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Home • Understanding Cancer (Simplified DNA Explanation)
This is the information that really helped give me a ‘starting base’ to work with and ‘get my head’ around what Cancer is, so that I could first be terrified like everyone else (so pre-warning, understanding this information even at this ‘lower level’ is terrifying), and then change my research focus towards cellular repair, cell understanding, and cell damage prevention & protection, instead of just focusing on individual diseases & symptoms.
I no longer fear Cancer or any disease. Instead I at least understand an important-to-know snippet of an important-to-know system about how my body’s cells replicate at the DNA level, and what can go wrong with that process. I can now appreciate the magnitude and importance of every little thing I can do consciously towards health, that every health conscious decision I take on, accumulates to help protect me from these out-of-control malfunctioning molecules. The learning doesn’t stop here, but it’s the first step in understanding what’s going on, and helps explain why 1 in 2 people will be affected by cancer in some way.
It’s amazing what our cells are trying to achieve in our bodies! Absolutely miraculous what it is constantly doing without our conscious awareness. And it’s unfortunate that we get in the way; that our current lifestyles (filled with cancer-causing pollutants that the body absorbs through air, food, water, or skin) are interrupting our cells, causing DNA malfunction – corrupting vital survival information and causing out-of-control cellular mutation & disease.
Most of us have heard of Carcinogens . Carcinogens are known molecules of chemicals that can cause cancer. And in our modern society there are thousands of things that are known and probably more thousands that are yet unknown carcinogens. And there is plenty we can do to help prevent a lot of these Carcinogens from getting into our cells in the first place, to give us our best chance, and most of it is instinctively obvious, well-known, or very easy to find.
Scientists estimate that as many as one-half of the deaths from cancer in the United States and Europe, could theoretically be prevented.1
Firstly, this is how carcinogens affect us at a DNA level:
A carcinogenic substance, causes an increase in deregulated DNA activity by penetrating and holding open cancerous cellular DNA strands for an excessively long period of time, sometimes even permanently. Destabilization of the DNA of a healthy cell results from long and cumulative exposure to carcinogens. This carcinogenic effect is exhibited only on DNA that has been destabilized and can become cancerous. It does not take place with normal DNA. That is to say, the duplication of the DNA originating from healthy cells is barely changed, even in the presence of a carcinogen. However cancerous DNA is significantly affected. Subsequently carcinogenic substances selectively target DNA which is already slightly destabilized.2
(Note: If you take your time and don’t skimp, by the end of this page, you will be able to comprehend the above quote with ease).
The over-simplified version of how a carcinogen causes cancer:
Our cells are constantly replicating, each cell replicates approximately 50-80 times before dying to make way for new healthy cells to replicate. In order for our cells to replicate, DNA strands within them are constantly unbinding & re-binding to other molecules, and it’s in that fraction of a moment when a strand is in the process of unbinding & rebinding that our cells are susceptible to carcinogens. A carcinogen can bind/lodge itself ‘in the way’ so that the strands can’t reform.
Our bodies are what they are because healthy DNA strands that contain all the instructions (think of a computer programme) are constantly replicating itself within a cell, then dividing off into 2 cells, and so on… each of the duplicated cells repeat the process; replicating and dividing, replicating and dividing. Healthy cells divide and replicate trillions of times in our body every day and that’s a totally normal and healthy function.
When a cell is no longer able to replicate, the cell is programmed to die (apoptosis), which is also a normal & necessary function of a healthy body. “Cancer” is when a carcinogen interrupts the natural self-replicating process; it causes either the instructions to get damaged or the reforming of the strands not to occur. The unformed DNA strands are programmed to continue to replicate until they are reformed, rendered inert, or die. The carcinogen molecule prevents the reformation of the strands, and the more contaminated we are with carcinogens, the replication process has no end, meaning these “unzipped strands” will replicate indefinitely…
…The unzipped strand will replicate out-of-control – indefinitely. Without reforming to another unzipped molecule, the strand doesn’t have all the “instructions” to know how to kill itself (apoptosis). The full information that these molecules need is contained when “both” strands are reformed, it is effectively “brainless” excepting that it is still programmed to replicate.
