Written by John H. Akhavan, M.D.How to prevent cancer ?(in english) (in persian)
What is the "Whole Medicine"?
We need more Doctors like Dr. Andrews Weil
to improve people's health. Conventional Physicians in the United States
have deteriorated to the level of "Technicians", mostly prescribing
drugs and performing surgery while "Whole Medicine" should include
disease prevention, health promotion and healing practices. Ancient Persian
physicians (Hakim) like Bu Ali Sina (Avecina) were expert in philosophy, poetry,
religion even physic and chemistry. They knew that more than 90% of people's
diseases could be prevented and healed without the help of drugs or surgery.
Their belief in the healing power of physician was a big factor in healing
their patients. Although they didn't know about DNA's repair phenomenon, they
were cognizant of the mind's power over the body and its behaviour.
Let us help Dr. Weil in his effort to revitalize the US medicine.
(Some of Dr. Weil's writings are included in this discussion, with appreciation)
How to prevent cancer ?
Cancer is a fatal disease with ever increasing occurance. Though we don't have any cure for it yet, recently , there has been some progress in the etiology of cancer and how to prevent it.
Malignancy forms in three phases:
When carcinoges are causing too many mutations, intra-cellulary mechanism becomes overwhelmed and ineffective. For the first time, years ago, it was noted that exposure to the coal tar could cause cancer.Nowadays we can test any suspecious agent in the lab to find out if it is carcinogen. In general any agent capable of causing DNA damages and mutations is likely to increase the risk of cancer. The most dangerous carcinogens are:
Free radicals, anti-oxidants and their role in malignancy:
The theory that free radicals have the potential to damage DNA causing mutations that can initiate malignant transformation, also harming the immune system, has led researchers to look for ways to neutralize them. Actually the body has its own biochemical mechanisms that scavenge free radicalls. We can help the body in its task by supplying it with natural substances that act as antioxidants. These substances block the chemical reactions that generate free radicalls in the first place and can help destroy already formed ones. Some of the safest and most effective antioxidants are familiar vitamins and minerals required in human nutrition:
In phase 2 and 3 the immune system has the vital role of combating
the cancer and the healthier immune system the better chance of not getting
cancer. Our immune system is our interface with the environment. If it
is healthy and doing its job right, we can interact with germs and not
get infections, with allergens and not have allergic reactions, and with
carcinogens and not get cancer. A healthy immune system is the cornerstone
of good general health. Its problems are of two general sorts: underactivity,
which predisposes to infections and cancer, and overactivity, which predisposes
to allergies and autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is a disease process in which
the immune system attacks the body's own tissues.
The immune system comprises the tonsils and adenoids, the thymus gland, the lymph nodes throughout the body, the bone marrow, the circulating white blood cells and other cells that leave blood vessels and migrate through tissues and the lymphatic circulation, the spleen, the appendix, and patches of lymphoid tissue in the intestinal tract. The essential job of this system is to distinguish self from not-self, to recognize and take appropriate action against any materials that ought not to be in the body, including abnormal and damaged components. For example, it can seek out and destroy disease germs and cells infected by germs, as well as recognize and destroy tumor cells.
In deciding what belongs in the body and what does not, the immune system pays particular attention to details of protein chemistry, because of all the molecules that make up living organisms, proteins are the most distinctive and the most specialized. Like the nervous system, the immune system is capable of learning. It analyzes its experiences, remembers them, and passes them on to future generations of cells. Because its tissues are very active and very involved in processing information, its cells divide very rapidly and so, as you learned in the last chapter, are unusually susceptible to injury by types of energy and matter that can alter (mutate) DNA. All of the recommendations I gave you for decreasing your risks of cancer also hold for protecting your immune system.
Here are some further guidelines:
Why weight management?
Diseases of dietary excess and imbalance rank among the leading causes of ilness and death in the United State. According to the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Diet and Health, high-fat diet are linked to five of the 10 leading causes of death. You owe it to yourself and your family to live and eat smart.
Weight management is important to all people regardless of shape, size, or background. Smart nutrition(with an average of 20% or less fat calories from your total caloric intake), exercise and supplementation plays a vital role in a realistic weight management lifestyle system.
