the following conclusions (for more detail, see my post called, For Long Life talk to Your Genes linked below):

“We have found that a diet with 65% carbohydrates, which often is what the average Norwegian eats in some meals, causes a number of classes of genes to work overtime,” says Berit Johansen, a professor of biology at NTNU. She supervises the project’s doctoral students and has conducted research on gene expression since the 1990s.

“This affects not only the genes that cause inflammation in the body, which was what we originally wanted to study, but also genes associated with development of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, dementia, and type 2 diabetes — all the major lifestyle-related diseases,” she says.

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/for-long-life-talk-to-your-genes

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120330081352.htm?platform=hootsuite 

And this quote from my article, Telomeres Genes and Aging outlines common, but often harmful dietary habits (telomeres are the ends of our DNA that help our cells replicate normally):

Things to avoid

Here are some key things to avoid because they tend to harm genes and telomere length, resulting in worse overall health:

  • Smoking
  • Processed and junk foods (full of additives, preservatives, and chemicals that aren’t food)
  • Glycation from high sugar intake/glucose levels (degrades proteins, causes wrinkles, bad connective tissue and generates free radicals)
  • Fried foods (acrylamides from high temperatures cause genetic mutations)
  • Low vitamin D (a hormonal regulator, requires a blood test to check level)
  • Chemical exposure
  • Radiation
  • Excess weight (triggers inflammation and genetic changes)

Later in that same article, I include these important nutrition-related recommendations:

Things to do

Now here are some critical things you should do to keep your genes and telomeres healthy: 

  • Get lots of great, whole-food nutrition (quality proteins, veggies, whole fruits, nuts, seeds, fiber, etc.)
  • Include adequate vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (polyphenols, catechins, etc.)
  • Optimize vitamin D levels by getting your 25-hydroxy vitamin D checked
  • Keep systemic inflammation low (1 or below on a hsCRP test)
  • Maintain a healthy weight (extra pounds increase inflammation, disrupt hormones) 
  • Consider green tea, fish oil (lowers inflammation), SAMe, trans-resveratrol and NAD+ to support cellular and gene health and energy (more details below)

Here is a link to that post, which has lots of additional detail about genes, gene activation/ silencing, avoiding mutations and how to potentially repair DNA:

Telomeres Genes and Aging

This article covers how to keep stem cells healthy. It covers some new areas but also includes ways to keep your stem cells and genes functioning at their best:

Stem Cells Health and Aging

This article covers anti-oxidants and aging, and why they are so important, including keeping your DNA healthy and avoiding diseases like cancer, systemic inflammation and other chronic diseases like heart disease, type-2 diabetes and auto-immune problems. The end links also have links to vitamin and mineral posts:

Aging and Antioxidants

Vitamin D and Optimum Health!

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160406165254.htm

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/vitamin-d-levels-cancer-survival-rates-1759.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/liver-disease-pancreatic-cancer-1754.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/liver-cancer-tumors-1804..html

http://cam.cancer.gov/newsletter/2012-spring/feature_spring2012.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4432495/

There is also a key area of cancer and tumor development called angiogenesis (which if you recall, is the increase in blood vessels that help to feed cancer-cell growth and tumors, as well as increased fat and other diseases. Although I cover angiogenesis in a separate section below, much of it can be tied to nutritional and dietary habits. As an early hint, foods like fruits, veggies, herbs, spices and beverages like tea have anti-angiogenetic properties. They are the same foods that support overall health, healthy weight, optimum digestion, metabolism, gut health, immune function, etc. I’ll cover those details with additional links below.

2 Activity and cancer

Like nutrition, activity is also critical for cancer prevention. Exercise, including simple things like brisk walking 3-4 times per week, can help maintain a healthy weight (remember, muscles are a primary metabolic engine), use up any excess glucose, increase blood flow and oxygen to tissues and cells, lower stress hormones, (see Stress section below), lower inflammation, and keep your genes healthier by improving metabolism, muscle efficiency and strength, speeding up cellular waste removal, improving lymph flow, etc.

