If we could pinpoint the causes of cancer, we would never get it again, right? If only it were that simple. When it comes to disease, there’s an old saying that says, “Genetics loads the gun; your environment pulls the trigger.” There are many factors. Here are the top 9 you need to consider.
While there are many complex factors at play to help prevent cancer, there are nine that stand out as the top culprits to watch:
- Weight and Exercise
- Sugar Alternatives
- Environmental Toxins
We’re not going to get into the semantics of smoking. The “smoking causes cancer” narrative is pretty much mainstream and for purposes of this article, will be considered an already known and given fact.
The research is mixed, but you can’t argue that fact that your genetics are one of the factors to consider when looking at what causes cancer.
One piece of evidence is found in a study conducted by Cristian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins University. Their study examined the link between normal stem cell divisions and 32 cancer types from around the world. They found that “cancers are caused by mutations that may be inherited, induced by environmental factors, or result from DNA replication errors.” This study concluded that 66 percent of the cancer mutations were due to DNA errors, 29 percent from environmental or lifestyle factors, and 5 percent are inherited. (1)
True Health Initiative Founder, Dr. David Katz, provided commentary on this study. “A mutation is generally necessary for cancer to occur, but it is FAR from sufficient! A random mutation, even one with the potential to become a cancer, does not mean actual cancer will EVER develop. From my perspective… the MAJORITY of all cancer is preventable by modification of lifestyle and environmental exposures.” (1)
Weight and Exercise
Body fat has a big impact on developing cancer. Being overweight and/or the lack of exercise may increase the risk of the following cancers:
- Colon and Rectum
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgin Lymphoma
- Prostate (2)
Why? It’s due to insulin. Insulin is a hormone which regulates blood sugar levels. A diet high in grains and sugar will cause a spike in insulin, which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when your cells have become desensitized to insulin, forcing your body to produce more to have the same effect. (2) Studies have shown that elevated levels of insulin and insulin resistance help to create a chronic inflammatory state in the body, which in turn contributes to the opportunity for cancer growth. (3, 4)
Excess weight and lack of exercise are not one in the same, however they often go hand-in-hand. Exercise helps to optimize estrogen and thyroid hormones, both of which are connected to cancer. Regular exercise also helps to control weight and insulin. (2)
Healthy cells in your body require oxygen to survive. Cancer cells get their energy through fermentation, and sugar is one of cancer’s favorite food sources. While insulin has a more direct link in causing cancer, sugar has been proven to feed cancer. (2, 3) Sugar also helps to create inflammation in the body, which also is a positive state for cancer to grow.
When Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans are given, the patient is injected with dextrose (sugar) containing a radioactive dye. The cancer cells go after the sugar like PacMan, and the patient’s scan lights up. Doctors can easily determine if the cancer is spreading by using this method. (2)
Sugar derivatives such as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, and chemical sugar alternatives such as saccharine, aspartame (Nutrasweet), and Splenda all cause blood sugar spikes just like sugar itself. (2)
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “aspartame is the most dangerous substance added to foods and causes over 75 percent of adverse reactions to food additives.” (6) When aspartame hits the brain, it causes a chain of neurological events, including triggering excessive amounts of free radicals, which kills healthy cells. Ten percent of aspartame is made from methanol, a deadly poison. Methanol breaks down in the body in the form of formaldehyde, a deadly neurotoxin. (6)
It seems like there is a new nutrition protocol hitting the bookshelves every day, but do these protocols have cancer prevention in mind? Aside from sugar, what are some of the top foods that help to potentially cause cancer?
Animal protein is at the top of this list. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that “most Americans… need to reduce overall intake of protein foods by decreasing intakes of meats, poultry and eggs.” (5) The WHO has determined that processed meats, such as hot dogs, cold cuts, sausages, and bacon are the top cancer-causing foods. (5) Additional studies found that a diet high in Omega 6 fats (oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, sesame, and canola) also may cause cancer. (3) Two hundred years ago, the ratio of Omega 6 to (the healthy) Omega 3 fats consumed were 1:1. Now, that ratio is 25:1.
