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Preventing cancer is a top health concern for everyone today. Only 5-10% of cancer patients today have any genetic predisposition (inherited risk from their family members) for developing cancer. For the remaining population, we have to consider what are the predominant factors causing cancer today.

Carcinogens are chemical substances known to cause cancer. The majority of the most concerning carcinogens are human made. They are products developed for agriculture (pesticides & herbicides), building materials, products in our cosmetic industry and more. Avoiding cancer requires a keen awareness of what carcinogens are and making conscious choices to utilize products without them. It also requires adding protective measures for the carcinogens we cannot avoid; those that are in our air and water as pollution and often in our homes.

But isn’t our government keeping us safe? In the United States, chemical safety is determined by the manufacturer of a compound evaluating effects over short periods of time, then reporting to the EPA/USDA depending on how it is classified. This does not identify long-term toxicity or lifelong accumulation. While we know that cigarettes cause cancer, smoking 1 cigarette will not and so it was said that cigarettes were safe for many, many years. However it is now widely acknowledged that cigarettes do cause cancer as a result of long-term use. Similarly, chemicals that have been allowed in our food system due to short-term safety are increasingly recognized to have detrimental long-term effects.

Even more complex, when scientists determine chemical safety it is by evaluating 1 chemical at a time. However an individual’s exposure in one bite of food can often contain a dozen or more chemical additives, all working together. One aspect of medicine that is becoming an increasing concern is the use of “polypharmacy,” or the unknown effect of using more than one drug at a time. While we might evaluate the risks and benefits of prescription drugs in this way, we need to be paying even closer attention to the combined affect of carcinogens in all areas of life.

Examining the entire list of carcinogens is completely overwhelming, so this series will highlight a few to steer clear of and great resources to check out too. Let’s start with those that may be in our refrigerators and our backyards:

  • Atrazine, Organophosphates and Telone – these chemicals are just a few of the compounds used in conventional agriculture today that are known carcinogens. Consuming foods produced with these chemical additives are individually known to cause cancer. In most conventional farms and food products, multiple chemicals are used simultaneously. What are we to do?
    • Consume organic foods, especially from small farms that are not adjacent to conventional agriculture regions is your best bet to keep these cancer causing substances out of your body.
    • Request restaurants you enjoy to opt for organic foods, as it’s not just what we buy at the grocery store that matters.
    • Ensure children are given organic food for their packed lunches. Many of these compounds bio-accumulate, which mean they grow in the body exponentially and cannot be removed. Presently public school nutrition does not provide food free of carcinogens.
    • Learn about natural pest control and organic fertilizers to grow your own healthy food.
  • Glyphosate the active ingredient in RoundUp – this controversial compound and product have been proclaimed as safe by the manufacturer Monsanto since the 1970’s. However, increasing evidence from researchers around the world acknowledge the broad health impacts and carcinogenicity of not only glyphosate but the combined effects of the ingredients in the common weed killer products.
    • Learn to appreciate a natural appearing environment for your region. Permaculture and xeriscaping employ practices that mimic the health of the ecosystem to create beautiful landscapes.
    • Utilize old-fashioned techniques – pull the undesirable weeds out!
    • Explore natural products for weed killing; salt, vinegar and certain essential oils have proven effective at destroying undesirable plant species.

No matter your race, gender, class or intellectual expertise we are all at significant risk for developing cancer living in the US today. For most individuals, by the time a cancer is large enough to be identified, it has already been growing steadily for 10-20 years. There is no better time to focus on prevention, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

For individualized recommendations on reducing your cancer risk and enhancing the preventative measures in your life, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary where we offer resources, education and individualized medical care to support your long term health.

