Pillar 2 - Environmental toxins as causes of cancer

Pillar 2 - Environmental toxins as causes of cancer

Any substance that can cause cancer is called a carcinogen; the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has analysed over 1000 compounds since 1971 and declared 500 to be carcinogenic; the US National Toxicology Programme (NTP) lists just 62 in their latest 2016 report.

This article looks at the known links between environmental toxins and cancer risk. One research study from the University of Massechusets, Lowell, concluded that as many as 35% of all cancers are driven by Environmental toxins. While these may come from the work-place, a British Government White Paper concluded that across 4000 common compounds used in-home, two thirds were toxic, and one third were probably carcinogenic. Yet certain large cancer charities chose to belittle the risks. "There is no evidence that environmental toxins are linked to cancer, and if it were ever proved, it is likely to be only small numbers", was the amazingly unscientific comment from Cancer Research just a few years ago.

Environmental Toxins are a modern plague; and cancer, especially hormonally driven cancer, the resultant epidemic. 

This article is number 2 in the series - The 4 Pillars of Cancer, (the four main causes of cancer).

In 1981 Richard Doll and Richard Peto produced a report entitled, ’The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today’. In this they divided those avoidable risks into 12 groups. One group was smoking, which accounted for 30 per cent of all cancers and was still rising. Smoking volumes in the UK are no longer rising.

In 2011 in the UK over 331,400 people were diagnosed with cancer (including skin cancers).  Cancer cases diagnosed have doubled in 30 years and are predicted to double again in the next 20.

One of the 12 areas in the report of 33 years ago was ’Environmental Toxins’, which Doll and Peto felt accounted for just 2-4 per cent of all cancers. If that were still the case today, environmental toxins would account for 6,500 to 13,000 cases of cancer in the UK in 2013. To put this figure in context a cancer with the same incidence would lie roughly fourth in the charts, after breast, lung and bowel.

Many experts think that figure is far, far too low. With respect to Doll and Peto, they made their values before the Science of Epigenetics came along. This has shown conclusively that cancer is a metabolic disease and has 4 principle causes: Poor diet, environmental toxins, stress and hormones such as oestrogen. 

Go to: Epigenetics and cancer

Amongst the Doll and Peto critics would be The World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, The Environmental Working Group in California, and The Cancer Prevention Coalition in America. Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, a medical doctor and formerly professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Healthcare has spent a lifetime deeply concerned about growing toxic pollution in our environments and an increased risk of cancer,

1 million tonnes of chemicals were produced in the world in the 1940’s. By 2010 this figure was nearly 600 million tonnes. Doll and Peto’s report was produced when levels were half the current figure. Some of them are serious chemicals of concern, totally linked to gene-blocking epigenetic message loss from our DNA; simple DNA poisoning.

The World Health Organisation in a 2013 report in Cancer Watch have stated that they believe hormone disrupting chemicals such as BPA, phthalates, PCBs and parabens should be banned by governments immediately. It is a repeat of what the European Environment Agency recommended in 2012. 

Dioxins are industrial waste products which scientists have known for decades to cause cancer, reproductive disorders, kidney disease and other health problems. The World Health Organisation says safe levels are zero. Dioxins are formed as a result of commercial combustion processes such as municipal waste incineration and from burning wood, coal or oil fuels. Dioxins are transported by air and water long distances to be found throughout the world.

Up to 95 percent of dioxin exposure in humans occurs through the diet. Small amounts of dioxin exposure occurs from breathing air with trace amounts of dioxins and from skin contacting air, soil, or water.


All this comes from a report by researchers at Washington State University who exposed pregnant rats to low-levels of dioxin. The first generation offspring had more prostate disease and two types of ovarian disease, than control groups. Kidney disease, precocious puberty and ovarian disease were more prevalent in the great-grandchildren with abnormalities in puberty being nearly eight times higher in the third generation females. Third generation male rats had 27 percent higher incidence of kidney disease with telltale modifications to gene expression in sperm in 50 regions of DNA as a result of their ancestors’ dioxin exposure. 


