Perhaps more than any other disease, cancer prompts people to make major life changes. Research suggests that less than 10% of cancers are genetic in origin, meaning that diet, environment and lifestyle are responsible for the rest. Functional medicine looks at the complex interplay of these factors for individuals with a view to restoring healthy functioning to body systems.
After a diagnosis of cancer diet and lifestyle changes can help to support mood, energy and motivation. A carefully planned diet can also minimise treatment side-effects and support immune function; recent research suggests it can even help to increase the effectiveness of your treatment. Post-treatment, paying attention to macro- and micronutrient balance can help to restore your body to full health. Research papers like this one show that optimising nutritional status may be important in preventing recurrence.
Statistics published by Cancer Research UK suggest that 1 in 8 women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. While the popular perception is that cancer strikes at random, we know that certain genes, chronic stress and hormonal disorders like diabetes, obesity, and endometriosis increase the likelihood of diagnosis. Understanding your personal risk factors and making tailored diet and lifestyle changes may help you to stay healthy.
There is no shortage of information about alternative approaches to cancer. So much, in fact, that deciding what to do can add an extra layer of stress. Whether your priority is to prevent occurrence or recurrence, diet and lifestyle change is best approached with an expert guide. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, I will take the time to understand your unique set of circumstances so that we can target the things you need to pay attention to. Making the right changes requires a high degree of self-knowledge, not only in terms of your personality and lifestyle but also in terms of your individual biochemistry. Of course, if you are currently undergoing treatment it’s vital that you keep your medical team informed of any changes you make.
Cancer is rightly viewed as a highly complex disease, one that we don’t fully understand. When trying to support underlying health, it’s natural to look for highly technical and intricate solutions, and I frequently commission functional and genetic tests on behalf of my clients. But it makes sense to look at more obvious lifestyle factors first before digging deeper: diet, sleep, stress, environment, digestion and exercise for example. Correcting something simple can have a profound effect on wellbeing.
With that in mind I have developed an introductory plan called Three Steps to Health, a comprehensive, supportive and personalised health programme that supports biochemical individuality, healthy lifestyle change and optimal nutritional status. The process is designed to be creative, collaborative and enjoyable, and it creates a map that lends itself to deeper biochemical investigation if we feel it’s necessary. If you’re struggling to understand what it was that led to your diagnosis and how you can return to health, then please explore my website and let me know if I can help.