Currently viewing the tag: "cancer"

Bad, bad, bad adults.  You haven’t been eating your veggies.  How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your beets?A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows that most Americans are still not eating vegetables, and fruit consumption has dipped a bit, too.  According to the report taken from a telephone survey of hundreds of thousands of Americans, only one-third of U.S. adults consumed fruit or fruit juice at least twice a day. That’s down slightly from more than 34% in 2000.

And vegetable consumption is at 26%, right where it sat in 2000.  Doh!  Not good, people.  And we wonder why cancer rates continue to soar.

Although the survey did not say which fruits and vegetables were being consumed by Americans, a CDC study last year showed that orange juice was top source of fruit for most U.S. adults, while potatoes were the most consumed vegetable.  Oh God bless the french fry…

Some other interesting facts:

  • California was the fruitiest, having the highest consumption of fruits
  • Tennessee had the highest vegetable consumption
  • Oklahoma ate the least fruit
  • South Dakota was last in eating vegetable

I know lots of clients in my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic clinic are taking various supplements that have high-concentrations of ground fruits and vegetables in them, particularly berries and other fruits high in antioxidants.  Uh, sorry folks…vitamins don’t replace food.  And I know others that swear by exotic fruit drinks.  That’s fine, but for the price of one bottle you can probably stock up on fresh produce for the week.

Look, it ain’t rocket science.  You’ve got to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain good health and prevent degenerative diseases like heart disease and cancer.  When I say this to people they always shake their heads in complete agreement because, well, everybody knows that.  But these numbers show that many of the head shakers aren’t walkin’ their shake.  OK, you know…so how ’bout steppin’ it up?  It’s for your health.

When it comes to preventing cancer, are nutritional supplements effective?  Some say yes, some say no.  There is, however, a superior way to prevent cancer nutritionally–by eating healthy foodsYou don’t say?  Yes, nothing beats whole natural foods when it comes to dietary health.

Recent studies have shown that neither vitamins C nor E did the trick in preventing cancer or heart disease when taken as supplements.  However, we know how important these vitamins are for proper function.  So what’s the deal?  Well, as I point out in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, there is no substitute for real food.  C’mon folks, we haven’t found the magic pill yet that can replace food in providing either energy or nutrients (necessary as co-factors in metabolic processes).

Saying that, though, I am not yet convinced that nutritional supplements are useless.  In the big Women’s Health Study and the Physicians’ Health Study II, which provided the most damning case against supplements, one must admit the doses for vitamin C, at least, were very low (500 mg).  I personally take 2000 mg per day.  I will contend that 500 mg, while not useless, is probably too low to show such dramatic effects as preventing cancer or heart disease.

Remove vitamin C from the diet, though, and watch your health deteriorate.  Hmm, so what then?  Vitamin C is necessary but only valuable when coming from real food?  I don’t think so.  We must remember that supplements are just that–supplementing the diet.  Like exercise alone not guaranteeing good health, when combined with diet, rest, chiropractic care, sufficient water intake, and so on, you better believe it will increase your chances of experiencing optimal health.

So preventing cancer, I am certain, requires more than just supplementing.  True, studying each individual vitamin and minerals’ individual effects on the body is valuable.  But I think before we throw the baby out with the bath water, we might need to design more rigorous studies to learn the whole truth.

I am a firm believer in the healing and preventative power whole natural foods.  But I know that we need vital nutrients.  It can’t be possible that supplementing with compounds containing the same molecules as natural foods is folly.  Unless there are synergistic reactions that occur with other, as of yet, undiscovered agents…well, it just doesn’t make sense.  We know certain things about antioxidants in general, and the vitamins that fill that role specifically, so I’m thinking better studies are needed.

But forget not the principle–without healthy, whole natural foods as a staple in your diet, you won’t be preventing cancer or general malnutrition by simply swallowing a pill.

