Fighting Cancer

by Joan DiGiovanni.

My dad is always giving me books to read. Whether political, historical or health related, he hasn’t given me one yet that I haven’t enjoyed or found worthwhile (wait a minute, I take that back, he once gave me a book about survival and it made me anxious so I never finished it). The most recent book he passed on was Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber. As I mentioned in a prior blog, my mom has been undergoing treatment for bile duct cancer so I wasn’t surprised by the title…what I was pleasantly surprised about as I made my way through it, was the fact that it’s a great book for everyone whether they have cancer or not. It’s a book about healthy living with practical, commonsense ways to help ward off cancer.

David Servan-Schreiber is a physician who, at the age of 31, discovers he has brain cancer with his own brain-scanning equipment. He chronicles his journey through his initial treatment, his relapse and then the creation of what he calls, ‘anticancer practices’. Seventeen years later, he now finds himself cancer free.

As Dr. Servan-Schreiber writes, all of us have cancer cells in our bodies but not all of us will develop cancer. With certain life adjustments, we can discourage the growth of these bad cells. Are you aware of the foods that can slow down and even prevent cancer or a relapse? Do you know that refined sugar, bleached flour, and vegetable oils directly fuel the growth of cancer? Amidst his personal story, Dr. Servan-Schreiber discusses a 3-pronged approach to combat cancer cells. He addresses nutrition, the environment and the mind-body connection.

  • Relative to the foods we eat, some are cancer ‘promoters’ whereby they fuel cancer growth while others, the ‘anti-promoters’, block the mechanism that cancer cells need to grow. Getting to know which foods are anticancer foods will help you on your journey to staying healthy. The book provides a quite handy section detailing various foods that will benefit your diet. You may find those foods here.
  • Environmentally, we have drastically disrupted our surroundings with toxic chemicals whether they are in the air we breathe or in the foods we eat. Starting in our home, eliminating harmful chemical household cleaners and insecticides will reduce our daily exposure to cancer causing substances. Get to know which foods in the produce section at your local grocery store have significant pesticide residue and buy organic instead. Reheat food in glass or ceramic containers and always avoid plastics made with PVC.
  • Lastly Dr. Servan-Schreiber emphasizes the importance of a mind and body connection and its role in promoting a healthy immune system. Incorporating mediation, yoga and ‘mindfulness’ into our lives has been shown to help keep our body functioning harmoniously and healthfully. While I was reading the book, I even felt compelled to download a guided mediation of mindfulness to my laptop. I can now incorporate this quiet time into my life in an easy, practical way as my laptop is never far from my fingertips; I even have the benefit of selecting the duration of the meditation (3, 10 or 20 minutes) depending on what’s going on in my life on a particular day.

As you can see, Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s advice is practical and by making gradual changes to our lives with his anticancer practices, we can effectively keep cancer cells in our bodies at bay. His practices promote healthy living. If you are living with cancer, Dr. Servan-Schrieber does not advocate that his methods should be used in lieu of conventional treatment like radiation and chemotherapy; they can be used to complement traditional approaches. To become and remain healthy, eating right, controlling our environment as best we can, and connecting our mind and body are life adjustments from which we can all benefit.

If you don’t have time to read his book, you’ll find much of Dr. Servan-Schreiber’s advice on his website (click here).

Keep the books coming dad!

©Circle of Life Partners™