Carcinogens: What substances cause cancer — and whether to avoid them
According to who, cancer (particularly lung cancer, trachea and bronchi) took fifth place in the list of leading causes of death in the world. At the same time afraid of them much stronger than coronary heart disease or stroke, standing on the first two positions. Fear gave rise to panic: carcinogens are now looking for — and find — all in a row, from cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes to pans with non-stick coating and coffee. Understand, which of them do you can hide and we should do it.
What it is
The name speaks for itself: a carcinogen is a substance or effect that affects the integrity of the DNA and promotes carcinogenesis, i.e. the formation and reproduction of cancer cells. That there are chemical substances with such effects, it became known about a hundred years ago, in 1916, the Japanese scientists were able to cause cancer in the rabbit during the experiment: the animal every day covered with coal tar. Of course, about the ethics of research then it was not — but in medicine there was a revolution, because for the first time able to see how a malignant tumor occurs in perfectly healthy individuals under the influence of chemical substances.
Since the tar was a complex mixture of chemicals, scientists (not only in Japan) went in search of other substances that can cause cancer. Despite the fact that carcinogens really are more common in synthetic substances, studies have shown that plant compounds can have carcinogenic properties. However, it does neither one nor the other is certainly dangerous.
What are carcinogens
Scientists have not yet decided on how best to categorize effects that can cause cancer: they are divided on radioactive (this group includes all types of dangerous radiation) and non-radioactive, genetic and related effects of the environment. The latter include lifestyle factors — Smoking, alcoholism, poor diet, low physical activity, and exposure to sunlight or viruses, and work in hazardous occupations, and the use of certain drugs like chemotherapy drugs. By and large it doesn't matter how to classify carcinogens — it is important that it can give in practice. After all, if from a certain therapy, even bearing the risk of carcinogenesis, and sometimes can not refuse, the impact of other factors can be minimized (for example, protecting the skin from the sun or giving up Smoking).
Carcinogens affect the DNA, causing harmful changes, but the latter do not necessarily lead to tumor formation, they only increase the likelihood that abnormal cells will reach a level at which the immune system can not cope. In a recent study it was found that two-thirds of genetic mutations that lead to cancer, are errors that arise spontaneously when copying DNA, and only the remaining third occurs under the influence of environmental carcinogens.
Are they so terrible
A list of carcinogens compiled by the who, is constantly updated; the man in the street, seeing the document for the first time, it can cause terror — it seems that everything mentioned in it products and substances that dangerous. Actually it is not — and all the carcinogens in the list is assigned the special code: 1 (carcinogenic to humans), 2A and 2b (potentially carcinogenic to humans, and "a" is higher than "b"), 3 (not classified as to Carcinogenicity to humans), 4 (probably not carcinogenic to humans).
In the first, the most dangerous group, gets not so many agents — scientists are still not sure about the Carcinogenicity of chlorinated water, caffeine, even in large quantities, hair dyes, dental materials, sulfites, which are often used in cosmetics, or tea (all of these substances are marked with the code 3) as well as in categories 2A and 2b red meat, extract of the leaves of aloe Vera or shift work, which disrupts circadian rhythms. Is a random sample of familiar foods of "carcinogenic" list, which shows, why you should not trust flashy headlines about "the new study, whose results will shock you".
Many of the substances included in the list of carcinogens, not as dangerous as it seems: we are not under their influence sufficiently, or do not consume them in the quantities necessary for the application of real harm. Attempts to eliminate the brand all cancerogenous substances can affect mental health by awarding you with anxiety or orthorexia. But should pay attention to those carcinogens which are recognized as truly dangerous and impossible to control.
Should we be afraid of fried foods
Research is increasingly suggesting that burnt food is to be feared. According to scientists, to blame the acrylamide — a compound which is formed during heat treatment of some products, especially carbohydrate-rich. This substance is used in textile, plastic and paper industries, in the synthesis of dyes for wastewater treatment. However, so far there is no conclusive evidence of its harm to humans, although there is evidence of the ability of acrylamide to interact with DNA and lead to certain mutations — and its place in the list with the code 2A is explained by studies in which mice and rats were given doses, in the tens of thousands of times greater than those that can be obtained.
In General, Carcinogenicity and potato chips for humans has not been proven. Experts believe that consumption of fried carbs and really should reduce for the reason that they are full of unnecessary calories — but the obesity is one of the main triggers of malignant tumors in the world.
You will save switching to electronic cigarettes
Of course, Smoking is a personal choice, but with statistics you will not argue: it is the main cause of lung cancer. It is important to try to protect themselves from passive Smoking: studies show that components of cigarette smoke, such as benzene, polonium-210, benzopyrene and nitrosamines, provoke not only damage DNA, but affect genes that encode the body's ability to defend against cancer by working in this way in two directions. Once in the blood, the chemicals from cigarette smoke spread throughout the body, which endangers not only the lungs, but also kidneys, liver, digestive system, bladder, ovaries and other organs.
VAPI invented in order to reduce the risks associated with Smoking (e-cigarette as we know it, in 2003, patented, and in 2004 launched a Chinese Hon Lik, whose father had just passed away from lung cancer), turned out to be almost worse. Their main problem is the poor knowledge. But even negligible, in comparison with cigarettes, the number of studies suggests that the cocktail of chemicals contained in Smoking liquids, gradually cause the body irreparable harm.
Alcohol is also a carcinogen
Alcohol is considered a frequent cause of cancer of the breast, larynx, liver, esophagus, oral cavity, and also the probable cause of pancreatic cancer. When alcohol enters the body, it decays, first to acetaldehyde and then to acetic acid. Acetaldehyde causes liver cells to be updated faster than usual, and such acceleration increases the risk of errors when copying genes. It is important that this applies to alcohol in any drink: aged wine, premium vodka or the cheapest beer. Although we regularly learn something new about the benefits of craft beer or red wine, the proportion of healthy skepticism will not prevent, yet because the risks outweigh any benefits, and even the authors justify the alcohol research agree with this.
All of this — perhaps together with attempts to fit alcohol in healthy lifestyles and to find new business niche — leads to the fact that allantoinate trying to bring to market new types of intoxicating beverages. For example, alcosan, not lead to the formation of acetaldehyde or the California non-alcoholic wine based on marijuana — the latter can reduce the risks, marijuana even if you smoke less carcinogenic than tobacco.
What about of meat and sausage.
In 2015, the meat was included in the list of potential carcinogens. The problem, scientists say, heterocyclic amino (HA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) — chemicals that are released when heat-treating meat, especially when grilling or cooking on the grill. The longer beef is cooked, the higher the level of potential carcinogens.
Be fair: to finally establish the link between HA and PAHs and an increased risk of cancer has not yet succeeded. But a number of epidemiological studies shows that the fascination with processed red meat increases risk of colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. The who advises to eat no more than 70 grams of red and processed meat a day.