One more thing regarding my last post: When it comes to making the decision of whether to die in comfort and dignity, or whether to be treated with chemotherapy or radiation during the last days of your life, consider these side effects:

Chemotherapy:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Hair Loss
  • Anemia
  • Infection
  • Blood Clotting Problems
  • Mouth, Gum and Throat Problems
  • Diarrhea and Constipation
  • Nerve and Muscle Effects
  • Effects on Skin and Nails
  • Kidney and Bladder Effects
  • Flu-Like Symptoms
  • Fluid Retention
  • Effects on Sexual Organs and Sexuality

Radiation Therapy:

  • Tiredness
  • Skin reactions (such as a rash or redness, permanent pigmentation, and scarring) in the treated area
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inflammation of tissues and organs in and around the body site radiated, which can cause burn or permanent pigmentation
  • Decrease in white blood cells–cells that help protect the body against infection

When put in these terms, I can’t think of any person that would choose this over going peacefully.

Ready for some controversy? Here goes: Our illusion that death is “bad” is costing us oodles in unnecessary health care, prolonging pain and suffering, and preventing people from finding beauty in their inevitable transformation. According to a recent report, more and more Americans are being treated to death—that is, receiving costly and often ineffective care, instead of choosing to die in dignity and comfort.

More than 80% of all deaths in the U.S. are due to chronic and progressive illnesses such as cancer and heart failure. Of these, more than 80% say they would like to avoid hospitalization and intensive care at the end of their lives; yet in actuality, Americans are being treated aggressively until their last dying breath.  Here are the numbers:

  • The average time spent in hospice and palliative care (focused on comfort without curing) is decreasing.  In 2008, one third of people receiving hospice care had it for one week or less.
  • Hospitalizations during the last six months of life are rising: from 1,302 per 1,000 Medicare recipients in 1996 to 1,441 in 2005, Dartmouth reports.
  • 12% of cancer patients who died in 1999 received chemo in the last two weeks of life, up from nearly 10 percent in 1993.
  • Almost 20% of patients with colorectal cancer that has spread are on at least their fourth chemotherapy drug. The same goes for roughly 12% of patients with metastatic breast cancer, and for 12% of those with lung cancer. The analysis is based on more than 60,000 cancer patients.

These numbers are particularly concerning since treating chronic illness in the last two years of life eats up nearly one-third of all Medicare dollars.

This controversy lies in that some people believe we should try to extend life under all circumstances. As long as an inkling of hope remains, some say, people should fight on. And the controversy is as much political as it is moral. During the debates over universal health coverage (Obamacare), opponents stressed that health care rationing would take place, and that “death panels” would be responsible for determining who received further care and who was left to die.

Although I find this notion and fear of death panels ridiculous, I do think that our obsession with life at all costs dishonors the magnificence of the human life cycle. We are born, we live, we die.  It has been said that the only thing certain in life is death, and in that we are all the same. Not one person walking the planet today will be alive in 150 years.  In fact, neither will our planet live forever, nor our sun—all things move on to the next transformation.

Does this mean people should not fight for their lives? Well, it depends. To a 92-year-old, I’d say, “For what?” However, to a 22-year-old diagnosed with lung cancer, I’d say yes…with a catch. If you have an inspired purpose, something driving you to live, I believe you can beat the odds. But the purpose must be a part of your essence, a drive so strong that not even the sands of time can keep you from completing it. It cannot be some fabricated deal you try to cut with your maker in an attempt to hold on; it must be in your heart, truly a part of you. Even then you won’t escape death for long. Death is inevitable for all of us—something for the young and healthy to think about regarding their own life’s purpose, and acting on your dreams…now!

No I don’t know for sure if having deep inspirational purpose will extend your life, but my intuition tells me it is so. I think about some of the lives we have had the honor of observing, like Michael Jackson’s or Tupac Shakur’s, believing that some people know when they are not long for this earth. When we observe how some people work long and hard at the ends of their lives to complete “unfinished business,” it humbles you to the magnificence of living on purpose.

As far as dying is concerned, it is true that we all have opinions on how we will handle the inevitable, until it is our time to go. Our survival instinct—the one hard-wired into all living things—makes it very challenging to accept death as we imagine within our philosophical belief system, but we can all ultimately appreciate that transformation is all there is; and one day everyone of us will move on to the next experience. We can fear it, or we can see the beauty in the transition and be grateful. Death is the completion of one cycle, and the beginning of a new one.

