In Latin, the word “inflammation” means “ignite, set alight” and like gasoline, that’s exactly what it does for cancer. A microenvironment of chronic inflammation sets the stage for cancer. Inflammation increases chemotherapy resistance and turn on oncogenes, genes that can turn cells into tumors. Inflammation promotes the spreading and mutating of cancer cells while continuing to push the mutations within the cancer cells’ development. Inflammation also enhances tumors ability to recruit blood supply (angiogenesis). Changes catalyzed by pathogenic inflammation can transform cells into cancerous tumors. Cancer is an inflammation!
Because we can define cancer as an inflammation, we can employ an army of anti-inflammatory therapies to win our battle against cancer. Dr. Johannes Fibiger was a Danish scientist, physician, and professor of pathological anatomy who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1926 for achieving the first controlled induction of cancer in laboratory animals, a development of profound importance to cancer research.
In 1907, while dissecting rats infected with tuberculosis, he found tumors in the stomachs of three animals. After intensive research, he concluded that the tumors, apparently malignant, followed an inflammation of stomach tissue caused by the larvae of a worm now known as Gongylonema neoplasticum. While later research revealed that the Gongylonema larvae were not directly responsible for the inflammation, Fibiger’s findings were a necessary prelude to the production of chemical carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), a vital step in the development of modern cancer research.
There is a strong association between chronic, ongoing inflammation in the body and the occurrence of cancer. Biologists have been able to follow the inflammation link down to the level of individual signaling molecules, providing harder evidence for a connection to carcinogenesis. We already know that inflammation is the root of pain and most illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
Inflammation is a normal and important process created naturally by our bodies. It helps to get rid of unwanted bacteria, and other invaders. It also assists our bodies in cleaning up dead cells from trauma or infections. However, chronic inflammation fuels cancer.
The association between chronic inflammation and tumor development has long been known from the early work of German pathologist Rudolph Virchow. Harvard University pathologist Dr. Harold Dvorak later compared tumors with “wounds that never heal,” noting the similarities between normal inflammation processes that characterize wound healing and tumorigenesis or tumor formation.
“Cancer is caused by many different processes and inflammation is one of them, and if you could inhibit that process it would be tremendously helpful,” says Dr. Young S. Kim, program director in the Nutritional Science Research Group at the National Cancer Institute. Inflammatory chemicals release free radicals or free roving electrons that damage cells and may initiate damage to the genetic material in our cells and our DNA, thus leading to cellular mutations, loss of normal cell functions and cancer. Inflammatory chemicals also stimulate the production of new capillaries, tiny blood vessels that feed cancerous growths.
The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine published, “Tumor promotion and progression are dependent on ancillary processes provided by cells of the tumor environment but that are not necessarily cancerous themselves. Inflammation has long been associated with the development of cancer. This review will discuss the reflexive relationship between cancer and inflammation with particular focus on how considering the role of inflammation in physiologic processes such as the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and repair may provide a logical framework for understanding the connection between the inflammatory response and cancer.”
In 2008 Scientific American published, “Cancer biologists and immunologists have begun to realize that the progression from diseased tissue to full-blown invasive cancer often requires cells that normally participate in healing cuts and scrapes to be diverted to the environs of the premalignant tissue, where they are hijacked to become co-conspirators that aid and abet carcinogenesis. As some researchers have described the malignant state: genetic damage is the match that lights the fire, and inflammation is the fuel that feeds it.”
Scientific American presents a view of cancer that implies that, “Rooting out every last cancer cell in the body might not be necessary. Anti-inflammatory cancer therapy instead would prevent premalignant cells from turning fully cancerous or would impede an existing tumor from spreading to distant sites in the body. Understanding chronic inflammation, which contributes to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and a variety of other ailments, may be a key to unlocking the mysteries of cancer.”
As far back as 2004 investigators at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine were suggesting a new strategy for cancer therapy, which converts the tumor-promoting effect of the immune system’s inflammatory response into a cancer-killing outcome.
Recent research indicates that the cause of cancer has less to do with genetics and more to do with inflammation, nutritional deficiency including oxygen deficiency, heavy metal poisoning and infection. Common triggers of inflammation happen to be chronic bacterial, viral or parasitic infections chemical irritants such as formaldehyde or toluene found in many cosmetics or benzene found in oven cleaners, detergents, furniture polishes and nail polish removers. Inhaled particles from fiberglass, silica or asbestos found in building materials and insulation. Ionizing radiation from frequent medical scans and x-rays and even dehydration will all cause inflammation and eventual cancer.
Cancer Starts with Inflammation
“Inflammatory responses play decisive roles at different stages of tumor development, including initiation, promotion, malignant conversion, invasion, and metastasis. Inflammation also affects immune surveillance and responses to therapy. Immune cells that infiltrate tumors engage in an extensive and dynamic crosstalk with cancer cells,” say researchers from Departments of Pharmacology and Pathology, School of Medicine, University of California in San Diego.
