Cancer: The Selfish Cell (Part 2)
In the last article about "The Selfish Cell," we looked at the role of infections in the development of some cancers today. Let's go a little deeper into this.
Clinical observations begun during the 1990's have provided indications of the pivotal role of the immune system in the insurgence of cancer in humans today. Though today we see an increased number of people with infections that are often undetectable by the laboratory, (such as hidden viruses doing damage to specific organs and tissues), nevertheless we must note that viruses are not the sole cause of malignancy. However, cancer or neoplastic cells may resort to strategies to avoid immune recognition. This can include a thickening of the blood inside blood vessels, as well as a congestion in the lymphatic tissue that enables cancer cells to hide and proliferate there. Metastasizing cancer cells, especially when they are travelling in the blood stream, often will adopt a strategy of covering underneath a cloak of platelets to which they stick or adhere.
None of this means that you need to be taking antiplatelet adhering drugs. It does mean that all of us benefit from having blood that moves better, as it is understood in traditional Chinese Medicine. This not uncommonly involves what are called blood-moving herbs. This includes such herbs that are provided by Nature: ginseng root, astragalus root, prickly ash bark, salvia root, turmeric root, red peony root, evening primrose oil, and many others.
Remember, it is often not your genetics that lead to a cancer. Rather, it is your epigenetics, or how your biological terrain affects the biochemistry and physiology, and these lead to changes in what is called the tumor microenvironment. Remember this phrase, as it will become more important as we continue to live in this toxic world. Our immune systems generally are strong enough to recognize and desroy cancer cells. They know how and what to do, and can do it well if we get out of the way. This is true in all chronic conditions.
What influences this tumor microenvironment? What and how we think and feel, our connectedness with others and with the divine, all the toxic foods and nutrients we ingest, as well as the chemicals, GMO foods, and heavy metals we have accumulated in our bodies and lives. All of these influence how genes and DNA express themselves, and therefore indirectly affect if we would develop a cancer. This is called epigenetics. While genetics can play a role in the development of a chronic condition, it is more often than not the epigenetics and tumor microenvironment that influence how our genes express themselves that plays a much larger role.
The reason we include many of the therapies we use in patients under treatment for a cancer are that these therapies,whether they be certain IV's, acupuncture, nutritional education, supplements, infrared saunas, or homeopathic remedies, all influence and can improve the function of our immune systems in their surveillance capacities. These are areas that modern oncology dismiss, often because of the mechanistic thinking and greed-driven behavior that underlies its practices.
In our next episode, we will look a little deeper at how our social and cultural mileu influences the development of a cancer. So stay tuned.
Robert Zieve, M.D.