Linking Inflammation and Cancer. Again.

August 6, 2015

About 8 years ago or so I read this book on the link between inflammation and cancer. It is a collection of scientific monographs that document the extensive evidence that cancers have a tendency to develop in areas of past traumas and injuries, sometimes traumas that happened decades before.


Since then, many hundreds of studies have come out showing that cancer thrives in an environment of inflammation. In fact if the chemicals that drive inflammation can be reduced it significantly impedes the growth and spread of cancer.


The point is, this is fairly old news. Which is why it is surprising (in that not-really-so-surprising kind of way) that a new study has come out showing that a blood marker of inflammation appears to be elevated in breast cancer patients. This same link was reported for colorectal cancer over a decade ago.


The marker is called C-reactive protein, or CRP. It is a molecule produced by the liver in response to inflammation that is occurring in the body. It has been in use for a few decades, and it is a general gauge of the overall level of inflammation. It is most commonly associated with cardiovascular disease and risk of heart attacks and strokes. And now cancer.


That CRP is elevated in breast cancer patients is not surprising. Cancer is an inherently inflammatory process. What is interesting about this study is that elevated CRP was prognostic of breast cancer. Specifically, women with the highest CRP levels compared to the lowest levels had a 27% increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.


Conventional physicians don't measure CRP very often as part of routine blood work, because they don't have drugs that will effectively lower it. What lowers CRP? Diet changes, exercise and a good night's sleep.


I run CRP as part of every set of basic labs that I do, not just on cancer patients but on every patient. I have done this for years. Conventional therapies may not offer much for high CRP, but naturopathic therapies have a dramatic impact.


If you would like a radiation-free approach to assessing your cancer risk, come in for an evaluation. Using standard blood work such as CRP, in addition to more specialized testing such as TK-1, I can help you identify where your risks are and, most importantly, what you can do about them.

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