Childhood-Cancer1

I can only imagine how heartbreaking and terrifying it is to have a child diagnosed with cancer. My heart goes out to every family that has been affected by cancer, childhood cancer or otherwise. I recently read that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children from 1 to 14 years-old so I thought it would be a good idea to discuss cancer prevention. Of course, sometimes a person does everything right and it can happen anyway, but we can still do our part as parents and potential parents to try to prevent cancer. While I am not a parent yet, considering that we will likely have kids within the next five years, there are certain steps I plan on taking to make sure my offspring are as healthy as can be.

A number of studies are examining suspected or possible risk factors for childhood cancers, including early-life exposures to infectious agents; parental, fetal, or childhood exposures to environmental toxins such as pesticides, solvents, or other household chemicals; parental occupational exposures to radiation or chemicals; parental medical conditions during pregnancy or before conception; maternal diet during pregnancy; early postnatal feeding patterns and diet; and maternal reproductive history. Source

Go Organic

Pesticides are used in agriculture production to spray crops, but can also seep into air, water, and even be used in gardens. Pesticides, while often touted as safe, are actually carcinogenic. This is why it is so important to buy organic, and if possible, grow your own food. From the Occupational Epidemiology Branch at National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland,

Parental exposure {to pesticides} during the child’s gestation or even preconception may also be important. Malignancies linked to pesticides in case reports or case-control studies include leukemia, neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumor, soft-tissue sarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cancers of the brain, colorectum, and testes. Although these studies have been limited by nonspecific pesticide exposure information, small numbers of exposed subjects, and the potential for case-response bias, it is noteworthy that many of the reported increased risks are of greater magnitude than those observed in studies of pesticide-exposed adults, suggesting that children may be particularly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of pesticides.

Pesticide exposure doesn’t even take into account the use of GMOs, which have also proven to be carcinogenic, you can read more about that HERE.

The EPA has also stated “that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.”  This is why it is so important to not only feed your child organic food, but to eat organically as well. If the mother is exposed to pesticides, from eating them or otherwise, the baby is also directly affected.

Preconception Diet/Overall Healthy Diet

If possible, it’s best to prepare for pregnancy a year to six months prior to getting pregnant. A preconception diet includes eliminating harmful, toxic and processed foods while focus on nutrient dense foods like pastured meat and dairy, wild seafood, liver, bone broth, fermented foods and pastured eggs. Eliminating the toxins will help your body detox, while eating these nutrient dense foods will ensure that the baby is healthy once conceived. Don’t forget that the body uses the food we eat to make the baby, and baby needs vitamins B12, A, C, E, D as well as a full spectrum of minerals.

While preparing to have a baby and while you are pregnant, you should be eating extremely healthy foods, not junk foods.  Think of it this way, if you want a healthy baby, eat healthy foods. Because eating junk food will set the baby up for health issues.

Likewise, you want to make sure your child is getting the best nutrition. So many children are bombarded with kids menus, junk food and food that is overall unhealthy. Kids should eat normal food that their parents eat. They don’t need chicken nuggets, pizza and mac and cheese for every meal. For more info, check out the ideal diet for kids.

Limit Toxin Exposure

This doesn’t just apply to pesticides, it also applies to toxic household cleaners as well as toxic body products and makeup. A common ingredients in makeup and body products, parabens, has been found in cancerous tumors. Here is a list of common and dangerous household chemicals that have carcinogenic properties. According to the Environmental Working Group,

Common cleaning ingredients can be laced with the carcinogenic impurity 1,4-dioxane. Independent tests have detected the presence of 1,4-dioxane in numerous name-brand cleaning supplies. Other products contain preservatives that release low levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde.

If Possible, Avoid Antibiotics

Of course there are times when antibiotics are necessary, but I know far too many people who opt for antibiotics anytime they have a cold, flu or illness (which makes no sense because they are viral, not bacterial). Not only does this destroy beneficial gut bacteria, but it makes you more susceptible to building a tolerance to antibiotics.  Consider this, the body utilizes the immune system to fight cancer. The immune system is mostly comprised of the gut, the gut needs beneficial gut flora to thrive.

The overall indication is that gut microbial communities play a key role in the development of inflammatory disease and that these communities are amenable to manipulation to prevent or abrogate disease development. As the GI microbiome and specific pathways responsible for improved host health continue to be identified with newly developed high-resolution culture-independent tools, our understanding of the delicate balance between the human host and its microbial inhabitants continues to unfold. Source

To improve and maintain gut flora, eat fermented foods, take a probiotic, reduce sugar, grain and vegetable oil intake. Don’t eat processed foods!

Avoid Unecessary and Dangerous Prescriptions

This sort of goes hand in hand with the above. A friend of mine is experiencing hair loss; after a visit with her doctor, she walked out with a prescription for Xanax. She’s not stressed, depressed or experience anxiety. Why was she given such a dangerous prescription?  Unfortunately, sometimes doctors prescribe unnecessary prescription drugs that can do more harm than good.

