Our Lifestyle Can Promote Development of Cancer

Cancer is a broad term, which describes the disease that results when cellular changes cause the uncontrolled growth and division of cells. A cell receives instructions to die so that the body can replace it with a newer cell that functions better. Cancerous cells lack the components that instruct them to stop dividing and to die. As a result, they build up in the body, using oxygen and nutrients that would usually nourish other cells.

Cancerous cells can form tumors, impair the immune system and cause other changes that prevent the body from functioning regularly.

Cancerous cells may appear in one area, and then spread via the lymph nodes. These are clusters of immune cells located throughout the body.

According to WHO, the global cancer burden is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018. One in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime and one in 8 men and one in 11 women die from the disease.

There are so many risk factors responsible for causing cancer. Besides biological, environmental and occupational risk factors, lifestyle-related factors also play a significant role in the development of various types of cancer.

Lifestyle factors

Many of the factors potentially influencing our chance of developing cancer come from our lifestyle and our personal choices. This means that we have some control over our exposure to these factors. A number of modifiable lifestyle factors responsible for causing cancer are as follows:

Overweight and obesity –

Globally, it is estimated that 3.6% of all new cancers in adults are attributable to excess bodyweight. Greater body fat has been identified as a probable cause of gallbladder, advanced prostate and ovarian cancers. There is convincing evidence that abdominal obesity increases the risk of colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer, and is a probable cause of pancreatic cancer. Adult weight gain has been identified as a further probable cause of postmenopausal breast cancer. So, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life has clear health benefits and may have an important protective effect against cancer.

Physical inactivity –

Globally, it has been estimated that 135,000 deaths from cancer each year are attributable to physical inactivity. Physical activity protects against certain cancers and also limits weight gain, itself a cause of some cancers.

To reduce risk of cancer, the adults should accumulate 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week. Activity at the upper end of the scale i.e. 300 minutes of moderate / 150 minutes of vigorous is required for the prevention of unhealthy weight gain and some cancers. It is also recommend to minimize the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting and to break up long periods of sitting as often as possible.

Diet –

Worldwide, it has been estimated that 374,000 cancer deaths each year can be attributed to low fruit and vegetable intake.

A varied diet of nutritious foods, including vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products, lean meat, fish and water and limiting intake of foods with saturated fat, added salt and added sugars is recommended. The standard dietary guidelines recommend consuming five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day and limiting meat consumption to 455 g of lean meat per week, i.e. up to 65 g per day.

Tobacco –

WHO identifies tobacco use as the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality worldwide and estimates tobacco use to cause up to 1.5 million cancer deaths each year.

Tobacco smoke has an effect on the wider population through exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. There is also a danger of third-hand smoke. It is the residue of nicotine and other chemicals in the tobacco, which clings to clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces long after smoking has stopped. People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in the off-gassing from these surfaces.

Quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung and other major cancers. Five years after quitting smoking, the risk of mouth, throat, esophageal and bladder cancers is halved and the risk for dying from lung cancer drops by half after 10 years.

Quitting smoking can also contribute to both short and long-term improvements in health, including a drop in heart rate and blood pressure, improved circulation and lung function, and reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. WHO reports that people of all ages, who have already developed smoking-related health problems, can also benefit by quitting smoking.

Alcohol –

WHO has estimated that excess alcohol consumption is responsible for 351,000 cancer deaths internationally each year. The increased risk of cancer commences at a low level and increases with higher levels of alcohol consumption. When taken together, tobacco smoking and alcohol interact synergistically to increase the incidence of cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Generally, it is considered safe to limit consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.

UV radiations –

According to WHO, there were 65,000 melanoma-related deaths internationally in 2000. There is strong evidence that UV-emitting tanning devices (solaria) cause melanoma of the skin and eye and are positively associated with squamous cell skin carcinoma. An increased melanoma risk is associated with solaria use before the age of 30. In order to reduce UV exposure and promote use of sunscreen and protective attire a change of our attitude is required.

Infections –

Globally, an estimated 16.1% of new cancers are attributed to infections. However, estimates vary greatly between regions. According to the World Cancer Report 2008, human papilloma virus, helicobacter pylori, and hepatitis B and C viruses have been identified as the principal infectious agents, accounting internationally for 6.1%, 5.4% and 4.3% of all cancer cases respectively. They cause together 1.9 million cancer cases worldwide.

Therefore, taking adequate preventive measures will go a long way in preventing development of many cancers.

The bottom line –

It has been observed worldwide that incidences of all types of cancers have been steadily increasing, for which a large number of risk factors are responsible. Regardless of all other risk factors, our lifestyle is responsible for the development of many types of cancers. It is worth knowing that most of our lifestyle factors are modifiable. By modifying them appropriately, we can stop the development of many cancers.

5 Risk Factors for Missed Colon Cancer or Polyps During Your Colonoscopy

The first and possibly the most important is an adequate bowel preparation

The ability to see pre-cancer polyps and colon tumors is dependent on you having colon clear of residual stool. This is dependent on you completing the bowel preparation as prescribed as well as drinking lots of supplemental fluid during the prep. All preps require you to fast from solids for a full day before your exam and only drink clear fluids. If you have had a prior poor prep or have tendency to be constipated, take medications or have conditions that slow the movement of your bowels then you may be asked to stop eating solids two days before your exam.

You will be asked to take one of several bowel preparations as directed by your provider. It has been proven that split dosing (dividing the preparation medications into two separate timed doses, typically the evening before very early on the day of the exam) achieves the highest success rate in adequate clearing of the colon. It cannot be over emphasized that no matter what prep you use; all of them are work the best when you drink lots of clear liquids.

