12 October 2015

How cancer forms and 7 things your own body can do about it

It comes as no surprise to know many people are deeply scared by cancer. For many, just about everything about it is one big scary mystery.

Yet science can tell us a good deal about why and how cancer develops, and better still, tell us about the multiple defenses our own bodies have against it. Great information on which to base a personal prevention or treatment program.

So this week, how we can work with the body to prevent or recover from cancer. Great information – please share and in doing so, reduce the fears and help raise confidence in our own bodies, our own capacities to prevent and recover from cancer.

This blog comes amidst the series of posts related to my personal retreat these past 3 months; next week, the next exciting episode! But first

            Thought for the day

Basketball is an intricate, high-speed game 
filled with split-second, spontaneous decisions. 
But that spontaneity is possible 
only when everyone first engages in hours 
of highly repetitive and structured practice
- perfecting their shooting, dribbling, 
and passing and running plays 
over and over again
- and agrees to play a carefully defined role on the court.

            Spontaneity is not random. 

                                  Malcolm Gladwell

Cancer genesis
Cancer cells form in the body after normal cells undergo damage to specific genes called oncogenes. When a cell in the body reproduces itself, it is the oncogenes that determine whether the new cell will become a healthy one or a cancer cell.

All cell lines – such as skin cells, breast cells, prostate cells and so on, have their own specific oncogenes. There are usually 2 to 4 of them and it takes a series of damages to convert a healthy oncogene into one that will cause cancer.

The causes of cancer
Research tells us that most of what causes this genetic damage is related to our lifestyle – what we eat, whether we smoke or not and so on. More details are in You Can Conquer Cancer. Obviously, avoiding the causes is the key to cancer prevention.

Our body’s defenses
However, even when oncogenes are damaged and activated, clinical cancer is not always the result. Many scientists are of the view that this genetic damage is occurring on a daily basis in everyone's body and the most conservative view is that potential cancer cells form at least 40 times during our lifetime.

Clearly, not everyone develops cancer and this is because the body has its own series of defenses that are designed to recognize potential cancer cells and destroy them before they become a problem.

Genes that repair genes
One of the first ways the body does this is that it has genes that actually have the job of repairing damaged genes.

Front line defense
Next, the immune system is the body’s front line defense system. It has many responsibilities including recognizing unhealthy tissue within the body, destroying or removing unhealthy tissue and restoring health.

With cancer, this is much easier when potential cancer masses are quite small, as one thing cancer does as it grows is to coat itself with what is effectively a camouflage layer that makes it difficult or impossible for the immune system to recognize it as a problem. Anything that disrupts this “camouflage”, opens the cancer to direct attack from the immune system.

Another critical issue for cancer to grow and become larger is that it needs to develop its own blood supply. This process is called angiogenesis and anything that disrupts it weakens the cancer. If angiogenesis is halted, the cancer is starved of nutrients and dies.

Metabolic disruption
Once cancer has developed into a significant mass, it has its own metabolic needs. Anything that disrupts this metabolism can weaken the cancer and if the disruption is severe enough, it will kill it.

A useful metaphor here comes from the garden where plants have their own preferences. For example, camellias thrive in acid soil and are severely weakened or die when planted in alkaline soils.

In much the same way, changing the milieu in the body, manipulating the metabolic environment in the body through things like therapeutic nutrition can have a direct influence on cancer cells.

Many of the ways in which therapeutic lifestyle approaches influence cancer can be explained by how they influence the above factors.

New biologically elegant treatments target the above factors, for example:

1. A great deal of research is going into how to reverse oncogene damage and switch the oncogenes back to normal.

2. Treatments aimed at enhancing immune function have been around for many years and continue to be actively researched.

3. Promising research has found a major protein that builds the cancer’s camouflage and targeted immunology offers the possibility of removing it, laying the cancer open to be recognized and attacked by our immune system.

4. Anti-angiogenesis agents are called angiostatins and some of these are already being used clinically while further research continues.