Even activities like gardening, yard work, biking, swimming, dancing and home exercises like stretching, Yoga, push-ups (remember, good form matters more than how many reps you do), and using an exercise ball can all contribute to healthy movement and activity. You don’t have to join a gym; even 20-30 minutes most days is good and you can divide the time into 2 sections: Try Yoga, push-ups and some movements in the late afternoon with a brisk walk after dinner).

Have you seen the work of Miranda Esmonde White? She has a program called, Aging Backwards and she offers some great, anti-aging videos that can help you stay fit and flexible as you age, including activation of your health genes, based on easy, full-body movements. Remember that exercise helps prevent a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, high BP, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, dementia, mood disorders, etc. (see links below).

BTW, never use BMI (Body Mass Index) as your primary indicator for weight health. It can be misleading (athletes and anyone who is well-muscled can appear to have a high BMI), so BMI must be combined with a body-fat calculation. See Links and Articles tab above for both calculators to see where you stand.

Here are some quotes from my previous post called, For Long Life Talk to Your Genes, linked below:

One thing we’ve focused on in the last 30 to 40 years in the area of exercise, and particularly with aging, is the notion that people are really suited to being active throughout their entire life span.” said John Lawler, professor and director of the Redox Biology and Cell Signaling Lab. “We have the genes of hunter-gatherers, and that really hasn’t changed much in 40-100,000 thousand years. So, it means that nearly every day, we should be active.

Inactivity also turns on genes that can lead to or are associated with chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease, type II diabetes—all the things we’re trying to avoid.

This quote is also from that article with another study from 2013 on how exercise affects thousands of genes:

It’s from MedPage today, from an article called, Exercise Alters Gene Expression in Fat Tissue (see link below for full article):

The researchers focused on 485,577 different DNA methylation sites throughout the genome, and also looked at mRNA [messenger RNA] expression — to see how genes were being transcribed — in 21,014 genes.

All the men had significant improvements in VO2max [oxygen capacity], diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and HDL cholesterol, as well as significant declines in waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, even though body mass index (BMI) and weight didn’t change significantly.

In the genome-wide analyses, they found 17,975 CpG sites that showed changes in DNA methylation in adipose tissue after exercise. Most of the sites (90%) exhibited very small changes, so Rönn and colleagues narrowed their focus to the 1,009 sites that had much larger changes in methylation (a range of 6% to 38%).

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/for-long-life-talk-to-your-genes

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/diet-and-physical-activity 

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=121742 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18159963 

Here are 2 of Miranda’s movement videos (you will see that her movements are easy and fun):

Although this study is based on some mouse exercise, it outlines details and a mechanism of action for why exercise is helpful for boosting immune function and NK immune cells against cancer:

http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/pdf/S1550-4131(16)30003-1.pdf

3. Stress changes you

It’s been known for some time that stress and resulting stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol have negative effects on health and immune health; they can degrade immune function significantly.

Acute stress triggers that “fight or flight” response, based on the feeling of threat or danger to our survival and well-being (modern stress can range from things like the death of a loved one, a serious injury, illness or car accident, to relationship conflicts at work or home, or other, often unexpected events). In reality, we can’t run away from many of these problems and we tend to feel more trapped, which can keep the stress going! Yikes!

Stress causes instantaneous hormonal and metabolic changes, including the release of adrenaline and extra glucose to fuel our muscles, to help us run or escape, along with a more rapid heart rate and breathing, constriction of blood vessels in the digestive area (which raises BP), and preparing muscles for action with more blood flow. Stress will also decrease immune function while it increases that systemic inflammation, which drives many chronic diseases like cancer.

Chronic stress (such as the stress that comes from toxic or unhealthy relationships), is very detrimental to health, including areas like mood disorders, cognition and immune health. Here are some quotes from that previous post called, For Long Life talk to Your Genes (see link below again):

For example, stress raises cortisol and adrenalin, which trigger the “fight or flight” response. But when it’s a bad boss or faltering relationship with a friend or loved one, it’s hard to run away or fight. So the stress gets internalized, prolonging hormonal imbalances, lowing immune function, increasing anxiety and depression, and other physical changes (digestive problems, food cravings, eating disorders, anger, being short tempered, etc.).

