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Still Waters

Cancer caused by modern man

62 posts in this topic

I don't really believe that our "man made world" is the cause of higher incidences of cancer. Cancer is primarily, as has been pointed out, a disease of age. The older you get, the higher your risk of cancer. Yes, overall health impacts it is as well, but if you reach a certain point where nothing else has killed you? You're going to get cancer.

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Timeout!

As this is the science section of the forum, I think some people should take care to post a little more accurately regarding cancer. There is a lot of misinformation in this topic thus far.

First and foremost, as has been alluded too, cancer is a disease of age. Why?

When your cells replicate, the protein machinery which copies the DNA can make errors. The rate of error is very low, maybe like 10-8 per base pair, per gene. We see a couple of things which refute what some posters have said on this topic. Firstly, cancers are more common in tissues which continuously divide throughout the life of the organism, like epithelia tissues. Secondly, as others have pointed out, cancer is normally a disease that is associated with "older folks". Hmmmmmm.....A clue?

Yes in deed. It was incorrectly pointed out that cancers were an "old adaptation to cell growth". This is blatantly false. When a cell is going to replicate, it has various checks and balances which occur during interphase of the cell cycle. These checks say things like "DNA for such and such gene is too damaged, therefore you should not replicate and instead die". Cells do a heroic little then, called apoptosis--In which they choose termination over potentially dangerous growth.

The problems occur, because over the course of a lifetime, you accumulate (despite the low error rate) errors to this system of checks and balances. And a cell will be more likely to "break away on his own" than follow the colony rules. That cell's progeny (he keeps dividing) also inherit his selfish approach to colony live and thus a tumor is born.

This in itself wouldn't be that big of a problem, because your body has specialized white blood cells which can still induce apoptosis in these "breakaway" cell lines, dubbed natural killer (NK) cells. These NK cells work by affecting a "death receptor" on the surface cancerous cells activating a signal transduction pathway that ends with a special type of protease (think of them as little pac-mans for proteins) destroying the cell from the inside out. If you are over the age of 20ish, this is a process which happens in your body every day. Problem solved, back to life as usual. But is it?

Remember we said that cancerous cells require an accumulation of errors to become "cancerous". They also acquire more errors which do a funny thing, they begin to excrete soluble copies of these death receptors so that when NK cells come around, their surface ligands (the thing which binds to the death receptors) get blocked and are ineffective.

Never fear, there is yet more checks and balances which can stop the cancerous colonies. Because these cells are quickly proliferating they require an increased supply of oxygen and nutrients. A cancerous colony will quickly burn itself out and die without the proper nutritional requirements met (for anyone who's ever taken a gross anatomy course and dissected a human, you'll note the many tumors and "pre-cancerous" growths found in the older cadavers, which did not kill them).

So again, cancerous cells must "get lucky" with more errors. They have to have certain genes turned on which are expressed during regenerative healing or embryological development that stimulate the growth of vasculature (blood vessels) to the tumor, otherwise starvation will ensue (in deed a great many chemotheraputic agents target this ability for cancerous to acquire vasculature and work by "starving" the tumor).

We are yet still faced with another problem for cancerous cells. As a tumor grows and gets crowded the cells, despite improved vasculature, will burn up nutrients and the tumor size will be self-limiting. This is why you could have a tumor in your leg or another "non vital place" for years and years with no problems.

We come again to an accumulation of errors (see the repeating theme?). Some of the offspring in that tumor may happen upon another group of "lucky" errors which allow them to "pick up and move shop". This is of course, really bad for the over all health of the organism and is often the point of "terminal no return"-Or what we say in medicine, metastasis.

Cancer is literally "a series of unfortunate events" (Great book by the way!), that take (in most cases a life time to accumulate).

There are of course, more rare cancers which can manifest earlier in life and the genetic basis of these (with your new education now, I'm sure you could hazard a correct guess) is inherited mutations to these cell control cycles. For instance, a rather famous one(s) (really a group) comes from xeroderma pigmentosum. Mutations to the "repair machinery" which allows us to repair DNA damage caused by UV light (thymine-thymine dimerizations for any of you biology savvy people).

