Oxygen Deficiency in Tissues and its Relationship with Cancer

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded 8.2 million deaths due to cancer. So many dead, considering that cancer can come from a single defect; a lone abnormal cell going rogue against its host, replicating undetected through the loopholes in the immune system, and entrenching itself into a tumor.

Yet what makes one microscopic organism so malignant, so destructive towards its environment and thereby accelerating its own demise? What reprograms an automated life-form to seek death? What causes cancer?

Dr. Otto Heinrich Warburg, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1931, states in his hypothesis, “Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one primary cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. All normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation. All normal body cells are thus obligate aerobes, whereas all cancer cells are partial anaerobes.”

Warburg’s hypothesis means that when a cell or a tissue fails to use oxygen, either because it is enveloped by toxins or because its respiratory component becomes damaged, it switches to fermentation in order to continue living. However, since the rest of the body still relies on oxygen, the fermenting cell can no longer resume its normal functions. Furthermore, the cell exudes lactic acid as a by-product of fermentation. This acid is a carcinogen which deprives other neighboring cells of oxygen, thereby spreading the hazard exponentially.

A dying cell struggling for survival becomes the source of the body’s decay. Life may find a way, but death follows.

On the other hand, if tissue oxygen deficiency causes cancer, getting high doses of oxygen into the body is one way of combatting it. Oxygen therapy singles out the anomalous cells and eliminates them while reinforcing healthy cells and making them less likely to turn cancerous.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure. Aside from avoiding the usual suspects of smoking and unhealthy foods, ensuring normal levels of oxygen in the blood lessens the chance of cancer. Staying too long in low oxygen conditions like high-altitude areas is not advisable. Lastly, physical exercise, though requiring a lot of oxygen, trains the body to become more efficient in oxygen consumption.

With that said, go and beat cancer before it begins. Go and breathe life.

Oxygen Deficiency in Tissues and its Relationship with Cancer2

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