United States' Health System in jeopardy, this is an unpleasant opinion of many medical scholars whose voices are not heard clearly by the society. I read a Commentary by the Editor-in-Chief ofthe New England Journal of Medicine which was very similar to my views so I am very pleased to bring to everyone's attention some of his warnings. He writes:
Physicians have adhered to a distinguished code of professional behavior
for centuries. The recent dramatic changes in the system of health care
threaten this noble heritage and tempt us to abandon these principles
at a time when preserving them is more important than ever.
This is arguably the most tumultuous time in the history of medicine in the United States'. Because of the enormous cost of care and the political ineptitude of our national leaders, the delivery of care is in a volcanic state, reforming itself day by day under market forces. Instead of yesterday's familiar and comfortable model of one patient and one physician, we now have market-driven health care with vertically integrated systems, massive health maintenance organizations, huge for-profit conglomerates with money hungry stockholders, and armies of health care lawyers and consultants.
At the same time, the amount of money that reaches physicians for the care they provide is shrinking. Less money is available from the government, employers, and insurers, and some is globbled up by the new participants in health care. As the dollars available for patient care shrinks, the temptation for physicians to maintain their income grows, and in this environment difficult conflicts of interest emerge. Let me consider only two, both of which threaten physicians' integrity and professionalism. The first is a familiar one-- an arrangement in which physicians benefit financially from referring patients to facilities the physicians partly owns such as laboratories or radiation therapy centers. The second, more important one, is a consequence of the change from fee-for-service medicine to a system that rewards physicians for restricting services. In this new arrangement, physicians' loyalty to patients is threatened. As managed care takes over in a community, some physicians are forced to join managed-care organizations or risk being left with few patients. When physicians join, they may be compelled to sign contracts that contain "no cause" nonrenewal clauses. Then their contracts can be terminated for any reason at all. In addition, some companies' contracts contain nondisclosure clauses that forbid physicians to tell their patients what a plan does or does not offer. Physicians under such restrictions can easily be torn between their loyalty to their patients and their loyalty to their families, because with one or two false moves they can be out of their job.
Tese divided loyalties that threaten physicians' livelihood is wrenching. The incentive for physicians to keep their jobs may be so strong that they may no longer be willing to act exclusively as patients' advocates. They may even be unwilling to advocate for a patient with management when they think that a given service is needed but is being restricted inappropriately. Physicians placed in this position simply cannot tolerate it, and that can produce an even greater threar--namely, a loss of their integrity. Soon some of them will find themselves conforming to the restrictions and deceiving themselves that what they are doing is best for the patient. In short, they will be living a lie.
These are some of the realities that threaten the preservation of medicine's noble heritage. Our ethical standards, which have evolved over two millinnia, never envisioned a market-driven health care system with incentives to undertreat patients. As members of our profession, we alone must be its keepers. We must continue to be vigilant in case the consequences of our market-driven delivery system go too far and prevent us from giving the kind of care we think appropriate.
Free Radicals are unstable molecules(mainly oxygen molecules) or molecular fragments which are highly reactive because they contains one or more unpaired electrons.They try to stabilize their unpaired electron by "stealing" an electron from a neighboring molecule. This can set up a chain reaction as each succeeding molecule is made reactive which then tries to stabilize itself. Free radicals do a lot of damage to the body structures, attacking cell membranes and even the DNA that regenerates those cells. This in turn may be the cause of many diseases like Cancer, Auto-immune Diseases, Arthritis and even Senility disorders. Once free radicals are produced, they mutiply geometrically by chain reactions unless they are quenched by antioxidants or other free-radical scavengers.
Antioxidants are compounds that react easily with oxygen and thus protect neighboring compounds from damaging reactions of oxydizing free radicals. However, they do more than that. They help repair tissiues by improving and stabilizing the skin protein (collagen) and improving the condition of arteries and capillaries.
There are four biochemical properties :
1 - Free-radical scavenging,
2 - Collagen binding
3 - Inhibition of inflammatory enzymes, and
4 - Inhibition of histamine formation.
of these substances that are responsible for their many benefits: