Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Crucial Cancer Prevention Strategies
Cancer is all around us. The sad truth is that the disease has become so widespread that it is hard to find or speak to a person these days that doesn’t have a close relative or friend who is currently diagnosed with one of the most dreadful diseases of our modern time.
Last month a beautiful soul, Emily, kindly informed me about the fact that November is “Lung Cancer Awareness Month.” Little did she know that just days before she sent me that particular email, we got the news that my father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer with metastasis in his brain.
In the meantime, the tumor in his brain has been successfully removed and they started chemotherapy to get rid of the lung tumors too. While there are still a lot of uncertainties, doctors said his chances are high. Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers out there. A lot of research has gone into lung cancer treatments.
While “Lung Cancer Awareness Month’ has passed by now, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of one of the biggest worldwide killers all year long, hence my late post to raise my voice too. Also, during the whole month November, we were in Europe to catch up with family and friends and support my family-in-law during this horrible period in life.
It’s on these rare occasions, when family and friends are in need, that you honestly ask yourself why you moved 5,000 miles (or 8,000 km) away from your loved ones…. Support means the world to cancer patients.
For more info on lung health, visit lung.org
Prevention is key
When it comes to any life-threatening disease, lung cancer included, prevention is key. Before I share with you my strategies for cancer prevention and optimal health, let us take a look at the comprehensive infographic from Mesothelioma.com below to gain a better understanding of our lungs and lung health.
Cancer Prevention Strategies
Below, I want to share with you my top strategies for optimal health, specifically related to fighting cancer and cancer prevention.
1. Quit smoking
As it comes to prevention or fighting any cancer or disease, especially lung cancer, it’s obvious that you should stop smoking or don’t start in the first place to prevent disease.
2. Prioritize your diet
It is no longer a secret that poor dietary habits can cause cancer. We are what we eat, is something we often hear. While eating healthy food will not guarantee that you won’t get the disease, I can say with a 100% certainty that is your best chance to do so.
Many scientific studies have shown that a poor, unhealthy diet alone can cause cancer. Also, it is not only important to change your diet as a prevention strategy; people with cancer benefit from healthy eating too. It gives them the right tools to strengthen their weakened body and aid in the cancer-fighting process. Additionally, many fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices may soothe chemotherapy-related symptoms. Ginger tea and papaya, for instance, have shown some great results in treating nausea and ill-feeling.
Furthermore, it is of vital importance to keep up these healthy habits after the cancer is cured. Going back to old, unhealthy ways of life, poor diet included, often results in cancer to return. Remember, some of the internal conditions (such as nutrient deprivation, alcohol, too much acidic load, etc.) allowed cancer to grow initially. If these conditions are restored due to an unhealthy diet, then cancer may return.
Also, it is crucial to avoid processed food, fast food, GMOs, sugar, and trans fats. Opt for fresh, whole foods instead.
Another milestone of good health is exercise. We don’t have to be a scientist or doctor to know that we need to be fit to stay fit. Exercise is crucial for a proper and healthy working lymph system. The lymph system carries certain nutrients to every cell in your body while also removing toxins such as dead and cancerous cells, infectious viruses, heavy metals and other waste materials.
Unlike the blood which also removes toxins and waste material, the lymph doesn’t have a motor, aka the heart, to pump the fluids around. It is entirely dependent on physical exercise. So the more you move, the better the circulation and toxin removal will be.
While our body does an excellent job of eliminating toxins and waste material – think of our primary filtering organs: the kidneys, liver, and skin – our modern lifestyle and Western diet often overload our system, which results in toxic build-ups that may lead to several diseases, cancer included.
Again, diet is of great importance here. Give your body the right fuel and less strain will be put on these organs so they can concentrate on other vital tasks.
As a prevention strategy, it may be wise to commit to a detox program once or twice a year. People undergoing chemotherapy or radiation should leave this until after the treatment. Often they are too weak to handle the extra stress on the body. However, after chemotherapy, a detox is advisable to eliminate all the nasty chemicals from the chemo and nurture your body back to good health.
Click here to access a 10-day whole food fruit and veggie detox program that will give your body a good cleanse.
Furthermore, make sure your home doesn’t contain asbestos in its roof, chimneys, insulation or tiles and if deciding to renovate let professionals handle the testing and removal. They know how best to deal with dangerous toxins like asbestos, exposure to which is known to cause a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma. Asbestos along with radon are two extremely dangerous carcinogens to be aware of in your home.
Also, be aware of the cosmetics, cleaning products, deodorizers, pesticides, etc you use. Always opt for the most natural, chemical-free products.
Also read: Beware of Toxic Household Products
5. Healing power of the sun
Researchers from my little, humble home country Belgium, were the first to discover that vitamin D lowers C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to coronary heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
So make sure to soak up some sun on a daily basis. If you live in a colder or rainy climate, vitamin D supplementation might be necessary.
Also, sunscreen doesn’t prevent cancer. In some cases, it may even be the cause since most commercially available sunscreens are loaded with cancer-causing ingredients such as octyl methoxycinnamate aka OMC. Make sure to opt for organic, natural sunscreens or why not try and make your own. Click here for the recipe.
6. Get your beauty sleep
Sleep is crucial. While we sleep our body repairs and renews damaged cells and tissues. Furthermore, it removes toxins and waste materials from our body and makes sure our immune system and metabolic system stays active and healthy.
7. Screen for signs – early detection saves lives
Screening and early detection can save lives. While it can take years for cancer to develop without any apparent symptoms, the American Cancer Society developed this simple reminder of overlooked signs and symptoms years ago: CAUTION
C: Change in bowel or bladder habits
A: A sore that does not heal
U: Unusual bleeding or discharge
T: Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
I: Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
O: Obvious change in a wart or mole
N: Nagging cough or hoarseness
Contact your trusted health care professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Chemotherapy vs. the alternative route
I often get asked about whether people should undergo chemotherapy or radiation or opt for the natural or holistic route instead. Honestly, I don’t know. For now, I can only say that people should weigh their options, together with their trusted health care providers, and see what they feel comfortable with.
While it is true that the chemo drug industry is a money-generating machine, they have saved countless lives. But, many lives were lost too. Some were only given a few months to live and are still around years later thanks to holistic or alternative approaches such as cannabis oil and oxygen therapy.
To my humble opinion, both the pharmaceutical and holistic world should put money and their hate for each other to the side and combine forces to try and conquer this dreadful disease and find an actual, less-damaging treatment. But that’s probably not gonna happen; I realize that.
Furthermore, more efforts should be made to inform the people about possible prevention strategies and how their lifestyle may affect their health.