So, ’not only does the individual exposed get the disease, but it’s transmitted to great-grandchildren with no exposure’, says Michael Skinner of Washington State University(PLoS One).

Formaldehyde is classified by IARC (the International Research Agency on Cancer, in Lyon) as a known carcinogen yet it is ever present in our homes and personal care products. The American National Cancer Institute has linked in to several cancers, for example in the nose and the pharynx. Cancer Watch has covered research linking it to lung cancers and lymphoma.

Environmental toxin exposure is far worse than you think

A defining moment came with the publishing of a 50 page report ’"Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer: A Review of Recent Scientific Evidence" by the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. They estimate that the figure could be as high as 30 per cent which would mean 100,000 cancers or more being caused by environmental toxins.

The researchers were quite scathing of Governments, Health organisations and leading cancer charities."Major cancer agencies have largely avoided the urgency of acting on what we know to prevent people from getting cancer in the first place," said researcher Genevieve Howe at Lowell.

"Many cancer cases and deaths are caused or contributed to by involuntary exposures. These include: bladder cancer from the primary solvent used in dry cleaning, breast cancer from endocrine disruptors like bisphenol-A and other plastics components, lung cancer from residential exposure to radon, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from solvent and herbicide exposure, and childhood leukemia from pesticides The authors further noted that the mortality rate for all cancers combined (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) is the same today as it was in the 1940s, yet the annual rate of new cases has significantly increased".

It’s a theme that fits with Dr Epstein’s stance. He believes that the cancer establishment is simply not interested in prevention, and spends little or no money on it. Instead there is a blame-the-victim culture (you smoke too much, drink too much, you go in the sun, don’t exercise, you are overweight - at least 50 per cent of cancers are your own fault). While cancer rates have been growing, Epstein argues that there has been no interest by the cancer establishment in ’conducting research on avoidable exposures to a wide range of industrial carcinogens contaminating the totality of the environment—air, water, soil, the workplace, and consumer products — carcinogenic prescription drugs and “low dose” diagnostic medical radiation. As critically, the cancer establishment has failed to warn the public, media, governments and regulatory agencies of such avoidable exposures to industrial and other carcinogens, incriminated in rodent tests and in epidemiological studies.

This failure to warn the public of cancer risks from avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens and ionizing radiation is in striking contrast to the cancer establishment’s prodigious stream of press releases, briefings, and media reports claiming the latest advances in screening and treatment, and basic research’.

New potential environmental toxins

For example

        * EMFs: In 1981 when Doll and Peto did their study, WiFi was certainly not common place, nor were mobile phones and masts. EuroMP’s have passed a resolution urging schools to stop using WiFi. EMFs (including mobile phones and masts) are now class 2b carcinogens, because ’mobile phones have been shown to increase risk of brain tumours by 40 per cent with long-term use’ according to the World Health Organisation. Click Here to read ’Mobile Phones - it’s your call’.

        * GM foods and Round up pesticide: Monsanto is under the microscope. The Caen Study showed GM foods caused tumours in rats with lurid pictures in the report. Now Round-up has been shown to affect cancer-linked pathways in the human body.

Cancers known to be linked to work-place and environmental toxins?

Oddly, you have to go to American Cancer Centres and charities to get this information as UK charities like Cancer Research, basically refrain from linking environmental factors to cancer for reasons best known to them. In the USA the blood and lymph cancers and those of kidney, bladder and liver are most linked with environmental toxins. A major risk is in the work-place. For example:

Bladder cancer: Bladder cancer is the 5th largest cancer in men. About 50 per cent is linked to smoking. However according to Harvard Health and others it is linked to environmental chemical toxins. Interestingly if smokers are exposed to environmental toxins the risks rise disproportionately. According to Harvard Health, environmental toxins are ’processed by the kidneys and pass with the urine to the bladder. There have been links recorded in research to: arsenic, chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, textiles, paints, plastics and leather. And risks are higher for workers in the petroleum, gas, chemical and printing industries. Bladder cancer has been linked to the primary solvent in dry cleaning.

