Cancer Prevention – Part One: Top Risk Factors of Who Gets Cancer
Just what is the top risk of cancer and how do you keep from subjecting yourself to some of the probable causes?
If you could take a cancer risk test what are the factors and leading causes of cancer?
Just who gets cancer and how can you decrease your odds of catching this life threatening disease?
The following article will answer many of these questions and also provide information to help with cancer prevention.
Cancer: Prevention Better Than Cure
It’s Not in Your Genes Alone
Unmasking our genetic roots and leading a healthy, active life could be the next best thing to beat cancer.
Article by Rajgopal Nidamboor
We all know that prevention of cancer is a top priority — not just for individuals, but also from the doctors’ point-of-view.
To understand the idea we need to first begin with who get’s cancer and how cancer probably starts, or originates.
As we all know, molecular biology — which provides us with certain early-cancer clues — is focused on unraveling wayward signals that destabilize cells. On the other hand, it is, quite objectively, epidemiology that helps us “zero-in” on environmental factors — or, tangible triggers of many forms of cancer, which are somewhat clear-cut to aim.
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations and their application to control health problems.
Strategic Crusades Against Some of the Top Risks of Cancer
Cancer prevention strategies, for long, have included crusades against smoking, sun bathing, and obesity. What has been appropriately drilled into our minds for just as long, at several levels, may not be all-pervasive, though. Smoking in public places still continues unabated in communities, despite the fact that several nations have banned smoking in public.
Passive smoking is a big cancer risk; no more, no less.
Agreed also that in our battle against cancer, we now have a plethora of information — right from media-initiated reports and articles on the subject to a host of Internet resources and Websites advocating the use of diets rich in fruits and vegetables — most importantly, foods containing anti-oxidants. One highly celebrated, example: green tea.
There is a large list of researched foods containing antioxidants known as cruciferous vegetables that are known to have anticancer benefits. Of these, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and now watercress has been added to the list. A diet rich in watercress helps the body increase levels of antioxidants in the blood which can help protect DNA against damage. There are actually many cancer fighting foods that contain best vitamins and minerals know to fight cancer, which doctors and nutritionists recommend adding to your diet.
Early Detection of Cancer
It is important to add that efforts to nab the cancer “bug” early have expanded in their scope, thanks to technological advancements. You name it, and we have access to making use of them in the best manner possible — detection screens, such as prostate specific antigen [PSA] tests, Pap smears, Mammograms, and now becoming more accessible, Thermography. Using infrared technology some health specialists recognize the ability to detect suspicious cells up to ten years prior to their formation as breast cancer. If detected a holistic approach may ward off cancer before it has a chance to form. Apart from this, we also now have the benefit of pharmaceutical specialties, or medications, that defy cancer just before, or as soon as it starts. This is called chemoprevention.
But, the big question is: is this enough to fight the various forms of cancer? The answer is a big no.
Researchers reckon that an over-expressed cancer gene [oncogene] may set off an event to provoke cancer in some instances — especially in family-related cancer states. This, they further observe, may also be triggered by a disabled tumor-suppressor gene — present from birth. This, they again say, can lead to cancer at any point in life.
There is also yet another “catch.” You get the point. What are far more common are non-familial cancers. In non-familial cancer states, environmentally-induced mutations may push a cell down through an alternative route to provoke cancer. This notation expands slowly as other genetic aberrations build up. When this happens, it is only a matter of time for the gene expression outlines to change. The next step is disastrous — the disease gets a firm foothold and intensifies in its development.
While it is well-known that cancer develops from environmental triggers mainly housed in the genes, it is still, however, a tall task to figure out how exactly the genes themselves interact with each other in the disease’s progression.
Today, the best environmental hazard “model” is portrayed by the dangerous link that exists between smoking and lung cancer. In addition to this, we also now have the possibility of nutritional deficiencies facilitating the onset of cancer in certain individuals. Another important factor is toxic exposure to environmental chemicals, food additives, and hormonal imbalances linked to increased estrogen triggered from the foods and modified meats in our diets. Even water contamination can be a factor.
Yes, it is quite possible to prevent cancer — if it is possible. Epidemiology, as touched upon earlier, is one major advance and drawback of this idea. More so, because the incidence of cancer differs from one population to the other. Besides, the type of cancer that may affect one intensely than the other in a given population and vice versa is another pointer — and, food for thought.
In Japan, for instance, there has historically been a high incidence of gastric cancer, unlike the US, where the incidence of colon cancer is high. Today, the first generation of Japanese, in the US, has seen a dramatic change in the pattern. Experts say that this could be due to a change in dietetic models too [Western diet], but not necessarily genetics. The inference? It is the environment that has brought about the change.
There is, of course, no foolproof method, or plan, with which one can prevent cancer. One neat way of doing, perhaps, as scientists now attest, is by asking the cells in our body not to divide — which is a mammoth task. Cell division is far too complex than any other complex entity known to man.
Experts, therefore, say that it is more practical if one sticks to doing things that lower the risk of cancer — taking care of one’s health, eating a balanced diet, with several servings of vegetables and fruits, doing exercise/s, yoga and meditation, and, most importantly, giving up, or not smoking at all. Smoking cessation can be a vital step in prevention.
All this is, again, no guarantee; but, it is sure a doable plan of action instead of just accepting the fact that the risk of cancer is something we have to learn to live with, or expect.
Continue to Part Two: Cancer Prevention and Nutrition