Cancer Hacks: A Full Guide To Overcoming your Fears and Healing Cancer

Cancer Myths

Cancer

Say that out loud a few times. Pay attention to how it feels in your body to say and acknowledge that word. Do you feel your throat tightening around it? Does it evoke feelings of fear and uncertainty? Cancer is terrifying. It’s the unknown, it’s malevolent, and it’s confusing. Chances are you know at least a few people touched by cancer. You might have even lost a family member or a friend to cancer. Within the United States, cancer is the number one health concern. It’s a growing epidemic and it can feel like a monstrous power that is taking over our world. When confusion strikes, fear sets in, and fear can lead us to cling to information, just for the simple fact that it is information. It is important for you to understand that there is so much evidence that what we believe to be true about cancer is wrong. And many universal truths we think we know about cancer do not apply to everyone with cancer. I want you to take a deep breath and let go of the feelings you felt when you said the word cancer. It’s just a word. And you are a human who is powerful and strong and able to educate yourself on what that word really means. Let’s break down some cancer myths.

Myth #1:

What You Put in Your Body Doesn’t Cause Cancer

The world’s largest ongoing analysis of diet and cancer research shows that at least one third of the most common cancers could be prevented if we ate a healthy diet. In my world, a healthy diet is following the 80/20 plan. For example, 80 percent of the time, I eat clean, whole, nutrient-dense foods. But listen, no nutritionist in the world eats that clean all the time and if they tell you they are, they are lying to you. And 20 percent of the time, I allow myself to indulge in moderation. Throughout the course of this book, I am going to detail what I recommend you eat 80 percent of the time. I won’t spend much time talking about the 20 percent but, just so you know, for me, it’s dark chocolate, tequila, wine, In-N-Out Burgers, and extra crispy potato chips. If clients show up on my doorstep, they have some awareness that their diet needs help. That is why they see a nutritionist, right? Often times, my clients have tried to get healthy on their own. They have bought cookbooks, read blogs, and taken supplements, but they still hit a roadblock. Here is the thing about eating healthy: it could not be simpler. But changing your lifestyle can feel foreign and scary. What do you snack on if for the past five years you have snacked on 100-calorie packs? What do you make for dinner if I tell you to throw away every Lean Cuisine in your freezer? For a lot of you, eating the way I describe in this book means breaking out of your comfort zone in a big way. I want you to be comfortable. So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I read a lot of blogs like my own that share tons of amazing healthy recipes. Recipes that would blow any meat-and-potatoes guy out of the water. I’m going to be honest with you—when I share a recipe, I share it because it is delicious but also because it is unique, special, and interesting. Nobody wants to see a recipe of my go-to avocado smeared on gluten-free bread on my blog every week. And, no one is begging for the recipe of leftover quinoa thrown together with the spinach I sautéed because it was about to go bad. So, if you are sitting there, wondering how you will ever have the time or the energy to eat this way or if you are looking online to determine what a spiralizer is, relax. I am a working mother with tons of interests and hobbies and activities. I do not spiralize every meal I make. I prepare, I plan, and I do my best. And sometimes I eat gluten-free toast smeared with avocado every day for a week. Initially, there might be some work you have to do, and preparation is going to make your life a lot easier, but eating healthy takes the same amount of effort as eating crappy. You are still going to the grocery store and picking out what to eat. Now you are going to spend your time in the produce department, not in the cookie aisle. You are still going to go out to eat with your friends. You are just going to choose a healthier option than a big bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo or a steak and fries. And here is my promise to you—eating this way will not take more energy, but it will give you more energy. My clients always start out by dreading spending the time to chop veggies, but within a week or two they call me to say that they have never accomplished more in a day in their lives. You will be flooded with information in the rest of the book, but right now I want to show you that eating this way is not that intimidating. My basic rules for eating clean are to eat whole, real foods; radically reduce your sugar consumption; limit your animal protein, caffeine, and alcohol consumption; and be smart when you eat out. I mentioned my 80/20 rule. It’s truly as simple as that. At least 80 percent of the time, your diet should be whole foods and not processed. As a culture, we need to open our eyes to all the chemicals in our food. We have to stop assuming that the stuff being sold to us is okay to consume. We have to pay attention. The faker our food industry gets, the more disease levels skyrocket. When are we going to acknowledge a connection? We need to wake up and use our common sense fries are not a whole food; yes, potatoes are. Forget what all those years of fad diets have told you. Ignore the people who tell you this way of eating is a fad diet. This way of eating is getting back to basics, back before preventable disease ravaged our country because of what we put in our bodies. Sugar has proven time and again to feed cancer. Many years ago, food companies tapped into the incredibly marketable and hypnotizing way that our bodies respond to sugar. Sugar is one of the most addictive substances known to humankind. In a study in which rats were given the choice between sugar water and cocaine, 94 percent of the time, they chose the sugar water. Then the researchers studied rats who were already addicted to cocaine. Even those rats chose sugar water over cocaine when given the choice. This is extremely alarming! While following the 80/20 plan, the best advice I can give you is to take the 20 percent and spread it around. So many people now do “cheat days” or “cheat meals.” Little splurges throughout the week allow you to never feel like you are holding back. Wasting your 20 percent on a whole day or one huge meal is setting yourself up for failure, it puts so much pressure on the rest of the week that you will buckle. But also, never forget, tomorrow is a new day. You can drive yourself crazy over what you ate or you can learn a lesson and start fresh tomorrow.

