Cancer is a life altering experience for the person involved, as
well as their close family and friends. However, it doesn’t occur
over night. In reality, cancer is the manifestation of chronic
disease that has been developing over time, with many factors
contributing to its onset and progression. The good news is that
there is a multitude of supportive and preventative measures
available that can help you transform fear into understanding
and empowerment, leading to a happier, healthier state of
The Seed and Soil of Cancer
As far back as 1889, an English surgeon, Stephen Paget
proposed the ‘seed and soil’ concept – that the spread of cancer
depends on cancer cells, “the seeds”, and the environment in
the body, which he called “the soil”. It can take the body many
years to produce the “soil” or environment that is just right for
cancer to flourish. Cancer may develop when changes occur
inside the cell and when coupled with the appropriate internal
environment, the cancer cell can proliferate in an uncontrolled
More than 100 years later, the “seed and soil” concept still
holds true; it is both the health of individual cells and the
environment in the body that may determine whether a cancer
may develop or not. By taking active steps to improve our
health, we have the potential to alter the environment in our
bodies, reducing the risk of chronic disease and maintaining
Prevention is Best Practice
You may be surprised to hear that genetics accounts for only
5-10% of cancers.1 Research studies have shown that healthy
diet and lifestyle factors have favourable effects in reducing
the incidence of many cancers, challenging us to modify our
diet and lifestyle for disease prevention.
The Protective Power of Herbal Medicine
The protective actions of particular herbs used in disease
prevention are well documented. Key herbs can support the
body’s resistance and resilience to chronic disease such as
cancer. They provide anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and
antioxidant actions which are all beneficial in supporting the
health of our cells:
• Green tea: Oxidative stress has been shown to damage
the DNA in cells and can play a role in promoting cellular
dysfunction implicated in tumour development. EGCG
(epigallocatechin gallate) is found in the leaves of green
tea and is a powerful antioxidant which can protect against
degenerative diseases. It may also be beneficial in preventing
the cellular changes seen in cancer development.
• Turmeric: Curcumin is the active constituent of turmeric.
This powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb has
been widely researched for its anti-carcinogenic actions.
• Resveratrol: Resveratrol is a phytochemical that is found in
certain plants, in particular grapes. It has been shown to be
an effective anti-inflammatory and inhibits the growth of a
wide variety of tumour cells.
• Yerba Maté: This herb has a long history of use as a tonic
and stimulating drink in South America. It protects against
oxidative damage, can promote energy production and
increases antioxidant defences.
Food Can Produce or Reduce Inflammation
The typical Western diet may actually promote inflammation;
high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates break
down quickly into glucose and have been shown to induce
inflammatory changes that are linked with many chronic
diseases. In some susceptible people, foods such as dairy
products and gluten-containing grains can trigger an
Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Long-Term Health
The following diet and lifestyle recommendations can help
keep your cells and your body healthy for the long-term:
• Quit smoking: Smoking is carcinogenic so make it a priority
to quit smoking for disease prevention and anti-aging.
• Minimise exposure to environmental toxins in the household
• Make stress management a priority and ensure you are
getting a good night’s sleep. Ask us about our Stress Less
program for support during stressful periods.
• Obesity and inactivity have been linked with cancer, so stay
active and maintain a healthy weight.
• Get moving! Just 30 minutes of movement and exercise
enhances wellbeing and can help with disease prevention.
• Cancer cells are said to be ‘addicted’ to sugar as they
are fuelled by glucose. Minimise your intake of processed,
refined foods to maintain healthy blood sugar balance.
• Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and cancer preventing
antioxidants. Choose organic food where possible as it provides
higher levels of protective nutrients.
• Drink pure, filtered water preferably from glass or BPA free
Empowered for Health
Consider cancer in a new light and accept the challenge to
take responsibility for your health. Herbs and nutrients, together
with a healthy diet and lifestyle may well be the ultimate tools
for disease prevention.