Dr. Sergei I. Grivennikov writes, “The presence of leukocytes within tumors, observed in the 19th century by Rudolf Virchow, provided the first indication of a possible link between inflammation and cancer. Yet, it is only during the last decade that clear evidence has been obtained that inflammation plays a critical role in tumorigenesis, and some of the underlying molecular mechanisms have been eluci-dated. A role for inflammation in tumorigenesis is now generally accepted, and it has become evident that an inflammatory microenvironment is an essential component of all tumors. Only a minority of all cancers are caused by germline mutations, whereas the vast majority (90%) are linked to somatic mutations and environmental factors.”Biologists have been able to follow the inflammation link down to the level of individual signaling molecules, providing hard evidence for a connection to carcinogenesis. A new MIT study offers a comprehensive look at chemical and genetic changes that occur as inflammation progresses to cancer. A study by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center found that inflammation stimulates a rise in levels of a molecule called microRNA-155 (miR-155).
This, in turn, causes a drop in levels of proteins involved in DNA repair, resulting in a higher rate of spontaneous gene mutations, which can lead to cancer. “Our study shows that miR-155 is upregulated by inflammatory stimuli and that overexpression of miR-155 increases the spontaneous mutation rate, which can contribute to tumorigenesis,” says Dr. Esmerina Tili. “People have suspected for some time that inflammation plays an important role in cancer, and our study presents a molecular mechanism that explains how it happens.”
This means oncologists do not want to be sticking needles in people for biopsies because it creates more inflammation and also because when one punctures tumors to see what they are cancer cells can be released out of their containment vessel (the tumor).
The main highway to death is paved with chronic inflammation that can start out when we are quite young and continues on a chronic level through the years. It often starts with metabolic syndrome then diabetes, heart and vascular disease and then finally in the end stages with cancer. Everyone today should be treating themselves for cancer because in one way or another most people are already suffering from inflammation.
Dr. Vijay Nair’s book Prevent Cancer, Strokes, Heart Attacks and other Deadly Killers says, “Colon cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer have all been linked to inflammation. This is great news, because it means that cancer does not just strike out of nowhere. It’s preventable!”
One of the biggest risk factors for liver, colon or stomach cancer is chronic inflammation of those organs, often caused by viral or bacterial infections. Dr. Nair says, “All types of inflammation can cause cancer. Lung cancer can be caused by chronic smoke-induced inflammation. Esophageal cancer can be caused by acid reflux-induced inflammation. Stomach cancer can be caused by H. pylori (the bacterium that causes ulcers)-induced inflammation. Bladder cancer can be caused by urinary tract infection-induced inflammation. Liver cancer can be caused by hepatitis B or C-induced inflammation. Lymphoma can be caused by Epstein Barr (the virus that causes mononucleosis) -induced inflammation. Cervical cancer can be caused by Human papillomavirus (the virus that causes genital warts)-induced inflammation. Kidney cancer can be caused by kidney stone-induced inflammation. And colon cancer can be caused by irritable bowel syndrome-induced inflammation. Whether the inflammation is caused by an infection (such as hepatitis), a mechanical irritant (such as kidney stones), or a chemical irritant (such as stomach acid), the result is the same. Chronic, low-grade inflammation greatly increases your risk of developing cancer.”
Though aspirin can lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer and may lower the mortality from prostate cancer, it is not the best or safest anti-inflammatory drug. Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said he believes that aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in the prevention of both heart disease and cancer. “Inflammation may not cause a cancer, but it may promote cancer—it may be the fertilizer that makes it grow,” Dr. Brawley said.
The role of heavy metals is very important in the rise of cancer rates., We are poisoning the world over and over again with heavy metals and our brain cells and other tissues are suffering for it. Over 80% of heavy metals are removed from the body via the friendly bacteria in the gut but unfortunately we have had maniacs in control of western medicine encouraging doctors to over use antibiotics, which kill off the friendly bacteria in the gut. Heavy metal contamination creates inflammation!
We can reduce all causes of chronic inflammation described above in natural non-pharmaceutical ways. Drug companies are scrambling to create new pharmaceuticals to reduce inflammation but they will never compete in terms of safety and effectiveness than nature’s natural solutions.
Natural Oncology covers the main introduction of the Surviving Cancer Compendium (2500 pages) and replaces my now out of print book Winning the War on Cancer. Natural Oncology together with my book Treatment Essentials would comprise a mini version of the compendium.
With this Natural Oncology ebook you will receive a 50 USD coupon discount , which is double the cost of the book, to be used if you decide to go onto the Surviving Cancer Compendium ebook.
Dr. Mark Sircus
- Nature; Oct. 2012
- Why Cancer and Inflammation? Seth Rakoff-Nahoum; Yale J Biol Med. 2006 December; 79(3-4): 123–130. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994795/
- University Of California, San Diego School Of Medicine. (2004, September 22). New Anti-inflammatory Strategy For Cancer Therapy Identified By UCSD Researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040921083931.htm
- A. Mangerich, C. G. Knutson, N. M. Parry, S. Muthupalani, W. Ye, E. Prestwich, L. Cui, J. L. McFaline, M. Mobley, Z. Ge, K. Taghizadeh, J. S. Wishnok, G. N. Wogan, J. G. Fox, S. R. Tannenbaum, P. C. Dedon. PNAS Plus: Infection-induced colitis in mice causes dynamic and tissue-specific changes in stress response and DNA damage leading to colon cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1207829109
- E. Tili, J.-J. Michaille, D. Wernicke, H. Alder, S. Costinean, S. Volinia, C. M. Croce. Mutator activity induced by microRNA-155 (miR-155) links inflammation and cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; 108 (12): 4908 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1101795108
- Toxic metals and breast cancer; http://www.townsendletter.com/AugSept2007/toxicmetalbreastcancer0807.htm