Cancer Prevention

Today, there are one in three people worldwide who are affected by cancer, and almost 60% of these people will certainly die. It is the second largest killer next to heart disease. Cancer does not just affect certain groups of people, it can affect anybody and it is not just one disease, it refers to more than a hundred diseases. Cancer can be defined as any growing mass of cells that is both invasive and metastatic (Steen, 1995). Base on Steen’s definition, it can either originate or continue its growth on a certain part or organ of the body or it will seed cancerous cells in the nearby normal cells.

While Braun (1997) referred cancer as “the failure of medicine” . Since, more than millions have died and are dying of cancer without receiving proper medication All cancers develop because something has gone wrong with one or more of the genes in a cell. But most of these gene changes happen during our lives. They happen as we get older or because of something we are exposed to, such as cigarette smoke or sunlight. These substances, called carcinogens, cause changes in the genes that make body cells more likely to become cancerous.

The gene changes don’t affect all body cells. They are not inherited and cannot be passed on to your children (Scotland, 2007). Using of any type of tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking, mainly of cigarettes, causes cancer of the lung, upper respiratory tract, esophagus, bladder and pancreas and probably of the stomach, liver and kidney. Smoking causes up to 400,000 deaths per year and is responsible for at least 30% of all cancers. And chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas.

Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer. Avoiding tobacco or deciding to stop using it — is one of the most important health decisions you can make. It’s also an important part of cancer prevention (Trichopoulas, 1996). Some researchers estimate that we could reduce the incidence of some types of cancer if we all ate more healthily. This means general changes to our diets and trying to maintain a healthy weight. Diet has been linked to several types of cancer including cancer of the stomach, breast, lung, prostate, pancreas and bladder.

Eating not enough vegetables causes the lack of important fiber and nutrients found in vegetables and high-fat diets tend to be higher in calories and might increase the risk of overweight or obesity — which can, in turn, increase cancer risk. Eating processed foods and vegetables with pesticides also cause slews of health problems like lung cancer (Dalton, 1996). We now know that alcohol can increase your risk of a number of cancers. A review in 2011 by Cancer Research UK suggests that around 4 out of 100 cancers (4%) are linked to alcohol.

It increases the risk of mouth cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer, and throat cancer, which includes pharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer and cancer of the food pipe (oesophagus). The best way to get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we need is to eat a wide variety of foods. No one food can give us all we need. To eat a balanced diet, you should include some fresh fruit and vegetables, some starchy foods and some protein foods every day.

To make sure your diet is as healthy as possible you should look at your fibre, fruit and vegetable, fat,salt and alcohol intakes (Weinberg, 1996). Protecting yourself from the sun can prevent from skin cancer. There are tips that suggest avoiding skin cancer. 1) Avoid midday sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a. m. and 4 p. m. , when the sun’s rays are strongest. 2) Stay in the shade. When you’re outdoors, stay in the shade as possible. Sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat help, too. 3) Cover exposed areas. Wear tightly woven, loose fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Choose for bright or dark colors, which reflect more ultraviolet radiation than pastels or bleached cotton.

4) Don’t skimp on sunscreen. Use generous amounts of sunscreen when you’re outdoors, and reapply often. 5) Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These are just as damaging as natural sunlight (Wales, 2005). We hear a lot about people getting cancer because they have inherited a single gene that increases their risk. But this is relatively rare. Most cancers develop because of a combination of chance and our environment, not because we have inherited a specific cancer gene. Genetics specialists estimate that only about 2 or 3 in every 100 cancers diagnosed (2 – 3%) are linked to an inherited gene fault.

The strength of your family history depends on who in your family has had cancer and how old they were at diagnosis. The more relatives who have had cancer, and the younger they were at diagnosis, the stronger your family history. And the more likely it is that cancers are being caused by an inherited faulty gene. You may have a strong family history if any of these situations apply to you. First, more than two close relatives on the same side of your family have had cancer. Second, they have had the same type of cancer, or different cancers that can be caused by the same gene fault.

Third, the cancers developed when they were young, below the age of 50. Taking genetic test that can determine whether or not a person has inherited the mutation helps to prevent cancer but it is not guarantee to avoid it (Nester, 2002). Cancer screening programs aim to find disease in its early stages. It looks for early signs of the disease or indications that a person is more likely to develop the disease in the future. In most cases, early detection of cancer increases the chances of successful treatment. There are recommended cancer screening programs.

1) Pap smear, the baseline at age 30, then every two to three years except women at high risk cervical cancer. 2) Mammography, the baseline at age 40, if the family history includes first degree relative with breast cancer every two years, if no family history and if image quality good (low-density breasts). Repeat in five years, if no family history and if image quality poor (high-density breasts). Yearly, for women between 50 and 70 years. Monthly self-examination may be useful. Mammograms should be combined with clinical breast examinations.

3) Colonopsy, the baseline at age 50 consult with physician, but screening frequency greater than once every five years unnecessary. 4) Fecal occult blood test, it is yearly after age 40. 5) Prostate specific antigen (PSA), the baseline series at age 40, yearly after age 50. 6) Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), recommended for recurrent colon cancer, consult physician for use as screening test. 7) Serum CA-125, every three to five years, baseline at about age 45, more frequent if family history of ovarian cancer.

