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In recent years, a concerning trend has emerged – a noticeable increase in cancer rates among young people. While cancer has traditionally been associated with aging, the rising incidence in younger individuals has prompted a closer examination of lifestyle factors and environmental influences. This blog from our Boulder CO Functional Medicine Clinic delves into the factors contributing to the surge in cancer rates among the youth and explores how Functional Medicine can offer a holistic and personalized approach to mitigate these risks.


THE ALARMING RISE IN CANCER AMONG YOUNG ADULTS

Historically, cancer has been more prevalent in older populations. However, recent studies have shown a surprising uptick in cancer diagnoses among individuals under 50 years of age, even in their 20s and 30s. Factors contributing to this increase include environmental exposures, chronic/hidden infections, sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary habits, and heightened stress levels.


UNDERSTANDING THE FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE APPROACH

Functional Medicine practitioners, with their emphasis on identifying and addressing the root causes of health issues, are uniquely positioned to tackle the complex web of factors contributing to the rise in cancer rates among young people.

  • Personalized Assessment: At Wolfe Functional Medicine, we conduct thorough assessments, taking into account an individual’s medical history, lifestyle choices, and genetic predispositions. We particularly like to take a closer look at your genetic variations/mutations to ensure that we provide you with the most individualized health optimization plan. This personalized approach allows for a more targeted and effective prevention strategy.
  • Nutritional Optimization: The role of nutrition in cancer prevention cannot be overstated. Here at Wolfe Functional Medicine we emphasize the importance of a nutrient-dense diet tailored to an individual’s unique needs, promoting optimal cellular function and immune support. We also order comprehensive nutrient profiles on each of our patients to uncover any deficiencies in the most fundamental nutrients that are essential to a properly functioning immune system.
  • Detoxification Support: Young adults today are exposed to a myriad of environmental toxins that can contribute to cancer risk. Wolfe Functional Medicine employs strategies to support the body’s natural detoxification processes, aiding in the elimination of harmful substances. Some of the most common toxins we encounter in our testing include gasoline additives, styrene products (plastics), mercury, lead and other heavy metals. These substances often overwhelm the liver and other detoxification systems, leading to a compromised immune system and predisposition to DNA damage or mutations.
  • Stress Reduction Techniques: Chronic stress has been linked to cancer development. We at Wolfe Functional Medicine strive to incorporate stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation practices into all of our patients’ treatment plants. We believe it’s crucial to first recognize all of the sources of stress in our patients’ lifestyles that they may not even be aware of and to develop daily habits or sustainable strategies to mitigate the impact of stress on overall health.
  • Balancing Hormones: Hormonal imbalances are increasingly recognized as contributors to cancer risk. There is especially a high prevalence of estrogen dominance among today’s population, both in men and women, which has been linked to higher cancer risk. Wolfe Functional Medicine specializes in addressing hormonal health through lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and targeted interventions to reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers.
  • Inflammation Mitigation: Chronic inflammation is a common denominator in many cancers. At Wolfe Functional Medicine we can often trace our patients’ high inflammatory markers to certain nutrient deficiencies, toxin exposures and chronic, undiagnosed infections. Viral infections have been particularly linked with certain types of cancers, such as Lymphomas, breast cancer, prostate cancer and many others. We aim to identify and address sources of inflammation through dietary adjustments, anti-inflammatory/anti-viral supplements, and specific lifestyle modifications.
  • Early Detection: Regular screenings and diagnostic tests play a crucial role in identifying abnormalities or cancerous cells before symptoms manifest, providing a critical window of opportunity for timely intervention. Last year, Wolfe Functional Medicine began offering a revolutionary early cancer detection test known as Galleri. The Galleri test, developed by GRAIL, Inc., is a liquid biopsy-based screening test that is designed to detect more than 50 types of cancers, including those with historically lower screening options. The test focuses on identifying cancer-related signals in the blood, providing a more comprehensive approach to early cancer detection. Wolfe Functional Medicine is proud to offer this ground-breaking technology to our at-risk patients through just a single, simple blood draw.

CONCLUSION

As the incidence of cancer among young people continues to rise, Functional Medicine emerges as a promising approach to address the multifaceted nature of this health challenge. By delving into personalized assessments, lifestyle modifications, and holistic interventions, we at Wolfe Functional Medicine hope to offer a beacon of hope in the fight against cancer for the younger generation. We invite you to get in touch with us to find out how we can assist you in reducing your cancer risk and taking back control of your health. Also, stay updated on our latest insights about cancer and other topics by following us on Instagram at @wolfe.fm. Join our community as we journey towards health and wellness together. Your journey to optimal health and improved quality of life begins now!

Yours in health,
– Dr. Eva Dec

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