In a statement released to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) cited, “between 5-6 percent of new cancers and cancer deaths globally are directly attributable to alcohol.” ASCO contends that “alcohol use – whether light, moderate, or heavy – is linked with increasing risk of several cancers.” (7) In addition to the causation, excessive alcohol consumption can also negatively impact cancer treatment.
The studies have only begun to look at the causal connection between chemicals and cancer development. No one can predict the enormity of when these toxic chemicals are bound together in the products we use on a daily basis AND the cumulative affect over ones lifetime.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) researched the top 12 harmful chemicals found to disrupt cancer-related pathways. (8)
- Bisphenol A. This is “an industrial chemical used to make plastics that are used in food and beverage containers and the linings of most food and beverage cans.”
- Atrazine. This is “one of the most widely used herbicides, applied to the majority of U.S. grown corn.” It is also commonly found in drinking water.
- Organophosphate Pesticides. These are “widely used insecticides that target the nervous systems of insects and pests.”
- Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP). Originally used in nail polish until 2006, is now “an ingredient in soft and flexible plastics such as shower curtains, raincoats, food wraps, and bowls.”
- Lead. Lead “harms almost every organ system in the body and has been linked to a staggering array of health effects including lowered IQ, miscarriage, kidney damage, nervous system problems, and hormone disruption.”
- Mercury. Mercury and methylmercury are “toxic to the brain, kidneys, liver, heart and nervous system. Mercury exposure during pregnancy is highly dangerous to the developing fetus, leading to impaired development of the brain and nervous system.”
- Polyfluorochemicals (PFCs). These are “the most indestructible chemicals ever made by man. They are likely a human carcinogen and endocrine-disruptiong chemical. PFC are widely used to make water, grease, and stain repellent coatings.”
- Phthalates. They are “common industrial chemicals used in PVC plastics to make vinyl toys soft, as well as in solvents and synthetic fragrances.
- Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP). This is a “commonly used class of phthalates that may be associated with alterations in thyroid hormone levels.”
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE). They are “chemical fire retardants widely used in polyurethane foam products manufactured before 2005, including upholstered furniture, mattresses, pillows, couches, carpet padding, and electronics. Although they have been taken off the market, they are incredibly persistent and continue to be a reason for concern.”
- Triclosan. This is known as a pesticide and endocrine disruptor, Triclosan is “an ingredient in many liquid hand and dishwashing soaps as well as many personal care products.”
- Nonylphenol. This is extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. Nonylphenol is a “widely used ingredient in industrial and consumer products such as detergents, paints, personal care products and plastics.”
In addition to these twelve chemicals, studies are showing the affects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). One study of 3,256 participants, found an improvement in a wide range of health symptoms following the removal of GMOs. While none of these symptoms address cancer per se, they are certainly indicators of disease at large: digestive issues, fatigue, cognition, food allergies, anxiety and depression, joint pain, allergies, insomnia, hormonal problems, autoimmune disease, and cardiovascular problems. (9)
The GMOs were evaluated in this study based on:
- “The disruptive and unpredictable nature of the process of genetic modification itself, which can introduce or elevate allergens, toxins, and anti-nutrients
- Possible allergenic and toxic effects of Bt toxin, the insecticide produced within most genetically engineered corn varieties grown in the United States
- The health impacts of glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Roundup®, which are sprayed on and absorbed into most genetically engineered food crops.” (10)
Infections are disease-causing agents. Many individuals have healthy immune systems which can ward off infections. But if your immune system is compromised, then infections can cause serious long-term damage, including cancer. (11) There are many different kinds of infections, but the ones that are most linked to cancer include viruses. Viruses are “infectious agents that enter your body’s cell and reproduce. When a virus does enter a cell, they insert their DNA into the host. And since cancer works in a similar way, viruses can possibly lead to cancer.” (11)
The viruses leading to cancer include Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C (HBV & HCV), and Human Herpes Virus-8 (HHV-8). These viruses remain in your body, and mostly inactive. Individuals who have compromised immune systems are at the greatest risk. (11)
The most common of these is EBV (or mononucleosis), with around 90 percent of the world’s population being infected. (12) Twelve of the 40 types of HPV are known to cause cancer. (11)
The first chemotherapy agents appeared in the first world wars and used as mustard gases to kill soldiers. (13) Since then, cancer patients from all over the world have opted to use chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment plan.
