How to be a Horrible Host to Cancer: A Reading List

You know you would never willingly accept a visit from cancer but, if it shows up to take full advantage of your very being, you can limit its access by being a horrible host.

Being a horrible host to cancer means making it as uncomfortable as possible for the unwanted visitor to hang out, to grow, to take control of your ‘home’—your host environment.

Having cancer in your body means, at its core, your mind and body is ‘hosting’ a health challenge. In this case a malignant disease. As the host, it is your job to be as inhospitable as possible; it helps to be downright rude.

Being inhospitable to cancer involves your thoughts and actions. Those who are empowered and proactive—at the center of their care—tend to do better than most in managing the disease.

Following is a short reading list that I’ve curated from my blog, specific to strengthening immune function via lifestyle choices and disciplined living.

These posts directly connect to the premise of ‘how to be a horrible host’… to prevent cancer or to manage an underlying malignancy, and to ensure long-term and durable survival.   

For decades, cancer scientists and oncologists have focused more on what type of ‘disease’ a person has, as opposed to what type of ‘person’ has a disease. The fact is, every individual has within them a unique biological environment that can greatly influence the onset of cancer, its treatment, and long-term survival.

In addition to healthy lifestyle activities, a powerful response to counter the fear of cancer recurrence is to be grateful, mindful, hopeful, and present—and apply the emotional intelligence to ‘respond’, but not ‘react’, to the negative words or actions of others. The key is to recognize but filter out negative thoughts—your own, and those thoughts and comments of others.

A relaxed, unfettered mind is conducive to a healthy, whole person. It’s foundational. It’s essential. Anything less will negatively affect your overall cognitive ability, and the pursuit of true health and deep healing.

Given the last few decades of increased everyday demands on the lives of most folks, it has become clear that management of such stress is critical for attaining and maintaining optimum health. Stress management is also vital for preventing a pro-cancer environment, and it is essential to employ stress reduction techniques while undergoing active treatment for cancer. These practices also advantage long-term survival.

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Nutrition science is rapidly advancing, but clinical nutrition in general is still one of the most confusing areas of health, with differing opinions regarding the best approaches to preventing cancer, supporting active treatment, ensuring durable remissions, and overall survival. Here I write about my plant-strong dietary approach that has not changed much in over 25 years—even as myriad dietary trends abound.  

There is a growing body of scientific literature that supports physical activity as part of a smart anticancer lifestyle. Early research is also showing the positive impact of rigorous exercise on colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer patients.

I’ve always leveraged exercise and all forms of physical activity for the natural pharmacopeia that it is. Serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins are always available in my brain’s go-to medicine cabinet, accessible from wherever I choose to unleash them: the gym, park, beach, back yard.

The militaristic connection of ‘fighting’ and ‘battling’ cancer was cemented in 1971 when Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer. Almost half a century later this so-called war is global, with tens of millions of casualties. All wars are ultimately bad. They are best prevented. Equating the body as a battlefield within which to wage war is nonsensical. Rogue cancer cells as the enemy, and healthy ones as the good soldiers? Learn why the judo approach against cancer is worth thinking about.   

For 20 years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been the stalwart investigative organization scrutinizing unsafe chemicals and toxins in our food, water, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Limiting chemical (toxin) exposure in our daily lives—homes, backyards and work environment—helps us prevent a cancer diagnosis, better manage active treatment (and the chemicals that typically accompany it), and live healthier lives as survivors thrivers. 

Investigation, and therefore knowledge, of the human microbiome has grown exponentially in the last five years. A recent study regarding its potential impact on certain cancer treatment outcomes stopped me in my tracks. The human body contains about 40 trillion microbes, which is now thought to equal the total volume of human cells each body possesses.

We are hearing a lot about cancer immunotherapy these days. Modern approaches and technology are now helping to revolutionize cancer care. What decision-making power do we hold to influence an immune-therapeutic response to help avoid, manage, or treat a cancer diagnosis? And how might this affect long-term survival?

Does the consumption of ‘clean’ foods do a better job at preventing cancer than, say, what the majority of the U.S. population eats—namely produce and processed foodstuffs containing pesticide and herbicide residue, antibiotics, and growth hormones? I break it down for you in this piece.


You can achieve horrible host status—by not being an attractive place for cancer to show up—through sensible, comprehensive prevention measures.

But if or when cancer does appear, you must cautiously look through the peephole and deeply assess the situation. Never fully open the door with a hand extended or arms held wide, as this risks the unwanted visitor crossing the threshold and usurping control.

I hope this reading list helps get you on your way to being a horrible host to cancer. You must do everything you can to be inhospitable, proper etiquette and Emily Post be damned.

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