Cancer man-made or junk science?


by Pengwuino
Tags: cancer, junk, manmade, science
ViewsofMars
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#19
Oct19-10, 03:08 PM
P: 463
Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Hey Mars, the "junk science" the OP was referring to was an article by a couple of people claiming that looking at some egyptian mummies and not finding much cancer meant that cancer must be a new man made illness. Well, we know that all of the organs, stomach, liver, lungs, intestines, brains, etc... were all removed before mummification, so there was little of the body left to examine, even if they examined every inch of what was left.
Hi Evo, the link (url) that the OP presented was to an article entitled, "Cancer is a man-made disease, controversial study claims- Rarity of cancer in Egyptian mummies suggests modern environmental factors." (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39687039/ns/health-cancer/) David and Zimmerman are a 'couple of people' mentioned within the MSN article. Also, MSN isn't a scientific journal. Here is what Nature REVIEWS has to offer pertaining to the MSN article:

Nature Reviews Cancer 10, 728-733 (October 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrc2914

Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?
A. Rosalie David & Michael R. Zimmerman

Abstract
In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. The history of this disorder has the potential to improve our understanding of disease prevention, aetiology, pathogenesis and treatment. A striking rarity of malignancies in ancient physical remains might indicate that cancer was rare in antiquity, and so poses questions about the role of carcinogenic environmental factors in modern societies. Although the rarity of cancer in antiquity remains undisputed, the first published histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy demonstrates that new evidence is still forthcoming.
http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v1...l/nrc2914.html
Here is Professor Rosalie David (OBE, BA, PhD, FRSA) - research.
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/research...david/research

And this might be helpful too:
Science 20 April 1973:
Vol. 180. no. 4083, pp. 303 - 304
DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4083.303

Blood Cells Preserved in a Mummy 2000 Years Old
Michael R. Zimmerman 1
1 Departments of Pathology and Anthropology, University, of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104

Structures resembling red blood cells have been seen in mummies, but have been considered by some to be artifacts or molds. The finding of these structures, admixed with white blood cells, in the blood vessels of a mummified American Indian, confirms the original interpretation of preserved red blood cells.
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten...t/180/4083/303
I still hold onto what I presented in my previous post, especially about the usage of the word "science" and my previous presentation of an example. Also, Nature and Science are peer-reviewed journals.
Evo
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#20
Oct19-10, 03:50 PM
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I intentionally referred to them as a "couple of people" because I can't imagine a professional scientist making this kind of claim with so little to go by.
Professor Rosalie David, at the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”
hamster143
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#21
Oct19-10, 04:41 PM
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For instance, Hodgkin's lymphoma was first described in the early-mid 19th century and we didn't really start understanding the disease from a diagnostic standpoint till the 20th century. Are we too believe that Hodgkin's lymphoma didn't kill people prior to that? Certainly not, it was however attributed to bad blood, bad spirits or any of the other maladies of the time.
Of course, it was not diagnosed as Hodgkin's lymphoma. But that just sidesteps the important question.

Can we be sure that it is not triggered or enhanced by an environmental/lifestyle factor? Like you said, there are hundreds of factors that can lead to errors and cancer. But, for example, in case of lung cancer, we now know that the "natural" incidence of the disease is quite low. Three pollution/lifestyle factors (smoking and radon exposure, and, in the past, asbestos) explain nearly all occurrences. Cervical cancer is essentially a promiscuity disease, in 99% of cases preceded by an infection by a certain STD. Maybe something similar is going on with other major types.

With Hodgkin's lymphoma, it's hard to say, but, for example, why does the pancreatic cancer seem to be at least twice as common as non-lifestyle lung cancer? Pancreas is only about 1/8'ths of the weight of the lungs. Brain is a massive organ by comparison, averaging 1.5 kg against pancreases 100 g, but it's fairly well insulated and brain tumors too occur less commonly. We don't know everything yet, but there are indications that, once again, most cases of pancreatic cancer are triggered by lifestyle factors (diet, obesity, smoking) rather than genetics or random errors, and these lifestyle factors are much more common among post-Industrial Revolution humans than among ancient Egyptians.

