As the days get longer and the sun grows stronger, I dream of this summer’s garden.
There is something deeply gratifying about preparing the soil, planting seeds, and nourishing the flowers and vegetables that will in turn nourish me. Every plant in my garden gets my focused attention and constant assessment of what it needs in order to thrive.
In the twenty years I’ve lived with a cancer diagnosis, I’ve come to view my body as my internal garden, a complex ecosystem likewise in need of management and attention. This analogy occurred to me when, seven years after my initial diagnosis, I had a cancer recurrence. Shaken by the spread of the disease, I asked my doctor what I could do to improve my odds. I was told to simply keep my stress level down and return in six months for my scan.
While I am eternally grateful for the terrific care I received from my oncology team, this response left me feeling deflated. I was reluctant to believe that I was powerless to affect the course of my disease, and wondered whether, similar to my efforts in the garden, I could in fact promote a healthy internal “terrain” by weeding out lifestyle habits that weakened me, and growing behaviors that would support well-being.
Doing some research, I came to discover that at least 40% of cancers—and by some estimates, much more—are due to lifestyle, that is, to the choices we make each day about how to live. There is now a robust amount of evidence linking diet, fitness, mindset, and toxin exposure to chronic illness in general and to cancer in particular. This information powerfully affected my life and behaviors, and led me to partner with my local accredited cancer center in Concord, New Hampshire, to create a comprehensive, evidence-based lifestyle transformation course that would help empower others to make the changes needed to lower systemic inflammation and strengthen the immune system.
This is how and why the Anticancer Lifestyle Program was born. Whether you have cancer, want to reduce your risk of recurrence, or prevent chronic illness, our online course will give you the tools and information you need to improve your well-being and increase your likelihood of living a long and healthy life. I hope you will join our Anticancer community and, over time, come to reap a rich harvest of health and well-being that is rightfully yours.