Cancer is perhaps the most dreaded disease globally. Currently (2014), it kills over 147,000 people every year up from 100,000 in 2011.According to the World Health Organisation, WHO as many as 10,000 Nigerians are victims of the debilitating disease and the number of victims is on the rise. For instance, in recent years, it has killed notable Nigerians such as Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Sunny Okosuns, the Ozzidi King, Yinka Craig, and Yemi Tella who led the Golden Eaglets to soccer glory in 2007.
The most common types of cancer in Nigeria include those affecting the breast, cervix, colon, liver and the lungs.
The challenges victims face include the enormous cost of treatment- with a single dose of drug costing as much as N15,000 as at 2003, in addition to ignorance about it, lack of early detection, fear of the unknown and social stigma. Yet, only 17 percent of African countries are really serious in combating the menace of the debilitating disease.
Therefore, much more needs to be done in increasing the tempo on creating awareness on the symptoms to look out for, preventive measures to take, the lifestyles to avoid and the medical attention required, as soon as it is detected.
So important is the issue of cancer that February 4 is set aside by the World Health Organisation, an arm of the United Nations to focus on it every year. Though it is characterized by an unusual and unrestrained abnormal growth of cells, if left untreated; it is however curable if properly and promptly checked on early detection.
According to Dr. Charles Myers, MD, Director of Cancer Centre, University of Virginia Medical Centre, in Charlottesville, U.S. only 10 per cent of cancer is hereditary. The remaining 90 per cent is obtained from an unhealthy lifestyle and can therefore, be prevented.
There are two types of cancer:
Sarcoma arises from muscles bones, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, lymph, fat and connective tissues.
Carcinoma, on the other hand, originates from the surface cells of the skin and intestinal organ.
A change in diet and lifestyle could effectively stave off debilitating effects of cancer. Avoid overweight. Daily exercise helps. Stop smoking. Say no to junk food. Take cabbage diet as it prevents, cuts the risk of breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer.
What to eat
Brightly coloured fruits such as oranges, grapes, tangerine are rich in vitamin C an anti-oxidant, and also quercetin (red grapes).
Sea Foods: crabs, crayfish, prawns and lobester.
Deep coloured vegetables.Tomatoes contain lycopene and is most effective. Dark green vegetables such as ugu, efo, bitter leaf, spinach contain lutein while carrots are rich in beta-carotene.
Milk fortified breakfast cereals
Soy-based foods such as soya beans, soy-milk, soy burgers contain estrogen-like plant chemical, phytoestrogen or genistein.
Garlic and Onions contain effective anti-cancer fighting chemicals.
Apples, Green Tea, Grape Fruit
Consistent apple eaters have 18 per cent lower risk of suffering from different types of cancer.
Recent research in the Netherlands shows that those who ate fruits most had the lowest risk of dying from cancer.
Tomato’s lycopene fights against prostate cancer. Anti-oxidants in vegetables quench damaging free-radicals. They assist the body to produce enzymes that neutralizes dangerous carcinogens.
Great source of Vitamin D
Phyto-estrogens have receptors against breast cancer. Soy fruits contain most needed amino acids and powerful anti-cancer chemicals. Eat them.
Rich in phyto-estogen
The same chemical that makes one to cry when onion is sliced also stops cancer-causing chemicals.
Presence of phenols. These are rich in both fibres and flavonads that remove cholesterol, carcinogens and toxins.
Beans – Contain lignans, isoflavones, protease inhibitors and plenty of fibre that prevent cancerous growth of cells.
Recent researches at Ohio State University,U.S.led by Ching-Shih Chen, PhD notes that the human body cannot absorb the high dosages of natural Vitamin E required to prevent cancer.Work is on to provide the pill to achieve that effect.
Garlic for cancer prevention
Daily intake of garlic has been found to lower risk of most types of cancer. This anti-cancer property is due to allyl sulphides found in garlic. PhIP, a type of heterocyclic amine (HCA), has been associated with increased incidence of breast cancer among women. According to studies, diallylsulphide found in garlic inhibits the transformation of PhIP into carcinogens.
Guava juice from the leaves is effective against the growth of tumours as well as prostate cancer.
Orange peel extracts to the rescue
Content of orange peels:
8.Minerals such as zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, cadmium and nickel.
9.Concentrated Vitamin C.
10.Oil rich in d-limonene that is anti-carcinogenic
11.Citral,an aldehyde that works against the absorption of Vitamin A
16.Fibre,ash,fat and protein.
According to a recent scientific research published in Food and Function entitled, “Potent anti-cancer effects of citrus peel flavonoids in human prostate xenograft tumors”, extracts of orange peel given orally and by injection to patients showed 57 per cent inhibition by weight and 78 per cent inhibition by volume of the tumors without any observed toxicity.
The extract has received a patent, that is a stamp of approval from the scientific body that offers confidence on the efficiency and efficacy of inventions and innovations.
Scientists have also shown that extract from sweet orange(Citrus sinensis) inhibits the growth of human lung cancer by apoptosis(programmed cell death).
Orange peel extract enriched with monodemethylated PMFs have been developed as value-added nutraceutical products for cancer prevention.
They also induce calcium-mediated deaths in human breast cancer cells.
2.Treatment of psychosis, a nervous system disease
3.Assists in the treatment of neurasthenia
4.Chronic bronchitis treatment.
5.Coronary heart disease
6.Reduction of high blood lipid level.
9.Senility or loss of memory at old age
11.Treatment or iron deficiency
12.Protective against cancer of the mouth, stomach, larynx and pharynx.
Considering the immense health benefits inherent in orange peels, private and public institutions should actively engage in transforming them into avenues for wealth and job creation using the expertise of scientists and technologists knowledgeable in such fields.
Can you eat orange peel? Why not, but if not consider crushing and steaming it. Unknown to some, it is used in some herbal products which they still buy to drink.
People who consume orange peel extract should also eat plenty of Vitamin A-rich food items such as carrot, cod liver oil and red palm oil since the citral in it prevents the absorption of it.
Against Breast Cancer
A research study by a team of scientists at Louisiana State University, Health Science Centre, U.S. and led by the Indian Research Professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Raj Madhwa and published in the Journal of Cancer November,2013 shows that the combination of six natural compounds found in green vegetables, fruits and plant roots killed 100 per cent of sample breast cancer cells without any toxic side effects on normal cells!
This particular research combined ten known protective chemical nutrients found in foods such as grapes, apples, broccoli, tofu and turmeric(a spice used in Indian curry).Interestingly, they selected six out of the ten chemicals and discovered that individually they were not effective against breast cancer cells, but collectively this rich cocktail suppressed the growth by more than 80 per cent, inhibited their movement or migration to other cells and any form of invasion to spread the cancer and even triggered the death of the cancerous cells.
According to Raj, “one of the primary causes of both the recurrence and deaths caused by breast cancer is a small group of cancer stem cells that evade therapy. They have the ability to generate new tumours, so it is critically important to develop new approaches to more effective and safer treatment or prevention of breast cancer.”
Ayo Oyoze Baje