Sunday, May 5, 2013

Great Course on cancer

I try to keep my eye open for counterintuitive information.  Many things in life are rather logical and turn out much like we guess they will.  However, every now and then, something important turns out to work quite unlike what we expect.  In those cases, going by our intuition doesn't work out.

I like to listen to some of the Great Courses while driving.  Quite a few of the ones that sound worthwhile are only available in video format.  The subject may be much enhanced by being able to see what is being talked about.  The new course "What Science Knows About Cancer" is one such course.  I haven't watched it but I may.  In looking through the catalog, I saw these statements by the professor/scientist teaching it:

  • About 10% of cancer is initiated by viruses, and a roughly similar percentage of cancer is inherited.

  • Things many people assume causes cancer—such as pollutants and food additives—may not be as significant as natural substances in foods and normal reproductive processes.

  • Public policies such as home radon testing may be based on false assumptions about the risks for cancer.

  • Tumors can recruit their own blood supply through the process of angiogenesis.

  • Some cancer occurs spontaneously, simply because of imperfections in our chemistry.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had my prostate removed in 2002.  I seem to be symptom free and have been for quite a while.  Except for that, I haven't had experience with cancer but each of the statements above was indeed a surprise for me.

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