Drugs like thiazolidnediones (used in the treatment of diabetes-2) have been linked to a higher risk. Chemotherapy drugs such as Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and Ifosfamide (Ifex) also. And women exposed to radiotherapy for cervical cancer have a higher risk.

Multiple Myeloma: Farmers are at a higher risk; certain pesticides can cause ’sticky blood’ or MUGS, which increases risk. Another study in 2005, and confirmed in 2012 has linked one can of diet drink containing aspartame with a

- a 42 percent higher leukaemia risk in men and women 
- a 102 percent higher multiple myeloma risk (in men only)
- a 31 percent higher non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk (in men only)

Lymphoma: This is the most rapidly growing cancer and could become the largest cancer over the next 20 years. It has been linked to:

Chemical work-place solvents such as acetone, benzene, toluene, xylene, turpentine, and various alcohols, not just ethyl alcohol have been linked to lymphoma. The Yale School of Public Health has produced a report on organic solvents and their links to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. UC Berkeley School of Public Health conducted a meta-study using data from 22 research studies and concluded that, "The finding of elevated relative risks in studies of both benzene exposure and refinery work provides further evidence that benzene exposure causes NHL’. Benzene exposure, linked to both leukaemia and lymphoma, is the subject of both increasing American research and lawsuits!"

Tricyclic anti-depressants have been linked to both blood and lymph cancers by researchers from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology at the Danish Cancer Society. Dark hair dyes have been linked to lymphoma (2008 study in the Journal of Epidemiology). Formaldehyde has been linked to lymphoma and some lung cancers. Chemicals in herbicides, defoliation (Agent Orange) and pesticides have been linked to lymphoma. Agricultural workers have a higher incidence and areas where the run-off water from fields impacts of local communities drinking water have higher risks.

Leukaemia: In a study involving 29,083 children between 1962 and 1995 in England and Wales using matched equivalents, children living within 200 yards of power lines had a 70 per cent increased risk of leukaemia.  (Draper, Oxford. BMJ 2005; 330; 1290).  The study was the largest case-controlled study ever undertaken in the world. ’ALL’ has be associated with toxins such as arsenic compounds, benzene, toluene and even the antibiotic chloramphenicol.  The aspartame research under multiple myeloma above showed one can a day of diet drink causing a 42 per cent increased risk. 

In Australia, research on people living on golf courses that used pesticides and herbicides had a significantly greater risk of leukaemia.  

Kidney cancer: This has been linked to chemical carcinogens such as asbestos, cadmium and lead, often from the workplace. Organic solvents and pesticides increase risk, as does working in the steel and coal industries. Some drugs such as over-the-counter pain killers, especially when used over the long-term, and excess caffeine have been linked to the disease. 

Breast cancer: Pesticides DDT and Lindane have been linked to breast cancer as have certain types of HRT. 2012 research from Reading and Manchester Universities found at least one parabens ester in 99 per cent of all breast cancer tissue and all five were found in 60 per cent. Heavy metals such as cobalt, lead and tungsten have the highest links to breast cancer (Crouch, University of Virginia). A Canadian study covered in Cancer Watch showed working in agriculture increased the risk of developing breast cancer by 34 per cent on average; in the metals industry by 73 per cent and in the plastics industry (especially automotive), bar work and canning industries by more than 100 per cent. For younger pre-menopausal women, working in factories producing plastic components for cars or tin cans increased the risk a whopping five-fold.

Lung cancer: Smoking is linked to lung cancer, but a study (Cancer Watch) from Canada showed one third of people diagnosed with the disease had never been near a cigarette, actively or passively. This non-smoking growth was highest amongst young women. Lung cancer has also been linked to Radon (22 % of cases in America), Diesel fumes and formaldehyde. Asbestos (classified as a known carcinogen by IARC and the US Dept of Health) is linked to a form of lung cancer called mesothelioma, which is still increasing in incidence. Smoking often has a multiplier effect with environmental toxins in increasing lung cancer risk. 

Brain Tumours: have been linked to lead in the work place in an American study in Cancer Watch, and to nitrates and nitrites in water, which originated from fields using pesticides (IARC).

So, hardly any links at all really. 

