Self Help

Self Help

02 January 2020

Dr Rosy Daniel, Weleda's Integrative Health Consultant, shares some Image titleimportant self-help measures in cancer care.

Cancer is now far from rare within the UK. Cancer Research UK now predict that we are about to move from a 1 in 3 lifetime risk of getting cancer to 1 in 2, so what on earth is happening if cancer is the 'new normal'? Most important of all, what steps can we take to protect ourselves, reverse this trend and give the most effective support and simple self-help advice to those affected?

Cancer occurs when cells start to grow out of control, uninhibited by normal growth control mechanisms. Did you ever wonder why our organs miraculously stop growing when they reach optimum shape and size? Built into our genes are not only the instructions for how cells grow and replicate, but also the cellsignalling mechanisms that tells them to stop when the perfect formation has been achieved.

It takes around six mutational steps for this crucial growth control to be lost, and around two steps for those of us with a genetic predisposition to cancer – everyone can take steps to help minimize this risk, even when we inherit tricky genes.

The first point of mutation we will look at is damage to the DNA and RNA inside the nucleus of the cell. Crucial for the repair of DNA and RNA damage are the many colourful pigments found in fruits and vegetables known as ‘phytonutrients’. We are talking here about orange carotene from carrots and peppers, red lycopene from tomatoes, green catechins from green tea, yellow curcuminoids from turmeric, blue and purple anthocyanins from blueberries and sea buckthorn, white quercetin from onions and apples. Our species grew up eating these roots, fruits and shoots and we have to find our way back into this more primitive way of eating.

Then, should an abnormal cell develop, it is supposed to commit cell suicide – a process known as apoptosis. Here again many naturally occurring phytonutrients in fruit and vegetables stimulate apoptosis, especially curcumin in turmeric, genistein from soya beans, Indole-3-carbinol from broccoli, resveratrol from grapes and red wine, tangeritin from tangerines, gingerol from ginger, silymarin from milk thistle, isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables, delphinidin from strawberries and pomegranates, caffeic acid from honey and coffee and many more. So, forget five a day! We should all aim for ten portions of fruit and veg per day and make eating fresh, local, organic and frequently raw fruits and vegetable the focus of our meals.

Next, we are looking at the integrity of the cell membrane where all the cellsignalling mechanisms lie. These membranes are made of phospholipids, which hold the receptors and gateways that control and mediate all levels of cellular activity. And guess what dissolves lipids? Detergents, soaps, rinseaid, shampoos and all other cleaning chemicals that we splash liberally over our plates and pans in the kitchen, bodies in the bathroom and food in many food cleaning and production processes. So always rinse off cleaning materials and change to Weleda’s gentle natural plant-based cleansers and soaps, and opt for eco-friendly cleaning materials too!

Then we need to look at the make-up of the tissue fluid surround our cells – its acidity, oxygen content, organic and heavy metal toxicity, hormone and growth factor content, all of which factors affect cell growth. Cancer cells grown in toxic, acidic, anaerobic conditions and can be stimulated by hormones and growth factors found in mammalian dairy products. So, get into the fresh air, exercise to promote oxygen uptake and excretion of toxins, and avoid completely smoking, excess alcohol, polluted air and inhalation of petrochemical substances such as petrol, diesel, dry-cleaning fluids and other volatile solvents.

Of huge importance is also the question of our immune function, which in cancer has become blinded to the abnormal cells that it should destroy when working well. In my article on stress. I talked at length about how stress and low mood is depressant to our immunity and conversely how our immune system can be revived with mind-body approaches, emotional healing, life revival, and withimmune stimulants with mushroom based beta-glucans which raise cell numbers, activity and presence of ‘Natural Killer Cells’ – the SAS squadron of our immune system that kills abnormal cells on sight.

So clearly there is a huge amount that we can do to reverse these conditions and supply our bodies, organs, tissues and cells with the crucial anti-oxidant support and oxygenated blood supply to keep our tissues healthy and normal - and this we must all do, whether diagnosed or not.

So, what about when we are going through treatments like surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy to treat cancer? What are the symptoms most commonly experienced, and what do we have in the Weleda treasure chest that

Step 1 - Adopt a colourful plant-based diet and take extra antioxidant food supplements.

