Why have cancer rates skyrocketed in the last 100 years? Statistics point to a clear answer: most of us are living longer. However, cancer is not only occurring at older ages, but in some types of cancer, rates are actually increasing at younger ages, particularly when it comes to colon cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, "Based on current trends, they predict that by 2030 the incidence rates among people ages 20 – 34 years will increase by 90% for colon cancer and by 124.2% for rectal cancer. Among people ages 35 – 49 years, they predict the incidence rates will increase by 27.7% for colon cancer and by 46% for rectal cancer."
Here's my hypothesis for the top 6 (diet and lifestyle related) reasons why. You'll be surprised by how many of these you can control:
1) While Americans are well FED, they are not well nourished.
How can you expect the body to maintain the homeostasis that keeps cancer cells at bay if your body doesn't have the raw materials to function properly? From the increases in processed food, the introduction of genetically modified foods (GMOs), the widespread use of herbicides that chelate mineral levels, to eating fat free diets, and not eating the whole animal (leading to inflammation), it's clear the majority of Americans are not giving their body the proper nutrition it needs.
The American diet needs more organic food along with strategic nutrients that you only get when you eat the whole animal. My favorite "easy buttons" for whole animal eating are collagen and a small dose of an organ complex. Unless of course you're eating tendon and beef heart on the regular...
Nutritional deficiencies can also be paired with nutrient excesses (namely, vitamin A, calcium or iron), a problem that can be made even worse with multivitamins and non-strategic supplementation. That's why it's always best to know your own nutrient levels before starting a supplement regimen.
Otherwise you could just be putting gasoline on a fire...
2) Increased estrogen levels from the pill and hormone replacement.
The birth control pill was not introduced until 1960, when the first high estrogen oral contraceptive Enovid was approved by the FDA. According to Dr. Ray Peat, PhD, "Cancer, abnormal blood clotting, and infertility were known to be caused by estrogen before 1940, but at the same time the drug companies began calling estrogen “the female hormone,” and claiming that it would improve fertility."
Today, I don't know many women who either have not or are not taking synthetic estrogen in some form. Clearly a variable that has not been around for much more than 50 years! How can we continue to ignore the fact that more estrogen means higher cancer rates, and thus taking oral estrogen is NOT the best idea?
To compound the issue, estrogen must be detoxified by the liver, as it's seen as a poison after it's served its purpose in the body: "Normally, the liver treats estrogen like a poison, removing it immediately from the body. If the liver gets sluggish from malnutrition or too much estrogen (or other damage), it can allow the hormone to build up to very high levels” -Ray Peat, PhD
If you have improper nutrition, it can inhibit the liver's ability to detoxify estrogen and remove it from the body.
3) Herbicide Laden Foods (non organic food)
In 1974 the molecule glyphosate was invented. What is glyphosate? It's the active ingredient in the incredibly popular and widely used herbicide Roundup. Roundup is widely used in GMO crops as well as sprayed on non-organic produce to help increase crop yields and reduce pests.
It's basically in everything you consume in varying amounts depending on if you eat organic or not.
Sounds okay, right?
Wrong. Glyphosate is now entangled in many lawsuits because of its negative health implications. It's also been shown to increase cancer risk and is linked to nutritional depletion (namely, iron, cobalt, molybdenum, and copper). This makes glyphosate-containing foods something you definitely want to minimize as much as possible.
While there's no way to completely avoid it, eating organic and avoiding GMOs is the best way to reduce your intake of synthetic herbicides, specifically glyphosate.
4) Introduction of vegetable oils into the American diet causing systemic inflammation in the body.
In the early turn of the century, vegetable oils were introduced into the food supply as a result of the growing corn and soybean industries. Did you know that vegetable oils (called polyunsaturated fats) can damage all systems of the body? Even if you avoid vegetable oils in your own home in favor of healthy saturated fats like butter, you're still subject to them every time you go to a restaurant, fast food chain or when you eat processed foods.
According to Dr. Ray Peat, PhD, an excess of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are known a contributor to cancer, particularly breast cancer:
“Polyunsaturated fats are another clearly identified cause of cancer, especially breast cancer. These fats synergize with estrogen, and sensitize to radiation. Their effects on the mother can be seen in the offspring, as an increased tendency to develop breast or prostate cancer.” Ray Peat, PhD
5) Increased stress of all kinds (poor digestion, not enough calories, mental/emotional stress, environmental stress, malnutrition and more).
The body's ability to adapt and respond to stress depends upon the nutrition we give it. If we are not digesting our food properly to absorb nutrients, or not eating enough, or eating too much empty food or bombarding the body with environmental stressors, how can we expect it to maintain the balance or homeostasis that helps keep us healthy and disease free?
“When cells are fully nourished, supplied with protective hormones, and properly illuminated, their ability to communicate should be able to govern their movements, preventing–and possibly reversing–metastatic migration.” Ray Peat, PhD.
6) The cancer industry depends on diagnosing more and more people every year to keep it growing.
Cancer is multi-billion dollar business, and the survival of the cancer industry depends on you following the status quo. Although there is certainly a conflict of interest between the industry and education for improved prevention.
Time for a shift: You have control of the environment in your body!
It's the environment in the body that allows cancer to grow. Why not change the environment to prevent cancer? According to Ray Peat, PhD, "Oncological pathologists, looking at slices of a tumor, believe they can guess when the cells have an evil intention. However, biologists studying living cells find that cells can do only what they are allowed to do by their environment." This suggests that if the body environment is changed, it can influence the cells behavior!
Agree? Oppose? If you don't think the internal environment of your body play a role in the creation, and the disappearance of cancer, I challenge you to watch this video and be open to a shift in your thinking.
"Mina Bissell's groundbreaking research has proven that cancer is not only caused by cancer cells. It is caused by an interaction between cancer cells and the surrounding cellular micro-environment. In healthy bodies, normal tissue homeostasis and architecture inhibit the progression of cancers. But changes in the microenvironment--following an injury or a wound for instance--can shift the balance. This explains why many people harbor potentially malignant tumors in their bodies without knowing it and never develop cancer, and why tumors often develop when tissue is damaged or when the immune system is suppressed." (source)
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.com/mikle15