Cancer. A word we’re all familiar with, but one we’re never truly prepared to hear. A cancer diagnosis can turn your world upside down. And with no definitive cure, there’s no denying that cancer is downright scary.
While conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation certainly have a vitally important place in treating and beating cancer, they don’t do a great job at addressing the human behind the cancer. That’s where natural, holistic cancer treatment comes in.
In this blog post we’re going to explore exactly what cancer is and what triggers your cells to become cancerous. And most importantly, we’ll cover how natural, holistic cancer treatment strategies can help address the root cause of cancer and how to determine if natural cancer treatment is right for you. Let’s dive in.
What Is Cancer?
In simplest terms, cancer is a disease that occurs when there is an alteration or error in the encoded instructions that tell your cells how to function, grow, and divide. When a cell becomes cancerous, it begins growing and multiplying at a much more rapid rate than normal.1 And sometimes these cancerous cells can begin accumulating into a tumor or even begin invading into other tissues throughout the body in a process known as metastasis.
These abnormal, cancerous cells can also be tricky – finding creative ways to enhance their survival and proliferation. For example, sometimes cancerous cells can:2
- Encourage blood vessels to expand into tumors – delivering more blood flow and nutrients to this conglomeration of cancer cells.
- Evade your immune system’s built-in defense mechanism to avoid being detected and eliminated.
- Confuse your immune system and even trick it into protecting cancerous cells over your normal cells.
Cancer can strike any type of cell in your body – which is why there are so many different and specific types. So what exactly causes these cancerous cells to go haywire and start behaving so abnormally?
How Does A Normal Cell Become A Cancer Cell? The Redox System
There are countless factors that can contribute to the development of cancer – some that we’re well aware of and others that remain more elusive and mysterious. But all of these factors circle back to the same underlying malfunction of the instructions that inform your cell’s behavior. And this malfunction can be traced back to an imbalance in what’s known as your redox homeostasis.
Let’s look a little deeper at what redox homeostasis is and how an imbalance in this system can trigger cells to become cancerous:3,4
- Reactive oxygen species: As your cells carry out their day-to-day functions, they produce compounds known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) – highly unstable and reactive molecules that can strip electrons from your healthy cells and cause damage in a process known as oxidative stress.
- Redox homeostasis: To balance out these harmful reactive oxygen species, your cells also produce antioxidant enzymes to remove and balance out these unstable molecules. In healthy cells, this creates a dynamic and precise balance known as redox homeostasis.
- Redox dysregulation: If the delicate balance of redox homeostasis is thrown off-kilter, it can shift the balance of reactive oxygen species and the antioxidants that neutralize them – leading to an excess of these harmful ROS that can’t be cleared in a timely manner.
- Cellular dysfunction: As these reactive oxygen species are left unchecked, they begin inducing oxidative damage – damaging DNA, proteins, and other molecules that your cell relies on. This damage alters the cell’s structure and ability to function – creating the metabolic mutations that trigger the cell to become cancerous.
- Redox reprogramming: Once a cell has transformed and become cancerous, it can influence and reprogram redox homeostasis to enhance its survival. These cancerous cells can actually upregulate antioxidant production to shield themselves from further oxidative stress, prolong each cell’s life span, and amplify their ability to replicate.
This redox theory that explains the underlying malfunction that triggers the development of cancer gives us some helpful insight when it comes to treating cancer. But before we dive into some ways we can address this dysregulation of your cellular redox system, let’s take a look at some things that can trigger this imbalance in the first place.
What Causes Cancer?
While we don’t have all of the answers when it comes to what causes these cellular changes seen in cancer, we do know some things that can certainly drive the development of this disease. Some factors that are known to contribute to the development of cancer include:
- An unhealthy diet
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic stress and unresolved trauma
- Elevated exposure to environmental toxins
Understanding that these are some of the underlying drivers that can turn the tides and cause a normal cell to transform into a cancer cell allows us to better understand how we can treat cancer from a holistic perspective.
Holistic Cancer Care Defined: What Is A Holistic Approach to Cancer?
Conventional and commonly known methods of cancer treatment are typically forms of radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Both of these forms of cancer treatment actually utilize the idea of oxidative stress to induce cellular death. By flooding cells with ROS via chemo or radiation, we can induce enough oxidative stress to cause cancer cells to die.
Holistic cancer treatment, also sometimes referred to as natural cancer treatment, is another branch of cancer treatment that can be utilized alongside conventional treatment modalities. Holistic treatment strategies aim to address the underlying causes of cellular dysfunction and restore balance to help eliminate cancer cells and prevent them from forming again in the future. Just a handful of potential natural and holistic cancer treatment strategies might include:
Your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms that work in harmony with your own cells to regulate just about every function in your body – from your digestion to your immune system and from your mood to how your genes are expressed. These microscopic microbes are so crucial to our health that we quite literally couldn’t survive without them.
So when the delicate ecosystem that these microbes create becomes disrupted, it creates an imbalance known as dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis has been linked to countless diseases and disorders – cancer included.5,6 So restoring gut health and reinoculating your gut with a healthy, diverse population of good bacteria is often a foundational component of natural cancer treatment.
Gut restoration is particularly important if you’re also undergoing any form of radiation or chemotherapy, because both of these treatment modalities can decimate the bacteria that live in your gut.