Myth #2:

Cancer Is a Death Sentence

The word “cancer” carries so much weight but the diagnosis does not always match it. Cancer is no longer the automatic death sentence it was once feared to be. Millions and millions of people survive cancer every year. One of the tricky things with getting a cancer diagnosis is that the liability for doctors has grown so immensely in the past few years. Often, in protection of their own selves, they are setting you up for the worst-case scenario. They are worried you will eventually get a cancer diagnosis that they did not catch and come back and sue them. If a doctor says you have cancer, you should listen, but you should also get multiple opinions and do your own research. Taking on the mentality that your worst-case scenario is your reality can be lethal. Our minds are so powerful; you have to be careful what you allow them to believe. We allow fear to set us in our ways. If you know someone who died from cancer, you take on the fear and the idea that if you get cancer it is or could be a death sentence. We see it a lot with breast cancer. Today, women who have breast cancer in their family get a double mastectomy before any cancer is ever detected. In my opinion, that is quite radical. It is the quick-fix culture we seek. We think, “If my breasts are gone, I cannot get breast cancer,” but you cannot just chop off parts of your body out of fear. Preventive measures, like getting regular checkups paired with living the cancer-fighting lifestyle I talk about in this book, are the best way to handle the fear of getting cancer. You might have a gene that passes cancer through your family, but that gene has to be activated by lifestyle choices. We make such rash decisions out of fear and put so much focus on what we think is inevitable. Think about it—the first thing a doctor does is ask you for the medical history of your parents and grandparents. I’m not trying to diminish the fact that this plays a role, but we cannot put all our thoughts into a potential predisposition. Just because your mother died from cancer does not mean you will. My belief system is that anything can be changed. You have a different genetic makeup and a different life than your parents or grandparents. Anything can be prevented. We need to stop running to the solution before the problem shows itself. And we need to stop believing that if the problem shows itself, that it has the same outcome as other people’s cancer stories. Your story is unique and it can go any way you want it to. Prevention, getting to know your body, and distinguishing between fear and gut instinct are the best ways to handle a fear of cancer.

One of my main reasons for writing this book is that I want people to know that cancer does not mean death. It wasn’t that long ago that pneumonia meant death. Things change, we evolve. Cancer today does not mean what it meant even five or ten years ago. Today, we have more tools than ever to combat this disease and your chances of surviving are higher than ever.

One of my main reasons for writing this book is that I want people to know that cancer does not mean death. It wasn’t that long ago that pneumonia meant death. Things change, we evolve. Cancer today does not mean what it meant even five or ten years ago. Today, we have more tools than ever to combat this disease and your chances of surviving are higher than ever.

Myth #3:

Cancer Is Contagious

Similar to those who are sure they will get cancer because their parents had it, there are many who think they can get cancer from other people. If you inherit a cancerous gene, you will still have to set it off with lifestyle choices. Similarly, if you get a cancer-causing virus, such as hepatitis B, helicobacter pylori (H pylori), or human papillomavirus (HPV) from someone, you would have to provoke it with lifestyle choices. All of these infections can lay dormant within you if you take cancer-fighting precautions. Some infections, like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), can suppress your immune system, making your body a welcoming home for cancer. So you have to boost your immunity and make sure you are taking extra precautions to avoid letting cancer pounce on a precious immune system. In my world, everyone has cancer. I know that can be scary to think about but it also gives you the power to not entice it to come out and play. Cancer is not something you catch from the world, it is something that was within you, and somewhere along the way, diet, habits, lack of exercise, emotional baggage, stress, trauma, or likely some combination lured it to come out and show itself. Stop fearing that you can get cancer from someone else. Instead go hug someone with cancer. It is proven that a hug can send you into relaxation mode, which is where healing happens. How cool is that—you will not get cancer from them, but you might help take it away.

