Anti-Cancer Fight

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

One of the most grim pronouncement a patient can here from a doctor is, “I’m sorry, but you have cancer.”

This dreaded disease has gradually crept in into our society. Check out these statistics:

In Nigeria incidence of breast cancer has risen to a higher percentage in the last ten years, compared with only a 25% increase in the previous decades.

According to the data from the Institute of Human Virology in Nigeria, more than 40% of cancer are found  in women: Cervical cancer- 17%, Ovaries 3.7%.

In men, skin cancer is 3.8%, Liver  4%,  colon cancer 7% and prostate cancer is 29%.

According to Cancer Death Statistics, at least 80,000 Nigerians die from various forms of cancer annually, with an estimated 10 people dying from cancer every hour.

In November 2012, Dr Abia Nzelu ,  Lagos State coordinator of the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), said cancer remained the number one killer of mankind, adding that it killed more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis did.

According to him, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had predicted that by 2030, there would be more than 21 million new cases of cancer, with 13 million cancer deaths every year.

He disclosed that a recent free cancer screening exercise carried out by NCPP, as part of the International Cancer Awareness Month (ICAM) 2012 in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State revealed that four out of 100 women screened were positive for cervical changes, while 14 in 100 women had breast pathologies.

Is there an answer for this epidemic? You can decide for your self after careful consideration of the fact on ground.

To find the answer we must ask more questions.

What causes cancer?

At this point no one knows for sure. But more and more evidence is pointing to ENVIRONMENTAL AGENTS that cause cell abnormalities, cells that are not strong to withstand today’s onslaught of carcinogens. Cause and effect figures into the equation.

Smokers or people who work around asbestos frequently develop lung cancer. Sun worshippers reap skin damage and the accompanying malignancies. Alcohol abusers are diagnosed  more often with mouth, throat and liver cancers. There is now confirmation that a high fat low-fiber diet is influential in the development of colon, breast, prostate and other cancers. Some researchers fear that dietary influence is even greater.

How can nutrition play such an important role in anticancer fight? Is it the adopted, refined artificial diets that has replaced the typical rich Nigerian food? Can this be blamed for the many life-threatening condition on the nations population?

Cancer begins when cells duplicate themselves uncontrollably. Cell reproduction is not an abnormal occurrence in the body. Our bodies were ingeniously programmed to create more cells for the healing of injuries. You have observed new skin growing over a cut in your hand. When healing is complete the cell reproduction stops.

Not so in cancer cells. Something causes the reproduction mechanism to go crazy, out of control. Cells reproduce , and if unchecked, continue to grow, creating tumours (or excessive white counts in malignancies of the blood). These cancerous cells can spread to other parts of the body where they continue their uncontrolled growth.

When this abnormal overgrowth interferes with the body’s ability to function properly, illness or death result.

Many scientists believe that free radicals damage is the major factor in cancer. Free radical  are atoms containing one unpaired electron. Another atom or molecule can then pair with this atom, creating a chemical reaction that causes damage(sometimes irreversible) at the cell level. Damage too many cells and you get sick. The normal body incurs some free radicals on a small scale. For instance, free radicals are released during digestion and assimilation of food.

But a healthy, normal body neutralises any damage done. Excessive free radicals damage cells to the point of illness.

A diet high in fat create more free radicals. Even worse is the practice of cooking fat at high temperature (think of all the fried fast foods Nigerians consume)

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More and more research is pointing towards FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AS THE ANSWER TO CANCER.

Studies have found that common cancers are reduced by 50% in countries where about a pound (0.5kg) of fruits are eaten a day. Also in several studies done by C.H Barrows,Jr, and G.C. Kokonen (recorded in Nutritional Approach to Ageing Research), the incidence of breast cancer was knocked down to zero by eating a high- nutrition, low calorie diet like the one recommended in Body Confidence Diet Plan.

Cancer specialist Mitchell Gaynor, MD., stated in a Newsweek article that “eating the right foods is as specific  to stopping cancer before it starts as wearing a seat belt is to lowering your risk of fatal automobile accident.

The proper diet negates free radicals and strengthens the body.

This eating programme must be full of antioxidants, a group of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that protect the body and heal it of free radical damage.

Here are some common foods that are rich in antioxidants, garlic, onions, green tea, wheat germ, bran, fresh tomatoes,  fish, cabbage, leafy green vegetables, carrots, oranges, sweet potato, soy beans, nonfat dry milk.

Research confirms that fruits and vegetables are most important in preventing and fighting cancer.

In addition the role of exercise in anticancer fight cannot be over emphasised.  According to Mercola (2012),If you are like most people, when you think of reducing your risk of cancer, exercise probably isn’t at the top of your list.

However, there is compelling evidence that exercise can not only help slash your risk of cancer, but can also help cancer patients get well sooner, and help prevent cancer recurrence.

Research has also shown it may help minimize the side effects of conventional cancer treatment.

A preliminary study presented at The Integrative Biology of Exercise VI meeting a year ago helps shed light on why exercise is so effective for decreasing the risk of secondary cancers in survivors, or why it can decrease your risk of getting cancer in the first place.

Hear this! Exercise Improves Your Immune System’s “.

The above statement was proved thus-sixteen cancer survivors who had just completed chemotherapy participated in the three-month long  fitness programme, which was tailored to each individual. It included:

•Strength training

•Endurance training

•Cardiovascular exercise

•Exercises for flexibility, balance and posture

The researchers examined the immune cells in the participants’ blood before and after completion of the 12-week programme, and the analysis showed that a large portion of the T cells were altered into a more effective disease-fighting form, called “naïve” T cells.

As reported by Medical News, Body Confidence Diet, and occasional cleansing and detoxifying your system will also help to improve immune system. Resting will  also allow your body to heal itself.

Your body was created to respond to a balanced lifestyle. When you give it the best,your body will reward you with life.

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