Having lost four celebrities to cancer last month, I was motivated to write this. We are all to some degree, sad at the loss of these influential people because they touched our lives. But their deaths are just a drop in the ocean. These statistics are from the Macmillan website:
- There are now an estimated 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, rising to 4 million by 2030
- By 2020 almost one in two people (47%) will get cancer at some point in their lives
- More than a thousand people will be diagnosed with cancer everyday in the UK by the end of 2016
Around 160,000 people in the UK die from cancer every year
I couldn’t find any statistics regarding the ages of sufferers, other than for specific cancers. However, it’s apparent that cancer diagnoses are increasing in young people. On my first ward as a student nurse in the 1970s, I remember a man who had the terminal stages of lung cancer. He was in his early 50s. I was chosen to accompany the ward sister on the consultant’s ward round whilst this gentleman was a patient and was witness to the discussion following the round. Even though they had seen cancers in people this young before, it was still uncommon to see terminal illness through cancer in someone so young. As was said at the time – “cancer is a disease of the elderly” – when the body’s usual repair functions, start to slow down and don’t work correctly. People as young as 30 are being diagnosed – and younger. What is happening?
My view is that it’s never just one thing – it’s usually several. Yes this man smoked, but so did my grandmother (like a trooper!) and she died at 83 – not surprisingly, from lung cancer. My grandmother out-lived this man by 30 years! The difference, I believe, was that my grandmother had a wonderful diet – rich in good fats and free from toxins. The 70s saw the uprising of toxic vegetable oils in preference to butter, lard and dripping. I could relate many more anecdotes, but suffice to say, that there are more anecdotes.
Can we protect ourselves? I don’t have the definitive guide to preventing cancer, but I can cut your chances:
- Reduce your use of toxic household and personal products. Get rid of the products under your sink that have hazard warnings and try these instead.
Use just water for showering or find some very pure organic toiletries.
- Eat organic food – especially the things you eat daily.
- Get some sunshine for the vitamin D3 it gives us. Read the sunshine blog.
- Stop eating foods that cause inflammation – especially seed oils, margarine and anything loosely called “vegetable oil.” Sugar – need I say more? Remember that all carbohydrate foods provide sugar to the body (limit grains), so don’t base your diet on these. Stop smoking.
- Some medications are vital, but in general, try to find other ways to deal with illness and discomfort. Our main source of defence against illness, our microbiome (the good bugs in our gut and on our skin) is so easily disrupted by medications. We all make rogue – or potentially cancerous – cells in our bodies every day, but a strong immune system will dismantle them. Nurture your immune system.
- Don’t overdo anything! If you drink – have days off. If you smoke (give it up!), cut them down. If you run, (this can cause inflammation in the body if overdone), relax or meditate as well. If you must have a Big Mac, please, make it a monthly occurrence! (I can’t bring myself to say treat!)
- Always take time for relaxation – read, meditate, take a long bath and so on. These are anti-inflammatory practices.
- Read my guidelines for health.
These measures will take you a long way towards protecting against cancer, but there may be others. I’ll keep you informed!