Health

Dr. Oz: What you need to know about cancer

'America's doctor' tells us what causes the disease and a three-step plan on how to prevent it

Dr. Oz, Mehmet Oz, Dr. Oz show

CTV

I’m going to tell you something that might frighten you: Almost all of us have cancer. You heard me correctly. Each and every person living and breathing on this planet has abnormal cells inside them that could become cancerous. Whether those cancer cells will ever become a problem is undetermined.

Cancer by definition is uncontrolled cell growth of abnormal cells—ones whose DNA has imperfections that make them harmful to the surrounding tissues and organ systems. Your cells copy and replace themselves all the time. Over the trillions of duplications that take place over your life, some cells do not copy themselves perfectly, and that is when cancer is born. Normally, your body gets rid of these “slightly imperfect” versions and throws them into your biological scrap pile and you never know it happened. As long as your immune system can keep up with the seeking, destroying and cartage of these damaged cells, tumours do not grow, and you do not experience illness from cancer. But when the rate of the cancer-cell growth accelerates, or the cancer cells evade your immune system’s helper cells, big and deadly problems occur. As cancers grow, they travel from place to place in the blood and lymphatic system to destination organs like the lungs, brain and liver, where they can overcome these vital systems and can eventually take a person’s life.

Now I’m going to tell you something that should give you hope: You have a great deal of power to ensure your cancer cells never cause you trouble. That’s because while some cancers are triggered by genetics, many are caused by factors you can control.

 

The three-step prevention plan:

Lifestyle: Here you have things like diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress levels and whether you smoke. Studies show when you stop smoking, your risk of dying from lung cancer goes down by 30 to 50 percent, after 10 years. And that’s just one example.

Environment: Wear sunscreen. That’s essential. But also try to avoid second-hand smoke and exposure to asbestos and other chemicals.

Diagnostic Testing: A third weapon in the strategic triadis early detection. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the best tests available, and then make sure you get them.

These three factors working together can help your body fight off those cancer cells, one small skirmish at a time.

 

Tune in to The Dr. Oz Show on CTV every day at 5 p.m. (EST) for more great advice.