Did you know that 8.8 million people died from cancer during 2015, making it the world’s leading cause of death?
Over the next two decades, this figure is predicted to increase by over 70%, according to the World Health Organisation. Chances are that most of us have known someone who has passed away from cancer, leaving behind a trail of sadness and grief for families and loved ones.
What is it that causes such a debilitating and often fatal disease? There are four major causes:
- Physical: ionising and ultraviolet radiation.
- Chemical: such as alcohol, asbestos, tobacco, arsenic and aflatoxin
- Biological: the infection created by certain bacteria, viruses or parasites
- Emotional: created by emotional energy trapped in the body that builds to create disease.
Physical causes of cancer
When genes within a cell become abnormal and grow and divide out of control it can cause cancer (American Cancer Society). Cancer is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissue, weakening the immune system which decreases its ability to fight invaders and makes it more prone to infection.
Two types of Genes related to cancer are:
- Genes that cause cancer: Oncogenes are genes within a cell that are damaged in a way that activates them and can lead to the creation of cancer.
- Genes that protect the body from cancer: Specific genes protect the body from cancer by suppressing tumours. If these genes are damaged they are unable to prevent cancer cell proliferation, thus allowing cancer cell formation. (Pecorino 2012)
When cancerous cells move through the body drawing on the blood or lymphatic system, they begin damaging healthy tissue. The cancer cells divide and grow in a process called angiogenesis, making new blood vessels to feed itself, creating harmful tumours. Tumours exist as lumps of tissue in the body and can interfere with the major body systems such as the nervous, digestive and circulatory system. Leukaemia is when the bloodstream has abnormal cell division affecting normal blood function. Benign tumours are those that stay in one spot or grow in a limited way.
Carcinogens refer to the things that cause cancer. The main reason why many carcinogens, such as UV rays and tobacco create cancer, is that they cause cells to mutate, damaging DNA. Most DNA damage is quickly recognised and repaired by cells, however, when damaged cells remain, they mutate. When cells replicate their DNA during cell division, the region that is damaged is not able to replicate properly which causes a change in the DNA sequence. (Scotting 2013)
Emotional Causes of Cancer
Along with the physical causes of cancer, there are emotional causes too. When we hold onto past traumas or issues, the energy can build up in our body and over long periods of time can lead to disease. Luckily this is not an overnight process and we get many warnings from our body when we are at risk.
The three stages of stress, explore how you can tune into your body for greater awareness about your health and well-being. Your body is the most amazing super computer you will ever find. It constantly gives you feedback to maintain your well-being and happiness. When you begin to tune into what your body is telling you, it allows you to be proactive in managing your health as a whole. However, when you ignore the signals from your body, it can create a disconnect between your mind and body. Over time, if this continues, emotional instability or disease could develop.
Pain is designed to give you messages about yourself. When you are unwell it can be helpful to make the connection between what is happening in your body and what is going on in your mind and external world. For example, if you have repeated headaches, they are the body’s warning sign that something needs attention. The headaches could occur regularly at work. It would then make sense to investigate if they are related to work. Changes may need to be made to improve work in some way. You may need to talk to someone, change your career or, change your thinking or perception in relation to work. When you know what you need to do and appropriate changes are made, your headaches will usually disappear.
Unfortunately, the body’s signals are often ignored when they are small. When signals and symptoms are minor, adjustments to get the body back into balance are much easier.
Leading-edge biologist Dr Bruce Lipton has conducted research showing that aside from genetics and DNA controlling our biology, there are signals coming from outside our cells. These signals include energetic messages that come from positive and negative thoughts. Your beliefs and thoughts can have a major influence on your health. To begin to tune into how your body and mind work together in relation to your well-being, it is helpful to be aware of the three stages of stress.
The Three Stages of Stress are:
Stage 1: Signals at this stage place slight, short-term stress on the body that passes quickly. For example, if you lose your keys, you might feel anxious trying to find them. The anxiety passes, however, once the keys are found. The awareness comes by asking: Why am I repeatedly losing my keys? You could be doing too much or need a regular spot to put them. If changes are made when the signals are small in Stage 1, it is generally much easier to make changes than in stage 2 when the symptoms have become exacerbated.
