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PINEAPPLE: FORBIDDEN APPLE IN PREGNANCY?

 

The happiest moments in a family and couple’s life is that period when the wife is heavy with child. Everyone is expectant, and also,everyone has one advice to give; especially dietary. 

One of those many advice is the intake of pineapples during pregnancy;so many claims that pineapple contains ‘bromelain’ ( a protein digesting enzyme), which poses a threat of  miscarriage or induces premature labour on the woman. 

BROMELAIN 

Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme mixture derived from the stem, fruit, and juice of the pineapple plant. It has a centuries-long history of being used to treat medical ailments, primarily throughout Central and South America.

It is currently categorized as a dietary supplement, and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Bromelain may be used alone or in conjunction with other medications. People use bromelain topically, to remove dead skin from burns, and orally, to reduce inflammation and swelling — particularly of the nasal passages.

Bromelain is also used as a digestive aid, for osteoarthritis, and to reduce soreness in aching muscles.

Potential health benefits

Bromelain and its potential health benefits have been studied extensively in multiple areas. These include:

1. Osteoarthritis 

Clinical studies found that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it an effective treatment for the pain, soft-tissue swelling, and joint stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

The review focused on bromelain’s effectiveness in treating arthritis of the knee and shoulder. The studies analyzed varied significantly in terms of dosage. Improvements were found in some study participants given 400 milligrams of bromelain, two times daily.

 

2. Cardiovascular disease

A source  reported that bromelain was effective at treating cardiovascular diseases, such as peripheral artery disease, stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure.

Bromelain inhibits the ability of blood platelets to stick or clump together (aggregation). This may help reduce clot formation and cardiovascular events.

3. Asthma

The results of an animal study indicated that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory effects might be beneficial to people with asthma or other forms of allergic airway disease.

4. Chronic sinusitis (chronic rhinosinusitis)

A pilot study found that bromelain tablets were effective at alleviating swelling, congestion, and other symptoms associated with chronic sinusitis. Study participants were given bromelain daily for a 3-month period.

5. Colitis

An animal study found that purified fruit bromelain reduced inflammation and healed mucosal ulcers caused by inflammatory bowel disease in rats.

6. Burns

A study review found that bromelain, when used as a topical cream, was highly effective at safely removing damaged tissue from wounds and from second- and third-degree burns.

7. Cancer

A 2010 study  indicated that bromelain shows promise in combating cancer. Bromelain may have the ability to positively impact cancer cell growth, and it may help to control the key pathways supporting malignancy.

 

NUTRITION 

Positive nutritional effects have been shown in bedridden, tube-fed, nursing home patients who received a supplementary digestive aid containing bromelain plus an extract of Aspergillus niger. Total protein concentration improved significantly with the supplement (P < 0.02), which was reversed after withdrawal.

 

DOSAGE 

Two slices of pineapple contain approximately 100 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), approximately the recommended daily adult intake. Commercially available bromelain supplements contain predominantly stem bromelain, as compared with fruit bromelain.

The usual dosage of bromelain is 40 mg 3 or 4 times daily. However, because bromelain is regarded as being relatively nontoxic, doses of up to 2,000 mg/day have been used.Most commercial products contain bromelain 500 mg; manufacturers suggest a dosage regimen of 500 to 1,000 mg daily.

 

PREGNANCY 

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Clinical evidence to support the traditional use of pineapple as an emmenagogue and abortifacient is limited. Previously, bromelain/trypsin (as Kimotab) was investigated for use in breast engorgement during lactation.

A cup or two of pineapple juice per week won’t do any harm to mother or foetus, rather it supplies a lot of benefits as: 

  • 2 slices of pineapple contains about 100mg of vitamin C which is a bit above the daily value for pregnant women (85mg/day). Vitamin c helps repair and prevent cell damage by warding off free radicals. 
  • Contains manganese which helps build strong bones and connective tissues 
  • Might be helpful in preventing osteoporosis in post menopausal women

 

HEALTH RISKS

Because pineapples contain a whole lot of vitamin c, overconsumption may lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and heartburn for some people. 

Additionally, extremely high amounts of bromelain can cause skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual bleeding, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bromelain can also interact with some medications. Those taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, insomnia drugs and tricyclic antidepressants should be careful not to eat too much pineapple.  

