Health Columnist Gabriel McSharry
examines the causes rather than the treatments for cancer,
gives some simple guidelines on how to help prevent the disease.
The world war on cancer has been fought for almost four decades now, since it was officially launched in 1971. It may be time to admit that the effort has often targeted the wrong enemies and used the wrong weapons. Throughout the industrial world, the war on cancer remains focused on commercially fuelled efforts to develop drugs and technologies that can find and treat the disease. But this struggle essentially ignores most of the things known to cause cancer, such as tobacco, radiation, benzene, asbestos, solvents, and some drugs and hormones. Many modern cancer-causing agents, such as vehicle exhaust, pesticides and other air pollutants are simply deemed the inevitable price of progress. Most cancer is not born, but made. Both public health and social justice, demand a greater focus on the causes of cancer, rather than treatment. Unfortunately the regulatory bodies often lack the authority and resources to monitor and control tobacco smoke, asbestos, and the cancer causing agents in food, water and everyday products. Under antiquated laws, chemical and radiation hazards are examined one at a time, if at all. Of the nearly 80,000 chemicals regularly bought and sold today, fewer than 10 per cent have been tested for their capacity to cause cancer or do other damage.
The following are some simple guidelines (other than the obvious, give up smoking)
that can help in the prevention of cancer, if followed.
- Reduce or eliminate your processed food, sugar, and refined carbohydrate intake. Yes, this is even true for whole processed organic grains, as they tend to rapidly break down and drive your insulin and leptin levels up, which is the last thing you need to have happening if you are seeking to resolve or prevent cancer.
- Control your fasting insulin and leptin levels. This is the end result, and can be easily monitored with the use of simple and relatively inexpensive blood tests, ask your GP.
- Normalise your ratio of omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality fish oil and reducing your intake of most heated and processed vegetable oils.
- Get regular exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.
- Normalise your vitamin D levels by getting plenty of sunlight exposure and consider careful supplementation when this is not possible. If you take oral vitamin D and have a cancer, it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly.
- Get regular, good sleep. Getting a regular good night’s sleep helps in the body’s fight against cancer.
- Eat according to your metabolic type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. Eating foods that you digest and metabolise and utilise easily are the best foods for your body.
- Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.
- Limit your exposure, and provide protection for yourself, from radiation produced by mobile phones, towers, base stations, and WiFi stations. Turn your broadband and mobile off at night while you sleep.
- Avoid frying or barbequing your food where possible. Boil, poach or steam your foods instead.
- Have a tool to balance any emotional unrest within the body. Respected authorities now state that 85 per cent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. Examples are, meditation, relaxing breathing techniques, counselling etc.
- Utilise special foods and herbal medicines. There are some functional foods, mainly certain fruits and vegetables and also herbal medicines that have a confirmed and direct anti cancer action when consumed on a regular basis. These are a powerful and safe way to reduce your risk of getting cancer in a world where cancer incidence seems to out of control.
Gabriel McSharry is a qualified medical herbalist and nutritionist
and is based in Strandhill.
His website is