What is Cancer?
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells because of damaged DNA in the nucleus of the cell. If the spread is not controlled, it can result in death.
Cancer is caused by external factors (Radiation, tobacco, infectious organisms, and chemicals) and internal factors.
Many people believe that cancer can be inherited but that is essentially wrong. About 5% of all cancers seem to have a hereditary component or affinity, in that an inherited genetic alteration confers a very high risk of developing one or more specific types of Cancer. The issue is RISK for that 5%. Basically that means they are more prone to develop cancer if the causative factors are there. Thus a slight potential to develop cancer can be inherited. Almost all cancers result from damage to genes (DNA) that has occurred during one’s lifetime.
New Cancer Cases in the United States.
There were about 1,600,000 new cases of Cancer detected in the United States in 2011.
There were about 600,000 deaths from Cancer in the United States in 2011. (The Cancer Death Rate is about 200 per 100,000 in population. Multiply that times the current population and you come up with a little over 600,000 deaths per year.)
Can Cancer Be Prevented?
All cancers caused by individual cigarette smoking and chewing could be prevented completely by stopping that use. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2011 about 172,000 cancer deaths were caused by tobacco use. Tobacco causes cancer by irradiating the lungs. It is the radiation that initiates the cancer, not the Tar and Nicotine. Eliminate that radiation exposure and you eliminate that risk.
People who drink more than one to two alcoholic drinks (1 for women and 2 drinks for men – It is a body mass criteria. Females are usually smaller in body mass then men.) per day have a greater incidence of cancer, but alcohol has not been scientifically found to cause DNA mutations in cells. It would appear that excess consumption of alcohol causes immune suppression that decreases the body’s ability to correctly repair DNA damage which is usually caused by radiation strikes (Both normal background and industrial sources).
About 4 percent of cancers are associated with Chemical exposure. The same relationship can be said to exist for exposure to most toxic Chemicals as with Alcohol (In other words, Alcohol is a toxic chemical). The exposure to the chemicals increases your chance to develop cancer, but few of the chemicals have been found to have the capacity to specifically alter DNA in cells. The immune system appears to be suppressed and the cell then cannot repair DNA damage.
About 10 percent of Cancers appear to be associated with bacteria and viruses. Some estimates in other countries have that up to over 15 percent. Regardless of percent the issue appears to be immune suppression in most cases.