The Associated Press reported this week that up to a third of all breast cancer cases could be prevented by diet and exercise measures alone. The figures come from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This news follows recent research that showed that the benefits of cancer screenings for women under the age of 50 did not exceed the risks.
These reports echo the message that chiropractors have been consistently delivering to the public for decades: the answer to serious problems like cancer does not lie in more medical tests, screenings and treatments. The only way to truly prevent cancer is to address the underlying causes of ill health that create the opportunity for cancer to manifest. In the medical model, we get sick because we get cancer. In the holistic model, we get cancer because we get sick.
Recently, the trend in medical research has been to implicate the role of genetics in cancer incidence. Michelle Holmes, a cancer expert at Harvard University, commented on the new research, saying that many people mistakenly think their chances of getting cancer are more dependent on their genes than their lifestyle. “The genes have been there for thousands of years, but if cancer rates are changing in a lifetime, that doesn’t have much to do with genes.”
According to the AP report, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, breast cancer rates steadily increased, in paralell with the rise in obesity and the use of hormone replacement therapy.
The chiropractic model for cancer prevention focuses on devoting the majority of effort into preserving optimal health on a physical, physiological, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual level. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, consistent chiropractic care, and a healthy social and spiritual lifestyle are all part of a strategy in which prevention of disease is merely a positive by-product of a more whole and fulfilling life.