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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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