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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 November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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