If we take numbers for the brain and the lung minus smoking/radon/asbestos, and use them to project "expected" non-lifestyle cancer rates for all internal organs, assuming that all cells of all internal organs are equally likely to break up, we should be seeing 30-60 cases per 100,000 people per year (not including skin, lymphomas and leukemias). In reality, we see closer to 500.
ViewsofMars
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#22
Oct19-10, 05:13 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
I intentionally referred to them as a "couple of people" because I can't imagine a professional scientist making this kind of claim with so little to go by.
Professor Rosalie David, at the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”

Ah yes, the University of Manchester has a news article, which by the way Professor Rosalie David resides during working hours at the University of Manchester: I'll highlight in red what you have quoted Evo. This will hopefully give a fuller comprehension that I find appeasing and it appears as stated there is a lot of data:

Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made14 Oct 2010

Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

The study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods – carried out at Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature – includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.
Finding only one case of the disease in the investigation of hundreds of Egyptian mummies, with few references to cancer in literary evidence, proves that cancer was extremely rare in antiquity. The disease rate has risen massively since the Industrial Revolution, in particular childhood cancer – proving that the rise is not simply due to people living longer.

Professor Rosalie David, at the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”She added: “The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease. We can make very clear statements on the cancer rates in societies because we have a full overview. We have looked at millennia, not one hundred years, and have masses of data.”

The data includes the first ever histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy by Professor Michael Zimmerman, a visiting Professor at the KNH Centre, who is based at the Villanova University in the US. He diagnosed rectal cancer in an unnamed mummy, an ‘ordinary’ person who had lived in the Dakhleh Oasis during the Ptolemaic period (200-400 CE).

Professor Zimmerman said: “In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization”.

The team studied both mummified remains and literary evidence for ancient Egypt but only literary evidence for ancient Greece as there are no remains for this period, as well as medical studies of human and animal remains from earlier periods, going back to the age of the dinosaurs.

Evidence of cancer in animal fossils, non-human primates and early humans is scarce – a few dozen, mostly disputed, examples in animal fossils, although a metastatic cancer of unknown primary origin has been reported in an Edmontosaurus fossil while another study lists a number of possible neoplasms in fossil remains. Various malignancies have been reported in non-human primates but do not include many of the cancers most commonly identified in modern adult humans.

It has been suggested that the short life span of individuals in antiquity precluded the development of cancer. Although this statistical construct is true, individuals in ancient Egypt and Greece did live long enough to develop such diseases as atherosclerosis, Paget's disease of bone, and osteoporosis, and, in modern populations, bone tumours primarily affect the young.

Another explanation for the lack of tumours in ancient remains is that tumours might not be well preserved. Dr. Zimmerman has performed experimental studies indicating that mummification preserves the features of malignancy and that tumours should actually be better preserved than normal tissues. In spite of this finding, hundreds of mummies from all areas of the world have been examined and there are still only two publications showing microscopic confirmation of cancer. Radiological surveys of mummies from the Cairo Museum and museums in Europe have also failed to reveal evidence of cancer.

As the team moved through the ages, it was not until the 17th century that they found descriptions of operations for breast and other cancers and the first reports in scientific literature of distinctive tumours have only occurred in the past 200 years, such as scrotal cancer in chimney sweeps in 1775, nasal cancer in snuff users in 1761 and Hodgkin’s disease in 1832.

Professor David – who was invited to present her paper to UK Cancer Czar Professor Mike Richards and other oncologists at this year’s UK Association of Cancer Registries and National Cancer Intelligence Network conference – said: “Where there are cases of cancer in ancient Egyptian remains, we are not sure what caused them. They did heat their homes with fires, which gave off smoke, and temples burned incense, but sometimes illnesses are just thrown up.”

