Connecting Cancer & Nutrition

By Dr. Kathleen Regan, ND I have always found the connection between nutrition and health fascinating. I have written many articles on this topic but rarely addressed the connection between food and cancer. It is certainly something I think about and talk about to patients in the context of prevention and adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. Recently, I have been affected personally by a number of cancer diagnoses in my own family where there was no prior family history. In my reading, I have been alarmed by the increasing number of cases worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that the number of new cancer cases is expected to rise by approximately 70% over the next 20 years (1). There is no denying that the way we are living, the chemicals we are exposed to and consume, how we are farming and how we are managing our environment is influencing our global cancer risk. In addition, we are getting older as a population and cancer can be an age-related disease. Finally, our immune system is one of the most important defences we have against cancer and many of our modern practices work to suppress this important system. If you wrote a list of ALL the potential cancer-causing elements in our world, you would be overwhelmed and wouldn’t know where to start. This is why I like talking about lifestyle and food. You can modify your habits (with a little support) and you can control your own kitchen. Positive change starts at home and nutrition is an impactful, empowering place to begin. So, what are the facts? An estimated one third to one half of cancers could be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices such as eliminating tobacco [...]