October is known as ‘cancer awareness month’. Here are a few of my thoughts around the ‘awareness campaigns’ that are routinely promoted and the periodic calls for donations. Unfortunately the information about plant-based treatments for cancer are not widely publicised and funds donated for cancer research are not routinely directed to investigate anything that will not eventually bring profits to the pharmaceutical industry.
Many of you who know me know my stance on donating to ‘research’ and my avoidance of the ‘pink ribbon’. We are all aware of cancer but are we aware of how to prevent it? Does a breast cancer (or any cancer) awareness campaign focus on increasing our awareness of nutrition and lifestyle strategies to prevent cancer? Sure, it does increase our awareness of screening tests and the signs and symptoms but, to me, it seems like a huge step in the process is being missed: Prevention should be the focus!
There is plenty of evidence about risk factors, so awareness of these could be the focus of an ‘awareness campaign’. The evidence for the health benefits of incorporating certain foods into the diet could be publicised rather than contributing to the fear around the possibility of falling victim to the various cancers by publicising statistics.
This is only one example of the conclusion from a journal review article: “Overwhelming evidence indicated that consumption of fruits and vegetables with antioxidant properties correlates with a reduced risk of cancers”. Conducting a search in PubMed (the huge database of medical research) on ‘diet and cancer prevention’ brings up over 10,000 search results and searching on ‘chronic stress and cancer’ provides almost 4000 links to research papers on this topic. A clear indication that risk factors and prevention strategies are being investigated, but in my view are not sufficiently publicised during these campaigns to make an impact.
The absence of information in these campaigns about non-pharmaceutical treatments, so called unconventional or alternative treatments, is a constant disappointment. Much research is conducted and results reported on successful treatments using plant-based medicines. A heavily researched herbal medicine is turmeric with over 3000 research papers found on its use in cancer treatments. Turmeric is actually a herb useful in the treatment of numerous conditions and has been said to have the potential to replace numerous pharmaceutical medications.
The focus during October should be around promoting a healthier future where the statistics of people contracting the various cancers is reduced rather than people having an expectation that they may become a statistic and hoping they fall into the statistics of a successfully treated patient.