A common question I hear among cancer survivors is “What can I do to keep from having cancer again?” I love hearing that question, because it reflects a proactive approach to creating a healthy future.
Having asked that good question, though, lots of survivors get tangled up trying to sort through all the possible wellness strategies, or they decide on a strategy and have trouble implementing it. Let’s look at some common mistakes that get in the way of implementing a sustainable survivorship wellness plan.
Mistake #7: Thinking drug therapy is a complete recurrence prevention plan.
Are you counting on a drug to prevent recurrence of your cancer? If so, you may want to think again.
Drugs are one way of preventing future disease, and research documents less cancer recurrence in those on followup drug therapy (otherwise it wouldn’t be legal to sell the drug). But here are some thoughts to consider:
- Drugs work differently in every individual. They may work for many, but there’s no knowing upfront how effective a particular drug will be for you.
- Any given drug has a single mechanism of action; that is, it acts in a one particular way to prevent disease. However, cancer is never a disease with a single cause. A tumor may be the result of disrupted hormone balance, glucose/insulin balance, cortisol rhythm or immunity, to name a few. Whatever drug you’re taking only provides a measure of prevention against one contributing factor. Your best cancer prevention plan is one that includes measures against multiple contributing factors, most of which aren’t effectively treated with drugs.
- At best, drugs can help make you ‘not sick’; they can’t make you well. Getting well after cancer means repairing and rebuilding your tissues, immunity and energy. Feeling well means walking through your day with a sense of ease and optimism. Drugs can’t help with any of that. In fact…
- …some drugs, for example estrogen pathway modifiers, can make you a lot less well. Their toll in adverse effects is often enormous: weight gain, joint pain, poor mental focus, osteoporosis, even increased risk of other cancers. If your body is having a hard time with drug therapy, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a variety of preventive measures in place, so you could consider taking a dose of the drug that doesn’t ruin your wellness in the process of extending your life?
I’m not recommending that you refuse drug therapy. If it’s a drug with a strong success record and you tolerate it well, it’s good to have it working in your favor. But if you:
- don’t tolerate your drug well and want your quality of life back
- had a cancer for which there is no preventive drug therapy
- no matter what type of cancer you had, want a cancer prevention program that covers lots of bases rather than just one
there are many more prevention possibilities out there than just drugs. And the only side effects of these other options are higher energy, fewer symptoms and a greater sense of wellbeing.
Leave me a comment below:
- When you finished treatment, were you offered cancer prevention strategies other than drug therapy?
- What ways have you chosen to reduce your risk of future cancer besides drug therapy?
- What’s your favorite cancer risk reduction strategy besides drug therapy?
Copyright 2014 Shani Fox, ND, LLC