Cancer, for all the fear it invokes, is not some foreign thing that invades your body, like a virus or bacteria. Cancer is simply your own cells run amok. It develops when the built-in mechanisms designed to destroy damaged cells fails or becomes overwhelmed by the extent of the damaged cells.
When this happens those damaged or cancerous cells keep doing what cells do – multiplying. Unlike normal cells, however, they don’t have an “off” switch. So they divided and divide and divide. In the process, they use up valuable blood, oxygen, and nutrients that healthy cells need. Eventually, the proliferation of cancer cells makes it impossible for healthy cells to survive.
These cancer cells are pretty smart. They are able, in many instances, to disguise themselves to evade detection by the immune system. They also mutate to resist the poisons designed to root them out. And sometimes, they lay dormant for years until something – biochemical stress, its own genetic siren song – triggers them into action again.
The older you get the more likely you are to get cancer just because you have been alive long enough for your cells to be dividing over and over again for a long period of time. The greater number of divisions, the greater the likelihood that some mistakes will occur. The more mistakes that occur, the greater the likelihood that one of those “Mistake” cells will survive and become a cancer.
The good news is that two-thirds of all cancers could be prevented – if people stopped smoking, ate better, and exercised. Simple right?
Your job, then, is to arm yourself with all known (and suspected) weapons to reduce the probability that cellular mistakes will occur in your body and increase the likelihood that if they do occur, the systems designed to correct or destroy them work. That means reducing the production of free radicals, increasing the availability of antioxidants to fight off free radicals, and stopping inflammation.
At a cellular level, all cancers are similar. But what makes cancer so challenging is that it can develop in many places within your body, each based on different triggers or causes.
What does this mean? Excessive sun is the top cause of the cellular damage that leads to skin cancer, but has less effect on the inside of your body. Your digestive system directly encounters many toxins and chemicals in your food that ultimately can cause cancer to develop in your stomach, esophagus, or intestines, but might have less impact elsewhere in your body.
That is to say that one set of preventative measures cannot effectively battle all cancer forms. In my next few blogs I will explore the myths of cancer and the ways you can start preventing cancer today, including an anti-cancer diet.
The focus you should have is prevention. Everything you hear about in the news is all about finding a cure. Yes a cure would be fantastic, but why not work more on preventing the cancer from taking place in the first place? The pharmaceutical companies might lose some money as well as the doctors and hospitals, but don’t you think our lives would be so much better if we never even had to deal with trying to cure cancer at all?
Come back on Monday to learn more about how you can prevent cancer!
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