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Cancer is a disease that does not kill

18 January 2012 / 21:01:42  GRReporter
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Hippocrates compared cancer to a sea animal the body of which is the tumour and the legs – the tumour vessels, which it uses to feed itself to the detriment of the human body. Much later, in 1704, a doctor describes a "local phenomenon" which if not removed surgically, could spread through the lymphatic vessels and cause damage throughout the body.

A malignant tumour, i.e. cancer, is an accumulation of cells of an organ that reproduce uncontrollably, faster and more intensely than normal cells. They do not have the genes that determine the beginning and end of life as in normal cells, nor do they recognize their limits in order to remain in their places. As a result, they never die and can move to other organs through metastases.

In response to the question "What is cancer?" 40% of students showed that they know the term well. 14% of them were sure that it was a fatal disease and 46% did not know anything about it.

When asked whether they have relatives who suffered from the disease, 70% of the students responded positively. None of them called the disease by its true name. The more educated students used definitions like "the bad disease" and "the incurable disease" and the others - "you know ... God forbid!"

Over a third of the world's population is expected to be affected by cancer during its lifetime. Some of these people will lose their battle with the disease, depending on the type of cancer.

According to the oncologist and surgeon Nimer Sahin MD, apathy, indifference and lack of knowledge are the three weapons with which we ourselves arm cancer and help it kill us. So, what can we do to overcome the risk?

In first place, according to doctors, comes primary prevention, i.e. the avoidance of factors that contribute to the development of cancer. The second prevention in practice is timely diagnosis, which aims at dealing with the disease as quickly as possible. The third strategy is healing and it is associated with the clinical manifestations of malignancy. But as our main goal is not to reach the third stage, we should pay particular attention to the first two stages.

One of the main factors associated with the occurrence of cancer is sedentary lifestyle. According to research, 32% of cancers of the colon are related to sedentary lifestyle. Sports and gymnastics help intestinal contents and faeces move out faster. This reduces the length of time in which the cells of the colon are in contact with carcinogenic substances, which may be found in its content.

Having small amounts of alcoholic drinks is not harmful to health. The acceptable amount for men is one to two drinks a day and one drink for women. Excessive consumption and overuse may cause cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus, pharynx, larynx, breast and liver. The harmful effects of alcohol increase when combined with smoking.

Tobacco contains 3,220 chemicals, 22 of which are carcinogenic. It is believed that smoking is associated with 25-30% of cancer diseases. It is responsible for 90% of deaths from lung cancer. Here is the place to point out the results of the research on "What diseases are caused by smoking" conducted among 63 children. 25 of them had satisfactory knowledge about the diseases, 22 – knew about the most serious ones and 17 did not know anything about the consequences of smoking to human health.

Cancer ranks second among the causes of death of contemporary man and this is due largely to poor diet. The selection of foods we put on the table, their quality, their processing methods play a very important role. The diet rich in saturated animal fat is associated with increased risk of cancer unlike the diet with products of low saturated fat. The danger of cancer may increase or decrease depending on the type of food we include in our daily menu. It is better to prefer foods rich in fibre and low in fat like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, skinless chicken and dairy products low in fat. Avoid foods low in fibre and rich in fat like fatty meat (lamb and pork), chicken with skin, fried food, butter, margarine, oil, mayonnaise, sauces, dairy products rich in fat, pasta, coal smoked and roasted dishes and sweets. When watching TV, it is better to eat popcorn, fruits and nuts instead of chips and cornmeal snacks.

Direct exposure to ultraviolet rays is "responsible" for almost all cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers. In addition, this radiation is the cause of malignant melanoma in most cases. Avoidance of solar radiation, sunscreens with a sun protection factor higher than 15, clothes, protective hats and clothing, avoidance of artificial tanning, sunglasses’ lens that filter UV rays are effective preventive measures against skin cancer.

A significant number of microbes are also associated with certain cancers. They belong to the categories of viruses, bacteria and parasites. Human papilloma virus is the cause of most cancers of the cervix. Hepatitis B and C viruses can cause liver cancer. AIDS virus contributes to the development of lymphomas and sarcomas. Helicobacter pylorus that causes ulcers of the digestive system has been repeatedly associated with stomach cancer.

Many environmental factors also cause cancer. Various materials such as asbestos, which has been widely used as an insulating material in recent decades is considered to be the cause of at least two types of lung cancer. At the same time, it was reported that exposure to asbestos in combination with smoking increases the possibility of developing cancer by 90 times. Aromatic amines used by some industries cause bladder cancer and benzene used in varnishes and tyres significantly increases the risk of leukaemia.

Tags: SocietyMedicineCancerPreventionProtectionHealthy lifeRisk
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