In other words, any pollutant that is able to interrupt that important cell replication process, can not only stop the DNA from reforming, but it may also cause the DNA “transfer” of information to become malformed or corrupted. Then these corrupted, mutated cells start replicating more mutant cells. Subsequently, some of our other un-corrupted cells with can sometimes identify these “mutant” cells and miraculously work together to try to repair them, but cancer is the result that happens, when these cells are unable to do so.
That’s my “nutshell version” which I hope helps prepare your understanding for the following version – actually I hope that both together, gives you a solid basis for understanding all of the further cancer research that you do. Sometimes reading the same meanings written by different people can help map it all out to become easier to comprehend.
Below is several extracts – containing a more detailed explanation that really helped me get my head around what is happening at the DNA level; what DNA Double Helix is, what Cancer is, and what the carcinogens can do.
I’ve also embedded the ‘Google Books preview-version’ of the book I took the extracts from: ‘Cancer’s Cause, Cancer’s Cure: The Truth About Cancer, Its Causes, Cures’ by Morton Walker at the end of this post so you can see the DNA images that will help tremendously in getting your head around cancer.
The doctors don’t explain it in a way where we can visualize what is actually happening so it’s hard because it’s actually a difficult thing to comprehend, and with their many years of training on so many different aspects of DNA and cancers and genes and other diseases, that maybe trying to explain their years of training in the limited time they have with patients in a way where we can actually “get it” may seem like an impossible thing to do. But this snippet today will give you enough understanding to ‘visualize’ what is happening so that you have a solid basis to getting a more clearer understanding for further research &/or to help you better understand what your health professional is trying to explain to you.
“Cancer” is the name given to that class of diseases in which the body’s cells become abnormal, then continue to subdivide, and replicate themselves in the abnormal state indefinitely.
Healthy cells are pre-programmed to die at a certain point. This pre-programmed cell death present in healthy cells, called apoptosis, somehow gets shut off in a cancer cell. These rogue cells multiply and multiply, forming a tumor which crowds out the healthy cells in whatever body tissue it’s formed. Eventually those cancerous cells metastasize, which means the cancer spreads and forms more tumors in other parts of the body.
It’s no wonder cancer is such a feared disease. It isn’t an infection, which means that something like bacteria has invaded the cells. You can kill bacteria. But how do you regulate cells that grow with no control, can spread quickly to other parts of the body, and seem to defy all restrictive treatment that modern medicine throws at them? To compound the problem, there are over one hundred different types of cancer, and not all cancer cells behave the same.
Long strands of DNA sitting in the centre of the cell, its nucleus, are structured in a formation that looks like a spiraling ladder. That is the double helix, and it’s called that because a helix could be considered as a spiral or anything twisted. A double helix is 2 such spirals twisted together.
The DNA contains all the information needed to make and control every cell within a living organism. The structure of the double helix includes both the sides and the rungs of the ladder. The ‘sides’ of the ladder are made up of a combination of the most fundamental elements in nature: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus. These elements combine to form sugar phosphates, but they are not the important part of the ladder for our purposes.
The ‘rungs’ of the DNA ladder are made up of four specific nitrogen- containing molecules that are also known as the nitrogenous base, or “bases” of DNA.
These four molecules are thymine (T), adenine (A), cytosine (C), and guanine (G). These bases always come in pairs. Thymine (T) will only pair with adenine (A) (also called the “pyrimidine” base pair). Cytosine (C) will only pair with guanine (G) (also called the “purine” base pair). Each pair together is called a base pair, and it doesn’t matter in what order the molecules in the base pair are placed. Sometimes it’s TA; sometimes, AT. Sometimes it’s CG; sometimes, CG.
The Two Functions of DNA
DNA is probably the most vital or consequential molecule for life, since it carries instructions for the maintenance of our bodies. DNA has two main functions:
Genetic – DNA carries instructions for the maintenance of a given species through the nature and the positioning of its genes. It does this by permitting specific RNA molecules to “read” the message contained in the genes and then, through a series of steps, produce specific proteins to help manage the organism. Tens of thousands of different human gene-types exist, with most geneticists putting the total number of genes carried by our chromosomes at approximately one hundred thousand.
Self-Replicating – DNA assures self-replication and duplication, which is the first step in cell multiplication. The DNA replicates itself, causing the cell to grow twice its size. Once the cell has replicated itself in its entirety, the cell then divides into two. This process happens trillions of times a day in our bodies.
In terms of genetics, the pairing of the bases together are called ‘genes’, and they are the basis of all the information that is carried in your body. Knowing this is important simply because your genes govern all of your physical appearance – eye colour, hair colour, height, sex – every property that has to do with the physical aspect of our bodies. Even more amazing is that most of the body’s cells contain a complete sample of our DNA.
Self-replication, the duplication of the DNA molecule, is crucial for the stability and durability of the species because that is how cells produce more cells which cause life to continue.
Beljanski’s meticiulous original research led him to conclude in the late 1980s that the major source of cancerous cell behaviour is caused by ‘structural corruption’ of the DNA.
When DNA splits and copies itself, it can undergo mutations, alterations, and breakages or other modifications in its structure, all of which lead to alterations in the cell. A mutation is a genetic change that is inherited by all the offspring of the original cell in which the mutation occurred. Luckily, there are systems in our body able to repair these mutations, but sometimes they do not or cannot repair a problem.
A cell or an organism affected by a mutation is described as a mutant. Something that causes mutation in a cell is called a mutagent. The effects on many mutations are well known and those that affect our physical appearance may be striking, as in the case when two fingers are fused together when a baby is born. The most common mutation we’re familiar with is Down’s syndrome. Mutations happen all the time in a cell, but our cells are programmed to repair the defect and oftentimes the mutation remains harmless even if it isn’t corrected.
The mutational theory of cancer basically says that when mutations occur in genes that tell the cell to divide, regulation of this process may be lost and the cells may continue to divide and multiply out of control. Unregulated cell division is a characteristic of cancer-cell growth.
Beljanski was well aware of the fact that cancer sometimes develops from mutations that occur in the DNA. However, he found through hundreds of hours of painstaking research that cancer can be caused by environmental carcinogens (substances that cause cancer) that don’t necessarily act as mutagents. He discovered that many carcinogens induce physical structural (not genetic) changes in the DNA, and in order to understand what ‘that’ means, we need to turn now to biology lesson number 2 on DNA, its primary and secondary structures, and how it replicates.
When a cell replicates, it allows life to continue. When a cell replicates out of control, it is cancerous. The self-replication of DNA happens at a structural level, and there is a primary and a secondary part to that structure.
The sugar-phosphate side of the DNA ladder is bonded covalentely to one of the groups of the 2 pairs of bases, or rungs, of the ladder (the TA/AT or CG/GC combinations). Covalent bonds hold the rungs to the sides in a chemical bond formed by the sharing of electrons (electron being the partical of an atom that is negatively charged). Covalent bonds are very strong because the negative particles of one molecule bond together with the positive particles of another molecule, therby creating a stable balance of positive and negative forces.
Together, the sugar-phosphate sides and the nitrogenous bases or rungs of the ladder are called a nucleotide. The nucleotides in the double chain are consider the ‘primary structure’ of the helix. Nucleotides are bound together in long chains, and while the structure of this is in fact quite complicated, what matters for our discussion here is mutations are any alteration of the primary molecular structure of DNA (most often when there is an unplanned change in one base to another).
