Lifestyle and behavior change is not always enough. Not always enough to prevent cancer. Not always enough to assist in managing a conventional treatment program. Not always enough to ensure durable remission or increase overall survival.
People with amazingly clean lifestyles, doing all things ‘preventative’, get cancer.
And, those adopting major lifestyle changes at or after diagnosis can, and do, succumb to advancing or recurring disease.
Sadly and simply put, lifestyle change is no guarantee against cancer.
So why am I writing this post?
Because I often hear from people who share their disappointment when describing the various lifestyle changes they, or a friend or loved one, with cancer, adopted.
These folks express that the change was made with the singular goal of staving off disease progression and avoiding the prospect of conventional therapy. There are others who made and sustained lifestyle changes over the years to prevent cancer.
They profess ‘all the right stuff’ was done, and still had disease progression or relapse. They sometimes bitterly ask, “Was this all for naught?”
Comprehensive lifestyle approaches may avert over 50 percent of all malignant disease; however, while cancer prevention through lifestyle is powerful, we desperately need a cancer ‘prevention’ moonshot to facilitate meaningful widespread change—because prevention may be the only true ‘cure’ for many avoidable cancer cases.
The True Impact of Lifestyle on Cancer
Smart lifestyle choices powerfully contribute to an anticancer environment, making it more difficult for disease to take hold. These approaches certainly play a role in supporting durable remissions and the control of disease progression.
Proper nutrition and moderate physical activity alone often reduces the deleterious side effects of conventional treatment.
The evidence is now irrefutable that poor nutrition, low physical activity and stress play a significant role in the onset of many types of cancer. Every oncologist should support actions and activities that increase the underlying health of patients. If yours does not, then it’s time to find another.
Consider appropriate lifestyle habits specific to your situation and needs, but do not go into this with a singular focus of ‘curing’ disease or preventing relapse.
The healthier you are, the better you will be positioned to deal with the physical and emotional aspects of the cancer journey. It will help you rebound more quickly from conventional therapies.
Best Health Practices
With or without cancer, the core reason to incorporate quality lifestyle methods into your daily existence is to create the healthiest possible you.
Being the happiest and healthiest survivor you can be is a significant reward for committing to a healthy lifestyle.
Creating a healthier you—the host—improves quality of life and supports resiliency. It enhances overall immune function, reduces fatigue and improves energy level.
Conventional Therapy Also No Guarantee Against Cancer
But this does not mean we should not undergo standard of care treatment options most suitable for our ‘specific’ situation.
There is no singular cancer solution, through chemicals, cutting, burning, or yes, even drastic lifestyle change.
However, while there are no guarantees against cancer, we should leverage all available resources integrative oncology has to offer—conventional approaches and lifestyle—to be best positioned for favorable outcomes.
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