Wednesday, 12 June 2013

What Causes Cancer

Recently I asked the question: "If you had cancer or thought you might get it what are some of the things you would avoid because you think they might cause cancer?"

I wanted to see the types of things people associate with cancer, especially after my little blurb about pink washing and the statement: "
many of the people who attend or participate in these (cure for cancer) events USE products laden with chemicals."

Here are some of the things people listed:

Fire retardant products
Air fresheners
Spray on cleaners
Dry-cleaning ones (trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, or PERC)
New no-iron linens and drapes (may release formaldehyde)
Processed meat
Lack of ventilation in the home
Unfiltered water
Cooking (charcoaling) meat - it becomes carcinogenic
Chemicals in our food
Fast food
Package / ready made food
3 or more alcoholic beverages (a day / a week?)
Eating out of aluminum packaging
Eating / drinking out of plastic packaging - plastic bottles
Cooking in the microwave

No more than 3 servings of red meat per week (I've heard it should be no more than 1 serving per week)
Daily exercise
Low alcohol consumption
Low fat diet / keep weight down
NO cigarettes
Keep exposure to chemicals at a minimum

There are some very good points raised and many things people are aware of which is great. Air fresheners can kill pet birds and cause asthma so they can't be good for us to breathe in. Meat and even fresh vegetables contain chemicals and hormones. Drying cleaning chemicals are hazardous to our health, as are plastics and aluminum.

Interestingly... no one mentioned skin care or cosmetics which I find fascinating. Considering skin care and cosmetics are multi billion [1,000,000,000+] dollar industries, meaning we BUY AND USE HUGE amounts of these chemical laden products, I would hazard a guess that we expose ourselves to more chemicals via skin care and beauty products than anywhere else (though this is supposition, not fact).

Here is what our resident scientist explains about cancer:

"Every cell in the body has an oncogene that controls the rate and number of times that a cell can replicate. Each time a cell replicates, it loses a little bit of its oncogene, so the oncogene is like a fuse – when the fuse reaches zero, the cell cannot replicate anymore. Old age manifests itself when a sufficient amount of cells have ‘timed out’ and cannot replicate anymore.

Cancerous cells have a malfunctioning oncogene that allows the cells to replicate indefinitely at an uncontrolled rate limited only by the amount of energy the cancer cells can rob from the body. Often, these cancerous cells do not have a well defined form. For example, cancer cells growing in muscle tissue will not be muscle cells but rather an amorphous lump in the middle of the healthy tissue.

The problem with the idea of finding a ‘cure’ for cancer is that cancers are constantly evolving. Thus, even if a genuine cure was found today, it would be useless ten years from now (possibly even sooner). When healthy tissue undergoes a genetic change, this will only be an evolutionary improvement if it helps the healthy tissue to survive for longer. However, because cancer cells can already survive indefinitely (assuming an indefinite supply of energy and nutrients), any deformity in cancer cells will potentially benefit those cells by affording resistance to anti-cancer treatment. Therefore, not only is cancer constantly evolving, it can evolve faster than any healthy tissue, and faster than science.

Many have sought for the illusive ‘fountain of youth’, a substance or treatment that prevents the cells from aging (i.e. the oncogenes never time out). However, we already have the fountain of youth… it is cancer. Unfortunately this fountain of youth will kill by a means other than old age. What scientists should be searching for is not a way to stop cancer but a way to control it.

As for drawing a cell, it is like a round egg with a soft shell, filled with fluid (mainly water) with a mass of proteins and genetic material in its centre."

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What things do you avoid so that you won't get cancer? What things do think cause cancer? Love to hear your views.

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