*This post is dedicated to my role model and inspiration, Nate Pressman, a lover of life and God.  You are dignified and beautiful in all your forms, Grandpa; and you will be with us, around us, always. We love you.

To radiate or not to radiate, that should be the question all doctors ask continuously.  Unfortunately the explosion of higher-sensitivity diagnostic imaging has some patients asking for them by name, a dangerous scenario as CT (CAT) scans are being implicated in increased cancer risk.

I have had my Los Angeles chiropractic patients ask me (more like passively demand) for an advanced imaging study, despite it being unnecessary.  Why?  Because doctors have been pushing them in the same manner they’ve been pushing antidepressants, statins and other drugs.  When doctors order CT scans and MRIs for every patient coming in with an ache or pain, regardless of how small, the public will start to think advanced imaging is a medical necessity.  Often it isn’t.  Here’s the skinny:

An article just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, discloses that X-ray computed tomography (CT) is being overused by doctors, and this overuse is leading to increased medical mistakes as well as increased cancer risk.  CT scans generate three-dimensional images of the inside of an object from a large series of two-dimensional X-ray images taken around a single axis of rotation.  CT scans use far more radiation than traditional x-rays, and their use has increased dramatically over the last two decades–for example, approximately 72 million scans were performed in the United States in 2007.  According to the report, 10% of the U.S. population gets CT scans every year, and that number is growing by more than 10% every year.

Increased CT scans is a concern not only because of the heightened cancer risk, but also because one of the main groups getting this type of mega-radiation is children.  The lifetime cancer risk for children receiving CT scans in non-negligible.  To put this into perspective:

In the United States, of approximately 600,000 abdominal and head CT examinations annually performed in children under the age of 15 years, a rough estimate is that 500 of these individuals might ultimately die from cancer attributable to the CT radiation. (via Wikipedia)

The good news is that the FDA and Congress are considering measures to prevent medical mistakes.  However, discretionary use is still in the hands of doctors, and I imagine the overuse of CT scans will continue as long as the fear of liability continues to loom over doctors’ heads.

Although MRIs use no radiation, their overuse is also epidemic.  I am of the opinion that this is one reason medical costs are out of control.  You can give every American double the health coverage, if doctors don’t stop using these imaging techniques indiscriminately, costs will continue to soar.

The way I handle unnecessary MRI requests is to explain that diagnostics should guide treatment.  For the most part, if knowing whether a spinal disk bulge is present radiologically will not change my treatment protocol (and it rarely does), then the study is unnecessary.  I simply remind the patient that MRIs are not cheap–they run around a couple thousand dollars–and even with the best insurance, the patient is responsible for the co-payment, which will be several hundred dollars.

You still want it, even though it’s not going to change anything we do here?

Yes.

Be my guest.  Here’s your scrip.  Have fun.

Some people just can’t be convinced; but I’m hoping the fear of developing cancer from unnecessary CT scans wises people up.  We’ll see.


No free ride—dang!  There never seems to be something for nothing. Always a cost, always a price. Anyway, now it looks like a popular blood pressure medication may raise cancer risk. You mean I can’t eat what I want, neglect exercise, or indulge in type-A behavior at any time I want, and then just take a magic little pill that’ll make everything all right? Whuh?

According to a recent analysis of five previous studies following about 60,000 patients, researchers found a link between taking angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and cancer. ARBs are taken by millions of people worldwide for conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetic kidney disease. Researchers found that people taking these meds had a one percent higher risk of developing a whole range of cancers, including prostate, breast and a noticeable spike in lung cancer. About 85 percent of the people in the studies were on telmisartan, sold as Micardis, made by Boehringer Ingelheim Corp.

Although the individual risk is modest, the wide numbers of people taking these drugs means that the overall cancer numbers worldwide should increase due to ARB use. It is unknown at this time if the cancer risk is reduced following discontinuation of the drugs.

