No doubt, cancer is scary. However, the worst thing you can do is succumb to hopelessness. There are in fact things you can do to help lower your risk of this devastating disease.
Unlike conventional medicine, which asks what disease you have and what drug should be used to treat it, I believe we must ask why the disease occurred. In this case, what underlying causes can lead to cancer?
That’s what functional medicine does: It looks at the underlying causes of disease. It asks why — not what.
From that perspective, if a nutrient-poor diet, lack of exercise, chronic stress, persistent pollutants, and heavy metals can cause cancer, a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet, physical activity, changing thoughts and reactions to stress, and detoxification might help treat the garden in which cancer grows.
I don’t want to oversimplify cancer — but I want to be clear that dietary and lifestyle factors can impact this disease.
For example, research by Dr. Dean Ornish showed that after just three months on an intensive lifestyle program including a whole-foods plant-based diet, over 500 genes that regulate cancer were beneficially affected, either turning off cancer-causing genes or turning on the cancer-protective genes.
While there are many lifestyle strategies to help prevent cancer, I’ve found these five to be effective with my patients: