Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Getting Cancer In Our Homes

Most of us are blissfully unaware that we could be living with any number of toxic substances that can cause cancer and other insidious threats to our health. That beautiful new furniture or the freshly painted room could send dangerous chemicals into the air.

The Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a medical condition that causes a person to feel generally unwell or experience fatigue, headaches, or eye, nose and throat irritation. The symptoms become more severe the longer he or she stays in the building and are relieved or disappear when they leave it.

Here are some common household items that can cause sickness and cancer:

  • Ammonia based cleaning products can irritate mucus membranes and affects the respiratory system and eyes.
  • Carpet and rugs could emit volatile organic compound like formaldehyde and styrene and are breeding grounds for molds and dust mites.
  • Leaded paints can lead to lead poisoning, neurodevelopmental behavioral effects among children and will also cause hematological effects.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping, siding and flooring because toxic chemical stabilizers are added in the making of PVC. These leach, flake or outgas from the PVC overtime may lead to cancer. Dioxin a potent carcinogen is a by product in the manufacture of PVC.
  • Asbestos is found in many building materials like piping, lagging, ceiling and roof tiles, asbestos cement sheeting and duct insulation. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause cancer and fibrosis of the lung and mesothelioma - a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen according to London Hazards Center (LHC) .
  • Radon, a decay product of uranium is present in varying amounts in the soil water can slip into building foundation cracks and finally into the indoor space is associated with cancer and damages to the reproductive organs and fetus.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Breast Cancer Can Be Caused By Antiperspirants

The news that using antiperspirants is the leading cause of breast cancer was once highly circulated in emails turns out to be a hoax and is considered one of the top 10 email health hoaxes of the decade. Citing a health seminar as the source of information, the writer alleges that antiperspirants prevent the body from eliminating toxins through sweat, resulting the accumulation of toxins in lymph nodes, which eventually leads to cancer.

Men are less likely to develop breast cancer through the use of antiperspirant, because most of the product is caught in their armpit hair and is not directly applied to the skin. On the other hand, women who apply antiperspirant after shaving their armpits are at greater risk of developing breast cancer because shaving causes almost imperceptible nicks in the skin where chemicals gain entry into the body.


Novel Anticancer Drug

After many years of study and research, the drug bevacizumab (Avastatin) was approved by the American FDA to treat the threat of colon cancer. This new novel drug may also be effective against other types of cancers. What is unique about Avastatin is the way it fights cancer.. By shutting down the flow of blood supply.

For decades, doctors have known that cancer needs to form a network new blood vessels to grow and spread in a process called angiogenesis. The protein that fuels this process is called vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF. Avastatin works by blocking this protein. Starved of oxygen and crucial nutrients, malignant tumors shrivel, thereby slowing the spread of the cancer. The drug, the first of its kind to win FDA approval, also helps increase the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy.


Smarter Cancer Drugs

Years of medical research has yielded the latest generation of anticancer drugs which are more selective than traditional cancer drugs which attack all dividing cells. These new anticancer drugs are just like smart bombs, they hone in on abnormalities particular to tumor cells and attack it, leaving all other cells untouched. Drugs like imatinib (Gleevec) and gefitinib (Iressa) are some of the new smart cancer drugs. However, Iressa is a last resort lung cancer drug and only works in about 10 to 20 percents of the patients.

Research conducted in 2004 from Harvard identified a genetic mutation in lung cancer cells that seem to predict whether Iressa will be effective. If the results hold up, tumor cells could be tested and only people likely to respond to Iressa would be given the drug. However, These new anticancer drugs are expensive, so having a genetic test instead of relying on trial and error could save a lot of money and spare some patients treatment with an anticancer drug that won't work for them.