Conventional medicine uses chemo, surgery and radiation to treat cancer.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t try to understand the underlying cause of the disease. Healthy people have cancerous cells in their bodies too, but their immune system fights them off before it becomes a problem.
So why is it that some people end up overrun with cancer? According to Dr. Mark Hyman, a lot of it has to do with the lifestyle you lead. That’s why he’s in favor of functional medicine.
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine addresses the root causes of disease. It is a personalized way to diagnose and treat patients in order to prevent further health complications.
By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Rather than only treat your symptoms, functional medicine also treats your lifestyle. Cancer results because of an imbalance in the system.
Unhealthy habits like a nutrient-poor diet full of sugar, lack of exercise, chronic stress, persistent pollutants, and heavy metals can all cause cancer. via FunctionalMedecine
5 Strategies To Do If You Have Cancer
Since your body is unbalanced, here are 5 strategies that Dr. Hyman recommends doing to help you regain your health and better fight the disease.
1. Ditch Sugar
“Americans eat, on average, about 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour a year (almost a pound of sugar and flour per person per day!)” writes Dr. Hyman (1).
The large dose of blood sugar that accompanies a meal or snack of highly refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, French fries, sugar-laden soda, etc.) increases levels of inflammatory messengers called cytokines (2).
The best way to cut out refined sugars is to ease cravings with fresh fruits and replace processed sweeteners with natural alternatives.
2. Eliminate Food Sensitivities
Certain foods can lead to an inflammatory response in your digestive system. In the average population, dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies and subsequent inflammation and disease.
A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer (3). Overall risk of death compared to the control group was increased by 35-75%.
3. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the common thread leading to most most chronic disease including cancer. Chronic inflammation hinders the body’s ability to fight off cancerous cells before they spread to other parts of the body (4). Cancer also causes inflammation, making the body a more friendly environment for it to spread and take over.
The best way to reduce inflammation in your gut and in the rest of your body is to cut out processed foods and add natural anti-inflammatory compounds to your daily diet.
4. Improve Gut Health
The gut microbiome affects a lot more than just your digestive tract. In fact, it’s a big part of your immune system. The bacteria in your microbiome can be severely affected by your dietary choices.
A recent study found that “the capacity of gut microbes to influence systemic inflammation and other downstream pathways suggests that the gut microbial community may also affect risk of cancer in tissues outside of the gastrointestinal tract.” (5).
This means that switching to a whole-foods diet rich in phytonutrients is a big part of preventing not only gastrointestinal cancers, but cancers anywhere in your body.
5. Reduce Toxic Exposure
In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.
The best way to avoid toxic exposure is to eat organic foods, clean your home with natural products and live in an environment with clean air. If you are stuck in a high-toxin environment, you can detox your liver to rid your body of all these pollutants.
Bonus Strategy: Positive Mindset
Change your thoughts to change your immune system. It’s often overlooked, but science is now proving that how you think can affect your health.
There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including getting sufficient sleep, controlling stress levels, and exercising regularly.
The important thing is to figure out what works for you and develop a plan to stick with it. That might involve working with a Functional Medicine doctor or a chronic disease specialist.