Cancer -what is it? What you can do.

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Cancer - what is it?

Cancer is not a disease like typhoid , Cholera or TB.

There are hundreds of varieties of cancer -- and every person, i.e., even normal people have cancer! The cells of the body are dying and new copies are being formed every moment. Some of the cells may have mutations, mainly caused by UV radiation from the sun, cosmic rays etc., (but not cell phone radiation or microwave, radio or TV radiation. although people have such scares). The excessive exposure to noxious substances like tobacco, motor vehicular fumes etc., and even oil of cloves, and many other natural substances and excessive stringent substances found in some herbs, can also cause cell mutations. Such modifications of the DNA leads to copying errors and forming bad cells. Normally, the body can scavenge these out.

That is, copying of the cells to replace the dying cells of the body is not exact. Just as the photocopy of a copy of a copy accumulates errors, there are copying errors. The new copies having errors is one cause of aging. In addition, if the cells which are incorrect begin to multiply faster than normal cells, then those cells become cancerous.

The rapid multiplication of the incorrect cells has many causes. This also makes treating cancer difficult.

There are almost as many types of cancer as there are types of cells in the body. There is no SINGLE cure for all the different types of cancer. However, if there are a lot of bad cells, because the patient's illness was detected too late, then you need to kill those cells very fast, and then radiation or strong chemotherapy is used.

However, today we have nearly 100% cures for leukemia, prostrate cancer, cancer of the tongue, breast etc, cervical cancer, and many other cancers if they are detected sufficiently early.

I do not know in detail about Sri Lankan hospitals, but cancer hospitals do cure patients permanently if the cancer is detected early. Do not delay by trying out home remedies. EARLY DETECTION of the TYPE OF CANCER etc., IS IMPORTANT

So early detection is the best way too prevent cancer. Leukemia is easily detected if people do an annual physical checkup and blood test where the blood cells are examined. Breast examination, pap tests for early signs of mal-formed cells etc., can definitely detect these cancers and cure them. Modern knowledge of cell biology has allowed for the successful cure of 70% of the cancers, compared to, say, in 1950. So cancer hospitals are needed, and the government needs to properly feed and look after the patients, and also provide psychological counseling and support to the families under stress, by forming support groups (like alcoholics anonymous).

We have provided wheel chairs to the Kandy cancer hospital so that patients can be better looked after.

Our organization is known as WC4Sl (wheel-chairs for sri lanka) click and see

Wheel-chairs project

Research programs for effective drugs, be it by Ayurveda, or via cell biology, usually takes 10-15 years of work, and tend to be quite expensive.

So, we need to help the people who are already in the pipeline. If the cancer is fairly advanced, Ayurveda or medications cannot do anything. Chemo and radiation can help in moderate cases, but it too fails in advanced cases. The best you can do is to give pain-killers and accept reality.

Prevention is better than cure.


1. Better style of life and svoidance of exposure to occupational carcinogens
See Article about trends in Britain, in Annals of occupational hygiene. vol 51, p 653-664 (2010) This shows that increasing attention to carcinogenic hazards had reduced the incidence of cance in the population. For example, in 2005 there were about 1000 deaths in the UK directly related to diesel fumes, but today it has dropped sharply. On the othe rhand, although people are extremely frightened about`cell-phone radiation' so sar no single case attributable to such radiation has been established. A 20 year study released in 2013 showed that the termination of the use of leaded gasoline in the late 1970s in North America resulted in a drop in criminality; urban criminality, suppression of IQ in children etc., were stronglyy correlated with areas high in lead in the environment. Cancer data are not available.

(a) in Sri lanka I find that people don't even drink enough water (10 cups a day is a good amount. So workers don't have enough water to flush their kidneys, and so they get Kidney illness).
(b)Avoiding smoke, kassippu, sweets and sweetened soda drinks, fatty foods, fried foods, etc. Even consumption of wine or beer, let alone strong drinks, can lead to cancer. Women are more susceptible. Alcohol is carcinogenic.
(c) solar-UV-light, X-rays, Radon and natural radioactivity in homes, petroleum, diesel & kerosine fumes, fumes of forest fires, or home fires, insecticide fumes, mothball fumes, strong shampoos and detergents, hair dyes, unsafe handling of fertilizers, glues, paints, heavy metal powders, asbestos powders, industrial oils, etc. Avoiding some naturally occurring flowers possibly sweet-smelling, and some herbal products and some highly aromatic natural herbal oils
(d) there is no evidence to support the common beliefs that cell-phones, radio transmission, TV transmission, computer screens etc., cause cancer. There have been over 5 billion cell-phones used in the world during the last 10 years. Not one case of cancer attributed to cell-phone use has been proved. So, the liklihood of your getting cancer from cell-phones during the next 10 years is 1 part in ten-billion (i.e., utterly neg;ligible).
(e) eating a Variety of green foods, lentils etc., see, for example, the Canada food Guide.
(f) sufficient exercise- minimum 30 minutes a day and keeping body weight under control (but skipping a meal as a regular schedule if necessary to reduce weight - exercise do not really reduce weight -).