One 2012 study on older subjects in their 60s called, Dynamic changes in DNA methylation of stress-associated genes (OXTR, BDNF?) after acute psychosocial stress concluded the following:

These findings contribute to the understanding of epigenetic mechanisms in general, but may also have clinical significance in the future: We found that psychosocial experiences are linked to immediate epigenetic modifications in a sample of subjects with early adverse experiences. This could have clinical implications regarding the etiology [origin] of mental and stress-related disorders, as well as of general medical conditions.

Ever notice that after you’ve been stressed for a few days, you tend to get more colds, flu or other health problems? Studies have shown that hundreds of genes are affected by chronic stress and can even shrink key areas of your brain! One study from 2014 found that immune cells were adversely affected by stress. It’s called, Stress Affects Expression of Inflammatory Genes in Immune Cells, and is published on the JAMA site (see link below for more details):

Immune cells in humans and mice under stress demonstrate increased expression of genes that activate inflammation and decreased expression of genes that suppress inflammation. . .

So as expected, stress disrupts immune function as it increases systemic inflammation (even when you don’t have an infection) and silences genes that help to turn off the inflammatory process (inflammation is known to drive many chronic illnesses from heart disease to arthritis to diabetes to cancer).

This quote from Healthline (see link below) shows that stress also affects hundreds of genes, and that it can increase inflammation:

The human analysis showed that 387 genes differed between low and high socioeconomic status adults, and that the up-regulated genes showed more inflammation. The scientists also noticed that about one-third of the genes found in the persistently stressed humans were also present in the stressed mice.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response 

https://www.psychologistworld.com/stress/fightflight.php

http://psychology.about.com/od/findex/g/fight-or-flight-response.htm 

http://www.livestrong.com/article/22689-stress-affect-immune-system/

http://healthpsychology.org/the-relationship-between-cancer-and-the-immune-system/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/body-processes-grief_us_56e878ade4b0b25c9183b066 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2016/02/18/how-the-human-heart-functions-as-second-brain/

For Long Life Talk to Your Genes

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-how-stress-ruins-your-genes-112213#2

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/10/chronic-stress.aspx 

So we all need to understand that chronic stress seriously disrupts immune function and alters our genes, compromising our ability to keep mutated cells and cancer at bay. What to do? Quality nutrition, activity like exercise, hobbies or meditation/relaxation can help us return both physically  and emotionally to a more normal state. Quality sleep is also critical, along with optimum nutrient intake (stress can rapidly use up nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals).

Your perceptions and skills are also key to help manage stress. What communication or other skills can you have at the ready? Do you have friends who can offer support and guidance? Do you have some back-up plans you can turn to? Can you add more relaxation, meditation and quality sleep to help recover your hormonal balances?

This quote from that same post quoted above should be helpful. It’s from 2011, and it shows how relaxation can help activate health genes and improve health. It’s from Harvard Medical School and is based on a study of young adults. It’s called, Relaxation Response Affects Gene Activity, from Harvard’s Stress Management Special Health Report (from that For Long Life talk to Your genes):

The genetic changes associated with the relaxation response were identified several years ago. A study examined the effects of the relaxation response on certain sets of genes and found that the relaxation response can turn certain genes on and off. The genes were involved with controlling how the body handles free radicals, inflammation processes, and cell death. While further research is needed to confirm these findings, the study has enhanced the credibility of the connection between mind and body, and could have important implications for how diseases are treated. 

Sleep

It’s been known for a long time that 7-8 hours of quality sleep is required to maintain healthy weight, tissue and gene/DNA repair, hormonal balancing, immune health, memory, cognition and more! It’s a time when you body does its primary healing and repair. And notice again how immune health (and your ability to manage and fight off early cancer) is affected by the thousands of genes tied to the lifestyle areas covered so far: nutrition, activity, stress and sleep (more below)!

Sleep provides needed time to recharge your body, including circadian rhythms, critical stress hormones and DNA repair and function. Remember how stress can degrade your health, including your immune function? A good night’s rest can help restore those damaging stress hormones to a more normalized level.