A surprising number of other prescription medications have warnings in their labels about cancer. For example, the popular heartburn medicine omeprazole (Prilosec) causes abnormal cell growth and stomach tumors (carcinoids) in rats. No one seems to know whether this constitutes a problem for people. Spironolactone (Aldactazide, Aldactone) is a blood pressure medicine that is sometimes prescribed for hormonal imbalances and facial hair growth in women. It causes tumors in rats. Parents of children with eczema have been worried by reports that the prescription topical skin treatments, Elidel cream and Protopic ointment, are associated with lymphoma and skin cancer. The FDA has warned against using these drugs in children under two years of age. It also states that, “The long term safety of Elidel and Protopic are unknown.” Source

Let me reiterate that of course we cannot prevent all cases of cancer, even if you do everything right. Cancer is no one’s fault. The best we can do is try to prevent it by living a healthy, non-toxic lifestyle.

Five Steps To Prevent Childhood Cancer - it seems like childhood cancer is so prevalent today! Find out what you can do to prevent it.


Sources:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/childhood http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9646054 http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/risks.htm http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/cleaners_and_health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2881665/ http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2008/10/20/do-prescription-1

6 responses on “Five Steps To Prevent Childhood Cancer

  1. Melanie

    Unless you know of a way to change a child’s genetic DNA there is absolutely no way to prevent childhood cancers. No organic lifestyle will change anything. My daughter was fed a mostly organic diet, cloth diapered, delayed and selective vaccines given, no crazy detergents or cleaners, organic body care products…and she died of brain cancer at the age of 6. You can not prevent spontaneous cellular mutations.

    1. dani stout Post author

      I’m very sorry for your loss but it is preventable – just not in all cases, as I stated. I also provided enough scientific data demonstrating how cancer can be prevented in children through organic and healthy lifestyle choices. Again, not in all cases and I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. Kim

    Dani,

    I just wanted to shed some light on this topic. I agree with you that cancers, such as lung cancer, can be prevented. But, childhood cancers are a whole different ball game. Did you know that children can be diagnosed while in the womb? Did you know that children can be diagnosed at 6 weeks old, and the only thing they have been fed is their mother’s milk?

    Yes, chemicals are running wild in our world. Yes, the air is polluted. Yes, fast food is terrible and horrible for you. Yes, we live in a very unhealthy world.

    But, these are kids. KIDS. They haven’t even experience much yet. I know about 50 kids with cancer, as I volunteer with a local support group for families who have children battling cancer. Most of their families eat healthy, care very much for their children, and the child is living in a safe home. Many of our families eat organic, and have eaten organic before the child was born.

    On other thing I would like to mention. It is not the parent’s fault their child got cancer. The parent’s are already dealing with guilt, often times laying awake a night going through every moment of their child’s life looking for what they did wrong..what they did that gave their child cancer. Mothers have the most guilt. Many mothers don’t sleep for the first year of their child’s treatment. They are riddled with guilt, they can’t sleep out of concern for their cancer child, their whole world has been turned upside down.

    So yes, the environment can cause childhood cancer. Can many of the cases be prevented in children? NO. No, no, no. How can a child in the womb be diagnosed because of something they did? They are tiny babies. And their momma’s are doing everything they can to grow that baby.

    This article is very misleading. Please consider removing it.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Hi Kim,

      Yes, this is why I put such an emphasis on prevention before pregnancy. That’s why I included the info on a healthy preconception diet, a non-toxic household and avoiding dangerous prescriptions, especially while pregnant.

      I haven’t claimed that 100% of childhood cancer is preventable, much less that it’s the parents’ fault. In fact I said the opposite of that.

      Again, I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault. But for cancer prevention or not, it’s always a good idea to remove toxins, eat a healthy diet and live a healthy lifestyle prior to conception, during pregnancy and in childhood. That’s what this article is all about.

      I am telling women about prescriptions that have been linked to childhood cancer. I’m telling parents about possible carcinogens that can potentially harm their kids. I’m empowering women to take control of their health before they even become pregnant so the can optimize their chances of having healthy children – why would you want me to remove that?

  3. Beth Skaug

    Thank you for sharing this information! I think that more people need to be aware of the dangers of the toxins all around us. I do think that all cancers can be prevented. HOWEVER, not in the toxic filled world that we live in. I’ve worked in medicine for 19 years and have seen and studied a lot of stuff. The EPA estimates that there are over 20,000 chemicals that our bodies can’t metabolize. These will find themselves in our liver and then migrate to fat cells throughout the body where they are stored. Studies show that we have between 400-800 chemical residues stored in our cells. That can absolutely contribute to childhood cancer or even when the embryo is forming. And then there’s neurotoxins, which are found everywhere. In our hair care products, DEET, Aspartame, prescriptions, bubble baths, GMO’s, etc. Neurotoxins are poisonous or destructive to our nerve tissue, which cause headaches, seizures, nausea, numbness, weight gain, depression, fatigue, insomnia…. The last goes on and on. I could go on and on about the toxins that we’re exposed to, including our foods and the amount of sugar that we take into our bodies. Anyways, you did an excellent job at informing others about childhood cancer & how you can take simple steps to preventing. Unfortunately in this world today (especially in the US), it’s very challenging. But well worth trying. I always way the risk vs benefit in my field of work and in this case, there’s no risk to a healthier lifestyle so why not try it? The benefit well out weighs the risk. And to all those parents out there who have lost a child or loved one to cancer, you have my deepest condolence and my prayers are with you. ?

    1. dani stout Post author

      You’re right, the toxins are very difficult to avoid. We just have to do the best we can. My prayers are with those families too.

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