while our conventional medical system is effective at diagnosing what is wrong with our bodies, functional medicine takes things further diagnosing why there is dysfunction in the first place.
One of our favorite functional medicine doctors and NYT best-selling author, Dr. Mark Hyman, is walking us through a few preventative strategies when it comes to cancer. Read through and tell us your thoughts in the comments below…
Conventional medicine protocols have a lot wrong when it comes to cancer. We are good at cutting it, burning it and poisoning it with surgery, radiation and drugs, but many doctors fail to treat the cause of the cancer. Conventional medicine focuses on naming diseases based on geography, body location and specialty, instead of by the cause, mechanism or pathway involved. Doctors say you have liver, kidney, brain or heart disease, but this approach to naming disease tells you nothing about its roots.
Instead of asking what disease you have and what drug should be used to treat it, we must ask why the disease has occurred. What are the underlying causes that lead to illness? Functional medicine empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working collaboratively to address the causes of disease. It is an emerging, personalized model of diagnosis and treatment that better addresses the need to prevent and manage chronic disease. In short, it is the medicine of why, not what.
Functional medicine doctors are like soil farmers: They create a healthy soil, so pests can’t come and weeds can’t flourish. A healthy soil means disease can’t take hold. With cancer, a functional medicine practitioner would say that yes, we still need radiation and other conventional approaches, but what else can we do? How can we properly cultivate a healthy soil? Cancer results because of an imbalance in the system, so many people are walking around with tumors and don’t know it. We can do something to prevent them from growing by maintaining a healthy soil.
If a nutrient-poor diet full of sugar, a lack of exercise, chronic stress, persistent pollutants and heavy metals can cause cancer, could it be that a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet, physical activity, changing thoughts and reactions to stress and detoxification might treat the garden in which cancer grows?
The important thing is to figure out what works for you and develop a plan to stick with it. That might involve working with a functional medicine doctor or a chronic disease specialist. Cancer is scary, but there is almost always something you can do to improve your condition. I encourage you to think about cancer differently and, more importantly, not lose hope…
dr Hyman’s 5 Cancer Prevention Tips
Ditch the sugar: Sugar feeds cancer and creates diabesity. The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year and about 146 pounds of flour a year. Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect one in two Americans by 2020; 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed. The number one thing you can do to prevent or control cancer is to control insulin levels with a high-fiber diet rich in real, fresh, whole foods and minimize or eliminate sugary, processed, insulin-raising foods. Dr. Dean Ornish showed that after just three months on an intensive lifestyle program including a whole-foods, plant-based diet, over 500 genes that regulate cancer were beneficially affected, either turning off the cancer-causing genes or turning on the cancer-protective genes. No medication can do that. LEARN MORE
Eliminate food sensitivities: In a major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hidden gluten sensitivity was shown to increase risk of death by 35 to 75 percent, mostly by causing heart disease and cancer. By just this mechanism alone, more than 20 million Americans are at risk for heart attack, obesity, cancer and death. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies that are linked to insulin resistance. Cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut and an inflamed body to heal. LEARN MORE
Reduce inflammation:Inflammation is the common thread connecting most chronic disease, including cancer. In fact, out-of-control inflammation causes insulin resistance, which, as we now know, is the main factor in all these diseases, apart from autoimmunity and allergy. The insulin resistance then creates even more inflammation and the whole biological house burns down. Besides removing sugar and food sensitivities like gluten and dairy, we want to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, including omega-3-rich foods like wild fish and flaxseeds. LEARN MORE
Improve gut health: Cancer often originates in your gut. Not just colon cancer, but with many cancers. We are currently studying about the gut microbiome and breast and prostate cancers. Beyond avoiding inflammatory foods, adding in probiotics, prebiotics and lots of phytonutrients, like curcumin (found in turmeric) and resveratrol (found in grapes), can reduce gut-based inflammation. LEARN MORE
Reduce toxic exposure: The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic (poisonous to nerves or nerve cells). The chemicals these infants are exposed to include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, flame retardants and heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic. These chemicals have a broad range of negative effects on human biology; they damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer, and now they have been shown to contribute to obesity. Going clean and green means becoming more aware about how environmental toxins affect your health. I encourage you to visit the Environmental Working Group to learn more. LEARN MORE
change your thoughts: Change your thoughts to change your immune system. This bonus strategy is often overlooked, but it’s just as important as the other strategies above. Science is now proving what we all knew intuitively – that how we live, the quality of our relationships, the food we eat and how we use our bodies determines much more than our genes ever will. There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including getting sufficient sleep, controlling stress levels and exercising regularly. LEARN MORE
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.