While many people that get cancer are seniors, it is not a disease caused by age. It is believed, in fact, that it is actually a lifetime's exposure to negative environmental influences and a poor diet which leads to the development of cancer when we are older. Specifically, cancer is an abnormal growth of our cells which forms lumps or tumors. If these abnormally growing cells spread to nearby tissues (metastasis), they are considered malignant and may be life-threatening. Benign cancer cells are those that do not spread to your surrounding tissues, and are not considered life-threatening.
Most cancers are named for the organ from which they develop. The four most common types of cancer are prostate, breast, lung and colon. Factors that put you at risk for certain types of cancers include:
- Cervical cancer: having unprotected sex at a young age or having multiple sexual partners.
- Skin cancer: excessive exposure to the sun or sunburns during childhood.
- Breast cancer: hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at high doses for long periods of time.
Factors that may predispose you to any of a wide variety of several cancers include:
- environmental toxins such as tobacco smoke, pollution, heavy metals, chlorinated drinking water, pesticides and radiation
- heavy alcohol consumption
- high insulin levels and insulin resistance (see diabetes)
- poor diet, including high caloric intake, trans fats, lack of sufficient fiber, and consumption of pesticides and food additives
- lack of exercise
- poor liver function
- a weakened immune system, e.g. with hepatitis or HIV/AIDS
Catching cancer in its early stages is often the key to surviving it and (hopefully) returning to your regular life again. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is vitally important and recommended that you follow your doctor's advice and treatment plan, and be sure to be aware of any interactions between your plan and any herbs or supplements you might also be taking. If you have not been diagnosed with cancer or are a survivor, your main focus should be on prevention. Contact us for more information on cancer prevention and managing the side effects of any treatment you may already be receiving.
Although many cancers form without any indication, there are certain signs you should watch out for:
- a lump or area of swelling
- a mole that is asymmetrical, dark in color, has an irregular border, or grows in size or thickness
- a significant change in your bowel or bladder functions
- persistent nausea, upset stomach, or difficulty swallowing
- persistent cough or a cough with blood
- rectal bleeding or blood in your urine or stool
- wounds that do not heal
- sudden and dramatic weight loss
- unexplained pain
- excessive fatigue
- persistent headache
- excessive vaginal discharge or unexplained bleeding
Once diagnosed, your doctor's recommended treatment will largely depend on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and your present health condition. Medical treatment options usually include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and hormone therapy. Your doctor may also request a biopsy, and any of a variety of other tests as well.
Natural therapy should be used alongside the conventional methods listed above, as a means of preventing cancer or managing the side effects of your cancer treatment. For example, diet modification can help lower your risk of cancers, and can help with nausea, a common side effect of chemotherapy. Acupuncture and TCM can help prevent cancer, reduce any nausea or pain you may feel, and can also help boost the energy that you may feel lacking while you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Yoga as well as massage therapy can help reduce your stress, thereby lowering your risk of cancer a great deal.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent cancer and/or manage your treatment side effects.
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