Bizarrely, Cancer Research UK until recently had the comment on site that no environmental toxins had proven links to cancer, and even if links were proven in the future, the numbers involved were likely to be small compared with the 60,000 cases of cancer linked to smoking. One wonders how on earth they work this out.

For the record, cancer has not been around since time immemorial. Cancer Watch has covered at least three studies in the last five years or so that say that cancer is very much a modern day disease. For example, one American study of 7500 years of skeletons in Croatia and found cancer present only in the last 100 years. Yes, of course, there is a record of some skin cancers in Egyptian times, and even breast cancers in Ancient Greece. But, everybody is aware that the incidence of cancer is increasing rapidly. It is all too clear that our environments are ever more polluted.

Other environmental toxins as causes of cancer

Radiation: X rays, CT scans, radiotherapy, radiation exposure have all been linked to increased rates of cancer. Cases of thyroid cancer rose in areas exposed to the Chernobyl cloud.

Drugs: Meanwhile, drugs themselves (I mean the legalised kind!) are not all good. Many have side effects and many of those reduce the immune system. We’ve had several people with cancer ring the office and they’ve been on drugs for a good number of years that were supposed to be prescribed for no more than 2 or 3. In one case a woman who developed oesophageal cancer had been taking a stomach drug for 10 years. There were warnings in pack and on the Internet that it should be taken for no more than the three months!

Cocktails of drugs have rarely been tested in combination. An article on this website on Polypharmacy exposes the real risks to the elderly of cocktails of drugs. 

Open quotesThe FDA observed that 84 of the top 100 US vaccines used mercury as a carrier - 5 years on and the number is still 75Close quotes

Vaccines:  About 7 years ago the FDA observed that 84 of the top 100 US vaccines used mercury as a carrier; they asked manufacturers, nicely, to remove it. 5 years on and the number was still 75. Mercury is a known carcinogen.

Beware - your home is a major source of environmental toxins!

We have run two previous articles ’Toxic Toiletries’ and ’As Safe as Houses’ in icon. We don’t intend to repeat those articles here. Without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest contributors of toxins to our bodies are the ones we bring home ourselves. The Cancer Prevention Coalition in the US have reported that the average US home is considerably more toxic than the centre of Times Square, in New York. The American Academy of Science has shown that a woman staying at home has 40 per cent more toxins in her blood than her sister who goes out to work. Well, they have laws in factories, but at home you are free to clean and polish to your heart’s content!

In-home chemicals; household products, cleaning products, toiletries, make-up, perfumes these are the self-inflicted toxins, along with the pesticides we might spray on our roses and lawns, even the road lead we bring in on our shoes. It all makes for an in-home cocktail of chemicals we can do without.

Some chemicals are harmless. Some are toxic to our nervous systems. Some to our DNA itself. Others mess with our endocrine system, especially those that add to our ’oestrogen pool’ in our bodies.

Most chemicals are approved by Governments for usage in parts per million. But hormones, which are amazingly powerful naturally occurring substances in your body, are found at levels of parts per trillion. If hormones work at that level, imagine the effects of toxic chemicals more than 100 times greater in volume!!!

The Royal Commission in 2003 concluded that we commonly come into contact with 4000 ingredients, most of which were toxic and many carcinogenic. The World Wild Life Fund looked for 78 particularly nasty chemicals, in us all and found 77 including known poisons like DDT (well, you see, it is not actually banned. It is still made in the West and used by third world countries on the foods that may end up in your local supermarket. Only recently the FSA concluded that ’safe’ toxin levels were being exceeded on our foods, especially on imported foods). On average we have 27 in each of us.

Open quotesOf 80 common toxic ingredients, our children have 75, but our parents have just 56Close quotes

A second study showed that of 80 common toxic ingredients, our children have 75, but our parents have just 56. ITS GETTING WORSE!

Below is an excerpt modified from ’Everything You Need To Know To Help You Beat Cancer’. It just tells you of a few of the problems with your toiletries and make up:

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate are proven skin irritants, the latter less so. The former can damage eyes and, whilst not carcinogenic themselves, they can cause chemical interaction with other ingredients. The latter can form nitrosamines by reaction. Of most significance is that SLS increases the permeability of the skin by up to 40 per cent, allowing more chemical toxins from other sources into the body. These two compounds are regularly found in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and body washes.