It is also useful to be aware of what you are thinking while you are trying to find the keys. Thoughts such as, I’m late, I’ll never get there. I can’t believe I’ve lost the keys again, usually make matters worse. However, if you are mindful of your thoughts and think, I’m sure they’ll turn up or What was I doing when I last had them? you are more likely to find them quickly. Your thought processes are supporting you. Your mind and body are working together.
Another option is to try to relax for a moment to calm your mind. When you are relaxed it is easier for your memory and intuition to function, which will help guide you to the place you last left your keys. That is why you will often remember something when you stop actively trying to think about it. Have you ever found that when you stop trying to force the answer to your problem, the solution will just come to you, for example when you are in the shower!
Stage 2: This next stage generally occurs when stage 1 signals are ignored! Stage 2 stress manifests physically in the body. This is the body’s way of stepping up the pressure for you to look at what is going on in your life. Stage 2 stress manifests in illness, such as the flu, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, depression, and panic attacks. It is often at this stage that the help of a professional, such as a therapist or doctor, is sought.
When someone identifies the link between the illness and what is causing the illness, it can aid the healing process. For example, if you are constantly losing the keys and ignore why over a period of time you could also develop panic attacks. You might then be motivated to find out why you are having the panic attacks. It could be because you feel overloaded with work and cannot see a way to resolve the issue. If you take responsibility and look at why you are taking on so much work and develop awareness around the thought processes and attitudes that are driving you, it is possible to make positive, lasting changes.
Consistent thoughts manifest as beliefs, and consistently held beliefs become attitudes that determine behaviour. Your attitudes steer your life like a rudder, determining the course of a boat. Attitudes are held in the body’s physical structures and in the biochemistry of the body as energetic patterns. (Krebs, 2001, 102). Positive attitudes affect the body in a positive way, making you feel lighter and more energetic. Negative attitudes that remain unchanged, over a period of time can manifest as disease in the body. Attitudes are often unconscious, and illness can be an opportunity to increase self-awareness and change to positive attitudes that support health and well-being.
Stage 3: If Stage 2 stress is not healed at a deep level, a more serious illness may develop to urge someone to take notice of the imbalances in their life. For example, it is possible to ignore why the panic attacks are reoccurring and choose to medicate instead. If this happens for a prolonged period, a Stage 3 illness could develop. This is because medicating while repeating the same thoughts and behaviours is not treating the root cause of the illness and it is more likely to return. Stage 3 illnesses are usually serious and more difficult to resolve, for example, cancer, arthritis, heart problems, and gall stones. It is possible to heal Stage 3 illnesses; however, it is more difficult than dealing with an issue at an earlier stage.
What does that mean for you?
You can take a Band-Aid or quick-fix approach by overriding the messages to avoid worrying about them. Alternatively, you could take the time to find out what is really going on and make the necessary adjustments. By linking what is physically happening in your body to your thoughts, you can begin to return to your natural state of wellness.
If you are already ill, it may be an opportunity to teach you more about yourself. Illness is not a weakness or a call to judge yourself or others in any way. Your ego (the part of yourself that can be judgmental) would have you believe that being ill is your fault, and nothing could be further from the truth. Illness for some is a step on the path of their journey to love. If you are ill, it can give you an opportunity to expand your awareness in some way, and to discover the strength you are truly capable of.
When I was in my late twenties, I had glandular fever. I was working incredibly long hours in my first business and was not supporting myself enough nutritionally for my lifestyle. This illness gave me the opportunity to study nutrition and educated me so I adopted positive lifelong eating habits. I also adjusted my lifestyle by doing less work and more recreation. I needed to create more balance in my life. I had many signals along the way but ignored them until I was seriously ill and bedridden, giving me time to think about my choices!
Cancer is a debilitating disease and is on the increase. However together, we can break this cycle with more awareness about the effect of toxicity on the body as well as greater awareness regarding our inner world and how our thoughts and beliefs over time can have a physical effect on our body.
Lovingly listen to what your body is telling you and take action to facilitate your own well-being and happiness. Your body wants you to be disease-free, that is, live in a state of ease and happiness. Feel blissful from the inside out.
It is important that you feel supported in relation cancer. For more support on your journey visit the Cancer Council Australia.