Cancer – Normal Cell Division Gone Out Of Control

Cancer is a disease where there is an uncontrolled division of cells in the body. This group of diseases is second leading cause of death and comprises a group of more than 100 diseases, with unique features but at the same time with some processes in common to all of the different forms of the disease.

The many cells that comprise the human body usually grow and divide to produce more cells only when the body needs them, which keeps the body healthy; however sometimes cells keep dividing when they are not needed by the body, this growth of excess cells forms a mass or tissues that is called a tumor.

These tumors can be either benign or malignant, when these tumors are benign they are not cancerous, but when they are malignant they are, and when malignant cells spread this is called metastasis. These malignant cells are named for the organ for which they originate.

Malignancies develop in a multistage process which occurs in three phases which are:

• Initiation – something alters the genetic structure of a cell and prepares to act abnormally during later stages.

• Promotion – occurs when a chemical or other factor encourages initiated cells to become active, this stage is reversible.

• Progression – promoted cells multiply and might invade surrounding healthy tissue.

Risk Factors

An actual malignancy develops over time.

• Lifestyle

• Heredity

• Environmental factors

• Smoking or chewing tobacco

• Diet

• Drinking alcohol

• Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun

• Exposure to carcinogens which are cancer causing agents in the workplace and environment

The link to diet and lack of exercise is suggested due to poor food choices and physical inactivity. This link suggests that in addition to alcohol use, obesity, eating certain types of salted fish such as Chinese style, eating preserved meats, other salt preserved foods, salt, and very hot drinks.

Dietary and Lifestyle Factors to Reduce Risk

• Maintain a healthy weight throughout life

• Maintain a physically active lifestyle

• Eat a healthy diet with emphasis of plant sources of nutrition

• Limit alcohol consumption

Diets that are high in fats are linked to the increased risk of malignancies of the colon and rectum, prostate and endometrium. High intake of red meat such as beef, pork, and lamb as well processed meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meat is associated with some forms of colorectal malignancies. Prostate malignancies are associated with high consumption of red meat, animal fat, and total fat, whereas consuming poultry and fish over the long term can reduce the risk of these malignancies.

Consumption of fruits and vegetables which are complex foods that contain vitamins, minerals and fiber reduce the risk of certain types of malignancies since some of these substances are thought to inhibit the multiplication of malignant cells, alter enzymes, inhibit the conversion of chemicals into toxins, and alter hormone metabolism. In order to have the most benefit fruits and vegetables should constitute a consumption of at five servings per day in the diet.

Whole grains and legumes are also believed to lower the risk of certain types of malignancies such as those of the colon and rectum, with whole grains being a source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber which assists the transit of food through the GI tract quicker, since food that remains in the intestines for too long release harmful substances as they break down which can possibly be carcinogenic.

Beans and other legumes are a rich source of many vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and can be a low fat alternative to meat. Legumes especially soy is rich in nutrients and phytochemicals that may protect against prostate cancer and possibly breast cancer.

For more information about cancer click on the link to

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Metabolic Syndrome - Increased Risk For Heart Attack
Dietary Dental Disease - Nutrition Factors

For other information on nutrition some great references are:

• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein

Chronic Disease
Cardiovascular Disease
Nutrition Eating Disorders
Exercise and Vitamins
Nutrition and Exercise
Cooking and Nutrition
Nutrients In Food
Energy From Food
Water and Nutrition
Dietary Minerals
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