In 2010, professor Rosalie David of Manchester University, “There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”
I mentioned earlier Dr Price, who travelled around the world visiting remote communities. He once interviewed Josef Romig, an American doctor who had lived with the Inuits and north Indians and found that over 35 years of giving them medical care, there was not a single case of cancer. In every village that Josef visited, as long as they were existing on their traditional diet and had stayed disconnected from Westernisation, that there were no chronic diseases and no tooth decay. But in those villages that had started eating Westernised processed foods, cancer and other chronic illnesses were rife. But it wasn’t just the Inuits who were cancer-free. The lead doctor on the islands of the Torres Strait (in particular Thursday Island), told Dr Price that in the 13 years he was posted there, of the 4,000 inhabitants, he did not come across a single person suffering from cancer.
I was going to start this piece by saying something like, “Cancer has only been around for a few hundred years and therefore it is in the main caused by all of the chemicals that are being injected into packaged foods”. Then I came across some research where, in a Scythian burial site in Russia, they discovered the 2,700-year-old human remains of a man whose bones were riddled with tumours. But the more articles you read by experts in aetiology and pathogenesis (the study of the history of illnesses), it seems that while cancer may have been around for a very long time, it was extremely rare until the last century. My theory would be that in these rare cases of caveman cancer, they were most likely caused by them being lousy cooks and constantly burning their food (burnt food can be carcinogenic). In Prescription for Nutritional Healing, which has sold more than 8 million copies, author Phyllis A. Balch writes, “When burning fat drips onto an open flame, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – dangerous carcinogens – are formed. When amino acids and other chemicals found in muscle are exposed to high temperature, other carcinogens, called heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs), are created”. Now the worrying thing is not only are these the likely cause of caveman cancer, but these very same chemicals caused by overcooking proteins is, in fact, how they actually induce cancer in animals during laboratory trials!
Back to my main point. The growth rate in cases of cancer is nothing short of a pandemic. According to Cancer Research UK, one in two people will now at some time in their life be diagnosed with cancer. They do go on to say that through advancements in healthcare 50% of people with cancer beat the illness, but the growth in numbers is still concerning. Cancer Research UK state on their website, “More than three-quarters of all people diagnosed in the UK are over the age of 60”. So, it seems logical that the older we become, the more precautions we should take to avoid this horrible disease.
In The Scientific Approach to Intermittent Fasting, Dr Michael VanDerschelden shares some alarming growth in cancer rates. He says that in the early 1900s only one in 20 people developed cancer. This grew to one in 16 by the 1940s and one in 10 by the 1970s. He finishes by saying that, “Today, a whopping one in three develop cancer!” And of course, we have read above, that with an ageing population there is now a one in two chance that we will develop cancer at some point in our life, most likely after we are 60 years old.
I don’t mean to frighten you with the bleak picture painted above, but I do intend to shock you into realising we need to do everything we can to reduce the likelihood of being in the wrong 50%. I lost both grandfathers, my wonderful grandmother and my amazing auntie Avis to cancer. We tragically lost our children’s nannie Laura to cancer in her twenties and last year my daughters gifted piano teacher, Carl, sadly died of cancer at just 34 years of age. I am sure you have had similar tragedies. So, let’s focus really hard right now on what we can do to increase our odds. Do I really think it’s possible? Absolutely. If cancer is growing at an alarming rate, there has to be a cause. If our primal ancestors rarely suffered defeat to cancer, if it affected only one in 20 some 100 years ago, then surely we can change our odds from one in two back to better than one in 20 by adopting a lifestyle and diet from a bygone age.
But what is cancer? While they are all slightly different and can form almost anywhere in the body, in all cases they begin when some of the body’s cells start to divide and multiply and spread (metastasise) into surrounding tissues. Under normal conditions, when our old cells die in a natural process known as apoptosis (around 10 billion per day), new cells grow but only when the body requires them. If this orderly process breaks down, cancer may develop. Once cancer starts to develop, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, but at the same time extra new cells that should replace them continue to form. This leads to abnormal growths known as tumours. When tumours are malignant, they can spread into surrounding tissues. Often, they can break off and travel via the blood or the lymph system to other parts of the body. Even after removal, there is a potential that they may return. Benign tumours are contained and do not spread. When benign tumours are removed, they usually don’t grow back.
Compiled from the in-depth research I have done and from discussing with our magnificent contributors, here are the top 14 things I believe we can all do to best defend ourselves against the terrible disease that is cancer. And it is not pie in the sky thinking. Even the World Cancer Research Fund believes that 30 to 50% of all cancers are preventable:
- Don’t smoke. Period!
- Intermittently fast. Frequently put our body into repair mode.
