Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm

Supply Lines: The Importance of Angiogenesis

[Earlier posts in this cancer prevention series:  Cancer for a Fortnight, Before Early DetectionIn the Beginning:  The Cancer-Inflammation Connection, and Only YOU Can Prevent Inflammation.  See also Crap for the Cure.]

How many times have you heard the expression that “So-and-so is battling cancer?”

I find it interesting that we don’t typically use martial language to describe “fighting” cardic disease or “declaring war” on Type II diabetes.  There’s something about cancer — perhaps its complexity, unpredictability, gravity, and its resultant sway over our emotions — that elicits combative images.

It’s an apt metaphor.  Much like a cleverly wielded army, cancer invades our healthy cells, confusing our immune systems and turning them against us.  The result is inflammation, the earliest sign of a pre-cancerous state, which can be detected by thermography.  Sadly, thermography is not widely used in this country, and most cancers go undetected at this phase.  They progress to the next stage:  angiogenesis.

Angiogenesis, like inflammation, is a normal process.  It is simply the formation of new blood vessels.  When injury occurs or a woman’s uterus makes its monthly preparations to nourish an embryo, blood vessels are built within specific parameters controlled by bodily chemicals called angiogenesis inhibitors.  When the necessary structures are built, angiogenesis inhibitors give the signal to stop construction.

Unless cancer hijacks the contractors.

Cancer cells, like soldiers, require supply lines in order to survive and wreak destruction.  In the absence of extra blood vessels to provide nutrients, a potential tumor will usually remain a tiny, harmless cluster of abnormal cells.  But cancer is a sinister thing.  Tiny tumors trick the body into supporting them by producing angiogenin, a chemical signal that demands the construction of new blood vessels. 

During my second thermoscan appointment, I had the opportunity to view scans of women experiencing various stages of breast cancer development.  Sure enough, the infrared images showed clearly (even to my inexpert eye) the abnormal concentration of blood vessels leading to cancerous or pre-cancerous sites. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The medical machine knows this, of course.  Pharmaceutical companies have pumped out drugs like bevacizumab in an effort to slow cancer growth by inhibiting angiogenesis.  Unfortunately, these drugs are only prescribed post-diagnosis, which almost always means there is a well-established tumor at play.  Anti-angiogenic drugs may stabilize the tumor, slowing or preventing growth, but rarely are they able to starve it completely.

What if we could support our bodies by inhibiting inappropriate angiogenesis naturally over the course of our lifetimes?  Would we then be able to cut cancer’s supply lines before its army of cells could occupy our tissues?  How many tumors could be reduced to merely The Cancer that Never Was?

The next post in this series will discuss the multiple angiogenesis inhibitors available to us through lifestyle choices:


Angiogenesis Slideshow, National Cancer Institute

Thermography Images and Explanations, The Thermography Center


My Food, My Medicine:  black coffee; green tea; salad: spinach, red leaf lettuce, red cabbage, parsley, celery, carrot, red onion, apple, pecans, and poached cod with a dressing of fish oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, black pepper, potassium salt, and Italian herbs; Barnyard Soup: onion, leeks, garlic, chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable stock, smoked ham hocks, sweet potato, turnip, carrot, rutabega, cabbage, parsnip, cayenne, thyme, sage, and bay; curry: ground beef, garlic, onion, carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, tomato, coconut milk, curry paste, hot curry powder, turmeric, and ginger topped with raisins, walnuts, and coconut flakes.

Workout:  Rest day.


10 responses

  1. Well done darlin.

    November 20, 2010 at 8:07 am

  2. Pingback: Short-Circuiting Supply: Inhibiting Angiogenesis Naturally « NightLife

  3. Pingback: Cancer for a Fortnight « NightLife

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