She added: “The ancient Egyptian data offers both physical and literary evidence, giving a unique opportunity to look at the diseases they had and the treatments they tried. They were the fathers of pharmacology so some treatments did work

“They were very inventive and some treatments thought of as magical were genuine therapeutic remedies. For example, celery was used to treat rheumatism back then and is being investigated today. Their surgery and the binding of fractures were excellent because they knew their anatomy: there was no taboo on working with human bodies because of mummification. They were very hands on and it gave them a different mindset to working with bodies than the Greeks, who had to come to Alexandria to study medicine.”

She concluded: “Yet again extensive ancient Egyptian data, along with other data from across the millennia, has given modern society a clear message – cancer is man-made and something that we can and should address.”
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/...splay/?id=6243
mugaliens
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#23
Oct19-10, 06:03 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
bobze & hamster, it would also seem logical that the apparent increase in the diagnosis of cancer would be due to our increased ability to diagnose it, no?
Bingo. Many cancers prior to our modern era simply went undiagnosed. In fact, prior to our modern era, many people never saw a doctor or dentist.

I saw a few life expectancy charts earlier, which are very misleading when talking about cancer, as cancer is but one of many causes of death, and many of those causes have dramatically shifted over the last 100 years, including infant mortality rates, poverty levels, malnutrition, as well as causes of death profiles in various age groups. It's not that we were incapable of living past 50 years of age in 1900. Wyatt Earp died shortly before his 81st birthday, in 1929, and Mark Twain passed away in 1910 at the ripe old age of 75.

Twain, however, outlived three of his four children.
ViewsofMars
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#24
Oct19-10, 07:32 PM
P: 463
Today a person can go online to the United States National Institutes of Health - National Cancer Institute -Cancer Causes and Risk Factors to further explore the following topics :

Chemicals/Environment
Cancer and the Environment
Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk
Agricultural Health Study
Benzene Causes Lowered Blood Cell Counts in Workers Exposed at Low Levels
Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk
Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk
Cancer Clusters

Food
Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk
Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer
Fluoridated Water: Questions and Answers
Chemicals in Meat Cooked at High Temperatures and Cancer Risk

Genetics
BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing

Hormones
Women & Cancer: Pregnancy, Contraceptives, and Post-menopausal Hormone Use
DES (Diethylstilbestrol)

Infectious Agents
HIV Infection and Cancer Risk
Human Papillomaviruses and Cancer: Questions and Answers
H. pylori and Cancer: Fact Sheet

Radiation
Cell Phones and Cancer Risk
Magnetic Field Exposure and Cancer: Questions and Answers
No Excess Mortality Risk Found in Counties with Nuclear Facilities
Radioactive I-131 from Fallout
Radon and Cancer: Questions and Answers
Radiation Risks and Pediatric Computed Tomography (CT): A Guide for Health Care roviders
Interventional Fluoroscopy: Reducing Radiation Risks for Patients and Staff

Risk Assessment Tools
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool
Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool
Melanoma Risk Assessment Tool

Tobacco
Smoking Home Page
Smokeless Tobacco

Weight and Physical Activity
Energy Balance: Weight and Obesity, Physical Activity, Diet
Obesity and Cancer: Questions and Answers
Physical Activity and Cancer

Other Topics
Psychological Stress and Cancer: Questions and Answers
Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers
Vasectomy and Cancer Risk
Simian Virus 40 and Human Cancer

Research on Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Please read on . . .
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/p...-causes/causes
Proton Soup
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#25
Oct19-10, 08:38 PM
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http://www.cancerdecisions.com/speeches/galen1989.html


Galen on Cancer

Galen's discussion of cancer per se is quite short. It takes up a total of only one page out of twenty-eight in the text. Nevertheless, this is the first book we know of to deal with tumors, including cancer, in a systematic way and the last one until Giovanni Ingrassia's 1553 book of the same name.17

