Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How Does Cancer Begin?

Before we can prevent cancer, we must understand how it starts in the body.  This is a very simplified explanation, as there are many, many processes that happen within the body. But this description is based on my own research and understanding of how cancer begins.    

Cancer begins with altered DNA in our cells.  Sometimes our genetics determine the DNA of our cells and can mutate a normal cell into cancer.  For many of us though, our cells' DNA can be changed by damage to normal cells.  

Oxidative Stress

There are a number of ways our cells can be damaged, but one of the main ways is with oxidative stress.  It can happen to anyone, especially as we age. Oxidative stress is caused by high concentrations of free radicals in the body.  Poor diet, processed or pesticide laden foods, old dental work, chemicals in cosmetics and exposure to environmental pollutants, like cigarette smoke or vehicle exhaust all cause free radicals. And our bodies are constantly bombarded with these compounds daily.

High concentrations of free radicals can cause damage to our normal cells.  Even things like surgery or injury can cause similar damage.  But when we have lots of free radicals roaming around our body at any given time, they have the potential to damage the DNA in our normal cells so that they longer function properly. Sometimes, as the genetic makeup of the cells is altered, they mutate and do not die normally, a process called apoptosis.  These mutant cells are now looking for new ways to stay alive in the body.  

If our bodies are working properly, our immune system sends out antioxidants to do some protective work.  Anti-oxidants bind to oxidated compounds and send them to the lymphatic system and liver to be flushed from the body.  But if our immune system is not working properly, or we don’t have enough antioxidants, the free radicals run wild leaving damaged cells in their wake.  More and more are added to your body each day. This overload causes inflammation.

At this point, the damaged cells have the potential to survive, mutate and become cancer cells.  The catalyst for this mutation can be any number of things.  Each person is different.  But if your body fails to destroy these damaged cells, you are at increased risk for developing cancer.  The more damaged cells, the greater the risk.  And once the cells mutate into cancer, they multiply to form tumors, invading normal cells and spreading throughout the body.


Have you ever heard someone say, “Sugar feeds cancer”?  Well, that’s true…..sort of.   Cancer cells live and grow on the same thing your normal cells use, glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar that your body produces after eating food.  It’s part of the chemical process of breaking down the food you eat and supplying your cells with the proper nutrients to function.  There are many, many cells in your body that need glucose for survival, such as your brain cells or red blood cells.  And there is no way to stop your body from producing glucose.  You need it for survival and for the functioning of normal cells.  

The normal cells in our bodies have a special way of knowing when they have gotten all the nutrients they need.  When they have enough, they turn off like a light switch.  The excess broken down product of all we have eaten, including glucose, takes a trip along the blood pathways and now looks for places it might be needed.  Some goes to the fat cells, some gets a ride with insulin to get flushed from the body, and some, unfortunately, gets called to be used by cancer cells.  

In a properly functioning body, we have plenty of insulin to take care of the excess glucose.  And ideally, we don’t take in excessive amounts of sugar or have any cancer cells to feed. But if we are not using all the food we take in, an excess intake of simple sugars, especially in those with insulin resistance or diabetes, will cause glucose to roam the body and cancer cells will be fed.  

Body PH

Cancer also needs an acidic environment to grow, so they excrete lactic acid when they are fed.  In a properly functioning body, we have a neutral pH that will balance out any extra acidity and will keep cancer at bay.  However, when we include an acidic diet, like coffee, sodas, artificial sweeteners, even tomatoes or citrus fruit, we add to the acidity of our body.  

Stress is one of the biggest offenders.  When we feel stress, our bodies produce lactic acid, just like cancer does.  And this lactic acid gets trapped in our muscles.  That’s why our muscles can feel so tight or lumpy. Too much lactic acid in your body can cause lactic acidosis, a condition where there is more acid in your bloodstream than your body can remove. Often, this condition can be seen in cancer patients.

What Happens Next?

Now we have all these free radicals running loose in our bodies, with more and more added each day.  And our bodies are desperately trying to keep up with removing them, but just can’t handle the amount.  The toxins keep building up and damage our normal cells.  On top of that, we are eating a diet filled with extra sugar and not exercising enough to use all of it.  The glucose is constantly being washed through our bloodstream feeding the damaged and mutated cells.  Then the acidic foods and stress we allow upon ourselves have made this acidic environment perfect for cancer growth.  

So how do we fix it? We start with the following steps:


1. Reduce your intake of pesticides, hormones, chemicals from processed foods, cosmetics and environmental pollutants…. eat organic foods and stop smoking!

2. Make sure you have enough antioxidants required to fight the inevitable free radicals that will be running wild through your body.

3. Detoxify your body- Increase lymphatic flow, take off that bra or restrictive clothing, do lymph massage, cleanse your liver

4.  Build your immune system through diet, exercise and immune boosting compounds

5. Manage your blood sugar.  Try not to take in more sugar than your body needs, but also make sure that you take the proper steps to keep your blood sugar low through exercise and glucose management

6. Balance your pH.  Reduce the acid in your diet and relieve stress, but also take pH boosting compounds such as sodium bicarbonate and drinking alkalized water

7. Get moving. Yoga. Walking. Massage.  Your blood needs to flow.  There has also been evidence to show that thinner blood makes it hard for cancer to grow.  There are even new studies in progress investigating the use of aspirin to treat cancer.   

We all have cancer cells in our body already.  The bottom line is, do what you can to prevent cancer from taking over. 
Create an environment stronger than cancer.

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