Myth #4:

One Mistake Can Cause Cancer

Almost as often as I see clients come in who have no clue as to what caused their cancer, I have clients come in who are so sure what did cause it. They are positive it was all the cigarettes they smoked, or their relationship with their father, or the fact that they have never tried Brussels sprouts.

Listen, I know that I have written a whole book about things that can play into cancer, but I need you to know that there are SO many things at play. Putting the blame on one item is not helpful or healthy. You cannot heal if you are focused on one regret. Instead of heckling yourself for smoking so many cigarettes, ask yourself what you can do in your whole life to make yourself healthier. You cannot make progress unless you take responsibility for all the areas in your life that are unhealthy. People smoke a pack a day and drink every night and can live into their 90s. Cause and effect with cancer is not black and white. We are always looking for a “why,” because we want an answer and a cause. I am here to tell you that, unfortunately, even if you have a really good idea, you will not ever really know why things happen the way they do. That is unsettling, I know. But it is life and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why. Let’s not focus on the past—let’s focus on the future. How can you make yourself become a cancer-fighting machine today?

Myth #5:

Stress Doesn’t Cause Cancer

This is a biggie for me and in our world, it is so important. Scientists have discovered that everyday emotional stress is a trigger for tumor growth. Any sort of emotional or physical trauma can act as a pathway between cancerous cell mutations. These findings show that the conditions for developing cancer can be affected by your everyday work and family stress. Until now, scientists believed more than one cancer-causing mutation needed to take place in a single cell in order for tumors to grow. However, researchers showed that mutations could promote cancer even when they are located in different cells, because stress opens up “pathways” between them. I have long believed that emotional factors are one of the most important contributing factors for all diseases, especially cancer and the studies are showing that is true. You do not have to be the president of the United States or a CEO of a huge company to be stressed. Our environment is grooming us to be constantly stressed. The line at Starbucks is stressful, the traffic on the way to work is stressful, what you are going to wear to your sister’s wedding is stressful, and how the kids are going to get to their piano lessons is stressful. Our current culture is stressed and it is causing cancer to host a party in our bodies. We are driven and anxious and have such a desire to keep up with this crazy fast culture and environment and it is making us sick. Ever since I met Marc, he was always stressing about something. He did not know how to live any differently and most certainly did not think he would get cancer from it. This way of life was getting him ahead in his career, his golf game, and his social circle. When Marc was diagnosed, he continued his stressful way of doing things. He never gave himself a break. Our bodies cannot heal while we are stressed and we become our own worst enemies. Marc and I were evenly matched in this area of our lives, but because of my time at Rancho La Puerta, I knew how important it is to de-stress to heal and be healthy. In this book, I will share with you some of those ways to de-stress in simple, easy, and effective ways. Stress and anxiety are the products of fear and fear is not having faith. If you are stressed, deep down you worry about the future. We don’t always have the confidence that everything will be okay. More than that, we need to be okay with not being okay. That’s a huge step for cancer fighters. You are not okay, but you can be and you will be. You cannot just eat kale, meditate, exercise, and stop drinking. You have to manage your stress. I think this is so important. I am not a huge fan of prescription drugs. I think we are overmedicated and constantly avoiding the root issue. But sometimes we need medicine to manage our stress and anxiety so that we can get to a place where we can take care of ourselves. There are lots of fabulous herbal anti-anxiety options but if you need something stronger, ask for it. This is such a huge, huge, huge part of kicking cancer to the curb. If you sit in meditation but your mind cannot stop churning, you cannot reap the benefits of meditating. You need to get your head on straight so that you can calmly and proactively take care of yourself. You can always light up a joint. This might make you laugh, but marijuana does wonders for those dealing with stress. And, hey, I said whatever it takes.  I started my blog because I saw how many misconceptions there were about cancer in today’s world. It’s never too late to take control of your life. Even if you don’t have a diagnosis, it’s never too late to reduce your risk. There’s so much information flying around in the world that we are desperate to listen to anyone who speaks to us with authority. You have the authority over your body and the choices you make in your life.