The Top 28 Things You Can Do To Prevent or Assist
in the Cure of Heart Disease & Cancer

Concensus Color Rating System

The various subset elements of conflicting expert opinion

To assist in identifying those recommendations which have the greatest weight among our authors, we have divided the advice of the writers into three distinct areas in accordance with how concurrence exists in the field. Red advice means that a particular conclusion comes as close to unanimous support from nutritional / medical authorities as you will ever get. An example would be the conclusion that smoking tobacco, as a lifestyle choice, increases your risk for lung cancer and emphysema. Orange advice means that the evidence is strong, but not unanimous. An example would be a reduction in total caloric fat intake for cancer patients, or advice that a diet low in animal proteins (which acidify the body) is health-supporting - giving rise to advice which favors vegetarianism. Yellow advice means that the evidence is credible and worthy of note, but tends to be the domain of one, perhaps two, experts in the field, but is not highly regarded by most authorities.

1. Educate Yourself

Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is a good idea to get a second, or even third, opinion. When you are satisfied that the diagnosis is accurate and have chosen a health care provider, learn as much as you can about the type of cancer you have. This will give you an idea of how you want to treat it. Libraries and the Internet are a good source of information for learning more about the disease as well as other treatment options available. Excellent information can also be found at the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service, the American Cancer society, Cancer Recovery Foundation of America, your doctor, other doctors, other patients, friends, advocacy organizations, and professional and trade organizations. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your healthcare provider. Some important questions to ask are:

  1. Precisely what type of cancer is it?
  2. What tests were used to determine this diagnosis?
  3. What type of treatment is recommended?
  4. What are the pros and cons of this particular treatment?
  5. How long will this treatment last?
  6. What exactly is the goal of this treatment?

2. Have a Positive Attitude

Don't give up! Don't believe that a cancer diagnosis is your death sentence. Maintain a fighting spirit and be determined to improve your health and well-being. Beware of "pity parties" and refuse to play the victim. There are multitudes of cancer survivor support groups who can help you through this. Try to maintain your sense of humor. Negative emotions can actually cause organs to deteriorate. You may try some sort of emotional cleansing, especially for deep-rooted, repressed emotions. Transcend your fear by being independent and assertive. And be open-minded to alternative therapies and treatment options. If one treatment doesn't seem to be working, be open to trying something new.

3. Establish a Healthy Diet

Fresh foods including fiber, vitamin C, and the sulfur compounds of garlic and onion can block the formation of cancer, so eat more vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Some good sources of fiber are bran cereals, oatmeal, and almonds. Other good foods for fighting cancer are tomatoes; soy products and soy milk; green drinks made from grasses, sprouted grains and green vegetables, such as green tea; legumes; and licorice. Because fat is known to promote cancer and encourages breast cancer in particular through the production of estrogen, it is essential to consume less red meat and cut as much fat out of your diet as possible. Trim fat off any meat you do eat, and use olive oil rather than saturated fats for cooking. Some suggest a detoxification and cleansing program using enemas and/or colonics to purge the body of toxins and bacterias, and juicing, which provides the body with the nutrients of fruits and vegetables without having to digest solids. While juice fasting, take immune-building supplements such as garlic and echinacea to help maintain health. You should also cut as much sugar out of your diet as possible, as sugar feeds tumors. Other foods to avoid are processed or refined foods and anything pickled, smoked, or salt-cured. Also, cut back on salt and caffeine.

4. Essential Fatty Acids

Cutting back on fats in the diet was briefly touched upon in #3 above, however, some clarification of the types of fats is called for here. Saturated, or "bad", fats are usually solid at room temperature. They are mainly of animal origin such as fat in meat, chicken and other poultry skin, as well as seafood, shortening, butter, and egg yolks. These fats are responsible for raising cholesterol levels, promoting breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer, and hardening the arteries leading to heart disease. Like vitamins, however, healing fats, called essential fatty acids (EFAs), are necessary to your health. Omega 6 EFA (linoleic acid) is abundant is polyunsaturated safflower, sunflower, and corn oils, while omega 3 EFA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in hemp seeds, but most plentiful in flaxseed. AO's Bioenergized, Organic Flaxseed has the appropriate omega 6 and omega 3 dietary ratio. EFAs are essential to good health because they regulate oxygen use and energy production, help form hemoglobin, keep endocrine and exocrine glands active, keep joints lubricated, transport cholesterol, help prevent development of allergies, and assist the immune system to fight infections. If a person has cancer, inflammatory conditions, or needs to lose weight, omega 3 is most important.

