No Face of Prevention

Dr. Nancy Reye and her sons Dan & Tom

Dr. Nancy Reye and her sons Dan & Tom

Cancer-we see the face of cure all around us. Commercials on TV show people battling cancer and going to the leading cancer centers. We see young children and the plea for money to help support treatment programs. These are all noble causes that pull on the heart strings. People donate money as the deep feeling of connection doesn’t allow us to turn away. I have donated to these causes, and will continue to do so. Here people are, in their 11th hour that need our help.
But what if I told you that the face of cancer could be you, or your child, or your unborn grandchild and that you, by changing the way you live, could change the trajectory of this course that would lead you or them to cancer. It is less obvious. There is no face, there is no dramatic moment.

You would just know the internal peace of knowing that the people you love and cherish will be healthy and able to live their life without fear. There is a formula for this success. The formula is more reliable than any other investment we have-it is knowledge. We know that we can prevent cancer by reducing our exposures to unhealthy food and exposures to environmental carcinogens.

What we vitally need is reliable sources for evidence based scientific information that would guide us in our decisions when choosing food, cleaners, and environments to live and work. We battle corporate advertising wanting us to buy their latest “food” for our families. We owe it to ourselves and our families to educate ourselves.
I am the face of prevention. My father died of colon cancer at age 54 when I was 19 years old. He suffered for 3 years after being diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. In the last three months of his life, his doctors decided to send him for chemotherapy. It was useless and he died leaving my Mom a widow and she and I trying to find our way. Then my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Little did I know that where I had moved our family in Northern Michigan is the highest rates of breast cancer in the state.

How could that be?

Was this the reason for her breast cancer, or was it a diet rich in fats and processed meats? Here I am, a 51 year old woman who refuses to walk down the path of my parents. It is scary, but I know the odds. I have a 20% chance of inheriting the risks of disease and an 80% chance of controlling those risks with an excellent diet (yes, think vegan), exercise (rowing, walking, horseback riding and swimming), relationships (friends and family and my two favorite young men who are my reason for living) and balance (yes, I still need to work on this part)! I am sick and tired of medicines being an answer as they are not.

As a physician, I know that medications are necessary, but when we engage our patients in making dietary and lifestyle changes we can change the course of their lives. For those who don’t have cancer, we may eliminate the chance they will ever get it. For those who have had cancer, maybe we can stop it in its tracks and they will never have a recurrence. Knowledge has that power and with the education that LessCancer.org is able to provide, we can empower people to make choices to prevent cancer. For all the people who don’t get cancer, there is no face. You will not know who they are. They will be the people peacefully living their lives without the fear of tomorrow and uncertainty of what lies ahead both emotionally and financially. Isn’t that worth the investment?

 

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