Understanding Cancer For Prevention
The iSavta Team | 12.11.2019
No one wants to hear this word much less be diagnosed with this disease.
The news that we hear and read on social media is alarming. Apparently, there were already several caregivers from the Filipino community in Israel who sadly succumbed to this disease since the beginning of the year.
This article is just a very brief peek to give us a general idea of the disease.
A few FACTS about cancer:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the numbers of new cancer cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 20 years.
The most common sites of cancer among men are lung, prostate, colon, rectum, stomach and liver.
The most common sites of cancer among women are breast, colon, rectum, lung, cervix and stomach.
Cancer is considered to be one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
A brief summary from the National Cancer Institute:
*Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases that can start anywhere in the body.
*Cancer is formed when there is an abnormality of the normal process of our human cells. Old cells survived instead of dying and new cells are formed even if the body does not need it thereby forming TUMORS, an abnormal growth of cells in any part of the body or in the blood.
*Malignant Tumors can spread throughout the body and is called Metastatic Cancer. A cancer infected cell can break off and travel to other parts or infect nearby cells spreading the disease and has the possibility of growing back.
*Benign Tumors in contrast do not grow or infect. It is not usually life threatening except for brain tumors.
What causes Cancer?
Doctors so far cannot exactly pinpoint the direct cause of Cancer as it stems from a collection of diseases.
Cancer researchers found out that the disease arises from the damage of a human cell from Environmental or Internal factors.
Hereditary- Genetic defect inherited from ancestors. A person can be born inheriting a genetic mutation that makes it more possible to develop the disease. Think Angelina Jolie.
Ageing- the human body after all these years is vulnerable and is prone to suffer from breakdown as the immune system slows down.
Common Environmental Factors
These are substances that affects our human cells or DNA from long exposure.
The effect of Carcinogen is a gradual process that wears and tears our biological human cell processes. A long term exposure increases the risk factor.
Carcinogens are commonly associated with:
* Benzene- found in most cleaning products for household use like detergents, aromatic candles made from paraffin wax, insect sprays. Gasoline fumes and industrial emissions that pollute the air we breath has benzene.
*Arsenic- found in herbicide and fungicide that is sprayed on commercial farms where our food is grown.
Cigarettes -Passive/ Active smoking
Chemically prepared food with Nitrites and food preservatives like bacon or ham. When ingested, the Nitrites are turned into Nitrosamines, a carcinogen
Overheated fried food like chips and charred grilled meats.
Radiation- Cancer most likely occur from overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (sun) and high-energy radiation from x- rays and nuclear power plants.
Asbestos- found in tiles and in other construction materials like PVC
*Disruption of our Circadian Rhythm.
“Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment.” (Institute of General Medical Sciences)
According to research, this is mostly associated to breast cancer and intensive studies are currently being done to understand the direct connection. The human body has a natural rhythm or internal clock that regulates our bodily functions like sleeping, body temperature, hormonal control and other important body functions that responds to light/ dark or day/ night.
Our circadian clock regulates our cell cycle, DNA, metabolism and ageing. Evidence from recent researches are proving that there is a connection from the disruption of our circadian rhythm to our susceptibility of having cancer.
The modern lifestyles of our generation certainly disrupt our body rhythm as we push ourselves to the limit causing us to feel physical and psychological stress. Not getting enough rest to reset the body is one of our worst modern day habits.
Cancer: Prevention is a better option than cure.
Yin and Yang.
These are words that we must strive to apply to our health as all of us has a risk factor of developing the disease. Like the song “Too much love will kill you”, anything in excess (except for kindness) is not good for you and everyone in our orbit. Even then, there is no guarantee.
As Caregivers, we deal constantly either with physical or psychological stress day in and day out. Adding to that, we are living a double life. Our life in our home country and this current life in our temporary country of residence. Finding a way to balance this double life for sure is not easy but it is a necessity as it can cause substantial damage incrementally.
Genetic testing is becoming a popular option for people with family history of cancer. There are also vaccine for specific diseases that prevent the formation of cancer however the bulk of cancer cases are caused by external factors and it is possible to prevent through awareness of the root causes of the disease.
Again, Cancer is a collection of diseases. Our human body is like a garbage bin, when it is full it stinks and in need of a good scrub! Cancer is a disease that is developed gradually in our body as we carelessly pursue our habits of excesses.
To prevent the RISK FACTORS of succumbing to cancer:
*Balanced diet and physical activity prevents obesity which research says is the root of most cancer deaths. Finding the right balance in our food requires discipline as we are constantly bombarded with beautiful, yummy but unhealthy food ads.
Research said that a diet high in sugar feeds cancer cells while eating alkaline group of food kills growth of cancer cells. Alkaline diet focus on nuts, vegetables and fruits.
*Refrain from proven sources of the disease like too much exposure to the sun for skin cancer.
*Get immunized from Hepa B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) as these are viral infection that can lead to cancer.
*Regular physical check up as we get older.
Some research implies that our behavior and habits contributes to the development of this disease.
As a foreign worker myself, doing our job well and living a half life with the family back home tru technology will take a toll on our well being. The emotional exhaustion from uncertainties that keep us worrying into the night, into the new day and the cycle goes on. Like a mice on a wheel..
Photo credit to forthousestudios.com
Recharge regularly by doing activities that is different from the normal everyday routine. Connect with nature, friends and family. Activities that feeds the soul or an activity that makes you feel satisfied. Find an enjoyable activity that contributes to the community.
Let us take a deep breath and read the wisdoms of life from the book of Ecclesiastes. We have only one body with a very short shelf life.Take good care of it!
Live life. Enjoy the moment. Catch some needed zzzz like these kitties. Health like time are priceless!
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