Here is a quote from my previous post called, For Long Life Talk to Your genes, covering some research into sleep and its affects on hundreds of genes critical to health and disease:

This 2013 quote from Psychology Today called, Lack of Sleep Disrupts Our Genes covers a study on sleep and gene activity. It tells a similar story to the previous sections on nutrition, exercise and stress. The researchers found that again, hundreds of genes were affected by a lack of sleep, and sleep deprivation increased immune problems, inflammation, metabolic problems, etc.:

New research may offer some important insight into how sleep affects heath. A new study indicates that poor sleep can significantly disrupt and inhibit normal gene activity in hundreds of genes. The genes affected help to govern broad and important biological functions, including stress, the immune system, inflammation, metabolism, and circadian rhythms. A team of researchers led by scientists at England’s University of Surrey examined the influence of sleep on gene function, and found that a week of low sleep altered the activity of more than 700 genes. The study was collaborative effort among specialists in sleep science, genomics, physiology, and bioinformatics.

This 2014 study from that same post outlines similar outcomes, showing how a lack of sleep increases the risk of early death. It’s from an article called, Interrupted Sleep Affects your Genes and includes a strong gene, disease and early death connection (see link below for full details):

In a light-controlled sleep lab, Dijk postponed bedtimes by four hours a day until study participants were out of sync with their normal biological clock by 12 hours. (So they were sleeping during the day instead of at night, as they did before the study.) The goal in doing so was to emulate working a night shift or the experience of jet lag.

After evaluating blood samples, the researchers noted decreased gene expression, which can affect the body’s circadian rhythms and other functions such as stress level, metabolism, inflammation and immune response. In recent years, more sleep studies have found that shift work, late nights and ambient light correlate to everything from depression to early death.

This quote from Chronobiology is from the last link below, and offers some startling insights about sleep, DNA repair, the hormone melatonin and cancer:

Sleep is not just a period of rest, but a period of intense DNA repair. Hormones associated with sleep, especially melatonin, actually trigger repair of the daily damage done to our genes in routine cell processes. When this repair does not occur, or does not occur as efficiently, cell mutations may accumulate and ultimately lead to cancer.

You can see how important sleep is for overall health, stress management, weight management, gene function/repair, hormonal balance, weight and metabolism, all areas that can affect gene mutations and cancer development. Here are links with more details:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/for-long-life-talk-to-your-genes

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20031001/how-sleep-affects-cancer

http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/21/7/1002.full

This link helps to reinforce how sleep problems as well as lifestyle issues like stress are all related:

Lack of Sleep Can Cause Cancer By Dr. Veronique Desaulniers

https://www.chronobiology.com/does-sleep-duration-matter-when-it-comes-to-prostate-cancer/

Thoughts and beliefs 

Many people know that a positive, optimistic attitude can support physical health, while a negative, anxious or fatalistic mood can exacerbate health problems. A can-do attitude along with good follow through allows for most people to overcome their health challenges.

I’ve overcome my share and learned from them. I had a serious childhood illness with numerous surgeries and braces and blood-sugar/insulin problems in my 20s-30s. I had year-round allergies and thyroid problems a few years ago (TSH levels rose above the top limit meaning my thyroid was sluggish). Then a bad car accident in 2005 which left me with 5 torn, herniated neck and back discs, a dislocated sacrum and muscle injuries/tears in my neck, ribs and shoulders (I was T-boned by a reckless driver who lost control of his truck).

Because of the broad health and healing knowledge I have accumulated over decades, I have resolved and overcome every one of those health challenges. My body is fully healed from the car accident and I was able to reject medical recommendations for spinal fusions and steroid injections into my neck. All those discs fully healed (the last upright MRI showed it)! I started taking a kelp supplement for the thyroid issue and my TSH returned to the normal range in a few months (and it has remained there).

I have avoided refined carbs for many years and the insulin issues also resolved. I used hypnosis to calm my non-stop allergic responses to dust, dander, mold, tree and grass pollens, ragweed, etc., along with more vitamin D, fish oil, and other health practices. My 25-hydroxy vitamin D tests run in the 40-50 ng/mL range, which is a good range for most healthy people.

All of that healing was supported by a range of alternative care and lifestyle: chiropractic, Rolfing, massage, traction for the damaged discs (I bought my own inflatable collar), elimination of the limp I had from that childhood illness, plus good nutrition with lots of fruits, veggies (about 50% of lunch and dinner is veggies), olives, nuts and seeds, moderate dairy and meat intake (remember, a serving of meat only needs to be the size of your palm), fish and seafood, lots of herbs and spices, etc. Supplements range from vitamins and minerals, anti-oxidants, omega-3s, Co-Q10, trans-resveratrol, etc.

And unlike most of my peers who pop symptom-treating, non-healing drugs every day, I do not use any prescription drugs (nor do I need any)! I know there are alternatives to almost every health condition, as the information here indicates. Also, I’ve had no colds or flu for many years and I stopped getting flu shots years ago.

Ironically, most medical doctors call the effective approaches I listed above as “quackery,” which once again shows their gross ignorance of actual health and healing techniques (most doctors have zero (0) education or training in nutrition and the other lifestyle areas I cover in this post), an abdication of their commitment to patients and a dereliction of professional competence! Truly, modern medicine is often more about politics, power and money, not true health or healing.

So indeed, positive thoughts, beliefs and emotions are critical for health (along with good follow through), and they also have affects on genes! For example, these quotes from that previous post called, For Long Life Talk to Your Genes linked above, show how thoughts and emotions play a role in health and gene function:

This first quote is from an article called, Beyond the Genes: Are your Emotions Making you Sick? And relates some insights from Dr. Dena Churchill about how our thoughts talk to our body:

New discoveries are finding the limitations of the tangible and admit to a greater force of influence. We are no longer held captive by our genetic code but empowered to affect gene expression by changing our thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

The mind is the interface between the spirit and the body. It has an amazing capacity to integrate the abstract intuitive intelligence into the tangible body. . .

A “fight or flight” example illustrates the mind-body connection of our thoughts controlling our physiology in the short term. If I even think about seeing a rattlesnake, my pupils dilate, my heart rate, blood pressure and breathing increase, and there is increased gastric acid in my stomach. . .

The brain releases neurotransmitters and neuropeptides that are delivered to the cells. The mind talks to the body. But did you know that the body also talks back to the mind? Dr. Candace Pert, Nobel researcher, references these “molecules of emotion” that may hold a tissue memory.

This 2013 quote is from a study on how your sense of well-being can affect health. It’s from an article called, Positive Psychology Influences Gene Expression in Humans, and it explores different types of positive emotions and their effects on immune function, inflammation and disease (sound familiar?):

People who have high levels of what is known as eudaimonic well-being — the kind of happiness that comes from having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life (Mother Teresa) — showed very favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells. They had low levels of inflammatory gene expression and strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.

However, people who had relatively high levels of hedonic well-being — the type of happiness that comes from consummatory self-gratification (celebrities) — actually showed just the opposite. They had an adverse expression profile involving high inflammation and low antiviral and antibody gene expression.

This profound and insightful quote from 2012 outlines more detailed ways that our thoughts, beliefs and emotions affect us, along with numerous changes to biochemistry and gene expression. It’s from an article called, How Your Thinking Affects Your Health Part 1 of 3, by Dr. Larry Berkelheimmer:

Every change in your emotional state leads to a cascade of hormones and neurotransmitter substances, and can effect changes in the shape, voltage, and biochemistry of cell membrane receptors, and those changes influence gene expression. Neuropeptides, hormones, enzymes, and dozens of other agents are directly affected by our emotional state. There are neural, endocrine, and immune pathways through which thoughts, beliefs, images, and attitudes can affect gene expression, and affect cell proliferation as in cancer.

Emotional awareness and self-expression can affect which genes get turned on or off at any given time. The significance of physiological stress resulting in alterations in cell membrane function is that necessary substances may not be able to enter or exit cells at the appropriate times. For example, oncogenes get turned on with greater frequency by emotional suppression or repression, thereby increasing the odds of developing cancer.

