January 29, 2020 | Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | Nigel Coke/IAD News Staff
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about one in six deaths are due to cancer.
However, Naturopathic Physician Michelle Hamilton, NMD, believes that the figure presented could have been lower if people would stop focusing only on food and exercise and include other factors that affects their bodies.
“In cancer prevention most of us focus on food and exercise,” said Hamilton. “It is often said that we will create healthy sinners if persons focus on what they take into their bodies to be healthy. It is true because we fail to see the connection in terms of our organs, and our mind, our emotions, our families, our environment.”Hamilton, who is also managing director of Hope Lifestyle Center Ltd., was speaking on the topic of cancer prevention on day three of a Health Summit hosted by the Inter-American Division in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, from January 22-26, 2020.
She posited that “because we are fearfully and wonderfully made God has given us the gift of life, and this life that we have is very complex as we have failed to understand the connections between the mind and the body.”
“In order to prevent cancer, one has to understand that we need to be whole,” Hamilton added.
“We need to be whole in mind, body, and spirit, and in order to do so, it is important that we have balance in our lives,” she explained. “Things are not separate. Our emotions that we express to others, our friendships that we have, all have a consequence. You may think that someone has hurt you and it feels or produces a negative reaction, but in the true sense, our bodies also have a memory of that, and it affects how we live our lives each day and how we process the things around us, and even the things that we take into our bodies.”
According to WHO, approximately one third of deaths from cancer are due to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
“In order to prevent cancer, we have to understand it from a wholistic standpoint, where we understand that each organ function is essential and our very thoughts, our emotions, our relationship, all play a role in our body function.”
It is estimated that there are about 100 types cancers with approximately 70 percent of deaths from low- and middle-income countries.
“Cancer in itself needs an environment to thrive, and that environment is one of chronic inflammation. The inflammation comes about through several different pathways,” said Hamilton. It comes about through the thought process, which is to say that if you are not happy, if you are always angry, if you feel emotions that you are unable to express, all of that in some way affects your immune system, she added. “It also affects your digestive system and your hormones, but we don’t put a lot of emphasis on that, because we don’t make the connections.”
Hamilton argued that if people understood that certain foods can cause cancer or produce inflammation that in turn may create the environment that cancer thrives in and other lifestyle diseases.
“But if you have the perfect healthy diet, have been a vegetarian all your life but you are someone who has unresolved emotions, unresolved relationships, or have a lot of fear and anxiety then you create the same reaction in the body as chronic inflammation.”
Anna-Kay Price, health ministries director in the Atlantic Caribbean Union, said she enjoyed the wholistic approach that was presented to prevent cancer.
“Everyone wants to know how to prevent cancer because there are so many people dying from it,” said Price. “She [Hamilton] did not only deal with diet and exercise which most people focused on, but also the very important aspect of emotion, how we relate to others in terms of anger and forgiveness.”
Price believes that the approach Hamilton presented is the correct one, and is backed up by scripture and the writings of Ellen G. White, a founder and pioneer of the early Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“A healthy mind will give you a healthy body. So I hope that we can make the connections to realize that nothing is separate, it’s all connected,” Hamilton concluded.