A genetic explanation for the causes of cancer has two very enticing characteristics for the conventional medical world. First, cancer explained by genetic mutations takes treatment possibilities out of the hands of those diagnosed with cancer and places treatment squarely in the hands of high-tech medicine. Second, genetic research and its related technologies are extremely lucrative for the medical industry.
The blunt fact is this: it's unquestionable that the vast majority of cancers are not genetic in origin. In large part, cancer is caused by lifestyle factors. Framing cancer as a genetic disease disempowers those with the diagnosis, creating the illusion that cancer is, in essence, hardwired. By recognizing the role of diet, the environment and other factors, several new avenues for both prevention and treatment open up to patients.
The genetic alterations found in cancer cells are not random events. Very specific genes are getting activated in cancer cells, while other genes are getting turned off. This happens in systematic ways, which have been documented in multiplestudies. By calling these changes random, the conventional cancer paradigm ignores the factors that bring them about.
The second problem with thinking cancers are driven by mutations is that a wide range of important therapies get cast aside in favor of high-tech interventions. Ironically, over 700 “genetic therapies” for cancer have now been proposed, yet not a single one has been shown to significantly improve outcomes over non-genetic therapies. But the research and the enormous spending on this continues, yet another factor that drives up health care costs for us all.
The expression of genes is regulated by specific molecules. Those molecules are not patentable, not synthesized in a lab, not designed by chemists; they're supplied through diet. One of these molecules is called butyrate and is produced by the healthy gut bacteria when they digest soluble fiber. This is one critical link between our digestive function, our genetic health and our cancer risk.
A second molecule is known by its chemical makeup, which is called a “methyl group.” Various nutrients in the diet provide methyl groups, and these compounds get sprinkled over the DNA to regulate when genes are turned on and off. If butyrate and/or methyl groups are in short supply, then a primary regulator of genetic expression is lost.
Correcting digestive health and function and supplying methyl groups in the diet are not stand-alone cures for cancer. Nothing is a stand-alone cure, alternative or conventional. However, it's silly not to supply these nutrients if the goal is long-term regulation of the genes that awaken to meet the needs of the cancerous cell.
High-tech medicine searches for high-tech causes and high-tech cures for cancer. This program has consumed billions of research dollars, employed tens of thousands of researchers, resulted in thousands of published papers, led to hundreds of patents and enormous profits, and motivated perhaps millions to participate in fundraising walks, runs, jogs, bike races, swims, parades and other events. But the real results this genetic emphasis has produced in terms of cases prevented or successfully treated are dismal.
The promises of genetic cures for cancer are a mirage. And while the medical industry continues its unrelenting drive for high-tech remedies, cancer patients would be wise to learn more about the wide range of therapies available to them that can help bring cancer under control.
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!