It’s easy to fear the devastating effects of cancer. But we must look it in the face, with God’s grace and power, if we wish to maintain a victorious Christian walk. We can begin to fight cancer by first seeking to know the enemy a little better. So let’s start finding out just how much cancer exists, why it happens and what first steps we can take, through the power of God, to maintain a victorious Christian walk.
How prevalent is the diagnosis of cancer today? Studies have shown that one out of every three Americans will develop cancer and one out of six people diagnosed will die as a result. Cancer is truly a widespread killer.
At first glance these statistics may appear frightening. However, the truth is that the battle against cancer is, to a certain degree, already being won. The number of cancer deaths in the nation has decreased steadily over the past decade because of increasing knowledge about this disease, such as early detection, and great advances in medicine.
In addition to the powerful breakthroughs experienced in the medical arena, miracles by the healing touch of God happen in some individual’s lives. Healing miracles can be performed in a moment by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. I have seen several people whose triumph over cancer, even in its most advanced stages, can only be described as an act of God. And I know other physicians who would agree that they too have also witnessed such wonderful occurrences.
I have witnessed other healing that take place over a longer period of time. These patients pray, trust God’s Word and use natural therapies that include good nutrition, supplements, herbs, vitamins and in some traditional medical therapy. This approach provides an arsenal of weapons to battle the many factors that cause cancer.
The more rapidly growing cancers are usually made up of very immature cells. Each normal, healthy cell has a specialized function that it is designed and “destined” to perform. Consider a small child. He or she may grow up and become a businessman, a doctor, an engineer or an attorney. Yet another young child with the same apparent destiny – in terms of having good parents and a good environment – may grow up and, instead of performing a meaningful job, may become a gang member, a murderer, a bank robber or a serial killer. Something happened in this individual’s life to change his destiny. Instead of becoming a productive citizen, he became a criminal. Likewise, cancer cells are simply immature cells that, instead of growing up to perform their proper function, remain immature. In this undeveloped form, the cells feed on the body, stealing nutrition from the body in order to grow larger and larger. They grow up into killer cells.
What causes the cancer cells to grow out of control? And why do some people develop cancer when others do not? Some of the answers involve the strength of an individual’s natural defenses against the unnatural growth of cells, how an individual keeps their body strong for the battle and how many and what kinds of cancer-producing agents a person’s body is forced to fight.
It’s a proven fact that approximately 70 – 80% of cancers are caused by the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink, as well as lifestyle and environmental factors. All of these things have a cumulative effect over a person’s life span. Let’s look at these factors a little more closely, grouped under three key threats to our healthy cells:
About one-third of all cancer deaths occurring in our nation each year are due to dietary factors, with another third due to the use of tobacco. In a sense, this is encouraging, because here is where we can make a huge difference in the spread of cancer – simply by making changes in our lifestyles. Making wholesale changes in our lifestyle can be accomplished through the grace and power of God.
Remember that something is constantly being done about the attacks on your healthy cells. Every minute of every day it’s happening. While you are working, walking, eating and relaxing, your body is already winning a silent war that is raging around and within you. It’s because of your amazing immune system. This system, along with your blood cells and vital organs, is wonderfully designed by God to overcome even the most powerful attacks by cancer-causing agents in foods and the environment. Be thankful that this wonderful system is always at work to protect you.
So how can we strengthen our immune system and keep them strong? Our diets directly impact our immune systems, either positively or negatively. Since our immune systems are our bodies’ first and strongest line of defense against cancer, we must be diligent to care for them and to strengthen them by eating the right foods and avoiding harmful foods. What you eat makes all the difference!
A general recommendation that I make regarding eating habits that can lower your risk of cancer is to avoid altogether or at least limit the amount of animal fat in your diet.
Problems in the average American’s diet occur when the diet consists of:
- Excessive animal fat, including heavy oils.
- Excessive sugars, which can weaken the immune system.
- Devitalized foods, including salt, white flour and processed foods.
- Toxins in our food, such as nitrites and food additives.
- Heavy metals, such as the mercury sometimes found in fish.These are just a few guidelines regarding our diet.
God has created healthy substances that not only give us natural energy but also can help prevent disease. But people have created environmental toxins that wear down the body’s ability to resist cancer, things such as solvents, pesticides and heavy-metal residues.
These toxins can build up in our bodies and damage our DNA, the molecular building blocks of life, causing originally healthy cells to grow out of control. City air is one of the biggest offenders. It’s often contaminated by hydrocarbons, smog, cigarette smoke and other toxic substances. In rural areas, about two billion pounds of pesticides, many of which are carcinogenic, are sprayed on American crops each year. Our farm animals feed on millions of pounds of antibiotics and hormones as well.
Billions of pounds of poisonous garbage sit rotting in toxic waste sites, and over fifty thousand of these sites in America threaten to seep their toxins into the water supply. As a result of chemicals like DDT, abnormalities can be found in the eggshells of many birds and in the reproductive organs of many animals. Fortunately, DDT has been banned since 1973 because of its widespread effects on wildlife, yet other chemicals have taken its place.
In spite of growing concern about toxins in our environment, many of our city water supplies contain chlorine, aluminum, pesticides and many other toxins. If we were to focus on the effects of chlorine alone, we could become quite alarmed. For when chlorine reacts with other organic materials, it forms carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) associated with colon, rectal and bladder cancers.
Certain toxins are extremely damaging to human DNA, which is the genetic blueprint for the life of the body’s cells. These toxins from the environment can trigger free-radical reactions in our cells. To understand these reactions, consider the oxidation process. Burn wood in a fireplace and smoke is a by-product. Likewise, when you metabolize food into energy, oxygen oxidizes (or burns) the food in order to produce energy. This process does not create smoke like burning wood in a fireplace, but it does produce dangerous by-products known as free radicals. These are molecules that have set electrons roaming free to cause damage in other cells.
Free radicals, considered a kind of molecular shrapnel, can damage cells and start chain reactions within the body. They can damage the DNA and in some cases can cause cells to mutate, forming cancerous growths. Amazingly, scientists have discovered that each cell in the human body undergoes between one and ten thousand free radical hits to the cell’s DNA every day. But if our bodies lack a strong antioxidant defense system, then our systems become increasingly susceptible to damaged DNA and therefore to cancer.
Over the next few weeks I will give some generalized recommendations regarding some foods to avoid as well as the foods we can enjoy. I will also discuss a proper way to detox or cleanse our system. Lastly I will mention the need for antioxidants as supplements to our diet.
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