2.)Early detection. Mobile health clinics can be organized by private groups as described below.

In Sri lanka people wait till every thing is done by the government, or they help people individually. What is needed is to form societies, or coops, of concerned individuals, and act TOGETHER. `Alcoholics Anonymous' is a good role model, where concerned individuals from families of alcoholics, and concerned health-care individuals get together, plan action and do it to help alcoholics, as well as there families. Similarly there are `Schizophrenics help groups' and so on. I am sure they can form a `Cancer-support health group, collect money and create a fund insted of giving the mony individually, and use the interest for helping patients etc. However, it is the public figures, monks and other swho have to do all this.

Are there Herbal cures for cancer?

Many home remedies, and remedies that people try when `everything fails' are mentioned in many discussions and in the internet. However, if you cannot even recognize a cancer cell when you look at cells in a microscope, or have not spend a few years rigorously studying the subject, leave the treatment of cancer to the professionals. Cancer has to be caught early to treat it successfully, by what ever treatment. However, below we list some `herbal remedies'.

  • Katupila; Flueggea leucopyrus ; this has been much in the news in Sri lanka
  • Katu-anoda; Annona Muricata, sour-sop, custard apple
  • Manioc ( Manioc,Manihot utilissima . Write ups in the Cynthiya Jayasuriya. Sunday Observer, July 2011, and in the Island Newspaper, and rebuttals by Carlo Fonseka can be consulted.
  • Komarika (Aloe Vera)
  • Thotila Oroxylum indicumBark is used in India for mouth cancer.
  • Thala Sesemum Indicum
  • Siyambala, Tamarind
  • Kathurupila, Tephrosia purpurea (wild indigo)
  • Yoo gaha, Taelipath, Taxol
  • Suduloonu, Garlic claims to help colonand retal cancers.
  • Hathavariya, local asparagus Asparagus racemosusClaims have been made that asparagus helps to reduce the risk of cancer and even AIDS.
  • Papol, Papaya It has also been claimed as an anti-cancer agent. Papaya anti-cancer claims etc.
  • Minimal, Catharanthus roseus (Periwinkle)Its use as an anti-cancer tea in Jamica prompted a pharmaceutical investigation which led to the formulation of Vinblastine (sold as Velban) and Vincristine, both anti-cancer drugs, now produced synthetically.
  • Karawila, anti-leukemia and other anti-cancer properties, and other medicinal effects have been reported
  • Kaha,Tumeric, lowering cancer risk
  • Tea, Ceylon Tea as loweing cancer risk
  • Mistletoe, (Viscum album L.) Extracts of mistletoe have been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory and to stimulate the immune system. There is no evidence from well-designed clinical trials that mistletoe or any of its components are effective treatments for human cancer.
  • Saw Palmetto, (Serenoa repens) Studies suggest that Saw Palmetto extract is effective for both subjective and objective measurements of prostatic enlargement . Other studies show that Saw Palmetto extract selectively antagonizes 52% of the dihydrotestosterone receptors in the prostate, thus inhibiting the hormone from binding to them, and therefore minimizing its stimulation of cell growth.
  • Birch (Betula alba)In March, 1995, John Pezzuto of the University of Illinois, Chicago reported that one of these compounds found in birch-bark extract, called betulinic acid, was able to kill human melanoma cells transplanted into mice. Dr. Pezzuto extracted betulin from birches and converted this into betulinic acid. According to the scientist, betulinic acid "worked better than the drug most commonly used in people to treat melanoma."
  • Essiac; Essiac is a combination of several herbs. It contains burdock root, the inner bark of slippery elm, sheep sorrel, and Turkish rhubarb.Other combinations have additionally, watercress, blessed thistle, red clover and kelp. The herbs are brewed as a `tea' and it is claimed to promote health, strengthen the immune system, improve appetite, relieve pain, improve overall quality of life, and reduce the size of tumors.
  • karum-cheerakam, karunjilakara. This is a spice known from antiquity, identified in tombs of ancient Pyramids. It has been mentioned by Avicenna. This plant is not native to Sri Lanka, but Nigella Sativa products are sold by several companies in Sri Lanka that sell ayurvedic and herbals, and by Moslem (Unani) physicians who have a very high regard for it. It is used in Indian cooking, for instance, the seeds are put on naan bread. Kalunji (Karunji) is described in Moslem medicine; and in Ayurvedic texts. Many claims have been made, but efficacy against diabetes, cancer, reduction of cholesterol etc., has not been established by suitable double-blind experiments.

Useful link: American cancer society see main page sinhala place-names website

see the main `botany-to-local names' website botany page