There is an excellent chance of your reversing this disease going on in your body. However, this does not mean you can go on with your life as usual. Why Not? Simply because it is likely your current lifestyle has been a major factor in contributing to the cancer that has invaded your body. This is not to suggest you have been living dangerously or that you have knowingly misused your body. Rather, it is to say, based on information from the US National Cancer Institute’s Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database on incidence and mortality for the US from 2009-2011, our lifestyle in the Western world seems to predispose us to what is estimated to be a 43.3% chance of contracting cancer if we are male and a 37.8% chance if female. Said another way, if these statistics hold, 4 out of every 10 males in the US today will develop cancer at some time in their life, and the risk for females is minimally 3 out of every 10.

We live in a toxic world with constant exposure to a variety of chemicals, heavy metal toxins, pesticides, insecticides, and other harmful substances that continually tax our immune system. They are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. These substances can attack cells in our body and mutate them into malignant cells, which can then continue to reproduce as cancer cells. Our immune system is designed to detect and destroy abnormal cells that are foreign to the body. Scientists tell us it is common for our body to have mutant cells being produced as the process of cell reproduction goes on in our body. Normally, our immune system is able to detect mutant cells and destroy them and this process is continually going on. The problem arises when the immune system becomes weakened and overwhelmed or when it fails to recognize cancer cells as abnormal. When either of these situations occurs, the immune system may become unable to keep up with the destruction of the cancer cells being produced. Cancer then takes hold somewhere in the body and will be well on its way long before there are any noticeable symptoms of the disease. Moreover, by the time symptoms do occur, and for most cancers this may take years, what started as a malignancy in one organ of the body may have significantly increased in size, and perhaps may even have spread to other parts of the body. This process of cancer cells spreading to other areas of the body is called metastasizing and is accomplished by traveling through the blood or lymphatic system.

While a weakened immune system increases your risk of contracting cancer or some other malignancy, it should be noted that a fully functioning immune system does not necessarily make one cancer-proof. Scientists are aware that some cancer cells have a way of evading detection by the immune system, which is designed to take out foreign substances. The immune system easily recognizes viruses and bacteria as being foreign and moves to destroy them, but it is much more difficult for the immune system to recognize cancer cells and, in fact, may not see them as abnormal. While this detection evasion by cancer cells is a complex process and perhaps not well understood, researchers believe these cells are able to “hide” by removing a surface chemical that identifies them, and they may also secrete cytokines—signaling molecules that regulate immunity—which somehow suppress or interfere with the normal immune system response.

This post is excerpted from the book: Take Charge of Your Cancer by Austin Leahy