Great job by Dr. Oz on his last show! He exposed some myths about cancer and did a great job.
Here are the facts about cancer that Dr. Oz and his guests pointed out:
1. Everybody has cancer cells in them.
With a normally functioning immune system, our bodies are able to identify and eliminate these rogue cancer cells. But if our immune system is weakened and/or we are exposed to things like cigarette smoke, excessive sunlight or excessive alcohol, then these tiny cancers can grow and become a potentially life-threatening tumor.
Here are Dr. Oz’s tips to help your body eliminate these tiny cancers before they have a chance to become entrenched and cause major problems:
- Don’t smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke as well.
- Don’t get too much sun exposure
- Don’t drink excessively
- Limit your consumption of preserved meats and charred/well-done meat. (See this post for more details on what you are creating when you char your meat) A great way to decrease the risk presented by well-done or charred meat is to marinate it first for at least an hour (overnight is even better) in a mixture of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Even beer and wine are effective marinades!
2. Cancer can be contagious (sort of)
Certain cancers can be caused by viruses (HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus and Hepatitis B) or bacteria (H. pylori). These viruses can be spread from one person to another, ususally by sexual contact. So in a way you could catch cancer from someone else (or at least the cancer-causing agent).
Dr. Oz did mention that you can get vaccines for HPV and Hepatitis B, but he really should have stressed that practicing safe sex is also extremely important.
H. pylori is thought to be present in 30-40% of the population and can cause ulcers. It is also implicated in stomach cancer. Antibiotics can effectively eradicate H. pylori, but it is not known that this will also prevent the development of stomach cancer.
3. Females should check more than just their breasts when doing a self breast exam.
Since there is breast tissue that extends above, below, and to the sides of the breast, it’s important to expand your search area to include these additional areas where breast cancer can begin. Also, there is a particulary aggressive form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer that doesn’t cause a lump at all, but it does cause a dimpling (like the skin of an orange) and thickening of the skin. See a doctor right away if you notice signs on or near your breasts.
Dr. Oz should have mentioned that men get breast cancer too, and if a man notices a lump or any unusual texture on their chest, he should get it checked out ASAP! Rod Roddy, the former announcer for The Price Is Right, died from breast cancer.
4. Female cancers (breast, ovarian, cervical) can only be passed on to you from your mother or father.
Most cancers have a strong genetic component, and since you inherit half of your genes from your mother and half from your father, both parents can pass on a predisposition for many different types of cancers.
Just because you have a family history of cancer does not mean that you will get cancer. It simply means that your risk is higher than someone without a family history.
Dr. Oz said: Genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger. What this means is that whatever genetics you have, you can reduce your risk of cancer by doing things not smoking, not drinking too much, etc.
I would add that the simplest thing you can do to improve the function of your immune system (thus keeping those cancer cells from growing) is to get a good night’s sleep!
Another immune system booster is Vitamin D. It’s nearly impossible to get enough Vitamin D from food alone, so make sure you are getting either a bit of sun exposure on a regular basis or consider a supplement.
What did you think of this segment? Do you have any cancer-prevention tips that you would like to share? Let me know!
Robert J. Stone