Cancer is a significant cause of death in the US. According to the CDC, 1.7 million cancers were detected in 2019. For every 100,000 people, 439 cancers were detected, and 146 people died of cancer.
There are cancer screening exams and blood tests for skin, breast, cervical, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancers. For those susceptible, lung and liver screening exams are also available. These test have proven great worth in detecting cancer, hopefully in early and treatable stages. Unfortunately, there are not screening exams for every type of cancer. Sadly, 71% of cancer deaths are from cancers not commonly screened for.
New technologies are also helping to detect more cancers. The Galleri test is a multi-cancer detection blood test that uses DNA analysis to screen for over 50 types of cancer. Although no screening test is 100% accurate, Galleri is expanding the possibilities for detecting more cancers, and in earlier stages.
How it works: healthy vs cancer DNA detection by Galleri
Watch a video HERE (see bottom of that webpage) to learn how this test works.
The stats according to Galleri:
Finding it early to treat early. When detected early, cancer 5-year mortality rates are low at 11% as compared to late detection 5-year mortality rates of 79%.
Specificity is 99.5%. This means that the false positive rate: is 0.5%. If the test returns as negative, more than likely, there is no cancer.
76.3% sensitivity ( a true positive) for the 12 cancers responsible for 2/3 of all cancer deaths. These cancers include anal, bladder, colon/rectum, esophagus, head/neck, liver/bile duct, lung, lymphoma, ovary, pancreas, plasma cell neoplasm, and stomach.
For all 50 cancers screened, there is a 43.1% positive predictive value of cancer present. The positive predictive value drops from 76.3% to 43.1% due to the difficulty in obtaining DNA from some tumors, including prostate and thyroid.
89% of tests were able to detect the correct originating organ producing the cancer.
Galleri is not a substitute for regular cancer screening, but can add quality information to influence your health decisions. Galleri is not FDA approved and may not be covered by your insurance. If cancer is suggested by this test, confirmatory testing is suggested.
Dr. Rodgers is offering this test to patients 50 years and older.
List of research:
Klein EA, Richards D, Cohn A, et al. Clinical validation of a targeted methylation-based multi-cancer early detection test using an independent validation set. Ann Oncol. 2021;32(9):1167-1177. doi:10.1016/j.annonc.2021.05.806
Nadauld LD, McDonnell CH 3rd, Beer TM, et al. The PATHFINDER Study: Assessment of the Implementation of an Investigational Multi-Cancer Early Detection Test into Clinical Practice. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13(14):3501. Published 2021 Jul 13. doi:10.3390/cancers13143501
As a naturopathic student and resident, Dr. Rodgers was privileged to learn from one of the best detox physicians in the country: Dr. Walter Crinnion, ND. Dr. Crinnion taught that there are 5 Steps to detoxification:
Avoid refers to avoiding getting exposed to and filled up with toxins from air, water, food, or personal care products. This also includes avoiding the light, noise, and electromagnetic frequency (EMFs) disturbances that emanate from devices such as smart phones, pads, TV’s, etc.
Supplementation refers to targeted nutrients and herbs that support metabolic detoxification pathways.
Depuration is the process of removing toxins from the body.
In reality, we cannot avoid all toxins. Fragrance, forest fire smoke, wireless technology, and volatile organic substances (VOC’s) in our homes, offices, automobiles, clothes, cleaning products, etc., are unavoidable all the time, but there are some habits that can reduce exposure.
Be aware and be proactive. Start by creating non toxic home, work, and hopefully school spaces. See HERE for some simple ideas; be sure to follow the links in the original article.
Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an amazing compound, one unfortunately we humans do not synthesize in our bodies. (Dogs, cats, goats all make vitamin C, but we humans, Guinea pigs, some monkeys, and some bats lack the enzyme to manufacture Vitamin C). Vitamin C is water soluble, so we need to take this daily.
Make sure you are able to detox . Do activities that cause you to perspire regularly. Make sure you are having a bowel movement (yes, its pooping) at least once daily. If you are not able to perspire or poop regularly, please consult with your health provider to help fix these issues.
Exercise. Exercise helps move blood throughout the body and increases metabolism.
Learn how to reduce Electromagnetic Frequency pollution we get from our smart devices, wi-fi, and potentially our electric vehicles. Click HERE to download a free guide developed by Cathy Cooke, building biologist, of Whole Home and Body Health on the Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your EMF exposure. Take this seriously.
Consider a regular cleanse. We are all exposed to environmental toxins daily. Some people are more susceptible to toxins, but it is hard to determine how much daily exposure affects any of us as we age and become more susceptible to chronic disease. Active cleansing 1-4 times yearly helps invigorate our detox enzymes, support our gastrointestinal bacteria, and reduces our toxic burden.
Dr. Rodgers is a detoxification specialist and can guide you in reducing your toxic body burden. Besides providing targeted nutritional supplementation to support detoxification, Dr. Rodgers utilizes laboratory analysis that help to identify toxic burdens of inflammatory gut pathogens, pesticides and/or toxic metals.
One of the most popular weed-killing products used today is glyphosate, commercially sold as Round-Up. There is a lot of controversy about this chemical, including potential cancer risks. However, did you know that glyphosate may also promote aging? A recent study looked at how glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) affects DNA and gene expression, also referred to as epigenetic changes. Glyphosate’s metabolite AMPA “was associated with greater epigenetic age acceleration.” Both Glyphosate and AMPA were found to be “associated with DNA methylation differences that could promote the development of cancer and other diseases.” https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP10174 Manually pulling weeds may take more time, but the benefits include getting some exercise and stress reduction found from interacting with the earth. However, if spraying weeds is more your style, then consider using a 20% vinegar solution. Vinegar dehydrates the weeds without dehydrating your DNA!
Dr. Rodgers had the pleasure to interview two personal coaches: Lori Dodson of Empowered Abundance and Blaine Bergeson of Bergeson Leadership Services. They both help people be their best selves. We sat down to discuss why coaches may be key to accomplishing life goals. Lots of wisdom provided! Listen to our conversation HERE
As the last vestiges of winter depart, Leaving us looking forward to warmer weather and longer days, We must also look to the health of our sinus and bronchial passages. Spring flowers embrace us with beauty and fragrance, but We may also become coated with POLLEN.
Here are some suggestions to remain snot, cough, and fatigue-free during the allergy season.
Masks. Face Masks can reduce your inhalation of pollen. Consider a mask when pollen counts are high, when walking in windy weather, cleaning up the garden, or during fire smoke season. For chemically sensitive individuals, a N95 or equivalent standard mask can reduce unexpected exposure to fragrance.
You may also want to download any weather app that has pollen count info.
Keep windows closed at night. We spend 6-8 hours nightly in a relaxed breathing state. This is a great time for pollen to enter our breathing passages and create havoc! Keep your windows closed to help reduce pollen inhalation.
Air Purification. An air purifier can reduce pollens that sneak in when your door or windows are open.
Use a damp rag to reduce pollen on your indoor/outdoor pet’s coat. Animals that spend time outside may bring in pollen on their coat. A damp rag over your pet’s coat may reduce invasion of pollen into your home.
Supplementation. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids such as quercetin may help stabilize mast cells that produce the histamine that will make your nose miserably drippy.
Herbs. Nettle leaf as tea or tincture may help also stabilize your mast cells. Caution, nettles may also act as a diuretic (increase urine flow). Do not use Nettles if you currently take any cardiovascular medications without first consulting your medical provider.
Know your food sensitivities? If you know you react to certain foods, now is the time to avoid these foods diligently. If you don’t know if certain foods increase inflammation, now is the time to find out. Dr. Rodgers offers methods to help you identify your food sensitivities.
Glenda Bell, LMT of Radical Lymphatic Therapy describes why taking care of our Lymphatic System is so important.
Lymphatic Massage helps clear toxins from the body and support the Immune System. it is an excellent technique to move toxins from breast tissue, decrease inflammation before and after surgery, and perhaps even re-set emotional trauma.
Avoiding Covid means reducing physical exposure to the virus. Other articles explore the Immune Strengthening Strategies to reduce getting sick once exposed to the virus.
3 main strategies have been shown to help reduce Covid exposure.
