NATURALLY HEALTHY: What causes cancer and how to prevent colon cancer

Part One

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and April is Cancer Awareness Month so it is a good time to talk about what can cause and prevent cancer.

This article will cover colon cancer and part two will cover breast, prostate and lung cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Canada for men and women combined.

The first is lung cancer.

Over 23,000 Canadian men and women will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year alone and over 9,000 people will die from it.

In Quebec alone, 6,200 men and women will be diagnosed with the disease and 2,450 will die from it.

In my practice I recommend everyone over the age of 50 to have a Fecal Occult Blood (FOB) test collected yearly.

If your MD won’t order it for you we do it for $14.

It is a simple home collection test that will detect blood in the stool that you cannot detect with the naked eye.

If it is positive you may be asked to collect the test again or you may get a referral to have a colonoscopy  to rule out the growth of benign polyps that are easily removed and help prevent colon cancer from developing.

Using the guidelines set out for our naturopathic profession for the prevention of cancer I use the book written by Dr. Neil McKinney ND  Naturopathic Oncology, An Encyclopedic Guide for Patients & Physicians.

Throughout the book he writes about the underlying causes of cancers and natural therapies to help mitigate the growth of cancer cells.

The organization of the entire biochemistry and metabolism of the body takes place within the DNA of each cell in the body.

The body is made up of trillions of cells that normally communicate and cooperate with all other cells in a harmonious way, for the good of the whole body.

The DNA is the information library of each cell that carries codes for proteins such as enzymes that run all of life’s chemical reactions.

Cancer begins with oxidative stress on the DNA that is not checked and runs amuck.

In a healthy cell the “apoptosis program” is a built in off- switch for bad cells that causes the cell to break up into little bits, turn its membranes inside out and the cell gets destroyed and recycled.

New cells replace old ones with a pristine new DNA and if the cell gets damaged with radiation or chemicals the apoptosis switch gets turned on within 50 doubling times and that cell is destroyed.

DNA in human cells have the ability to be copied 50 times before the many errors that occur during the process is detected by the “apoptosis program.”

In cancer cells the DNA is damaged by numerous oxidative insults such as radiation, cancer causing chemicals, stress hormones or an assortment of carcinogens making the DNA mutant.

This makes the normal function of the enzyme production wrong and causes this cell to grow unchecked.

The normal cell to cell communication is lost, the “apoptosis program” is blocked, they develop their own blood supply as they run out of oxygen, they develop their own lymph system to provide drainage of waste fluids, they make energy by fermenting sugars and generally drain the life energy out of the body.

By the time a cancer cell has doubled 20 times it is one millimetre in diameter, too small to diagnose on screening tests.

At this size they are using 30-40 times more energy than a healthy cell of the same type.


In colo-rectal cancer the following suggestions  are recommended for prevention and treatment:

1. A high fat, low fiber, high refined carbohydrate diet, alcohol, low  intake of Vitamin C, folate, calcium selenium, flavones and indoles  are all risk factors for developing colo-rectal cancer.

Those with a history of Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis have increased risk.

2. Restoring the off-switch “apoptosis program”.

This process is powered by the mitochondria or the energy producer of the cancer cells and can throw on the “apoptosis program switch”.

Vitamin D, vitamin A, EPA, DHA, curcumin, garlic, quercitin, green tea, I3C, vitamin E, selenium and glutathione to name a few all aid apoptosis.

3. Interfering with angiogensis or the blood supply to cancer cells; Green tea, curcumin, vitamins A,C D, and E, soy isoflavones, milk thistle, quercitin, I3C, EPA and DHA.

4. Control invasion: MMP’s are enzymes which digest connective tissue and allow invasion of the cancer cell. Agents that inhibits MMP’s include: curcumin, green tea, quercitin, EPA essential fats, Vitamin A and Vitamin C to name a few.

5. Preventing metastasis of cancer cells: vitamin D, vitamin A, anti-angiogenic agents used post surgery, control inflammation.

6. Controlling inflammation and production of IGF1 : make sure there is enough folic acid, B12 and B6 in the body to promote methylation detoxification pathways, proper probiotics in the gut to inhibit the growth of Bacterioides fragilis and Cyptosporidium parvum; Calcium, vitamin D, calcium D-glucarate, and low fat high fiber diet prevents hyperplastic polyps from forming.

Central obesity increases IGF1 an inflammatory marker as well as insulin.

As you can see many of the natural therapies help numerous pathways at once to inhibit or treat cancer.

This is why in most cancer patients there is a long term core program recommended.

Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or


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