Many toothpastes contain sodium fluoride, which in concentrated form has been associated with rat poison. All toothpaste packs in the USA carry warnings. Read the following carefully: ’As in all fluoride toothpastes, keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately.’ Only recently we covered the research from Harvard Medical school that showed fluoride was linked to bone cancer, in the 10-18 age group especially boys.

Many toothpastes also contain triclosan, which can produce toxic dioxins when in contact with water. In September 2005, our magazine ran research findings from Virginia University showing with chlorinated water triclosan released chloroform. 2013 research from UCLA shows it can damage nerve and muscle tissue and remain in the blood stream for quite some time. It is to be banned in the USA from 2017.

Formaldehyde can appear under about 40 different names and guises, for example methyl aldehyde. It is commonly found in shampoos, nail varnishes and moisturisers. It is banned in Sweden and Japan. No wonder. In December 2003 we carried an article linking it to leukaemia and in January 2004, to lung cancer.

Talc or talcum powder has a similar formula to asbestos. Baby products warn on the bottle that the powder should not be breathed; yet it is in many female face powders, blushers and mascaras. It has even been linked to ovarian cancer and is still to this day used on some brands of condoms. We’ve been telling you for 14 years. Now judges in American courts agree with us and have been fining J&J for their talc an ovarian cancer deaths!

Open quotesPropylene glycol is the sister product to commercial anti-freezeClose quotes

Propylene Glycol is used for skin ’glide’, giving the rich, luxuriant feeling. It is frequently found in skin moisturisers, after sun, face creams and even baby wipes. It is the sister product to commercial anti-freeze. Workers handling it in factories must use protective clothing and gloves because it burns the skin in high concentration! It enhances absorption of other compounds into the skin.

Dark hair dyes may contain paraphenylene diamine, which can cause cancer in rats after exposure to hydrogen peroxide. They also contain hydrogen peroxide! And ammonia, a basic toxin. A number of neck, head, bladder and kidney cancers have been linked to these dyes.

Nail varnishes and cleaners may well contain xylene, formaldehyde and toluene and these ingredients have a long list of associated risks like liver damage, DNA damage, neurotoxins and skin and respiratory irritation. Toluene also affects the endocrine system and is an oestrogen mimic. You may be surprised to learn that your nails are actually porous so these chemicals can easily be absorbed by the body. It’s like having ten little hormone mimic patches - or twenty if you’ve done your toes too.

Lipstick may contain isopropyl alcohol, which damages DNA, and the colourings can involve titanium, zinc or aluminium - the latter being implicated in Alzheimer’s. Worse even today the majority of lipsticks may contain lead according to the FDA in America. All is well because you are not likely to eat your lipstick, are you?? Think again. A woman who applies just two coats a day, across a lifetime, will ingest 20 kilos of lipstick!

Perfume and perfumed products can be a mixture of over 100 different ingredients none of which needs to be named on pack, yet several are potent endocrine system disrupters. We have carried articles on Toluene, DEHP, 4-nonyphenol - even phthalates, produced depending on the plasticisers used in plastic bottled products, and bisphenol A, produced typically with certain plastic inner liners of cans. All are endocrine disrupters and some produce chemicals which mimic the action of oestrogen in the body, even causing oestradiol production and chromosomal damage according to research we have carried.

The Oestrogen Phenomenon and xenoestrogens 

Many doctors faced with women at menopause fearful of hot flushes and osteoporosis recommended HRT to ward off the loss of oestrogen at menopause. As we have shown before in icon, this is erroneous thinking. Oestrogen (estrogen) levels have never been higher in the history of man-, or woman-kind.

