Mind over Cancer
While many believe that Cancer is an inherited genetic condition, they will be surprised to learn that it is only a tiny % of what causes Cancer. Nearly 75–80% of Cancer is due to environmental, lifestyle, or behavioral reasons.
Cancer is a condition that occurs due to ‘DNA damage’ or ‘Genomic Instability.’ Both of these are due to exogenous exposures (outside causes)
- 30% of Cancer is exposure to tobacco or physical agents (Even if you are a passive smoker)
- 30–35% on your diet and obesity
- 15–20% is radiative (Sun, ionizing and non-ionizing)
Stress is also considered a significant precursor to Cancer. Among all things, diet and stress can cause accumulation of DNA damage as you age and, before you know it, can turn Canceareous.
DNA damage to human cells occurs about 60,000 times daily (on average). If you do not get enough sleep, have a good diet, and stress a lot, your system will not have time to catch up and repair these damages as you age.
The exact modality of Cancer is complex. Maybe up to 25 years, your body can take the abuse you are subjecting it through. But once you are 25+, your diet and lifestyle can significantly impact your Gene Regulatory Network and cause many unwanted side effects, including Cancer.
To get a bit technical, DNA damages are a major problem as cells make large investments in DNA repair processes. Repairing just one double-strand break could require more than 10,000 ATP molecules, as used in signaling the presence of the damage, the generation of repair foci, and the formation (in humans) of the RAD51 nucleofilament (an intermediate in homologous recombinational repair).
Damage to DNA that occurs naturally can result from metabolic or hydrolytic processes. Metabolism releases compounds that damage DNA, including reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, reactive carbonyl species, lipid peroxidation products, and alkylating agents. At the same time, hydrolysis cleaves chemical bonds in DNA.
Naturally occurring oxidative DNA damage arises 10,000 times per cell per day in humans. Oxidative DNA damage can produce more than 20 types of altered bases as well as single-strand breaks.
In plain speak, undoing the damage costs a lot more work than prevention. So make some healthy choices, as this is entirely in your hands.