5. Don't Smoke

There aren't many people who would argue that cigarettes are bad for you. Completely rid yourself of cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco; but if you find you simply can't quit, at least load up on foods with anti-cancer agents. Avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible.

6. Exercise for Health

Exercising improves energy and stamina, so move as much as possible, however you can, whenever you can. Even if you are very weak, start with arm or leg exercises until you can do more. It's a good idea to make time for "play therapy", as well, which helps to release positive cancer-fighting endorphins. Jumping on a small trampoline (rebounding) helps to increase the lymph system and strengthen the entire body. Walking or taking short 10-minute stretch breaks during the day are also quite helpful. Many believe that just a small amount of weekly physical activity can seriously reduce the chance of developing cancer.

7. Vitamins & Supplements

Important vitamin supplements in any recovery include A, C, E, and B-complex. Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin, is involved in the formation and maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. Vitamin A helps us to see in dim light and is necessary for proper bone growth, tooth development, and reproduction. You can get vitamin A from dark green vegetables and deep yellow fruits and vegetables. B-complex vitamins are found in brewer's yeast, liver, whole-grain cereals, rice, nuts, milk, eggs, meats, fish, fruits, leafy green vegetables and many other foods. These vitamins (including B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12) help provide energy for the body, break down fats and proteins, and help maintain health in the skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver. Vitamin C (asorbic acid) is found in fresh citrus and other fruits and vegetables and is readily absorbed in the intestines. It is good for the skin, bones and teeth, and helps maintain healthy blood vessels. Vitamin E comes from fats and oils, meats, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, and soy. This vitamin protects vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues.
Martin Katahn, however, cautions taking supplements as a form of nutritional insurance. He argues also that herbal supplements are not regulated, allowing them to vary in potency. You should always check the labels because some are weaker than others or processed in a way that might allow foreign elements to get into the capsule. Opinions vary on whether or not to take multivitamins, but whether or not you take them, don't allow them to be a substitute for a healthy diet.

8. Minerals

Selenium is an important part of antioxidant enzymes that protect cells against the effects of free radicals produced during normal oxygen metabolism which can damage cells and contribute to the development of some chronic diseases including cancer. Selenium is also essential for normal functioning of the immune system and thyroid gland. Milk thistle nutritionally supports the liver's ability to maintain normal liver function due to its ability to inhibit the factors responsible for liver damage, coupled with the fact that it stimulates production of new liver cells to replace old damaged ones. It has shown positive effects in treating nearly every known form of liver disease, including cirrhosis and hepatitis. Echinacea is known for stimulating the immune system and is used in preparations for treating colds and flu and a host of other minor ailments. Other minerals that may be helpful include astragulus, calcium, antioxidants, beta carotene, copper, magnesium, zinc, fish oil, glutathione, tea tree oil, and desiccated liver. You should try to rid your body of the "heavy metals" such as lead, cadmium, and mercury.

9. Manage Stress

Don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed or lose perspective. Some ways to deal with stress include exercise, meditation, yoga, the belief in a Higher Power, a support system of other cancer survivors, friends, and loved ones, and a change of attitude. Also, if you feel confident in your health care provider and believe that you can restore your health, stress should be greatly relieved.

10. Alternative Therapies

If one therapy doesn't feel "right" to you, there are many different methods to try. Meditation, hypnosis, and visualization are possibilities. In visualization, mental imagery can be powerful in fighting off the disease. Believe that your treatment is going to help you and visualize its positive effects. You may also try Chinese medicine or naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness. The medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient's condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. Osteopathic medicine provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic Medicine emphasizes helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health education, injury prevention and disease prevention. Another option is chiropractic medicine. Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. There are also metabolic therapies which treat the patient as a whole rather than just one defective part.

11. Good Water

It is unanimous: never drink tap water or use it for cooking. Always filter or treat it by distillation or reverse osmosis, or use purified or mineral water. Some argue against using bottled water in plastic gallon containers, however, as the plastic leaches into the water. Drinking plenty of clean clear water every single day will help keep you hydrated. Some suggest avoiding drinking water during meals so that it does not interfere with digestion fluids in the stomach or the absorption of supplements taken with meals. Additionally, because the skin is a valuable part of the body's detox system by excreting toxins through sweat, soaks and saunas may be helpful. They can encourage the cleansing process by further encouraging the release of toxins.

12. Your Environment

So much in today's world is toxic. Indoor air pollution is rarely ever noticed because we become used to it, however, it includes cleaning chemicals, paint, and cigarette smoke. Use as few chemicals when you clean as possible. You should have your home and/or work checked for radon and asbestos. Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. You cannot see, smell, or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. When you breathe air containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used primarily as an insulator or fire retardant. When asbestos becomes airborne, the fibers accumulate in the lungs and as exposure increases, the risk of scarring of the lung tissue, or mesothelioma, which is cancer of the pleural lining, increases. It can also cause lung cancer. Many believe that electromagnetic fields are a concern because they can alter our internal electric rhythms. Computers, microwaves, alarm clocks, and even cell phones emit electromagnetic waves. To help protect yourself from EM emissions, Alpha Omega offers the TechnoAO Electromagnetic Bioprotection Antenna. Clinical studies have proven the TechnoAO's protective efficacy. Your local utility company can evaluate the level of electromagnetivity in your home.

13. Weight Watching

Maintaining a healthy weight has many benefits. (An even better measure of "healthy weight" is the "percentage of body fat," -- discussed in the section on our body fat analyzer). It is well known that obesity can increase one's chances of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Rates of breast and endometrial cancers in post-menopausal women increase with weight, and nearly 50% of all breast cancers occur in obese women. Other cancers may not be directly linked to obesity and weight, but instead are linked to the type of bad eating habits that produce obesity. Obviously, the most effective way to maintain a healthy weight is with a combination of diet and exercise. One can't expect to improve their overall health with "yo-yo" dieting or diets that don't include all the nutrients their body needs, nor can they expect to lose weight simply by lowering their caloric intake and not working the body physically. Exercise is the best way to lose weight. It burns calories and reduces fat, and if you keep on a regular exercise regimen, your body will be able to burn calories faster, even when you sit still. In addition, exercise makes the heart stronger, helping it pump more blood. The blood then delivers more oxygen to the body. Exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease, and reduce levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol), which clogs the arteries and can cause a heart attack. At the same time, exercise can raise levels of HDL ("good" cholesterol), which helps protect against heart disease. Ask your health care provider to make a recommendation as to how much exercise you need based upon your overall health.

14. Alcohol Consumption

Most nutritionists and physicians suggest that you eliminate alcoholic beverages altogether, however, many still consider drinking in moderation to be acceptable. Some suggest that rather than liquor, you drink red wine instead. But steer clear of beer, as it contains high levels of nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are a class of chemical compounds that, when tested in the 1950's, was found to produce liver tumors in rats. This discovery was made during a routine screening of chemicals that were being proposed for use as solvents in the dry cleaning industry. Most nitrosamines are organ specific. For instance, dimethylnitrosamine causes liver cancer in experimental animals, whereas some of the tobacco specific nitrosamines cause lung cancer. Since nitrosamines are metabolized the same in human and animal tissues, it seems highly likely that humans are susceptible to the carcinogenic properties of nitrosamines.

15. Food Preparation

Make sure to wash foods well in preparation for cooking or eating. Healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil, should be substituted for any saturated fats in cooking, and avoid frying foods whenever possible. Many nutritionists suggest preparing and seasoning foods without chemicals, and not cooking with aluminum or plastic. Trim away any fat on meats and don't cook at very high temperatures or allow smoke to surround the meat. Broiling or roasting are better alternatives than grilling over hot coals. There is controversy as to whether meats should be cooked well done or just medium rare and whether or not to use a microwave. Because microwaves emit electromagnetic waves, it is believed to be unhealthy overall. Never salt-cure or smoke meats. Be creative in your new approach to cooking. Try new, healthier techniques, foods, and spices.

16. Outside Help

Taking charge of your cancer treatment helps you feel as though you have some control. This can be emotionally empowering. Asking for help from outside sources is sometimes necessary to assist you in dealing with something as serious as cancer. As simple as it may seem, having a friend or loved one cook a meal, read a book, or help around the house can substantially lift your mood or help you relax. Additionally, seek help from national or local services designed to help cancer patients with finances, counseling, information, or emotional support.

17. Know Your Healthcare Provider

The treatment of cancer may last quite some time, so it is important to find a healthcare provider that you trust and have a rapport with. Screen potential providers and interview them. Get referrals for potential providers from other doctors, other patients, friends, medical information organizations, and advocacy organizations. Referral services, alternative practitioners, professional associations, health care schools or colleges, and even the library and the Internet can help you locate a healthcare provider. If you don't feel comfortable with the one you've chosen, or you don't feel quite "right" about his or her treatment, don't feel that you have to stay with them. Find one who really listens to you. Keep looking until you find the right one for you.

18. Love / Forgiveness

This is related to having a positive attitude. Some say that if you love those around you without judgment, without reason, you can also begin to love yourself which can aid in physical healing. Even though this may be a bad time in your life, discover what you have to be thankful for. Begin to actively practice forgiveness, and to love life.

19. Spirituality

Cancer has a way of leading people toward a search for meaning. Believing in a higher power can help us deal with the reality of our mortality and bring peace of mind in the face of something as frightening as cancer. The benefits of spirituality are many. You may feel a sense of calm and have less fear and anxiety. You may feel as if a burden has been lifted when you realize that we all make mistakes, we all become ill at some time in our lives, and that you are not alone. Spirituality helps increase your awareness of everything around you so that you can pay attention to "the little things" that we often take for granted. Whatever your "higher power" is, embrace it and let it soothe your worries.

20. Traditional Therapies

Radiation therapy is the use of high level radiation to destroy cancer cells. The radiation injures the cancer cells so they can no longer continue to divide or multiply. With each treatment, more of the cells die and the tumor shrinks. The dead cells are broken down, carried away by the blood and excreted by the body. Most of the healthy cells are able to recover from this injury. Both tumor cells and healthy cells may be affected by this radiation, and side effects are caused by damage to healthy cells. Chemotherapy is the use of medications or chemicals that have cancer-fighting abilities. It is often called an "anti-cancer agent". When cancer cells grow out of control and come in contact with normal cells, the cancer cells take over and replicate many times. The body becomes overburdened with cancer cells. Chemotherapy attempts to destroy the cancer cells with drugs. Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) is a relatively new medical procedure being used to treat diseases once thought incurable. It was first used in 1968, and since then, has been used to treat patients diagnosed with leukemia, aplastic anemia, lymphomas such as Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, immune deficiency disorders and some solid tumors such as breast and ovarian cancer. Surgical oncology is another treatment option and can be very successful.

21. Avoid Tanning Beds

Spending time in a tanning bed is not recommended. In a tanning bed, you are getting two different types of radiation. First, X-rays are being emitted from both ends of the fluorescent bulbs, and second, EMF (electromagnetic frequencies) are being fired at you from the magnetic ballasts in all tanning beds. That's the humming sound you hear. Additionally, spending too much time out in the natural sun is not safe, either, as UVB rays have proven to cause melanoma cancer. However, this is not to say that you should stay completely out of the sun at all costs! A healthy dose of sunlight is good has also proven beneficial to your frame of mind. Just don't roast yourself in the sun and avoid getting a sunburn.

22. Toxic Dentistry

While everyone should take care of their teeth and gums and see a dentist regularly, there are some who believe you should take precautions against what type of dentistry you have done. In other words, avoid "toxic dentistry". If possible, avoid mercury amalgams (most fillings) and use porcelain instead. Mercury amalgams, over time, may release mercury into the bloodstream which can cause different diseases including Alzheimers and heart or circulatory diseases. Most dentists are extremely sanitary and their utensils are sterilized, however, there are rare occasions where, during root canals and cavitations, bacteria can be introduced and spread throughout the body. Just make certain that you have an accredited and trusted dentist.

23. Say No To Drugs

Many drugs are known to be carcinogenic, as shown by human experience and animal tests. Unfortunately, even the most effective drugs used in the fight against cancer can also cause it. Some carcinogenic drugs to watch out for include Flagyl, often prescribed for vaginal infections; griseofulvin for athlete's foot or ringworm; and Lindane shampoos for head lice. Talk with your doctor to find out as much information as possible on the drugs you are being prescribed for various ailments. Taking estrogens for menopausal symptoms is not advised unless the symptoms are debilitating. In that case, take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. The estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) Premarin greatly increases the risk of uterine cancer. DES, a commonly prescribed "morning after" pill, is highly carcinogenic and not particularly effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy. It has been shown in studies to induce vaginal cancer in adolescent girls whose mothers took it while pregnant. Likewise, the Pill, used by millions of women worldwide, has been linked to liver tumors, stroke, and other diseases.

24. Cosmetics: Beauty & the Beasts

Do not purchase any products carrying the warning "The safety of this product has not been determined." Many widely-sold and popular beauty products contain known carcinogens such as 2,4-toluenediamine or 4-methoxy-mphenylenediamine. These are used in permanent hair dyes. These carcinogens are under consideration to be banned or regulated. In 1977, FDA banned the use of six color additives in drugs and cosmetics: yellow #1, blue #6, and reds #10, 11, 12, and 13. The red colors are mostly used in soaps and lipsticks. While these were banned, the products containing them were not required to be removed from the market.

25. X-Rays

There is no doubt: X-rays are carcinogenic. The more X-rays you submit to over your life and the greater the dose, the greater your risk of cancer becomes. Avoid X-rays whenever possible. When it is imperative that you have an X-ray, make sure that the technician is certified and not just trained in the office. Make certain that modern equipment is used, that the smallest possible dose is administered, and that your non-irradiated areas are protected with a lead shield. While yearly mammograms are inevitably prescribed, especially to women approaching and over the age of 40, some believe that routine mammograms to detect early breast cancer are not necessary. The X-ray may actually increase the chance of getting cancer. If, however, you are older and at high risk for cancer due to genetics or other reasons, the risk of increasing the chances of getting cancer may be worthwhile. Additionally, dentists often require sixteen to eighteen X-ray films every time a patient goes in for a routine checkup. Even the American Dental Association advises that a full set need not be taken more often than every 3-5 years. Talk to your dentist, doctor, chiropractor, or other health care provider before submitting to X-rays. If it's not imperative that you be X-rayed, don't.

26. Sex

The chance of getting cervical cancer increases by how early you start having intercourse, by the higher number of partners, marriages, and pregnancies, and the poorer your prenatal and postnatal care. Many feel that having intercourse during and immediately after menstruation also increases the risk, though studies have not confirmed such. The cervix cancer rate in orthodox Jewish women is rare and is thought to be because they abstain from sex during and just after menstruation. Breast cancer risks are increased in women who began menstruation before the age of 12, who have never had children, or who haid their first child after the age of 30. Some epidemiological studies also show that promiscuity increases risk for prostate cancer, probably due to a sexually transmitted virus.

27. Consumer Products

(A) Spray Cans--Many consumer products such as hair spray, disinfectants, deodorants, furniture polishers, and insecticides, are packaged in aerosol cans. The fluorocarbon Freon is being phased out as propellants as they are known to escape into the upper atmosphere and attack the ozone layer. It is best to avoid all aerosols, for each time you use one for any reason, you will be inhaling high concentrations of its chemical contents.

(B) Pesticides-- Garden insecticides and pesticides used in and around the home and garden are often carcinogenic. Among the more dangerous are heptachlor and chlordane.

(C) Flame Retardant Products--For many years, children's sleepwear and clothing were treated with a flame retardant called Tris. Please don't purchase clothing treated with this product. Tris is absorbed through the skin and remains in the fabric even after repeated laundering. Tris is both carcinogenic and mutagenic.

(D) Cleaning Agents and Solvents--Never use any products containing carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, or benzene, as all of these are carcinogenic. Be especially intent on avoiding products containing benzene, particularly paint and varish removers, adhesives, and cements.

(E) Arts & Crafts--While having a career or a hobby in arts and crafts, it is important to know and understand the composition of all materials you use so that you can use them with care, or replace them with materials that are not carcinogenic. Unknown to most people, some construction materials such as plasterboard and spackle contain asbestos. Paints are often based on carcinogenic pigments including chromium, cadmium, nickel, and arsenic, and may also contain carcinogenic solvents, particularly benzene.

28. Educational Institutions

Sadly enough, many of our schools may contain hidden hazards. First, it is wise to avoid schools that are located near chemical, mining, or smelting plants. Some have soundproof ceilings which were sprayed with asbestos. There are sometimes harmful chemicals in the laboratories that should be watched for, and wood shop and metal classes should avoid using organic cleaning fluids and solvents containing benzene, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene, or other carcinogens. Finally, the use of toxic and carcinogenic pesticides by the janitorial staff should be completely stopped.

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