Cancer is not something from the environment you catch, like a cold or the flu. Instead, it’s a disease caused by your genes. However, this health condition can result when your body catches exposure to certain things. What’s the difference? It’s not the thing itself that is cancer, but instead your body’s reaction to the thing. Although cancer has (probably) been a response to stuff forever, its occurrence has escalated in correlation to modern unhealthy lifestyle choices and abundant chemical exposure in industrialized societies.
What is cancer and why does it happen? Cancer is some of your cells dividing out of control. The key factor that makes this health condition so dangerous is uncontrolled division. Left unstopped, these cells can destroy the surrounding tissue and circulate to other body parts (metastasize), both of which can eventually cause death.
Normally, a number of cells are growing and dividing all the time. This process is genetically regulated to only occur when necessary. During replication, aspects of it can and do go wrong. Usually not an issue because you have genes designed to halt most problems. And for those that do slip by, your immune system may mop up with destruction. It’s a beautiful system until something along the way goes off course.
The primary reason cancer develops are mutations in genes that control cell division. Essentially, you have genes that manage the initial division, restrains further division and repairs faulty DNA. A malfunction with one or more of these genes can result in the production cancerous cells. Cancer cells differ from normal cells in that they divide without being signaled, overcrowding does not turn them off, they’re not programmed to die and they are capable of activating angiogenesis.
Cancer is classified based on the type of cell it originates from and its location. Names relating to origination are:
- leukemia ~ white blood cells
- carcinomas ~ epithelial cells
- sarcomas ~ muscle, bone, fat, connective tissue
- lymphoma ~ bone marrow produced lymph cells
- myelomas ~ white blood cells that make antibodies
Since cancer can grow almost anywhere in your body, it is further classified as to where it is found, for instance brain, blood, bladder, cervix, colon, intestine, kidney, lung, liver, ovaries, pancreas, skin, stomach, testicles, thyroid and uterus.
What causes cancer in many individuals is not known. However, inherited predisposition and mutagens seem to play a role. Also, exposure to carcinogens can promote cancer causing mutations, for example:
- air pollution
- high fat diet
- free radicals
- tobacco smoke
- excessive UV radiation (sun)
- food ~ pickled, smoked, nitrates
- chemicals ~ benzene, arsenic, asbestos
- virus ~ HPV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr virus, human T-cell leukemia virus, Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus
There are documented cases wherein cancer regresses on its own. Why? Some preliminary research points to a stimulated immune system and an environment not conducive to its survival, i.e. too hot. Do fever causing infections, sitting in a sauna or exercising in the heat create these conditions? Perhaps and they all have one response in common, SWEATING!