Of course, Boehringer Ingelheim Corp., makers of the drug Micardis, dispute the results, claiming their hypertension drug is one of the most-studied in the world. The company claimed in a statement that it had “internal safety data” contradicting the recent study. According to studies run by the pharmaceutical company, there was no link between increased cancer risk and Micardis. Yeah, yeah, yeah…

Lead author of the study, Dr. Ilke Sipahi, warned patients not to stop taking their drugs, and recommended they consult their doctor if they were concerned. However, he does say that he now thinks twice before prescribing ARBs himself. Nevertheless, for some people that can’t handle the side-effects of some of the other hypertension drugs, the risk of dying of stroke or heart disease far outweigh those of developing cancer.

Well let me interject my two-cents. Hypertension comes in two flavors, primary and secondary, the former being due mostly to lifestyle behaviors, the latter secondary to other causes, many hormonal. 85 percent of people with high blood pressure have the primary type. I hope you see where I’m going. If you handle your own lifestyle modification, take things into your own hands, why…you could lower your blood pressure and avoid the increased risk of developing cancer by using and ARB, like Micardis. Go figure.

Here are a few simple tips to lowering blood pressure:

  • Get adjusted—studies have shown chiropractic care can reduce blood pressure by 17mmHg systolic and 10mmHg diastolic*
  • Lose weight—obesity increases blood pressure; the heart has to work harder to pump through the fat
  • Reduce sugar intake—yeah I know it’s hard, I live it every day. So what, do it anyway; sugar is a killer
  • Reduce salt intake—this decreases blood pressure in about 33% of people
  • Quit smoking and reduce or quit drinking alcohol—I know, I know, but just so you know, both increase blood pressure immediately
  • Learn to handle your stress—stress is a necessary part of life; however, putting things into balanced perspective is essential (don’t know how? contact me)

Blood pressure medications are supposed to be prescribed after lifestyle changes have been modified. But you know as well as I do that, like pretty much all medications in our arsenal, they are prescribed first and immediately, with lifestyle behaviors touched only obligatorily with the five second, “Oh, and you should probably lose weight and quit smoking,” line your doctor says as he hands you your scrip and walks out the door.

Listen, don’t rely solely on your doctors. They are overworked, and they know that most people won’t comply with suggestions on lifestyle changes (although this is not entirely true, it is a belief of the average medical doctor).  Be good to yourself, take your health into your own hands.  The results are yours and yours alone.  Trust me, there’s never something for nothing.  Nobody can do your exercises for you, and there is no such thing as a magic bullet.  Don’t worry, it’ll be worth all the hard work.

*Thank you Dr. Tim Swift, best chiropractor in San Clemente, for the reminder of my obvious oversight.


Here is an affirmation I have given to a new client who is being treated with chemotherapy for cancer:  The pain IS the healing.

I was thinking very deeply about this client, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma late last year, when I came up with the affirmation.  He is being successfully treated with the chemo, but the it has put him in excruciating pain.  He says it feels as if his bone marrow is boiling.

What we don’t always realize is that life is often painful; but the pain we endure is often our greatest blessing; it’s what usually brings our greatest growth.  That is the gist of this post.  And the gist of the affirmation.

Affirmations are statements that we say over and over to ourselves, to help establish in our minds the truth behind the statement.  What we say to ourselves repeatedly we believe.  What we believe we create.  In other words, we create our reality, whether you want to believe it or not (hidden wisdom, hidden wisdom, reread, ponder).

However, affirmations are powerless if we don’t really believe what we are saying in the first place.  For my client, it is not too hard to get him to believe.  First off, he’s super-sharp: He already sees the blessing in his illness, and he sees how his life (and mind-set) has led to where he is now, for all of which he is grateful.  Second, he’s a fighter; he feels like ess ayech aye tee (i.e. not well), yet he comes for his visits anyway.  He is doing everything he can to get well, including chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional therapy, and very soon…rehab.  Third, he knows he is getting better; this man knows the principles of the universe, and he gets that he’s getting a second chance; he understands the process.

So “the pain IS the healing” rings true for him.  But I have given him the affirmation to get him through the rough times.  When his bone marrow starts feeling like it’s boiling from the chemo, the affirmation makes it firm in his mind that it is an integral part of the healing process; and he’ll help his body along through his certainty.

