Cancer, Iron, And How The Latter Helps Build Up The Former Along With Other Diseases
Ultimately, every human being on this planet has an expiration date. People eventually die just as infants are born every day. This is the reality of life.
In fact, there are numerous ways one can pass on. Some people die because of a tragic or freak accident, an act of malice such as murder, homicide, execution, starvation, suicide, strangulation, overdose, deterioration of health, old age, acts of God such as a massive earthquake, gigantic tsunami or lightning, or illness.
In terms of illnesses, cancer is a prominent disease that strikes millions of people around the world and is a major source of demise for those who have it and it has brought suffering to families because they have lost loved ones due to it.
There are numerous initiatives worldwide such as charities and dissemination campaigns to prevent or at least lessen the risk of cancer for people. However, most cases are just inescapable, where people have no fight against it.
Thankfully, though, there are remedies that patients can avail of to rid them of the disease, albeit these tend to be very expensive. Scientific studies are being done, as of this writing, to know more about its development and how to finally cure it.
These initiatives have made major breakthroughs in the quest to further understand cancer. In fact, one of these programs has yielded the findings that shed light on how one element contributes to the risk of having cancer.
It turns out that iron is a substance that has a key role in the emergence of cancer cells in the body. For example, tumors are a major byproduct of iron when it comes to fatal illness. These findings have a sense of irony in them as iron is one of the most important nutrients as it grows cells for the human body.
While there are many other ways and substances which can result in cancer, this paper focuses on iron and its part in this phenomenon, which has claimed the lives of countless people around the world.
A brief background on the big C
Cancer is one of the most prevalent causes of death for human beings in the modern era. Based on statistics from the United States of America’s National Cancer Institute, 2018, an estimated number of 1,735,350 cases of the said epidemic was observed while 609,640 of these will likely result to the deaths of patients.
It is the phenomenon wherein abnormal cells in the human body grow exponentially, which happens when the normal control mechanism ceases to fulfill its mandate. These old cells, instead of dying, transform into abnormal cells that may become tumors.
Cancers such as breast cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, and lung and bronchus cancer are some of the more common types of the sickness that has affected most of the Americans. The illness has been found to affect more men than women.
On a lighter note, there were an estimated 15,500,000 cancer survivors in America in 2016 and this number is expected to increase in 10 years’ time. The main treatments for these are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It is not only the US where cancer has struck. Recent data has shown that some countries have the ignominy of being the leader of breast cancer prevalence around the world, which has forced the government and public health advocates and organizations to spread information about it and dispel unhelpful myths.
In Canada, prostate cancer is the most common cancer for males with as many as 22,900 individuals are estimated to have the illness with more than 4,000 of them expected to die.
How Iron facilitates the emergence of cancer in the body
What needs to be analyzed, however, the roles of different stimuli in the emergence of cancer in one’s body. There are so many substances, whether natural or chemical, within or outside the body, that can act as carcinogens, which have the potential to make a person suffer the fatalistic threat of cancer.
One of these agents is iron, a metal, as it is capable of growing abnormal cells in the body. It hastens the development of hydroxyl radicals, one of the most powerful oxidizing agents, weakens cells that should thwart their counterparts from harming the body and the multiplication of cancer cells.
When cancer cells emerge from their hiding, the body’s natural tendency is to prevent iron from joining them so as not to worsen the situation. In fact, there are procedures that can be done to lower iron intake so as to help prevent the risk of cancer in a person’s body.
What makes iron dangerous is that it has a good and bad side just like the famous literary character of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the book ‘Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, the titular character switches from being a monster (Hyde) to being a regular human being (Jekyll).
Just like Jekyll and Hyde, iron transfigures between oxidized and reduced forms, which in turn makes it susceptible to dangerous consequences. What this can lead to is the birth of a tumor in the human body, which can prove premalignant, malignant or simply benign. The first two are cancerous while the latter can simply be removed during surgery and is not cancerous.
Aside from its capacity to form a tumor in the body, iron is also fully capable of the process of metastasis. Metastasis is the procedure wherein the cancer cells have reproduced to the point that they are now fully spread in the body.
This is what doctors call “stage four cancer” or the moment where a person knows that he or she is terminally ill and may only have a few years, months or days to live.
An excessive amount of iron is simply disastrous for the human body. It can be a precursor to the formation of diseases, which includes various cancer types, that affect the bones, digestive system, blood, endocrine, and childbirth.
Epilepsy, depression, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, down syndrome, sudden infant death syndrome, prion disease, porphyria cutanea tarda, hypertension, stroke, pre-eclampsia, and venous leg ulcer are additional examples of painful consequences of what too much iron can lead to when it comes to the human body.
The other damaging consequences of Iron towards the human body
Aside from cancer, iron can lead to a variety of diseases. These diseases fall under different categories depending on whether or not iron does it alone or joins forces with other stimuli or substances to form the illness.
On its own, iron can provide illnesses such as cardiomyopathy, which is an ailment that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood, hypogonadism, which is the condition wherein the body does not excrete testosterone sufficiently and osteoporosis, which is when the bone’s strength weakens.
As a contributor, iron is responsible for the likes of diabetes, which is the illness wherein a person’s blood sugar levels are too high, fungal and protozoan diseases, which harm the body in different ways, and multiple sclerosis, which is an illness that can make a person disabled.
Iron in relation to breast cancer
Based on a study by Xi Huang in 2008, he proposes that iron deficiency, which is caused by female menstruation, increases the risk of premenopausal women having breast cancer.
Iron deficiency is a prevalent issue for 20 percent of women who are not pregnant with ages 16 to 49 years old in industrialized nations compared to 40 percent of all women in developed countries. What happens is that iron deficiency causes hypoxic conditions in cancer tissues because of low hemoglobin levels.
This then escalated further to angiogenesis, the phase of the formation of new blood cells, and make premenopausal women who have had breast cancer fall victim to reoccurrences time and time again.
However, the opposite is also true. Huan’s study shows that too much iron in women who have already experienced menopause has been determined to be a source of breast cancer. This is because they are already past the menopausal stage and the volume of iron in their body can swell into tremendous amounts, which can cause form cancer cells as stated here.
Iron, for all the positives it brings to the human body such as in the production of red blood cells, is a potential carcinogen, which is a cell that acts as the building block of cancer, one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
The said element is a key factor in the growth of tumors in the body as well as the process of metastasis. Tumors are swellings in the body that come from abnormal cells. They come in different sizes and types. Benign tumors are not cancerous and are removable through surgery. Premalignant are those that knock on the door of cancer and must be dealt with quickly. Lastly, malignant tumors are cancerous and its cells are capable of spreading throughout the physical vessel.
Iron also facilitates metastasis, which is the escalation of cancer cells throughout the flesh. When this happens, doctors normally tell their patients that their illness has reached a critical stage and that their chances of survival are slim.
Because of iron’s role in the development of cancer in the body, certain procedures are doable to stop or prevent the damage that it brings. Therapeutic measures are available while certain activities can be done to lessen the iron intake. Lessening or stopping the consumption of red meat is an example of this.
Aside from cancer, iron is also a factor in a variety of illnesses, which it does on its own or as a contributor to multiple factors. Cardiomyopathy, hypogonadism, and osteoporosis are those that iron or a lack of it can affect on its own while diabetes, fungal and protozoan diseases, and multiple sclerosis as sicknesses that iron contributes to.
When a person feels that something is not right with his or her body, he or she must immediately visit a physician who can give a concrete diagnosis depending on the severity of the circumstances. If certain symptoms are apparent, then the patient must then go to an oncologist to either confirm or deny the existence of cancer in his or her body.