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Reducing cancer risk with positive diet & lifestyle changes

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Increasing Incidence of Cancer

The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains that ageing is a “fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build up of risks for specific cancers that increase with age.”

Cancer has become a feared yet integral part of modern life. With Cancer Research UK now warning that half of the population born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime, it can seem at times as though our lives exist in the shadow of this disease.

The Importance of Lifestyle Changes

Even the conventional sources state that 40% of cancers are preventable through lifestyle measures. Every step that you make to improve your health can have an impact, decreasing your chances of developing every form of cancer. Our goal at the Bagnall Centre is to empower every person who walks through our doors with the knowledge that they can take simple steps to improve their health.

Cancer is not a pathogenic illness. It is a malfunction at a cellular level of your own body, becoming severe enough to be classified as a disease. It seems that there are two logical approaches to reduce your risk of this happening. Either the conditions which cultivate this cellular malfunction must be changed, or you must strengthen your immune system sufficiently so it is able to deal with mutated cells before they are able to become a problem. The good news is that most of the lifestyle changes you can implement will achieve both of these simultaneously.

Nutrition

We know that our cells need the correct fuel in order to function correctly. Not only does proper nutrition support the healthy development of cells, decreasing the likelihood of malfunction and mutations, but it also provides the immune system with what it needs to function optimally and do its vital job of protecting the body not only from external pathogens, but also from internal cells when they deviate from their correct function.

Whilst this knowledge may be intuitive, we can often struggle to connect this to everyday dietary choices. It is vital that we are mindful of what ingredients we supply our bodies with on a daily basis. Remember the phrase “You are what you eat”.

At the Bagnall Centre, we offer support and education on nutrition with our nutritional therapists and wellbeing experts, as well as practical cookery classes, to those who can feel overwhelmed by what can often seem to be a conflicting and constantly evolving field of research.

Mental Health & Exercise

You may have heard of the placebo effect, however you may not realise the immense influence that this concept actually has over your state of wellbeing. Our mental state has an incredibly powerful effect on overall health.

Prolonged and elevated levels of stress, anxiety or depression can all dramatically decrease the function and effectiveness of your immune system. In the modern world, we often do not take the time to address our mental wellbeing until more severe problems present themselves, but even our general outlook on life can impact our health.

Cancer patients who have an optimistic view of their chances have been shown to have better outcomes, and even alleviating feelings of isolation or receiving emotional support from family and friends can impact tumour growth rate.

At the Bagnall Centre we offer support for mental health as well as physical health, from counselling services to mindfulness practices such as Yoga and Meditation. We have also recently started to offer Qigong classes, the practice of which has been shown in trials to hugely benefit cancer patients, both during and in recovery from treatment.

Practices such as Qigong, Tao Chi, Yoga and other exercise classes, offer benefits for both your physical and mental health. Our hormones are designed for use in fight-or-flight situations, so physical exertion can allow you to utilise adrenaline and cortisol in a healthy way, which has been demonstrated to help release and reduce elevated stress levels.

Exercise is an incredibly powerful tool for improving your body’s general function, and will help to maintain healthy cellular function, as well as increase your immunity.

References

http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer

http://time.com/5396246/global-cancer-burden/

https://www.curetoday.com/publications/cure/2018/summer-2018/presence-of-mind-tips-for-combatting-chemo-brain

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/press-release/2018-03-23-more-than-2500-cancer-cases-a-week-could-be-avoided