The ‘secondary structure’ of the DNA molecule is the middle part of the rung of the ladder. The two base pairs are held together by a hydrogen bond. Hydrogen bonds are much weaker than the covalent bonds that hold the rungs to the sides of the ladder. This secondary structure of DNA is where Dr. Beljanski focused much of his attention because of what happens to that hydrogen bond in cancerous DNA.
The bases or rungs of the ladder held together by the hydrogen bonds I just mentioned act like the teeth of a zipper. When the DNA molecule is zipped up with all its hydrogen bonds intact, it is a very stable and unshakable molecule. It is hard to mess with it. But DNA is constantly replicating itself to make new cells in the body. To do that, it has to unzip itself, and that’s where all the trouble lies.
Cells divide and replicate trillions of times in our body every day. It’s a normal process. It starts with the DNA making a copy of itself. Then the rest of the cell copies its parts. When the copy is complete, it splits off from the parent cell. The copied cell is then “all of a piece,” ready and able to do whatever job it’s meant to do.
DNA replication, the heart of cell replication, is really an enigma. It is so small you have to use special microscopes to view it, but it is also unimaginably large in scope. It takes place at rates between 50 nucleotides per second in mammals to 500 nucleotides per second in bacteria. To give you a sense of the scope of the amount of replication that is taking place in your body right now, do some simple math. 50 nucleotides replicating per second means that ‘one’ cell is duplicating itself around 4.3 million times a day. There is no consensus on how many cells are in a human body, but estimates range from 50 to 100 trillion. Another way to put it – the nucleotides in your cells reproduce more than 14 trillion times in one hour. And that’s just a healthy cell. Cancer cells divide and replicate themselves in an out-of-control fashion – far faster than a healthy cell.
How DNA Recreates Itself by Replication
Like every form of life, individual cells have a lifespan. Rather than measure lifespan as a length of time, the lifespan of a cell is measured by how many times it can replicate itself. An average number of replications of cells observed in laboratory experiments is fifty but is theorized to be at a maximum of eighty. When a cell is no longer able to replicate, apoptosis (self-induced cell death) is the result. Self-induced cell death is exceedingly important for the overall health of body tissues. Without apoptosis, every newborn organism would otherwise in reality be just one ongoing cancer with its physiological systems overrun by excessive numbers of growing cells.
There are a series of steps that it must go through:
(see image in book below for the illustration he is referring to in these steps)
1. The rungs of the parental DNA (the bases bound together with a hydrogen bond) break apart and the sides of the ladder break off (the zipper unzips itself). The parent molecule floats off and the open-sided rungs of the ladder are ready to replicate.
2. Open, unbonded bases can now be acted upon by the DNA polymerase, the crucial enzyme that literally makes a new copy of these open, unbonded bases (the open half of the ladder). The copy of the DNA polymerase makes is actually complementary to the existing half. If you look at the illustration (see book below), you will notice that the side of the ladder that’s from the parent DNA molecule has the A, the T, the C, and the G waiting for their proper mates. The DNA polymerase makes a strand that has the corresponding T, A, G, C bases ready to fuse with the existing half.
3. The existing half of the ladder then fuses with the replicated, complimentary half because the hydrogen bonds between the bases reform. The process continues until 2 identical molecules of DNA have been formed. This happens twice, once for each side of the ladder that was split from the parent DNA molecule. (One zipper is now two and both are zipped up). In a healthy cell, this process continues in each cell until the cell reaches its maximum number of times it can divide, and its preprogrammed death, apoptosis, occurs.
This is a remarkably efficient system, and in a perfect healthy body it runs along smoothly. However, the two strands are bound together by hydrogen bonds whose opening and closing are susceptible to internal and external influences. When the hydrogen bonds of the base pairs fail to rezip, the message that DNA delivers may be dramatically modified.
