It has been about four years since we tackled the subject of Rethinking Cancer as a major theme in Natural Awakenings. Since then, it seems like the landscape has changed dramatically, at least from my perspective. As I had come to publishing from a different professional world of Capitol Hill, alternative protocols and advances in detection and treatment were all new to me. I had heard of the occasional miracle story of a patient who took a different path to confront their own diagnosis and beat the disease. To their doctor’s amazement, the diagnosis of “a few months to live” was turned into “I have never seen something like this before—no more cancer.” This miraculous change intrigued me and I wanted to know more.
Like most families, cancer had affected us with the death of Diane, my step-sister, who died of stomach cancer after having battled (and beat, we thought) breast cancer a decade before. It was less than one year ago when the beloved president of Natural Awakenings magazine, Larry Levine, was diagnosed with Stage IV bone, lung and liver cancer and died shortly after—leaving us all saddened and shocked with the ferocity and speed of this silent killer.
While it can be, and will continue to be so for many families, a devastating diagnosis, there is change and hope in the air. First, I continue to be encouraged by the work of former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. Begun after the 2015 death of their son, Beau, the couple has been bringing a renewed sense of urgency to the fight. Their mission, in part, is “to work closely with patients and patient organizations, cancer researchers, cancer centers, research universities, governments and the private and philanthropic sectors to identify and address the critical issues in cancer prevention, research and care to drive new actions and collaborations toward ending cancer as we know it.” The Cancer Moonshot, as it was labeled by President Obama, was a great undertaking to comprehend a hugely complex but solvable problem that faces all of humankind.
Doctors and treatment facilities throughout the world are also tackling the problem head-on, looking at better information on preventing cancer through lifestyle changes, mind-body modalities and awareness, detecting it early enough to treat it effectively, to overcoming many more types of cancer with higher rates of success. We offer ground-breaking articles this month by Drs. Charles Gant and Isabel Sharkar on different facets on the cause and prevention of cancer, giving hope to those in the greater D.C. area when faced with a diagnosis.
This movement to redefine one of the most terrifying diseases we can face at any time gives me hope. Hearing stories and sharing opportunities with you, my readers, gives me faith—that with new tools to make a mind-body connection, knowledge about the benefits of proper nourishment and an understanding about the need to look at the source of the disease rather than focusing completely on the symptoms, we will have moved this conversation, and the diagnosis of cancer, to a new place.