 

References:

Anand, Preethad et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes., Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.
BreastCancer.org, “Your Step By Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” handbook.
Cressey, Daniel.  Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer  The World Health Organization’s research arm declares glyphosate a probable carcinogen. What’s the evidence? Nature magazine on March 25, 2015.
Dalamas, Christos and Ilias G. Eleftherohorinos. Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May; 8(5): 1402–1419.
National Institute of Health, Department of Health & Human Services: Environmental Health & Toxicology Database; https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/index.php
Samsel, Anthony, and Stephanie Seneff. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184.
Seidler, Ramon PhD., the former Team Leader of the EPA’s Genetically Engineered Organism biosafety program. Interview; http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17456-the-time-for-glyphosate-based-herbicides-is-over

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Part 1: Finding the Balance

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With daily topics like global warming, political strife and natural disasters it takes a serious effort for anyone to find peace and inner quiet today. For young people who have grown up in the era of media and technology infiltrating many aspects of their lives, anxiety is commonly an everyday feeling.

Historically, I worked with teens and young adults for issues like acne, headaches, growing pains, hormone balance and eating disorders. Today, every single teen and young adult I know complains of anxiety as a primary challenge. Often with this comes the classic swing of the pendulum of struggling with depression as well.   According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 25% of teens have diagnosable anxiety disorders. This is a significant increase from previous generations and does not include low grade anxiety or social anxiety, which are even more common.

What ever happened to carefree childhoods and wanting to stay forever young? Nowadays it seems the urgency to grow up to better cope with the apocalyptic dilemma’s that circulate everyday life robs our youth of the freedom to explore their hearts desire and contributes to an all too common emotional instability.

It is not all external factors either. The more we learn about brain development and neurological balance, the more we recognize increasing challenges with the pathways in our brain that reduce neurological stimulation. There are numerous substances we consume or are exposed to that provoke brain excitability that can cause an anxious feeling to linger a lot longer than it should. Some people being far more vulnerable to these than others.

Now more than ever, we all need help finding ways to access our peaceful, joyous selves. We need something that will bring us out of the flurry of worries, fears and anticipations and into a calm present moment. Tools we can use for momentary stressful events that provoke anxiety as well as routines we can establish in our lives to cultivate our happiness.

Integrative medicine provides a unique lens to address mental health concerns. Utilizing tools from standard, allopathic healthcare in addition to traditional systems from around the world offering a diverse approach to balance health. The first goal of understanding the symptom is to identify the cause. This is the key to providing immediate relief and long term changes. Both physical exam diagnostic tools and lab testing can help reveal which organs of the body may be experiencing distress to contribute to feelings of uneasiness. For young people this is especially important so that interventions are supporting the long term health as the body grows.

Stay tuned as this 4 part series addresses youth anxiety and is intended to provide a resource for the community to discover new ways to find a peaceful center while moving through the chaos of the modern world.

If you or someone you love are struggling with anxiety and/or depression, get help today with integrative medicine. At Stillwater, we encourage the combination of psychotherapy and natural medicine tools as well as collaboration with western medical providers for pharmaceutical support as needed. Our goal is to make use of the best of all systems of healing to get patients the balanced care they need for today, as well as for a healthier future.

 

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The tides are changing, and so can your healthcare coverage!  The new legislation is creating ripples of changes across the country.  Some of these are improvements and others not so much.  However, the system is in flux and you as the consumer now have more of a voice than ever in asking for what you want from your insurance provider.

Listen to this interview on how you can have Naturopathic Doctors provide you with the most comprehensive, first line care for your health.  Before health issues become a crisis they can effectively be managed with natural medicine.  This elevates your baseline state of health and steers you away from chronic disease.  When health is in crisis, using tools from all systems of medicine can provide a gentler road to recovery.

https://soundcloud.com/pagatim/health-currents-radio-will

Naturopathic Doctors are the most thoroughly trained professionals in integrative medicine.  At the foundation of our education, we emphasize the individual’s need for life’s balance.  Considering the patients unique blend of genetics, dietary needs, life stressors and desires to create treatment programs to support the whole person.

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For more information, visit the following links:

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians:  http://www.naturopathic.org/

American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine:  http://www.aaaomonline.org/

Find local help with the new insurance changes:  https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/

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