 

SOURCES: https://www.drugs.com/npp/pineapple.html

https://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/bromelain#health-benefits

 

 

 

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General ResearchLifeStyle

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: BETTER OPTIONS?

There seems to be a lot of debate out there about artificial sweetners.

Some research says its good for weightloss and as a good substitute for table sugars, while some say it would increase the risk of  cancer and also increase blood sugar level.

Well, lets dive into this troubled waters and see what we can pull out of it shall we?

 

What Are Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, are chemicals added to some foods and beverages to make them taste sweet.

They tend to provide a taste that seems 1,000 times sweeter than regular sugar.

Although some sweeteners contain calories, the amount needed to sweeten products is so small that you end up consuming almost no calories.

They are mostly used in beverages and drinks since they provide zero calories.

 

How Do Artificial Sweeteners Work?

The surface of your tongue is covered by many taste buds. Each taste bud contains several taste receptors that detect different flavors ( sweet, sour, salty).

Each time you eat, the different food molecules contact your taste receptors.

When the food molecule meets with the receptor, it (receptor) sends a signal to your brain, allowing you to identify the taste

For example, the sugar molecule fits perfectly into the taste receptor for sweetness, like a missing pixzle piece  allowing your brain to identify the sweet taste.

The molecules of artificial sweeteners are similar enough to sugar molecules that they fit on the sweetness receptor.

However, they are generally too different from sugar for your body to break them down into calories. This is why they have a sweet taste without the added calories.

Only a minority of artificial sweeteners have a structure that your body can break down into calories. Because only very small amounts of artificial sweeteners are needed to make foods taste sweet, you consume virtually no calories.

Reason why they won’t provide calories (energy) is because your body cannot break them down.

What Are the Names of Artificial Sweeteners?

The following artificial sweeteners are allowed for use in the US and/or the European Union:

Aspartame: 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Aspartame is known under the brand names Nutrasweet, Equal or Sugar Twin.

Acesulfame potassium: 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Acesulfame potassium is suited for cooking and baking and known under brand names Sunnet or Sweet One.

Advantame: 20,000 times sweeter than table sugar, suited for cooking and baking.

Aspartame-acesulfame salt: 350 times sweeter than table sugar, and known under the brand name Twinsweet.

Cyclamate: 50 times sweeter than table sugar. Cyclamate is suited for cooking and baking. However, it’s been banned in the US since 1970.

Neotame: 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar. Neotame is suited for cooking and baking and known under the brand name Newtame.

Neohesperidin: 340 times sweeter than table sugar. It is suited for cooking, baking and mixing with acidic foods. It is not approved for use in the US.

Saccharin: 700 times sweeter than table sugar. It’s known under the brand names Sweet’N Low, Sweet Twin or Necta Sweet.

Sucralose: 600 times sweeter table sugar. Sucralose is suited for cooking, baking and mixing with acidic foods. It’s known under the brand name Splenda.

There’s also a new guy om the block called ‘allulose’ made from grains.

Effects on Appetite

Some people believe artificial sweeteners might actually increase appetite and promote weight gain .

Because they taste sweet but lack the calories found in other sweet-tasting foods, they’re thought to confuse the brain into still feeling hungry after consumption.

Additionally, some scientists think you’d need to eat more of an artificially sweetened food, compared to the sugar-sweetened version, in order to feel full; well, who knows?

Although these theories are plausible, there’s mo back up claim whatsoever to them.

Effect on weight

Well, we have seen that artificial sweetners do not contain calories at all, so obvioulsy they wont increase your risk of gaining extra pounds.

But once they increase your sugar cravings, its better you stick to water than that can of soda.

 

Effects on diabetes

Artificial sweetners would reduce your intake of refined sugar, thereby making it easy for your insulin levels to work. It doesnt have any adverse effects on your glucose yes, but it is better you seek advice from your dietitan or doctor before using them.

Effect on gut health

The health of your gut totally determines if you would be vulnerable to certain illness.

Once your gut is not happy with you, you are at risk of poor blood sugar control,  weakened immune system, and disrupted sleep.

Some studies suggest that selected sweetners could disrupt the health of your gut by affecting the balance of gut bacteria.

Artificial sweetners and cancer

Apart from cyclamate which was banned in 1970 in America, no other other study has linked artificial sweetners with cancer.

 

Artificial sweetners and Dental health

Unlike sugars, artificial sweetners do not react with bacteria in your mourh to form acids. So, they dont affect your dental health negatively.