That last section is so very key to this cancer post. Remember the oncogene section I covered earlier? This information reinforces the ways our emotions can directly affect cancer and potentially increasing its spread (in addition to all of the previous information about metabolic and hormonal affects on oncogenes covered earlier). Here is that link again, as I have some additional info included for thoughts and beliefs:

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/for-long-life-talk-to-your-genes 

Once again, the synergy of these lifestyle areas and their effects on health, immune function and disease are worth noting!

Below is a link to a fascinating, breakthrough video by Dr. Bruce Lipton, PhD. It covers many key areas, including DNA activation, epigenetics, biology, and where mind and matter meet. It will give you a new perspective about medicine, science, reductionism (which often misleads us, see Dr. David Seres Debunked Again on this site), proteins and gene function, including disease development.

Contrary to medicine’s oft-repeated claims, genes don’t control all of our life and health functions; rather many genes and cells significantly respond to our environmental signals and daily lifestyle choices (through methylation and other changes), including thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

The video below by Dr. Lipton helps to explain why I included the 5 key lifestyle areas in this article, because they all significantly influence the activation or silencing of genes, either providing optimum health and longevity or the growth of chronic disease (remember, the areas are: nutrition, activity, stress management, sleep and thoughts and beliefs).

Dr. Lipton also explores the 100,000 proteins that make up all our cells and tissues and how they respond to environmental influences based on protein regulators. He touches on cancer about 50 minutes in, as he explains how cells communicate and cooperate. He covers chronic stress and the profound effects it has on our health and well-being, including decreased cognition and a compromised immune system, increasing susceptibility to infection or illness like cancer (he talks about cancer again around 1:50). In essence, he says that chronic stress and the environment can modify or rewrite our genes and their functions for the worse.

The meaning of all this is that indeed, the daily choices we make in all key areas of lifestyle, including thoughts and emotions, are critical to determining whether we remain healthy or develop chronic disease.

His video presents a more holistic, integrated view of health, growth and disease, which is how medical doctors should really see us, but rarely do (prescribing drugs to minimize symptoms is like putting duct tape on a gaping wound, and why medicine contributes to chronic disease and death). Most doctors see us geographically, as a collection of separate parts to be fixed, not as the integrated whole we truly are.

In truth, we are one, integrated being, with every part and cell connected to every other part and cell. Did you know? The brain tracks billions of internal and external sensory inputs every minute! This lengthy video will probably turn many of your health, aging and disease beliefs upside down, but it’s worth watching in sections (sorry about the ads, you can skip):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YackvFSlDQk

Research Shows the Power Your Thoughts Have on Health and Longevity

Manage angiogenesis to prevent tumors

Remember, we all have some mutated cells and cancer cells in our bodies every day. With a healthy immune system and embracing all of the key lifestyle factors above, it’s likely that you will be able to keep cancer as at bay, without it becoming a full-blown disease (along with other chronic diseases because they tend to have the same lifestyle origins). And if you are able to block angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels to feed smaller cancers or fat accumulation) with the following nutrition and lifestyle choices, you will often prevent most weight gain, oncometabolic problems and cancers from becoming tumors.

Dr. William Li, MD, CEO and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, says microscopic cancers are found in many older adults who die in accidents. These tiny cell groups are often small, remaining the size of a pen point without angiogenesis! These tiny cancers are often not a threat and can be killed off by our immune system when angiogenesis is kept in proper balance.

This incredible video with Dr. Li covers many important details about angiogenesis, how it forms and how to manage angogenesis with nutritional choices and food synergy (includes some Q&A at the end):

http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Angiogenesis.aspx

This shorter video covers angiogenesis and how it contributes to many diseases:

http://www.angio.org/learn/angiogenesis/

Dr. Li’s list of the best anti-angiogenic foods (many of these foods are more potent than common, anti-angiogenic cancer drugs):

  • Artichoke
  • Parsley
  • Berries
  • Soy (avoid GMO soy)
  • Garlic
  • Red grapes
  • Brassica veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
  • Tomatoes (high in lycopene, buy organic)
  • Citrus
  • Green tea
  • Turmeric

This links to information about comprehensive groups and pictures of anti-cancer foods from the Angiogenesis Foundation’s site called, Eattobeat.org, including fruits, herbs and spices, veggies, seafood, nuts and seeds, and more:

http://www.eattobeat.org/food

More links to Dr. Li’s work at the Angiogenesis Foundation:

Here are links to articles and supporting research for different foods with anti-angiogenic properties (to read the articles you need to join, but it’s free, and you will have access to many good articles with studies included):

http://www.eattobeat.org/evidence 

http://www.eattobeat.org/evidence/204/consumption-of-cruciferous-vegetables-reduces-the-risk-for-several-cancer-types.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/curcumin-prevent-cancer-1803.html 

Now it’s important to point out that the dietary examples and recommendations in those links and articles are the same whole, healthy foods, spices, nuts and seeds that help to optimize overall health and fight other chronic diseases like heart disease, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, pain, cognitive problems and mood issues. They represent a long-term healthy eating pattern that is great for optimum health and longevity, not just for fighting cancer!

This article and link is about Steve Jobs, his pancreatic cancer and the immuno-suppressant drugs was taking after his liver transplant (which depress immune function to prevent organ rejection). It’s very thought provoking and insightful, and it includes some expert tips for treatment.

The article includes cases that expose the constant bias and double standards that permeate the U.S. health care system and shallow media coverage (medical doctors that fail are still called heros, alternative docs are killers even when they help prolong life). The pervasive power and corruption that influence medicine and media are also exposed:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/09/dr-nicholas-gonzalez-on-steve-jobs.aspx 

This link shows that the 5-year survival rate for chemotherapy is only about 2-3%, a terrible rate considering all the side effects:

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/chemotherapy-cancer-patients-1796.html 

This link has information about hospitals wasting about 3 billion in cancer drugs that go unused and get thrown away (but other patients end up paying extra to cover those losses):

http://www.newser.com/story/221377/hospitals-toss-3b-a-year-in-cancer-drugs.html?utm_source=part&utm_medium=inbox&utm_campaign=newser 

In closing

Hopefully, you now know some important things about cancer, including what steps you can take to prevent it.

You know that cells mutate and become cancerous every day, and it’s up to the immune system to keep those cells under control. As a result, minimizing possible mutations through optimum lifestyle and keeping your immune function in top condition is a must for fighting cancer!

Remember, cancer is rarely an inherited disease; it’s mostly driven by the daily choices we make, including risky things behaviors like smoking, unnecessary chemical and radiation exposure and other lifestyle choices like nutrition, inactivity, etc.

There are about 100 cancers with different forms and effects but in essence, the problem with cancer is that cells continue to replicate and spread, their auto-shut-off mechanisms disabled as they keep dividing and spreading throughout the body.

The good news is that we already know how to prevent most cancers and other chronic diseases: follow those 5-key, lifestyle areas above to improve your nutrition, activity, stress management, better sleep and thoughts and beliefs. Those 5 areas are your best tools for preventing this often dreaded disease and living a long, healthy life!

With a healthy lifestyle and optimal immune system, you can often keep cancer at bay, including other chronic diseases and infections. Get more of those whole, healthy anti-angiogenetic foods, herbs, spices and beverages (as covered above). I’ve said it before and I’ll add it here: Many health problems that become chronic diseases are often symptoms of an unhealthy lifestyle. We often get early warning that our lifestyle and needs are not properly matched (weight gain, low energy, stiff, painful joints, a decline in mental function or mood, etc.).

But if you rely on modern medicine, you will find their approach is to unplug those warning symptoms and disconnect the smoke alarm, leaving the fire to smolder until the house burns down! We know that’s true because only a few diseases can be traced to inherited genes or defects and that most drugs never cure heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, etc.

Even with inherited gene defects, those genes often need to be activated by our lifestyle. In many cases, they can be silenced by the lifestyle areas covered above.

So take control of your health starting today! You can decide to make the changes you need to increase your nutritional intake (more whole, healthy, non-GM foods), cut sugar, refined carbs and those GM veggie oils, increase activity, learn to manage stress and get more sleep, etc. As a coach, I can help you to achieve the optimum health and longevity you desire! Yes, you can have the life and health you want, and I can guide you on your journey to long-term health and prosperity!

Questions or comments? Send a message to: steve@endsicknessnow.com

© 2016 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

{ 16 comments }

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