The word "cancer" usually elicits a strong emotional reaction, and is not a subject for casual conversation. So, why this choice of the title?
Secondly, the treatments discussed are not conventional surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Thirdly, these treatments although effective, have not been tested in large scale clinical trial. They are merely experiential. Cancer is an illness that can be prevented and treated. If the medical community and the public had a correct understanding of the illness, then there would not be so much fear surrounding the disease, preventing also much unnecessary suffering and expense.
In both prevention and treatment of cancer, one must be aware of both the psychological and physical aspects, external and internal factors.
Let us start with prevention. The National Academy of Sciences had published a report on cancer prevention. The conclusion is that aside from alcohol and smoking, food and cancer have the strongest link. For example, one study found that if smokers regularly eat carrots, the incidence of cancer is lower than for a smokers who do not eat carrots. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, a cancer-inhibiting nutrient. Dark leafy greens are also protective against cancer. There are several recommendations for prevention of cancer: reduce oil, fat, salt and sugar consumption; increase consumption of fresh vegetables. fruits, and whole grains. These recommendations are based on numerous scientific studies.
Of course, environmental and physiological factors are important in the onset of cancer. However there are also psychological factors. This observation is at least 1000 years old. Chinese medicine has for thousands of years understood the relationship between emotions and diseases. To have little desire is a way to keep healthy. This includes moderation in food and simplicity of life style. In the Western medical tradition there is also literature on the relation between cancer and emotions. Dr Galen wrote in 200 B.C. that women of melancholy disposition are more prone to breast cancer. This was based on his medical experience. There are a lot of modern day studies showing this. Long term depression combined with lack of warm childhood can put one at high risk for cancer. Often one to two years before the onset of cancer, the patients have lost interest in living or hope for the future, or have experienced major stress and change in life. This can be loss of a spouse or other major changes. Unhappiness can impair many body functions, especially immune function. Because cancer can be caused by many factors, one should be aware of all these different factors in prevention.