I would like to share 5 key things about cancer that you may not have known but that will help us all to ensure we win the war on cancer.
Let’s start off by describing what exactly cancer is.
Cancer in simple terms is an uncontrollable growth of cells in the body that have gone bad because they have been damaged, been overwhelmed with harmful substances or have been overstressed.
These cells have been damaged by toxins and other cancer causing substances, which cause them to behave abnormally. These cells ideally should be repaired or removed by the body’s automatic repair or cell death systems.
However, when the rate of damage exceeds the rate of repair or removal, these bad cells begin to grow until they reach a point where the growth becomes uncontrollable and a tumour or cancer is formed.
In our other articles, we shall discuss what causes cancer but for now let me highlight the 5 important aspects of cancer that can help you understand more about this monster called cancer.
1. Cancer loves sugar
All body cells use glucose (a type of simple sugar) to produce energy i.e for metabolism. However, the metabolism of cancer cells is about 8 times greater than the metabolism of normal cells. Cancer cells therefore have a huge demand of sugar to stay alive. If the sugar supply is cut off, the cancer cells literally begin to starve and die off unless it can get sugar from an alternate source (as can be seen when people with cancer lose so much weight. In this case the body breaks down normal tissue and converts it to a form of energy that feeds the cancer, hence the weight loss or cachexia seen in cancer patients).
So when we eat a diet high in sugar – and this includes table sugar that we use for tea - we actually increase the risk that any cells that have gone bad or any cancerous cells that the body is trying to get rid of continue to grow at a rapid rate.
When I talk of sugar, you may think of only table sugar, but this also includes foods high in refined sugar such as soda, sweets and refined carbohydrates like pastries, cakes, white and even brown bread, mandazi, biscuits and other such foods.
What about the sugar in natural foods like fruit and carbohydrate rich foods? While they do have sugar and are converted into sugar, the nature of the whole food with fibre, and other nutrients ensures that the body is not flooded with sugar like is the case with refined sugars mentioned above.
It is important to note that everyone has hundreds of cancer cells in their body, but most are either being repaired or removed. Those that will grow faster than they can be removed will grow until they can be big enough to be what we call a tumour or cancer. So the amount of sugar you make available to your body could be a big determinant on your risk for cancer.
Now that you know that cancer cells need sugar to grow and survive, does it make sense to have a lot of refined sugar in the diet that could actually feed cancer cells? Is it wise to pump our children with sweets, soda, biscuits, ice cream, cakes, sweetened drinks and foods rich in refined sugars?
ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT SUGAR FEEDS CANCER.
2. Cancer hates oxygen
While normal cells primarily use oxygen to fuel metabolism (aerobic metabolism), we now know that cancer cells use anaerobic metabolism i.e. they do not use oxygen and actually will not grow or survive in an oxygen rich environment.
This is very important because, the amount of oxygen that reached your body and cells will also be an important factor in the development and promotion of cancer growth.
This concept is actually being taken advantage of in some of the integrative/alternative approaches to cancer care, where patients are put in oxygen chambers to infuse oxygen at high pressures into the body tissues to slow or stop cancer growth.
But thinking about this in terms of our health and bodies, we get oxygen into our bodies by breathing. So anything that enhances our breathing and makes it deeper will increase oxygen supply to tissues.
Exercise is a perfect example. Exercise increases the depth of our breath and also ensures that the oxygen we breathe is well circulated to all tissues in the body. Aerobic exercise (that focusses on the heart and breath enhancement will significantly reduce your risk for cancer as has been shown in many studies.
Deep breathing exercises are also very helpful to improve oxygen delivery. Sparing only 3 to 5 minutes a day for focussed breathwork can be very beneficial to prevent or even manage cancer.
Imagine. Breathing is now one of the techniques at the forefront of cancer management.
On the other hand, anything that will negatively affect the way we breathe such as being overweight, snoring and stress can have an impact on oxygenation of your tissues and your cancer risk.
3. Cancer loves darkness and hates light (especially sunlight)
Cancer cells thrive best in the absence of light. Cancer cell growth will significantly slow down if the cancer cells are exposed to light especially sunlight. Certain types of light, particularly infrared light is thought to negatively impact growth of cancer cells. In fact, some cancer treatment protocols employ the use of exposure of the blood to higher levels of light.
But in particular, for sunlight, we know that exposure to sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is very essential for immune function and reducing inflammation, two vital aspects of cancer prevention. Many studies have actually showed that low Vitamin D levels are linked with increased risk of common cancers like breast and colon cancer. And Vitamin D levels are also strongly associated with the amount of exposure to direct sunlight.
Despite many reports that spending time in the sun can increase your risk for skin cancer, spending time exposed to sunlight will definitely increase your vitamin D levels as well as help to keep your cells and body healthier. I recommend spending time in the sun while moving or sitting for short periods and not sitting in one place stationery for a long time.
Even though the science shows the benefit of light, I am sure we all know from experience and old age wisdom, that when people are not well, they usually find that spending time out in the sun helps them feel better and recover faster.
4. Cancer loves acid
Our bodies function best at a pH of about 7.4, which is slightly alkaline. pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. pH of 7 is neutral. Above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic.
Our bodies work best in an alkaline environment but cancer prefers an acidic environment. Our bodies are naturally alkaline but stress, environmental toxins and foods or diets that promote acidity can shift your body into an acidic state.
When your become acidic, it creates a condition called acidosis, a state in which our bodies will not function optimally. Acidosis over the long-term causes inflammation, damages cells, makes red and white blood cells fail to develop properly and also makes it easier for cells to make errors in their natural processes. This makes the environment in the body prime for growth of pathogenic substances like bacteria and viruses that can also contribute to cancer. But also acidity itself is a good medium for cancer growth. One big contributor to acidity in the body are animal and milk products. Eating these foods puts a heavy burden on our kidneys to try and restore the normal pH balance in the body.
You can measure your pH by using saliva pH strips but also urine pH can give you an indication of your pH. If found to be acidic it is important you take steps to keep your body in an alkaline state.
This is why you probably hear so much about alkaline water and alkaline diets. These are simply diets and programs to help you get your pH to the correct level. Please however be careful not to get confused by complex information. The easiest way to get to an alkaline state is to eat lots of plant based foods with an emphasis on those that are alkaline. You can easily look them up.
5. Cancer hates vitamins.
Lastly cancer hates vitamins. This last point has so much information that it could be written into a whole book. However, to keep it short and to the point, certain vitamins are anitoxidants and so remove cancer causing substances from the body but more importantly certain vitamins when they come across cancer cells, will usually give the cancer cells two options. Either you transform back to a normal cell or I start a process that will lead to your destruction and removal from the body.
Some of these useful vitamins are Vitamin C, Vitamin D (as explained above) and Vitamin K. Vitamin C in particular in high doses administered intravenously is one of the most powerful cancer supportive treatments. Unfortunately, many people don’t know this.
There is also Vitamin B 17. Also known as Laetrile, it technically is not a vitamin but has some very powerful anticancer effects.
It is very important that you become aware of this and the power of vitamins in prevention and management of cancer. Also note that if for some reason you become deficient in these vitamins you reduce your ability to fight cancer. But even if you are not deficient you may need to supplement with high doses of these vitamins to get the desired effect.
As I conclude this article, let us not forget that more and more people are dealing with this disease. And while we all want to prevent it, prevention starts by becoming aware of some of the simple things that could be causing or contributing to the problem.
Many of us don’t realise that the simple things like how much sugar we consume, whether or not we exercise, how stressed we are, the amount of time we spend outside in the sun and even how much animal vs plant foods we eat could be the silent factors that will determine whether we win or lose this battle against cancer.
Once again, please share this article with friends, family and colleagues.
I will be sharing more soon on what some of the unlikely causes of cancer are in the near future.
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I urge you to think about this and begin or continue to make choices that you will be grateful for in a few years to come.
What are your thoughts? I would like to hear from you.