“Looking after one’s health is done with two intentions. Man may take good care of his body for the purpose of satisfying his personal wishes. Or, he may look after his health with the good intention of serving humanity and of living long enough to perform his duty toward mankind. The latter is most commendable.” (12)
For years, we have believed that mutated genes cause cancer. We understood that our genes were fixed and could not be altered; and that once we acquire or inherit a mutated cancer gene, its expression is inevitable and unquestionable. If we inherit the breast cancer gene, BRCA1 or BRCA 2, for instance, we are doomed….or are we?
Encouraging new research on epigenetics and cancer
The world of medical research is evolving and our understanding of genes and gene expression has changed. We now understand the genetic material we inherit does not always need to be expressed. That cancer gene we may have does not need to manifest itself as cancer in our bodies. We are learning that we have the power to turn our genes on or off. The new science of epigenetics is giving us hope even if we have acquired or inherited the ‘scary bad’ gene!
For decades, we believed that younger woman with breast cancer gene mutations, BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, had an increased risk of mortality from breast cancer based on their defective genes. This month, on January 11, 2018, a study published in the Lancet, a distinguished scientific journal, proved otherwise. After doing a retrospective study of close to 2733 women under the age of 40 in the UK over an 8-year period, researchers found that those with the BRCA gene mutation had no difference in their survival rate than those without the mutation (1). In fact, those with triple-negative cancer (an aggressive form of breast cancer) and the BRCA gene mutation actually had a better 2-year survival than those who did not have the gene mutation (1). This study has proved years of gene expression theory wrong.
GENE THEORY about cancer HAS FAILED US!
Conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, have been based on the genomic theory since their development in 1940’s. In other words, because the belief had been that defective genes cause cancer and lead to physiological changes, a treatment, namely chemotherapy and radiation, had to be created to fight off the bad genes, including those of the cancer cells (2). Since then, the development of the field of pharmacogenomics has provided an avenue for targeted chemotherapy agents to be developed based on the genomic theory (3). This theory assumes that genes play an important role in signaling cancer cells to replicate and grow. Despite the research in pharmacogenomics, chemotherapy, and radiation, the rates of cancer incidence and mortality have not significantly declined. The gene theory we have been depending on for so long is now proving to be failing us. So where do we look for answers?
It’s not the GENE, It’s our EPIGENETICS
Epigenetics may give us more answers for cancer treatment and prevention. Epigenetics is the study of modifying or switching on or off gene expression. In other words, if you do have the BRCA1 gene, it doesn’t need to be turned on unless the environment – which is within your control – switches it on. The ‘environment’ in this case means toxic chemical, pollutants, drugs, metal, radioactive, and/or electromagnetic exposures, as well as the nutrients, hormones, emotional, social, and spiritual nourishment or stress you provide your body (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). For instance, in a prospective study, 45,000 women were evaluated for their risk of breast cancer based on their diets during adolescence. The researchers found that a healthier diet, with more fiber and less processed and fast foods, more veggies and whole grains consumed during adolescence significantly reduced the risk of breast cancer later on even if they possessed the cancer gene (4). In another study, sulforaphanes found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc. and genistein found in non-GMO soy, improved DNA methylation and reduced risk of breast cancer expression (5). Green tea extracts (EGCG) and sulforaphanes modulate breast cancer gene expression, interfering and retarding tumor growth (6). Other studies have shown that epigenetics play a significant role in turning on BRCA1 gene mutation (7). Furthermore, there is now evidence of epigenetic pathways directly linked to turning on the estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, the most common breast cancer (8).
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR EPIGENETICS
It’s mostly up to you whether you get cancer or not. You are in charge of your epigenetics. You have the control and could eat a healthier diet, exercise, minimize toxic exposures, and live a spiritual and emotionally happy life. Yes, even meditation can affect gene expression and your epigenetics, as can exercise and other lifestyle choices one makes (10, 11). And even if you have been diagnosed with cancer, the changes that you make in your lifestyle and diet can indeed significantly affect your fight against cancer. There is mounting evidence that you have the power to shift your life and cancer expression if you want to.
And, please take care of your body so that you can live long enough to perform your duty toward humanity. Try it – what do you have to lose?
If you would like to experience a holistically supportive treatment approach to cancer and cancer prevention, please contact my office at Holistique 425-451-0404 for a consultation. In-person or Telehealth consultations are also available for your convenience.
- Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 5, p. 231.