The hydrogen bonding is disrupted by many types of molecules that come from both inside the body and from outside substances such as pollutants that the body absorbs through air, food, water, or even through the skin. These modifications lead to the replication process malfunctioning, which brings on the appearance of various serious diseases such as cancer. It is this malfunctioning that Dr Beljanski discovered and named DNA Destabilization.
DNA interacts with many types of molecules, and these interactions may affect the fate of the cell. DNA initiates the production of other cells, so ensuring the integrity of the DNA is of prime importance in maintaining the structural integrity of cells.
Structural integrity, however, can be compromised by damage either to the primary structure (the order and nature of the base pairs) or the secondary structure (the hydrogen bonding of the base pairs). To reiterate an important point I made above, primary structural damage is usually caused by a mutation of a base or the activation or deactivation of a base by its binding to another molecule. This is the prevailing idea of what happens to the DNA in a cancer cell.
What Beljanski discovered was that the secondary structure (the hydrogen bonding between the 2 nucleotides that form the base pairs) can be damaged when something interferes with the hydrogen bond reforming in the replication process.
Beljanski was able to conclude this discovery through a series of tests on the ability of the DNA cell to absorb ultraviolet light (in other words, to make a cell glow like a fluorescent light bulb). He was able to observe that sometimes the hydrogen bonds that have been unzipped for replication to occur do not zip back up. They are prevented from doing so by molecules of chemicals commonly known as carcinogens (cancer causing substances). Carcinogens disallow the hydrogen bonds to be reformed. And therein lies the problem.
When a DNA parent molecule is closed, it cannot be acted upon by DNA polymerase to create copies of open-stranded DNA. However, once the DNA strand has split itself and the half of the ladder is open, the DNA polymerase that is always there does what it is supposed to do: it causes the open strand to replicate itself. It will continue to do this over and over until the 2 sides of the DNA ladder can zip themselves back up or until the open side of the ladder is somehow killed or is rendered inert.
Since carcinogens are chemicals, they can lodge themselves into the sides of the DNA ladder, and this is why they prevent the hydrogen bonds in the bases, or rungs of the ladder, from reforming: they act as a counter force to the action of the hydrogen bonds. Hydrogen bonds are weak and the carcinogen residing in the sides of the ladder literally works to pull apart, or torque open, these weak bonds.
The hydrogen bonds can’t reform, so the open-ended ladder is susceptible to the DNA polymerase which is going to do the job it’s supposed to do: make copies of the open-ended rungs of the ladder. So you get an out-of-control copying of the open-ended rungs of the same unzipped DNA molecule.
When the DNA in a cell doesn’t zip back up, a cell’s preprogrammed apoptosis somehow gets dismantled.
In other words, the cell doesn’t kill itself. It keeps replicating infinitely – the hallmark of a cancer cell.
This is what Dr. Beljanski labeled as “destabilization of DNA,” a phenomenon which deals ‘exclusively’ with the secondary structure of the DNA. Its importance cannot be understated. The disruption of the secondary structure of the DNA double helix is a central factor in the creation of cancer. This is revolutionary.
First, he observed that when the separation of tightly bound strands of DNA in cellular tissue are contaminated with carcinogens, the result is that the separated strands of the double helix fail to reform in the perfect corkscrew-shaped helix. This failure causes destabilization of the DNA molecule.
Second, the destabilized molecule then starts replicating itself over and over with no end, and this causes the cells that contain the destabilized DNA to start replicating themselves over and over with no end. When more carcinogens enter the area, more destabilization of more DNA molecules occur. More cells begin replicating out of control, and eventually a cancerous tumor develops.
