Cancer and Its Treatment
World statistics of cancer incidence are rising each year; on average cancer affects 15 million people annually. Cancer cells are present in the human body without any symptoms, but tumor growth is instigated by many adverse factors such as unhealthy lifestyle, toxins or radiation from the environment.
The immune system is essential to fight cancer; its power and resistance are associated with lifestyle. Some scientists have recently highlighted that cancer treatment leads to a mere removal of a problem – tumor, but the cause of the disease remains – a weak immune system. Hence it is important to consider a lifestyle change while being treated for cancer, and to enhance immunity – by healthy diet, regular and adequate exercise, or using high quality natural food supplements if required. Detoxification methods are also recommended as they remove toxic heavy metals, fungi and other unwanted harmful substances from the body. We live in a highly polluted environment which affects us, and our food hardly ever contains all essentials despite its best choice. Finally, it is important to take a responsible and positive approach to one’s own life and health.
No herb, drug or a treatment procedure alone can defeat cancer. The most important as well as powerful and the most natural component in fighting against cancer is the body’s defence system – immunity. Its role in terms of cancer is crucial. A healthy immune system can cope with potentially dangerous microorganisms from our environment, and fight off foreign or damaged cells inside our bodies. If functioning well, it can cope with cancer, but the modern lifestyle and polluted environment weaken the immune system making it unable to act adequately. When the immune system is dealing with several problems at once, the growing tumor may escape its attention. However, the tumor grows within a short while and the immune system has only a limited capacity for its destruction, so it always eliminates it only partially. In this way the tumor can survive.
If the immune system succumbs to the negative factors, we fall ill. Nowadays, many diseases are solved by medications; we rely on them as a “quick fix”. By this we are not doing to our bodies any favour.
Cancer cells are very specific. They commonly appear as a result of free radicals combined with carcinogenic effects of diet and external environment that may alter DNA of a healthy cell causing its mutation. This mutation process disables apoptosis (controlled cell death) and cancer cells void of any intervention (medically controlled treatment or support to natural anti-cancer immunity) continue to grow, get stronger and make the body exhausted. As cancer cells arise from the body’s own cells, they can remain invisible to own immune system for a long time, often using this for their own benefits at first. In combating cancer the collaboration of all cells of the immune system is essential, because some of them respond to certain cancer cells (antigen-specific) while others do not; therefore all leukocytes should be reinforced adequately. Fighting cancer is very tiring for white blood cells, they die shortly afterwards, so their numbers must be high enough in order to win.
Some of the most significant white blood cells contributing to anti-cancer immunity are T-cells, specifically their subtypes CD4+ a CD8+, and each of their groups acts differently. CD4+Th1 can warn about cancer cells by stimulating inflammation nearby and thus arousing the immune system to react. They work closely with macrophages, other important white blood cells that perform phagocytosis (cell ingestion). Macrophages are able to regulate inflammation, and be cytotoxic (kill) to subsequently remove dead cells. CD4+Th1 together with CD8+ instigate a stronger “alarm” than if working independently, and they can prolong CD8+ life span.
CD4+Th2 cells react to foreign substances and act as major helpers to B-cells contributing to a so called antibody immunity (producing antibodies). A stage of the disease may be identified according to CD4+Th2 numbers – the longer the disease, the higher the number. But this is to the detriment of CD4+Th1 as their activity (cancer warning) is paramount against cancer cells. Without them the antibodies generated do not know where to intervene.
CD8+ are primary conductors of apoptosis, a natural and vital process of controlled cell death necessary to eliminate unwanted or damaged cells. Apoptosis may be spontaneous (it limits numbers of excess cells or destroys old cells), or it can be a subject to pathological stimulus (e.g. diseased cell, chemotherapy). Apoptosis results in cellular disintegration into small particles, and phagocytosis; so there is no necrosis (death) and no subsequent inflammation as in erroneous cell death.
The immune system is not omnipotent; nonetheless its use against diseases is the most natural option. Unfortunately, the standard treatment using cytostatics (chemotherapy) or radiation (radiotherapy) significantly reduces the ability of the body’s immune response (anti-infective immunity). As such it puts a great strain on the immune system. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy causes so much damage that without the external help – healthy diet and complementary therapies, the immune system struggles to fight cancer effectively, and this impacts other infections attacking the body too. Sadly, only a few doctors provide this information. To conclude, continue the standard treatment against cancer, but to increase its effectiveness and the quality of life start changing your lifestyle approach.