From George Parker’s article,
Natural Protocols for Cancer
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The Development of Cancer
To develop a strategy for the prevention or treatment of cancer one must understand the basic mechanisms by which various anticancer dietary factors prevent or reverse the tumour promotion or progression phases. The process by which normal cells are transformed into cancer cells is known as ‘carcinogenesis’, and there is an acceptable model of three stages a cell goes through to become a malignant cancer cell:
Initiation: This is where the cell damage ‘initially’ occurs. Basically, DNA damage occurs for the first time and is caused by a variety of possible factors such as chemical exposure, radiation (e.g. from sunbaking), viral infection etc. In most instances the initiated cell will die or the genetic alteration will be corrected by DNA repair mechanisms (specific vitamins and enzymes are crucial for repair). However, if the ‘primed’ cell goes through mitosis (cellular division), the genetic alteration becomes ‘fixed’ or permanent.
Promotion: This is associated with the propagation of the initiated cell population but requires continual exposure to the promoting agent. This stage is sensitive to dietary and hormonal factors e.g. estrogens, androgens, mitogens and insulin growth factor. At this stage of development the process is still reversible.
Progression: This is the conversion from benign to malignant and is normally irreversible. It is associated with haphazard growth, invasiveness and metastasis (spreading to other areas of the body). The growth of the altered cell is sensitive to environmental factors. Substances or chemicals that promote the progression are cadmium, ionising radiation, hydrogen peroxide, cisplatin and low tissue oxygen.
Many cancer cells do not metabolise nutrients efficiently. There is an increase in demand for nutrients that must be taken at the expense of the host. Nutritional deficiency states are very prevalent in cancer patients. This may be reflected in the cancer patient being fatigued, prone to poor digestion and infection, poor appetite, depression and a reduced capacity to cope with stress, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Broad-spectrum nutritional supplementation (particularly Niacin, CoQ10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Nicotinamide Adenine dinucleotide and Lipoic Acid) is a must for all cancer patients.
Good nutrition increases the odds for survival. Studies show that people with head and neck cancers who have good nutritional status have a six-fold increase in a 2 year survival rate than those who have poor nutritional status.
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