The topic of cancer may be more complicated than originally thought. FOX News has reported on an article which originally appeared in Self Magazine, and which covered the search for a cancer gene. However, it appears that the culprit may be far more complex than a simple gene.
Cancer is likely the result of genetic mutations over time that refuse to stop rather than a simple gene passed from one generation to the next. According to the Department of Clinical Genetics chairman, Dr. Mary Daly, who works at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, the chance of getting cancer through genetics is about 10 to 15 percent. The rest may be due to environmental factors or choices in lifestyle, which can have negative effects on DNA. These effects could ultimately change cells, which in turn could lead to uncontrollable mutations.
Although family history is important when determining the origin of potentially cancerous cells, it is wise to note that other factors may contribute to its ongoing spread, including environmental factors such as air pollution, second-hand smoke, and even exposure to heavy metals. Choices in lifestyle can also play a role, including poor diet and health decisions. Such factors are relevant to both the genetic makeup of a person, and how he takes care of his body throughout various stages of life in order to prevent the risk of developing the disease.
Humanity has found various ways to treat the deadly illness, including chemotherapy and radiation, natural herb remedies, various drug treatments, and even meditation. Although stages of it depend on the size and severity of a tumor, or of cancerous cells, these deformities may be the result of simple cell mutations over a large period of time. Therefore, prevention may be key to stopping abnormal cell mutations through such measures as living a healthier lifestyle and getting regular, medical checkups.
Cancer is also more complicated to explain than originally thought because there are still more discoveries and techniques taking place to combat the often fatal disease. Technology has been aiding researchers in finding the origin and progression of it, but has done little to fully eradicate it. It is a very complex system of genetic mutations which progress over time that eventually form tumors, and this may be hard to monitor over a period of years.
In order to lessen risk and prevent development, researchers may have to recommend that people susceptible to developing the disease consult with their doctor on how to live a healthier lifestyle, as well as how to avoid toxic environments which might otherwise exacerbate uncontrollable gene mutations. Also, people should be more aware of what kind of products they put in their body, including processed foods and toxic chemical by-products affiliated with drugs, plastics, pesticides, and even cooking methods.
Cancer is more complicated than originally thought because it may take doctors and researchers more time to find treatments that not only eradicate the disease, but prevent it. Although there are reports of progress being made, like recent news of a virus that may combat such mutated cells, it is still risky to assume that medicine is closer to a perfect prescription. After all, treatments of the disease not only take time, but need to be fully vetted for safety and long-term effect.
Opinion by Liz Pimentel
Fox News: How to Understand Your Genetic Chances of Cancer
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