In the case of these inherited dispositions to cancers, by damaging the repair or "checks and balances" machinery, cancerous growth is expedited and manifested at a much earlier age.

So is cancer a "outcome of the modern world"? Inadvertently yes. Because people in the west don't die at the age of 30 from things like small pox, scarlet fever or diphtheria because of modern technology and medicine, your more likely to live a longer healthier life which gives your cell lines a chance to accumulate errors to the "point of no return". Of course, people argue about returning to a "healthier life-style" like that of the "ancients" and if living fast and dying young (<30 years of age) is your cup of tea then I'd encourage you to forgo the perks of "modern life-styles".

The up note is that modern medicine is becoming exceedingly good at treating, preventing and stopping cancers before they become a problem.

Patients often ask, why cancer? We get trained at the hospital to explain to patients, their families and loved ones, any number of causes and reasons for various types of cancer. From "just plain unlucky" to "maybe you shouldn't have smoked for 40 years" (of course we don't say it like that).

But the real answer is in our old friend the American public loves to hate: evolution. Because, we are (as someone remarked above I think) vessels for our genes, our bodies only need to serve the purpose of replicating those genes. How long we live, is a function of the age needed to successfully replicate those genes. Because once you've won at the game of evolution (pass on your genes) anything that happens to you afterwords cannot be impacted by natural selection.

From an evolutionary standpoint then, it makes little sense to evolve "better" replication machinery less prone to error. Because doing so would cost the organism in some areas that may require sacrifices which hurt the individual's chances of reproductive success-A very bad thing as far as your genes are concerned. They are much happier to take the approach that you live long enough to reproduce, then are free to die any kind of messy death you may or may not deserve. From their standpoint, your "job" is complete once you've replicated and from natural selection's standpoint replicating ensures no penalty against your genes.

If you study reproductive biology, you'll see a wonderful correlation in the lifespan of an organism and its reproductive strategy.

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Is there anything to back that up, or is that just you making the claim?

See my post above

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My suspicion would be much less toward junk food and more to additives, pesticide and herbicides. Anabolica in meat is not very healthy either. But all legal.

Even if you lived in a void of "modern chemicals" you'd still get cancer. Errors of biological replication is an inevitable part of life on earth.

In an ironic twist, errors are the reason we and all of life are here.

Edited by Copasetic

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Even if you lived in a void of "modern chemicals" you'd still get cancer. Errors of biological replication is an inevitable part of life on earth.

I acknowledged that already far up this thread, but you will not dispute that substances that cause an accelerated cell decay also increase the risk of cancer, or did I understand you wrong?

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Even if you lived in a void of "modern chemicals" you'd still get cancer. Errors of biological replication is an inevitable part of life on earth.

In an ironic twist, errors are the reason we and all of life are here.

As I pointed out earlier, we have examples of cancer dating back tot he age of the dinosaurs.

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I acknowledged that already far up this thread, but you will not dispute that substances that cause an accelerated cell decay also increase the risk of cancer, or did I understand you wrong?

That's certainly true, as I pointed out cancer occurs most often in tissues which continue dividing throughout the lifespan of the organism. Not necessarily because they "cause errors", but cause cell death (damage) to the tissue which requires your body's tissues to divide more frequently and thus increases chances for errors.

There was a patient on the radiation oncology ward the other day who had a double lobectomy for lung cancer, he was 62, never smoked, didn't drink and lived in the rural Midwest away from major centers of air pollution. Yet still had an aggressive cancer consistent with a "pack a day'er for 20 years".

The reason being, your respiratory epithelium divides and replenishes throughout your life. Certainly smoking anything, or breathing lots of combusted carbon materials (aside from the benzoprene and oxidative damage to DNA) increase that replenishment, thus your chance for getting cancer. But the bottom line is, who's to say this individual wouldn't have died 30 years ago from cholera in a "non-modern world"?

As you pointed out, its a function of age and certainly things which increase "aging" don't help in the cancer department, but regardless of those carcinogenic factors we'd all still die of cancer if we lived long enough.

