Get the Facts about Cancer Prevention

It is an unfortunate fact that almost all modern medicine is focused on treating, rather than preventing, cancer.

In 2016, the National Cancer Institute’s budget increased $260.5 million from fiscal year 2015 to total $5.21 billion. And government agencies like NIH Institutes and Centers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense also fund cancer research in some capacity, in addition to the substantial amounts of money spent on cancer-related research by state and local governments, volunteer organizations, private institutions and corporations.

In spite of the billions spent each year on cancer research, the causes and the cures are still lacking. The key is to practice prevention.

The fact is, most types of cancer are almost entirely preventable. Approximately, 10% of cancer cases can be attributed to inherited genetic factors. Genes are like light switches that can be turned on and off, and are highly dependent on lifestyle. Some 90-95% of cancers are caused by poor lifestyle and environmental impacts. Tobacco alone accounts for 25-30% of cancer deaths, diets for 30-35%, infections for 15-20% and being overweight or obese 4-20% of cancer deaths.

Now is the time to live your best life. Seriously consider the following to help decrease your risk of cancer:

Avoid Toxins

Knowledge is power. Learn how to avoid the nasty chemicals in personal care products (see the sidebar for a list of some common chemicals). Even more appalling than the bad ingredients is the amount of chemicals women apply to their skin every year.

“Women who use makeup daily absorb on average 5 pounds each year,” according to the website

Your skin is not only your largest organ—it’s also the thinnest, with just one-tenth of an inch separating you from all sorts of toxins. And skin is highly permeable, allowing products applied to your skin access to your bloodstream (and the rest of your body).

A good rule of thumb is not to put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat.

Get Tested

Another key to cancer prevention is specialized testing that can determine the cause of inflammation. Inflammation either initiates or exacerbates all major illnesses, including cancer. If you want to prevent cancer, have your stool tested. As 80% of your immune system is located in your gastrointestinal tract, if you have symptoms of irritable bowel disease, constipation, diarrhea, bloating or indigestion, you probably have inflammation. Specific testing can determine if you have an overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach, parasites, infection or yeast. Hidden IgG food sensitivities and gluten sensitivities also contribute to inflammation. Get tested today to find out the source of your inflammation.

Boost Your Immune System

Cancer prevention also involves the immune system. Natural Killer (NK) blood cells destroy dangerous cells and other foreign invaders that can cause health problems. When our immune systems are running at optimal capacity, we increase the chances of fighting cancer or precancerous cells.

Cells need food for energy, strength and proliferation. There’s evidence that certain fruits and vegetables rich in plant-based nutrients can both prevent and halt tumor growth. Good nutrition promotes health, but nutrition is only part of the story. Daily exercise, maintaining an ideal weight, adequate sleep and regular physical checkups should be part of each person’s cancer-prevention regime.

You deserve to have a healthy, happy life. Start now. You’ll be glad you did.

Dr. Sharon Norling practices Advanced Functional Medicine in Westlake Village. Call 818.707.9355 or visit