Cancer (karkinos) is mentioned six times in the text. It was Hippocrates who named cancer "karkinos" 18 after the crab. According to legend, it was so called because this disease "has the veins stretched on all sides as the animal the crab has its feet, whence it derives its name." 19

Galen adopted Hippocrates' basic theory of cancer as an excess of black bile (melancholia or atra bilis). But in expanding this concept, he writes:

Black bile without boiling causes cancers and, if it happens to be rather acrid, cancers with a sore. For this reason they are blacker in color than inflammations and are not at all hot. The veins on them are fuller and more extended than in inflammations, because the humor that causes cancer does not run out as much from the vessels to the surrounding flesh because of its thickness.20
Siv
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#26
Oct19-10, 11:46 PM
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Quote Quote by mugaliens View Post
Bingo. Many cancers prior to our modern era simply went undiagnosed. In fact, prior to our modern era, many people never saw a doctor or dentist.
I am not so sure. Anthropologists who studied tribes untouched by the modern Western fast and processed food disease often did not find evidence for these.

Speaking of dentists, anyone read Weston Price's work ? I dont mean the current WAPF, but the original works of Weston Price. Interesting stuff indeed.
Ygggdrasil
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Oct20-10, 02:09 AM
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In their Nature Cancer Reviews article, David and Zimmerman examine ancient societies to determine the prevalence of cancer in ancient societies. They find that cancer is rare in the ancient societies that they studied and, after considering various possible explanations for the relative lack of ancient tumors, suggest that their findings provide evidence that cancers are caused primarily by factors of modern society such as smoking and pollution.

The authors focus on two ancient societies for which there is a relative wealth of knowledge: ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. They chose these societies because ancient Greek life is well documented through the art, literature, and other writings they left behind, and the practice of mummification in ancient Egypt provides many samples for paleopathological study. Their examination of ancient art and literature suggests that Egyptians may have documented cases of cancer in some ancient medical texts (although they could be describing many other possible diseases) and Greek medical texts almost certainly document ancient cases of cancer. However, these texts do not give any indication of the prevalence of cancer in these societies.

The main evidence for the authors' claims that cancer was rare in ancient society comes from their examination of skeletal remains and mummies. Although the authors cite a few examples of remains that show evidence of cancer, they state that these cases are rare. The authors then consider two possible reasons why cancers might be rarely found in remains. First, they consider the reduced life expectancy in antiquity. Cancer is generally associated with old age, so an overall younger population would be expected to show a decreased incidence of cancer. Here, the authors argue that many individuals would have lived to an old enough age to develop cancer, citing inscriptions in tombs and paleopathological evdience that individuals in the wealthier classes lived on average 40 to 50 years and showed signs of other age-related diseases. Furthermore, they state that bone cancers, which should be considerably easier to find in ancient remains, primarily affect the young in modern society, so the incidence of bone cancer would not be as sensitive to the lifespan of the population. To address the argument that cancers might would not be well preserved in the remains, the authors cite Zimmerman's study demonstrating it is possible for mummification to preserve the features of malignant tumors. Having considered these two possible explanations for the scarcity of cancer in ancient remains, the authors conclude that the rate of cancer was lower in ancient societies than in modern societies and suggest that the difference may be due to the prevalence of carcinogens in modern society.

While the authors ask an interesting and important question, the question is also extremely difficult to answer due to the low quality of evidence available and relative lack of knowledge about these societies. Thus, it is not surprising that the authors arguments are fairly weak and lack scientific rigor. For example, they state that cancer is rare in ancient society. Well, how rare is rare? Bone cancer is also rare. The authors' case would have been greatly strengthened had they provided some quantitative analysis. A case study of the incidence of bone cancer in skeletal remains could have been a nice area to study. The authors state that "tens of thousands of skeletons have been examined but only a few diagnoses of possible and/or probable malignancies — based on gross appearance and occasional X-ray scans showing defects in or masses on bones — have been made." Here, it would have been nice to compare the number of possible/probable cases of cancer with the number of cases expected if the rate of cancer in these ancient societies were the same as in modern societies. If the rate of cancer in ancient societies is drastically lower than the rate of cancer in modern society, then a crude calculation like this would have been illuminating. Furthermore, excluding the effects of the lower life expectancy of ancient societies is another argument that requires some quantification to gauge the magnitude of the effect versus the observed decreased incidence in the rate of cancer. Unfortunately such quantitative analyses are difficult due to the lack of knowledge about these societies.