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As I pointed out earlier, we have examples of cancer dating back tot he age of the dinosaurs.

Yep, that's true. It (cancer) certainly seems "less common" in the "natural" world, but that is only because most organism evolution has led them to the "live fast, die young" approach to life.

When's the last time anyone saw a raccoon with gray hair and cataracts? (and yes all mammals lose the ability to pigment their hair with age!)

-Sigh, I've used all my allotted "UM distraction time" for the day, back to cardiophysiology :hmm:

Edited by Copasetic

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See my post above

Thank you O great one!!

:nw: :nw: :nw: :nw: :nw:

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As you pointed out, its a function of age and certainly things which increase "aging" don't help in the cancer department, but regardless of those carcinogenic factors we'd all still die of cancer if we lived long enough.

That is completely true, and we come to the result that here we have another prime example of wasted research money.

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Cancer is already in the body, even before the egg is fertilized. It takes emotional stress and other states of down sides of the body to activate the cancer and bring it to the surface. Cancer had been around since the beginning of mans existence. The government can do much better than this honestly. But, in my opinion there could be a reason why it was not that present in the ancient world being that they may not have taking a hold of stress and other hurtful emotions as we do today. This is just my opinion.

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probably do to it being a microorganism and was probably a lot less likely to be introduced to their bodies back then seeing as how they didnt have all the buildings and factories and such brought on by the industrial rev.

i dont know exactly how someone gets cancer but im sure it has to do with the health and fitness of ones body

if you think about it.. back then they barely ate as much as people do today.

they worked alot more then people work today

im not saying people that get cancer are lazy and overweight but that has to be one of the factors i think anyways

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probably do to it being a microorganism and was probably a lot less likely to be introduced to their bodies back then seeing as how they didnt have all the buildings and factories and such brought on by the industrial rev.

i dont know exactly how someone gets cancer but im sure it has to do with the health and fitness of ones body

if you think about it.. back then they barely ate as much as people do today.

they worked alot more then people work today

im not saying people that get cancer are lazy and overweight but that has to be one of the factors i think anyways

Or (and there is an or) you could read the second post on this page and be "illuminated" about how cancer works....Just thinking out loud here.....

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not the point of life to be scared to live

Do I seem scared to you?

Will have to think about that a bit.

It is more like the systems in our society are set to kill us off, and I don't want to let them get buy with it. They are not going to pull one over on me.

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Come on, really think about it, where does cancer come from? It makes no sense in conformity with natural laws of nature that this cancer **** just turns up, he surely being male? Perhaps unintentionally as a byproduct of violating environmental requirements for the ego

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Mr Copasetic, very interesting what you have said. What is your take on following a healthy lifestyle and eating (so called) cancer-preventing food? I'm thinking about a study that was done with three groups of rats fed on different diets "healthy"/"in-between"/"unhealthy". You may have heard about this study. It seemed that the diets determined the lifespan and quality of life of the rats. There may have been confounders and I am not sure if those rats that died prematurely died from tumors or other causes.

Edited by 27vet

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So...let's assume that these mummies with cancer account for 10% (as an example). Why did they have cancer? :mellow:

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So...let's assume that these mummies with cancer account for 10% (as an example). Why did they have cancer? :mellow:

They do not. It is more like .5 per 1000. And the why, look up Copa's post above.

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Mr Copasetic, very interesting what you have said. What is your take on following a healthy lifestyle and eating (so called) cancer-preventing food? I'm thinking about a study that was done with three groups of rats fed on different diets "healthy"/"in-between"/"unhealthy". You may have heard about this study. It seemed that the diets determined the lifespan and quality of life of the rats. There may have been confounders and I am not sure if those rats that died prematurely died from tumors or other causes.

That's a good point. I think we get caught up with the word "cancer"-which is a catch-all for a multitude of diseases. The exact causes of these different (often extremely so) diseases is an extremely complex and convoluted subject.

For instance, corticoids (like cortisol) play an important role in mediating our NK cell activity. More cortisol, less efficient NK cells--Thus less ability to fight cancerous and precancerous cells. We can also start delving into things like polymorphisms for MHC (major histocompatability complexes) and how they too affect which type of cancer you'll get and when.

