why so many cancer charities?

Every day we hear another story about Cancer.

We are constantly being told that eating, drinking, smoking, breathing, or just being alive all cause Cancer.
It has become a huge industry, with seemingly new cancer charities opening daily and it is becoming a nuisance.

There are three main ways you can die apart from accidents and murder: your heart can be stopped, a blood vessel bursts, or you get a cancer.
The first two are usually quick and people don’t see you suffering much.
Cancer is nasty because it is slow, hurting you and those around you.
It is the form of death which concerns / worries / scares most people, when they think of dying.

It is more concerning when you get older, because you will have met death many times amongst those you have known and a third of them will have died of Cancer.
I make a point of making it a single issue, although it comes in many guises and from many alleged causes.
As an older, educated person, I have read around a lot of cases and explanations and research aspects and I’ve formed my own summation of what it is.
Firstly; I’ve noted that it is related to cell division, which, in turn, is related to ageing.
Next; I notice that amoeba alive Today are almost certainly identical to the very first amoeba, so it’s not just about division (mitosis). The main difference is that when our cells divide the DNA is not faithfully duplicated. For some reason a section of the DNA, known as telomere’s, shortens at each division, causing cells to “age”. By this I mean that the cell walls thicken and become less able to take in nutrients and excrete wastes.
This ageing means that the cell walls are less flexible and, for instance, skin wrinkles, muscles lose strength, eye’s and sphincter’s weaken and blood vessels become more likely to burst.
It also means cells becoming starved of nutrients causing male balding, hair turning gray etc.
With the endocrine glands, it means that they are less able to push out the various hormones, which allow our organs to function in concert.

So getting back to cancer, what causes it?
Start by thinking about what it is.   A cancer starts with a damaged cell reproducing but unable to carry out its proper function. Take a skin cell. Its job is to fit itself into place in the skin an act as a barrier to invader’s. If it’s damaged it sits where it is and divides its clones, which continue to divide forming a cluster of like cells.
Note that not all damaged cells do this. Usually, they are identified as damaged, by other cells, and triggered to self destruct; bursting in a process called apoptosis. It is rare that this cell death doesn’t work. There is some evidence that is genetically determined and this might be a key point of attack on all cancer’s.
Where the cells have escaped apoptosis and formed a lump, they may not be a problem. The body treats the cancer tissue the same as any other supplying it with blood vessels to feed it nutrients and remove its wastes. The lump(tumour) may just grow bigger and bigger until a surgeon cuts it out. It may squeeze its own bloody supply and die, or wither until blood flows again. On a personal note, I was told my maternal grandfather had such a tumour on his back, which was no problem until a workmate, congratulating him on his retirement, slapped him on his back.
That story might just be just a bit of gallows humour but it points up the real danger of cancer. Cancer can spread (metastasis). Any cell which breaks away from the lump can drift off in the blood stream, or through the lymphatic system , and lodge up elsewhere. depending on the nature of the cancer cell (a corrupted skin cell, or a corrupted liver cell etc.), it may form numerous tumours around the body, making it difficult for any surgeon to find and destroy them, without others being created. Then, again, it only needs one tumour in the right place to cause fatal damage. With lung cancer, a lump grows in the lung and prevents air getting in. If it’s just one lung, then that one can be removed but if it’s blocking both lobes then it effectively suffocates you, very slowly. (TB, asbestosis etc. are similar but slower). If the cancer lodges in the bladder then, without surgery, the bladder can burst etc. Invariably it’s not the death that frightens, it’s the pain and manner of death, which is why many opt for euthanasia.
So! What causes cancer?   Anything that damages cells.
Radio-activity can be thought of as like tiny bullets passing through the body. Mostly the damage is of no consequence like blasting mosquito’s with a shotgun. You may kill a few, you’ll miss most but you could singe the wing of one. i.e. damage it, so it flies in circles.
Ultra-violet can’t penetrate the skin but can affect the outer layers in the same way as radio-activity.
Anything which can kill cells can cause a cancer, e.g. exposure to chemicals, or even constant rubbing, or persistant infections.
If the genetic pre-disposition is there, then it’s mainly a question of how many shotgun blasts you suffer.
The longer you live, the more likely you are to get enough shotgun blasts and that’s compounded by ageing cells being more prone to damage.

One last cause, which I read about is damage during normal mitosis, where the chromosomes are replicating. There has been a suggestion that radio waves, of the appropriate frequency, can upset the process and that this could be the case with mobile phones held close to the body e.g. the ear. (it’s not the incoming radio waves but the weak “echoes” created by the phone). This could be a problem for those under 21, whose bodies are still growing, particularly the very young, where there is a greater degree of cell division.

So moral, is get the cancer charities to join up and focus on the commonalities, rather than the differences. The fact that cancer rates are universal but the actual cancer’s vary from country to country, suggest that focussing efforts on a particular type of cancer may not reduce suffering.

People can reduce their own risk of a particular type of cancer by reducing exposure to any one particular cause but they should treat the situation like crossing the road. You take care, when crossing but start campaigning for more “traffic calming”, every time you have a near miss.

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