The nation is awash with cancer. Everybody has an uncle, a cousin, brother, sister or mate that has been touched in some way by cancer. The stats are not pretty. At this very minute, there is 3.2 million people battling cancer and it is growing by 3.2% every year. 2016 was a year where there were 1000 cases of cancer diagnosed every day. 1000 A DAY!
In 1996, the number of cancer diagnosis was 263,000 and for 2016 we saw this number rise to a staggering 361,000. I was enthralled by the figures while researching for this article. The numbers are staggering. Statistics generally don’t do much for me but such numbers are both tragic and intriguing. Just to really finish off this most positive beginning to this week’s blog here is what really blew my mind….
It is forecast that by 2020 one in two people will get cancer at some point in their lives. That means that there is barely a house in Britain that will not be touched by cancer at some point of a life cycle.
The economic cost per cancer treatment right through from start to finish is approx. £40,000. That means of the 66 million people in the UK, 33 million treatments will rack up a cost of 1.32 trillion pounds (if 1.32e+12 is indeed this figure), my calculator maxed out. That is an unbelievable chunk of change.
In my construction days an old foreman used to roar at me to get out and work and not complain about the rain and that he ain’t never seen a rusty man yet. He was not the most affectionate of men but he was a realist and a pragmatist. We are in the age where there is a proverbial storm of chronic disease and everybody seems oblivious. The ‘sure it’ll be grand’ brigade give a false sense of security of things. The 'i've paid my taxes so let them fix me' brigade is an entitlement mindset that has to change. There is so much more required than just turning up and sticking out an arm and hope good old NHS will get you through. You are in the fight of your life and it takes a concerted effort to change how you think, eat and live if you want to both survive the cancer and live a long health life afterwards.
As a nutritionist, I have found five core reasons as to why very cancer patient should use nutritional therapy as part of the treatment program. The holistic and conventional system must work side by side with a concerted effort on the part of patient.
No. 1: When it comes to cancer increased morbidity, adverse outcomes, decreased quality of life and mortality are all intimately related to malnutrition caused by the cancer and the cancer treatment program. Your nutritionist must do everything they can to compensate for and correct malnutrition before, during and after treatment.
No.2: The effectiveness of radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy can be greatly enhanced by selective nutrients and herbs all which shall encompass the nutritional therapy program that should be designed individually to your needs and the treatments that are selected.
No. 3: This is the single most important reason to remember. CANCER IS A SUGAR FEEDER. No cell in your body will take up sugar as quickly and efficiently as a cancer cell. If your nutritionist, doctor, oncologist is not telling you to avoid sugar at all costs then I would encourage you to do a bit of your own homework.
No 4. The immune system should have dealt with the cancer when it arose in the body. It failed its job and let a few cells slip through. A carefully designed nutritional therapy program is a must to ensure that all the components for a robust immune system is provided for. This way you can support the body fight off new cancer cells and fight secondary infections that are so common while on cancer treatments.
No. 5: This is related to the consequences of cancer treatment. On the Macmillan factsheet for cancer (see below) it is estimated that 25% or 1 in 4 people treated for cancer will experience poor health and or disability post treatment. Protecting the body, keeping it nourished and reducing inflammation while treatment is ongoing is one of the most important roles of the nutritionist. Antioxidants, Plant chemicals and essential fatty acids all help protect cells from oxidative damage. Knowing which nutrients does what and knowing how to apply them skilfully is an important part of striving for the most positive outcome as possible.
Wishing you every health and happiness.
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Have you had cancer?.
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As always I wish you every success on your journey in life and may you enjoy the highest expression of human health. And remember FOOD IS OUR MEDICINE. It always has been....
Paul is a nutritionist & naturopathic physician and sees clients in his own clinic and also clients internationally via the Web. Get in touch here