I was compelled to write this newsletter because of what my wife, Mariah, is going through. Mariah was diagnosed with HER2+ Breast Cancer (one of the more aggressive forms) four years ago. The combination of traditional care, holistic care, and diet and nutritional changes have kept her alive and on the road to remission. I want to share some of the information we found helpful on her journey of healing.
Cancer is complicated—it isn’t just one thing. It affects people in many different forms and at many different levels of intensity. Breast cancer, for example, can manifest itself completely differently over many women. But one thing holds true in every case: it’s scary. 1 in 2 men will get cancer and so will 1 in 3 women. 1 in 4 of them will die. With numbers like these, you could say that we are in the midst of a global cancer epidemic. At the moment, finding a cure is just out of our grasp—if a universal cure exists at all. Until we find it, there is at least one other thing that holds true in every case of cancer: there are many different ways to look at it and treat it, and the solution is almost never simple.
One mode of treatment is conventional medicine. But many physicians tend to look at and treat disease in only one, simplified way: narrow in on a particular thing causing the symptoms, and then treat that one thing. Everything else is subtracted out of the equation until some specific factor can be isolated as the cause. In some cases, this is a very effective approach. For example, the pain associated with a broken leg is a direct result of the broken bone. Treatment of the break will then ease the symptom of pain.
But what happens when we can’t single out the cause of a disease or ailment? What if a disease doesn’t even have just one cause? In light of a recent study, trying to find one direct cause of cancer symptoms may be a futile mission. Cancer may not be the result of just one thing, but rather, the result of a combination of things in our environment that affect us on a daily basis—particularly the variety of chemicals we are exposed to almost constantly, like parabens, phthalates, and pesticides, to name a few.
In the study, an international research group of 174 scientists from 28 countries tested the carcinogenic effects of some of the chemicals omnipresent in our environment. When tested individually at low doses, these chemicals have historically been found to be safe. But the problem is, when humans come into contact with them, the chemicals are almost never isolated. Rather, we experience them in mixtures. The things we come into contact with all the time—like food, personal care products, and cleaning agents—usually contain several different chemicals that we experience all at once. The researchers wanted to find out if experiencing chemicals in mixtures, like we do, might lead to a different measure of safety.
What they found is that some of these mixtures could indeed produce carcinogenic symptoms in the body. This means that our current safety evaluation process of testing only one chemical at a time is a vastly inadequate way of determining chemical safety. The question of how chemicals are tested versus how they actually react in the body—from the parabens in your personal care products to the pesticides in the food you eat—has been neglected for too long, and we are paying for it.
To further explain the scope of this problem: there are currently 84,000 different chemicals registered for use within the US Environmental Protection Agency. Here, “registered” simply means that the chemicals are being tracked to some degree. Yet only 14% of the most used chemicals have the minimum amount of data available to judge their safety. William Goodson III, the lead author of the study in question, summed it up best when he wrote: “We’re swimming in this chemical soup…and we really don’t know what it’s doing to us.”
This brings me to a second approach to cancer treatment: the holistic approach. Holistic medicine treats the body in its totality instead of trying to isolate a single cause. When a disease is caused not by one thing, but by several different factors, searching for something to isolate and treat is almost like a wild goose chase. Sometimes, disease is the result of many different irregularities across the body. In these cases, treating the body has a whole can be very effective.
What does treating the body as a whole entail? Things like being aware of your environment, what you’re ingesting, and what you’re putting on your skin. Most holistic health practitioners will use multi-faceted therapies that combine diet, cleanses, supplements, etc. to help treat cancer as opposed to relying on just one drug or life-style change. Therapies and treatments include Ozone therapy, IV Vitamin C, IV glutathione, low-dose naltrexone, and more. While one nutrient on its own may not appear to provide substantial healing benefits, a mixture of nutrients can be extremely potent when trying to improve the overall health of your body.
In the end, it’s important to consider both traditional and holistic treatments in order to get the best possible outcome. Unfortunately cancer remains somewhat mysterious to us and whether there is a universal, best treatment is unclear. Treating your body as a whole will still be an important step for some people in the fight against cancer. Your holistic health practitioner can help you decide if you might be one of those people.
Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.