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April 21, 2018  |  Login
by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
Toxins That Cause Cell DNA Damage

  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Toxic metals
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Metabolites of poor digestion and elimination
  • Radiation


Almost all the cells in our bodies must be replaced on a regular basis. Some cells, like those that make up the intestinal lining, die out quickly and are replaced every few days. In other parts of the body, the cells live for years before they divide and form new ones. Under special circumstances, such as an injury or an illness, healthy new cells may grow more quickly than usual to replace those that are damaged. When the area is healed, the cell growth slows back down to its normal rate.

Normally, the genes that control the growth of cells automatically know when to start and stop the replication process. But when those genes are mutated-perhaps because of an inherited flaw, or more commonly, because of dietary and environmental factorsmay begin to multiply and divide at an unusually fast rate. Eventually, these cells form a lump. Sometimes lumps are benign (meaning that they are noncancerous and relatively harmless), as in the case of warts or uterine fibroids. Other growths, however, are malignant They pull nutrients away from the healthy tissues that surround them, and they interfere with the body's normal functions, to a potentially life-threatening extent. If a tumor continues to grow, its cells may spread via the blood vessels or the lymphatic system to other parts of the body, where they form new tumors. Once this process, called metastasis, is underway, there is a risk of dying from the complications that can occur. Although many cancers can be treated successfully when caught early, the sad fact remains that they are the second-leading cause of death in the United States. Every minute, another person dies of some form of the disease.

The word cancer refers to the process of uncontrolled cell division, but, technically, it is not, in itself, the name of a specific disorder. Instead, cancer is an umbrella term that refers to more than one hundred different kinds of diseases, which are generally named according to the area where a tumor first appears. In men, prostate cancer is most common; in women, breast cancer is most frequent. But both of these cancers can be highly treatable when caught early. Lung cancer is common and one of the deadliest. Cancer also tends to strike the skin, the urinary tract, the colorectal region, and the female reproductive organs, although it can attack anywhere. It's beyond the scope of this  site to discuss each individual type of cancer, but the suggestions here apply to anyone who is fighting off a tumor, wants to keep a cancer in remission, or hopes to avoid developing cancer in the first place. We also have recommendations on what to take if you are undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation, to reduce side effects and optimize immune function, as well as outcome.

Recommended Screening Tests for Cancer

Regular screening tests can help you and your doctor detect any cancerous growths at the earliest possible stage. When cancer is caught early, your chances of healing rise dramatically. Early detection also gives you a broader range of treatment options, along with more time to consider the ones that are right for you.

Breast exams and mammograms: Every woman should practice a monthly self-examination of her breasts. If you find any kind of change-a lump, dimpling of the skin, a swelling, an unexplained discharge from the nipples, or a rash-contact your doctor. In addition to self-exams, women should get a yearly breast examination by a health-care professional. And women over forty should receive mammograms as directed by their doctors. more

Next: What are the Symptoms of Cancer

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