Cancer, a disease which causes abnormal growth of cells, is becoming more and more common in recent years. Because of this large increase, cures for it and medicines preventing it are now common goals among scientists. Some have turned towards herbal or plant remedies, about which this paper is written.
Recently a discovery was found that helps to cut your chances of getting cancer by 50 percent. It cuts the chances by one half! And what is it but, common vegetables. "This new study found the strongest protection against cancer may come from raw veggies, garlic and onions, legumes, carrots, green veggies, cruceferous veggies (the broccoli gang), tomatoes and citrus fruits." (Webb, 93) All of these veggies reduce chances of getting cancer because of what vitamins they have: "vitamin C, folate, and beta-carotene." (Webb, 93) Also, fiber is included in the cancer "fighters". "And dozens of natural substances called phytochemicals that scientists are just beginning to uncover--like lycopene from tomatoes and ellagic acid from strawberries." (Webb, 93)
This does not mean that you have to live on a strict diet of these vegetables to reduce the chances of getting cancer but, to eat your normally daily serving. It is recommended that five servings a day of these vegetables to retain your health. However, uncooked, raw vegetables are often better that cooked veggies. This is because uncooked, they retain many more nutrients that they would if they were cooked. Also, is does not really matter if the veggies come fresh or in a can because overall you will get the same out each.
Another recent development in cancer treatment was the discovery of the properties of common white birch tree. A chemical called betulinic acid or betulin, can be extracted from the bark of this tree. However, the amount of birch trees that actually contain betulin is very slim, it is a very rare substance. Additionally, there is no real worry though because there are over seven million acres of white birch tree in Canada. Betulin specifically targets only melanoma cells, or skin cancer, and leaves other cells perfectly intact. "It attacks melonoma cells as if guided be a laser." (Bricklin, 15) This leaves the healthy cells. In a way it causes melanoma cells to essentially commit suicide. This is beneficial because melanoma is the fastest rising type of cancer in the U. S. "It affects 1 in 90 white people over a lifetime." (Centafanti, 231) When tested on other types of cancer, betulin doesn't even affect them, suggesting that they may react with something in melanoma cells. It isn't quite clear how or why betulin affects melanoma, but when tested in lab mice, those mice with tumors experienced a halt in tumor growth, and in those with tumors just forming, the tumors disappeared (Centofanti, 231). Betulinic acid produces no side effects and is very non-toxic. In fact, Dr. John Pezzuto of the University of Illinois is trying to use it in a sunblock which would prevent melanoma from the start (Bricklin and Smith, 15).
Also broccoli sprouts have been found to inhibit cancers effects. This was found in 1992. Only about three tablespoons are needed for the sprouts to work. "Paul Talalay and his coworkers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore surprised cancer researchers in 1992 when they isolated sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli and its botanical kin that inhibits the development of cancer (SN: 3/21/92, p. 183). The compound works by turning on detoxifying phase-2 enzymes." (Raloff, 183) "Both seeds and sprouts contain a compound that is turned into sulforaphane when their cells are crushed during chewing." (Raloff, 183) These plants at maturity contain 95 to 98 percent less sulforaphane, than the actual sprouts, in terms of sulforaphane per gram. These findings have only been tested on rats so far. The results are great. It "dramatically inhibits chemically induced cancer in the rats." (Roloff, 183)
Another cancer fighting mechanism is in commonly eaten foods; fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants such as beta-carotene, glutathione, and vitamins E and C, which are found in fruits and vegetables, and retenoids such as vitamin A, which are found in dairy products, have been shown to reduce cancer. They do this by "neutralizing free-radicals, the by-products of many of the body's normal metabolic functions" (Adler, 248). Retenoids and antioxidants disrupt