Open quotesOestrogen levels have never been higher in the history of man-, or woman-kindClose quotes

Mixed synthetic oestrogen/ progesterone HRT was shown to double the risk of breast cancer in the US trials. (The US Women’s Health Initiative). In the same study oestrogen-only HRT increased risk by 27 per cent whilst in the UK, CRUK’s Million Women study reported a figure of 26 per cent overall). Sadly we knew this all along. In 1995 the Boston Nurses Study (18 years, 121,000 women) came up with roughly the same figure: 26 per cent.

The German Health minister dubbed HRT, ’the new thalidomide’, and Cancer Research UK now says that risk outweighs benefits. The truth is that if HRT were a herb it would have been banned immediately.

Cancer Research UK has also produced risk figures for the contraceptive pill and breast cancer.

»  Ever taken: + 26 per cent
»  Take in 30’s: + 58 per cent
»  Take in 40’s: + 144 per cent

And that’s just breast cancer; both the pill and HRT have been linked to other cancers we well.

The Many Sources Of ’Oestrogen’ (or Estrogen)

Each of us, male and female, makes this ’female’ hormone. For example, fat makes steroids makes oestrogen. Fat 55-year-old males have been shown to have higher oestrogen levels than their thin wives. Fat women post menopause have been shown to have higher levels than even thin pre-menopausal women!

If you are in a major city a with recycled water you may also be drinking it, thanks to ladies on HRT or the pill ’peeing’ into the water system and ineffectual filtering systems. Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland has shown the effect of oestrogen in the water supplies, on fish. The males don’t work quite as well as they might.

Open quotesHuman sperm counts have declined 50 per cent in the last 50 years in the WestClose quotes

But we know, don’t we, that human sperm counts, have declined 50 per cent in the last 50 years in the West? What’s the surprise?

By far the biggest increase in our oestrogen pools has come through the ubiquity of chemicals that mimic the action of oestrogen. Some pesticides do this; some volatile organic carbons in household and cleaning products do this. BPA and Phthalates, which leach from certain plasticisers used in plastic bottles (from drinking water to hair shampoos) do this. Toluene, for example found in nail polishes and perfumes, does this.

Cancer Watch covered Swedish research that showed 75 per cent of ordinary, everyday perfumed products used on the body, produced DEHP once in the blood stream and DEHP is a very powerful oestrogen mimic. US research showed it was so powerful in research with pregnant women 11 per cent of male offspring born to mothers with high DEHP levels had genital deficiency. Another study concluded some testicular cancers can start in the womb, this way.

To be totally safe, never, ever use perfumed products. Never, ever use perfume, aftershave, cologne etc directly on your skin.

Lest you think this is all exaggeration, we now turn to Dr Ana Soto of Tuft’s, probably the leading expert in this field in the US.

She took 10 such oestrogen mimics, but all as normal product ingredients at safe levels as designated by the US Government. In studies with rats she got a full oestrogen response, the sort of effect you might see from the most potent form of oestrogen, oestradiol. And that was just 10 ingredients. How many more do you expose yourself to each week in your own home? Probably hundreds. Men and women. Now in icon (Cancer Watch; September 2004) we’ve covered mimics and their proven and similar effects in humans.

Oestrogen, xenoestrogens and cancer

Open quotesOestrogens bind to cell receptor sites: the most potent oestrogen is oestradiolClose quotes

We know that oestrogen binds to cell receptor sites: the most potent oestrogen is oestradiol. It can lower the oxygen levels in the cell by 40 per cent. It can cause the transport systems across the cell membrane to malfunction; it can poison the cell and even help the spread of the cancer message.

What we also know is that female cancers can be oestrogen driven. E.g. breast, endometrial, ovarian.

But then Birmingham University in 2001 showed that colon cancer was driven by localised oestrogen. US research shows a girl lying in the sun, if she’s on the oestrogen contraceptive pill, has twice the risk of melanoma of her twin whose not on the pill and lying next to her. So sunshine is not the issue per se: Pre-sensitisation is.

And since October 2003 (Dr Thomson Houston, Texas) we have known that localised oestrogen takes nice safe testosterone and turns it into nasty DHT, which in turn causes prostrate cancer.

Oh, and we could mention brain tumours, testicular cancer and stomach cancer. In a previous issue we reported US research showing some lung cancers were oestrogen driven. In men and women.

