Naturopathic Medicine and Bone Cancer Prevention

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Naturopathic Medicine and Bone Cancer Prevention

The general public perception is that there is very little an individual can do to reduce his chances of getting bone cancer. This view can be challenged, because enhancing the body's ability to resist bone cancer is within our reach.

There are many types of bone tumors and these can be malignant or benign. Malignant tumors grow rapidly and can metastasize -- or spread -- via lymphatic or blood vessels to other parts of the body. Benign tumors usually remain confined within the bone, produce no symptoms and can be left alone. They grow slowly and do not destroy the surrounding tissues or spread to other parts of the body. However, some of these tumors, such as osteochondroma or giant cell tumor (osteoclastoma) may turn malignant.

Only a small portion of malignant bone tumors originate within the bone. These represent about one per cent of all cancers in adults and 15 per cent of all cancers in children.

Most bone cancers start as cancers of some other tissues. Bone is a common place for metastases (cancer cells from some other tissue) to get caught and start multiplying. Cancer cells from the prostate, breast or lungs account for 80 per cent of all bone metastasis. Kidney, thyroid and other cancers may also be involved.

Now we know that the overwhelming majority of malignant bone tumors (the ones we are concerned about) is caused by other cancers. So, our best prevention is to reduce the potential for the development of other cancers and their ability to form metastasis.

The body has a tremendous self healing and protective capacity. Our bodies can usually stop or reverse malignant changes even before they can be detected. This is an ongoing process, because we are being bombarded by various carcinogenic (cancer causing) elements on a daily basis.

Naturopathy and Cancer

Naturopathic medicine is effective in enhancing the body's innate capacity to heal and protect itself and has much to offer in cancer treatment and prevention.

The first step in the prevention and treatment of any disease, including cancer, involves elimination of the causes of the disease. The next step is to treat potential illnesses, medical conditions and insufficient functioning of the organs and glands. This is where the help from a good naturopathic physician becomes absolutely essential.

Naturopathic physicians are trained to detect diseases or abnormal conditions in the early stages, before they are discovered by conventional tests. Their methods are based on healing tissues and restoring proper function. They do not merely suppress pain or other symptoms and allow the damage of the disease to continue. This is important because any insufficiently functioning organs or glands weaken the body's capacity to defend itself against diseases or carcinogens.

All body systems need to work efficiently and harmoniously and, if possible, without any pharmaceutical preparations or the excessive use of supplements. For example, a well-functioning immune system does not require echinacea every time someone breathes on you, nor does it overreact and trigger allergy attacks when we eat, breathe or touch something.

Healthy Parts, Healthy Whole

The immune system cannot function independently from other systems. A poorly-functioning digestive system is not able to clear harmful particles entering it or nourish the immune system. The harmful and incompletely digested particles may be attacked by the immune system. This irritates and weakens all the organ systems that may become involved.

If the elimination system does not adequately function, the irritating or carcinogenic particles stay in the body longer and in higher concentrations. This makes it easier for them to overwhelm the immune system and other cancer defences.

It has been recognized that the liver plays a key role in cancer prevention and treatment. However, if the digestion, elimination, immune and other systems do not work properly, the liver becomes overwhelmed and can't function effectively.

Let's go back to the first step. Even a well-functioning body cannot protect us indefinitely if we keep running it down and overwhelming it with harmful and cancer-causing substances.

The following is an excerpt from the lifestyle recommendations I provide for my cancer patients. These are also valid for cancer prevention.

Initial Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations

The keys in choosing food are quality, balance, moderation and variation. Select the food of highest quality -- organically grown, fresh, unhybridized, unprocessed, no chemicals, non irradiated, no microwave use, no frying or broiling.

There is no diet that is right for everyone and there is no single perfect food. Take your nutrition seriously, but do not be overly compulsive about it. A healthy calorie ratio guide is 40 per cent from complex carbohydrates, 20 to 30 per cent from protein and 20 to 30 per cent from good fats. The major vitamins your diet has to provide are: A, B6, C4 D, K, folic acid and selenium.

Food sensitivities are more important than any other factor in food choices. If you are sensitive to any food don't eat it! Your blood type should also be considered.

Try to eat large variety of foods that are in season. In the spring and summer eat more raw foods and fruits. In the fall and winter eat more cooked root vegetables and seasonal fruits and greens. Increase foods that support the liver.

Learn about and use foods containing phytochemicals that deactivate mutagens and carcinogens; prevent formation of carcinogens; increase detoxification of carcinogens; scavenge oxygen radicals; reduce damage to DNA and cellular membranes; and slow down the promotion and proliferation of the cancer process.

Eliminate or replace simple sugars -- sweet foods and drinks increase the release of insulin (not good) and suppress immune system. Reduce saturated fat intake and increase the protective essential fatty acids intake.

Avoid excessive caloric intake. Refrain from using tobacco in any form (smoking, chewing or snuffing). Consume alcohol beverages in moderation or not at all (smoking combined with alcohol consumption seems to be more harmful).

Have some fun (games, gardening or sports). Reduce exposure to environmental carcinogens, toxic substances and radiation. Drink enough pure, unchlorinated water.

Do the self application of hydro therapy. Take detoxification baths at home.

These basic recommendations will help you to build optimal health and to maximize your capacity to resist cancer. These suggestions are possible for you to accomplish with the help your naturopathic physician.

References:
1. Editors. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 1998

2. Murphy, G, W Lawrence, R Lenhard. Clinical Oncology, 1995

3. Porth, C. Pathophysiology, 1998

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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