Step 2 - Boost your immunity with mushroom supplements and shift your focus in life to that which you love the most. You can be greatly supported to do this by a Health Creation Mentor for monthly health coaching support.

Step 3 - If having surgery, be sure to prepare yourself with my audio tracks ‘Cope Positively with Cancer Treatment’ which you can download from the Health Creation website.

Step 4 - If having chemotherapy, Aloe Vera gel supplements can help to soothe your digestive system, and you could try psyllium husks and reflexology to ease constipation. You can soothe a sore mouth with Ratanhia Mouthwash, or try peeling and try freezing a banana wrapped in cling film for a soothing natural lolly! For a sore nose there is the Rhinodoron Nasal Spray too. 

For itchy dry skin Weleda’s very gentle White Mallow Baby products or Almond Sensitive ranges are popular to soothe and nurture you through tough times. Do patch test first, before applying any products all over super sensitive areas. For hair loss, try the Revitalising Hair Tonic which is formulated to stimulate the scalp. Or, if scalp is super sensitive when washing hair, try the very mild Baby Calendula Shampoo.

Step 5If having radiotherapy, you can protect your skin with Aloe Vera supplements twice daily throughout treatment and for six weeks thereafter. Pycnogenol 50mg capsules twice daily are also shown to help prevent radiation fibrosis and can be taken up to six weeks post treatment.

Step 6 - For nausea, add boiling water to some root ginger and veg bouillon powder to create a nourishing hot broth.

Step 7 - For aches and pains, remember all the wonderful arnica balms and bath soaks.
Step 8 - For peace of mind and to promote sleep, avail yourself of Weleda’s gorgeous relaxing lavender and rose bath milks for restful candlelit baths with your favourite soothing music.

Step 9 - For fatigue, get yourself to a healer ideally twice weekly via the Healing Trust or Reiki Federation. The Healing Trust also offers a distance healing service if you are not well enough to get to them.

Step 10 - Start your self-healing process activating the power of your own mind and spirit in the recovery process. For this I have created Audio CD ‘Images for Healing Cancer’, again from the Health Creation website.

Find out more about Health Creation

And remember, if you need one to one help to integrate orthodox, complementary, nutritional and self-help approaches, I am here to help you via

Weleda has a range of natural products to support your general wellbeing through cancer treatment and recovery!

Avena Sativa Comp Drops – a calming herbal remedy to help prepare for a good night’s sleep, especially useful when thoughts keep churning in your head and you’re having trouble switching off, or if you wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep. After a relaxing soak in Lavender Bath Milk, take a few drops of Avena in a little water on retiring to bed.

Stress Relief Oral Spray – preparing for or undergoing cancer treatment is a worrying time for everyone in the family. This homeopathic oral spray is handy for those moments when things may start to feel a bit overwhelming, or to ease feelings of irritability and tension, and is made with calming Chamomile from our own Weleda gardens.

Digestive Calming Drops – formulated to help ease nausea and stomach upsets, these drops are made from natural plant extracts or distillates such as Lemon Balm, which is traditionally used for its calming properties. Very easy to take, even when you’re feeling extremely fragile. Simply add 10-20 drops to a dash of hot or cold water, depending on how you feel.

Skin Tone Lotion – this medicinal lotion is formulated to refresh and revitalise tired limbs. It can be useful to support the circulation in areas that are being irradiated, and is also useful for anyone who is bedridden. Simply massage lightly into the skin. This is not a moisturising lotion however, it’s an oil-free formulation that’s soothing and cooling, made with lemon and witch hazel and other refreshing natural plant extracts. Not recommended for use on broken skin, as the product contains arnica.

Rhinodoron Nasal Spray - This handy pocket-sized spray is designed to soothe dry or irritated nasal passages, which can be a side effect of some medical treatments. The spray contains organically grown Aloe Vera, which gives a long lasting moisturising effect. Many nasal sprays initially offer some sense of moisturisation, but can actually leave nasal passages painfully dry with regular use. Rhinodoron can be used safely over protracted periods.

Ratanhia Mouthwash – a natural mouthwash made with the root extract from the Ratanhia plant, which you may find helpful to maintain oral health naturally, to avoid the mouth ulcers and bleeding gums that can occur as a result of some medical treatments.

Always read the label.