In icon we have covered the prime theory of how this all happens.

Dr Wang and his team at Columbia University recently produced a paper entitled, ’Breakthrough; Revolutionary Thinking on Cancer’. In it (they looked at stomach cancer, but are going on to look at others) they said their research showed clearly that:

In the stomach firstly you get inflammation in the stomach wall.

Normally, stem cells leave the bone marrow to rush to the site and convert to more stomach-lining cells, and heal it. Except in cancer, they don’t convert.

What are stem cells? Let’s keep it simple. When the egg is fertilised in the womb the original embryo cell grows like topsy for 50 or so days. This ’blob’ of cells then slows down and becomes fingers, eyes, liver etc. For ’blob’ of cells read stem cells. Not 100 per cent accurate but it will do!

We all have stem cells all over our bodies, ready to convert and replace eye cells, liver cells, lung cells etc as required at any age.

Open quotesWang concluded that the stem cells, under the effects of oestrogen, don’t convert but stay as stem cellsClose quotes

Wang concluded that the stem cells, under the effects of oestrogen don’t convert, but stay as stem cells growing like topsy and, bingo, you have cancer.

Not bad, but a mere 98 years late. The theory was first expounded by Dr John Beard, an embryologist in Edinburgh in 1906. He said that stem cells grew unchecked under the effects of oestrogen. But around day 50-56 he noticed the foetus, just as the stem cells started converting to normal cells, had digestive, or pancreatic enzymes, in their blood. Since the food from mum comes pre-processed, he hypothesised that the digestive/pancreatic enzymes somehow switched over the stem cells into normality. In 2012 three studies confirmed cancer stem cells lay at the heart of tumours and that current drug options could not eradicate them.

Sunshine as a cancer cause

We cannot print an article on prevention or possible causes in icon without mention of sunshine. Cancer Research UK in 2013 are still warning people to stay out of the sun. Of course, sunshine is radiation, and radiation can cause cancer. But staying out of the sun can increase your cancer risk. Why? because sunshine on the fat layers under the skin produces vitamin D and there is overwhelming evidence that vitamin D boosts your immune system, prevents cancer and can even help beat it.

Rates of skin cancer have grown enormously, melanoma too. And clearly, taking white bodies from the depths of a British winter to expose them to an equatorial sun is not clever. But it’s just not as simple as that. The fact is that sunshine is good for you; it’s burning that’s bad. And we have been telling people this for ten years - we have our own ’safe sun’ campaign at CANCERactive. Sensible sun is the aim.

Open quotesLife is not as simple as people are suggestingClose quotes

What is clear is that research into melanoma shows 92 per cent of people with melanoma are deficient in vitamin D. And half the melanomas occur in places the sun don’t shine. So this is not as simple as too much sun gives you cancer - especially when it is becoming clear that melanoma can be driven by localised oestrogen.

There are chemicals of concern in sunscreens: PABA, which is an oestrogen mimic has been banned in sunscreens in Japan and Sweden. Oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and parabens are all chemicals of concern, with bodies such as the FDA.

The Environmental Working Group thinks only one in five sunscreens is fit to pass its safety controls.

Environmental toxins and cancer deaths

It is possible that 6,500 to 13,000 cancers were caused by environmental toxins in the UK last year. If the figure is that low, it would still account for a cancer which was roughly the fourth largest in the UK. If the figure was that of The University of Massachusetts, Lowell, it would be equivalent to being the number 1 cancer and about 60,000.

Also it would seem that environmental toxins can have a multiplier effect on smoking - which CRUK says produces 60,000 cancers a year. And then there is all the research coming out of America: Aspartame and leukemia, diesel fumes and lung cancer, pesticides and lymphoma, formaldehyde and brain tumours.

At CANCERactive we use the Precautionary Principle. That where there is expert research expressing concern, we will tell you, because it is your right to know and take the action you see fit.

And there is more than enough expert research. We let you know.

And you can look at Cancer Watch (Our Latest Cancer Research and news section), or sign up for the e news letter if you want to be fully up to date.

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