I think really the best advice one can give on the subject is to try and eat healthy, stay physically active and maintain a positive outlook on life--And despite all that we know we'll eventually get cancer (if something else doesn't kill us first).

The rat study is one of many done which show links in dietary behaviors and cancer, but is it a direct (casual relationship)? Maybe, maybe not. Diet can mediate how our immune system functions, or simply the precursors available for neurohormones. Which as an affect of diet, can then be related to cancer as well. I used another example a while back of a post-mortem case review we had of an individual who lived to 94 and smoked since he was 16 (I'm not recommending this for anyone). He died ultimately of a systemic strep infection which was very resistant to antibiotic treatment, no cancers (the infection was post-operative hip surgery :(). The point is, so many things (like our genes and our environment) mediate cancer that I don't think there is any point in stressing oneself out about it (in deed studies show that's a sure way to increase your risk). Just try and live a happy and healthy life.

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That's a good point. I think we get caught up with the word "cancer"-which is a catch-all for a multitude of diseases. The exact causes of these different (often extremely so) diseases is an extremely complex and convoluted subject.

For instance, corticoids (like cortisol) play an important role in mediating our NK cell activity. More cortisol, less efficient NK cells--Thus less ability to fight cancerous and precancerous cells. We can also start delving into things like polymorphisms for MHC (major histocompatability complexes) and how they too affect which type of cancer you'll get and when.

I think really the best advice one can give on the subject is to try and eat healthy, stay physically active and maintain a positive outlook on life--And despite all that we know we'll eventually get cancer (if something else doesn't kill us first).

The rat study is one of many done which show links in dietary behaviors and cancer, but is it a direct (casual relationship)? Maybe, maybe not. Diet can mediate how our immune system functions, or simply the precursors available for neurohormones. Which as an affect of diet, can then be related to cancer as well. I used another example a while back of a post-mortem case review we had of an individual who lived to 94 and smoked since he was 16 (I'm not recommending this for anyone). He died ultimately of a systemic strep infection which was very resistant to antibiotic treatment, no cancers (the infection was post-operative hip surgery :(). The point is, so many things (like our genes and our environment) mediate cancer that I don't think there is any point in stressing oneself out about it (in deed studies show that's a sure way to increase your risk). Just try and live a happy and healthy life.

Thanks, yes Linus Pauling eventually died of prostate cancer despite him following his cancer preventive regime, but he did live to a ripe old age and was very active.

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I always thought most cancers were genetic and we all carried the gene wether or not it became active or not was basically luck of the draw. But after reading this article, cancer is the result of industry and to rid the world of cancer just close the factories. Huh, who would've thunk it? This reads like a propaganda ad from greenpeace or some other ultra-lib org.

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I always thought most cancers were genetic and we all carried the gene wether or not it became active or not was basically luck of the draw. But after reading this article, cancer is the result of industry and to rid the world of cancer just close the factories. Huh, who would've thunk it? This reads like a propaganda ad from greenpeace or some other ultra-lib org.

Post 27 top of the page!

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Man. Cancer bothers me so much. It has been decades and we are still puzzled. Whats up with this thing? Why are we still paralyzed?

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Man. Cancer bothers me so much. It has been decades and we are still puzzled. Whats up with this thing? Why are we still paralyzed?

?

Have you looked at the survivability rates for many cancers? Most cancers these days are no longer a death-sentence like they once were. This is because we understand the genetics and biochemistry of cancers so well. We can make chemotheraputic agents with much higher target specificity than we once could.

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?

Have you looked at the survivability rates for many cancers? Most cancers these days are no longer a death-sentence like they once were. This is because we understand the genetics and biochemistry of cancers so well. We can make chemotheraputic agents with much higher target specificity than we once could.

Cancer is a modern man-made disease caused by the excesses of modern life, a new study suggests.

Does this mean anyone with a chronic condition whether self-induced or acquired is in danger of an increased potential for cancer simply because more cell replication is involved? Thus the more cell division, the more the potential for copying errors and mistakes and the more the risk of dying from cancer. Is this correct?

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