We are making ourselves sick. The science of epigenetics is showing us beyond the shadow of a doubt what we’ve always intuitively known – the air we breathe, the foods we eat, the water we drink (or don’t drink), how much we sleep, how we handle stress, whether we exercise, and the other lifestyle choices we make – all dictate whether we are healthy or develop serious diseases like cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, only 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are caused by genetic mutations, yet they receive a lot of attention. As soon as people get the dreaded diagnosis, they start examining the health histories of their relatives to find the genetic connection and explain why they are sick. And while we see cancers that run in families and assume they are genetic, the truth is, we’ve either shared the same toxic environment or inherited our parents’ bad habits.
Do Your Detective Work
Sharon’s* mom and sister were both diagnosed with breast cancer by age 30 and unfortunately neither survived it. So when Sharon was diagnosed with the same cancer, she treated it with all medicine had to offer and felt fortunate to survive. As a nurse, she was shocked when her doctor did the genetic testing for breast cancer and it was negative. How could all 3 of them have the same cancer?
After chemotherapy, she sought out functional medicine doctors to help her heal. She tried EDTA chelation therapy, but she blew up like a balloon, her eyes became puffy, her head pounded, and her kidneys were shutting down. She started looking for new answers.
She came across the healing journey of a woman who had toxic levels of plutonium. She researched and found out this woman lived near where she grew up. It was then she discovered their family home of many years was 2 miles from a chemical factory where the nuclear weapon ignition component was made.
She started seeing a new functional medicine doctor and asked to have her plutonium levels checked. Just as she suspected, plutonium was found in her blood test. She went on an herbal detox program plus minerals for about 6 months, then was excited to report she no longer tested positive for plutonium. Sharon has been cancer-free and thriving ever since.
Your Environment Trumps Your Genes
Not everyone with the genetic mutations that are known to cause cancer actually gets the cancer. Genes – good or bad – don’t switch on and express themselves unless the environment they’re in is right for this to happen. Put simply, genes may load the gun, but their environment pulls the trigger.
As statistics show, with only 10 percent of cancers caused by genetic mutations, something much bigger is going on. And that elephant in the room is your environment. Your environment has over 80,000 chemicals in it, and only about 200 have been studied according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards.
These chemicals are found in everything from cigarette smoke to car exhaust, baby shampoo, feminine hygiene products, air fresheners, furniture, bedding, and so much more. And while we can’t completely avoid exposure, we can minimize it by making informed choices to use non-toxic products whenever possible. We can filter the water we drink and bathe in, we can filter the air in our home, and we can choose foods that are organic and minimally processed.
Lifestyle Choices Also Determine Cancer Risk
Some cancer risks are out of our control, but many are one lifestyle choice away. Many of these lifestyle choices have been taught to us by our parents and our communities, and we may not even realize we are putting ourselves at risk. Lack of sleep, high stress level, too much sugar in your diet, sitting too much, not exercising, being overweight or obese, and drinking alcohol are all risk factors for cancer that we can make the choice to change.
Several studies have told the same story – people come to the US from other countries and are so healthy – then they adopt our Standard American Diet (SAD) and other unhealthy lifestyle choices, and it isn’t long before they develop one of the “Big 3:” cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. And obesity usually plays a part. As weight increases, inflammation increases, and it creates the perfect cellular environment to pull the trigger on cancer growth.
Be Your Own Success Story
Don’t be a doctor’s Christmas present. When it comes to your health, what you aren’t actively fighting or preventing, you are allowing. Don’t wait until disease is on your doorstep, make the healthy lifestyle choices now.
If you think it can’t happen to you, think again. We are exposed to enough cancer-causing chemicals that we make one million new cancer cells daily. As long as your immune system is strong, those cells are discovered and destroyed. But an immune system that is suppressed, damaged, or overloaded, either won’t recognize those cells as cancerous. Sometimes, your body doesn’t have the strength to destroy them, and this is when tumors start to grow.
5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk
If reducing your cancer risk sounds like a daunting task, start with these simple steps to get on the path to health:
- Sleep. What starts as unwinding in front of the TV after a long day can quickly turn into late night binge-watching and start you on a sleep deficit. Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and stop your screen time at least 2 hours before bedtime. If insomnia is your issue, then try melatonin, at least 3 to 6 milligrams 30 minutes before you want to sleep to help restore your body’s circadian rhythms.
- Breathe. Deep breathing is one of the most simple ways to reduce your stress level. Focusing on your breathing, breathing deep into your belly, and breathing out twice as long as you breathe in are all ways breathwork is used to help relieve stress and anxiety while increasing oxygen levels. It can be done anywhere, anytime, and doesn’t even require special training or equipment to do.
- Walk. Daily exercise is essential for health, strength, and longevity. It’s as simple as a 20-minute brisk walk daily around the neighborhood or on a treadmill. Walking meditation can also be done to help with stress and insomnia.
- Eat Your Vegetables. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber found in vegetables are essential for digestive health and have been proven to reduce your cancer risk. Start by adding a serving of vegetables to your day or trying out a new one. Increase until you are eating at least 5 servings of non-fried vegetables daily.
- Boost Your Immune Power with Vitamin C. It’s been almost 100 years since vitamin C was discovered, and Linus Pauling made it famous with his studies on its role in cancer prevention and therapy. Vitamin C’s role in boosting the immune system and strengthening the collagen matrix that keeps cancer from spreading has been extensively studied by Dr. Matthias Rath at the Pauling Institute. At least 2000 to 5000 milligrams should be taken daily in a time-release formula to boost your immunity and keep your levels up.
* Name changed for privacy