Beating cancer? Let's just not develop it!
Next week the Dutch Cancer Society will organise their donations week. Fundraisers will ring hundreds of thousands of doorbells throughout the Netherlands to collect as many donations as possible from households and businesses. The Dutch Cancer Society’s goal is to beat cancer. Despite these wonderful efforts, to me it feels like we are trying to empty the ocean with a thimble: the new ICD-11 (the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases) guidebook that will go into effect in 2022, will list over 55,000 recognised medical diagnoses. That is 55,000 things with a name (diseases, syndromes, illnesses, dysfunctions) that can "go wrong" inside your body. Some of them are called cancer. Is it really true that the human body is so vulnerable and poorly designed that there are that many things that can arise and cause suffering and dysfunction?
Your body is an interconnected system that only wants to be in balance
Your body is not a collection of separate parts interacting on their own behalf. Instead, it is one interconnected system that only wants to be in balance. The father of functional medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Bland, makes it simple, but accurate: “There is no ‘disease’ in the body, only dis-ease. The origin is always unique - always”. Dis-ease happens because the choices you make about your environment interfere with your genes. This in turn interacts with your biochemistry: your endocrine system (hormones), your metabolic system (energy), your immune system (inflammation), your nervous system (neurotransmitters), your digestive system (nutrients) and your detoxification system (clearance) which also interact with one another and with your genetic predisposition. All of those interactions and interconnections result in either wellness or illness.
Simmering and unaddressed low grade inflammation leads to disease
We are not designed to be stressed, toxic, inflamed, infected, malnourished and unrested, while at the same time being able to thrive, reproduce, be thin, feel well, eat anything we want, enjoy perfect bowel movements and have great sex. That is unrealistic and I bet you already knew that. You cannot live a sympathetic dominant (flight/flight) life, while expecting to have a parasympathetic life experience (rest/restore). This lifestyle could result in continuous and unaddressed low grade inflammation throughout your body that would simmer and build up over decades. You would not even notice the gradual decay until the day that you will have developed symptoms and cancer might be the diagnosis.
Optimal health starts with the choices you make
But you are in charge of your own life experience. Optimal health starts with the choices you make about what you maximise, minimise and prioritise. So what would happen to your life experience if you were to maximise oxygen, water, vitamins, minerals, healthy macronutrients from organic foods? If you were to minimise crap food, stress, toxins, allergens, infections, stress, limiting beliefs and fear? If you were to prioritise creating an environment for healing with sufficient sleep, rest, laughter, exercise and meaningful relationships? It will be very likely for you to have a very different experience.
Your body will thank you
So let’s get back to the Dutch Cancer Society’s goal of beating cancer. If you were given the option as to when you would rather beat cancer: before or after it would have developed? I bet you would want to beat the low grade inflammation today and limit the possibility of anything event developing into cancer or a disease on that list of 55,000 names one day. So let’s start today by making the choices your body will thank you for everyday for the rest of your life.