Like all politics are local, all health is personal

An ordinary woman isn't supposed to reveal her age, but I am no ordinary woman. As I was gliding through my sixth month of being 50, and getting rather comfortable with thinking about how I wanted to live the next half century of my life, a letter and a phone call arrived from my doctor. A routine test result came back with the ill-omened phrase — "cannot rule out cancer."

There it was, the 'C' word.

Nothing in my daily arsenal of supplements could erase the word from my medical records. The irony wasn't lost on the fact that our editorial team was planning the theme for this issue — 'Life-stage wellness for healthy ageing' — and a chapter was earmarked for cancer-related research. As I proof these final pages, the headline 'Nutraceuticals to combat cancer' sticks in my throat for many reasons. Will the next few months be an outright battle to right wayward cell mutations, a biological Gettysburg? Or do I prefer to think of this as an opportunity to create a state of wellness?

I choose the latter, and reach for a host of experts and research to which I am afforded daily access because of my job as a health editor. Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury. As Marc Tallon concedes in his article, "Despite the vast understanding of the etiology of cancers, and process by which they attack the body, the nutritional literature is fraught with contradiction and subjection."

And for companies with products that may actually help patients with prevention, post-diagnosis or post-treatment needs, there is the danger of even mentioning the 'C' word in the same sentence as a dietary supplement. "Despite a number of significant trials using nutraceuticals for preventing or treating symptoms relating to cancer, marketing such effects or nutrients is very difficult if not downright illegal," Tallon writes. My money is on human clinical trials using vitamin D to right some of the contradictions.

Whoever said ageing is not for wimps was spot on … but what age is old? My article proves the point that beauty and age are in the eye of the beholder.

Wishing you a lifetime of wellness,

Kimberly Lord Stewart
Editorial Director

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