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About Cancer - What is Cancer?
By cancer there is an uncontrolled proliferation and growth of cells in some place within the body, resulting in steadily growing masses. In addition the cancer cells can spread either by active movement or more passively to other places in the body and there estabish new masses of cancer cells. Cancer cells have undergone a genetic transformation so that they have got these properties.
The cell masses are usually irregular lumps with diffuse boundaries, called malignant tumors, but more diffuse masses, or cells circulating in the blood also occur by some cancer types. Uncontrooled growth of cells without the ability to spread is not called cancer, but benign tumors. The reasons for cells transforming to cancer cells are many, like toxins, viruses, radioactive or ultraviolet exposure or sometimes pure coincidence.
There are many types of cancer and these are broadly divided in two classes. Carcinoma are cancers developed from epitelial cells or related calls, like glandular cells, immune cells, nerve cells and blood cells. Carcinomas mostly spread by the blood circulation, but can also spread on outer and inner surfaces, like the skin. Cancers originating in more inner cells, like those in connective tissue, bones or muscles are called sarcomas. These mostly spread by the lymph cystem.
Cancers also differs from each other by degree of maturity. The malignant cells can look much like normal mature cells with a specific function in the body, but they can also look like cells in developmnt. Even though malignant cells have properties of specific body cells, they will also look abnormal in many ways, and sometimes extremely deviant, with great and irregulrt cell kernels, for example.
Cancers differ according to malignacy, that is the ability to grow and spread. One usually measures the malignacy in grades fro 1 to four. Generally will unmature cancer cells with grossly deviant apearance be more malignat that mature cells that look much like normal cells.
A cancer case is usually also garded in 4 degrees according to how and how far it has spread. It can be a well borded lump within the tissue where it has originated. It can have spread further into adjacant tissues. It can have spread to lymph nodes, and it can have establshed new manifest tumors at other places.
Since cancer cells ar deviant, the immune system will recognize them and try to destroy them. Probably most beginning cancers are cleaned out by the immune system before they manifest themselvs by symptoms. Most cancers that develop further grow very slowly in the beginning, because the cells have not required the maximal malignancy yet, and because ithey are counteracted by the immune system, but eventually the disease accelerates.
Food, nutrients and other measures that help prevent cancer
It is not not easy to assess the cancer preventing effect of nutrient.
Nutrients work in combination with each other in the human body. Nutrients that have a cancer prevention effect when they are supplied in combination or as an ingredient in the food, may show to have no effect, or even the opposite effect when supplied alone.
Furthermore, substances that prevent one type of cancer seem to increase the occurence of other types of cancer.
Therefore results form scientific projects must not be easily extrapolated to situations outside those investigated by the projects.
However here are a survay of some important study results.
General diet advices
diet with the aim of preventing cancer is generally the same as a diet to
prevent heart disease and other diseases. The same advices seem to help prevent
cancer form reoccuring once it as been knocked down. These are the general diet advices:
- Avoid or reduce the amount of food that are industrially processed, artificially made or heavily fried.
- Eat fish at least every second day. Also eat seafood and fouls.
- Eat 5 fruits or vegetables each day. Each piece should be of the size of an apple or carrot. They should be raw or carefully boiled so that the nutrients are not washed out.
- Eat full corn bread, full corn cereals, peas, beans and potatoes.
- Eat just a moderate amount of fat.
- Ideally most fat you eat, should be of the type mono-unsaturated. You also need some poly-unsaturated fat of the types omega-3, and omega 6, but not too much of omega-6. The consumption of saturated fat should be moderate.
- In order to achieve right fat balance, much of the fat supply should come from a blending of sources like olive, olive oil, canola oil, nuts, nut oil, sunflower, sunflower oil, fish and fish oil.
- Use only a moderate amount of soy oil and corn oil in the diet. Only using such oil types will give you too muchmuch poly-unsaturated fat of the omega-6-type.
