10 Naturopathic tips on cancer prevention and cancer treatment
When faced with a cancer, it’s a shock and also a wake-up call to take action. Obviously, something or several things are out of balance to allow a cancer to grow in your body. It is a vast topic and there are several nuances to cancer care and it’s best to consult a health professional for your unique situation; however, I’ve noted some important naturopathic medical tips below from the perspective of cancer prevention and cancer treatment.
5 Naturopathic Cancer Prevention Tips:
1) Eat well, not too much. Most know what it is to eat a healthy diet – “eat your vegetables!” Of course, there’s more to a healthy diet but vegetables are a top priority. Lets take one particular example, edible mushrooms have been shown to be associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer. Several studies have tracked the cancer risk based on mushroom intake. A study looking at breast cancer risk found that women who ate more mushrooms had a lower risk of developing cancer (based on the summary of 10 independent studies). Another important dietary factor to keep in mind is to avoid over-eating. When you eat, after the food is digested, absorbed and integrated into your body, there is inevitably some waste that is also created as a part of simply metabolizing the food components. Part of this metabolic waste is what are called ‘free radicals’ or ‘oxidative stress’ byproducts. When you eat reasonable amounts, your body can break these byproducts down without a problem; however, when you overeat, it creates more work, more metabolic byproducts to deal with, such that excessive free radical damage can occur. Free radical damage can cause genetic (DNA) damage which is associated with cancer initiation. So, keep your food intake regular, healthy, though not excessive.
2) Sleep well, in the dark. Those with good sleeping habits end up having better internal biochemical and hormonal rhythms; if you ensure that night time light exposure is kept to a minimum, then there may be cancer-prevention benefits. Good sleep is generally getting 7-8 hours of sleep without having to wake up more than once and feeling refreshed upon waking. If you’re doing that you’re on the right track.
3) Drink your tea, green or white is best. Remember above I mentioned that free radicals can promote cancer initiation, well, natural substances that inhibit that are called ‘antioxidants.’ Tea contains several antioxidants but there are more in green tea and in white tea (note, green and white tea are from the same plant used for black tea, they are just less processed/oxidized than black tea leaves). Japanese researchers published a 2015 study in the Journal of Cancer Prevention; they tracked the onset of cancer for 10 years in people who drank green tea and found that women showed delays in cancer development by 7 years on average and 3 years for men. Followup studies found that when green tea extract is additionally supplemented, the rate of recurring colorectal cancer reduced by 50%. This is quite amazing for one dietary beverage and a supplement. Drinking 3-4 mugs of green tea daily may provide some protection against cancer.
4) Use turmeric spice. This yellowish-orange spice is commonly used in East and South Asian cuisine and it is interesting that India has a lower cancer rate than Western countries overall. One of the proposed reasons is the likely anti-cancer related benefits of turmeric. Some tips to incorporate turmeric is to use it in your cooking (mixing with existing spices), add it to your smoothies, or mix with hot milk, coconut oil or even when preparing desserts – try for 1-2 teaspoons daily.
5) Avoid chemical exposures. Several cancer types have been found to be associated with environmental chemical exposures, the most common environmentally-sensitive ones are breast cancer and prostate cancer. One type of chemical which has been examined is ‘bisphenol A’ or ‘BPA.’ Laboratory research has correlated exposure to such hormone-disrupting chemicals and the risk for several cancers. Chemicals such as BPA (in plastics), pthalates (in cosmetic products and plastics), brominated fire retardants (in mattresses and furniture), chlorinated pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (found in non-stick products), triclosan (in hand sanitizers, toothpaste) and PCBs have hormone-mimicking effects and can disturb normal hormonal regulation. Try to avoid/reduce exposure to these products and find alternatives. Unfortunately, we cannot rid all of the potentially damaging chemicals from our world so it is vital to do regular cleansing/detoxification routines to reduce the buildup of such chemicals in the body.
If you’re ready to put a prevention plan in place, contact my clinic to arrange your first consultation. You can also learn more by signing-up for my newsletter and research updates (usually sent quarterly) or keep an eye out for an upcoming talk on this and other topics.
5 Naturopathic Cancer Treatment Tips:
1) Consider collaborative naturopathic support treatment. In addition to the advice of your oncology physicians, seek the help of a registered naturopathic doctor to provide a holistic approach to your treatment (more detailed tips below). Naturopathic support may involve solutions to cope with the mental-emotional load that comes with a severe/chronic illness, provide options to improve energy and sleep quality, or to deal with chemotherapy side effects such as nausea or hair loss, or to optimize your diet while facing this illness.
2) Consider mistletoe herbal treatment. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will soon. Thousands of research studies have been conducted (mostly in Europe) on the value of injectable mistletoe herb extract. It’s mostly recommended as a naturopathic ‘adjuvant’ to regular oncology treatment. Several studies have shown it to be beneficial at improving not only the quality of life factors during regular cancer treatments, but also improving the chances of increased survival. It is typically administered just under the skin as a subcutaneous injection, or intravenously for more aggressive support (see image).
3) Consider intravenous vitamin C treatment. More and more clinical studies are now detailing the role of intravenous vitamin C (IVC) in cancer support. For instance, some studies have demonstrated improved quality of life in those with breast cancer with IVC. Another study looked at patients with cancer that had spread to the bones which didn’t improve with radiation, the researchers found not only reduced bone pain when given IVC, but also significantly improved survival and overall performance status. Another study found benefits with IVC when combined with chemotherapy for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Finally, IVC was also found to be helpful in cases with kidney, bladder and B-cell lymphoma. It remains to be seen where IVC is best suited in cancer support, but it is an adjunctive treatment that I have found useful for several patients I have had the pleasure to work with over the past 10 years.
4) Read more about my Six Step Naturopathic Cancer Support Program here. Step one is basic naturopathic support; Step two is Psychotherapy; Step three is immune therapy; Step four is optimizing conventional oncology treatment; Step five is targeted supplemental strategies (such as attempting to reduce cancer spread); Step six is monitoring and maintenance care. Detailed references and breakdown of each step is provided on my website as a good overview of how naturopathic care can support those with cancer.
Cancer treatment can be complicated, though more research is finding the role and benefits of naturopathic co-management. For a naturopathic perspective, contact us to arrange an assessment visit – 905-597-7201.