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  arrow Frequently Asked Questions


Question: I have known people with good lifestyles who get cancer. Why does this happen?

Answer: It is not uncommon to see people with good lifestyles (without any predisposing factors) getting cancers.Honestly, we are still in the process of finding out the causes of cancer. Probably, it may not be one factor, but a multitude of factors involved in the causation of cancer. It is now known that genes may hold the key to the development of cancers as genes control the immunity of patients. Two gene “products”, Natural Killer (NK) cells and Natural Killer T cells (NKT) are known to be able to control the development of cancer. In some families, these genes may be altered – what we call a mutated gene. Mutated genes loose the ability to repair abnormal cells and hence the uncontrolled proliferation of cells takes place, and this eventually results in cancer.Good nutrition and lifestyle have been known to reverse the process and thereby prevent cancer development. This naturally available defense mechanism in the human body is weak and will not work when cancer cell numbers are large. However, when the load (of cancer cells) is small, it can make a sizable contribution in killing these few cancer cells, which results in a patient being cancer-free. Apart from the genetic control of cancer, the other predisposing factors are: age – the longer one lives, the higher the chance of getting cancer; poor nutrition; smoking; and excessive drinking. These are known to lower the body’s immune defense mechanism and hence increase the chances of cancer occuring.In those who have both genetic mutations and poor lifestyles, the incidence of cancer would be higher.

The Malaysian Oncological Society gives advice in good faith based on the limited information supplied by the questioner. MOS is in no way responsible for any unintended consequences arising from such advice. All patients should be examined by an oncologist before undertaking any investigation or treatment.

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HOPE handbook 2 A Guide for Cancer Caregivers
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