"Being right does matter - and the science tribe has a long track record of getting things right in the end. Modern society is built on things it got right" - Joel Achenbach

Friday, 13 March 2015

Why diet and lifestyle won't cure your cancer, part 3

Where am I going with this, you might ask?

The point of all of the information thus far is to bring across the point that cancer is not a foreign pathogen which has invaded the body, it is your own cells. Even with all of the mutations which separate it from its siblings, any cancer will be almost identical to its siblings in terms of the genetic makeup of the cell.

Since the mechanism which normally prevents this sort of thing is contained within each individual cell, and each cell can only use this mechanism on itself, there is no way for the body to destroy a cancer cell from the outside.

This is why cancer is such a terrible disease, and why we haven't found a definitive, 100% effective cure yet. We aren't trying to kill a foreign pathogen, we're trying to find a way to kill you, but only the parts of you which are cancerous, which are almost identical to the rest of you.

Many claims made by alternative health 'practitioners', and specifically the diet-related ones, are that the source of cancers are dietary or environmental and therefore the cure is dietary; this does not follow from reality.
While it's true that mutations can be brought on by exposure to things which specifically mutate DNA (radiation, alcohol, chemicals both naturally occurring and manufactured), once you've received that initial mutation to the self-repairing mechanism that cell is essentially a ticking time bomb.

Treatment not only needs to selectively target these cells over non-cancerous cells, but it needs to do so reliably and thoroughly otherwise the cancer will simply reform.
Excision (cutting the tumour out), radiotherapy and chemotherapy are currently some of our best means of treating tumours.

The reason that these are the only effective means is that, although we can easily kill cancerous cells within laboratory conditions, it is far more difficult to selectively kill the certain cancerous cells within a patient's body which are surrounded by millions of near-identical, non-cancerous cells.
These treatments are effective is because they ignore the DNA and instead target the way cancerous cells act which distinguish them from normal cells (e.g. rapid replication). I could devote several pages to describing how each of these treatments work and I may do so one day, but the point to realise is that any successful treatment for cancer must fulfil these specific criteria.

How then, do alternative treatments work? How could the exclusion of mutation-causing chemicals in your body, or a change in your daily routine fix pre-existing mutations which your own body or even modern medicine can't fix? Failing that, how can these techniques induce cell suicide in ONLY the cancerous cells?
The simple answer is that there is no evidence at all to suggest that they can and no reliably documented case that they ever have, yet proponents always assure the consumer that their treatment is effective.

These 'alternative' treatments are not effective, and people have died chasing this false dream sold to them by a salesperson.

Once you have a cancer, any attempt at fixing your diet or lifestyle is doing nothing but limiting mutations from occurring, it won't make the cancer go away.
This is the awful truth of cancer, and I don't relish the idea of breaking it to anybody who either has or may in the future have cancer (1 in 3, remember?).

All I have left to say is simply that there is hope, your surgeons and doctors can help you and will do everything in their power to cure your disease, but you must trust them and be wary that you will encounter people who will attempt to lure you in with false hopes and promises of a cure.

These people cannot cure you, they barely understand the disease they're talking about.

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