Rethinking how we confront cancer Part II

Cancer Death Rate has Declined Minimally

Cancer Death Rate 2003 vs. 1950

During the period from 1950 to 2003, we have seen an overall reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease of 60.53%, and a reduction in deaths from cerebrovascular disease of 70.5%, while deaths from cancer were reduced by only 1.96% for the same period. According to a report issued by the American Cancer Society in January 2012, cancer incidence rates from 2004 to 2008 declined by 0.6% per year in men and were stable in women, while cancer death rates decreased by 1.8% per year in men and by 1.6% per year in women. Death rates continue to decline for the four major cancer sites — lung, colorectal, breast and prostate, while incidence rates of cancers of the pancreas, liver, thyroid, kidney and skin are increasing.
The reasons for this trend are not entirely clear, although improvements in detection technology, increases in longevity and elder population, prolonged exposure toxins in our environment, as well as hormones and antibiotics in our food supply are certainly all factors. Overall, the decline in cancer mortality rates seems to be very slow despite advancements in both detection and treatment. It appears that we simply are not winning the war against cancer.

We have been searching for “effective” treatments for cancer. The strategy of these “effective” treatments is to target and kill cancer cells. However, cancer cells are naturally existing over-reproducing cells that exist in our bodies all the time. Healthy bodies also produce mutated cancer cells due to free radical damage from our environment, but a healthy immune system will eliminate these mutated cells. But when the body’s function is compromised, the clean-up doesn’t happen efficiently. If the body’s function is compromised for a prolonged period of time, the accumulation of mutated cells leads to the development of cancer.
Since cancer cells are naturally occurring cells, they have the ability to adapt to the environment. If we think we can use toxins to eradicate cancer cells, we are wrong because cancer cells will mutate even faster to develop resistance to the toxin or migrate to parts of the body the toxins cannot reach. The reason we have not been able to find effective treatment is that cancer cells outsmart the development of new treatments.
Perhaps a better approach would be through healthy lifestyle changes and preventative care that will optimize the immune system to better resist the onset of cancer, and to focus more on regular detoxification to improve overall wellness and further strengthen the immune system.
The principle of preventative care to achieve and maintain health and wellness has been at the core of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It was recorded in the Yellow Emperor’s Classics that “to try to cure a disease when it has already appeared is like digging a well when you are already thirsty or forging the weapon when the war has already started.” The main focus of treatment in Chinese medicine is to restore and maintain balance of mind, body and energy. Balance is maintained by an uninhibited flow of energy in the body. This energy flows through pathways in the body called meridians. The energy flow is known as chi. Blockages in these pathways disrupt the flow of energy which leads to disorders in the body.
Chinese Medicine is very focused on early prevention and the maintenance of a healthy, balanced body for healthy aging and longevity. Most of us are born with inherent weakness and predispositions to certain bodily imbalances. Chinese Medicine recognizes each individual’s unique predispositions and works to strengthen the body’s circulation and immune system in order to prevent the body from succumbing to predisposed, stress-induced imbalances.
Chinese medicine views cancer as a state of “blood stagnation” or “phlegm” that is the result of bodily imbalances due to poor circulation, exposure to toxins, free radical damage, long-term emotional stress and poor lifestyle choices that weaken the immune system. Therefore, if a patient whose family history indicates a genetic predisposition to cancer is very careful about healthy lifestyle choices and seeks treatment to promote healthy circulation, regularly eliminate toxins and strengthen the immune system, that patient would greatly improve his or her chances of living a life free of cancer.
When your body shows symptoms of imbalance, Chinese Medicine helps restore balance. If you have been ignoring your body for a long time and chronic conditions have developed, Chinese Medicine can alleviate symptoms within a short period of time, as well as gradually restoring the body to a balanced state so that chronic symptoms can be alleviated.
There are several areas where Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and healthy lifestyle changes can significantly support the body’s ability to defend itself from the spread of cancer while complimenting traditional Cancer treatments, and alleviating the side effects of those treatments. Since cancer weakens the immune system, strengthening the immune system during cancer treatments will help the body to fight cancer and allow healthy cells to resist the spread of cancer. As toxins from cancer cells build up in the body, especially when the cells die at a high rate due to chemotherapy and radiation, it is crucial to detoxify the body in order to restore normal regulatory functions.
Acupuncture treatment for chemotherapy side effects is used to harmonize the flow of energy, calm nausea, and strengthen the immune system. Chinese Herbal Medicine can also be an effective means for managing the side effects of chemotherapy treatments.

Hopefully, the vast increase in the number of people seeking alternative medicine therapies in order to achieve and maintain wellness rather than fight disease once it has occurred will eventually result in a significant impact on future incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases.

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