Archive for July, 2009

Beat a family history of cancer

July 21, 2009

If you can fall into a cancer diagnosis because of family history, you can fall out of it by making some lifestyle changes.

In the book ANTI cancer – A NEW WAY OF LIFE, by David Servan-Schreiber, it says that “Genetic factors contribute to at most 15 percent of mortalities from cancer. In short there is no genetic fatality. We can all learn to protect ourselves.”

I heard a University professor give a lecture a few years ago. He started off by saying he should have delivered his lecture the previous year, but he was busy having a heart attack at the age of 52. Apparently all the male members of his family had heart attacks at the age of 52; I wondered how much of the heart attack was caused by the stress of expectation.

I’ve heard many people say they have a number of relatives with cancer, so they believe they have no choice but to succumb to this fate as well.

My parents both died at the age of 46 and I was moving in that direction until I changed the thoughts in my subconscious mind. I had 3 types of cancer in 1987 and have been cancer free since then because I did some work on my beliefs and my lifestyle choices. These choices are mostly about good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management and there are many other factors to consider on a personal level.

The power of the mind is amazing in creating our health outcomes. I’m convinced I would have died long ago from cancer if I hadn’t given my body a “live” message instead of the “die” message which was programmed in to my thoughts.

It seemed as if it would be a lot of work at the time, but once I got my head around making the changes it actually wasn’t as much work as I expected it to be. In any event, it’s a small price to pay for seeing my family grow up, and the reward has been living for 22 years in good health.

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Mind over cancer

July 15, 2009

There are ways to control cancer which are not being fully utilized. It’s common knowledge that we can boost our immune system to stave off a cold if we have an important event to attend or a project to finish. I believe it’s time to begin using this power of the mind to connect with the body and protect ourselves from cancer, especially when it is in the early stages.
The mind-body connection contributed to my own healing process when I had 3 types of cancer 22 years ago. I had surgery, and chemotherapy, but still felt as if I would die. My surgeon had referred me to a psychologist who helped me to work through some unfinished emotional business and work on a chronic problem with depression. This helped to turn my life around and I was on the road to recovery.
During chemotherapy I learned we are able to visualize white cells killing cancer cells. Doing this many times a day helped me to feel my body getting stronger over time. If I can do this, anyone can do it; all it takes is the will to make it work.

This morning I was reading a blog by Pam Stephan of About.com and noticed a book review for Anti cancer – A New Way of Life. You can read the full review here:
http://breastcancer.about.com/od/bookreviews/gr/anticancer_dss.htm
The book is written by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, who had a relapse of brain cancer, after being a 15-year survivor.

Here are some excerpts from the review:
This book tells his story and teaches how cancer cells thrive as well as what inhibits their growth. The author presents conventional and alternative ways to slow and prevent cancer, showing how we all must care for our personal “terrain” to gain balance and true health. A very detailed and readable book, Anticancer is a worthwhile read for anyone open to change and ready for action.
According to Dr. Servan-Schreiber, we can guard our personal environments, choose our diet wisely, heal old emotional wounds, lower stress levels and live a life of balance with a strong immune system that is tumor-resistant. He does not advise us to avoid standard cancer treatments, and he advocates change based on scientific research.
Along the way, Dr. Servan-Schreiber tells the story of his own accidental diagnosis as well as how it affected his marriage and family life and his own practice of psychiatry. The compelling blend of stories, with the science and research of cancer, keeps you reading and may challenge how you think about lifestyle choices. Most of us would like to avoid cancer, or a recurrence of cancer. In Anticancer, Dr. Servan-Schreiber gives us much food for thought, as well as an outline for anticancer action. This book will interest anyone with a real desire to make changes that can protect both present and future health.

Pam Stephan’s review of Anti cancer – A New Way of Life is well worth reading and if you choose to read the book it could change your life.

You can make a difference

July 13, 2009

Here is some interesting information from a Breast Cancer Support Group I belong to. We are women who have a vested interest in taking steps to reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals as they are always listed as a possible cause when we research the reasons for breast cancer.

The website which helps us to read labels on cleaning products is:
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/files/assets/pdf/7thGen_Ingredient_List_01_09.pdf

One book which provides information on how we can access environmentally friendly products and services is: Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada by Adria Vasil

David Suzuki says: “This book is for people who want to do something to lighten their impact on the planet. The small steps cost us little in the way of effort, money or time, but the cumulative effects can be enormous.”

