Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lifestyle Changes Can Cut Breast Cancer Rates

Mary Cissy Majebe, O.M.D.

This was the headline in the March 26, 2010 USA Today. As Western science evolves, it confirms knowledge handed down for centuries in Chinese medicine (CM). Western science continues to affirm CM knowledge, rather than refuting its wisdom. For example, CM linked the Kidney Qi to the bones long before Western science taught us that the kidneys secrete the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates bone marrow to produce red blood cells, long before we knew the connection between calcium and kidney function.

These headlines lead me to reflect on the causes of disease from a Chinese medicine perspective. In Chinese medicine, diseases are generally attributed to three primary causes:
1) Internal Pathogenic Factors
2) External Pathogenic Factors
3) Miscellaneous Factors.

External Pathogenic Factors are the six environmental factors: cold, heat, wind, damp,dryness and summer heat. Bacterial conditions can be transmitted via the wind, and this wind was the "cause of 100's of diseases" based on the oldest Chinese medicine text, the Nei Jing, written in 220 BCE. I am always amazed that the Chinese knew of air-borne conditions long before access to the "scientific tools" that now confirm their knowledge.

Internal Pathogenic Factors relate to those things that we are consuming on a daily basis. This has to do with not only the foods that we are consuming, but also the emotions that we are consuming. These are the lifestyle factors that are becoming more of a focus in many of our lives.

Miscellaneous Factors include genetics and also the toxic influences that are now proliferating in our world. We know that there are onco-genes that are associated with a greater likelihood of a cancer diagnosis. I believe that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of understanding the toxicity of chemicals, pesticides and other noxious substances in our environment.

SO, HOW DO WE PROTECT OURSELVES FROM CANCER??? This question could be assigned the same answer as the question of, HOW DO WE PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM HURT AND PAIN? We do the best we can with what we have.

We exercise, pray, do progressive relaxation or meditate.
We eat as organically and clean as possible. Yet, we are still subjected to chemical and toxic influences daily. So, how do we negotiate this journey of life amidst all of the perils that lie ahead?

We wake each morning, knowing that it is a gift to be alive and walking and sharing this journey with each other. We acknowledge that our time here is limited, and we embrace each precious moment. We meet each other with love and hopefully learn to meet ourselves with love and acceptance.