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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful and often serious condition that affects an estimated 1.5 million adults in the United States, according to 2007 statistics gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. What a lot of individuals may not know, however, is that RA is also considered an autoimmune disease. This is good news if you have the condition and are also concerned about cancer. Why? Because contrary to what conventional doctors may tell you, both Rheumatoid Arthritis and cancer are chronic conditions. As such they can respond extremely well to dietary changes, lifestyle tweaks, and natural healing modalities which work with the body’s natural repair and healing mechanisms.
Who Gets Rheumatoid Arthritis?
In recent years, RA has started to become one of the “big names” when it comes to debilitating diseases. It is now the third most common form of arthritis, shortly behind osteoarthritis and gout.
Women are more likely to be afflicted by Rheumatoid Arthritis than men and age does play a factor, at least according to statistics. Most women begin to feel the effects of RA at a median age of 45 while men tend to get it later in life.
The real cause, however, is not age, gender, nor genes. It’s epigenetic − meaning it is mostly caused by factors in a person’s environment − the same factors that can lead to any one of the hundreds of other known autoimmune conditions. Toxic exposure, bad dietary choices, emotional wounding, chronic stress, and poor intestinal health (especially the condition known as “leaky gut”) are all contributors to heightened inflammatory responses. They can be responsible for the skewed cellular messages that lead to autoimmune disease.
The Rheumatoid Arthritis-Cancer Connection
Scientific inquiry makes no mistake about the verified connection between a history of autoimmune disease and cancer in general. Further, a connection has been made between RA and cancer in particular as well. A joint Danish-American study found that there is a clear and consistent link between Rheumatoid Arthritis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and lung cancer. A Swedish study of over 76,000 RA patients found a 2 to 3 times higher risk of both non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s disease in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Studies have also found that people with RA may have a higher rate of myeloma (a rare form of cancer that affects the white blood cells).
Perhaps the biggest cancer risk for those with RA, however, are the medications that are typically prescribed to treat it. Some pharmaceuticals in question include: NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs), Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) meds, and corticosteroid injections. The more typical names for these drugs are Prednisone (Deltasone), Enbrel, Humira, and Methotrexate (Trexall and Rasuvo).
Here are just a few studies that have found a connection between RA medications and cancer:
- A 2013 study found that individuals with RA who take TNF inhibitors, which suppress the immune system, have double the risk of developing melanoma. Other studies have shown that RA sufferers who take TNF inhibitors may also be at greater risk for nonmelanoma skin cancer as well;
- TNF inhibitor use may also lead to lymphoma. In 2011, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration reported 40 cases of lymphoma in patients taking Humira (and other TNF inhibitors). Most of these patients were suffering from other autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. However, Humira is a common drug prescribed to RA sufferers as well.
- Some studies have begun to establish the possible link between leukemia and the immunosuppressive drugs Cytoxan and Azasan (azathioprine), as well as Methotrexate. A 2017 joint U.S. study published in the journal JAMA Oncology found that azathioprine exposure given to autoimmune condition sufferers in general led to a 7-fold increase in risk of myeloid neoplasm, a form of leukemia.
What You Can Do: 3 Easy-to-Do, Natural Protocols for RA
Remember that all autoimmune conditions are reversible by working WITH the body. Your immune system DOES have the ability to “right itself” and heal when given the right circumstances and environments to do so.
If you have RA and are also concerned about cancer prevention, then the best thing you can do is to work with your doctor to avoid conventional pharmaceuticals which may contribute to your risk of cancer. In addition to following an anti-inflammatory diet, equipped with lots of veggies which are naturally anti-inflammatory, here are three easy protocols to consider for reducing pain and even HEALING yourself of RA:
#1 – Strengthen Your Gut: There is increasing evidence that the underlying cause of many major disease conditions lies in the poor balance of good and bad gut flora within a person’s “intestinal microbiome.” A weak digestive system can significantly affect your immune responses. It can also lead to “leaky gut,” which many say is the very precursor to autoimmune conditions in general and may be a major contributor to cancer.
You can begin to boost your gut health by taking a quality probiotic every day, as well as making sure you feed your gut fermented foods like raw sauerkraut. Probiotics flood your system with “good” bacteria” while prebiotics feed those good bacteria so that they grow. In addition, other gut supplements such as Pancreatic Enzyme and Betaine HCL can help a sensitive stomach fully digest fats and protein. These supplements can also help with the healthy break down of food.
#2 – Gentle Mindfulness Movements: Mild forms of exercise such as light swimming, tai chi, qi gong, yin yoga, and light walking can get your circulation going and help you maintain or even lose weight. Studies have also proven that regular exercise will lower stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol while at the same time raising production of endorphins. Endorphins are considered to be the body’s “natural pain killer.”
#3 – Key Anti-Inflammatory Substances/Supplements: You can also feed your body other natural substances that will lower inflammation in the body overall. Some super inflammation reducers include curcumin (found in turmeric), ginger, and garlic. All three of these substances are not only anti-inflammatory, they are immune boosting and have been proven to have profound effects against cancer as well.
Some experts also recommend the substance low-dose Naltrexone (LDN) for RA pain. They report that patients have used it as a safe, non-toxic choice for weaning off of traditional RA medications. Studies are also beginning to show LDN as having some fairly profound healing effects against cancer as well.
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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful and often serious autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million adults in the U.S.
The good news is that both Rheumatoid Arthritis and cancer are chronic conditions that can respond extremely well to dietary changes, lifestyle tweaks, and natural healing modalities which work with the body’s natural repair and healing mechanisms.
Women are more likely to be afflicted by Rheumatoid Arthritis than men. Most women begin to feel the effects of RA at a median age of 45, while men tend to get it later in life.
The cause of RA is epigenetic − meaning it is mostly caused by factors in a person’s environment. Toxic exposure, bad dietary choices, emotional wounding, chronic stress, and poor intestinal health are all contributors to heightened inflammatory responses that can lead to autoimmune disease.
Research has shown that people with RA are at a higher risk of both non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s disease as well as myeloma (a rare form of cancer that affects the white blood cells). Perhaps the biggest cancer risk for those with RA, however, are the medications that are typically prescribed to treat it: NSAIDS, DMARDs, Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) meds, and corticosteroid injections.
Your immune system has the ability to heal when given the right circumstances and environments to do so. In addition to following an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of veggies which are naturally anti-inflammatory, here are three easy protocols to consider for reducing pain and even HEALING yourself of RA:
- Strengthen Your Gut
- Gentle Mindfulness Movements
- Take Key Anti-Inflammatory Substances/Supplements such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic