I want to share with you an article that was published in the medical journal, Science, that had some good news about cancer. Unfortunately, it also contains some very broad assumptions that I want to help you avoid. Gleaning the good news from medical studies often depends on knowing how to read them.
Genes Don’t Dominate
The article is titled, Variation in Cancer Risk Among Tissues Can Be Explained by the Number of Stem Cell Divisions. It refers to two physicians at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center who conducted a review of a wide range of diagnostic literature related to cancer. They estimated the number of cells in various organs and what percentage of them are long-lived stem cells. They also calculated how many times the stem cells in each of these organs divided over the course of an average lifetime. Comparing this data to a diagnostic sample of how 31 different cancers were detected, the researchers determined that the organs that hosted the greatest number of stem cell divisions were the most vulnerable to cancer. This is because the more times a cell divides, the more it’s likely to generate a mutation. In fact, the researchers go on to say that their data show two thirds of the variation in adult cancer risk for 22 of the 31 cancers they examined is not due to heredity, but stem cell mutations. The researchers attributed the causes of the remaining one third of adult cancers or nine types to a combination of exposure to toxins and inherited genes.
Finally, medical science can stop scaring people to death by telling them that just because their father had colon cancer or brother had bone cancer that they’re X times more likely to develop it, too.
That’s the good news. Unfortunately, the article goes on to make some alarming assumptions that could lead people to make some very unhealthy choices.
Luck Lacks Explanation
The researchers go on to say that the stem cell mutations that cause two thirds of all adult cancers are completely random. What causes these mutations? In the research article itself and the press release from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it actually said that two thirds of adult cancers can now “be explained primarily by bad luck.” Bad luck? Is that a scientific term? Because they say these stem cell mutations are completely random, the conclusion is that there is nothing we can do about them. So two thirds of adult cancers are not hereditary and at the same time, completely unpreventable. We have to pin our hopes of not getting cancer on luck. This also implies that healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise, not smoking, and a healthy diet will likely have zero preventative effect on someone who happens to draw the short straw. If it’s all about luck, why bother making healthy choices at all?
The press release and journal article even posed these same questions. The answer was to help prevent the remaining nine adult cancers. Somehow, being able to prevent nine types of cancer while being completely at the mercy of the other 22 provides little motivation to live a healthy lifestyle and no consolation. The researchers actually compare getting cancer to getting into a car accident. The further the trip, the longer you’re on the road and the higher the possibility that you’ll get into an accident. Therefore, the longer you live, the more high-count stem cell divisions you’ll generate in your organs leading to a higher likelihood of developing a mutation and ultimately cancer. This is the same as saying nearly everyone will eventually get cancer which isn’t just irresponsible, it isn’t true.
Most of us know someone who lived into their nineties and beyond that never had cancer and certainly didn’t die of it. The researchers used another term to describe this medical phenomenon, “good luck.” I’m not kidding. That’s exactly what they attributed to people not getting cancer at advanced ages or those who smoked their entire lives. Just another roll of the dice.
While it’s nice to see traditional medicine laying one of its most powerful and erroneous cancer theories to rest, the assumptions made from this research have the potential to do more harm than good by making people believe they are completely powerless against cancer, which simply isn’t true.
Comedian George Burns lived to be 100 and smoked cigars for most of his adult life and yet, did not die of cancer either from his advanced age or smoking. He took a fall in his home and experienced several subsequent illnesses that progressively weakened his condition. It’s been known for years that Japanese men out smoke American men and yet have significantly lower rates of lung cancer. What’s happening here? If smoking causes cancer then everyone who smokes should get cancer and yet, they don’t. When medical authorities fail to come up with an explanation for something like this, they lack the humility to admit, we just don’t know and write it off as luck, good genes, or some such nonsense.
Stress And Solutions
Nothing is random in an orderly universe, and every effect has a cause. Far too often science looks only to the body for the cause of problems within the body and completely ignores that the mind plays an essential role in health. In fact, research has shown for decades that long-term psychological stress is a significant risk factor in most major diseases because of its ability to suppress immune function. In that regard, it’s no surprise that chronic stress is strongly implicated in the growth and metastasis of cancer.
So it’s far less likely that you’ll get cancer from “bad luck” than from the mental stress you generate in your body from worrying about it. As Socrates once said, “There is no illness of the body apart from the mind.”
Health starts with our mind, emotional state, and what we think because it’s the energy of our thoughts that alter thousands of chemical and cellular processes in the body. The mind and body work together in ways we’re only beginning to understand for health, healing, and disease.
A cigarette is just a cigarette and has no consciousness of its own. Perhaps the luck of not getting cancer lies in the differing thoughts of the people smoking cigarettes and how they perceive the practice. This isn’t an endorsement for smoking, but a point made to demonstrate that the creative power of our thoughts permeates our bodies to an extent we haven’t yet realized.
Every day it seems we’re bombarded with medical statistics about our odds of getting some dreaded disease and what we can or can’t do about it. We may not always be able to control the ideas we’re exposed to but only we get to determine what they mean for us. The most potent form of cancer prevention you can ever put in your body, far more powerful than any medication, food or supplement, are the thoughts you have about yourself, your life and body. So as you move forward with the intention of creating a healthy, happy life I would ask, do you understand the power of your thoughts and purging stress, or do you feel lucky?
For more insights from Dr. Sadeghi, please visit beingclarity.com or check out his annual health and well-being journal, MegaZEN here. For daily messages of encouragement and humor, follow him on Instagram at @drhabibsadeghi.