Human cells are produced, mature, and then die. Under normal circumstances, this process repeats itself every second of your lifetime. If the body’s cells do not die naturally when they are damaged or mutated, unnecessary clusters of old and new cells build up and tumors develop.
Scientists continue to try to understand exactly what causes cancer but the truth is that there are so many variables that they primarily focus on “triggers” known to lead to cancer. Here are some critical areas that are proven to increase your cancer risk. Age, gender, and family history are impossible to control but lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and weight are controllable and reduce your overall lifetime risk.
Let me ask you this question: why don’t we have a forest fire each time that someone throws a burning cigarette out a car window? There are many reasons why a burning cigarette may not start a forest fire.
- Perhaps the cigarette falls on the pavement rather than the grass.
- Perhaps there was a recent rain and the grass is wet and won’t ignite.
- Perhaps the grass is dry, but the cigarette is snuffed before it can start a fire.
- Perhaps it starts a fire but the grass is surrounded by water and cannot spread into the forest.
- Or perhaps a fire begins, but then the wind blows so hard that it blows the fire out.
In the burning cigarette example above (used with permission from Tanya Harter Pierce in her book Outsmart Your Cancer), the cigarette represents one of the many potential causes of cancer, like toxins, while the forest fire represents cancer. The pavement and the wet grass and the wind all represent the internal control mechanisms that prevent cancer, such as a healthy immune system, a balanced pH, and oxygenated cells.
Given the same exposure to the same toxins over the same period of time, someone with a healthy immune system may have no adverse effects while someone with a compromised immune system may develop hypoxia (lack of oxygen at the cellular level) and eventually cancer.
Do you follow my drift? We see the evidence of this truth constantly around us. One person in an office gets a very bad cold. The one sitting next to him doesn’t get a sniffle. Certainly both were exposed to the same microorganisms. But what is the difference? One of them has a healthy immune system while the other does not.
The Immune System
Your immune system is your first line of defense against everything that could harm your body. When it is compromised due to illness, lifestyle choices, or medications, it cannot protect you from the initial stages of cancer development.
You are effectively left defenseless. Transplanted organs (and the immune suppressant drugs prescribed) and chronic infections can also damage the immune system and lead to damaged cells, uncontrolled cell production, and cancer masses.
Keeping your immune system in fighting condition is critical to prevention of diseases such as cancer, slowing down the effects of aging, and keeping you strong and healthy every day of your life.
Cancer can happen to any person, of any age, both genders, and every race. Some cancers strike specific demographics but more than 75% of cancer diagnosis occurs in persons over the age of 55. That means that your risk increases as you get older.
Lifetime risk (the chance that you will get cancer in your life) of cancer for men is almost 50% and for women is more than 35%. It is crucial to strengthen your body and acquire good lifestyle habits as early as possible to minimize your individual risk.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not easy for many. Cutting out tobacco use (due to the carcinogenic chemicals), limiting alcohol, controlling body weight, and altering eating habits to remove over-processed, GMO, and chemical-laden foods are essential steps to prevent and even treat cancer.
No matter how much smoking, drinking, and junk food may seem “enjoyable” – they will shorten your lifespan over time. They weaken your immune system, cause body-wide inflammation, and leave you susceptible to disease.
Genetics and Family History
If one of your family members has been diagnosed with cancer, there is a risk that you may also develop cancer. Know your family medical history and avoid behaviors that lead to illness and disease.
However, genetics is not the cause for the majority of cancer cases. Experts estimate that it represents only about 5% of annual cancer diagnoses.
The Bottom Line…
Cancer is most commonly diagnosed in people who do not take care of their body. Scientists and experts around the world agree that more than half of all cancers are preventable.
So, no matter what your genetic predisposition, there are a multitude of steps you can take to minimize your cancer risk if you don’t have cancer, and there are scores of successful treatment protocols you can use if you do have cancer.
As with every disease that is considered a worldwide epidemic, prevention is possible and the most consistent method of saving lives. By taking control of your diet and lifestyle, you can improve your chances of being a person who never gets cancer.