Aetiology and Management of Cancer Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

This is related to bronchitis, asthma and long-term conditions such as lung cancer and bladder cancer (Robinson, 2009).

It is estimated that the chances of getting bladder cancer is high for ex-smokers and passive smokers even after thirty years later. This brings us to the question of management of bladder cancer for current and ex-smokers as well as passive smokers.

The management of bladder cancer is a three-pronged approach that involves reducing the progression of the disease, protecting the bladder and increasing the chances of survival. The course of treatment depends to a large extent on the stage of the cancer. During the earlier stages, surgery, trans urethral resection, intravesical chemotherapy and immunotherapy are used to contain the disease and prevent it from progressing further. The malignant areas are treated with one of the above procedures to remove the tumor. In the case of a more advanced stage, radical cystectomy or the complete removal of bladder is done to remove it completely from the system. Though the bladder cancer treatments are effective in most cases, it nevertheless has some side effects such as frequency of urination and severe pain during urination.

In short, bladder cancer is a preventable and treatable disease provided people understand the problems associated with smoking and refrain from it all together. More importantly, the smoke should be kept away from young children because of their increased vulnerability to second-hand smoke.

Another cancer caused by smoking is prostate cancer. It is estimated to have caused 28,000 deaths in 2008 and adds 186,000 new cases every year (Huncharek et al., 2010). Smoking is considered to be one of the major causes of prostate cancer because it contains a carcinogen called N-nitroso. Among male smokers, this carcinogen disrupts the hormonal balance and causes an increase in andosterone and testosterone. As a result, this increases the chances of prostate cancer and also helps the disease to progress faster. A study shows that prostate cancer progressed consistently faster at a rate between 9% to 30% among male smokers who were diagnosed with it. It also showed that the disease progressed faster among smokers than non-smokers. Mortality studies also show that smoking increased serum estrogen metabolites that induced an aggressive tumor phenotype and in turn, this increased the speed of prostate cancer and its resultant death (Huncharek et al., 2010).

Lung cancer and smoking are closely related. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer and it causes the most number of deaths in the U.S. every year. Most of these lung cancer deaths occur due to smoking or exposure to second hand smoke.

In the U.S., many states have taken considerable measures to discourage smoking, encourage cessation and many communities have provided support for those who are looking to quit. Tobacco excise rates have been consistently rising in all the states and smoke-free laws in public places have been implemented successfully by most states. It is estimated that the states will collect a total of $25.3 billion in tobacco excise taxes This has worked well because the U.S. has seen a reduction in the overall rate of cancer with significant improvements in the western states of the U.S. (Henley et al., 2011).

Nicotine is a habit that is hard to break, but not impossible. It depends to a large extent on spreading awareness about the negative effects of smoking so that people know what they are subjecting their body to. They should be encouraged to take steps to live a healthier life and the Government as well as the local community should join hands to provide support to the people who are looking to break out of this habit. Through these practices, it is possible to change the smoking habits of a good percentage of smokers.

While the environment including smoking is one part of the aetiology of cancer, improper diet and a sedentary lifestyle are another. It is estimated that human beings eat two to three pounds of food every day and this makes it one of the biggest forms of contact with the environment.

Three food ingredients are associated with human cancer and they are alcoholic beverages, salted foods and aflatoxins. The alcoholic beverages cause a wide range of cancers such as those of the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, oesophagus and liver. Aflatoxin causes Hepatocellular carcinoma while salted and preserved foods contribute to gastric cancer. The salted fish, primarily consumed in Chinese cuisine, leads to nasopharyngeal cancer (Montesano and Hall, 2001).

One of the best ways to manage cancer is to consume fruits and vegetables in the right proportions because they have the natural vitamins and minerals needed to protect the body from cancer. It boosts the immunity system and helps the body to stave off malignant tumors before they become harmful. Research has shown that each of the foods found in nature have the power to protect against certain forms of cancer.

So, how do fruits and vegetables protect us from cancer? The growth of a cancerous tumor has three broad stages and they are initiation, promotion and progression. In the first stage, some agents act on the cancerous cells found in our DNA and this makes them active. Active cancerous cells thrive fast and this initiates the tumor in the body. The presence of these agents and their impact on the DNA cells can be limited by antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Lycophene in tomatoes, polyphenols in green tea and beta-carotene in carrots have the power to break this initiation phase.

The second step in cancer is the promotion of the cancerous cells formed in the first phase. When the body's defense mechanism fails, the cells divide rapidly and one of the foods that accelerate this growth is the omega-6 fatty acids. Oil, meat, salad dressing, mayonnaise, butter, shortening, and pork contain omega-6 and so, excessive intake of these foods can trigger the growth of cancerous cells. Research has shown that tumor cells thrive on these omega-6 fatty acids. One way to cut back on the promotion and division of these cells is to reduce omega-6 foods and instead consume large amount of omega-3 fatty acids found mainly in fish and flax seeds. Also, omega-6 causes estrogen to multiply rapidly in women and this means a higher chance of breast cancer.

Soy foods are one of the best foods in nature and they weaken estrogen, the primary hormone that is known to increase the incidence of breast cancer. All soy foods contain isoflavones -- the component that bonds with cell receptors and reduces cell division, thereby reducing the chances of cancerous tumors. The best part about these foods is that it is all natural and there are no side-effects associated with it. In a case study conducted among Chinese women, half of them were given foods rich in soy while the other half were given foods low in soy and it was found that women who consumed high soy diet had a lower chance of breast cancer than the other group (Cowley et al., 2008).

The third step in cancer is progression where the tumor rapidly spreads and invades the healthy tissues. The tumor cells also promote the growth of new blood vessels in a process known as angiogenesis. To limit the damage in this step, cox-2 inhibitors and curcumin found in turmeric are known to help. The super foods found in nature such as rosemary, carrots and grapes contain a substance called Cox-2 inhibitors that have shown to reduce the incidence of cancer. They eliminate the factors that induce tumorous growth and this means, the chances for the progression of any kind of tumor is greatly reduced. High fiber fights against colon cancer and this is present in large amounts in beans while sulforophane, the substance found in vegetables such as broccoli has cancer-fighting enzymes that can keep this disease at bay. In short, these foods are an example of how fruits and vegetables found in nature have the power to fight against all kinds of cancer.

However, a good diet alone is not sufficient to keep cancer away. It is the beginning of a healthy lifestyle that includes consumption of the right foods along with a regular physical exercise. This helps to maintain a healthy weight and also a perfect immunity system and this greatly reduces the chances of the occurrence and progression of any form of cancer. Other healthy lifestyle options such as staying away from smoking and alcohol also help in a big way to fight against cancer.

Other than the environment, smoking and diet, another important and yet often overlooked factor is the mind. The psychological reasons play a big role in causing and managing major diseases such as cancer.

The psychological factors coupled with trauma that the patients had experienced during their childhood play a role in the occurrence of cancer. In a study on breast cancer, psychologists interviewed the patients who were admitted for a breast biopsy and they were able to predict the…

Sources Used in Documents:


Cancer Research UK. (2011). Cancer in the UK: April 2011. Retrieved from

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Abrahamson; Seligman; Teasdale. (1978). Learned Helplessness in Humans: Critique and Reformulation. Abnormal Psychology. Vol 87. pp 49-74.

McAllister, Robert. (May 1974). Viral Etiology of Cancer: Two Hypotheses with relevance to chemical exposure. Pediatrics. Vol 53 (5). pp826.

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