Be your own guru

“Your own brain and your own body are your most valuable assets in the fight against cancer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”  

Most people agree that cancer starts with cell damage: x-rays, pollution, viruses, smoking all cause DNA damage and metabolic abnormalities that alter delicate cell structures and switch on oncogenes. On a good day your body bats those cells out of the way and gets on with life. On a bad day the toxic tissue fluid surrounding the damaged cell has the perfect ingredients to support its abnormal energy and growth requirements, the cells replicate and a tumour begins.

Even so, we know that large tumours can go into ‘spontaneous remission’. And while we tend to be sceptical of these stories, or think that it’s just luck, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence curated by people like Kelly Turner, that suggests it’s a little less random than that.

It’s hard to believe that cancer can simply melt away: there is a multi-billion pound cancer ‘industry’ built on the belief that it doesn’t, and most of us have some heartbreaking stories that reinforce the idea that cancer is a vicious killer. But what if we’ve been looking at it all wrong?

Over the last 150 years the medical approach to cancer has grown increasingly radical. Even the language we use portrays cancer as a super-villain, something we have to battle against with poison and nuclear attack. How can simple changes make a difference? If mustard gas can’t get rid of cancer cells, how can we possibly expect broccoli and exercise to have an effect? Yup, cancer has a great PR agent – the very word exerts a powerful nocebo effect.

We are programmed to believe that our bodies completely lack the ability to deal with cancer. But what if the reason we haven’t beaten cancer is precisely because of the cancer treatment system? Because we inflict so much damage on cancer patients that our bodies lose the ability to initiate a healing response? Treatment increases inflammation and oxidation, depletes the body of nutrients and microbes, and decimates the white blood cells that perform important immune functions – perfect conditions for cancer to thrive.

Don’t get me wrong, I am eternally grateful for the kind and skilled treatment I received from many wonderful people when I went through cancer – but I wish with all my heart that they had been open-minded to all the other ways I could have helped myself.

People who think they can cure their own cancer are parodied as ignorant, naive and credulous. Or worse, labelled as charlatans and snake-oil salesmen. This idea was powerfully reinforced by the 1939 Cancer Act which made it a crime for anyone other than a doctor to advise about cancer treatment. This law was enacted to protect people from radium being traded on street corners, so it was sensible at the time. But we are way beyond that level of thinking now and, since we still haven’t found a cure, it’s arguable that the law no longer provides protection but rather limits choice, and may actually stop cancer patients researching options that could help.

The current attitude to cancer care within the NHS promotes a damaging ‘them and us’ mentality. And that’s the heart of the problem. If you simply put all your trust in your oncologist and carry on with your old life you may be making a big mistake, but by the same token, if you turn your back on modern medicine in favour of reiki and meditation the outcome may be just as dire. The intelligent thing to do is harness all the help you can get, from both sides of the fence.

The world of cancer research and remedies is so much bigger than the treatments your oncologist is allowed to offer you. And your body’s ability to cure cancer is more powerful than all the current NHS treatments put together. When you fail to support your body’s natural healing mechanisms you are ignoring a powerful partner.

There are glimmers of these new horizons in the growth of immunotherapy in cancer care. Researchers are starting to realise that if we stimulate the body’s immune system we can ignite a powerful cancer fighting force; early trials of immunotherapy drugs are promising. Trouble is, they cost so much that they are only offered to patients who have failed earlier treatment and reached Stage IV. And it will be many years before this leading edge science becomes more widely available.

Meanwhile, if you have been recently diagnosed, what should you do?

The simple answer to that question is, ‘Everything you can!’

You need a team of people on your side that you trust – and who trust and respect you too. Your oncologist will be a vital part of that team, so it makes sense to find one who is on your wavelength. Other therapies can add to the power of treatment and minimise side-effects, that’s why nutrition and lifestyle changes are not ‘alternative’ medicine, they are complementary. If drugs that wake up your immune system are improving cancer outcomes then obviously other ways of restoring your body’s immune potential should be included too.

It’s a no-brainer that working with your body rather than against it is likely to improve your chances of recovery and reduce your likelihood of recurrence. If your medical team are not in agreement with this simple statement then there are plenty of doctors who are. Advocates like Ralph Moss are encouraging patients to do their own research. Recent clinical trials are showing vastly improved outcomes when treatment is integrated with diet and lifestyle changes. It really is time to ditch the fear of getting it wrong, or upsetting your doctor, and bring all your resources to the table. It’s time to heal from as many angles as you possibly can.

I’m not suggesting you spend your life savings following every single trail of crumbs that promises to make your cancer vanish. I’ve met a few people who have done that and ended up confused, exhausted and hard up. In sixteen years of clinical practice I have come to a view that people are drawn to the things they need. Clients have described powerful inner voices prompting them to try something – or stay away from something.

I’m a great fan of listening to those urges: acting on the things that you feel pulled towards and questioning or avoiding those that don’t sit well with you. In fact, I’ve designed my workshops to give you a strong foundation for making informed decisions about your own care.