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Course Coverage 2015

  • Jan Fit To Last
  • Feb Visceral Obesity
  • Mar Modern Malnutrition
  • April Metabolic Syndrome
  • May Prevalent Predicaments
  • June Sugar Diabetes
  • July Diabetes Complications
  • Aug Cholesterol, Atheroma
  • Sept Aging Brain & Body
  • Oct Cancer Considerations
  • Nov Feeling Liverish
  • Dec Energetic Longevity
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War on Cancer was declared by the US government nearly 50 years ago because it was taking the lives of 1 in 3 Americans. Now, after billions of dollars and a lifetime of global research, the disease continues to kill 1 in 3 Americans. Benefits to date: survival after the diagnosis has been prolonged by 3 to 5 years.

More than a hundred years ago, scientists became preoccupied with cancer-causing agents, called carcinogens. Many have been identified, and a relationship established between cancer and food in animal feeding studies. Carcinogens were painted on the skins of test rats. They were then divided into 3 groups and fed 3 different diets…one mostly carbohydrates, one mostly proteins and one mostly fats. Only the high fat diet consistently produced rapidly lethal growth of cancer. Follow-up human studies, reveal that a low fat diet reduces the incidence of pre-cancerous skin lesions.

Other researchers injected human cancer cells, like breast and prostate, into groups of mice, that were then fed one of the three lopsided diets. Test mice on the high-fat diets died fastest from any inoculated cancer. Food fat does not cause cancer, the science shows, but in the diet it does facilitate cancer growth. Today’s US diet (30% fats & oils) promotes cancer. A low fat diet would provide fewer than 20% of its calories from fats and oils.

Normal cells grow well in tissue culture without insulin. Cancer cells from human tissues can also be cultivated in the laboratory, but only in growth medium containing insulin. Like food fats, insulin does not cause cancer but helps promote its growth. Insulin circulates naturally in high levels in the presence of visceral obesity (the bubble belly), a common condition associated with insulin resistance, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Visceral obesity is also associated with an activated immune system producing a low-grade generalized inflammatory reaction. This metabolic state of irritability promotes cell proliferation and aberrant cells, at risk of being cancerous. Such obesity is associated with three times more cancer than is a normal weight.

Using oxygen, as all cells do during metabolism, they generate irritating byproducts called free radicals which have cancer-causing properties. They exist transiently in every cell and swiftly neutralized by agents known as anti-oxidants, usually in nearby cell juice if the usual diet is rich in fruits and vegetables. So daily dietary fruits and vegetables play a role in minimizing cancer risk.

Advances in genetics and our understanding of gene structure have contributed much new cancer knowledge. All tissues are composed of cells that work and wear down and are replaced throughout life from a tissue stem cell pool. All cells  are programmed for self-distraction within weeks or months of coming into existence, self-dismantling in process called apoptosis. Such cells do not become cancerous but wear out and self-destruct. Only when escaping the programming of apoptosis, do they become cancerous.

Statisticians crunching huge numbers of cell replications, have shown that the risk of cancer occurring spontaneously is proportional to the frequency of cell replications. The more often that cells duplicate, the greater the risk of a random error and production of a cancer cell. Rapidly replicating linings of the colon, for example, produce clinical cancer a hundred times more often than do the slowly replicating cells of bone. Half of today’s cancers are this category, arising spontaneously from the inevitable mistakes made during millions of replications over a lifetime.

Another insight into our genetic understanding of cancer, is that apparently identical cancers can contain an enormous variety of genes, a property called tumor heterogeneity. While today’s combined therapies kill most cancer cells in any given patient they do not kill all, thanks in part to tumor heterogeneity. Like bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, tumor genes can mutate in a way that protects them from death in the clinical killing fields. They then reappear as a recurrence, 3 to 10 years later, after an apparent clinical cure.

Cancer occurs far more commonly in the second half of life for several reasons. There’s an age-related decline in immune defense capability. Aberrant cells are recognized later and are less effectively attacked or destroyed. Visceral obesity with its high blood insulin levels is also more common in the older age group. Both elements combine to promote cancer’s tendency to increase with age.

The clinical lesson to take away from this review of the Topic of Cancer is that any patient wanting the best chance of avoiding the disease must look to habits of food and fitness. Sensible individuals will eat a low-fat diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables. They will also maintain flat fronts and follow the advice of health professionals regarding appropriate screening for cancer detection.