Thursday, August 26, 2010

Being ANTI-cancer

I recently came across this article by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber. I remember seeing his book in Barnes and Noble a couple years ago. I picked it up and read the whole thing sitting in the café - I could not put it down.

He is both a doctor and scientist (PhD in Neuroscience). At age 31, he discovered he had a brain tumor, which was picked up by chance when one of his patients didn’t show up and he ended up getting into the scanner instead.

After his diagnosis, he began furiously studying cancer. He wanted to learn as much as possible, especially why we get cancer and what we can do to prevent it.
The first thing I learned is that we all carry cancer cells in us. But I also learned we all have natural defenses that generally prevent these cells from turning into an aggressive disease. These include our immune system, the part of our biology that controls and reduces inflammation, and the foods that reduce the growth of new blood vessels needed by developing tumors.
In the West, one out of three people will develop cancer. But two-thirds will not. For these people, their natural defenses will have kept cancer at bay. I understood it would be essential for me to learn how to strengthen these defenses. 
Servan-Schrieber talks about the circumstances under which cancer grows:
  1. A weakened immune system that cannot identify and control the growth of cancerous cells.
  2. Chronic inflammation that supports cell growth and expansion.
  3. Tumors develop their own blood vessels that allows them to grow to much larger sizes. 
He says, 
When we strengthen our immune system, reduce inflammation and reduce the growth of new blood vessels, we help create an anticancer ‘terrain.’
Here's how we can actively create anticancer terrain:
  1. Eliminate sugar. According to Servan-Schreiber, this is the #1 cancer promoter in the US. Sugar feeds cancer cells and promotes low-grade chronic inflammation. 
  2. Add cancer-fighting foods. Most simply, this means a colorful diet full of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
  3. Exercise. Simply walking daily for 30 minutes can reduce your cancer risk and cancer recurrence.
  4. Reduce stress. Stress increases susceptibility to disease, so find ways to reduce stress in your life (yoga, meditate, time for friends).
  5. Reduce pollutants. Do what you can to minimize exposure to chemicals and pesticides.


  1. Hmmm, very interesting!, these points are great. I have come across people healing from it in retreats and have heard that it also helps to work on the subtle body, as in loving ourselves, taking time off, making sure we are not overworking, oh and also, ensuring the colon is clean.

  2. Thank you. These are good suggestions for how to support the physical body to stay in balance. It's a good start to an effective stress management program.


    Chronic Stress

  3. Christina
    This is may sound radical at first, but I’ve been following the principles in this book for about a year:
    The 80/10/10 Diet
    Dr. Douglas Graham
    According to graham, this is a slightly alkaline diet. this seems to agree with the anti-cancer posts you've posted recently. Good stuff!!!

    Here's some details about my diet in case your interested. It loosely follows Graham. I didn't find the need to eat the quantities he suggested. My main meal is lunch so I don't have much in my tummy for yoga the next morning.

    Basically, I eat about 1/2 a watermelon, or a full pineapple mixed with strawberries after yoga in the morning. For lunch, a large romaine, watercress, and dandelion salad with tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, almonds, kiwi, mango, raspberries, and sometimes avocado. An afternoon snack at 3 and 6 of 1 cantaloupe or honeydew or watermelon plus grapes or raspberries. I tried to avoid eating after 6.

    Google "dirty dozen vegetables" to see which fruits and veggies to buy organically. Basically, buy organic leafy greens and thin skinned fruits and veggies. The exceptions are tomatoes and cucumbers. Generally, anything that has a thick skin like melons, oranges, kiwi, avocado, etc., you don't need to buy organic.