- Don’t consume CARBS and other sugars. This isn’t news, 75 years ago Dr Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology for discovering it. He explained, “Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarised in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar”.
- Avoid packaged foods, hydrogenated fats and processed meat (trust the cow, not the chemist).
- Eat organically and avoid poisonous pesticides.
- Avoid poisons/toxins. We shouldn’t put anything onto our skin that we wouldn’t be happy to eat.
- Don’t burn food as it can be carcinogenic.
- Move more, exercise regularly and get active. Adopt the MOMMS principle.
- Avoid stress.
- Make it a habit to get between seven and nine hours sleep.
- Don’t consume too much alcohol.
- Try to tune our body into a ketogenic fat-burning machine (remember that cancer needs sugar to develop and grow). Dr Gary Fettke, both a doctor and a cancer survivor says, “So you think you need sugar? Your cancer needs it more”.
- If you are not feeling well, go and see a GP. While this won’t help avoid cancer, most cancers are now treatable if caught early.
- Avoid obesity. According to Cancer Research UK, obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK (more on this from Dr Patrick Holford in a moment).
Other than in the listing, I haven’t yet talked about how a ketogenic diet could help prevent and possibly cure certain cancers. If you have been keeping up with me so far, you might not be surprised by this statement, as going keto means avoiding the very thing that cancer thrives off, sugar. Admittedly, at the moment there isn’t heaps of scientific evidence to prove my hypothesis. However, in Keto Clarity, author Jimmy Moore quotes scientist John Kiefer, “I’ve worked with a woman who had stage IV cancer. She was told to go and see her friends right away, because she had less than three months to live. That was six months ago, and now she has a clean bill of health... The power of ketogenic diets is simply astonishing. More accurately, it’s astonishing to see how poisonous carbohydrates can be”.
Deborah Colson MSc
What role can nutrition play in cancer prevention?The body is producing cells which could potentially be cancerous all of the time and the immune system is obviously constantly on the lookout. There are about seven different points at which the immune system can intervene to prevent what might be pre-cancerous from becoming full- blown cancer, and those steps, in general, are nutrient dependant. For example, there is one step on the prevention pathway, which cannot happen if you’re vitamin D deficient, so we know the size of the role of the importance of vitamin D against prevention. Zinc is another one that’s really important along that pathway as well.
Patrick, you have written a book called Say No To Cancer. Please give us some advice on what we can do to decrease our risk of getting it?
We do know that in most cancers, sugar feeds cancer cell growth. And there is a terribly simple proof of this. If you are suspected of having cancer, you have what is called a PET scan. And with a PET scan, they inject you with fluoridated glucose; sugar, and it finds the cancer cells because the sugar goes to the cancer cell. So, when Cancer Research said that obesity was a big cause of cancer; it’s not the obesity that is causing cancer, but the sugar that drives both obesity and many cancers. And for example, recent research in Italy attributes 15% of breast cancer with eating sweets and sweet food; so certainly, sugar is a factor. We also know that the more antioxidants that you can eat in fruit and veg, especially multi-coloured foods etc, reduces the risks. Having a lot of vitamin C definitely reduces risks. And one of the hardest things to get a measure on is all of the chemicals that we are exposed to. For example, pesticides and herbicides are basically substances that are designed to kill, and what happens is that we get a smaller amount of them over a longer period of time. That could be a factor. Stress is also a factor.
Professor Tim Noakes
I think the next big breakthrough area is going to be cancer. I am not suggesting cancer is purely nutritionally based, but I have read enough now to know that there are many things you can do if you have cancer, you still need some of the traditional treatments but, much reduced. What happens with cancer is that the treatment is so barbaric, and it’s likely to kill more people than it helps. But if you just reduce the dose of those killing treatments, and use a whole bunch of other stuff, and look at nutrition particularly, and the low carb diet is central for almost all cancers. And there is a whole load of other things that you need to do; we can start doing something about cancer in the same way as we are now doing something about diabetes. But unfortunately, just like diabetes, which is controlled by the insulin manufacturers, oncology (the study of cancer) is controlled by the people selling toxic medications. They are not about to suddenly change. But we will relentlessly try and force them to do so.
Author Patrick Holford
What we have started to realise is that when you go on to a certain kind of ketogenic diet, it triggers a cellular repair process called autophagy, and that is also what happens when you fast. But when you have a lot of carbs, it’s growth. And the big problem with humanity is that we are eating non-stop carbs. So, we have over-growth; obesity is widespread. But we also have the growth disease like cancer. Just imagine for a minute. A cell in the body, in order for it to switch to a cancer cell, has to have an environment which is really hostile. So, we have created an environment for ourselves that is so significantly hostile that one in two people are now likely to develop cancer.