The word “cancer” is enough to send anyone into a heightened state of anxiety. When you first get a diagnosis and are trying to understand it all, it can be scary and confusing. Between waiting for doctors, trying to get a second opinion and learning a slew of new and overwhelming medical terms, it is completely normal to feel completely out of control.
Luckily there are some things that you can implement and do right now to take back control, start fighting the cancer, and build your strength up.
1. Cut Out Sugar and Processed Food
Can it really be that simple? Is sugar THAT bad for you? Is all sugar created equal?
Yes, it can. Yes, it IS. And no, absolutely not.
Let’s break this one down simply: Sugar feeds cancer cells.
Dr. Lewis Cantley, the Director and Professor of Cancer Biology at the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine Researchers spent years studying the connection between cancer and sugar, and is one of many doctors and researchers who recommend staying away from it altogether. “As we learn more and more about cancer metabolism, we understand that individual cancers are addicted to particular things. In a lot of cancers, that’s insulin and sugar.”
Basic Breakdown: Tumors prefer to use sugar for energy and tend to use more than your average cell, so why not avoid it entirely? When you add to the equation the fact that sugar lowers your immune system and has zero health benefits, it’s a no-brainer.
Once you start reading the ingredients on processed foods, you’ll discover that there is sugar in pretty much everything! Don’t worry – you don’t have to cut out everything all at once, just do the best you can and start systematically. It is normal for your body to react with detox symptoms if you cut off sugar drastically in one go. So start by avoiding processed foods (which have high added sugar content!) and anything with white sugar.
Stick to the natural stuff. Raw honey and pure stevia are two types of sweeteners that are vouched for by experts. No need to cut out (organic!) fruit either. Raw fruit is full of phytonutrients that actually fight against cancer!
2. Organic, Organic, Organic
Speaking of organic – Is it really that important?
One of the pillars of alternative medicine involves building up the immune system, thus strengthening your body. Studies across the globe have proven time and time again that the difference between the chemicals and pesticides that can be found in organic and non-organic produce is alarming. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in October 2018, research showed a 25% overall decrease in risk of cancer among people who ate the most organic food compared to those who ate the least. Other studies show that a significant reduction of contamination occurs when conventional foods are replaced by organic foods.
The truth is that no one should be consuming cancer-causing pesticides, but this becomes an imperative issue if you already have cancer and are working on overcoming it. Worried about the cost of switching over? It may not be as expensive as you might think! Check out your local Farmers Market or go online to find affordable deals.
Start incorporating deep breathing into your daily routine.
Basic Breakdown: Cancerous cells thrive in an oxygen-lacking environment. Research shows that cancer cells grow more rapidly in environments with low oxygen. So if tumors thrive and resist treatment when starved of oxygen, flooding them with it will create the opposite effect.
Oxygen has been a cornerstone of many alternative forms of therapy for years. These days, it is fairly common for alternative clinics to offer oxygen enhancing treatments such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers for their patients.
You can start by creating a deep breathing practice you can do daily for an additional benefit in the meantime, be it (guided or non-guided,) meditation, yoga or just learning some simple breathing exercises.
Cancer patients are often given deep breathing exercises to assist in pain and stress management as well as relaxation, but many practitioners in the alternative medicine world will tell you that there is significantly more benefit to be had by this.
4. Start Detoxing Today
Basic Breakdown: A significant amount of toxins and toxic metals accumulate in our bodies daily, and while everyone should be detoxing, if you are fighting an auto-immune disease, you want to get on this as soon as possible.
Start with drinking water – a lot of it! There are dozens of ways to detox – one of the most common ways to do so at home is by buying a juicer and getting on a vegetable juice regimen.
You can get your own juicer for as cheap as $120 online (it will cost a bit more for the premium ones,) and you can start buying green vegetables in bulk. Get rid of toxic metals with dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard. Celery, beets, parsley, and ginger also have big detox benefits. Almost all alternative clinics understand and stand behind the benefits of this and keep their patients on a diet chock full of green juices. Start at home and try different recipes to keep it interesting!
5. Choose Your Team
Don’t feel like you need to rush into a hasty decision. Remember, YOU are the one in the driver’s seat, and you need to feel comfortable with how you approach your journey. While choosing your doctors and protocol is a big one, so is choosing your team of supporters. We like to say that behind every cancer survivor, there’s a team that supported them. Pick the people you feel most comfortable with and supported by and ask them to stand by you at this time – (and it’s ok if that’s not your immediate family – this is a different process for everyone and it is your choice!)
Decide ahead of time who will be going to doctor appointments with you and who you want to consult with when making difficult decisions. Do you know someone who is great at research or good at taking notes? Talk to them and ask them for help. Don’t shut down! Most people are happy to know how they can be supportive and will be glad to be there for you, they just need to know-how.