Avoiding Exposure to the virus. Avoid crowds and unmasked individuals. Creating pods of friends who maintain good virus avoiding strategies.
Block the virus from getting into your sinuses and lungs. This includes a physical barrier over the ports of entry. A mask covering your nose (port of entry into your sinuses) and mouth (port of entry into your lungs) can greatly reduce virus particles from entering your body. N95 masks or equivalent type of masks are significantly helpful to reduce viral exposure.
Cleaning the Air that may contain virus particles. A HEPA or ULPA HEPA air filter can trap viral particles.
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. HEPA will trap 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and larger in diameter.
ULPA HEPA, (Ultra Low Particulate Air) will trap 99.99% of particles 0.12 microns and larger.
The SARS CoV2 virus is approximately 1 micron in size.
Both HEPA and ULPA HEPA filters are good at removing small particles like viruses. Most viruses are carried on larger particles like vapor and will be stuck to the filter. Electrostatic charge can also reduce viral loads in the environment.
A word on ozone emitting filters. Ozone can inflame the respiratory tract. Avoid ozone emitting devices due to possible damage to the lungs. (Medically prescribed ozone is used in a different mechanism than that generated by air filters.)
A HEPA or ULPA HEPA air filter is also very handy during poor air quality days, such produced by fire smoke.
(Please note: This is a highly simplified explanation of one part of the complex immune system.)
Antibodies are one part of our adaptive immunity and are formed to combat specific pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, or parasites, including the Covid-19 virus.
When exposed to a pathogen, the adaptive immune system starts figuring out what the pathogen is and makes an antibody to that specific pathogen. These antibodies reduce the ability of a pathogen to function and present the pathogen to other immune cells that further inactivate or kill the pathogen.
For example, every time you get the flu or a cold, your body makes antibodies for that specific virus. Children get more colds than adults because they are being exposed to these viruses for the first time. Over time, the child builds a “library” of antibodies that they use to respond to pathogens quickly if re-exposed. Most adults have a large library of antibodies that reduce their risk of getting ill again.
The reason we have a cold for 7-10 days is because it takes time to mount a full immune response. It is hard to speed this process up. Supplements, herbs, and a low inflammatory diet may reduce the severity of a disease, but the time it takes for the body to react to a virus is similar for everyone. If one has the antibody to a virus in the library, the body may resolve the infection before a full immune response is needed.
Covid-19: A Sneaky Genius
The sneaky genius of Covid-19 is two fold:
The word ‘Novel’ when describing the Novel Corona Virus refers to its debut to the world’s population. As humans, we are all like children in that we are experiencing this Corona virus for the first time. Our immune reactions are like that of children: new.
Covid-19 has an ability to inhibit the initial innate immune response, increasing significant inflammation, and potentially slowing or stopping the communication needed to build antibodies[i],[ii],[iii],[iv]. If you’ve had Covid-19, you created antibodies to the virus, but slowly.
Out-Sneak Covid-19: Use an Antibody Super Booster
The vaccines developed following Covid-19 epidemic allow the body to create antibodies before an infection occurs. The vaccines have the blueprints from mRNA to help a cell manufacture a portion of the virus’ spike protein that is then presented to the immune system. (These mRNA blueprints do NOT integrate into your DNA and are destroyed by the body after 72 hours). The adaptive immune system does not know that this spike protein is not a real threat, it only knows that is it a foreign object and must be responded to. Anti-covid-19 spike protein antibodies are then manufactured and are ready to quickly deploy the next time a spike protein enters the body, i.e., as the full virus.
The vaccination process allows the body to start fighting a Covid-19 infection from the moment of infection, compared to a delayed and inflammatory response if unvaccinated.
Type of Response to Covid
Initial Antibody Creation
Covid virus affect
Natural Response / Unvaccinated
Slowly – Antibodies need to be made from scratch
Covid-19 suppresses immune response, increasing inflammation and slowing down antibody creation
Quickly – already in Library
Reduced – the antibodies are already in the library, ready to attack the virus.
Some vaccinated people may still get a Covid-19 infection, but their pre-manufactured antibodies allow them a fighting chance to clear the virus before the virus has a chance to rapidly grow and cause debilitating disease or death.
