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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Ray Schilling.

We have a higher life expectancy than a few decades ago. As cancer is a disease of older age, we are at a higher risk of getting cancer, the older we turn.

On the other hand there is a lot more known about cancer now than in the past and we can lower our risk by utilizing this knowledge.

1.) Cancer is one of the conditions where there is a strong association to chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic exposure to smoking causes a transition into chronic bronchitis and eventually emphysema. As cigarette smoke also contains carcinogen (=cancer producing chemicals) a close link has been established between cigarette smoking and coming down with lung cancer. Similar transitions have been observed with cancer of the cervix and exposure to human papillomavirus infections that by themselves can be asymptomatic. Eventually the chronic inflammation of the tissue around the cervix leads to cancer of the cervix. Cancer of the pancreas is another example. Here there is a transition from chronic pancreatitis (often started by exposure to chronic alcohol abuse) to cancer of the pancreas. Finally there is the example of the transition from liver cirrhosis to liver cancer. The more severe cirrhosis of the liver is and the more chronic inflammation there is in the liver, the higher the risk to develop liver cancer.

2.) Here are some antiinflammatory steps you can take. Start eating the Mediterranean diet, which is an anti-inflammatory diet; the Standard North American diet is carcinogenic (cancer producing). Eat more vegetables, avoid sugar, avoid processed foods and you are already a lot healthier and cancer resilient! Add to that antioxidants like resveratrol, vitamin C, molecularly distilled fish oil (two capsules twice per day) and 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. These are anti-inflammatory supplements that keep you out of trouble.

3.) Regular exercise leads to better tissue perfusion and stimulation of the immune system. Oxygen penetrates all of the tissues right down to the cellular level. This prevents glycolysis in cells that do not get enough oxygen from prolonged sitting and inactivity. Mortality is getting significantly reduced when cancer patients exercise. Exercise Curbs Cancer - Net Health Book

4.) Green tea extract is an established natural substance and beneficial antioxidant. But now it has been found that green tea extract kills oral cancer cells. It does not have the usual side effects that chemotherapeutic agents have. Yet it seems effective in killing oral cancer cells. Fortunately for the patient the normal cells stay unharmed. As a result there are no stomach upsets, there is no loss of hair and no immune suppression. Green tea extract may also be effective against other cancers. Further ongoing research will investigate this. Green Tea Extract Kills Oral Cancer Cells - Net Health Book

5.) Cancer rates go up after menopause and andropause. In men andropause, the equivalent of menopause is easy to spot and treat. With them it is about a lack of testosterone, which is confirmed with a blood test and treated with testosterone until the blood level comes back to normal and the symptoms disappear (lack of drive, loss of erections). In women symptoms of menopause are more subtle, but more profound when they have fully developed. Symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness have all been found to be strong predictors of menopause. FSH and LH hormones are above the normal range when a woman is in menopause and this is a very reliable test for menopause that your doctor can order. Usually in menopause it is the progesterone that is no longer produced by the body because the woman stopped ovulating and her ovaries do no longer produce progesterone in the missing corpus luteum that would have followed ovulation. Treatment of menopause involves mostly replacing missing progesterone with either the oral FDA approved versions, as Prometrium (100 mg capsules) taken at bedtime or as bioidentical progesterone cream (from compounding pharmacies), which is applied to the skin. Some women do require an additional small amount of estrogen (as BiEst cream applied to the skin) to rebalance her hormones. Not every physician is comfortable about bioidentical hormone replacement. Most naturopaths are familiar with this. The reason this is important is that your body function returns to normal and your cancer risk is going down compared to those who don’t replace hormones. Healing Gone Wrong - Healing Done Right: MD Ray Schilling: 9781523700905: Amazon.com: Books

6.) Stress plays an important role not only in cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), but also in the development of cancer. An overproduction of cortisol leads to a relative lack of melatonin, which is important to maintain a healthy immune system. You can rebalance your hormones by relaxation methods like yoga, self-hypnosis and meditation. Manage Stress And Relaxation - Net Health Book


As I mentioned above, there is a combination of factors that in combination can lead to cancer. We cannot do anything about aging, which is an independent risk factor for developing cancer. But we can reduce inflammation, stimulate our immune system and keep in shape with exercise. We can keep our hormones balanced even beyond andropause and menopause by using bioidentical hormone replacement. Relaxation methods can help us to keep our immune system strong. Whatever you do, start with an anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet. Add to this regular exercise and take the supplements indicated. This way you can minimize the risk of getting cancer.

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