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:
- A weakened immune system that cannot identify and control the growth of cancerous cells.
- Chronic inflammation that supports cell growth and expansion.
- Tumors develop their own blood vessels that allows them to grow to much larger sizes.
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:
- 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.
- Add cancer-fighting foods. Most simply, this means a colorful diet full of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
- Exercise. Simply walking daily for 30 minutes can reduce your cancer risk and cancer recurrence.
- Reduce stress. Stress increases susceptibility to disease, so find ways to reduce stress in your life (yoga, meditate, time for friends).
- Reduce pollutants. Do what you can to minimize exposure to chemicals and pesticides.