People who had an Covid-19 infection may benefit from vaccination as well but may only need one vaccination injection. [v],[vi]
Some may argue that the mRNA vaccines are not natural. An alternative argument is that these vaccines stimulate your strongest tools to super boost your natural adaptive immunity before you get exposed to this potentially deadly virus.
Besides the Covid-19 vaccines, it is important to support your innate immunity by:
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet (reduce/avoid sugar, alcohol, and foods you know cause inflammation). Click here[vii] for more information.
Supplement your immune system. Click here[viii] for more information.
Develop and maintain healthy sleep habits. Click here[ix] for more information.
Exercise daily to the level of your capability.
Find ways to laugh and relax daily. Click here[x] for information on tools to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Avoid toxins in your daily life such as fragrance, chemical cleaners, or pesticides that may damage your immune system. Click here[xi] for more information.
Identify and avoid food sensitivities. Click here[xii] for more information.
If you are struggling with any of these issues, please seek care with your naturopathic physician who is trained to help you find balance.
[i] Azkur AK, Akdis M, Azkur D, et al. Immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and mechanisms of immunopathological changes in COVID-19. Allergy. 2020;75(7):1564-1581. doi:10.1111/all.14364
[iii] Chowdhury MA, Hossain N, Kashem MA, Shahid MA, Alam A. Immune response in COVID-19: A review. J Infect Public Health. 2020;13(11):1619-1629. doi:10.1016/j.jiph.2020.07.001
[vi] Ebinger JE, Fert-Bober J, Printsev I, et al. Antibody responses to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. Nat Med. 2021;27(6):981-984. doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01325-6
Hormone balance can greatly affect immune function. 3 hormones are very important in this process.
Dr. Rodgers provides the following tests for her patients.
Thyroid hormones. When the thyroid system is not functioning properly, the innate immune system may not function optimally[i]. Innate immunity is the part of the immune system that is always functioning to reduce infection. Innate immune cells include natural killer cells (NK cells), white blood cells, macrophages, and other immune cells such as dendritic cells.
Cortisol Cortisol is an important stress hormone produced in the Adrenal glands. Cortisol reacts to stress by raising blood sugars, activating the immune system, and triggering the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (inflammatory signaling molecules). Chronic stress can dampen the feedback system that helps to reduce cortisol production.[ii] Chronic cortisol release may lead to chronic inflammation, resulting in a reduced immune response when needed.
Testing cortisol levels: A diurnal rhythm test of cortisol and cortisone (cortisol’s storage form) can be helpful to determine the daily total amount of cortisol and if there are high and low points of cortisol release during the day. A diurnal rhythm test is usually collected from urine or saliva samples.
AM Cortisol. If a diurnal test is not available, an early morning blood draw can be helpful. Obtain the blood sample as early in the morning as possible, before 8 AM.
Vitamin D Vitamin D has a significant role in supporting immunity. Vitamin D helps to regulate innate immunity. Vitamin D influences the immune system in the digestive tract, the location of majority of immune cells. Vitamin D may also be a key nutrient to reduce inflammatory cytokines.[iii]
Testing Vitamin D levels: A simple blood test can determine Vitamin D levels.
Retesting. Testing 3 times a year for several years may be helpful to determine your levels during high and low sun exposure months.
Test results low: If you have low Vitamin D levels. Please ask your prescriber how much Vitamin D you need to raise your Vitamin D levels. Also ask for a re-test of Vitamin D 6 weeks after you start supplementing. A re-test will determine if the therapy was successful.
[i] Montesinos MDM, Pellizas CG. Thyroid Hormone Action on Innate Immunity [published correction appears in Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019 Jul 19;10:486]. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:350. Published 2019 Jun 4. doi:10.3389/fendo.2019.00350
[ii] Morey JN, Boggero IA, Scott AB, Segerstrom SC. Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function. Curr Opin Psychol. 2015;5:13-17. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.007
[iii] Sassi F, Tamone C, D’Amelio P. Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and Immunomodulator. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1656. Published 2018 Nov 3. doi:10.3390/nu10111656