One tip I’ve benefited from is to use vinegar for cleaning practically everything in the house. It is the cheapest solution available as you just need to purchase a spray bottle and mix 1 part vinegar to 1 part water for an effective solution. Check out a good article here: http://housekeeping.about.com/cs/environment/a/alternateclean.htm

Vinegar is great for hardwood floors and even disinfects and deodorizes bathrooms. Warnings on the About.com article are to “always test on an inconspicuous area. Improperly diluted vinegar is acidic and can eat away at tile grout. Never use vinegar on marble surfaces. Don’t worry about your home smelling like vinegar. The smell disappears when it dries.”

Don’t be concerned that this is “too much information” because as David Suzuki says, it’s the small steps that make a difference. If you wish to help improve our living space, please pick one easy thing to do that is environmentally friendly, and know that you will be making a difference.

Stress Relief

July 10, 2009

Aaaagh! I’m temporarily stressed out about something and the computer makes it worse. I always tell people “manage your stress before it manages you”, so I looked for an article to get some fresh ideas on how to manage my own stress.

I found one article with excellent material, but before I was half way through, my stress level was even higher. Check it out here: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-topic-overview

My stress came from the ads and all the stuff crowding in from the side so I had to strain to read the article in the middle. It agitated me and I quit reading the article.

I thought of all the people who are on computers all day, and wondered how the screens affect them. Then I found this article:
http://www.realage.com/ct/tips/9009
“Where to Turn Your Eyes for Stress Relief”
“A Room with a View
When 90 college students were asked to complete a short series of stressful tasks, their desks faced a blank wall, an open window, or a high-definition plasma screen displaying the same nature scene that was outside the window. The results? Students with window seats were the quickest to recover from the stress; their heart rates dropped back down into the normal range fastest. And the more time they spent taking in the view, the better.”

So it’s not just me. Computer screens can be stressful and now I’ll be more careful to limit my time on sites which over stimulate my brain, and spend more time on sites which are user friendly.

It’s tough to escape stress, but creating a balance is one key to managing it: stress – relax – stress – relax. This technique keeps our stress level from going through the roof. We can handle stress if we give ourselves a break and change the chemistry in our bodies with a period of relaxation. Deep breathing is a handy tool for de-stressing the body when we need it, and it works anytime, anywhere.

Sleeping is healing

July 2, 2009

When we try to cram as much stuff as we can into a 24 hour day, sleep is a luxury we can’t afford to cut down on to make it happen.

The human body takes so many hits from outside and inside sources during the day, and sleep is the time we need to heal those hits. Hits come in the form of environmental toxins in the air we breathe, chemicals in the food we eat, genetic causes, emotional stress, injury, disease, bacteria, etc.

I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but it makes logical sense to me that the human body can have a tough time dealing with so many destructive factors on earth every day.

If we want to protect and defend ourselves from harm, we can go back to basic methods of self care, such as good nutrition, regular exercise, sleep, and stress management. Whatever we do during the day is what we choose to do.

During sleep however, the body takes over and does its best to heal itself and make it whole.

For anyone undergoing cancer treatment it’s even more important to get adequate sleep. The body needs extra sleep to heal from the offense of surgery, the toxins in chemotherapy, and the effects of ionizing radiation. Unfortunately many cancer patients are so stressed out that sleep is elusive to them.

When I was going through chemotherapy, the only way I could get to sleep was to play a certain tape which promoted deep relaxation. The tape by Dr. Emmett Miller started off with him saying: “Let your body be in a comfortable position….”
It was a long tape, but after a while I just needed to hear that first phrase and I was asleep. This worked for me to have several naps a day, and to fall asleep at night; obviously I needed more sleep than usual and I allowed myself the time to do that.

For many years after chemo I could still hear Dr. Miller’s voice and if I was unable to fall asleep right away, I would make sure I was in a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths and be asleep in no time.

Deep breathing is one of the main keys to help us sleep, relax, rest, and heal. Anyone can benefit from deep breathing anywhere, anytime, for no cost other than focusing our thoughts on breathing and taking the time to do it. The pay off from deep breathing to help us get much needed sleep is huge.

In our busy lives today, it’s crucial to remember our basic human needs. I believe that sleep and deep relaxation are among the most important building blocks which help us to cope with our daily “busyness”.