Cancer has been around since ancient times. There are many drawings with written descriptions of several kinds of cancer dating pre-300 BC. Some of the earliest evidence of cancer is found among fossilized bone tumours in human mummies in ancient Egypt, and references to abnormal growths have been found in ancient manuscripts.
Natural selection is the gradual, non-random process by which organisms that are better suited to their environment than others produce more offspring. It is a key mechanism of evolution. Within the complex ecosystem that is the human body, natural selection is at work, tumours grow, mutate and face diverse selective pressures as they change and react to their environment.
There are three necessary conditions for natural selection to occur. There must be variation in the population. This is easily seen within tumours, as there are many genetic mutants. The variation must be inheritable. All cells divide to replicate, daughter tumour cells will share the same mutations as the parent cells. Lastly, the variation must affect the survival and reproduction of the cells as a whole.
Cancer cells spread much faster than healthy cells, from an evolutionary perspective they win out. They are far more aggressive and don’t need any sort of external signal to divide like normal cells do, so can’t spread uncontrollably. They are also able to suppress a vital set of internal instructions that require cells to self-destruct when their genes are mutated beyond repair.
The process of evolution happens when as members of a population die, they are replaced by the progeny of parents that are better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment that natural selection took place. In the case of cancer, the question becomes what can we do to ensure the environment does not encourage any abnormal growth?
There are a few ways we can make sure our bodies are not the ideal environment for tumours to grow.
All cancers are completely unable to spread without a process known as angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. Without new blood vessels, cancerous tumours would be stuck, unable to gather any oxygen or other vital nutrients they need to grow.
Eating foods that are high in antiangiogenics will slow angiogenesis and hence slow the spread of cancer. Tomatoes and citrus fruits are high in antiangiogenics.
Eating refined sugars takes a toll on your body’s natural defences. The immune system becomes shattered. When you are munching down on plants and absorbing their complex sugars, your body is able to utilize the carbohydrate for energy with the help of all the proteins, vitamins and minerals nature packs into plants. When you are sipping cola, there is nothing but empty calories. Worse than providing nothing beneficial, refined sugar actually leaches the body through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination makes on your body.
Avoiding refined sugars avoids this unnecessary toll on the body and keeps your immune system ready to protect you from harm.
As well as eating plenty of foods high in antiangiogenics and avoiding refined sugars, keeping yourself at a healthy body weight will strongly decrease your risk of developing cancer. Fat cells produce hormones, which either stimulate or inhibit cell growth depending on the type produced. Lepin is the hormone found most often in obese people. This stimulates cell growth, likely speeding up the spread of cancer.
The Paleolithic diet or the Paleo diet is a modern nutritional plan based on the diet of our ancestors. The diet consists of mostly meat, fish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, berries, mushrooms and other foods that would have been available to hunter-gather societies in the Palaeolithic period. Following the Paleo lifestyle naturally avoids foods that encourage cancer.