Prevent Cancer Naturally


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Prevent Cancer Naturally


Cancer continues to grab headlines as one of the world’s leading causes of death. And it’s more than an abstract topic. Most of us have been personally touched by this potentially deadly disorder. If you yourself are not a cancer survivor, odds are you know an acquaintance, friend or family member who has been visited by this frightening disease.

Although cancer sometimes seems like a ravaging epidemic that strikes indiscriminately, medical researchers have compiled compelling data that indicate most cancer could be avoided by attention to lifestyle factors.

In 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) published what was billed as “the most comprehensive report on diet and cancer ever completed.” The six-year effort driven by 21 world-renowned scientists yielded nearly a dozen take-home points. The lessons from this project and others are summarized below, using AICR’s own language:

  1. Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
  2. Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.
  3. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Limit sedentary habits.
  4. Avoid sugary drinks. Limit consumption of high-calorie foods.
  5. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes such as beans.
  6. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork, and lamb) and avoid processed meats.
  7. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women per day.
  8. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
  9. Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.
  10. It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and then add other liquids and foods.
  11. After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

More Insights into Four Big Issues

Although the points above are concise and carefully worded, let’s look at several of them in more detail: avoiding tobacco, proper diet, physical activity, and weight management. Perhaps this closer focus will increase your resolve to personally commit to a cancer-preventive lifestyle—and share it with others.

Tobacco Avoidance

More than 7,000 chemicals have been identified in tobacco smoke. These chemicals constitute a veritable witch’s brew when it comes to setting you up for cancer. Consider this: at least four different types of substances in tobacco smoke increase your likelihood of developing a malignancy. These include 1) carcinogens (compounds capable of causing cancer all by themselves), 2) co-carcinogens (substances that work with carcinogens to cause cancer), 3) tumor promoters (chemicals that promote cancer growth), and 4) tumor accelerators (compounds that speed up the growth of cancer). So powerful is this quartet of cancer agents that tobacco smoke causes cancer not only in organs with direct contact (e.g., your mouth and lungs), but it also increases the risk of malignancy in far distant organs (e.g., your urinary bladder, kidneys, or the female cervix).

Think about it this way: if you smoke and develop lung cancer, perhaps you’ll be one of the rare lucky ones whose cancer is caught early enough so that timely surgery can be lifesaving. (Don’t bet on this scenario: many lung cancers are not surgically treatable; lung cancer survival is typically measured in months not years.) However, if such a scenario played out, it is likely you would have an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward your surgeons and other members of the healthcare team.

If you have yet to be diagnosed, why not make yourself the hero in the story? That’s right, rather than giving accolades to a medical professional, why don’t you step into the driver’s seat and make a clean break with tobacco? If you have been smoking for many years, do you realize there is a significant chance you are already harboring a very early, microscopic lung cancer that is at present undetectable by all conventional means? When you stop smoking, you remove things like tumor accelerators that have been feeding cancer growth. With those chemicals out of the way, your immune system may be sufficient to rid you of that very early malignancy, rather than waiting for a spot to show up on your X-Ray, and only then undergoing heroic treatments to try to eliminate the cancer.

Before stepping away from the tobacco dialogue, remember this: no form of tobacco is safe when it

comes to cancer. Break free of snuff and chewing tobacco as well as cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.

Proper Diet

The AICR/WCRF guidelines especially focused on dietary practices. Indeed, what we eat and drink has a huge bearing on our cancer risk.

Although commercial interests have tried to pass off alcoholic beverages as health foods, the science indicates otherwise. Multiple studies, including the impressive European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), have convincingly linked even small amounts of alcohol to increases in cancer risk. That’s right. No amount of alcohol is safe when it comes to cancer risk. Therefore, if you are serious about decreasing your risk of cancer as much as possible, you will make a clean break with alcoholic beverages.

On the other hand, unfermented plant foods are loaded with high-quality antioxidants and other cancer preventive phytochemicals. Some of these plant constituents have the ability to detoxify carcinogens, others directly boost the health of your immune system. Consequently, the more you eat from the vegetable kingdom, the lower your risk of cancer.