In a broader context, the authors' conclusion does make sense. We know that many cancers are caused by lifestyle choices that would be less prevalent in ancient societies (for example, some estimate that tobacco use causes 30% of cancers and obesity causes 20% of cancers, two factors unlikely to be present in ancient Greece and Egypt). However, just because the conclusion make sense does not mean it is well supported by the available evidence.
Gaius Baltar
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#28
Oct20-10, 06:37 AM
P: 49
I'm a firm believer cancer is definatly man made. I don't have evidence, I don't have anything, its my personal opinion. The amount of crap in foods, drinks, cigarettes, air pollution, the way we are... It does not take a genious to work out...

P.S - Remember thats just my opinion.
Dr Lots-o'watts
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#29
Oct20-10, 06:53 AM
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Yeah, white hairless people (like me) cause skin cancer, I wonder how that happens.
ViewsofMars
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#30
Oct20-10, 09:47 AM
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"Younger adults and men of any age are less likely to protect themselves from the sun. However, females seek shade far less than males. Adults with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level are less likely to use sunscreen. Young adult women are most likely to get too much exposure to artificial light through indoor tanning." (The National Cancer Institute, Cancer Trends Progress Report 2009-10, Sun Protection - Groups at High Risk for Getting Too Much Sun. http://progressreport.cancer.gov/doc...11&mid=#target)

Well, I enjoyed reading the entire progress report. I think I will leave this topic now since I have contributed on page 2 and 3.

Brief mention, I have lived my entire life in areas where the sun shines most of the year. I love the beach and always put on my sunscreen. Even on an overcast day you can still get burned. Matter of fact, I always use everyday my Neutrogena, Ultra Sheer (Dry-Touch) Sunblock (SPF 70) on my face and on the top of my hands. OK, call me vain! I'm a woman, and I want to look pretty forever! No wrinkles yet or brown spots. And I'm over 50 but people tell me I look like I'm in my late 30's.
Siv
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#31
Oct20-10, 10:29 AM
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Quote Quote by ViewsofMars View Post
"Younger adults and men of any age are less likely to protect themselves from the sun. However, females seek shade far less than males. Adults with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level are less likely to use sunscreen. Young adult women are most likely to get too much exposure to artificial light through indoor tanning." (The National Cancer Institute, Cancer Trends Progress Report 2009-10, Sun Protection - Groups at High Risk for Getting Too Much Sun. http://progressreport.cancer.gov/doc...11&mid=#target)

Well, I enjoyed reading the entire progress report. I think I will leave this topic now since I have contributed on page 2 and 3.

Brief mention, I have lived my entire life in areas where the sun shines most of the year. I love the beach and always put on my sunscreen. Even on an overcast day you can still get burned. Matter of fact, I always use everyday my Neutrogena, Ultra Sheer (Dry-Touch) Sunblock (SPF 70) on my face and on the top of my hands. OK, call me vain! I'm a woman, and I want to look pretty forever! No wrinkles yet or brown spots. And I'm over 50 but people tell me I look like I'm in my late 30's.
This sun avoidance mania has, apart from benefitting sunscreen manufacturers, only served to cause a worldwide epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency.

If your Vitamin D status is corrected, you dont burn as easily. If your Vitamin D status is very low, you do.