Source: Cancer’s Cause, Cancer’s Cure: The Truth About Cancer, Its Causes, Cures … By Morton Walker (Medical Journalist)
The book is a must-read and also contains a further 30+ years of condensed research from Dr. Beljanski, that includes 2 botanical extracts: “Rauwolfia vomitoria” & “Pao Pereira” (Geissospermum velosii) that he discovered & tested and is already in-use across Europe which in combination and in highly purified & concentrated forms actually inhibits the replication cycle & induces cell death (and won’t damage healthy cells). This is something that I noticed that most of the scientific studies that I’ve read have been still “searching for”. Even the cancer.gov site & the National Institutes of Health site says that scientists think this is possible and the next step in their research, but they are still trying to discover a solution – I’m wondering why they don’t have Beljanski’s research on there, especially if it’s already been successfully used for 30 years in other countries? Anyway, if I was diagnosed, I’d want to learn all I could about the effectiveness of these botanicals, especially as they can apparently also be used as a preventative.
The following preview contains only about 50 of the 280 pages… kind of like flipping through the book in a library or bookstore; you still get the gist & some useful information, but need to read the whole book to get a full understanding where the research all ties together).
Above: preview version (Google Book’s version) of the book: Cancer’s Cause, Cancer’s Cure: The Truth About Cancer, Its Causes, Cures, and Prevention by Morton Walker.
Back to simply me.
So the most important thing we gleaned from this knowledge aside from getting a basic understanding of what is happening on a DNA level to our cells, is that in order to prevent cancer completely, we need to live in a bubble. And since we can’t live in a bubble, and since we love our modern conveniences, we need to become experts in carcinogens & cell biology, and that our best chance of living a healthy life, free of cancer, is dependent upon us taking steps towards health, either by becoming aware of what we “can do”; what environmental & lifestyle factors cause cancer (carcinogens), and take the necessary steps to adjust our lifestyles accordingly. Or more effectively for the prevention of all modern-day causing diseases, becoming aware of what gives us health and adjusting our lifestyles in the same way. Either way leads towards health. We need to start becoming consciously more aware of what will give our cells the best chance it needs considering a lot of the carcinogens are unavoidable in today’s modern society.
If you learn to prevent cancer, you learn how to protect your cells from other diseases and ailments too. Almost every disease in this modern world was of our own doing and have the same accumulative causes.
I hope this helps though because once you see your whole body as trillions of “smart” cells, each with their own unique function, working together in harmony and intelligently adjusting to help you survive, and what we do consciously & unconsciously to ‘get in the way’ of this “harmonious miraculous” mini-universe, you might wonder at how amazing we all are to have managed to survive this long considering what we do on a daily basis towards making our cells “sick”, and hopefully you will get the motivation to take care of your cells/body better; become “conscious” of doing all you can to help your body thrive because it would be illogical, irresponsible, and possibly deadly to do otherwise.
Our depleted & toxic soils cause cancer & disease, the chemicals we eat/breathe and put on our skin3 , tobacco smoking4 , the radiation in our cell towers, smart-meter technology, computers, mobile phones, x-rays5 , the polluted water we drink, parasites & pathogens living in our bodies, viruses6 (particularly HPV; the human papillomavirus), bacteria7 , prolonged exposure to strong sunlight8 , toxins, heavy metals, dust9 , excessive amounts of alcohol10 , pollution11 , dietary including large amounts of meat & fats12 , etc.
Basically anything that can interrupt or interfere with the cell replication process can cause cancer, and those very same things can cause other common diseases and ailments (can make your cells sick). All disease is cell disease. All illness is cell sickness. Now that you can visualize the very basics of what is happening for cancer at the DNA-level, I hope it inspires you to research more, and to start taking daily-action towards optimizing your health.
Eat clean food, drink clean water, breathe clean air, avoid toxins, are the easiest to remember and easiest to implement into our daily lives.
Eating clean food used to be most freely available when we had access to them in our own backyards (when we grew our own fruit & vegetables or when we lived “on the land”).
This post is far from complete, but I’m sick of it sitting in my “pending posts” not being of any value to anyone.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not medical science or medical advice. I do not have any medical training aside from my own research and interest in this area. The information I publish is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, disorder, pain, injury, deformity, or physical or mental condition. I just report my own results, understanding & research.