Cancer is a really scary thing. It seems like almost every day I either see a patient being diagnosed or hear of another friend being diagnosed with some form of cancer. Ongoing research has offered so many advancements in how we diagnose and treat cancer but still, too many people are turning up with too many forms of cancer. I recently read an article in Harvard Magazine highlighting the hereditary link in certain types of cancers.
The dermatologist in me reads this article and recalls all of the skin cancers that I have seen in patients. Skin cancer is highly heritable but with early detection it is usually 100% curable. If you or a first degree relative have had a history of skin cancer, it is important that all other first degree relatives have regular skin checks by a Board Certified Dermatologist. Educate your family members on the ABCDE’s of skin cancer and on the importance of using sunscreen on a daily basis. Protect your children from UV rays with sunscreen and protective clothing. If you do notice something suspicious on your skin, visit a Board Certified Dermatologist as soon as possible. Early detection is critical!
Back to the article, the optimist in me reads this and considers the fact that 1/3 of cancers are very heritable, which means that 2/3 are not. Think about that for a minute. By reducing exposure to toxic substances and fueling your body with good, clean food, you can actually decrease your likelihood of getting cancer (the non-genetic cancers that is). Our genes are not our destiny and good, clean food can be our best medicine. Even in the instance of highly heritable cancers, environmental modifications can help! Take this example – You have two identical twins with a strong family history of melanoma. One twin is a sun worshiper, smoker, and does not take very good care of himself. The second twin wears sunscreen, avoids the sun, eats well, and exercises plenty. Which twin is more likely to end of up with skin cancer? In my book, it’s genes + environment that usually determines what diseases we get. Science backs up this view point.
In my home, we have taken steps to proactively limit our exposure to everyday carcinogens. We avoid processed junk food and artificial sweeteners and fuel our bodies with organic foods that are packed with antioxidants which helps to repair damaged cells. We exercise on a regular basis (obesity has been linked to increase risks of certain types of cancers) and encourage an active lifestyle for our children. We don’t smoke and consume alcohol only in moderation. We limit the use of BPA, avoid personal care products that contain certain chemicals like phthalates, sulfates etc and use natural cleaning products. I could fill pages and pages about how we are striving to live ‘clean’. I say strive, because I am practical. I am a working woman, and a mom, and busy just like everyone else. Are we always perfect, no. But, we try our best.
With all of this information, I would like to introduce a new segment that I am planning for my Blog – CLEANhealth. Look for CLEANhealth blog posts and CLEANtips on my social media channels to highlight how I have created a CLEAN environment for my family. I know that this CLEAN lifestyle will help to protect us from many forms of cancer and that is something that gives me comfort.
If you have taken an initiative to create a clean environment for your family, I would love to feature you on my blog. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.