Im The Cancer Code: A Revolutionary New Understanding of a Medical SecretAccording to Cancer Research UK, Fung believes we are waging the war on cancer with one arm behind our back and ignoring an important contributor to the severity of the disease that half of us will suffer in our lifetime. He believes we need to be more careful about how the dysregulation of insulin in our bodies caused by obesity and type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of cancer.
“We’re stuck in this paradigm of cancer as some kind of genetic freak accident,” says Fung. “It’s not real. It’s much more complex than that. ”As a human race, we recognize that cancer is a mutation of cells that went wrong, causing something malicious and malicious to attack, replicate, and multiply our bodies. But we don’t think about why this mutation happened and we take a step back.
“What you see is not a random event,” explains Fung. He compares it to writing an article like this: “It’s not just that random jumble of letters or words that you accidentally toss on a page that ends up in a perfectly phrased way. We are trying to understand how cancer actually develops, and the reason why is because something does develop. ”
We understand that in lung cancer: smoke too many cigarettes and inhalation of tobacco smoke triggers the growth of cancer cells. But for many other cancers – and for contributing to lung cancer – we tend to overlook diet. “The biggest limit we’re looking at right now is diet and what parts of the diet are really that important in developing cancer,” says Fung.
The link between insulin and cancer has long been suspected, but there is no real smoking weapon. “It is believed that excess insulin is a cancer-promoting factor in patients,” explains a scientific paper recently published in the journal cell, but “our understanding of the insulin-cancer relationship is incomplete and clinical studies have not clarified its relevance due to inappropriately designed”.
However, Fung believes the link is obvious: we know that insulin and other hormones act as nutrient sensors in our bodies. When we eat, our insulin rises, telling our body that food is available, which promotes growth and energy expenditure in cells. “We know that it is not only important for the energy metabolism, but also a very, very important growth factor,” says Fung. Every time our cells divide and our bodies grow, “we tilt the scales more towards cancer development,” he says.
This is another explanation of what we already know: obesity is inextricably linked to higher cancer rates, according to Cancer Research UK. In fact, obesity is the second largest preventable cause of cancer, accounting for 1 in 20 cases. According to the World Health Organization, there is evidence that 13 different types of cancer, including breast cancer and colon cancer – the second and third most common on the planet – are linked to obesity.
The solutions are simple, suggests Fung. We need to try to reduce our insulin intake and thereby the increase in division and action in our cells that could cause cancer. To do this, put the chocolate bar down and start eating something healthier. “If you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates, refined foods, and junk foods, they will lead to obesity, which will lead to diabetes, which will lead to cancer,” he says.
This could reduce an American or British woman’s risk of breast cancer by a factor of two or three, he says. “If you take a Japanese woman and take her to San Francisco, your risk of breast cancer doubles or triples in a few generations because it’s not the genetics of it. It is the environment that determines your risk. ”
Fung wants us to move away from the genetic reasoning of how cancer comes to us and instead see it as an evolutionary paradigm. “We should treat this as almost an evolution, this cell becoming some kind of invasive species, if you will,” he says. And we should be following the same approach that we have been taking with lung cancer for decades. “When we found out that smoking was a major risk factor for lung cancer, we said, ‘You need to stop smoking. ‘We know obesity and type 2 diabetes are big risk factors for certain types of cancer. So we need to change our diet to, for example, reduce a lot of refined foods and our sugar intake. ”
Obviously, this is difficult given the added stresses not just on our heads but in our pockets and the cheap availability of processed, high-sugar, refined foods. But if it can, Fung says change could have a big impact.
“If you take it to the extreme and live like this all your life, you can actually practically eradicate cancer,” he says. As evidence, he refers to research on people who lived in the Arctic Circle in the 1930s and 1940s to find out why they were “immune” to cancer. “When these people adopted Western lifestyles in the 1960s and 1970s, they all developed cancer,” he says. “Obviously they weren’t immune at all; It was their lifestyle and that they consumed so little processed foods that affected them and meant that they would never get cancer. ”
The Cancer Code: A Revolutionary New Understanding of a Medical Secret by Dr. Jason Fung (Thorsons) is available now. Order from Telegraph Books for £ 14.99 or by calling 0844 871 1514
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