This may be why your loved ones have sadly battled cancer 98



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Discovering a loved one or yourself has cancer brings a time of questioning. We ask, will we survive? Why me? And most commonly, what did I do to deserve this? We often reflect on our vices – smoking, drinking, being lazy and avoiding exercise, overeating the wrong food and more and in some ways we look inwards for something to blame. But research from Johns Hopkins University has found that there is nothing to blame…except bad luck.

That is right, scientists have used the term, “bad luck” when it comes to who faces cancer and who is spared the agony.

The researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health looked at stem cell divisions in 31 different cell types. They then compared those with the chances of getting cancer in those areas. The research findings suggest that the majority of cancers are caused by “random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells”.

The body’s cells regenerate in seemingly random ways. New cells, created through division, replace old ones. However, as that division happens, the so-called letters of its genetic code may suffer distortion. This may portend an increased chance of cancer.

So when we ask ourselves those big questions and look for somewhere or something to blame, we can’t, because a large part of it sadly comes down to random bad luck. However the research team members have warned that this doesn’t mean lifestyle factors are suddenly irrelevant. Researcher Cristian Romasetti told the BBC that, “If two-thirds of cancer incidence across tissues is explained by random DNA mutations that occur when stem cells divide, then changing our lifestyle and habits will be a huge help in preventing certain cancers, but this may not be as effective for a variety of others”.

The cancers which, the researchers say, are still hugely influenced by lifestyle factors include colon cancer (diet and genes play a huge role), lung cancer (smoking) and Basal cell carcinoma (excessive exposure to UV rays). Breast and prostate cancers weren’t included in the study as the researchers didn’t find a consistent rate of stem cell division.

So what does this mean going ahead? That scientific early detection is paramount to survival. While we can limit our chances of some cancers, there are some that we clearly have no control over and in this world that is a very scary thing. But it does offer some explanation to the people with cancers who lived incredibly clean lives and yet found themselves facing this cruel illness.

We hope that medical research can focus on early detection for cancer so we can give ourselves a better chance of surviving the cancer epidemic.

Have you or a loved one faced cancer unexpectedly after living a clean and healthy life? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I had lung cancer in 1989 had chemo for 6 months, then had the upper lobe of the left lung removed, I then had cervical cancer had a radical hysterectomy many years ago, I am fine but know how lucky I am, I had brilliant Drs all the way through and will be forever grateful, thank goodness my son is now a cancer researcher so proud of him.

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    • So good that you got through both those cancers so well Vivienne. Hopefully it just stays away now. Tomorrow I begin my fourth cycle of chemo, after having a radical hysterectomy due to uterine and cervical clear cell cancer this year. Had a week of radiation the week before Christmas, and it has given me more trouble than the the chemo! But only two cycles to go…yay!!!

  2. Over three years now, since my radical prostatectomy. I am very grateful to my GP for sending me for regular blood tests etc.
    Recently, I had a series of blood tests to rule out arthritis as a reason for some finger pain (that’s another story), a diligent pathologist noticed blood cell smudges and conducted further tests. These tests showed I now hav B cell CLL, a type of leukemia, which has to progress before it can be treated.
    My GP says there is no connection between Prostate cancer and Leukemia. I’m just unlucky, I guess.

  3. Something has been bothering me about cancer, it is something that annoys me , particularly as I age. How much money would we have spent going to war, flying into space, and billions spent on other things that really are of no use to us, except for providing a bit of knowledge we don’t really need? We could have spent that money on cancer research and perhaps cured cancer by now, it seems such a waste

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    • Libby , look at the money that is raised for cancer , billions and billions of dollars , look at that dr Ray Martin did a story about in Western Australia tears ago . They had evidence from hundreds of people whom he had cured of cancer, big Pharma ran him out of town , his son tried to take over , and they did the same to him . The cost to them to lose is too much to find a cure , sad but true .

    • how shocking Sandra, I like many have relatives that have had cancer, the suffering they go through is terrible and the families suffer right along with them. Why are Government’s allowing drug companies to hold us all at ransom for the $ ?

    • USA pharmaceutical are BIG players in this. There’s a new drug for either Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s waiting to be used BUT the pharmaceutical company won’t release it as they’ve got a stockpile of the old drug & want that used first! They’re too powerful !

    • Some of that “knowledge” comes from research that will save heaps of lives in the future.

  4. I lost my little sister to liver cancer nearly one year ago. So heart wrenching to see her deteriorate over 18 months. Such a cruel disease that even after $$$$B given to research, there is still no cure. My sister had lived the purest life, always ate well, home cooked meals, conscious of body and health matters, never smoked, drank only on special occasions, was.not overweight, exercised, etc. So why was she taken from us, her 3 children and 3 grandchildren at only 55? Not easy to accept she’s gone to a better place, when she did nothing wrong.

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    • Hi Valerie, so sorry about your sister.
      I lost mine too , to breast cancer she was only 56 . She was a healthy eater never smoked and drank occasionally . She to left a daughter and two grandchildren . It was one of the hardest thing to do to see her suffer.
      My heart goes out to you and yours and the sooner we find a cure for all cancers the better. God bless. Mrs June brown Australia x

    • Mike here-feel for your loss Valerie. My mother wa diagnosed with inoperable cancer in March of 1969, then died in October 1969. Unfortunately it coincided with the time I was in Vietnam so I was not permitted to come home for her funeral.

    • So very sad Valerie for the loss of your sister. I lost my beloved Mother to cancer in 2003 and it is still very painful and has left such a huge whole in our family!
      Sending loving thoughts to you and your sisters family.

    • How dreadful, Mike – and such stress on family members back here, grieving your Mother AND also worrying that YOU would be safe! GOD BLESS.

  5. How come children get cancer????. They have not been lazy, ate the wrong foods etc. Bad luck??????

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    • no idea, that always seem so unfair to me, that these little lives are taken before they even know what life is

    • Yes it is so sad. My 2 year old died from a brain tumour. How does that happen?????. Blamed myself for a while but figured it was just one if those things that happen

    • So sad Nolene. Brain tumours are very common in children. I think it is like what the post said– it is sadly like bad luck of the draw.Such a cruel disease especially for innocent little darlings.

  6. My daughter died of bowal cancer in 1990 she was only 20 and at that time the doctors told us she was the youngest they had see with that cancer she was very health before the cancer and many questions were ask and test done no one in our family had cancer before her. The doctors told us then it was just bad luck bad then

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  7. I listened to a lecture by a well known Australian researcher recently – looking at treatments. He made a fairly interesting statement that providing the cancer is identified early, recovery is possible with many and this increases annually. On the other hand, our ability to treat bacterial infection is diminishing. Maybe we need to be more worried about bacterial infections in the future.

  8. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma at the age of 60 which totally amazed my doctors as this is evidently a ‘young’ persons cancer (20-30yr olds). I keep telling people that I am obviously much younger than they keep telling me if I got this type of cancer! LOL. On the up side after 5 months of chemo and 1 month of daily radiation they tell me that I am completely cured.

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