The skin cancer and sun link is also being questioned now.
ViewsofMars
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#32
Oct20-10, 11:11 AM
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Quote Quote by Siv View Post
This sun avoidance mania has, apart from benefitting sunscreen manufacturers, only served to cause a worldwide epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency.
I doubt that. From the Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institutes of Health:

Despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit exposure of skin to sunlight [36] and UV radiation from tanning beds [37]. UV radiation is a carcinogen responsible for most of the estimated 1.5 million skin cancers and the 8,000 deaths due to metastatic melanoma that occur annually in the United States [36]. Lifetime cumulative UV damage to skin is also largely responsible for some age-associated dryness and other cosmetic changes. It is not known whether a desirable level of regular sun exposure exists that imposes no (or minimal) risk of skin cancer over time. The American Academy of Dermatology advises that photoprotective measures be taken, including the use of sunscreen, whenever one is exposed to the sun.
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp#h3
If your Vitamin D status is corrected, you dont burn as easily. If your Vitamin D status is very low, you do.
When your skin is exposed for a length of time, you burn in the sun if you don't wear sunscreen . I take a daily multi-vitamin and adhere to the dietary Guidelines from the Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D :

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans describes a healthy diet as one that
Emphasizes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

Milk is fortified with vitamin D, as are many ready-to-eat cereals and a few brands of yogurt and orange juice. Cheese naturally contains small amounts of vitamin D. [I love milk, yogurt, and orange juice. I had Oat Bran Muesli mixed with yogurt and a sliced fresh peach. Yummy!]

Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.

Fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are very good sources of vitamin D. Small amounts of vitamin D are also found in beef liver and egg yolks.

Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Vitamin D is added to some margarines.
Stays within your daily calorie needs.
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp#h3
The skin cancer and sun link is also being questioned now.
How so? Give me a quote and the link (url) that supports your claim.
Ygggdrasil
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#33
Oct20-10, 12:22 PM
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Quote Quote by Gaius Baltar View Post
I'm a firm believer cancer is definatly man made. I don't have evidence, I don't have anything, its my personal opinion. The amount of crap in foods, drinks, cigarettes, air pollution, the way we are... It does not take a genious to work out...

P.S - Remember thats just my opinion.
There are definitely things in the natural environment that cause cancer, however. UV radiation causes skin cancer. Human papiloma virus causes almost all forms of cervical cancer. Aflatoxin, one of the most carcinogenic substances known, is naturally produced by a species of fungus. Naturally occuring radon gas from the soil can cause lung cancer. The list goes on and on. None of these sources of cancer are man made (although one could argue that human depletion of ozone has contributed to skin cancer).

The real question is what fraction of cancers in our society are attributable to "man-made" causes (modern lifestyle choices and pollution) and what fraction are attributable to "natural" causes (aging, natural sources, etc.). While much research has been done on this subject, I do not think the analysis done by David and Zimmerman adds much of substance to the debate.
ViewsofMars
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#34
Oct20-10, 12:45 PM
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Quote Quote by Ygggdrasil View Post
There are definitely things in the natural environment that cause cancer, however. UV radiation causes skin cancer. Human papiloma virus causes almost all forms of cervical cancer. Aflatoxin, one of the most carcinogenic substances known, is naturally produced by a species of fungus. Naturally occuring radon gas from the soil can cause lung cancer. The list goes on and on. None of these sources of cancer are man made (although one could argue that human depletion of ozone has contributed to skin cancer).

The real question is what fraction of cancers in our society are attributable to "man-made" causes (modern lifestyle choices and pollution) and what fraction are attributable to "natural" causes (aging, natural sources, etc.). While much research has been done on this subject, I do not think the analysis done by David and Zimmerman adds much of substance to the debate.
The problem that I have noticed is people don't READ! The OP presented an MSN article that had a lot of media hype, whereas I previously presented peer-viewed journals. You can also review my post #28 and take note of what is considered to be "man-made" causes. I hope you can figure it out. Also, lead paint can cause cancer. Very old homes have it. People invented (made) that paint.

A good example of a "man-made" cause of cancer are people who ignore what professionals have warned them about cancer and how he/she could avoid it. Smoking cigerates can cause cancer. People still smoke and die because of it. People make cigerates and people choose to smoke, knowing they could die from it. Basically, sad to say, a person kills him or her self.
Evo
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#35
Oct20-10, 12:56 PM
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Quote Quote by Ygggdrasil View Post
While the authors ask an interesting and important question, the question is also extremely difficult to answer due to the low quality of evidence available and relative lack of knowledge about these societies. Thus, it is not surprising that the authors arguments are fairly weak and lack scientific rigor. For example, they state that cancer is rare in ancient society. Well, how rare is rare? Bone cancer is also rare. The authors' case would have been greatly strengthened had they provided some quantitative analysis. A case study of the incidence of bone cancer in skeletal remains could have been a nice area to study. The authors state that "tens of thousands of skeletons have been examined but only a few diagnoses of possible and/or probable malignancies based on gross appearance and occasional X-ray scans showing defects in or masses on bones have been made." Here, it would have been nice to compare the number of possible/probable cases of cancer with the number of cases expected if the rate of cancer in these ancient societies were the same as in modern societies. If the rate of cancer in ancient societies is drastically lower than the rate of cancer in modern society, then a crude calculation like this would have been illuminating. Furthermore, excluding the effects of the lower life expectancy of ancient societies is another argument that requires some quantification to gauge the magnitude of the effect versus the observed decreased incidence in the rate of cancer. Unfortunately such quantitative analyses are difficult due to the lack of knowledge about these societies.

In a broader context, the authors' conclusion does make sense. We know that many cancers are caused by lifestyle choices that would be less prevalent in ancient societies (for example, some estimate that tobacco use causes 30% of cancers and obesity causes 20% of cancers, two factors unlikely to be present in ancient Greece and Egypt). However, just because the conclusion make sense does not mean it is well supported by the available evidence.
Thanks for finding this. Her statement that "there is nothing in nature that can cause cancer." is so wrong. They've lost all credibility for me.
ViewsofMars
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#36
Oct20-10, 01:24 PM
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Quote Quote by Ygggdrasil View Post
In their Nature Cancer Reviews article, David and Zimmerman examine ancient societies to determine the prevalence of cancer in ancient societies. They find that cancer is rare in the ancient societies that they studied and, after considering various possible explanations for the relative lack of ancient tumors, suggest that their findings provide evidence that cancers are caused primarily by factors of modern society such as smoking and pollution.
I presented this earlier :
Nature Reviews Cancer 10, 728-733 (October 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrc2914

Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?
A. Rosalie David & Michael R. Zimmerman

Abstract
In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. The history of this disorder has the potential to improve our understanding of disease prevention, aetiology, pathogenesis and treatment. A striking rarity of malignancies in ancient physical remains might indicate that cancer was rare in antiquity, and so poses questions about the role of carcinogenic environmental factors in modern societies. Although the rarity of cancer in antiquity remains undisputed, the first published histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy demonstrates that new evidence is still forthcoming.
http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v1...l/nrc2914.html
I would like to make it clear that "new evidence is still forthcoming". Ygggdrasil, I would like a link (url) and the statement the authors made that prompted this remark of yours, "suggest that their findings provide evidence that cancers are caused primarily by factors of modern society such as smoking and pollution." Basically, give me a quote and the link (url) that supports your claim.


Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Thanks for finding this. Her statement that "there is nothing in nature that can cause cancer." is so wrong. They've lost all credibility for me.
Evo, my post #26 needs to be reviewed again. I think you have to read the entire document to get the jest of what she meant. I wouldn't like to quote-mine from the article. I'll present the link once again to this message of mine.
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/...splay/?id=6243

Personally, I'm not fond of knocking down reputable scientists in public forums. Often times, it sends a message out to individuals that scientists can't be trusted or lie. I do think Rosalie David & Michael R. Zimmerman are reputable scientists since there article did appear in Nature, which is peer-reviewed journal.

I'll make it very clear that the reason why I joined PhysicsForums was to support the scientific community. Thank you.


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