And you can use this affirmation too.  Whether you are going through a tough breakup, financial or legal troubles, or any other painful experience, just remember…the pain IS the healing.

Doing yoga helps cancer patients overcome sleep problems.  So says a recent study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to be held in Chicago this June.  According to the study, yoga also improved quality of life, reduced fatigue and reduced the need for sleep medications in cancer survivors.  Now how ’bout that?

The study looked at 410 patients who had finished treatment two to 24 months before and who had reported greater-than-average sleep disruptions (80% of cancer patients have trouble sleeping while undergoing treatment, and about two-thirds say the problems persist after treatment ends). Almost all of the participants were women, and three-quarters had had breast cancer, although the cancer had not spread. None had done any yoga in the past three months.  Participants were randomized to either receive regular follow-up care for cancer survivors or to receive regular care plus two 75-minute sessions of yoga per week for four weeks.

Emphasis was on doing postures (asanas) breathing from the diaphragm rather than the chest (pranayama) and on mindfulness, visualization and guided meditation.
Here are the results:

  • 22% of yoga participants reported improvement in sleep quality, while only 12% of controls reported the same
  • 31% of yoga participants who had started out with clinically impaired sleep quality recovered vs. only 16% of controls
  • 42% in yoga group had reduced fatigue, compared to only 12% in the control group
  • 20% of yoga participants had reduced daytime sleepiness, while only 5% of controls had the same 
  • 6% on average in yoga group reported their quality of life improved, while none in the control group did
  • While the yoga group was able to get by with less sleep medication, people in the control group actually used more.

Pretty amazing, but not surprising.  I know firsthand the multitude of health benefits of practicing yoga, as I have been involved in my own practice for 10 years.  What is remarkable is the degree and rapidity with which cancer survivors respond to yoga practice.

The combined focus on physical activity, mental focus and breathing is a recipe to benefit all people.  Yoga has been around for thousands of years precisely because it has taught people a way of enhancing their life forces.  If yoga has the ability to transform the lives of cancer survivors, then it certainly has the ability to do the same for you and me.  I’m doing yoga daily; I encourage you to do the same.  Yoga will transform you.


As important as practicing healthy habits is, discontinuing (or better yet never starting) poor health habits can add years to your life–twelve to be exact; this according to the findings of a recent study. Let’s see, twelve years ago I was…DANG that’s a long time! Check it:

The study tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and looked at the following four bad health habits:

  • smoking
  • drinking too much
  • inactivity
  • poor diet

Researchers found that people partaking in these habits had a substantially increased risk of death, and they seemed 12 years older than people in the healthiest group. Doh!

Of the research subjects having all four habits (314 people), 29% died through the study period. The subjects having none of the habits (394), only 8% had died. The people involved in the study were adults aged 18 and older, but 44 years old on average. The most common cause of death among subjects was heart disease and cancer, both caused by the unhealthy habits studied.

The healthiest group included never-smokers and those who had quit; teetotalers, women who had fewer than two drinks daily and men who had fewer than three; those who got at least two hours of physical activity weekly; and those who ate fruits and vegetables at least three times per day.

“You don’t need to be extreme” to be in the healthy category, said lead researcher Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo. “These behaviors add up, so together it’s quite good. It should be possible for most people to manage to do it.”

Tis true. It is one of the major premises in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health. Healthy habits are cumulative. Start slowly and add habits one by one. For example, start with bodywork, like chiropractic care, and get out of pain. Once pain starts to subside, start exercising. Cut out sodas next. Then start eating more fruits and vegetables, and so on. It doesn’t have to all be done at once. Pick up a few healthy habits, then go for the more challenging ones, like quitting smoking or drinking or mainlining speed. Having a foundation of a handful of healthy habits will get you through a lot easier than trying to kick a habit cold turkey with nothing to fill the void.

By reducing faulty health habits you could add twelve years to your life–no small amount once you start getting up there. Add to that a few healthy habits and woo-boy you might even tack on another twelve. Think of that. What will you do with the time?


Last post I discussed vitamin D insufficiency resulting from too little sun, and I’m not holding back knocking dermatologic scare tactics keeping people out of the sun. The addition of sunscreen lotions to our moisturizing products and makeup has become pervasive. Aside from keeping us from getting our necessary vitamin D, sunscreens have a direct effect on our health.

As a recap, we need sun exposure; sunlight causes the production of vitamin D in our skin. Vitamin D is necessary for many functions, and being low in vitamin D can cause a bevy of problems. I’m not going over all of them here. I’ve written plenty of posts on vitamin D insufficiency; they are all here (here, here, and here). I also recommend reading my article on vitamin D–it’ll direct you on how to get tested and find out your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D insufficiency is epidemic today, and people are developing chronic illness as a result. Educate yourself on the dangers, get tested, take supplements and get sun, that simple.

What I want to discuss is the direct danger of using sunscreen. This product has been so ingrained into our lifestyle that people accept it’s safety as if it were soap. I encourage you to think twice. Let’s look:

Melanin, the brown pigment that is released when skin is exposed to sunlight, absorbs UV radiation and dissipates the energy as harmless heat, blocking the UV rays from damaging skin tissue. It is nature’s amazing photoprotectant–more than 99.9% of these molecules repel photon energy. Compare this to some ingredients in popular sunscreens–the most effective only repelling 81% photon energy, and some as low as 10%.

Because of its poor dissipation of photon energy, sunscreens actually allow more free radical formation. My regular readers know what these damaging chemicals are, but for those of you who don’t, free radicals oxidize molecules and tissue potentially leading to cancer and other degenerative diseases including premature aging.

Not only are sunscreens poor photoprotectants, but some of their ingredients have been implicated as increasing the concentration of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can also cause oxidative damage to DNA, cells and tissues leading to inflammatory diseases and premature aging. In one study, the sunscreen acted as a protector for the first twenty minutes; after 60 minutes, however, it increased the number of ROS in the skin.

Some studies (also here and here) have even implicated sunscreen as increasing the risk of developing malignant melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers. However, two meta-analyses (and here) failed to show a causal effect of sunscreen use on melanoma development, despite the correlation found in the other studies. So the jury is still out on whether sunscreen increases the skin cancer risk.

What is pretty clear, though, is the health risk posed by some of the synthetic compounds found in sunscreens. From Wikipedia:

In 2007 two studies by the CDC highlighted concerns about the sunscreen chemical oxybenzone (benzophenone-3). The first detected the chemicals in greater than 95% of 2000 Americans tested, while the second found that mothers with high levels of oxybenzone in their bodies were more likely to give birth to underweight baby girls.

Finally, there has been some concern over nanoparticles used in many sunscreens. Nanoparticles could increase rates of certain cancers or diseases similar to those caused by asbestos.

With all the potential dangers linked to using sunscreens, along with their blocking our vitamin D producing capacity (as well as studies showing sun exposure lowering death rates of cancer patients), why the heck would anybody continue using them regularly? Like I said last post–I’m done. I’m getting my daily sun sans sunscreen. If I go to the beach, I’ll put some on after about twenty minutes, then I’ll get under my umbrella. Short bouts of sun, that’s it. That’s how I’m doing it. How ’bout you?

Time to get serious, people. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. Listen up: 4.8 million cancer cases do not have to happen. Get it? You are in charge of your health. Health is NOT random. If you are living by that philosophy, you’re sunk.Is there a health care crisis? You bet. The crisis lies in the idea that you are not responsible for your own health, or your health care. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. This from a report by the Geneva-based International Union Against Cancer (UICC). As UICC president David Hill says, “If there was an announcement that somebody had discovered a cure for 40 percent of the world’s cancers, there would quite justifiably be huge jubilation.” No kidding.

OK, so what can you do? First, let’s look at the top three cancers:

What can you do today that can help prevent these cancers tomorrow?

The first thing you want to do is observe your diet. Minimize processed foods, or better yet, get rid of them altogether. Whole and natural is best. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Take your vitamins. Drink lots of water (two liters per day, minimum).

