How do you get cancer? This is a question that a lot of people ask themselves, and it isn’t relegated just to those individuals that have received such a diagnosis. Many people simply don’t understand how cancer gets its start inside the human body or what triggers it. To be perfectly honest, there is still a great deal of research that must be done within the medical community before even the most astute medical professionals understand everything that affects whether or not a person gets cancer in their lifetime. While things are better understood than they were twenty or thirty years ago, there is still a great deal that is not readily evident when it comes to understanding why one person gets cancer at a relatively young age and another lives well into their nineties or even beyond without any hint of the disease, especially when their lifestyles and their backgrounds are similar.
How Cancer Is Caused
As previously mentioned, there is still more work that must be done in order to understand every potential trigger that could result in a cancer diagnosis. What is understood is that some people are hereditarily predisposed to suffering from the disease. Every person has cancer cells in their body but for most healthy individuals, the immune system kicks in and destroys the cancer cells before they have a chance to invade the body. For some people, this immune response does not kick in the way that it does in healthy individuals. For these people, it is possible to be predisposed to the condition regardless of other factors. People are more likely to get cancer if they have a history of the disease within the family, especially when it comes to direct relatives like your mother, father, or grandparents. To complicate things even further, some people are predisposed to get breast cancer while others seem to contract lung cancer or some other form of the disease. This is important to point out because the different forms of the disease can have a lot to do with overall survival rates because some forms are far more aggressive than others. When it comes to understanding what can cause cancer, it is important to note that hereditary aspects are not the only thing that can put a person at risk. Much of it comes down to lifestyle, such as whether or not a person eats healthy or eat a lot of processed junk food. The environment that a person is in also has a lot to do with it. For example, do you live in an area that is mostly rural with clean air or do you live in a major metropolitan area where there is a lot of smog and pollution in the air? In some cases, a person’s choice of profession also has a lot to do with whether or not they contract the disease. Certain professions, such as being a firefighter, dramatically increase the chances that a person will eventually contract it. This is likely due to the toxins that these individuals are exposed to over a long period of time.
How Cancer Causes Additional Problems
One of the biggest concerns with individuals
who contract cancer is that they don’t have to deal exclusively with the ravages of the disease. Unfortunately, receiving this type of diagnosis can and usually does cause a whole host of other problems. There is usually a great deal of emotional turmoil that goes with this type of diagnosis as well as other physical problems that might be related to the disease itself. For instance, a person who has cancer and has been forced to undergo traditional treatments like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy often experiences other health problems such as a weakened immune system or cardiovascular issues. This is largely because the treatment is often even more brutal than the disease itself, leaving the body in such a weakened state that it is no longer able to fight off other diseases that might be right around the corner. For some people that are receiving aggressive traditional cancer treatment, a common cold or a case of the flu can easily become a life-or-death situation. In addition, radiation therapy is extremely hard on certain organs, such as the heart. Therefore, receiving radiation often increases a person’s chances of experiencing some type of cardiovascular problem later on down the road. Chemotherapy also has a long list of potentially serious and even deadly side effects, all of which must be carefully weighed when a person is deciding which type of treatment is best for them. As if all of this weren’t enough, a cancer diagnosis often places a tremendous financial strain on a family, often causing chinks in the armor of the family itself.
Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Cancer
According to a popular government website associated with cancer research, “the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient times” (NIH, 2016). With that being said, it is important to note that in the United States, cannabis is a restricted substance. In fact, marijuana is considered a controlled substance and therefore, is illegal in most places throughout the country. Even when it is used strictly for medicinal purposes, most states do not allow it because the country itself considers it to be an illegal substance. Therefore, there are relatively few states that have decided to legalize it for medicinal purposes. Despite the fact that it has not been legalized nationwide, laboratory tests have proven time and again that marijuana can relieve many of the problems that are commonly associated with cancer, like a decreased appetite, nausea and perhaps most importantly, excessive pain (NIH, 2016). Even though these laboratory results are beyond promising, there has still not been any action to legalize medical marijuana for patient use. Moreover, the individual states that have legalized it had to do a great deal of legwork to legalize it in the first place and in many cases, to make sure that it remained legal even after the initial battle had been won.
The Reality of the Situation
If you are an individual who has been diagnosed with cancer or you have someone that is close to you that has received such a diagnosis, it is vitally important that you know exactly where you stand when it comes to finding an effective treatment to combat the effects of the disease. While there hasn’t been enough research to determine whether or not the use of medical marijuana can slow the progression of cancer itself or in some cases, even stop its progress, there has been a wealth of research that has been done to prove that can make it easier to deal with the effects of the disease, as detailed in the previous paragraph. Its use can and sometimes is one of the only things that helps to alleviate extreme nausea that comes with cancer treatments as well as helping a person deal with the pain that usually accompanies this disease. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to use medical marijuana to help combat cancer in any capacity, you will first have to travel to a state where it is legal to use it for medicinal purposes before you can even think about anything else. This leaves most people with only a few choices so you have to ask yourself if you believe the benefits of using it are great enough to warrant packing up and moving to another state. For some people, the answer is a definite yes. If you aren’t sure, it might be a good idea to take a trip to a state where medical marijuana use has been legalized and see what type of effects it has on the disease, as well as many of the complications that go with it.
While packing up and moving to another state may not be the most appealing thought, it very well might come down to you being forced to make that choice. People respond differently to medical marijuana use just like they respond differently to practically every other medicinal treatment. Therefore, it works wonders for a lot of individuals while the effects might not be great enough to warrant a move for others. However, you owe it to yourself to at least find out whether or not you could be dramatically helped by the use of medical marijuana so that you can find the best treatment for yourself or your loved one without having to worry about potentially being denied an effective treatment because of legal reasons. When it really comes right down to it, you and your family will have to make those decisions based on the severity of the condition and how well the use of medical marijuana helps alleviate the symptoms that are associated with that condition. However, there is a great deal of hope that it can help individuals who have cancer without having so many of the dangerous side effects that come with a lot of the medications that are used for the same purposes. As a direct result, it is not something you should automatically dismiss, but instead an option that you should seriously consider as a bonafide medical treatment.
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