It is safe to assume that every adult in this country has known someone personally who has had or has cancer. This is a frightening and depressive diagnosis because the word is out—there are few cures and sometimes the treatments are as bad as the disease.
Cancer has been plaguing mankind since antiquity. The deadly mystery disease. In the 1960s cancer was the #2 cause of death of older Americans, just behind heart disease.
Today, cancer is still the #2 killer of older Americans. One could conclude that not much has changed in this regard over the years.
Flashback to the 1970s where I found myself working at the University of Colorado doing a Surgical Oncology Fellowship. We would run a Tumor Board where cancer patients would be presented, their cases discussed in front of a multi-specialty Board of experts who would pool their intellectual resources and come out with a plan for each individual case.
The basic structure of all these plans was the same. If the tumor could be surgically excised and the patient could tolerate the surgery, then surgery was recommended. Post-surgical treatment could include chemotherapy or radiation therapy or both, depending on the circumstances.
Surgical excision offered the best chance for long term survival.
If surgical removal was not an option, then chemotherapy and radiation therapy or both were recommended in the hopes that we could prolong the quality and quantity of life. As we all know, the results from these therapies are variable and often result in poor quality of life and prolongation of life is often questionable.
We now have better radiation techniques and stronger chemotherapeutic agents. However, the basic treatment structure is the same as it was in the 1970s when I was doing my Fellowship.
Maybe this is why cancer is still the #2 killer?
I, like many, many physicians, was taught that cancer was basically a genetic disease. If a human had the appropriate “bad” genes, then cancer was sure to come if the patient lived long enough.
However, recent and ongoing scientific evidence is turning that theory upside down.
We now feel, for a variety of reasons, that the environment is the key and not the genes. Genetic factors do exert an influence, but the environment is critical.
And the factors in the environment that are critical for cancer development: inflammation and toxins.
The causative agents have been hiding in plain sight. I always knew [again back in the 1970s] that chronic inflammation and/or chronic toxin exposure could cause cancer.
In fact, that was the answer on the tests. We didn’t put it together and dive deeper to find out how to eliminate the sources of inflammation and toxins. We can do that now.
In recent years we have learned and re-learned some very important things about cancer. We know about its metabolism and how it gets its energy. We know why it is always in a growth phase.
We know it hates oxygen. We know it has to burn carbohydrates inefficiently, without the use of oxygen.
We now feel that the key to cancer growth lies in the cancer “stem cells.” We know that radiation and chemotherapy usually kill the bulk of the cancer, but can leave the cancer stem cells tougher, which leads to cancer recurrence.
Using this knowledge as well as other breakthroughs, functional medicine can change the patient’s diet and prescribe treatments to minimize inflammation, rid the body of toxins, and prevent cancer cells from creating the energy they need to grow. The stage is then set for the body’s own defense mechanisms to step in and kill the cancer.
Using this same knowledge, cancer survivors can embrace a plan that makes it very difficult for a cancer recurrence to occur.
Changes in your body’s environment brought about by proper diet, balancing of hormones, and ensuring proper minerals can optimize the body’s defenses and minimize the risk of cancer recurrence.
Functional medicine, sometimes referred to as Wellness medicine, concentrates on methods that are designed to keep you healthy so you can avoid getting cancer in the first place.
At Five Star Vein and Wellness, we specialize in providing you with holistic treatment options that enhance your health in the most effective ways possible. Call us today to schedule a free appointment, learn more about our program, ask questions regarding how functional medicine can apply to you.
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