Next, minimize or quit smoking. Minimize smoking? Exactly, most people that smoke can’t do so moderately, so kick it altogether. Try breathing clean air, too. How about an air purifier? Don’t minimize their usefulness. If you own a home in Los Angeles, contact me, I’ve got a guy that can set you up.

Minimize alcohol, recreational drug, and pharmaceutical drug consumption. These substances are toxins to the body. Stress the liver and kidneys and you’ll be increasing your cancer risk (among other illnesses) exponentially. Alcohol can cause many different forms of cancer–2-4% of all cancers to be exact–including esophageal, stomach, liver, breast, colon and others. And don’t underestimate the drugs your doctor gives you; they’re poisons, too.

Maintain a healthy weight. I’m not one to lay on the guilt trips, so simply put, if you are overweight, just lower it by something. My dad dropped from 225 to 190. He’s still about 25 pounds overweight, but that drop he made was significant to his health.

Exercise regularly. C’mon now, if you are not doing this you are missing out on so many health benefits that, well…you’ve got nobody to blame but…OK, no guilt trips. Just do it.

Get plenty of healthy sun, but don’t overdo it. Listen, we all need the vitamin D, and we now know more than ever how much so. But sun worshiping, tanning beds, Jersey Shore…puleeze! Be smart, protect yourself–safe sunning is the only way to go.

There you have it: You are in control of your health. Health is not random. There is a health care crisis, and it’s that far too many people neglect some very basic health enhancing behaviors. My book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, has these and hundreds of other tips to prevent cancer and live a life of health and vitality. You can direct your health: you are responsible for the health you have and maintaining it. Nobody else.

Listen up parents–if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Kids do as their parents do. This is true of how they care for their health, including what types of treatments they seek out. According to a recent study coming out in the February issue of Pediatrics, almost twelve percent of American children use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The study conducted at Harvard Medical School looked at data on 9,417 children younger than 18 years of age; it set out to differentiate between users and non-users of non-mainstream therapies. They found that if parents used alternative therapies, the more likely their children used them, too. In the study, they purposely ignored vitamins and minerals, so that they could get a better sense of the use of herbs and homeopathics. Chiropractic and acupuncture were not mentioned in the report, but were likely a part of the study.For the children using CAM therapies, they did so mostly for chronic conditions such as anxiety, stress, musculoskeletal conditions, skin conditions and sinusitis.

Surprisingly, 66% of children with cancer used CAM therapies. Some doctors find this disturbing since they say some alternative therapies can interfere with other treatments.OK, first off, for some people using non-mainstream forms of treatment or tonics are not “alternative”. I can tell you that in my family chiropractic was a way of life. I’ve been seeing chiropractors since I was seven years old; I adjust my daughters regularly, my wife when she was pregnant, and I adjust my siblings and mother, too. It’s a lifestyle for us, not alternative.

We’ve also been taking vitamins, juicing, eating whole, natural foods (sorry, we’re not vegetarian, my vegan friends), exercising and seeing acupuncturists for as long as I can remember…and we are not alone. Truly encouraging is that the numbers of people living healthy lifestyles keep growing every year.

Sure, if you are infatuated with the practice of medicine, you’ll shrink in abhorrence. God forbid anyone use something other than what Dr. Oz recommends. Wake up you people–mainstream medicine is jumping on the bandwagon with many CAM therapies because these same practices they’ve vilified for decades actually work.

The study itself can be taken in two different ways: one, that doctors (especially pediatricians) need to pay more attention to their patients, because their unspoken health habits could interfere with the good doctors recommendations (drugs); or two, doctors need to pay more attention because their patients are embracing CAM therapies, which…ehem…work.*

No doubt, every consumer needs to practice ultimate caution–some herbs and other therapies can be dangerous if used improperly, bought from disreputable sources, or not administered from a knowledgeable (and liable) practitioner. But isn’t this what today’s health care is all about–due diligence, self-information, professional consultation, scrutiny and personal responsibility? Sure better be–it’s your health.

*Most known and long-practiced therapies work for some people, yet no one therapy works for all people, not even medicine.

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