Despite being given very detailed bowel preparation instructions some individuals fail to follow these instructions especially drinking plenty of fluids. Some just fail to drink adequate fluids during the prep or fail to avoid eating the day before or start too late to have adequate time to clear out all the stool and fluid. The patients in whom inadequate bowel prep is noted must be rescheduled for a repeat exam. You don’t want to go through the bowel preparation half-heartedly only to have to have to be canceled or have an incomplete or inadequate colonoscopy that requires a repeat exam.

Non-gastroenterologist preforming exam increases risk of missed lesion

Multiple studies have confirmed that the risk of missed polyps and colon cancers is much higher when a physician other than a gastroenterologist performs the colonoscopy exam. The risk of missed polyps has been reported as high as 50% when colonoscopy is performed by a non-gastroenterologist. If possible you should insist that either a gastroenterologist performs your colonoscopy or a colorectal surgeon who routinely performs many exams a year. Most gastroenterologists perform over a 1000 colonoscopies a year.

Incomplete exam during your first colonoscopy risks missed lesions

Failure to reach the end of the colon is known risk for missed colon polyps and colon cancer. Inexperienced endoscopists and non-gastroenterologists may fail to reach the cecum but not be aware. Photo documentation of the anatomical landmarks of the cecum are increasingly used by endoscopists to document the extent of the exam was complete. If it is not clear from your report that exam was complete you should as

Women and older age

Several studies have shown that the female gender and older age are independent risk factors for missed polyps and interval colon cancers. If you are a woman or an older individual you should be aware of these risks and not be dissuaded from insisting that you had adequate bowel prep, complete and careful withdrawal examination. Some women have more difficult examinations technically than men and older patients may also have significant diverticular disease making the examination more difficult so an experienced endoscopist is important. Also older patients commonly have multiple other medical problems that may influence the endoscopist to try to complete the exam quickly to avoid intra-procedure complications including sedation issues.

Inexperienced endoscopists or those with poor technique or too rapid exam

More experienced endoscopists miss less lesions than trainees and less experienced endoscopists even when time of withdrawal is equal. The accepted standard for withdrawal time is now six minutes or more. Almost all exams report withdrawal time and many endoscopists have known withdrawal time averages correlated with their polyp detection rate. Subpar withdrawal times and polyp detection rates would be an indicator that an endoscopist’s technique is below that generally accepted within peers. Poor endoscopy technique is related to training of the endoscopist as well as number of procedures performed in the past. As the number of procedures increase the skill of the endoscopist almost always improves

Protein That Turns Normal Cells Into Cancer Stem Cells Offers a Target to Fight Colon Cancer

It is because of the jaws, all vertebrate mammals can consume food using various techniques like biting, chewing, and managing food. But, did you know which chemical is behind the formation of this framework of the mouth?

We would have not developed our upper and lower jaw, as well as teeth buds, palatal shelves, including some parts of the brain and bones, had there not been SATB2.

What is SATB2?

Special AT-rich Sequence-Binding Protein 2 or referred to as SATB2, is a DNA binding protein. We can find it through an expression of epithelial cells of the colon and rectum, and also in the neurons of the brain. It plays an active role in remodeling chromatin and regulating gene transcription. Its capability to bind AT-rich DNA sequences is known as a matrix attachment region or (MAR). And because of MAR, it can encode proteins in the body.

While a mutation in SATB2 is a leading cause of a range of diseases like osteoporosis, neurodevelopment disorders and impaired speech, it exposes us to colorectal cancer too.

A cancer of the colon, which is a global threat to put the patients’ life at stake worldwide. Being a metastasis, it is resistant to various cancer drugs and therapies including chemotherapy, radioactive treatments and others. Thus, patients can experience relapse risks once their cells in the tumors resurface to bother them again, and gradually drive them over the edge of death.

This new discovery has been brought into the limelight by the researchers at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center. They reported it in their online publication in Nature Research’s Scientific Reports. As per their findings, SATB2 is a novel proteins, which dwells close to the colon, and becomes malignant.

Since it has metastatic characteristics, it can grow faster and spread, and also mimic other stem cells in the body to turn as cancer stem cells.

Elaborate View On The Finding

SATB2 is a protein with an inbuilt capacity of on/off signaling pathway. By using that switch, it instructs a certain cell in the cancer cells to get activated, or get deactivated. With an activation of certain signals, cancer cells can turn into cancer stem cells, and seem to perform as instructed by the signal.

Dr. Shrivastava compared healthy colorectal cells with colorectal cancer cells, and they found that healthy epithelial cells of colon tissues do not comprise activated SATB2 proteins, while it is highly activated in colorectal cancer cells.

In order to gauge the performance of SATB2, the research team developed extra copies of the same proteins in normal cells. It was revealed that these cells had evolved to differentiate and proliferate as a cancer stem cell with an enhanced growth rate.

And once the SATB2 expressions are turned off, they do not mimic the characteristics of cancer stem cells, and the growth of colon cells is also suppressed. Along with this, it fosters the prevention of cancer cells from transforming into cancer stem cells.

Dr. Shrivastava believes that it is possible to bring about a new drug or therapy, and better diagnosis process based on the finding of SATB2’s higher expression capacity in the colorectal tissues or cells. In addition to this, it could be used as a novel marker to identify the severity of colon cancer in the patients.

Now, we can be hopeful about the new finding of an agent which can prevent SATB2 from affecting stem cells in the colon tissues to cause colorectal cancers, and other forms of cancer too.