Lifestyle, Obesity and the Cancer Connection

By on October 2, 2018
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by Tami Mungenast CPT, CNWC

Cancer affects people of various ages and ethnicities but experts believe that only 5-10% of cancers are caused by heredity.  Scientists point to three main categories of risk factors that contribute to cancer development. Chemicals (smoking, diet, inhalation, etc.); Radiation (x rays, ultraviolet and radioactive material); and Viruses and Bacteria (HPV, Hepatitis B, Epstein Barr Virus). With most cancers being environmental or lifestyle there are actions that can be done to help limit our exposure to these risks. One of the most important factors that can significantly reduce our risks is our weight which can be improved through diet and exercise. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the latest Vital Signs report 40% of all cancers diagnosis in the United States is related to obesity. In 2014, 630,000 people were diagnosed with cancer that were directly associated to being overweight. People who are obese have more fat tissue which can produce an excess of hormones such as insulin, estrogen and androgens. These hormones in excess can be dangerous and cause cancer cells to thrive, grow and metastasize. Being overweight increases the risk of 13 different types of cancers including breast cancer (especially in menopausal women), colon, rectum, endometrium cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney and esophageal cancers. Avoiding weight gain all together is best but if you are overweight weight loss is still worth the effort for improved health opportunities and decreased cancer risks. Making positive changes in diet and exercise can drastically impact overall body fat and reduce weight into a healthier range. Not only can it significantly reduce cancer risks, but also risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and dementia as well as improve overall mood and energy levels.  

There are two essentials to help you maintain good health and prevent risks for disease, improved diet and regular exercise. To improve your diet start by removing the highly processed foods that are high in carbs/sugar. These foods increase inflammation and encourage cancer cell growth. Learn what types of foods naturally help reduce cancer like leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, berries, nuts and seeds. By swapping out the unhealthy foods for cancer fighting foods you can boost your body’s ability to destroy cancer cells. Regular exercise, especially aerobic, helps increase oxygen and nourish cells, creating more cellular energy and break down of waste products and toxin removal. Exercise also helps regulate pH balance, strengthens the immune system which is ultimately responsible for fighting off invading hostile organisms.  

With improved diet and exercise the body will have overall improvements on the metabolism which also helps improve the lymph system and make it more efficient in detoxifying the body.