What actually causes cancer and how can we prevent it?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal or immature cells. These cells form abnormal cell clusters. These cell clusters become a visible mass, otherwise known as a tumor. As cells form a clump, the cluster is called a primary tumor. But cells from a primary tumor can break away and start to grow elsewhere in the body, forming secondary tumors. This process is called metastasis. When cancer spreads to other organs, the cancer is called metastatic. For example, kidney cancer that spreads to the breast is not breast cancer; it is metastatic kidney cancer. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center states, “The best way to fight cancer is to prevent it.”

Environmental factors and lifestyle habits are two major contributors to the incidence of cancer. Poor lifestyle habits linked to cancer include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking, emotional stress, toxic personal care products, dental hygiene, drinking alcohol and being overweight. Environmental factors include toxins in our water, air, food, Stress and unresolved emotional conflicts can negatively affect the immune system and be very destructive to our body.

“Germs do not cause disease in the real sense. Something happens in the body to allow the germs to become invasive." Antoine Bechamp, MD, PhD 1900

The hidden dangers in personal care products

Almost all of us use various personal care products. They’re the very things that we’ve been marketed to believe will help us smell fresh and be clean. Unfortunately, personal care products, such as toothpaste, shampoo, and soap may have unsuspected, cancer causing toxins. A study conducted at Harvard University found that the average person is exposed to more than 100 chemicals from soaps, cosmetics, and various other personal care products before they even get to work in the morning.[1]

The chemicals in the Harvard study represents just a small fraction of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently in use in personal care products that have never been adequately safety tested by federal US regulators.[2] A great number of these chemicals have been shown in independent testing to cause cancer and other serious health problems. The use of organic and other clean personal care products is a way to reduce this toxic burden.

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Nutritional “Felonies” committed by the majority of the people

Consuming excess sugar and excess refined carbohydrates is a factor in feeding cancer cells and negatively affecting the immune system. Modest ingestion of glucose (75 gm) caused a measurable decline in cell-mediated immunity in seven healthy human volunteers.[3] Simple sugars, not starches, impair neutrophil (white blood cell) phagocytosis (ingestion of bacteria and pathogens).[4] Animals that were fed diets of sugar or starch carbohydrates developed significantly more mammary tumors than the starch-fed group.[5] Animals with implanted breast cancer survived longest with diet that lowered blood glucose.[6] There is an accepted link between elevated insulin levels and risk of cancer.[7] Insulin’s involvement in malignancies is well documented.[8] In a forty country epidemiological study, sugar consumption predicts breast cancer correlation.[9] The recurrence rate for colon cancer is one-tenth as high in women who had low levels of insulin compared to those with high insulin.[10]

"Illnesses do not come upon us out of the blue. They are developed from small daily sins against Nature. When enough sins have accumulated, illnesses will suddenly appear." Hippocrates father of modern medicine 370 BC

Trans-fats and cancer

Trans-fats have no nutritional value and are believed to be dangerous if consumed. This is because, due to the structural changes that take place in the hydrogenation process, the body is unable to read trans-fats and doesn’t know what to do with them. This can alter hormone balance, metabolism and even cause gene mutations, which can lead to cancer. In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, it showed an 86% increase in the risk of developing pre-cancerous polyps on the colon for people with higher levels of trans-fats in their diet. Deficiencies in foods lacking omega 3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, fiber and minerals create imbalance in the body which negatively affects the immune system. Plant-based foods and oils rich in omega-3 fatty acid contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a substance found to disintegrate tumor-cell linings and reduce tumor growth in animal studies.[11]

Phytochemicals in cancer prevention

Phytochemicals have very powerful anti-cancer activity that targets the processes involved in the development of a tumor. Foods such as garlic, onions and leeks have allyl sulfides that increase production of glutathione S-transferase and other enzymes, which enhance carcinogen excretion. Flax seeds have lignans which are anti-tumor, anti-mitotic and anti-viral. They also reduce sex hormone bioavailability to help with cancer fueled by hormones. Gladys Block, PhD of University California Berkeley published a review of over 200 studies which show diet high fruit and vegetables cuts cancer risk by 50%. “High consumption of vegetables and fruits and the avoidance of highly refined sugar containing foods are likely to reduce the risk of colon cancer.”[12]

"Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." Hippocrates father of modern medicine 370 BC

The importance of Minerals

Sea vegetables are an excellent source of minerals. Fucoidan is a natural sulfated polysaccharide that exists mainly in the cell wall matrix of various species of brown seaweed such as mozuku, kombu, limumoui, bladderwrack and wakame. They are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, anti-thrombotic and act as an anti-coagulant.[13] Sea vegetables are an important source of protein, iodine, fiber, potassium, and trace minerals. The brown seaweeds containing fucoidan are widely consumed as part of the normal diet in East Asia, particularly Japan, China and Korea.

"HEALTH BEGINS ON THE FARM, NOT THE PHARMACY" Alan Gaby, MD

Supplements for cancer prevention

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D. when Vitamin D is optimal in the blood, you reduce incidence of all cancer by over 50%. Vitamin D inhibits cancer growth through multiple mechanisms by inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells and by stopping their ability to divide and replicate. It induces apoptosis (cancer cell death) and reduces production of insulin‐like growth factor. Also, many cancer cells have vitamin D receptors, which inhibit cell growth when bound to vitamin D.

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally made by the pineal gland. It helps you fall asleep by calming the body before bed. There are many factors that may cause low levels of melatonin at night. Stress, smoking, exposure to too much light at night (including blue light), not getting enough natural light during the day, shift work and aging all affect melatonin production. [14][15]Melatonin Inhibits cancer growth through multiple mechanisms; it interferes with activation of the estrogen receptors; inhibits telomerase activity in cancer cells (telomerase keeps the cancer cells immortal). It also promotes apoptosis (programmed cell death) and stimulates cytotoxic activity of macrophages.

Curcumin is the yellow pigment of turmeric the chief ingredient in curry. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. It inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines. Curcumin has the potential to stop the proliferation of blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors; thereby it can stop cancerous growth.[16] It enhances the production of glutathione and promotes the liver’s detoxification of cancer-causing compounds. It inhibits cancer spreading by inhibiting production of fibroblast growth factor. In addition, it increases the expression of the nuclear p53 protein which helps to destroy cancer cells.

Microbiome and cancer prevention

The microbiome of the gut is seventy percent of the immune system. Some of the valuable functions of the microbiome include competing with pathogenic microbes and maintaining a healthy pH in gut and blood. They consume pathogenic microbes "biological predators". You cannot ignore 100 trillion cells in your body. They either work with you or against you. The use of probiotics from supplements and food support the microbiome. Foods like miso, tempeh, sauerkraut and kimchi are very helpful. Prebiotics help feed good bacteria. These include fiber from food choices such as chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion green, garlic, leek, onion, asparagus and legumes.

"DEATH BEGINS IN THE COLON" Eli Metchnikov, PhD Nobel prize medicine 1908

Scientific research on cancer and exercise

Scientists study identical twins because they have all the same genes. A Swedish study was performed with the hope of discovering if cancer is genetic or environmental. The study was conclusive, because even when one of a pair of identical twins had cancer, the other did not. In this study, Kari Hemminki, MD, PhD and Professor of Medicine, Biosciences Department, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, linked smoking, alcohol, diet, and physical inactivity to cancer. In another report, Dr. Majid Ezzati, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, stated that poor diet, excess weight and a lack of physical activity are some of the main reasons people develop cancer.

Further study relating to this topic was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The lead author was Leslie Bernstein, PhD., AFLAC Chair in Cancer Research and Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School.

Bernstein found a variety of lifestyle factors that influence breast cancer risk:
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Alcohol consumption

In this study, women who exercised regularly had a 20% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who did not exercise.

Exercise as cancer prevention

The immune system’s prime function is to protect the body against infection and the development of cancer. Strengthening and enhancing the immune system is very important to achieve resistance against diseases, including cancer. Chronic infections and diseases will only occur when the immune system is weak. Exercise immunology focuses on the interactions of environmental, physical and psychological factors with the immune system function. However, many studies to date have already confirmed that competitive high-intensity exercise increases susceptibility to illness and disease.[17] Basically, exercise can either positively or negatively affect immune system function. Research is concluding that light-to-moderate physical exercise strengthens the immune system, which increases protection against cancer.[18][19][20] However, high-intensity exercise suppresses immune function and therefore, increases risk of cancer.[21][22] Moderate long-term aerobic exercise positively affects immune function in young and old individuals.[23][24]

[1]Harvard School of Public Health. Harmful, untested chemicals rife in personal care products. http://www.hsph. harvard.edu/news/features/harmful-chemicals-in-personal-care-products/
[2]Natural Resources Defense Council. More than 80,000 Chemicals Available in the United States Have Never Been Fully Tested for Their Toxic Effects on Our Health and Environment. http://www.nrdc.org/health/toxics.asp
[3]Bernstein, J., et al., American Journal Clinical Nutrition, vol.30, p.613, 1977
[4]Sanchez, A., et al., American Journal Clinical Nutrition, vol.26, p.180, 1973
[5]Hoehn, SK, et al., Nutrition & Cancer, vol.1, no.3, p.27, Spring 1979
[6]Santisteban, Biochem.& Biophys Res. Comm., vol.132, no.3, p.1174, 1985
[7]Yam, D, Medical Hypothesis, vol.38, p.111, 1992
[8]Yam, D., Med.Hypotheses, vol.38, p.111, 1992
[9]Hems, G., Br.J.Cancer, vol.37, p.974, 1978
[10]Argiles, J., et al., “Insulin and cancer (review),” Int J. Oncol 2001; 18:683-87.
[11]Kast RE. Borage oil reduction of rheumatoid arthritis activity may be mediated by increased cAMP that suppresses tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Int Immunopharmacol. 2001;1(12):2197-2199.
[12]Dietary factors and risk of colon cancer. Giovannucci E, Willett. WC. Ann Med. 1994 Dec;26(6):443–52
[13]Kumashi, A, Glycobiology, 2007, 17, 5, 541
[14]Toxicol Ind Health . 2005 Mar;21(1-2):21-6. doi: 10.1191/0748233705th211oa.
[15]Chronobiol Int . 2015 Apr;32(3):368-75. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2014.982757. Epub 2014 Nov 26.
[16]G. Bergers, D. Hanahan. Modes of resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy. Nat Rev Cancer, 8 (2008), pp. 592–603.
[17]Pedersen BK, et al. Exercise and the immune system – influence of nutrition and aging. J Sci Med Sport 1999;2:234
[18]Jonsdottir IH, et al. Enhancement of natural immunity seen after voluntary exercise in rats. Role of central opioid receptors. Life Sci 2000;66:1231.
[19]Mackinnon LT. Future directions in exercise and immunology: regulation and integration. Int J Sports Med 1998;19:S205.
[20]Shephard RJ, Shek PN. Exercise, immunity, and susceptibility to infection. Phys Sportsmed 1999;27(6):47.
[21]Bruunsgaard H, et al. In vivo cell-mediated immunity and vaccination response following prolonged, intense exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1997;29:1176.
[22]Davis JM, et al. Exercise, alveolar macrophage function, and susceptibility to respiratory infection. J Appl Physiol 1997;83:1461.
[23]Fahlman M, et al. Effects of endurance training on selected parameters of immune function in elderly women. Gerontology 2000;46:97.
[24]Shephard RJ, Shek PN. Exercise, aging and immune function. Int J Sports Med 1995;16:1.