[ RadSafe ] What does it mean to say that something causes 16%of cancers?

Mohan Doss mohan.doss at fccc.edu
Fri May 11 15:20:56 CDT 2012

I agree with you that cancers are symptoms of an underlying condition.

A few points to note:
1.  About 45% of the population is likely to be diagnosed with cancer in 
their lifetime (ACS estimate, e.g.).  You may think the remaining 55% of 
the population do not have cancer.  However, when autopsies are 
performed, you are likely to find cancer cells in almost all of them (if 
they are well into their old age).
2. When the immune system is suppressed, e.g. in AIDS patients or organ 
transplant patients, the cancer risk goes up by a factor of about 2.4.  
Thus, the 55% of population that you thought do not have cancer will 
have cancer, if we suppress their immune system.  We can probably 
extrapolate this backwards and say that if you improved the immune 
system, you would decrease the cancer, and maybe eliminate the cancer 
altogether.  One method of boosting the immune system is regular 
moderate vigorous exercise.  This is known to reduce cancer incidence 
and mortality for many types of cancers.  Another method of boosting the 
immune system is through low dose radiation.  Low dose radiation is 
known to reduce cancers in controlled studies in animal models.  For 
humans, though reduction in cancers has been observed from low dose 
radiation in many retrospective studies, the potential confounding 
factors make it difficult to convince all scientists (or the general 
public) who are scared of the low dose radiation.  We need controlled 
clinical trials to determine conclusively the effectiveness of low dose 
radiation in preventing cancers.

Thus the underlying condition that causes (most) clinical cancers is 
deficiency in the immune system (in my opinion, based on the above 
points).  So long as we don't recognize this factor, and deal with it, 
we are not likely to succeed in conquering cancer.  Thus our current 
radiation safety system based on the LNT model (which completely ignores 
the effect of low dose radiation on the immune system) is a major 
failure of our current scientific society.  If what I have said here is 
shown to be true in the future, people are going to refer to our present 
days as the Dark Ages with regard to radiation, and wonder how we did 
not recognize the importance of the immune system in preventing cancer 
for so long (~40 years).

With best regards,

Mohan Doss, Ph.D., MCCPM
Medical Physicist, Diagnostic Imaging,
Associate Professor,
Fox Chase Cancer Center, R427
333 Cottman Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497.
Phone: 215 214-1707
Fax:   215 728-4755
E-mail:  Mohan.Doss at fccc.edu

On 5/11/2012 2:28 PM, Brennan, Mike (DOH) wrote:
> More and more I am coming to think "cancer" is like "fever", in that it
> describes a symptom, rather than a disease.  I think we are moving past
> being limited to treating the symptom to understanding the various
> things that can cause it.
> A great irony is that the population has been taught to fear radiation
> as the cause of cancer, when it is actually an absolutely necessary to
> in understanding and treating cancers.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
> [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Clayton J
> Bradt
> Sent: Friday, May 11, 2012 11:10 AM
> To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
> Cc: Cary.renquist at ezag.com
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] What does it mean to say that something causes
> 16%of cancers?
> Cary Renquist wrote:
>         "Cancer is more like poverty (caused by a number of events
>        throughout one's life, some inherited and some not) rather than
>        malaria
>        (caused by a very specific infection delivered via mosquito)."
> Except that sometimes cancer is like malaria:
> Certain strains of human papilloma virus cause cervical cancer.
> Specific
> virus genes have been identified which are found to be spliced into the
> tumor cells DNA causing them to proliferate while evading immune defense
> mechanisms.
> Other cancers have also been found to be caused by viruses.
> Clayton J. Bradt
> Principal Radiophysicist
> NYS Dept. of Health
> Biggs Laboratory, Room D486A
> Empire State Plaza
> Albany, NY 12201-0509
> 518-474-1993

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