Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stories Untold Behind Cancer (5)

Some people may question:
"I thought cancer is caused by mutation?"

While this statement remains true,
the more specific statement should be:
Cancer is initiated by mutation.

Mutation plays a minute part in
initiating the problem.
What eventually makes a tiny error at the start
to develop into an almost irreversible damage,
is our deteriorating body condition failing again and again:
- to prevent the invasion of mutagen in the beginning,
- to eliminate the mutagen in time,
- to destroy the mutated sequence,
- to repair the mutated sequence and
- to destroy the mutated cell

As illustrated above,
cancer cell doesn't emerge easily.
If our body defence/maintenance system is intact,
it's very very difficult for a mutation to
pass through so many levels of "clearance".

When I was working as a Research Assistant
at the National Cancer Centre of Singapore 7 years ago,
I came across a professor from USA (respected worldwide),
who confessed in his academic seminar
that he couldn't trace a single significant mutation that is
common in 1000s of gastric cancer samples in his 10-year study.
(in other words, in all these cancer samples,
there are all sorts of mutations,
but there is no uniform pattern to trace the one and deadly mutation)

This is when I first recognised that
there is no one specific mutation
that could be claimed as the real culprit.
But when mutations sneak through the leaky systemic defence system,
trigger the viscous cycle of exhaustive cell division,
pushing large number of cells towards Hayflick limit and
eventually giving rise to even more frequent and random mutations,
cancer occurs.

This kind of sheds some light in our day-to-day philosophy:
it's ok to make mistake,
just rectify it in time,
and don't let the mistake snowball into bigger problem.

Mistakes are inevitable in life,
what is deadly is our unwillingness
to rectify our mistakes or bad habit in time.

Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

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