- Use just a very moderate amount of fat sources like butter, coconut oil and palm oil. A high consumption of these fat sources gives you too much saturated fat.
- Avoid altogether fat that has been chemically altered, giving so-called trans-fat. This type of fat is often found in margarine, cookies, snacks, fast food and other pre-made food.
- Consume just a very moderate amount of sugar, refined flour or refined cereals.
- Consume just a moderate consumption of tranquilizers and stimulants like alcohol and caffeine.
- Use just a moderate amount of salt in the food. However, in warm weather and by hard physical work, you will need more salt.
Specific cancer preventing foods and bevarages
Generally plants, fruits and spices with a strong colour or a strong taste have cancer preventing effects because of the contents of bioflavonids and other anti-oxidants.
Raw garlic helps to prevent cancer according to a scientific study made in China and garlic has for long been recognized as a potetential cancer preventing agent. They found that eating raw garlic at least twice a week reduced the risk of getting lung cancer with 44% for non-smokers and 30% for smokers.
Kale, chia seeds, flax, turmenic, broccoli, cabbage, mustard, and cauliflower are vegetables with proven strong cancer preventing effects, probably due to the content of indole-3-carbinole.
Onion and garlic are also thought to help prevent cancer.
Whole grain and bread made of whole grain will help prevent colon cancer because of the fibre content and possibly also because of the vitamins and minerals contained.
Red peppers give a protecting effect against prostate cancer.
Eating fish, and especially fat fish, some times each week also have a protecting effect against prostate cancer.
Fiber-rich foods, such as whole corn bread or cereals, vegetables and fruit help
to prevent colon cancer.
Evidence points to the conclusion that green tea can help prevent cancer. However studies so far undertaken do not sort out all other variables that may give the same result.
Some studies have indicated that drinking coffee reduces the incidence of cancer, but others studies have thrown doubt upon these results.
Things to stay away from
It is well-known that smokers much more easily develop lung cancer and have a generally higher risk of most other cancers. Smokers of marijuana seem to more easily develop testicular cancer. So an important measure for avoiding cancer, is not to smoke or use tobacco and marihuana.
There are hundreds of substances known to cause cancer, and many of these are found in common industral pollution. Therefore a good advice would be to avoid living in polluted areas and keep the environment pollution-free.
Milk, calcium intake, prostate cancer and other cancer types
Several studies indicate that a high consumption of milk, diary products and of other sources rich in calcium and saturated fat increase the risk of getting prostate cancer. One of the mechanisms behind this effect seems to be that the calcium binds vitamin D so that the prostate tissue gets too little of this vitamine. There is however other data indicating that milk may prevent colon cancer. It is difficult to generally warn men against all consumption of milk and diary products, even it these effects seem to be proven.
Milk, diary products and calcium intake is also beneficial im several ways. Men having a high intake of diary products should however reduce the intake, and one should prefere diary products with little fat. It is also important to get enough vitamine D and have a significant consume of tomatoes and other vegetables with cancer reducing effects.
Obese persons have greater risk for colon cancer that normally weighted persons, especially if the fat resides around the waist. This factor also gives a higher risk of heart disease. Therefore obese persons should reduce their weight to normal levels.
Cancer prevention effects of regular exercise
Regular exercise reduces the risk for several cancer types, and also for heart problems.
To get a good cancer prevention effect, the common reccomandation is to exercise at leat 30 minutes 5 days a week. The exercise do not need to be hard workout at gyms, but it must employ more intensive use of your muscles, heart work and respiration than your other daily activities.
The cancer types that have specifically shown to decrease in frequency due to exercise are cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, uterus and lungs.
How the prevention effect of exercise occur is not quite clear, but several mechanisms can play a role: Erercise stimulates faster passage of food through the colon so that cancer promoting substances perhaps do not get time to build up in the bowel. Erercise changes the hormonal levels. Exercise improves tha handling of fat and sugar in the body and decreases obesity.
Exercise also seems to be useful for people allready suffering from cancer. Execise fitting the actual health condition is useful during the period of treatment and exercise is useful when the treatment is completed. Exercise increases the quality of life for cancer patients and reduces depression. Exercise seems to improve the chance of survival. For breast cancer patients the chance of relapse seems to be reduced with 50%.
Supplements of folic acid in combination with B-vitamins seem to protect against colon cancer.
Alfa-tocoferole, a kind of vitamin E: Alfa-tocoferole may decrease the chance of getting bladder cancer and prostate cancer and colon cancer. Alfta-tocoferol from food sources seem to have the best effect.
Vitamin C, ascorbic acid: Vitamine C may prevent gastric cancer and may even get pre-cancerous changes in gastric tissue to go back.
Beta-caroten: Beta-carotene, a precursor of alfa-tocoferol (an A-vitamin), also seems to prevent gastric cancer and help cure manifest precancerous changes that can evolve further to real cancer.
Vitamin B-6, pyridoxine: Pyridoxine seem to prevent colo-rectal cancer and breast cancer
Folic acid or folate: Folate seem to prevent breast cancer.
Vitamin D3: Studies indicate that vitamin D3 prevent colonrectal and breast cancer. Peoples having a low level of this vitamin in the diet or never expose their skin for sun rays have a higher chance of getting this cancer. The skin produces vitamin D3 when exposed to sun rays.
get good enough vitamin D3 levels, some researchers recommend to eat food
containing much vitamin D3 like fat fish, to take a supplement and to expose ay
least 40 per cent of your skin to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes each day. However,
vitamine D is toxic in high doses, so one must nut take a greater amount of
supplements than reccomanded for the actual supplement used.
Some studies have suggested that vitamine D3 can prevent ovarian cancer, but studies performed ar not well conclusive yet. The newest studies seems to indicate that vitamine D does not have an effect against ovarian cancer.
Selenium seem to inhibit the occurance of breast cancer and colon cancer. Calcium may help prevent colonic cancer.
Flavonids and other anti-oxydants
The following natural substances is being investiagted for cancer preventing effects, and some rsults ae allready available: indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphanes, phytoestrogen isoflavones, perillyl alcohol, and green tea polyphenols and genistein
-The Phytoestrogens called isoflavones reduce the chance of getting lung cancer according to stydies performed. These are found in soy.
-Scientific investigation has found that the component class sulforaphanes found in broccoli slows the growth of cancer cells.
-Indol-3-carbinol found in mani crusiferous vegetables has a preventing effect on many cancers, including lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers.
-Genistein, a substance ectracted
from soy beans also have a established cancer preventing effect, inluding
lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers. Genistein in
combination with indol-3-carbinol seem to have an sepecially high effect.
Essential fatty oils
Essential fatty acids of the type omega-3 seem to protect against cancers in the intestinal tract and breast cancer, according to some studies. This effect may be a consequence of an anti-inflamatory effect of these essential oils, since inflammation in the intestines promotes cancer. This type of fatty acids are found in fish and sea-food. A newer review of these studies has however not found any cancer preventing effect.
Fibers in the diet has proven to reduce the incidense of colon cancer.
The preventing substances listed for each cancer type
Here are some cancer types listed, and the cancer preventing natural substances are listed for each cancer type:
General cances: These substances have a general cancer preventing effects: Sulforaphanes found in broccoli.
Colo-rectal cancer: These vitamins protects against colo-rectal cancer: Alfa-tocoferol (a kind of Vitamin E), Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), Folic acid / folate in combination with other B-vitamins, Selenium, Indol-3-carbinol from crusiferous vegetables, Genistein from soy, and vitamin D.
Gastric cancer: Substances that help prevent gastric cancer, and even help cure changes that can evolve into gastric cancer are: Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, (a precursor of alfa-tocoferole ), Indol-3-carbinol from crusiferous vegetables, Genistein from soy.
