After billions of dollars spent and decades of research, scientists are finally giving into the fact that the prevalence of cancer has a very low percentage as being linked to genetics. Scientific focus has gradually turned to environmental factors and diet. However, this switch of focus is still relatively undercover, which unfortunately leaves the majority of us in the dark and uneducated on new discoveries and the dangers of the lifestyles many of us choose to continue living.
The cold, hard stats
A recent study carried out by US National Institute of Health, reveals an alarming 10 million people worldwide as expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. In Australia alone, 126,800 people were diagnosed in 2015 (reported), with a projected number of deaths as being 46,570 in that same year. The US study finds 90-95% of cancer as being attributed to environmental and lifestyle factors with a measly 5-10% only as being linked to genetic factors.
Why I’m getting involved in the topic
Aside from hearing of many friends of friends, ex-work colleagues and extensions of family as having cancer, this topic has been particularly close to my heart this week. After driving back from a surf with a couple of mates, one had answered a phone call from his mum which changed the whole energy in the car. His mum had a bit of non-suspicious back pain around Christmas time and attended her chiropractor who suggested she get some scans done, as he suspected something more serious was going on.
The following week it was revealed that within a six-week time frame, her sacrum and L1 to L5 had rapidly deteriorated due to bone cancer, with the cancer quickly spreading up her spine and already eating through the bone in her skull.
I hate the thought that the cancer was entirely asymptomatic up until the point of Christmas. Some simple back pain very quickly turned into a life-altering and shocking life chapter for her and all close family and friends involved.
She remains in hospital with her condition rapidly deteriorating and she heartbreakingly refuses to even take visits from loved ones.
My personal beliefs
From what I believe to be true, as per the figures, cancer will soon be not only 90-95% linked to environmental and lifestyle factors but 100% responsible. I was never of the belief that genetics played any factor whatsoever in cancer-but what would I know?
I’m sure that scientists are now on the correct path and even further studies will be carried out into the type of foods we are consuming, and everyday chemicals we are exposing ourselves to that will be directly linked to cancer.
What really needs to be out in the open is that the majority of big named corporate companies that manufacture and produce the foods we consume daily from the supermarket, don’t have one ounce of care for our health but simply for their own self-satisfying profit and greed.
Their aim is to manufacture their product in the most cost-effective fashion, to make their product taste good (by the use of artificial additives) and to leave the consumer coming back for more, with a conclusive aim to take over the market in their specific area.
This means they will happily use animal fats, chemical by-products, artificial additives, emulsifiers and MSG to name a few. Even Colgate were busted recently for using a chemical in their toothpaste that has been linked to cancer.
The profit driven concept also applies to cleaning products, laundry liquids, car washes, cosmetics, toiletries and any other every-day product that passes through your hand.
However, it’s a lot more frightening just what kind of chemicals are being put into these products, many of which are endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, reproductive toxicants and basically a plethora of chemicals which will wreck havoc on your body over a period of time when you continually expose yourself to them.
All it takes is the most minimal of research online on the product ingredients to discover what is really contained within.
The problem is the body is not built to naturally take on foreign man-made chemicals, therefore toxins unknowingly build within the body and start to attack cells and organs. If you continue to feed your body with the wrong types of foods, and expose yourself to multiple chemical products-then this is the perfect breeding ground for the formation of cancer and other serious disease.
Foods rich in antioxidants are a start to combating free-radical damage within the body, but I don’t believe it’s ever enough to balance out the toxins, given the level we are taking in, but it certainly is a start to getting on top of damage already done.
It is the topic for a whole other article as to the cancerous environmental pollutants we expose ourselves to- wifi radiation, mercury and lead offsets from mining, agricultural offsets, industrial waste waters and greenhouse gases. I myself haven’t really researched the full effects of these pollutants.
The generation prior
My old boss is in his 60s and used to always poke fun at me bringing “all organic” food to work and snacking on “rabbit food” all the time. It’s funny because the generation before us never had to worry about the food in the supermarket or local fresh produce market. Food used to be just food.
