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Update: July 2001
Cancer Facts and Statistics
Statistically, one out of every three people will die from some form of cancer. That means that in a family of six, two will die from cancer unless they can decrease the cancer risk factors that they are exposed to. In the U.S. one person dies from cancer every minute. During that same minute of your life your body is fighting a battle with cancer. Is it on the winning side or is it possibly losing ground that it will have to make up later.
Current research indicates that the major cause of cancerous cellular action is free radical damage. Free radicals damage a cell's membrane and genetic material by stealing electrons from the body's healthy molecules. Up to 90 percent of all cancers are thought to be due to the effects of external and internal carcinogens (from food, water, air, cigarette smoke, and cellular byproducts from body function). These toxins cause cellular damage and mutations of the base DNA. These mutated cells are often not corrected or controlled because the body lacks appropriate nutrients for the proper functioning of the detoxification systems and the immune system. This is especially true during times of high toxic exposure, stressed body systems, or fatigued and weakened body systems. When a small group of mutated DNA cells gets established the possible seed for cancer proliferation is set.
The body eliminates toxins by directly neutralizing them or by excreting them through the urine or feces. If toxins are not eliminated they build up in the tissues, typically this build up occurs in our fat stores. Primary detoxification occurs through the liver, intestines, and kidneys. Every minute the liver filters toxins from almost two quarts of blood. This filtration neutralizes bacteria, endotoxins, antigen-antibody complexes, and other toxic substances contained in the blood coming from the intestines.
The liver also manufactures bile which carries toxins into the intestines where both the bile and the toxins are absorbed by fiber and excreted. When a person's diet is low in fiber these toxins are reabsorbed into the body and become doubly damaging [Michael Murray & Joseph Pizzorno. "Detoxification". Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998) Pgs. 109-110]
In 1994 a study conducted at a chemical plant in Turin, Italy, found that workers with poor liver detoxification function were the ones who developed bladder cancer, even though they were exposed to the same levels of carcinogens as other workers who did not develop bladder cancer.
The important thing to realize is that genetics is only a small factor. Your ability to fight toxic exposure is not just genetically set. Nutrition and lifestyle can make a tremendous difference.The American Cancer Society states that:
Existing scientific evidence suggests that about one-third of the cancer deaths that occur in the US each year is due to dietary factors. Another third is due to cigarette smoking. Therefore, for the majority of Americans who do not use tobacco, dietary choices and physical activity become the most important modifiable determinants of cancer risk. The evidence also indicates that although genetics are a factor in the development of cancer, heredity does not explain all cancer occurrences.
Ultimately your best protection from cancer is to avoid exposure to carcinogens and make sure your detoxification and immune systems are kept in tip-top condition to eliminate those carcinogens you can't avoid before they have a chance to hurt you.
Thousands of cells are destroyed and replaced by your body throughout a normal day of life. When the DNA of new replacement cells is damaged by free radicals and carcinogens, the cellular multiplication process and the DNA are detrimentally modified. As a result, a small group of cells with abnormal DNA gets established.
If the immune system or body controls are not able to identify and correct this deviant cellular problem, this abnormal group continues to divide and grow. These abnormal cells also spread to other body organs or parts through the blood vessels and lymphatic channels. This time is referred to as the hidden or "occult" phase because the individual has no signs or symptoms that indicate this is happening inside their body.
Estimates suggest that some cancers have been present in the body for five to ten years before they cause symptoms. Warning signs that you can watch for include: Adapted from: [American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine, p. 228] and [Prescription for Nutritional Healing, pgs. 177-178]:
Abnormal tissue growths that do not continue to grow and spread are said to be benign (for example, warts, blackheads). Malignant tumors are those where cell division multiplies and spreads. Common body sites and organs of malignant tumor development are the lungs, breasts, intestines, skin, stomach, pancreas, sinus, mouth, the testes or ovaries, kidneys, uterus, colon, and even within the blood cell-forming tissues of bone marrow (leukemias).
Cancer Prevention and Treatment Strategies
First you should understand that researchers have found that a surprising fivefold difference exists in the detoxification ability of apparently healthy adults. But for most individuals, relying on awesome genetics opens you to the risk of becoming a cancer death statistic. If you're taking the time to read this, I'm sure you don't want to become a statistic.
According to Dr. Patrick Quillin, a certified nutrition specialist, and the nutritional director for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, nutrition is most likely to have an impact on the early precancerous stages known as initiation and progression. These stages include potentially stoppable, even reversible, changes in a cell's genetic material. Nutritional support for detoxification and prevention includes a complete daily base of all vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and EFA's, including the complete antioxidant group of nutrients since they help neutralize free radicals.
Most research associating cancer with nutrition is focused on "prevention," but many doctors now believe that optimum nutrition can help people with cancer live longer and better. Doctors at the Cancer Treatment Centers of American recommend that all of their patients take a comprehensive base multivitamin/mineral supplement that contains several times the RDA for numerous nutrients.
Scientific Research Documents Nutritional Supplement Benefits in Reversing Established Cancers
A small but growing body of scientific research now exists documenting the benefits of nutritional supplementation in reversing established cancers.
A study by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., and Linus Pauling, Ph.D., looked at patients that were receiving chemotherapy or radiation and also using a nutrition therapy of high-dose vitamins and minerals and an education on food selection. Those who made no changes but continued eating as they had before had an average life span of 5.7 months. Twenty percent of those who improved their eating selection and took the high-dose vitamins and minerals had almost twice the survival time as patients not receiving nutritional support (11 months). This 20% were considered "poor responders." The other 80% were considered "good responders" and had an average life span of six years. This "good responder" group included people with tough-to-treat cancers like lung, pancreas, and liver. Women with cancer of the breast, ovaries, cervix, or uterus did best. Their average life span was ten years, a 21-fold improvement over those who did not get nutrition therapy.
Another study conducted at West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, supplemented men with bladder cancer with large doses of vitamin A, B6, C, E, and zinc in addition to a multivitamin/mineral base supplement that provided all nutrients. They experienced a 40 percent reduction in tumor recurrence compared with men getting only the RDA of the nutrients. After five years a follow-up report showed that the men taking large amounts of nutrients went for a significantly longer time without tumor recurrence.
The take-home lesson. Nutrition is not a magic bullet, and should not be used as the sole therapy once cancer exists, but nutrition can dramatically improve the quantity and quality of life and the chances for complete remission.
The best idea is to prevent cancer from ever getting established by keeping the body detoxified with nutritional support and lower exposure to toxins. After all, you only have one body.
Our Cancer Self-management Program will give you additional nutrient and lifestyle. We also include the Center for Disease Control Framework for Cancer Prevention and Control to help you understand on a large scale what the government is doing.
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