  1. Some sweetners could cause headaches, seizures or depression in some individuals while leaving out others.

 

Safety and side effects

Artificial sweetners are safe to use but should not be consumed by individuals with phenylketonuria or those allergic to sulfonamides.

 

Take home Message for all

The use of artificial sweetners pose no threats to the health if used as alternatives to sugars.

Some risks attatched to it might be severe or different in individuals, so its best  to seek advice before selecting a sweetner.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/artificial-sweeteners-good-or-bad#section12

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Diet Therapy of DiseasesGeneral Research

NUTRITION AND CANCER

DIETARY GUIDELINES

NUTRITION AND CANCER
Cancer is simply termed ‘growth of unhealthy tissues (malignant) which results from abnormal or uncontrolled cell division.
Cancer occurs in all parts of the human body and has the ability to spread across (metastasize) to another region in the body.
Carcinogens are possible factors that when exposed to, can cause or promote cancer. There are both environmental and dietary factors that could be carcinogenic in nature.
Exposure to certain factors like radiation, sunlight, toxic substances from creams , and smoking could lead to cancer.
DIETARY FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO OBESITY
1. Abuse of alcohol could lead to mouth, throat and liver cancer.🍺🍻
2. High intakes of smoke or salt preserved foods, refined flour or starch, and processed meat🍗 could lead to stomach cancer.
3. High intake of saturated fats, red meat, and supplemental iron with reduced intake of fibre could lead to colorectal cancer. 🍖
4. Folate deficiency and low intake of dark green leafy vegetables could lead to cervical cancer.
Fruits and vegetables don’t have the ability to cure cancer but adequate consumption of them could help prevent the development of cancer. For example, the cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli contain phytochemical that could be beneficial in defending against colon cancer.
Maintaining a healthy body weight could also help to reduce risks of cancer in both genders👬. Obese postmenopausal women are at the risk of developing breast cancer because fat tissues produces oestrogen and extended exposure of this oestrogen in obese postmenopausal women is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REDUCING CANCER RISKS
1. Maintain a healthy body weight by eating small portions of foods, balancing energy intake with physical activities and choosing healthy fats
2. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
3. Choose lean meats, fish and poultry as alternatives to pork and processed meats as hot dogs and sausages.
4. If you must take alcohol, limit it to 2 drinks per day.
5. Choose whole grains like oats, whole wheat bread instead of pastries and breakfast cereals.

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Uncategorized

CANCER: DEMYSTIFYING THE MENACE 2

I did a prior article on cancer, but that was a brief summary. Here, I dare to go deeper, delving more more professionally into the annals of this menacing monster. From the causes, to the cures and more relieving; their cures. Well, this article is not for every one so if you think it interests you, why?..be my guest!
The Many Causes of Cancer
There are about 200 different types of cancer. It can start in any type of body tissue. What affects one body tissue may not affect another. For example, tobacco smoke that you breathe in may help to cause lung cancer. Over exposing your skin to the sun could cause a melanoma on your leg. But the sun won’t give you lung cancer and smoking won’t give you melanoma.

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Apart from infectious diseases, most illnesses (including cancer) are multi factorial. This means that there are many factors involved. In other words, there is no single cause for any one type of cancer.

A. Cancer causing substances (carcinogens):

A carcinogen is something that can help to cause cancer. Tobacco smoke is a powerful carcinogen. But not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer. So there must be other factors at work as well.
B. Age:

Most types of cancer become more common as we get older. This is because the changes that make a cell become cancerous in the first place take a long time to develop. There have to be a number of changes to thegeneswithin a cell before it turns into a cancer cell. These changes can happen by accident when the cell is dividing or they can happen because the cell has been damaged by carcinogens and the damage is then passed on to future cells when that cell divides. The longer we live, the more time there is forgenetic mistakesto happen in our cells.
C. Genetic make up:

There need to be a number ofgenetic mutationswithin a cell before it becomes cancerous. Sometimes a person is born with one of these mutations already. This doesn’t mean they will definitely get cancer. But with one mutation from the start, it makes it more likely statistically that they will develop cancer during their lifetime. Doctors call this genetic predisposition.
The BRCA1 and BRCA2breast cancer genes are examples of genetic predisposition. Women who carry one of these faulty genes have a higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who dThe BRCA genes are good examples for another reason. Most women with breast cancer do not have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Less than 3 out of 100 breast cancers (3%) are due to these genes. So although women with one of these genes are individually more likely to get breast cancer, most breast cancer is not caused by a high risk inherited gene fault. This is true of other common cancers where some people have a genetic predisposition – for example,colon (large bowel) cancer.
D. The immune system:

People who have problems with their immune systems are more likely to get some types of cancer. This group includes people who have had organ transplants and take drugs to suppress their immune systems to stop organ rejection
*Have HIV or AIDS
*Are born with rare medical syndromes which affect their immunity
*The types of cancers that affect these groups of people fall into 2 overlapping groups
Cancers that are caused by viruses, such as cervical cancer and other cancers of the genital or anal area, some lymphomas,liver cancer and stomach cancer
E. Lymphomas:

Chronic infections or transplanted organs can continually stimulate cells to divide. This continual cell division means that immune cells are more likely to develop genetic faults and develop into lymphomas.
F. Smoking, Body weight, Diet and Physical Activity:

Many cancer cases in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol, diet, or being overweight. In the western world, many of us eat too much red and processed meat and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables. This type of diet is known to increase the risk of cancer. Drinking alcohol can also increase the risk of developing some types of cancer. There is more information about this on the page aboutdiet causing cancer.
Sometimes foods or food additives are blamed for directly causing cancer and described as carcinogenic. This is often not really true. Sometimes a food is found to contain a substance that can cause cancer but in such small amounts that we could never eat enough of it to do any harm. And some additives may actually protect us. There ismore about food additivesin the page aboutdiet causing cancer.
G. Day to day environment:

By environmental causes we mean what is around you each day that may help to cause cancer. This could include
*Tobacco smoke
*The sun
*Natural and man made radiation
*Work place hazards
*Asbestos
H. Viruses:

Viruses can help to cause some cancers. But this does not mean that these cancers can be caught like an infection. What happens is that the virus can causegenetic changesin cells that make them more likely to become cancerous.
These cancers and viruses are linked
*Cervical cancer, and other cancers of the genital and anal area, and thehuman papilloma virus(HPV)
*Primary liver cancerand the Hepatitis B and C viruses
*Lymphomasand the Epstein-Barr Virus
*T cell leukemia in adults and the Human T cell leukaemia virus
*HPV may also lead to oropharyngeal cancer and non melanoma skin cancers in some people.
Many people can be infected with a cancer causing virus, and never get cancer. The virus only causes cancer in certain situations. Many women get ahigh risk HPV infection, but never develop cervical cancer.
I. Bacterial infection:

Bacterial infections have not been thought of as cancer causing agents in the past. But studies have shown that people who havehelicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection of their stomach develop inflammation of the stomach lining, which increases the risk of stomach cancer. Helicobacter pylori infection can be treated with a combination of antibiotics. Research is also looking at whether substances produced by particular types of bacteria in the digestive system can increase the risk of bowel cancer or stomach lymphomas. Some researchers think that particular bacteria may produce cancer causing substances in some people. But research into this issue is at an early stage.
If bacteria do play a part in causing cancer this could be important in cancer prevention. Bacterial infections can often be cured with antibiotics, so getting rid of the infection could be a way to reduce the risk of these types of cancer.
How is cancer treated?

Cancer treatment depends on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer (how much it has spread), age, health status, and additional personal characteristics. There is no single treatment for cancer, and patients often receive a combination of therapies and palliative care. Treatments usually fall into one of the following categories: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, or gene therapy.
A. Surgery:

Surgery is the oldest known treatment for cancer. If a cancer has not metastasized, it is possible to completely cure a patient by surgically removing the cancer from the body. This is often seen in the removal of the prostate or a breast or testicle. After the disease has spread, however, it is nearly impossible to remove all of the cancer cells. Surgery may also be instrumental in helping to control symptoms such as bowel obstruction or spinal cord compression.
Innovations continue to be developed to aid the surgical process, such as the iKnife that “sniffs” out cancer. Currently, when a tumor is removed surgeons also take out a “margin” of healthy tissue to make sure no malignant cells are left behind. This usually means keeping the patients under general anesthetic for an extra 30 minutes while tissue samples are tested in the lab for “clear margins”. If there are no clear margins, the surgeon has to go back in and remove more tissue (if possible). Scientists from Imperial College London say the iKnife may remove the need for sending samples to the lab.
B. Radiation:

Radiation treatment, also known as radiotherapy, destroys cancer by focusing high-energy rays on the cancer cells. This causes damage to the molecules that make up the cancer cells and leads them to commit suicide. RaRadiotherapy utilizes high-energy gamma-rays that are emitted from metals such as radium or high-energy x-rays that are created in a special machine. Early radiation treatments caused severe side-effects because the energy beams would damage normal, healthy tissue, but technologies have improved so that beams can be more accurately targeted. Radiotherapy is used as a standalone treatment to shrink a tumor or destroy cancer cells (including those associated with leukemia and lymphoma), and it is also used in combination with other cancer treatments.
C. Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy utilizes chemicals that interfere with the cell division process – damaging proteins or DNA – so that cancer cells will commit suicide. These treatments target any rapidly dividing cells (not necessarily just cancer cells), but normal cells usually can recover from any chemical-induced damage while cancer cells cannot. Chemotherapy is generally used to treat cancer that has spread or metastasized because the medicines travel throughout the entire body. It is a necessary treatment for some forms of leukemia and lymphoma. Chemotherapy treatment occurs in cycles so the body has time to heal between doses. However, there are still common side effects such as hair loss, nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. Combination therapies often include multiple types of chemotherapy or chemotherapy combined with other treatment options.
D. Immunotherapy:

Immunotherapy aims to get the body’s immune system to fight the tumor. Local immunotherapy injects a treatment into an affected area, for example, to cause inflammation that causes a tumor to shrink. Systemic immunotherapy treats the whole body by administering an agent such as the protein interferon alpha that can shrink tumors. Immunotherapy can also be considered non-specific if it improves cancer-fighting abilities by stimulating the entire immune system, and it can be considered targeted if the treatment specifically tells the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
These therapies are relatively young, but researchers have had success with treatments that introduce antibodies to the body that inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Bone marrow transplantation (hematopoetic stem cell transplantation) can also be considered immunotherapy because the donor’s immune cells will often attack the tumor or cancer cells that are present in the host.

E. Hormone therapy:

Several cancers have been linked to some types of hormones, most notably breast and prostate cancer. Hormone therapy is designed to alter hormone production in the body so that cancer cells stop growing or are killed completely. Breast cancer hormone therapies often focus on reducing estrogen levels (a common drug for this is tamoxifen) and prostate cancer hormone therapies often focus on reducing testosterone levels. In addition, some leukemia and lymphoma cases can be treated with the hormone cortisone.
F. Gene therapy:

The goal of gene therapy is to replace damaged genes with ones that work to address a root cause of cancer: damage to DNA. For example, researchers are trying to replace the damaged gene that signals cells to stop dividing (the p53 gene) with a copy of a working gene. Other gene-based therapies focus on further damaging cancer cell DNA to the point where the cell commits suicide. Gene therapy is a very young field and has not yet resulted in any successful treatments.
Using cancer-specific immune system cells to treat cancer
Scientists from the RIKEN Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology in Yokohama, Japan, explained in the journalCell Stem Cell (January 2013 issue) how they managed to make cancer-specific immune system cells from iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) to destroy cancer cells.
The authors added that their study has shown that it is possible to clone versions of the patients’ own cells to enhance their immune system so that cancer cells could be destroyed naturally. These therapies are relatively young, but researchers have had success with treatments that introduce antibodies to the body that inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Bone marrow transplantation (hematopoetic stem cell transplantation) can also be considered immunotherapy because the donor’s immune cells will often attack the tumor or cancer cells that are present in the host.
G. Hormone therapy:

Several cancers have been linked to some types of hormones, most notably breast and prostate cancer. Hormone therapy is designed to alter hormone production in the body so that cancer cells stop growing or are killed completely. Breast cancer hormone therapies often focus on reducing estrogen levels (a common drug for this is tamoxifen) and prostate cancer hormone therapies often focus on reducing testosterone levels. In addition, some leukemia and lymphoma cases can be treated with the hormone cortisone.
H. Gene therapy:

The goal of gene therapy is to replace damaged genes with ones that work to address a root cause of cancer: damage to DNA. For example, researchers are trying to replace the damaged gene that signals cells to stop dividing (the p53 gene) with a copy of a working gene. Other gene-based therapies focus on further damaging cancer cell DNA to the point where the cell commits suicide. Gene therapy is a very young field and has not yet resulted in any successful treatments.
Using cancer-specific immune system cells to treat cancer
Scientists from the RIKEN Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology in Yokohama, Japan, explained in the journalCell Stem Cell(January 2013 issue) how they managed to make cancer-specific immune system cells from iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) to destroy cancer cells.
The authors added that their study has shown that it is possible to clone versions of the patients’ own cells to enhance their immune system so that cancer cells could be destroyed naturally.
Hiroshi Kawamoto and team created cancer-specific killer T-lymphocytes from iPSCs. They started off with mature T-lymphocytes which were specific for a type of skin cancer and reprogrammed them into iPSCs with the help of “Yamanaka factors”. The iPSCs eventually turned into fully active, cancer-specific T-lymphocytes – in other words, cells that target and destroy cancer cells.
How can cancer be prevented?

Cancers that are closely linked to certain behaviors are the easiest to prevent. For example, choosing not to smoke tobacco or drink alcohol significantly lower the risk of several types of cancer – most notably lung, throat, mouth, and liver cancer. Even if you are a current tobacco user, quitting can still greatly reduce your chances of getting cancer.
*Skin cancer can be prevented by staying in the shade, protecting yourself with a hat and shirt when in the sun, and using sunscreen. Diet is also an important part of cancer prevention since what we eat has been linked to the disease. Physicians recommend diets that are low in fat and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Preocessed foods and foods high in saturated fats must be discouraged as much as possible.
*Certain vaccinations have been associated with the prevention of some cancers. For example, many women receive a vaccination for the human papillomavirus because of the virus’s relationship with cervical cancer. Hepatitis B vaccines prevent the hepatitis B virus, which can cause liver cancer.
*Some cancer prevention is based on systematic screening in order to detect small irregularities or tumors as early as possible even if there are no clear symptoms present. Breast self-examination, mammograms, testicular self-examination, and Pap smears are common screening methods for various cancers.
Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago reported in the journal Circulation thatthe 7 steps recommended for protection against heart disease can also reduce the risk of developing cancer. They include:
1. Being physically active.
2. Eating a healthy diet.
3. Controlling cholesterol, 
4. Managing blood pressure, 
5.Reducing blood sugar and 
6.Not smoking
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Uncategorized

CANCER: DEMYSTIFYING THE MENACE 1

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Well, today is cancer day and I thought it wise to bring to you guys a lay-mans summary of cancer; something that explains it in terms you guys would be able to relate easier to. Here you go:

Defining Cancer

Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.
Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start – for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins inmelanocytesof the skin is called melanoma.
Cancer types can be grouped into broader categories. The main categories of cancer include:
  • Carcinoma– cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs. There are a number of subtypes of carcinoma, includingadenocarcinoma,basal cell carcinoma,squamous cell carcinoma, andtransitional cellcarcinoma.
  • Sarcoma– cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
  • Leukemia– cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
  • Lymphoma and myeloma– cancers that begin in the cells of theimmune system.
  • Central nervous system cancers– cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.
Cancers are often referred to by terms that contain a prefix related to the cell type in which the cancer originated and a suffix such as -sarcoma, -carcinoma, or just -oma. Common prefixes include:
  • Adeno- = gland
  • Chondro- = cartilage
  • Erythro- = red blood cell
  • Hemangio- = blood vessels
  • Hepato- = liver
  • Lipo- = fat
  • Lympho- = white blood cell
  • Melano- = pigment cell
  • Myelo- = bone marrow
  • Myo- = muscle
  • Osteo- = bone
  • Uro- = bladder
  • Retino- = eye
  • Neuro- = brain

Origins of Cancer

All cancers begin in cells, the body’s basic unit of life. To understand cancer, it’s helpful to know what happens when normal cells become cancer cells.
The body is made up of many types of cells. These cells grow and divide in a controlled way to produce more cells as they are needed to keep the body healthy. When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells.
However, sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producingmutationsthat affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called atumor.
Image titled Loss of Normal Growth Control. The image shows normal cell division and normal cell suicide or apoptosis of a damaged cell. It also shows cancer cell division, through several mutation stages, ending in uncontrolled growth.
(Image from Understanding Cancer Series: Cancer.)
Not all tumors are cancerous; tumors can be benign or malignant.
  • Benign tumorsaren’t cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Malignant tumorsare cancerous. Cells in these tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis.
Some cancers do not form tumors. For example, leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood.