PEMF therapy stands for pulsed electromagnetic frequency therapy. PEMF therapy directs bursts of low-level electromagnetic energy into your body where it is able to penetrate directly into your cells. PEMF therapy works sort of like a battery charger for your cells – supercharging their energy levels and subsequently enhancing their ability to heal and function properly. When it comes to cancer, studies have found that PEMF therapy can:7
- Inhibit or prevent the formation of tumors and malignant cells
- Block the growth of new blood vessels that tumors rely on to survive and grow
- Promote the expression of healthy genes
- Enhance immune system function
- Stimulate the release of tumor-fighting compounds
- Minimize inflammation
While PEMF therapy can’t “cure” cancer in and of itself, it can be a potent way to promote healthy cells and help your body repair – especially during and after intense chemo or radiation.
Cancer, chemo, and radiation can severely deplete your cells of vital antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, and health-supporting nutrients. IV therapy can help replenish your cells by delivering these vital compounds directly into your bloodstream. IV vitamin therapy includes a a carefully calibrated concoction of health-boosting compounds that may include things like:
- Antioxidants like glutathione or alpha-lipoic acid to offset oxidative damage
- Vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B to support detoxification and boost energy production
- Electrolytes to keep you hydrated and help your cells function properly
If you’re undergoing chemo or radiation, IV vitamin therapy can help significantly reduce some of the negative side effects. But it’s important to clearly communicate with all of your providers so all treatments can be timed appropriately without the risk of interfering with each other.
We are inevitably exposed to a plethora of toxins. And if our exposure to these environmental toxins exceeds our ability to adequately detoxify them, they can begin to accumulate in our cells and tissues – triggering inflammation and hindering our cells ability to function properly. There are countless environmental toxins that have been identified as cancer-causing agents.8,9
Minimizing further exposure to these health-disrupting toxins and helping your body properly detox from any accumulated toxins is one of core pillars of addressing cancer from a natural, holistic perspective.
One of the least talked about, but perhaps the most crucial component of addressing and eliminating cancer is the mental and spiritual aspect. Your body, mind, and soul are not separate entities, they are one in the same. Every thought you think and emotion you feel is instantaneously transmitted to your body.
Chronic stress, unresolved traumas, spiritual unrest – all of these can directly influence the development of cancer. And if left unaddressed, they can present a significant barrier to healing and beating cancer.
Natural cancer treatment employs a variety of mind-body techniques to help you reconnect to your inner-self, resolve underlying trauma, minimize stress, and enhance your overall mental and spiritual well-being. To learn more about the power of mind-body medicine and explore some of the specific strategies that mind-body medicine entails, you can head over and check out our blog post Ultimate Guide to Mind-Body Medicine: Is What You Think Making You Sick?
Is Holistic, Natural Cancer Treatment Right for You?
Oftentimes, there is a belief that natural treatment options and conventional treatment options are somehow at odds with each other. But when it comes to cancer treatment, nothing could be further from the truth. Conventional cancer treatments have a place of vital importance – and so do natural treatment options.
Whether you’re newly diagnosed, are in the trenches of chemo and/or radiation, or are lucky enough to be in remission, you may benefit from seeking out holistic cancer treatment. Holistic cancer treatment strategies can help your body fight off cancer, bounce back from chemo and/or radiation, and most importantly, help you create a lifestyle that will prevent cancer from developing again in the future.
You see, once your cells have mutated and become cancerous, they are more likely to revert back to a cancerous state again – even if you’ve gone through treatment and eliminated any current signs of cancer. That’s why treating cancer is never a “one and done” deal. It requires a big-picture, lifestyle change. To beat cancer and keep it from coming back you simply must look at your life from every angle and create an anti-cancer lifestyle. And that’s exactly what holistic, natural cancer treatment practitioners can help you do.
Interested in Learning More About Natural, Holistic Cancer Treatment Options?
Here at Silver Tree Wellness, we firmly believe in the power of uniting science and spirit to ignite whole-body and whole-soul healing. We integrate cutting-edge diagnostic testing, modern healing technologies, nature-inspired healing practices, and equally-important, spirit-centered practices that support natural healing and vibrant health.
We have a team of incredible clinicians who work together to create an entirely customized roadmap to healing and hold your hand every step of the way in your journey. And we are lucky enough to have the expertise of the incredible Dr. Cheryl Kollin on our team who brings extensive knowledge and experience in holistic, natural cancer treatment options (you can click here to learn more about Dr. Kollin).
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, I encourage you to call and make an appointment. We will partner with you to create a completely personalized plan to tap into natural healing at the deepest levels. If you’re ready to take the next step with our specialists at Silver Tree Wellness, please reach out and call our office at 602-675-0170 or send us an email by clicking right here. We can’t wait to hear from you!
- What is Cancer? | Cancer Basics | American Cancer Society
- What Is Cancer? – NCI
- Frontiers | The Relationship of Redox With Hallmarks of Cancer: The Importance of Homeostasis and Context | Oncology (frontiersin.org)
- The redox biology network in cancer pathophysiology and therapeutics – ScienceDirect
- Cancer and the gut microbiota: An unexpected link – PMC (nih.gov)
- Cancer-Promoting Effects of Microbial Dysbiosis – PMC (nih.gov)
- Mechanisms and therapeutic effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in oncology – PMC (nih.gov)
- Cancer-Causing Substances in the Environment – NCI
- Environmental exposures and cancer: using the precautionary principle – PMC (nih.gov)