In this issue’s column, cW’s resident cancer coach Mirela Kopier explores the importance of living well and being your own advocate beyond conventional means.
According to the Global Cancer Facts and Figures, Fourth Edition, published by the American Cancer Society, the estimated number of new cancer cases worldwide in 2018 was more than 17 million. By 2040, researchers expect that number to reach 27.5 million. When I read that, I thought, ‘What are we doing wrong? Are we teaching our children the best preventative methods? Is that something we can do?’ I sure hope so.
In this issue of Cancer Wellness, many of the articles discuss the disease on a global scale. Let’s face it—cancer doesn’t care where you live. As a holistic cancer coach, I frequently lean on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in place of or in conjunction with conventional treatment methods. CAM is most effective when we remember to take care of our immune systems. It is easy to forget about this aspect of our health. If we keep our body strong by feeding it the fuel it needs physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, it will enable us to better overcome many diseases, including cancer. However, no one treatment is right for everyone, including CAM. I urge anyone with cancer to find the treatment best suited for them.
Consider Slovenia. According to the World Health Organization, Slovenia had some of the highest cervical cancer rates in the world during the 1960s. Those numbers increased in the 1990s. With considerable determination from a small group of cervical cancer advocates, Slovenia developed ZORA, their nationwide screening program. The group shifted from opportunistic screenings to regular screenings and they found a monumental drop in cases. Doctors at these screening facilities throughout the country stress the importance of regular checkups. We are our best advocates and should be our own biggest fans. We should do whatever we can to take care of ourselves. If we eat right and exercise regularly, we should also make appointments to get our bits and pieces checked out.
If we keep our body strong by feeding it the fuel it needs physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, it will enable us to better overcome many diseases, including cancer.
My mom, a 15-year cervical cancer survivor, did just that. She scheduled a screening to check her bits and pieces and was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer. She was also her biggest advocate, and when her doctor said, “We have to get you into a chemo and radiation therapy treatment, yesterday,” she let him know that she wanted to take another path, before walking out of his office. She returned a year later, cancer free!
Growing up in Romania, my mom had a lot of old-school holistic and herbal remedies handed down from her grandmother. The biggest one was herbal and Epsom salt baths to remove toxins in conjunction with meditation and visualization exercises. She also returned to a simple diet of fruits, vegetables, grains with no dairy, no meat and nothing processed. She tapped into these tools during her battle with great determination and eventually, great success. During this time, my mom and I also opened up a small health food store in a small town in northern Illinois. She was able to immerse herself in an array of holistic therapies due to the store. She also ended up taking classes from The Herbal Academy that taught her how to mix herbs for the best cancer treatments and how to make the most potent tinctures. Although we eventually closed our store, I am truly grateful that it gave my mom one more resource to fight her battle with cervical cancer and win.
Cancer doesn’t care if you speak a different language or do things a little differently than your neighbor. The disease still shows up. With the number of new cases growing worldwide, we have to work on sharing our triumphs and continuing to find alternative paths that work. We need to teach our children to be their own biggest cheerleaders so we can see those cancer rates dip.
Stay well and enlightened, until next time!