It wasn’t mass produced like it is today, with manufacturers attempting to keep up with the ever-expanding population. It’s hard for me to explain to him just what our generation has to worry about in regards to food as it’s an entirely different era.
Corners of the globe with very low incidences of cancer
After chatting with my friend that was also in the car when the phone call was taken, I was
curious which countries in the world have been able to remain clear of cancer and found a website that set out some interesting figures.
The Hopi Indians of Arizona have an incidence rate of 1 in 1000 compared to America’s baffling 1 in 4 as being affected by cancer. Another finding was the Pueblo Indians, also of Arizona had more or less the same incidence as the Hopi Indians until supermarkets were installed in the area. Today the Pueblo Indians are hit by cancer at the very same rate as Americans.Go figure.
I have seen the exact same detrimental effects of corporate supermarkets in French Polynesia after spending two months in the region.
Where to start on minimising your risk of cancer?
How do you do this without taking the enjoyment out of life and in particular eating the foods you love and using products “known and trusted” without turning into a complete paranoid mess about the topic of cancer?
One of the best things I believe is putting yourself in the right frame of mind about it all. Educate yourself and then learn to make more conscious decisions the next time you do your grocery shopping. Begin reading labels and running quick searches online on the safety of the product ingredients.
Get to know the biggest culprits and the top ingredients, additives or preservatives to avoid entirely- then ask yourself if it’s really worth buying. It’s a tall mountain to climb if you try to make drastic lifestyle changes overnight, so begin step by step. On that note, it’s taken me around two years to switch the majority of my cosmetics, cleaning products, and diet to one that is largely organic and chemical-free.
However, I know that I will never reach the point of being completely chemical-free, regimented and restricted as similar to a religion in this area. I enjoy an alcoholic drink now and then, I enjoy greasy, fatty, unhealthy food options from time to time, but I’m conscious of the effect of those personal choices on my body and work hard to ensure the majority of my diet is based on healthy options.
The cost of organic
With the cost of buying organic products being a lot higher than non-organic, this can be a real turn-off for many people, and understandably so. Personally I don’t mind spending a bit more on products I know are clear of chemicals and made from companies that care for the health and well-being of its consumers.
The way I see it is some people are happy to spend lots of money on drinking every weekend or purchasing the latest technology, but will buy the cheapest foods at the supermarket to meet their budget.
I find a recognisable value in growing your own organic vegetables, fruits and herbs at home. You can do this even in the smallest of city units- just choose pots that can sit on windowsills or pavers if you don’t have any space for a garden.
It is a real asset in this day and age as even those consumers that make seemingly healthy food choices in the fruit & vegetable section of supermarkets are not going to be left untouched from cancer, as multiple pesticides and fungicides are used to develop a healthy crop that meets high supermarket standard. It’s just a matter of trial and error on how to grow your own garden at home without the use of chemicals.
Remember at home you can also very easily control the level of nutrients in the soil when you turn over your crop. Soil depletion is an ever growing issue in large-scale crops, with supermarket produce stripped of many vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be traceable in the fruit or vegetable, due to poor soil quality.
The future of supermarkets and organic living
Fortunately there has been a lot of growth in this area over the past few years with many organic options being available at restaurants and cafes. This is a great sign that people are beginning to take notice of what’s really going on.
As far as supermarkets are concerned, one big-named supermarket “Aldi” is taking a stand on manufacturing affordable organic foods (http://www.businessinsider.com.au/aldi-is-fixing-is-biggest-weakness-and-that-should-terrify-whole-foods-2016-1?r=US&IR=T ) and hopefully this will in-turn have a domino effect on all other chain supermarkets.
It is my aim that this article, along with many other articles and information available on the internet will raise more awareness into cancer and its true origins. Let’s not be blasé about it all, stop wondering what the hell is causing it and investigate for yourself on how not to stand in the way of its destructive path.