Breast cancer: The incidence of breast cancer can be lowered by: Folic acid / folate, Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), Selenium, and vitamin D.
Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer is prevented by: Alfa-tocoferole (a kind of Vitamine E).
Bladder cancer: Bladder cancer is prevented by: Alfa-tocoferole (a kind of Vitamine E).
Lung Cancer: Lung Cancer seem to be prevented with: Isoflavones from soy. Indol-3-carbinol from crusiferous vegetables, and Genistein from soy. Raw garlic eaten at least twice a week may reduce the risk of getting lung cancer with 44% for non-smokers and 30% for smokers.
Results from research projects suggest that supplements of these substances work best if they are supplied together and not alone. This happens if you have a diet that is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals. If you add supplements to the diet to prevent cancer, you should ideally choose products with many working substances where each substance is in a properly balanced amount so that they can work together dynamically.
Some undesired effects of nutrients
Beta-caroten supplements seem to increase the chance of getting lung cancer by heavy smokers. It is not clear what effect beta-caroten have on lung cancer in combination with other supplements or by non-smokers.
Vitamin E supplements seem to protect against Cancer, but heavy vitamin E amounts may in fact increase the chance of getting heart problems and stroke.
Increasing the intake of these vitamins by eating food containing great amounts of these vitamins as natural ingredients, however. do not seem to have negative effects.
Sex, pregnancy and the effect of sex on cancer risk
Early sex debut for girls seems to enhance the risk of cervical cancer. The reason for this is possible early cintact with human papilloma virus that sometimes cauce cancer. The new HPV vaccine might eliminate that risk, nut the long time effects of the vaccine are still not well understood. Use of condome by the boy might also decrease or eliminate that risk.
Having gone through pregnancy and having done breast nursing seems to decrease the the risk of breast cancer.
Regular sex resulting in ejaculation or regular masturbation decreases significantly the risk for men of getting prostate cancer.
Enjoying sun-rays with reason
New research indicate that moderate exposure to the sun rays in fact help prevent cancer. One reason for this, is the increased production of vitamine D caused by the sun rays.
However, excessive exposure to sun-rays cause skin cancer, included the most malignant form, malignant melanoma.
Althernative regimes to cure cancer
There exist a lot of althernative routines to cure cancer, performed by different institutions worldwide, that most standard physicians dany having any effect.
On the other hand, when looking at the evidence that standard physicians have for their denial, one very easily see that in fact they have not done any serious study to prove or disprove the claims of althernative therapists. Furthermore, evidence and documentations offered by althernative therpists are routinesly dismissed as unscientific, without being looked into.
This situation have existed for decades.
However, these institutions do not have the same economical resources as the standard medical establishement. Therefore they are usually not able to perform so detailled research as the official institutions. Evidence offered may therefore be valid, but still less specific than they ideally should be. An althernative institution might for example offer valid proof that their regime cure some per cent of patients using the cure for cancer, but may still not give exact indictations about what type of cancer the cure will be effective for, or in what stages the regime is effective.
If one is offered some kind of althernative regime, the best method of assessing the value of the offered therapy, is to talk with other patients having had the same condition one wants a cure against, and from such investigation take a a disicion.
Some of these althernatives are radical dietary regimes, including such things as a period of fasting, a period of only consuming different kind of natural juices, frequent cleansing enamas, or a period of eating only raw food. Usually the regimes are based strictly on vegataile food ingredients.
Such a regime might well help cure cancer, and in some cases even give a definite cure. However, attending such a radical dietary regime for a longer time will weaken the body of the patient, and this weakening can make the cancer come back or cause susceptibility for other diseases. The same can be said about a vegetarian regime. It might be good for a limited time period, but a permanent vegetarian diet is probably not optimal.
You can read more about food, diet supplements and cancer prevention at these sites:
The Cancer Project: http://www.cancerproject.org
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/
By knut Holt
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