People who have had to battle with cancer usually refer to themselves as either cancer survivors or cancer fighters. The two terms have vastly different meanings. A cancer survivor has usually had just one bout with cancer and has gone through treatment without a recurrence, particularly after a five year ‘danger’ period has passed.
A cancer fighter is different from a cancer survivor in that the fighter has had more than one bout with cancer and has to live constantly with the threat of its return and must be prepared to bring all necessary subterfuge to prevent its return. When it does return, as it inevitably will, the cancer fighter must be armed and ready to engage it at the point of its return.
This places the fighter front and centre in a deadly war which one can only hope to win by winning battles incrementally; this makes the cancer fighter in reality a cancer warrior.
When I first heard the term cancer warrior it resonated with me in such a way that I immediately understood the importance of the larger picture in the fight against cancer. It is easy enough to focus on the battles; a little skirmish here, another there addressed when the enemy rears its head is no doubt useful but to fight effectively one should be mindful of the war that’s being fought.
How does one wage an effective war against cancer? Here are some strategies you may find useful .
First, know yourself. Know your stressors and learn how to manage them, high levels of stress disrupts the system and often leads to disease. Finding and maintaining harmony within oneself is essential to maintaining good health and that in turn facilitates the body’s ability to fight diseases including cancer.
Know your God. A spiritual life is essential for personal harmony; strength, fortitude and healing flow from the spiritual wellspring that is in each individual. We sometimes block that flow as we get caught up in the daily traffic of our lives. It is important that we allow our spirituality to flow freely.
Know cancer. However it came into your life if it has recurred then you have to fight the enemy within, as one writer describes it: “Cancer colonizes. It subdues. It imposes an entirely foreign culture. It wins by dividing the body against itself…We become a battle field in which we are fighting ourselves.”**
What we call cancer is abnormal cells that are multiplying without any control. We all have what are called cancer cells in our bodies. The amount is usually well below that which will show up on the standard tests. These cancer cells will have to multiply well into the billions before they can be detected.
A cancer survivor who has been treated for cancer may have been told that there is no longer any cancer in his or her system what this really means is that there is no detectable level of cancer cells and whatever there is below the level that the tests can detect.
Know your own cancer. You may have been diagnosed with breast, prostate, stomach or liver cancer. Know the type of cancer, its characteristics and how it is likely to affect you each time it recurs. Know too the way your own cancer operates, does it get active when you are overworked, tired, down with the flu? This knowledge will help you to pace yourself and thereby help to keep the cancer at bay.
Keep your immune system powered up. Cancer cells occur several times in an individual’s lifetime. A healthy immune system will destroy the cancerous cells; prevent them from multiplying and forming tumours. A weakened immune system will not be able to destroy the cancer cells and so they will continue to multiply until tumours are formed.
Devise a diet for optimal health. When an individual is diagnosed with cancer it is usually an indication that they are suffering from multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be caused by any of several factors – environmental, genetic, food or lifestyle.
The good news is that multiple nutritional deficiencies can be overcome with concerted effort. A change of lifestyle and significant dietary changes will be required.
Know that cancer can be overcome. First it is important to understand that one is engaged in a fight for one’s life. One has to become a warrior in the fight against cancer in one’s body
First it is important to arm oneself with information. Research, research, research. Learn everything you can about cancer in general and the particular type with which you have been diagnosed. Study the variety of alternative treatments that are being used in clinics by herbalists as well as what is posted on the internet. Many established cancer care institutions are coming to terms with the critical role that alternative approaches play in the fight against cancer. Hospitals such as Sloan Kettering in New York now have a complementary approach to the treatment of cancer. This approach applies alternatives which may be dietary for example with the traditional medical approaches such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Become a guerrilla warrior. Learn to use the information you have to keep cancer from overtaking your body. Be watchful for any areas of weakness in your system. If you are unwell for any reason this will cause the abnormal cells to multiply. Monitor yourself carefully using all the tests available. Find a preventative medicine be it herbal or traditional and use that to help keep cancer at bay.
Develop and rely on a support group. People who love you unconditionally can play an important part in your health and well being. Keep family and friends who are loyal and understanding close to you.
Knowing that you have this support and being able to call on it when it is needed can add to your physically and emotional well being.
Know that the universe wants you to be well. Know this with every fibre of your being and be well.
*Respect is due to the organization known as Cancer Warriors. The term is used loosely here and has no bearing whatsoever on any organization which bears the same name.
** Rachel Manley, Slipstream: A Daughter Remembers, Ian Randle Publishers, 2000. Pg.2