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Stop Cancer 20 Years Ago

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Get Abreast And Keep Abreast

This is Dr. Jenn Simmons. Her specialization is integrative oncology, as she—then a breast cancer surgeon—got breast cancer, decided the system wasn’t nearly as good from the patients’ side of things as from the doctors’ side, and took to educate herself, and now others, on how things can be better.

What does she want us to know?

Start now

If you have breast cancer, the best time to start adjusting your lifestyle might be 20 years ago, but the second-best time is now. We realize our readers with breast cancer (or a history thereof) probably have indeed started already—all strength to you.

What this means for those of us without breast cancer (or a history therof) is: start now

Even if you don’t have a genetic risk factor, even if there’s no history of it in your family, there’s just no reason not to start now.

Start what, you ask? Taking away its roots. And how?

Inflammation as the root of cancer

To oversimplify: cancer occurs because an accidentally immortal cell replicates and replicates and replicates and takes any nearby resources to keep on going. While science doesn’t know all the details of how this happens, it is a factor of genetic mutation (itself a normal process, without which evolution would be impossible), something which in turn is accelerated by damage to the DNA. The damage to the DNA? That occurs (often as not) as a result of cellular oxidation. Cellular oxidation is far from the only genotoxic thing out there, and a lot of non-food “this thing causes cancer” warnings are usually about other kinds of genotoxicity. But cellular oxidation is a big one, and it’s one that we can fight vigorously with our lifestyle.

Because cellular oxidation and inflammation go hand-in-hand, reducing one tends to reduce the other. That’s why so often you’ll see in our Research Review Monday features, a line that goes something like:

“and now for those things that usually come together: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and anti-aging”

So, fight inflammation now, and have a reduced risk of a lot of other woes later.

See: How to Prevent (or Reduce) Inflammation

Don’t settle for “normal”

People are told, correctly but not always helpfully, such things as:

  • It’s normal to have less energy at your age
  • It’s normal to have a weaker immune system at your age
  • It’s normal to be at a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, etc

…and many more. And these things are true! But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for them.

We can be all the way over on the healthy end of the distribution curve. We can do that!

(so can everyone else, given sufficient opportunity and resources, because health is not a zero-sum game)

If we’re going to get a cancer diagnosis, then our 60s are the decade where we’re most likely to get it. Earlier than that and the risk is extant but lower; later than that and technically the risk increases, but we probably got it already in our 60s.

So, if we be younger than 60, then now’s a good time to prepare to hit the ground running when we get there. And if we missed that chance, then again, the second-best time is now:

See: Focusing On Health In Our Sixties

Fast to live

Of course, anything can happen to anyone at any age (alas), but this is about the benefits of living a fasting lifestyle—that is to say, not just fasting for a 4-week health kick or something, but making it one’s “new normal” and just continuing it for life.

This doesn’t mean “never eat”, of course, but it does mean “practice intermittent fasting, if you can”—something that Dr. Simmons strongly advocates.

See: Intermittent Fasting: We Sort The Science From The Hype

While this calls back to the previous “fight inflammation”, it deserves its own mention here as a very specific way of fighting it.

It’s never too late

All of the advices that go before a cancer diagnosis, continue to stand afterwards too. There is no point of “well, I already have cancer, so what’s the harm in…?”

The harm in it after a diagnosis will be the same as the harm before. When it comes to lifestyle, preventing a cancer and preventing it from spreading are very much the same thing, which is also the same as shrinking it. Basically, if it’s anticancer, it’s anticancer, no matter whether it’s before, during, or after.

Dr. Simmons has seen too many patients get a diagnosis, and place their lives squarely in the hands of doctors, when doctors can only do so much.

Instead, Dr. Simmons recommends taking charge of your health as best you are able, today and onwards, no matter what. And that means two things:

  1. Knowing stuff
  2. Doing stuff

So it becomes our responsibility (and our lifeline) to educate ourselves, and take action accordingly.

Want to know more?

We recently reviewed her book, and heartily recommend it:

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Breast Cancer – by Dr. Jenn Simmons


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