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Finally, the Causes of Cancer Are Explained

Finally, the Causes of Cancer Are Explained

There are lots of cancer myths floating around. One is that if there is no family history of cancer, you are quite safe. Another one is that a lump in your breast means you have cancer. Each of these myths is based on ignorance, especially about the causes of cancer.

In order to understand what causes cancer, we have to understand what is happening to all those cells in our bodies, because this is where it all starts. The average adult human body has 100 trillion cells. For healthy growth and development, these cells grow, divide and die in an orderly fashion. We know, for example, our skin loses about 40,000 cells a minute because they just wear out quickly. The wear and tear on our skin from exposure is considerable and it is also the largest organ in the human body. These dead cells have to be replaced and with normal healthy cell growth this occurs.

But what happens when something goes wrong as cells are replaced? Cancer starts when these abnormal cells start to create havoc and they do not die off either. They start to destroy healthy cells. These rogue cells are like terrorists and they start to form tumors which, if left untreated, will take over the body’s cellular structure, destroy vital tissues, and lead to death.

What causes cancer?

Think of the causes of cancer as a jigsaw puzzle. There are several hundred pieces to assemble. Scientists have discovered quite a few of the pieces but it is only when they complete the puzzle that we will finally understand the causes and develop an effective cure for cancer.

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They have identified many causes and they are just not sure how and where they exactly fit in to complete the puzzle. The leading causes of cancer are:

  • exposure to carcinogens (agents which are known to cause damage to cells)
  • genetic factors
  • lifestyle choices
  • acidity levels in the body
  • random cell mutations you cannot control

As regards acidity in the body, it was Dr. Otto Warburg, the Nobel Prize winner for Medicine in 1931, who discovered that this was the basic cause of cancer. He said:

“Cancerous tissues are acidic, whereas healthy tissues are alkaline. Water splits into H+ and OH- ions, if there is and excess of H+, it is acidic; if there is an excess of OH- ions, then it is alkaline”.

Cancerous cells could be defeated by giving more oxygen to the body in general, thereby making it more alkaline, he claimed. The next 80 years were dedicated to exploring this cause of cancer but Warburg’s claim became discredited with the advances of other discoveries. Recently, however, a study from Boston College researchers has shown that there is some evidence to support Warburg’s discovery. Just another puzzle to solve.

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The last cause mentioned in the list is one of the most interesting ones because recent research shows that this may be a major one. In fact, researchers have found that the cell mutations happen randomly in 66% of cancer cases. There is nothing we can do about this: just the luck of the draw. The other third of cases are connected with lifestyle, genetic factors and environmental issues. Now, do not let this depress you. After all, if you had a 33% chance of winning the lottery, wouldn’t you go for it? I would! So, let us examine these possible causes so that we are in there with a good chance of preventing cancer.

How to reduce your chances of getting cancer

1. Filter tap water

There are lots of chemicals which are carcinogenic and one example are those in the water we drink. It is safer to use filtered water, rather than the bottled variety. If you store your water in a glass flask, then you are going to be safer as the BPA (Bispehnol A) in plastic bottles can leach out. This is an endocrine disruptor and might lead to cancer.

2. Stay active

A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some forms of cancer. The experts recommend that regular exercise can help to avoid all these problems. So, the next time you are tempted to be a couch potato, try to go for a walk instead.

3. Sleep in the dark

How many times have you left the light on as you drifted into sleep? Women may be at increased risk of ovarian and breast cancer if they do not sleep in total darkness. Any interference from light will interfere with the release of melatonin which can then increase the release of the estrogen hormone. Too much of this hormone may lead to breast cancer. Getting the right balance of this hormone is essential to good health.

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4. Avoid dry cleaning

Are you sure that cardigan needs to be dry cleaned? The problem here is that the chemical known as perc (perchloroethylene) has been linked to some cancers as reported by the Environmental Protection Agency.There may be no need to clean the whole garment using chemicals. You can try to wash it by hand or just use white vinegar to get rid of a stain.

5. Avoid radiation

Too many scans or too much sunshine all help to build up the amount of radiation you are exposed to. Radiation is known to cause cancer as evidenced by the high numbers of cancers after nuclear testing. Radiation has now permeated soil, water and ice globally, as a result. If you need to have an X ray, you should not worry at all as the amount is very small indeed and well within the limits recommended by health experts.

Radio frequency waves such as those released by your cell phone may be linked to cancer although there is no conclusive proof yet. But why risk it? A good idea is to make shorter calls and send texts, rather than long chats. It is also much cheaper.

6. Watch your diet

The experts here are not so sure about why exactly fruit and vegetables help to prevent cancer. One thing is certain though; there are plenty of antioxidants in these foods which help to fight the cancer cells. Eating plenty of plant foods plus whole grains is a great way to stay healthy.

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Eating resistant starches (found in rolled oats, white beans and green bananas) can help to keep healthy cell growth at optimum levels. A report in the Cancer Prevention Research journal found that when subjects were given too much red meat (10 ounces a day!), cell proliferation rocketed, this increasing the risk of malignant cells developing in the colorectal area.

7. Forget tobacco

Of all the deaths caused by cancer, smoking accounts for about a third of these. Researchers now tell us that smoking damages every organ in your body, so is it really worth it? Why would you want to be another statistic in the 400,000 Americans dying from health problems associated with smoking?

Let us be perfectly clear that the above guidelines are not to be taken as medical advice. They are simply guidelines to help you avoid getting cancer. There are multiple forces at work and there are so many factors involved. As we mentioned above, your genetic makeup, your immune system, diet, and lifestyle can all play a part and luck is also a major factor.

Featured photo credit: Umberto Salvagnin via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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