While many diseases have an unknown cause, some do have risk factors. A risk factor is something that increases a person's chance of developing a particular disease and can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. For example, we know that obesity can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes, and high blood pressure is linked to heart disease (physical risk factors). But we also know that not everyone who is obese or hypertensive has diabetes or heart disease and that oftentimes people develop a disease without having any obvious risk factors. It is important, therefore, to distinguish correlation from causation. A risk factor may be correlated with disease, but is not necessarily the cause of that disease. Correlation does not imply causation.
Risk factors can be either controllable or uncontrollable. For example, avoiding tobacco use reduces one's risk for lung cancer (controllable), while a genetic mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increases one's risk for breast cancer (uncontrollable).
Risk factors can also be emotional and spiritual. In her book Molecules of Emotion, the late Dr. Candace Pert revealed through her groundbreaking research the biomolecular basis of emotions. Dr. Pert discovered that peptides, which are small protein fragments, are the substance of emotions. Her revolutionary work provides tangible evidence that our bodies and minds are an interconnected system, and our thoughts and emotions can impact our health. Stress, anger, and anxiety are good examples of emotional risk factors (e.g., Bahremand, et al., 2016; Tennant and McLean, 2001).
Spiritual risk factors are what the bible calls "bitter roots" (Hebrews 12:15). Specific bitter roots have been identified by John and Paula Sandford (Elijah House Ministries) and Francis and Judith MacNutt (Christian Healing Ministries), who are highly respected pioneers in healing prayer ministry, which confronts both physical and inward healing needs. Bitter roots include our judgments, expectancies, inner vows, and foundational lies which are often underpinned by bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness (EHM). When we harbor bitter roots, they become potential entry points for demonic forces to gain access to our soul and facilitate disease (Ephesians 4:26, 27, 31).
At ACTIVATE THE CURE, we encourage those with cancer to aggressively attack their disease by eliminating all controllable risk factors (physical, emotional, and spiritual) through lifestyle changes, medical treatment, self-awareness, counseling, and prayer. During our prayer time together, we encourage you to share your physical, emotional and spiritual needs to the extent that you are comfortable. Our format does not provide opportunity for extensive healing encounters with the Lord according to the methods described by Sandford and MacNutt, so we encourage you to seek additional spiritual counsel and healing prayer. For more information about healing rooms and prayer ministry in your area, please contact us for assistance.
NOTE: Cancer is an extremely complex disease, and in most cases, its cause is unknown. Its origin presumably is impacted by some combination of controllable and uncontrollable factors. We can consider physical, emotional, and spiritual risk factors to speculate the cause of one's cancer, but rarely can we be certain. Therefore, as followers of Christ, we must walk humbly as Jesus did and avoid naive conclusions about disease that foster judgment and insinuate blame. To do so only increases emotional burden and is counterproductive to healing.