Developing Cancer is the number 1 fear for most people¹ – it is estimated that more than 1 in 3 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Hence it touches a huge number of people either directly through developing it yourself or through knowing someone who has had the disease.
Huge amounts of research effort are being invested to better understand how the disease develops, what are the triggers and developing effective treatment options. Whilst some cancers are now on the decrease eg lung and ovarian cancer the overall incidence of cancer continues to increase².
The central feature of cancer is the development of abnormal cells that grow beyond their normal environment with the ability to spread to other tissues. In order for a cell to transform into a cancer cell, the genetic material controlling cell growth and differentiation are altered.
Normal cells have multiple control mechanisms to ensure cell growth is carefully regulated and any abnormal cells that develop are identified by the body’s immune system and removed. In a healthy state these control processes maintain this state of vigilance which effectively keeps cancer development at bay. It may develop when genetic changes occur and when these monitoring systems break down.
It is clear that many environmental factors affect our risks of developing cancer. Bacteria, viruses, pollution, sun exposure, radiation, carcinogenic materials as well as lifestyle and diet can all play a role in affecting the risk of developing cancer. Research from the World Cancer research fund indicates that over 30% of all cancers are potentially preventable through making adjustments to our environmental factors which include lifestyle and diet modifications³. Nutrition therefore plays an important role in preventing its development alongside other important lifestyle modifications each as exercise and stress management.
Nutrition in Cancer Care There are a number of nutritional strategies that you can implement and take control of as you manage your cancer. Staying nutritionally fortified is one positive way to take control. Achieving optimal nutrition allows your body to function at its best and can provide many benefits for people living with cancer:
Support immune function
Preserve lean body cell mass
Rebuild body tissue
Decrease your risk of infection
Improve strength and increase energy
Improve your tolerance to treatment
Help you recuperate faster after treatment
Improve quality of life
Nutrition is not a treatment or cure for cancer and does not replace or substitute for care you will receive from your Oncology or other specialist provider. Rather, nutritional therapy aims to provide support for core physiological processes as the body deals with both the cancer and treatment being received. The nutrition support is designed to work safely alongside your specialist conventional programme and to complement this programme. It is therefore essential that your Gp/ Oncologist / Consultant provider are consulted with and fully informed about any nutritional programme developed for you.
Testimonial Our relationship with Emma and her therapy has been to assess and prescribe my partner a nutritional diet and supplements to assist her in her healing journey. She has also helped me throughout my pregnancy, birth recovery and breast feeding. We have been greatly educated and empowered to implement these changes and obtain the supplements by Emma. Emma always has such a no-nosense, practical yet positive attitude which lifts our spirits. I especially am grateful to Emma for the many questions and guidance I have asked for, she always answers my emails and texts and that is something I very much value, this has giving me the tools to manage the dietary changes more seamlessly and confidence to explore and experiment with our own ideas. It is so great to have Emma on our team. Mandy Brown and Delaney Igbo, 2015