A new study reveals that chemo could allow the cancer to actually spread, and trigger even more aggressive tumors. (14) The reason is that after chemo, the body is filled with toxins. Many of these toxins will stay in our system until they are flushed out. These toxins will wreak havoc on your immune system, which is now already compromised after chemo treatment. (12)
An additional study published in Breast Cancer Research found that chemotherapy “causes long-term immune system damage, reducing levels of key immune cells in breast cancer patients for at least nine months after treatment, leaving them vulnerable to potentially life-threatening viral and bacterial infections.” (15)
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Love, hugs, and being a cancer prevention machine.HERE. Sources
- Katz, Dr. David. Health Between the Headlines. http://mailchi.mp/truehealthinitiative/health-between-the-headlines-7?e=2b1e6e0d5d
- Majors, Dr. Charles, Lerner, Dr. Ben, Ji, Sayer. The Cancer Killers The Cause is the Cure. 2013. Maximized Living
- Paulson, Dr. Heather. Fight Cancer with Nutrition. August 29, 2014. http://www.drheatherpaulson.com/fight-cancer-nutrition/
- Insulin and Cancer, Boyd DB. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14713323
- For Cancer, the Future of Protein is Green. Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org/cancer/for-cancer-defense-the-future-of-protein-is-green?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=Cancernews&utm_medium=email
- Mercola, Dr. Joseph. November 6, 2011. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/06/aspartame-most-dangerous-substance-added-to-food.aspx
- ASCO Cites Evidence and Calls for Reduced Alcohol Consumption in New Statement. November 7, 2017. https://www.asco.org/advocacy-policy/asco-in-action/alcohol-statement-asco-cites-evidence-and-calls-for-reduced-alcohol-consumption
- EWG’s Dirty Dozen: Cancer Prevention Edition. http://www.ewg.org/cancer/EWGs-dirty-dozen-cancer-prevention-edition.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=201703news&utm_medium=email
- Smith, Jeffrey M., “Survey Reports Improved Health After Avoiding Genetically Modified Foods.” International College of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. http://www.ichnfm.org/ijhnfm2017smith.
- Rubenstein, Lori, “Forgiveness: A Healthy Alternative,” Ezine Articles, June 22, 2012, http://ezinearticles.com/?Forgiveness:-A-Healthy-Alternative&id=7088474.
- Frost, Leann. Silent Infections and Cancer. February 24, 2017. https://groovybeets.com/silent-infections-and-cancer/?utm_source=Groovy+Beets+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2e58bd2f6c-Newsletter+2-27-17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d0e021dbcf-2e58bd2f6c-160931305&mc_cid=2e58bd2f6c&mc_eid=ddf7f62592
- How to Detox After Chemotherapy. Healthy Holistic Living. http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/how-to-detox-after-chemotherapy.html?utm_source=newsletter_jan16&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletters&t=newsletter_jan16
- Bollinger, Ty. The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqJAzQe7_0g
- Karagiannis, George S., et all. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism. Science Translational Medicine 05 Jul 2017. Vol. 9, Issue 397, http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/397/eaan0026
- Chemo causes long-term immune system damage in breast cancer patients. Chris Beats Cancer. https://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/chemo-causes-long-term-immune-system-damage-in-breast-cancer-patients/