Recently, the results of a study claiming that most cancers are caused by “bad luck” have been floating around in the mainstream media. This sounds like we should all just give up and accept our likely fates of cancer, chemo, and death, right? However, there is a mountain of evidence showing that cancer is in fact preventable, partly because tumor development is a bit too complex to be bad luck.
Most Cancers are “Beyond Your Control’ Due to Mutations
For many years, the “Mutational Theory” has been the dominant explanation for cancer’s origin. The story goes like this: accumulated mutation in all the right places lead to the affected cell going “crazy,” and instead of destroying itself after this damage, it grows out of control until vital processes are obstructed. Then, the heroic oncologists attempt to wage war against this monster with one or more of the standard trio of chemo, radiation, and surgery…with often disappointing results.
One 2004 study of thousands of patients found that chemo is less than 10% effective at saving lives, contributing only 2.1-2.3% of the 5 year survival rate. This was deemed to be the upper limit of effectiveness.
More recently, it was reported that out of 54 cancer drugs released since 2004, three quarters of them did not extend life. Unfortunately, chemotherapy is often forced on young people who refuse it, such as in a recent case involving a Connecticut teenager, meaning it could be considered as a tool or form of oppression. Therefore, it’s wonderful that in actuality, cancer is not the result of chance or luck, as well as being unlikely; and the theories behind the development of cancer drugs are most likely incorrect.
Read: 4 Cancer-Fighting Foods
What is the nature of a tumor? Tumors express organized behaviors including building their own blood supply; silencing some genes and activating others; secreting corrosive enzymes; altering their metabolism for low oxygen and high sugar, acidic environments; as well as removing surface proteins to escape the immune system.
A new theory, however, states that cancer is actually a highly efficient, pre-programmed stress response. According to the author’s research, cancer is an evolutionary throwback from a genetic “tool kit” over a billion years old that is normally buried dormant deep within the genome, called Metazoa 1.0.
Cells with the genetics of Metazoa 1.0 would have favored traits that enable them to survive a much harsher environment with features such as extremely low oxygen. The trait of incessant proliferation was the default state of these primitive cells, when simply not dying was the first priority of individual cells.
There was no tissue specialisation that organisms could use to protect themselves, so genes providing extreme resilience against assault and creating a highly “selfish” form of behaviour was necessary. While the mutation theory is partially true, genetic damage is responsible for unmasking a primitive set of genes instead of being solely responsible for tumour development.
Additionally, an analysis of gene expression patterns has indicated that when the level of oxygen decreases, the rate of glycolysis (a pathway of cellular energy production that does not require oxygen) increases, and this leads to a vicious cycle of accelerated tumor growth and further reductions in oxygen. The production of new blood vessels to ensure a supply of glucose only gives temporary breaks from this cycle.
The current understanding of this is that glycolysis is not only faster at generating energy when glucose is abundant, but also that glycolysis provides some of the raw materials needed for rapid cell proliferation. A key driver of this process was found to be reduced energy efficiency caused by factors such as hypoxia, which triggers a dramatically increased glucose uptake and a switch to glycolysis. This can also allow the tumour to select “positive” mutations such as those that upregulate cancer promoting genes and silence or delete suppressor genes, no random mutations required.
When seven cancer types were tested, expression of genes turned on only during replication increased as oxygen levels dropped. Therefore, cancer is not a time bomb or a result of bad luck, but instead caused by an ancient survival response to a toxic environment, unnatural diet and compromised immunity.
6 Tips for Preventing Cancer
So what can we do to prevent cancer, besides reducing excessive dietary sugar?
- 1. In one of my previous articles, I discussed research showing that regular coffee consumption can reduce the incidence of some cancers.
- 2. A review from 2012 found that sun exposure may also lower the risk of cancers such as breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer, because of vitamin D synthesis (getting burnt will remove the benefits).
- 3. A study of almost 24,000 participants showed that those taking antioxidant supplements from the beginning had a 48% reduced risk of cancer. This can mean that increased antioxidant intake from food or supplements can reduce cancer incidence, as many other studies show that certain foods high in antioxidants and other nutrients have the ability to protect against cancer.
- 4. Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking, which depletes antioxidants, is responsible for a third of all cancer deaths in many countries.
- 5. Reduce or eliminate, if possible, the use of pharmaceutical drugs. Statins, the contraceptive pill and many others are associated with a higher risk of cancer.
- 6. Interestingly, cannabis smoking is associated with a 45% reduced risk of bladder cancer and a 47-62% reduced rate of head and neck cancer, regardless of whether or not they had been infected with HPV.
Despite what the mainstream media tries to make people believe, cancer is indeed preventable and not caused by “bad luck.” This is good news, because not only are cancer and its conventional treatments very debilitating and distressing, but they hinder control over one’s life – which is a natural psychological need, as described by self-determination theory.