Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cancer – What It Is and How It Can Be Prevented

We can all think of someone close to use that has been diagnosed with cancer. Chances are that you can think of someone you know that has died of cancer. Cancer is preventable. I know that it's a really hard thing for people to hear and some may say that it's not right to make such a statement. But the fact is only 5-10% of all cancer is genetic leaving the remaining 90-95% to environmental and lifestyle causes that can be changed. The causes for cancer that make up 90-95% of cancers are tobacco, alcohol, diet, obesity, infections, radiation, stress, physical inactivity, and sun exposer. This goes to show that by making changes in our lifestyles we can prevent up to 95% of cancer.

So first, what is cancer? Every cell in our body knows how to reproduce itself. Now cancer is when cells start to reproduce rapidly and don't stop. These cells then start to invade neighboring tissues and even start to colonize in completely separate parts of the body that they travel to via the blood and lymph. This rapid and uncontrolled reproduction is caused by a mutation in the cell's DNA.

How does cancer start? There are two types of genes that when effected can cause a regular cell to become a cancerous one.

Proto-oncogenes are genes that cause a cell to reproduce and are one of the types of cells that can cause a cell to become cancerous. Proto-oncogenes when healthy tell a cell to reproduce when stimulated. If a proto-oncogene is affected by a mutation it can cause the cell to reproduce without being stimulated. This could result in the formation of a tumor or cancer.

Tumor suppressor genes are the second type of gene that when effected can result in the formation of cancer. These genes can prevent cell division and cause cancerous cells to die. For this reason if these cells are not working correctly and cancerous mass has a better chance of developing.

The immune system has a very important role in cancer prevention as well. White blood cells know how to identify and destroy cancer cells. In addition to this a significant amount of cancers are caused by viruses which a healthy immune system may be able to destroy before they affect the cell DNA.

So what causes these mutations in the DNA? Chemicals and other forms of matter that can damage cells and cause mutations to DNA are known as carcinogens. They can enter the body by way of tobacco and alcohol products and even foods we eat. Some carcinogens can be produced by the body itself. If we restrain from using tobacco, drinking alcohol, eat a diet made up of more natural foods that don't have added chemicals. We can significantly reduce the amount of carcinogens we put into our bodies.

By exercising regularly we can keep our bodies healthy. Exercise helps our bodies to get rid of carsinogens that are produced inside of our bodies. Also exercise helps to reduce mental stress and keep the immune system working well.

Avoid too much exposer to the sun and any exposure to radiation.

The amount of people diagnosed with cancer rises every year. We can and must put a stop to it.

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