March 15th, 2015

The Facts of Cancer

A little while ago, I read news that a recent study revealed that breast cancer patients often didn’t know much about their own cancer.

Usually we know little about cancer except it is a deadly disease until we are diagnosed with it. Yet, because the cure is so difficult, but the information is overwhelming, if we lack the knowledge, it may cause confusion, unnecessary fear, or wrong decisions.

So I collected the cancer facts, which may be misunderstood, but important to know.

1. Healthy cells keep a cycle of reproduction from birth to death, but the cancer cells never die and keep growing. While the healthy cells communicate with each other sending signals to regenerate new cells or terminate old cells that grew to the limit, cancer cells send wrong signals or ignore the signals without following the order.

(Since last week I have heard the big scandal that Hillary Clinton didn’t follow a White House rule and kept federal information in her own email account even after her resignation from the Secretary of State. It is interesting to know that whether it is in the human society or the world of the nature, not obeying the order is harmful and may be deadly.)

2. The immune system fights against foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses, recognizing them as invaders, but it can’t recognize cancer, which the healthy cells mutate into.
The theory of a cancer vaccine is to take out a part of the immune system, such as a white blood cell, educate it to be able to recognize cancer, and send it back to the body.

3. In the lab, cancer doesn’t grow in an Alkali environment, but the PH of a human body is set stable and corrected if it changes to too acid or alkali by the body system. Therefore even if we eat or drink alkali food or water, they can’t prevent or shrink cancer.

4. Cancer is named based on the primary location or organ cancer first grows. The metastasis or secondary cancer happens as the cancer travels from the primary location to a different organ or tissue through blood or lymphatic fluid. For example, if cancer grew in the breast first and traveled to lungs or the brain, it is still called breast cancer instead of lung or brain cancer.

5. Even if cancer cells flow into lymphatic fluid or capillaries, most of them can’t survive. When a flowing cancer cell sticks in a capillary and penetrates through the capillary wall into a different organ, where it is comfortable for the cancer cell to grow with the nutrition, the new tumor starts grow.
This appears to me that it takes a while for cancer to grow or metastasize.

6. Lymph system works as a filter stopping cancer or abnormal cells as well as a fighter against infections.
If cancer cells get into the lymphatic fluid, they are carried to lymph glands. Cancer cells may die there, but if they survive, it is called lymph node spread.

7. Cancer grade tells how aggressive cancer is. The higher the grade is the faster the cancer grows and spreads.

8. Cancer stage tells how big a cancer tumor is or how far cancer is progressing.

Stage 0 or carcinoma in situ: There are a group of abnormal cells in a particular part of the body. They may grow into cancer in the future, but this status is too small to form a tumor.
Stage 1: The tumor is small and stays in a primary location of organ.
Stage 2: The tumor is bigger than stage 1 and may include lymph node spread.
Stage 3: The tumor is bigger than stage 2 and there are cancer cells in lymph nodes in the area.
Stage 4: cancer cells spread from the primary organ to a different organ or organs. This is the end stage, but is not necessarily the end or terminal condition, in which cancer has spread too far to treat. In fact there are a quite a few stage 4 patients who have experienced remissions or survived more than ten years.

9. Surgeries and radiation therapy are local treatments, which focus on only a particular area or region of the body. The local treatment is not good enough if there is a possibility of metastasis, and a systematic treatment, such as chemo or hormone therapies, is needed.

10. According to Mayo Clinic, sugar is a vital energy source as well as protein for not only healthy cells but also cancer cells.  However, neither consuming sugar makes cancer grow faster nor refraining from sugar stops growing cancer, except that a large intake of sugar may cause weight gain or diabetes, which are risk factors of cancer.

11. Some people are worry that a microwave may cause cancer, but this is not true. It is safe as long as a plastic or a container is microwaveable. If they are not suitable for a microwave, toxic chemicals may leak from them.      
If you cook vegetables or fruits with a microwave, add a little water to them so that the loss of nutrition, which is easily destroyed by heat such as flying, steaming, grilling, or boiling, is minimized.

12. At last most importantly, even if the condition becomes terminal and the death gets near, there is still hope. God who created heavens and earth has sent Jesus for us. Because He paid the price of our Sin on the cross, and resurrected three days after, defeating death, the people who believe it can live forever even after death.