CANCER Role of environmental hazards, food additives, viruses, genetic factors, implications of symptom awareness and failure to seek treatment in management of disease
What is cancer? The name for a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begins to grow out of control. There are many kind of cancers but they all start because abnormal cell grow out of control
Carcinogens (cancer causing agents) resides in air, water and soil. Our industrialized society swims in a sea of carcinogens people are exposed to environmental carcinogens -- through exposure to contaminants from industrial and manufacturing sources, occupational hazards, contaminants from agricultural and landscaping chemicals, contaminants that compose our modern lifestyles (such as emissions from vehicles, disinfection of public water supplies and chemicals used for household pest control).
Most people know that smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer. But it may also increase the risk of Mouth cancer Pharyngeal cancer (the pharynx is behind the nose - some come under mouth cancers and some are nasopharyngeal cancers) Cancer of the larynx (also called laryngeal or voice box cancer) because smoke passes over these areas as it is breathed in. Smoking also increases the risk of Cancer of the oesophagus (gullet) Stomach cancer because some smoke is swallowed.
Smoking is also linked to kidney cancer and bladder cancer because the carcinogens in the blood are filtered into the urine. Most skin cancers are largely caused by over exposing your skin to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. There is more of a risk if persons Are fair skinned Have a lot of moles Have a relative who has had melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer
radiation can help to cause cancer. We are all exposed to radiation each day. There is natural radiation from the earth and space, radiation from the nuclear power and weapons industries, and radiation from medical tests (X-rays). Radiation helps to cause cancer by damaging the genes in body cells and causing gene mutations. These may or may not lead to cancer, but the more radiation we are exposed to, the greater the chance that a mutation will occur that could make a cancer develop.
Food additives Over 3000 different food additives are purposefully added to our food supply for the purpose of preservation, coloring, texture, increasing flavor and more. Some of them are known to cause cancer
Genetic factor There need to be a number of genetic mutations within a cell before it becomes cancerous. Sometimes a person is born with one of these mutations already. This doesn't mean they will definitely get cancer. But with one mutation from the start, it makes it more likely statistically that they will develop cancer during their lifetime. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes are examples of genetic predisposition. Women who carry one of these faulty genes have a higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not.
The BRCA genes are good examples for another reason. Most women with breast cancer do not have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene. Less than 5% of all breast cancer is due to these genes. So although women with one of these genes are individually more likely to get breast cancer, most breast cancer is not caused by a high risk inherited gene fault. This is true of other common cancers where some people have a genetic predisposition - for example, colon (large bowel) cancer.
Symptoms awareness The following symptoms can be caused by cancer, but they can also be caused by many less serious illnesses. A lump somewhere on your body if you find a lump anywhere on your body that is not normal for you, go to your doctor Notice how the skin looks and feels Get familiar with the shape and any lumpiness that is normal for you. A cough or hoarseness that won't go away
A hoarse voice that lasts more than 3 weeks or keeps coming back could be a sign of cancer of the larynx (voice box). It may just be laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), but you should get it checked. A change in bowel habits Bleeding from the bottom for no obvious reason Tummy pain, especially if it is severe A lump in your tummy You have difficulty passing stools (bowel motions) You want to strain often You have looser or more frequent stools (bowel motions) Difficulty in swallowing or persistent indigestion You get indigestion a lot It is particularly painful It has come on suddenly.
Any abnormal bleeding Bleeding from the back passage (bottom) Abnormal vaginal bleeding (cervix or womb cancer) Blood in your urine (bladder or kidney cancer) Vomiting blood (Stomach cancer) Nosebleeds (leukemia)