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The Anti-Cancer Food and Supplement GuideHow to Protect Yourself and Enhance Your Health
By Deborah Yost
St. Martin's PaperbacksCopyright © 2010 Deborah Yost
All right reserved.
Preventing Cancer Today
“Genes are absolutely not our fate.”
J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.
There is much we can do to prevent cancer.
If you find this hard to believe, consider this: Only 5 to 10 percent of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetics, says Craig Venter, Ph.D., one of the world’s most prominent genetic scientists, and other leading cancer researchers from around the world. The other 90 to 95 percent have their roots in the environment and are largely under our control. In other words, we can radically lower our cancer risk by choosing to change the way we live our lives.
Nevertheless, cancer continues to be a worldwide killer. According to recent statistics, cancer accounts for approximately 23 percent of all deaths in the United States and is the second leading cause of death next to heart disease. And while death rates from cancer have been gradually declining during the last 30 years—thanks to prevention, early detection and better treatment—the worldwide incidence continues to grow. And the greatest increase is taking place in developing nations.
Ask scientists why this is happening and they will point West. As developing nations adopt a Western style of living, they are also adopting Western-style cancers, including lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers. Our chances of getting cancer are not determined by the country from which we come, but by the way in which we choose to live. “Most of the world’s cancer burden can be attributable to a few preventable risk factors,” reports the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in its book, World Cancer Report 2008. And a preponderance of them involves our diet, lifestyle and what’s happening in our environment.
Scientists maintain—and have plenty of evidence to prove it—that 90 percent of the world’s cancer is caused by three environmental factors:
• Use of tobacco
• Poor dietary choices
• Sedentary and other lifestyle habits
If the world stopped smoking, say scientists, 30 percent of the world’s cancer would go away. If we changed the way we eat—if we would eat more fruits and vegetables and less cured food and red meat—we could start to diminish another 30 percent of the world’s cancer problem. We could help fight another 30 percent by getting more exercise, losing weight, drinking less, reducing pollution, and avoiding the sun and other sources of radiation.
This book is your roadmap to help you cancer-proof your life.
The main goal of a cancer prevention program is to avoid the harmful elements in your environment that could eventually lead to cancer 20 or so years down the road. We know a great deal about risk factors for various kinds of cancer, based on research studies conducted over the last few decades, and chapter 2 presents the highlights, so that you will be able to identify your own risk factors.
Cancer is not one but a group of diseases in which mutant cells get damaged, grow out of control, and clump together as tumors. Normal, healthy cells don’t do this. When they get damaged, they self-destruct and replicate into new, healthy cells. Carcinogens are continually challenging our healthy cells. Most of the time our immune system can fight them off. In some cases, carcinogens defeat immune-protecting resistance and cause cells to act abnormally. It takes years and often decades, however, for these cells to show themselves as cancer. This is why early detection programs are so important.
In the last decade or so, medical science has made remarkable strides in cancer screening techniques. Screening programs exist for many types of cancer, including three of the four major threats—breast, colorectal and prostate cancers. Chapter 3 introduces these programs and gives you the vital information you need to get your screenings on time.
Food is one of the most powerful weapons we have to fortify our immune systems against carcinogens. Scientists have identified 25,000 different phytochemicals in natural plant foods, mostly fruits and vegetables, with the potential to fight certain types of cancers. These phytochemicals are important to a cancer prevention program because they have the ability to track and help kill cancer cells. Studies show some of these nutrients are so powerful that they can help diminish the progression of advanced tumors and may even prevent them from migrating to other organs. Chapter 4 profiles nutrientrich foods that have been scientifically shown to be cancer-fighting superstars.
Scientific studies have also found that some of the nutrients in these foods work just as well or even better when taken as supplements. Chapter 5 is your guide to the cancer-fighting supplements that are at the forefront of research.
Cancer prevention is not just about eating better, or taking a supplement, or making one or two little changes in your life. Preventing cancer is a lifestyle. This is what Chapter 6 is all about. It offers advice on how to change your life for the better, from getting more physically active to getting more environmentally active, including stomping out the biggest threat of all—tobacco.
What we eat, how we fortify our immune systems, and the lifestyles we choose form the strongest defensive system that any one person can undertake. If we all get in it together, we could prove the scientists are right and agree: Cancer is 90 percent preventable.
Excerpted from The Anti-Cancer Food and Supplement Guide by Deborah Yost Copyright © 2010 by Deborah Yost. Excerpted by permission.
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