5. Many new targeted therapies aim to disrupt cancer’s metabolism.

Application through 
guided imagery

An understanding of how cancer develops is also very helpful for people aiming to use guided imagery and this is a large and exciting topic in its own right.

But as just one example, we know that in hypnotherapy the mind can be trained to stop bleeding.

If that same principle were to be used to stop blood flow to a tumour (ie to have an angiostatic effect and reverse what is shown in the above diagram), that tumour would be destroyed very quickly.

Exciting possibilities…. That are at the heart of what we call "Accelerated Healing" - see the related blogs below.

You Can Conquer Cancer , Ian Gawler - chapters on causes of cancer, therapeutic nutrition and lifestyle, and guided imagery.

The Mind that Changes Everything , Ian Gawler – details on guided imagery

CD or Download
The Gawler Cancer Program – has all the above information plus more that you can share or listen to over and over to help with understanding and confidence.

Accelerated Healing 101 - Part 1

Accelerated Healing 101 - Part 2


The last meditation retreat and more specific cancer residential program Ruth and I will present in 2015 are both rapidly approaching. Both are in fabulous New Zealand :) 

Details of all coming programs  are on our website: www.iangawler.com/events, and here are these next two:

Meditation Under the Long White Cloud   24 - 30 October 2015

7 day retreat at Mana Retreat Centre, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

                 Take time out from the busyness of everyday life; spend time with your self
           Slow down, reflect, contemplate – regain perspective, vitality, balance and clarity
      Deepen your understanding and experience of mindfulness, contemplation and meditation

Full details, CLICK HERE


MIND-BODY MEDICINE and CANCER    November  2015    Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th

Five day Residential program in the beautiful surrounds of Wanaka, New Zealand
- an easy drive from Queenstown airport and very accessible for Australians

This program is open to anyone affected by cancer. Health professionals interested to learn more of this work are also welcome to attend.

While the focus of this program is on therapeutic meditation and nutrition, the power of the mind and emotional health, ample time will be given to answering any questions you may have relating to the Gawler program - exercise, positive thinking, healing, balancing medical options, successful ways of dealing with setbacks, sustaining your good intentions and the relevance of finding meaning in life to healing and recovery.


1 comment:

  1. your artice on self -healing was most interesting and many of the ideas are what I have learnt from you directly and indirectly, over the years I have known you.

    Perhaps, it may be relevant to let you know how I dealt with my breast cancer for which I was operated in 1981 with follow up chemotherapy for a year.

    The doctor told me that the 'infiltrating duct carcinoma' was grade III and I could have a life expectancy of 5 years.

    I said to myself that it would have been better if the cancer was 5 years hence, as then my two daughters
    would have finished college and adult enough to manage their lives. But I have to be grateful that it was not 5 years earlier . Also, In India there is quite a lot of support system and my husband's brother is particularly attached to them and will do his best for them.

    That having been resloved, I decided that I would do the best possible to battle with the disease and not let costs and other material considerations come in the way.And then I would have discharged my responsibilty and be relaxed about the outcome.

    The doctor in India prescribed minimum treatment, with one chemo injection a week, so I decided to go to USA to the doctor who had treated my husband 20 years earlier (even though he sccumbed to his cancer)
    The US doctor gave me the maximum chemo treatment with a 12 hour non-stop drip for 3 months. I returned to India and continued the regimen for a year. After a 12-hour chemotherapy session at the hospital, I rested for a day, and was ready for work on Monday morning,fit and well, so that most pepople in the office did not even know about my chemotherapy. Incidentally,I ate very simple food through the chemo - rice,dal (lentils) and curds as the exotic food in USA , with meat chicken and fish, was difficult to keep down.

    Today, in 2015, at 84 years I am well and live - as you know,in a village in the Himalayas, doing a little work for the people around me. However, I am conscious of my mortality, but I shall go, hopefully without physical or emotional discomfort - and with a smile,