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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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