Thursday, 4 December 2014

Our First Manchester Seminar: ‘Lifestyle Choices and Cancer’

Today’s post is about our recent seminar ‘Lifestyle Choices and Cancer’ which was held on the 22nd November 2014 at the Manchester Conference centre. With talks from integrative oncologist Dr Francisco Contreras, Cancer Options’ Patricia Peat and Gloria Halim, self-confessed ‘breast cancer warrior’, the morning was full of fascinating insights. Stay up to date with future seminars on our events page or by joining our mailing list (on the right of the page).

The weekend’s grey weather could not put a dampener on the excitement of hosting our very first northern seminar. Whilst the Yes to Life office is based in London, our beneficiaries are spread across the country so reaching out to different regions is very important to us, and the welcome we received in Manchester could not have been warmer. We settled into our seats, notepads at the ready, to learn more about how lifestyle choices can influence experiences of cancer.


Patricia Peat kicked off proceedings with her talk ‘Lifestyle Choices: Fact not Fiction’, outlining the evidence for lifestyle strategies that can support the body through cancer. After many years as an oncology nurse Patricia saw the need for people to have access to good quality information. Passionate about encouraging the safe integration of complementary treatments with orthodox medicine, Cancer Options is at the forefront of cancer treatment developments.

Patricia described cancer as a metabolic disease, rather than a genetic one, drawing on research into epigenetics which shows our genes are not fixed and respond to different stimulus. She shared  the science behind cancer, the conditions in which it thrives and how to go about changing those conditions. The first important fact was that there is no specific gene mutation or chromosomal abnormality that is common to all cancer but nearly all cancers express aerobic glycolysis. Glucose fuels cancer cells, which is why limiting or
omitting sugar and refined carbohydrates can support the body against cancer.

She also discussed angiogenesis which is the process by which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels and is a fundamental step in the process of a tumour becoming malignant. The use of angiogenesis inhibitors is therefore another important strategy for combatting cancer and Patricia shared some very useful information on dietary sources of anti-angiogenic substances (see list).

Patricia spoke about the dangers of inflammation and how to prevent it, through diet (see image) and other therapies such as hyperbaric oxygenation.

She discussed the potential negative side effects of consuming processed dairy products, the importance of Vitamin D and gut health, the gains of alkalising the body, ways to combat fatigue such as Lipid Replacement Therapy and Liver support, ways to improve immune function such as Gc-MAF and methods to improve your health whilst going through chemotherapy.

Stress was another area Patricia explored, discussing the scientific reasons it has such a negative impact on health. Raised levels of cortisol resulting from stress has a host of adverse implications including elevated blood sugars and blood pressure, increased risk of infection, damage to the immune system and disruption in the body’s ability to control inflammation.


Following a short refreshment break, Dr Francisco Contreras spoke about the metabolic, rather than genetic, origin of cancer.  Dr Contreras is a leading figure in the integrative cancer world and serves as Director, President and Chairman at the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico. Founded by his father in 1963, the clinic has treated over 100,000 people and continues to be as pioneering now as it was then.

Dr Contreras explained the science behind how cells malfunction or mutate and the importance of nutrients (minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, enzymes) in preventing this and keeping cells healthy. This is a key reason why a good diet is so important in supporting the body to recover from cancer.

He discussed Metabolic Integrative Therapy which focuses on the common metabolic traits of cancer: source of energy, oxidative stress, metabolic pathways and immune deficiencies. By creating a personalised, holistic program of treatment for each patient he achieves incredible results. He was keen to emphasise the dynamic nature of the field of integrative oncology and its transformative health potentials. See interviews and videos with Contreras on our YouTube Channel and find out more about his talk at our breast cancer seminar on our blog.

It is Dr. Contreras’ unique mix of expertise and humanity that makes him such a compelling speaker. His priority is doing the best by his patients, and whilst he comes under fire from both orthodox and alternative health figures alike, he refuses to deviate from what will be best for the person he is treating regardless of how that treatment might be labelled. In this way complementary approaches and orthodox treatments work side by side to get the best results.

Our final  speaker was Gloria Halim, health coach and author of ‘Healing Foods, Healthy Foods’ who is about to mark 5 years cancer free and very kindly shared her experiences with us. Before cancer Gloria worked in IT, a high powered woman in a man’s world with elevated stress levels and plenty of vices. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer she knew things had to change. She embarked on every orthodox treatment available and began to educate herself on what else could help. This led her to study to become a qualified health coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York. She is now reborn as a ‘Breast Cancer Warrior’ and has dedicated herself to supporting other women back to health (find out more on her website). One of the most important things Gloria found that helped her along her journey with cancer was juicing and we are delighted for her to be running a workshop with us on the topic next year, watch this space!

To find out more about how Yes to Life please call our helpline on 0870 163 2990 or check out our website 


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