In practical terms this means eating more beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. When it comes to the latter two categories, five daily servings of fruits and vegetables is the bare minimum—if you’re really serious about decreasing your cancer risk. By “whole grains” we’re referring to corn, rice, wheat, and other grains in their unrefined state. For example, this means choosing items that say “100 percent whole wheat” as opposed “enriched white flour.” Similarly you’ll opt for brown rice over white and whole grain pasta as opposed to the white variety.

We realize to many this may sound like a path to misery as well as to a cancer-free future. However, remember as I point out in my popular, Changing Bad Habits for Good DVD, you and your taste buds are able to develop new enjoyments. Don’t shy away from the optimal cancer prevention program because you don’t like the menu. Simply start a new way of eating. Stick with it, and before long, it’s likely your tastes will change.

When you eat those whole plant foods, you’ll find another benefit. You’ll be largely walking away from high-calorie foods such as desserts, soft drinks, pastries, and fast foods. With many of these items out of the way, you’ll find it easier to shed unwanted pounds.

For those of you who are leaner, we’re not prescribing a starvation diet. Good fats like those in the omega-3 family have cancer preventive properties. For example, men can decrease their risk of aggressive prostate cancer by increasing their omega-3 fat intake. (If you’ve been perplexed by the name, “omega-3,” it is a technical chemical designation for a family of typically polyunstaturated fats and oils.)

Although most lay people think of these fats as “fish fats,” no fish actually makes omega-3 fat. In nature, this family of fats is made only by plants. However, some fish, by eating large amounts of omega-3 rich plants, do have large amounts of these compounds in their tissue. Nonetheless, we recommend you get your omega-3 from plant sources (e.g. flax seeds, walnuts, and soybeans) rather than fish. You see, fish are some of the most toxin-laden foods in the human diet. And some of those toxins are carcinogens.

In general vitamin supplements are not recommended, however, there are two exceptions. If your blood level of vitamin D is low, supplementation is probably warranted. Research indicates vitamin D decreases your risk of prostate, colon, breast, and lung cancers. Vitamin B12 may also possess cancer-preventive properties. We recommend B12 supplementation for all vegetarians and any member of a Western population who is over 60 years old.

Physical Activity

All of us should shoot for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. However, if you are overweight, your ultimate goal should probably be closer to one hour daily. All forms of physical activity count. The benefits of exercise are cumulative so you can spread out your exercise in multiple sessions throughout the day.

Colon cancer, the leading cancer killer for lifelong non-smokers, is among the cancers whose risk is decreased by exercise. Exercise wards off colon cancer by suppressing levels of cancer-feeding hormones like estrogen and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Furthermore, exercise speeds up transit time through the digestive system. When the bowels work better, carcinogens in our diet are eliminated more quickly and the bowel lining receives less exposure.

Weight Management

Try to be as lean as possible within your normal weight range. If you exercise regularly and make healthy dietary choices you are likely to avoid the worst extremes of under- and overweight. No, such health-giving practices are not a guarantee you will weigh that elusive “perfect weight.” However, a healthy lifestyle is really the key to weighing a healthy weight. And keeping extra pounds off is really important when it comes to decreasing cancer risk. A number of leading cancers such as breast, colon, and prostate, have all been linked to carrying extra weight.


Natural, lifestyle-based strategies found in the LifeStart acronym are in harmony with expert recommendations designed to reduce your risk of cancer. To learn more about the nine strategies behind the LifeStart program, download the FREE LifeStart eBook. For best results, consult with your healthcare providers and find a local support center where you can surround yourself with a community of supportive peers. Our online directory can help you locate such individuals in your community. Furthermore, our website also provides a variety of ancillary resources to help you in your pursuit of a cancer-free future. These resources include books, DVDs, and other health services that I and other medical professionals have endorsed.

Take the Next Step...

Join the LifeStart Clinics 30-day Program and get daily motivation plus personalized support to help you live sharper, leaner, longer, and better—in 30 days or less!

About the Presenter

David DeRose, MD, MPH
Host, LifeStart Seminars

For over 25 years Dr. David DeRose has been helping people improve their health through motivational presentations and natural therapies. He brings solid credentials as a board-certified specialist in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine in addition to holding a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Health Promotion and Health Education. Known for his engaging presentations, Dr. DeRose is an award-winning public speaker, published medical researcher, syndicated talk radio host, and experienced college teacher.

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