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Cancer

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When abnormal cells divide without control and invade other tissues, it results in Cancer. The factor that all forms of cancer have in common is the development of abnormal cells in some part of the body. Body cells are constantly reproducing- more than 90% of the body’s cells are being replaced every six months. Cells reproduce by dividing in two and each half takes its share of the nucleus. Within the nucleus is the genetic code, which controls what kind of cell develops and how it behaves.

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[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

  • A dividing cell sometimes produces mutant or abnormal cells, which are not properly coded and multiply uncontrollably, developing into a cancer. It is one of the tasks of the body’s white blood cells to kill abnormal cells. A white blood cell has to make contact with a mutant to kill it. But when the regulating system breaks down or is swamped with more mutant cells than it can cope with, cancer is able to develop.
  • Certain cancer cells multiply faster than the others: Cancer of the womb grown slowly, while cancer of the cervix is fast growing. Mutant cells may also travel in the body and start other cancers, called ‘secondaries’, away from the original site.

[edit] All about cancer

There are more than 200 kinds of cancers and doctors give them special names according to the part of the body that is affected. The largest group is carcinomas or cancers of the external and internal lining of the body, its cavities and most of its organs, such as the lung and the breast. The second group, sarcomas, affect connective tissues such as muscles and bones, lymphoma,( cancer of the lymph glands), osteosarcoma ( cancer of the bones), encephaloma (cancer of the brain) and melanoma ( a form of skin cancer).

[edit] Causes of cancer

Heredity may be a factor with certain cancers. For example, a woman is four times more likely to develop breast cancer is her mother , aunt or sister has had it.

People who suffer from certain diseases, including ulcerative colitis, pernicious anemia and viral hepatitis B, also run an extra risk of developing cancer.

However much more important than either of these two factors are the environmental factors. The world we live in and the way we treat our bodies play a large part in the development of cancers. Smoking, inhaling asbestos particles, excessive fat in the diet, heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking, overexposure to sunlight or radiation from nuclear waste or leakage, contact with carcinogens are some of the known reasons that could increase the likelihood of developing cancer.

[edit] Conventional treatment

Surgery to remove tumours, radiotherapy to kill cancer cells and chemotherapy to stop the multiplication of mutant cells with drugs are the treatments that orthodox medicine considers most effective. But these treatments do not constitute a complete answer to all forms of cancer.

It is become clear that by the time tumor has grown large enough to be detected, the cancer cells have been growing for several years and may have spread to other parts of the body, so that surgery may not remove all the cancerous tissue. But it does relieve symptoms caused by obstruction as well as to control local spread.

Radiotherapy is often the first choice of treatment in skin cancer and early cancer of the cervix. The further the cancer is from the skin, the more difficult is the treatment. But it has many unwelcome side effects. Tiredness, nausea, vomiting are the common ones.

In many cases, chemotherapy is the preferred treatment and the response can be excellent, though the side effects are quite unpleasant from a darkening of skin, hair loss, vomiting, weight loss, nausea, dizziness and weakness.

[edit] Alternative therapies

Most alternative therapies aim to stimulate a patient’s life force or will to live and so bring to bear the body’s natural defenses. It is these defenses that prevent cancers from developing in most people most of the time. The mutant cells are regarded not only as the cause of cancer but as a symptom that the body’s balance has been disturbed.

Cancers develop when the body’s own policing system fails to destroy cells with the wrong genetic code and allows them to multiply unchecked. Conventional medicine recognizes that environmental factors seem to stimulate faulty cell division and that prolonged grief or depression makes the policing system less efficient. But it is still far from unraveling the complexities of this multiform illness. Alternative therapies concentrate on this aspect- fostering positive control by patients over their bodies and boosting a determined and assertive mental approach. It helps cancer patients focus on shifting their mood and emotional state. They also give social support that can reduce the families stress as well.

  • Naturopathy experts emphasze on a healthy diet and lifestyle, not with the claim of curing diagnosed cancer but of preventing cancer from developing and for use alongside conventional treatments. The various regimes developed by alternative therapists have several recommended courses in common: a largely vegetarian or vegan diet; a high proportion of raw and preferably organic food; a low intake of sugar and salt; and the cleaning of poisonous wastes from the body. Much medical research has shown that bowel, breast and stomach cancers in particular occur less in societies where the diet is low in fat and meat and high in fibre.

A glass of wheatgrass juice or Aloe Vera is also extremely useful when undergoing treatment.

  • Megavitamin therapy is an extension of the corrective diet therapies. Even with a healthy diet, cancer patients may not get enough of the vitamins and minerals they need because their bodies cannot absorb them properly. So much larger amounts than the usual recommendations for these Antioxidants are given. More than 1000 times the usual daily 30 mg of vitamin C is prescribed. Larger doses of Vitamins A, B and E and of the minerals selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium and molybdenum may also be given.
  • Meditation -- Many studies have been done on the affects if intensive meditation on cancer. It has been suggested that meditation could affect the immune system and so beneficially influence the patient’s own defenses against cancer. It results in a decrease in anxiety and depression, discomfort and pain. Though it has not yet been conclusively established whether cancer can be influenced by meditation to the point of cure, it has been shown that patients with advanced cancer have a 10% chance of the tumor shrinking. There is a 50% chance of greatly improved quality of life.
  • Psychotherapy-- Substantial evidence from studies of cancer patients shows that psychological factors play a part not only in causing the illness but also in their chance of survival. People who are positive, self-asservative, cheerful and able to express their feelings are less likely to develop cancer.

Immunologists now believe that some cells in the immune system possess what is called natural killer activity. Stress and loneliness can lower these natural killer activity while positive attitudes an a belief in one’s well being can enhance it, so that the body’s own defense mechanism will destroy cancer cells. Therapies to generate these attitudes include Relaxation and breathing, mental imagery or visualization Therapy and Hypnotherapy.

  • Acupuncture-- Acupuncture therapists have used acupuncture to combat the effects of radiotherapy. It has also improved the number of white blood cells in patients. It is mainly used, however, to relieve the symptoms or minimize the discomforts that may be caused by orthodox treatments.

[edit] What can I do?

[edit] Signs to watch out for

You should report any of the following signs and symptoms to the doctor at once. Thought it may not necessarily mean to be cancer, but it is well worth it to hve them checked. They could be among the first indications of cancer, which is more likely to be treated successfully if it is discovered in the early stages.

  • Persistent coughing or coughing up blood.
  • Skin sores or ulcers that do not heal
  • Blood in the urine or feaces
  • Persisting changes in bowel habits
  • Lump or puckered area in the breast
  • Blood stained vaginal discharge
  • Lump in the neck
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Indigestion with no known cause
  • Persistent tiredness for no reason

[edit] Eat foods that fight cancer

  • High fiber and low fat diet are supposed to be helpful in preventing the development of cancer of large intestine.
  • Phytochemicals are non nutritive plant chemicals that contain antioxidant and disease preventing compounds. These substances have been shown to protect against cancers.
  • Soya products contain Isoflavones and including them in the diet can lower rates of cancers of Breast, Uterus and Prostate.
  • Tomatoes contain Lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Diet high in tomatoes is associated with decreased risk of cancer of stomach, colon and prostate.
  • Compounds called flavonoids, found in many fruits and vegetables, as they are also antioxidants
  • Recent research have shown that a chemical compound called resveratrol found in grapes, red wine and tea prevents cell-damaging mutations, blocks the development of tumors, and inhibits the growth and spread of cancer
  • Having about 3 to 4 cups of green tea a day helps as they contain compounds called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which helps inhibit blood vessel growth.
  • A German study shows that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are effective in stopping the growth of colon cancer cells.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to prevent cancer.
  • If you are a woman, age 50 or older, You must get a mammogram every one to two years.
  • There is no upper age limit for the Pap test. Even women who have gone through menopause should have regular checkups
  • One in three persons is diagnosed with cancer worldwide.
  • Lung cancer causes 30% of all cancer deaths.
  • In USA, 40-50 % of all cancerous diseases are completely cured and if only early stage cancers are taken into account almost 80% are cured.
  • Majority of lumps that turn out to be cancerous are painless to start with.
  • High fiber and low fat diet are supposed to be helpful in preventing the development of cancer of large intestine.
  • Cancers of the colon and rectum are more likely to occur as people get older.
  • Cancer thrives on a weakened Immune System so building a strong immunity is important
  • In 2007 there was a total of 12 million new cancer cases worldwide. Out of these 12 million cases, 7.6 million resulted with the patients losing their lives.

[edit] References

  • Fascinating and Important Cancer Facts
  • Cancer
  • Cancer - WHO

[edit] See Also