8) Urine catecholamines, once for new borns to screen for neuroblastroma susceptibility (Steen, 1995). Cancer vaccines are intended to induce T cells or the components of the immune system to recognize and vigorously attack malignant tissue. We have different categories of vaccines that can be used to help preventing cancer. The whole cancer cells inactivated cancer cells and their extracts can jump-start the immune system. Cancer cells engineered to secrete cytokines, such as IL-2 or GM-CSF, similarly heighten antitumor immunity.

Cells designed to express co-stimulatory molecules, such as B-7, enhance the ability of T cells to recognize tumor cells. The tumor peptides, fragments of tumor proteins recognized by T cells, are injected alone or with immune boosting adjuvants. The proteins, antigen-presenting cells take up injected tumor proteins and break them down into a range of peptide fragments recognized by T cells. The dendritic cells, these antigen-presenting cells are isolated from the blood, exposed to tumor peptides or engineered to produce tumor proteins and then reinjected.

The gangliosides, human can produce antibodies to these molecules, such as GM2, found on the surface of tumor cells. Clinical studies have shown that melanoma patients with GM2 antibodies have a better prognosis. The heat-shock proteins, these cellular constituents ordinarily bind peptides. Injecting heat-shock proteins isolated from tumors rouses antitumor immunity in mice. The viral and bacterial vectors, genes coding for tumor antigens are incorporated into viral or bacterial genomes. When injected, these altered infectious agents draw immunity against themselves and the encoded antigens.

The nucleic acids, DNA and RNA coding for tumor antigens prompt normal cells to begin producing these antigens (Old, 1996). We cannot stop the cancer to exist but there are things that we can do to lessen the risk. According to Reyes (2010), there are ten things that we should do to prevent it. 1. Don’t smoke: The risk of smoking-related cancers increases with the length of time a personhas smoked and the number of cigarettes smoked. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung and other cancers. 2.

Eat fruits and vegetables: The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other substances that lower the risk of cancer. Most experts still believe that a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to protect overall health. 3. Limit fat in the diet: Studies suggest that high-fat diets or high intakes of certain types of fat may be linked to several types of cancer, including colon, lung andpostmenopausal breast cancer.

The reason may be that high-fat diets tend to be higher in calories and increase the risk of obesity. 4. Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer as well as cancers of the colon, endometrium, esophagus and kidney. 5. Be physically active: Evidence increasingly suggests that people who are physically active have lower risk of some cancers than those who are more sedentary. From 45 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, on most days of the week, is considered optimal to reduce the risk of breast and colorectal cancers.

6. Curb alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption increases the risks of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon and rectum. 7. Limit exposure to radiation: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which comes from the sun, sunlamps or commercial tanning beds, is the primary cause of skin cancer, the most commonof all cancers. 8. Protect against infection: Infections caused by viruses are recognized as risk factors for several types of cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease, is the most common cause of cervical cancer.

Chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C increase the risk ofliver cancer. They are most often spread through contact with contaminated blood, from contaminated needles or by having unprotected sex. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, also increases the risk of several types of cancer. It’s most commonly transmitted by unprotected sex or sharing of needles. 9. Consider chemoprevention: Chemoprevention is the use of natural or synthetic compounds to reduce the risk of cancer or its recurrence.

Tamoxifen, prescribed to prevent breast cancer in high-risk women, is the best known chemoprevention agent. A caution: chemoprevention drugs can have serious side effects. 10. Get recommended screening exams: Pap tests, mammograms, colonoscopies and other routine screenings can’t prevent cancer. But screenings can help find cancers early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

Bibliography Periodicals: Old, L. J. (1996). Categories of cancer vaccines. New York: Scientific American, 275 (3)108. September 1996. Reyes, T. M. (2010). Ten ways to reduce your cancer risk.

Philippines: Philippine Star, 25 (118)D1. November 23, 2010. Trichopoulos, D. , et al. (1996). Causes and prevention. New York: Scientific American, 275 (3)49-55. September 1996. Weinberg, R. A. (1996). How cancer arises. New York: Scientific American, 275 (3)31-33. September 1996. Electronics: Dalton, W. (1996) Healthy lifestyle to prevent cancer. http://www. cancerresearchuk. org/cancer-help/about-cancer/causes-symptoms/causes/diet-causing-cancer (March 05, 2013). Nester, J. (2002) Hereditary causes of cancer. http://www. medicalnewstoday. com/releases/17082 3. php (March 05,2013).

Scotland, F. (2007) Preventing cancer. http://www. cancerresearchuk. org/cancer-help/about-cancer/causes-symptoms/preventing-cancer (March 05, 2013). Wales, K. (2005) Symptoms and causes of cancer. http://www. cancerresearchuk. org/cancer-help/about-cancer/causes-symptoms/causes/what-causes-cancer (March 05, 2013). Books Steen, R. G. (1995). Changing the Odds: Cancer prevention through personal choice and public policy. New York: Facts On File. Braun, A. C. (1997). The story of cancer: On its nature, causes, and control. Massachusetts, USA:Addison-Wesley Publishing.

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