Is the real origin of cancer due to lack of exercise and wrong food?
Answered by: Petter Hggholm,I am a professional nurse and have been for 25 years.
The real origin is this: In every cell in your body, maybe 37 trillion of them, there is a copy of your genome, with about 3,235,000,000 pairs of nucleic acids arranged in two rows; most of them divide and create copies of themselves. Thus, throughout your lifetime, your body will silently make quadrillions, quintillions, probably sextillions and septillions of copies of base pairs.
Is it any wonder that this process isn’t perfect?
Sometimes, things go wrong. Sometimes it’s just chance: the copying machinery isn’t completely perfect, sometimes it slips up. Sometimes, it’s due to various risk factors: ionising radiation (as from sunlight or radon gas or nuclear fallout), or damage from cigarette smoking, or papillomaviruses, or maybe some dietary factors. There are dozens upon dozens, maybe hundreds of different cancers, quite distinct diseases although unified in the basic underlying principle: a change or copying error (either way, a mutation) causes the cells to fail to stop reproducing when they should: uncontrolled cell division. The cells fail to respond to the normal signals of “you’re done, die now” (apoptosis), and grow into a tumour.
Cancer is not just a disease of humans. Rats get cancer. Dogs get cancer. Tasmanian devils get a really nasty kind of infectuous cancer that threatens their survival as a species. Sharks get cancer.
On a side note, this makes the notion that shark cartilage can cure cancer because sharks are immune to it doubly idiotic. Not only is there no reason why eating an immune creature would protect you, but it’s blatantly untrue to begin with that sharks are immune.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, when the great dinosaurs walked the Earth, dinosaurs had cancer.
Unless you subscribe to the ABC sitcom’s model of dinosaurs, I think you’ll agree that dinosaurs probably were not prone to sedentary lifestyles with too much smoking, TV, and fast food.
There are some facets of modern living that do increase the risk of cancer—smoking, air pollution, probably some foods (though not cell phones; that one seems to be a myth—and certainly not microwave ovens). But the main reason why cancer is on the rise is simply that although we’re getting better at treating cancer, we’re still much better at treating many other diseases than we are at treating cancer. That is, more people die of cancer now because they survive past the age where their ancestors would have died of malaria, smallpox, or the plague. Cancer, you see, is a disease of old age: the longer you live, the more chances your cells have to make errors. Doctors are excellent at keeping people alive long enough to get cancer; now they just need to catch up in treating cancer as well. (Though a cancer patient today will likely live much longer than the same cancer patient thirty years ago.)