A few years ago, my uncle passed away from cancer and a friend gave me a Livestrong bracelet, which I wore as a tribute to all those in my family who had battled cancer and not won the ordeal. The bracelet reminded me daily of the horrors of the disease and the need to continually push forward for awareness, education, support and a cure.
Due to the amount of cancer in our family tree, most of us felt we were destined to have some form of the disease. It wasn’t until I started working with Natural Awakenings magazine that I realized that it didn’t have to be that way.
Research shows that only 5 to 10 percent of all cancer is due to hereditary predisposition. That means all the other of cancer-related deaths can be traced to lifestyle factors that include fried foods, red meat, cigarette smoking, sun exposure, alcohol, stress, obesity and environmental pollutants, among others.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, there are 12 million new cases per year of a disease that is preventable. Medical pioneer Stephen Paget’s “seed and soil” theory (c. 1889) posits that the spread of cancer is dependent on the cancer cells (the seeds) and the environment of the body (the soil). It can take the body years to produce the environment that allows the cancer to flourish. More than 100 years later, the concept is looking pretty valid; it is both the health of individual cells and the environment in the body that determine whether a cancer may develop or not.
The good news is we can fight back by making better choices about what we put in our mouth and how we live our lives. By taking proactive steps to improve our health, we have the potential to alter the environment in our bodies, reducing the risk of chronic disease and maintaining long-term health. Sustaining a healthy lifestyle and state of well-being is not only important to our own health, but to our loved ones, as well. As parents, we also take the responsibility of setting an example for our children; and eventually, their children.
As you read our articles this month about natural foods, integrative approaches to cancer for family and pets, self-love in influencing children’s selfesteem, nature’s antibiotics and kid-smart supplements; think through how you can adjust the path to reach balance and harmony for your family’s health and wellness. We only have one life; live it well, savor it and think about the future.
Stay happy, healthy and young at heart. Not only is it more fun that way, but it can be contagious!