Today, February 4th, is recognized as World Cancer Day. The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day centers around debunking the myths of cancer. In particular, the message is focused on these four common myths:
–We don’t need to talk about cancer.
-Cancer….there are no signs or symptoms.
-There is nothing I can do about cancer.
-I don’t have the right to cancer care.
It is the third myth….”There is nothing I can do about cancer” that really grabbed my attention. When my treatments ended, I really believed that there was nothing I could do about cancer. I felt like a helpless victim. But not anymore!
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the “Radical Remission of Cancer”; those seemingly miraculous cures of “incurable” cancer. You can read about it here. Once thought a fluke of nature, and referred to as “spontaneous remissions”, researchers are now discovering common attributes among these miracle survivors. I am very interested in reading Dr. Kelly Turner’s book, “Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds”, due to be released next month. After examining more than a thousand cases of radical remission and interviewing survivors from all over the world, Dr. Turner has uncovered 9 common threads among these miracle survivors. I cannot wait to learn about her findings!
In our book, “100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It”, we make reference to a similar book by Tami Boehmer (“From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds”) . In her book, Ms. Boehmer found 8 common characteristics among the people she interviewed. These were:
-refusing to buy into statistics and the death sentences many of them were given
-never giving up, no matter what
-relying on support from family, loved ones, or support groups
-choosing to look on the bright side and see the gifts cancer brings
-giving back and making a difference in other people’s lives
-having a strong sense of faith
-being proactive participants in their health care
-viewing their lives as transformed by the experience
It will be interesting to find out whether Dr. Turner found similar characteristics among her miracle survivors.
My co-author, Susan, and I have our own theories on how to increase your odds of surviving cancer and reduce your risk of a cancer reoccurrence. We believe that the most effective treatment focuses not just on healing the body, but also on healing the mind and the spirit.
Healing the Body
We believe that your fight with cancer does not end when your treatment ends. Rather, it requires a lifelong commitment to healthy living. Like Tami Boehmer, we encourage people to be active participants in their own health care. We also promote healthy living practices such as exercise (which can reduce your risk of a cancer reoccurrence by as much as 40%) and eating a mainly plant based diet (which can reduce your risk by as much as 30%). “100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It” talks about hundreds of other healthy living tips for cancer prevention.
Healing the Mind
We are also strong believers in the mind-body connection and through our research we have learned that your mental attitude can impact a great deal on your physical health. Therefore working on healing your mental state is as important as healing your body. There are actually exercises that you can do each day, such as practicing affirmations, which can change your mental outlook. This in turn can have a positive impact on your physical health.
Healing the Spirit
Finally, we believe that true healing requires a healthy spirit in addition to a healthy body and mind. Having a sense of hope and faith have been linked to improved physical health. There are many other practices presented in our book, such as forgiveness exercises and mindfulness, which can promote a healthy spirit.
Cancer is a disease that not only wreaks havoc on the body, but can also leave deep emotional and mental scars and sometimes a broken spirit. If your goal is to give yourself the best odds of surviving cancer, you need a plan! This plan must address the health of all areas of your being: body, mind and spirit.