September 03, 2008

Cells Gone Wild

Today while cancer blog surfing, I came across a blog that cut and pasted an article by Lucy Wong Moi called Cancer Prevention – Keeping Most Cancer at Bay. In the beginning of the article she describes 10 homes near the corner where she lived; 8 of them had family members with cancer. The remainder of her article presents 10 tips on cancer prevention learned in her 20 years as a holistic healer. These include not eating processed foods, “drinking clean unpolluted air to flush our body of waste products”, and breathing in positives, like ideas of good health, and exhaling negatives like stress and destructive emotions.

I find most amusing that Lucy began her article speaking extensively of the high number of cancer cases in her neighborhood, yet never mentioned investigation into environmental cancer clusters as an issue in fighting cancer. (Read more about Cancer Clusters from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.) The clean air and water that she recommends we drink and breathe are a luxury not available in all geographic regions. Genetics and environment – which includes food and personal health, are known contributors to cancer. Yet we still have a huge question mark as part of the cancer equation. If we understood all the causes of cancer we would be that much closer to a cure.

Lucy’s food and lifestyle recommendations are prudent contributions to personal health, however, they are far from clinically proven cancer prevention. When I was diagnosed as a young adult cancer patient, I was a 27-year-old vegan, who followed the puritanical diet Lucy described, plus I was a dancer who exercised six day per week. Meanwhile, the United States is brimming with overweight 70-year-olds who pig out on Doritos, smoke like chimneys, and never get cancer. Clearly there is complexity to the issue of cancer prevention.

I defend this complexity on behalf of cancer patients so that we are not made to feel as though there is something we could have done to prevent our cancer – blaming the victim isn’t such a nice thing to do to us (unless it is smoker’s cancer, and still it is cruel to spit in the face of their suffering.) I encourage others who do not have cancer to lead a healthy lifestyle for many reasons, but I also caution against the misinformation that eating sprouts and breathing in good thoughts will prevent cancer from growing. If you want to prevent cancer, support exploration of both environmental links to cancer and scientific research into the molecular biology of these little cells gone wild.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook


  1. Garnet Says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 3:57 PM

    I mean no ill will by this comment but your post got me thinking. I wonder if Lucy will still be tooting the “eat, drink and breathe healthier” horn, should she or a direct family member be diagnosed with cancer? I think you brought up some interesting tidbits for thought, especially regarding the random lottery our lives are all a part of: who gets cancer and who doesn’t. I drank my fair share of alcohol as a college student but I certainly am not a 70 year old alcoholic and yet I was diagnosed with liver cancer at age 31. With that as part of my “Resume,” I often challenge people who report statistics at me. I tend to defy all statistics so why shouldn’t I continue to do so as I work towards my own cure?

    Thanks for your post. It got me thinking.

  2. Jacob Says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 4:49 PM

    I will second that! I do not like it when people assume or imply that I could have prevented my cancer by changing my diet or taking some kinds of vitamins. I especially do not have much tolerance for the whole “exhaling bad thoughts” thing. How does one even do that? I should ask her, maybe. I have a problem with negativity and if it caused my cancer, then I have an even bigger problem with it and would LOVE to exhale some of that craziness.

    I got leukemia when I was 21. I was in the best shape of my life. I’ve always been extremely active and while I can’t say I had the best diet in the world, I know people that have far worse ones.

    This whole environmental/genetics thing really gets me going though, since I was diagnosed with the very same kind of leukemia that my kid brother had gotten. pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I really would like to know how that happens. It can’t just be lighting striking twice, can it? There MUST be something going on.

    Can you buy “clean air” on the internet?

Leave a Comment