What are the symptoms of cancer?

Cancer symptoms are quite varied and depend on where the cancer is located, where it has spread, and how big the tumor is. Some cancers can be felt or seen through the skin – a lump on the breast or testicle can be an indicator of cancer in those locations. Skin cancer (melanoma) is often noted by a change in a wart or mole on the skin. Some oral cancers present white patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue.
Other cancers have symptoms that are less physically apparent. Some brain tumors tend to present symptoms early in the disease as they affect important cognitive functions. Pancreas cancers are usually too small to cause symptoms until they cause pain by pushing against nearby nerves or interfere with liver function to cause a yellowing of the skin and eyes called jaundice. Symptoms also can be created as a tumor grows and pushes against organs and blood vessels. For example, colon cancers lead to symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and changes in stool size. Bladder or prostate cancers cause changes in bladder function such as more frequent or infrequent urination.
As cancer cells use the body’s energy and interfere with normal hormone function, it is possible to present symptoms such as fever, fatigue, excessive sweating, anemia, and unexplained weight loss. However, these symptoms are common in several other maladies as well. For example, coughing and hoarseness can point to lung or throat cancer as well as several other conditions.
When cancer spreads, or metastasizes, additional symptoms can present themselves in the newly affected area. Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes are common and likely to be present early. If cancer spreads to the brain, patients may experience vertigo, headaches, or seizures. Spreading to the lungs may cause coughing and shortness of breath. In addition, the liver may become enlarged and cause jaundice and bones can become painful, brittle, and break easily. Symptoms of metastasis ultimately depend on the location to which the cancer has spread.
How cancer spreads
scientists reported inNature Communications(October 2012 issue) that they havediscovered an important clue as to why cancer cells spread. It has something to do with their adhesion (stickiness) properties. Certain molecular interactions between cells and the scaffolding that holds them in place (extracellular matrix) cause them to become unstuck at the original tumor site, they become dislodged, move on and then reattach themselves at a new site.
The researchers say this discovery is important because cancer mortality is mainly due to metastatic tumors, those that grow from cells that have traveled from their original site to another part of the body. Only 10% of cancer deaths are caused by the primary tumors.
The scientists, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, say that finding a way to stop cancer cells from sticking to new sites could interfere with metastatic disease, and halt the growth of secondary tumors.

How is cancer diagnosed and staged?

Early detection of cancer can greatly improve the odds of successful treatment and survival. Physicians use information from symptoms and several other procedures to diagnose cancer. Imaging techniques such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, PET scans, and ultrasound scans are used regularly in order to detect where a tumor is located and what organs may be affected by it. Doctors may also conduct an endoscopy, which is a procedure that uses a thin tube with a camera and light at one end, to look for abnormalities inside the body.
Cancer testing
Extracting cancer cells and looking at them under a microscope is the only absolute way to diagnose cancer. This procedure is called a biopsy. Other types of molecular diagnostic tests are frequently employed as well. Physicians will analyze your body’s sugars, fats, proteins, and DNA at the molecular level. For example, cancerous prostate cells release a higher level of a chemical called PSA (prostate-specific antigen) into the bloodstream that can be detected by a blood test. Molecular diagnostics, biopsies, and imaging techniques are all used together to diagnose cancer.
After a diagnosis is made, doctors find out how far the cancer has spread and determine the stage of the cancer. The stage determines which choices will be available for treatment and informs prognoses. The most common cancer staging method is called the TNM system. T (1-4) indicates the size and direct extent of the primary tumor, N (0-3) indicates the degree to which the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and M (0-1) indicates whether the cancer has metastasized to other organs in the body. A small tumor that has not spread to lymph nodes or distant organs may be staged as (T1, N0, M0), for example.
TNM descriptions then lead to a simpler categorization of stages, from 0 to 4, where lower numbers indicate that the cancer has spread less. While most Stage 1 tumors are curable, most Stage 4 tumors are inoperable or untreatable.

How is cancer treated?

Cancer treatment depends on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer (how much it has spread), age, health status, and additional personal characteristics. There is no single treatment for cancer, and patients often receive a combination of therapies and palliative care. Treatments usually fall into one of the following categories: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, or gene therapy.
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