Reflecting, learning, appreciating

It’s been a good week. A week of learning, discovering, awareness and quiet time. On Tuesday evening, I went to a seminar called ‘Say No to Cancer’ run by Patrick Holford. My reiki healer mentioned his name to me the week before and having checked out his website (mostly nutrition), I came across the event and spontaneously signed up. While I try not to google new sources of information, I do follow ‘leads’ from people around me, whether that’s my mum, friends, the healer, doctors, books that reference other sources etc. I feel I need to equip myself with as much knowledge as possible to make my own decisions and to feel that I’m not a ‘patient’ on a conveyor belt, following protocols and processes set up according to past statistics. I would like to take part in the decisions being made.

So Patrick Holford’s session was informative. Packed with interesting information on nutrition, the kind that is supported by chemistry, biology rather than the other side which I had come across, the as I call it ‘No diet’ (no this, no that, no anything). It was pretty extensive and intense. There were many instances I literally couldn’t follow what he was saying as it made references to terms in biology I hadn’t come across. So some mind-blowing stats from his event:

– Lifetime risk for cancer has risen by 49% in 30 years and is currently 1 in 3,
expected to be 1 in 2 by 2020.
– Breast cancer is up 80% and prostate cancer is up by 100%.
– The top 5 – lung, breast, stomach, colorectal and prostate – were almost unheard of before the 20th century, the growth paralleling ‘development’ and industrialisation. The more per capita income the more cancer a country has.
– You can cut your risk by 40% by changing your diet, says World Cancer Research Fund.
– Breast cancer survival rates have increased by more than 10% between 1994 and 2006. Reasons cited include an increase in the percentage of women presenting at the early stages of the disease, ensuring a better outcome.

and this spike is incredible:
Hormonal breast cancer incidents increased by 52% between 1985 and 2015 (Source: Cancer Surveillance Unit, Cambridge University)

Interestingly both breast cancer and prostrate cancer are lowest in South East Asia while climbing high in Western population. What’s the link? Dairy? Lifestyle? Sunshine?

We then heard different theories about cancer – the oncogenes one (why do some people with the BRCA, HER2 gene develop it and some don’t?), metabolic theory (cells starving of oxygen), environmental approach (Professor Mina Bissell with her contextual theory – very good!) etc.

And then onto nutrition.. and terms I had never heard of: polyphenols, salvestrols, Methylation, Homocysteine…. what? Need to re-visit all this.

I was already aware of some of the foods we discussed (turmeric, Cruciferous like broccoli, kale, leafy greens, brussels etc.) and all the sources that indicate a reduction or completely removal of sugars (including certain fruit sugars, added sugars for sure) and dairy. Good-bye much-loved cheese.. at least for the time being. I’ll be investigating which cheeses may still be okay – surely the more fermented the better? I guess dairy is dairy. Must add more vitamin C to the mix, Zinc as well as Vitamin D (hello sunshine).

So altogether it was an informative evening. I’ve never been one to be radical about anything but I have definitely taken some things on board and have started to make changes. After all, if the contextual theory holds any ground, then surely creating a body that is fit, strong, hydrated, oxygenated, alkaline, equipped with an immune system that is alert and well functioning, can only be a good thing.

The seminar ended with tips on where to get additional info and advice, from Integrative Oncology to books to groups. I have since then bought ‘The cancer Whisperer‘ and I’m really enjoying reading it. I get the feeling the main emphasis is not ‘how do I combat this’ (war-style) but how do I listen to it, to this experience and how can I heal from this. Over the last few days, I have experienced many moments, some more subtle than others, that have made me appreciate my life and my surroundings (people, places) deeply. From a taxi journey watching the glimmering lights of southbank and the city – really seeing it all and taking it in- to the generosity and kindness of people around me including clients who have been so kind and supportive. Goethe once said:

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, the Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

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