The following is a précis of two articles that first appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph in February and March 2000.

"SAY NO TO CANCER" According to one of Britain's top medical scientists, Sir Robert Doll ninety percent of all cancers are caused by environmental factors. The most conservative experts say that at least seventy five percent of cancers are associated with environmental and life style factors.”

The quotation is from a new book by Patrick Holford called Say No To Cancer. It is the first no nonsense publication I have seen that is designed for easy reading and supported by a mass of references from orthodox sources to validate his comments.

As a recovered cancer patient myself I feel it is time everyone had a chance to understand the various risk factors associated with developing cancer. As clinician I am aware that prevention is a lot easier and cheaper than waiting for a cure. I am also aware that prevention means change and usually there has to be a good reason to consider change. All to often the reason for change is pain. In my own case I had to be life threatened before I would consider change. I would ask my readers not to be that stupid.

The medical world is not geared up to teach prevention which may make this article seem a little far fetched until you consider the top five cancers, lung, breast, stomach, colorectal and prostrate were virtually unheard of before the early twentieth century. In other words the growth in incidence parallels the industrialisation and chemicalisation of our world. Significantly the more developed the country the greater the mortality due to cancer. Clearly changes in our life style over the last eighty years have greatly contributed to our risk of developing cancer, the current prediction is that within twenty years fifty percent of us will face such a diagnosis at some point in our life.

It is rare for a primary cancer to kill the patient but the development of secondaries can. Unfortunately preventing cancer provides little or no profit for anyone, particularly the pharmaceutical and food industries. This is why virtually all research is channelled into cure. There is a huge cost not just financially but physically and emotionally to every one that finishes up with a diagnosis of cancer.

All to often I meet patients who have been subjected to radiation, chemotherapy, surgery etc. some two to three years previous only to find in the present they are dealing with metastasis, i.e. secondaries. It is clear to me at the time of the first diagnosis boosting the immune system by change of diet and the use of appropriate supplements coupled with avoiding over exposure to cancer causing chemicals has to improve the prospect of longevity. I was fortunate in 1982, at the time of diagnosis, to find what was then considered as new information about cancer prevention. That knowledge is now much more understood and has been substantially validated. If you wait for government and the health industry to catch up with this common sense advice you could wait for ever.

The biggest hazard is exposure to free radicals. These are found in tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes, industrial pollution, burnt, browned or fried foods, radiation, viruses and bacteria. Logically the first step has to be avoid and/or disarm free radical damage. This is achieved at the cell level of our bodies by providing plenty of anti-oxidants. There have been literally hundreds of these little helpers identified in very basic foods and many are available in the form of food supplements. The best known of these is the vitamins A, C and E plus the mineral Selenium. All studies that have examined people with cancer or those considered having the highest risk of developing cancer all have registered very low levels of these essential nutrients.

Simplistically, the key to reducing the risk of developing cancer is to do anything that will strengthen your immune defences. The advice I was given in 1983 which is just as valid to day was become more vegetarian and avoid coffee, sugar and salt.

The next step is to ensure there is an abundance of crude, uncontaminated foods being consumed daily, with the emphasis on variety. Sources of anti-oxidants include: - sweet potato, carrot, watercress, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, lemon, mango, peppers, pumpkin, strawberries, tomato, cabbage, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, marrow, seeds and cold pressed oils, tuna, mackerel, salmon, wheatgerm, apricots and beans. Most people, in my experience, eat too much meat. This can be a source of contamination but is essential to many people although it does not necessarily need to be consumed on a daily basis. Soya and its derivatives, like tofu, have a particular use. They are high in phyto-estrogens that help to keep out rogue estrogens that originate in plastics and pollution.

At the beginning of the twentieth century when all food was organic and meat was very lean and less available the incidence of cancer was very low. This provides an ample indication that buying organic today should be considered as part of the prevention strategy.

If you want to avoid cancer the time for change is now.

It can be avoided and I would advice, as a fist step everyone to buy the book “ Say No To Cancer” written by Patrick Holford. The simple action of reading it and following its advice could save you and your family a lot of pain. I had to be life threatened before I would consider change. Do not be that stupid!




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