Friday, December 31, 2010

Cancer: The Terrorist Within

Cancer is the only disease with the potential to kill all humankind because it attacks and destroys the genetic information that produces the body, and protects it from invading microorganisms.

Once the genetic information is tempered with, it will change, perhaps irreversibly, and produce frightening results including incurable diseases that will stop at nothing until the body is dead.

For this reason the body protects its genetic information vigilantly. It will allow no changes without a fight, and where changes occur, will continue to fight to restore the original genetic information.

The only disease that the body appears unable to defend itself is cancer because cancer changes the very genetic information the body uses to defend itself. It is like your enemy having succeeded in turning your missiles into stones.

The statistics tell it all. According to figures from the National Institute of Health, approximately 1500 people die each day of cancer in the United States, and about 3400 people are diagnosed with cancer every day.

The risk factors of cancer are known. They include old age, tobacco, sunlight, ionizing radiation, certain chemical substances, family history, poor diet, overweight and others. The only advantage we have over cancer is that it is not contagious. Cancer cannot jump from one person to another.

On the other hand, the advantage cancer has over us is that once it takes hold of its victim, it creates it own source of blood supply. It ingeniously hides this supply source to prevent us from cutting it off. If we could cut off blood supply to the cancer cell, it will not receive nutrients and oxygen for its nourishment and propagation.

In ordinary language, cancer changes the chemical composition of a normal human cell, precipitating a change in the DNA sequencing. Following the change, the cell which was normal before begins to act erratically. It begins to reproduce itself at an accelerating rate. It loses all control and limitation in its makeup. Its only purpose becomes to grow rapidly until it kills its victim and itself.

When you talk about a homicidal terrorist which has absolutely no regard for human life, not even its own, all diseases and all persons come a distant second to cancer. It does not need to be provoked or offended. It simply takes hold of its victim and kills him or her.

Thankfully, we have not been feeble in our fight against cancer. When our body defense system has failed, and a limb or organ had been attacked by cancer, we have cut off the part of the arm, leg or organ affected by cancer to save the unaffected parts of the body.

We have used smart bombs in the form of radiation therapy and chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. In one case we use high-energy rays, and in the other we use powerful drugs to search and destroy cancer cells.

But these attempts at killing cancer cells before they kill us, have side effects. All patients undergoing cancer treatment suffer hair loss. Most patients suffer from poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, mouth or lip sores, and some women from infertility, and some men unable to father a child.

It goes without saying that much more needs to be done to stop the growth in the rate of cancer among all peoples on the face of the earth. New smart bombs need to be produced that kill only the cancer cells and leave the surrounding normal cells untouched. New drugs need to be produced to reduce the side effects of these medical smart bombs.

In this effort, we will no doubt run into the tragedy of human nature. We will be tempted to spend more of our scarce resources on producing smart bombs to kill human beings, with too little left to produce smart bombs to kill cancer cells.

The great universities in Europe and America have produced the finest and the brightest of intellectuals and diplomats at anytime in human history. But here too we will run into the tragedy of human nature. We will fail to bring peace among warring parties, not because our diplomats are dumb, but because they fail in the art of negotiations.

And when our diplomats fail, bombs fall from the skies. And so long as bombs continue to fall from the skies, this story will be retold as long. A little boy is awoken by a severe pain coming from a scrap nail lodged in his upper arm. He is bleeding profusely and is crying uncontrollably.

Holding him in his arms, his father tries to console him, but the pain will not allow the little boy to stop crying. His father gives him two little pills, the crying subsides into whimpering, and soon the little boy falls asleep.

When he wakes up, he hears the sound of fast moving feet, the sound of women crying, and the voices of men talking hurriedly. He wants to see his mother, she is dead. He wants to see his little sister, she is also dead. The little boy lies quietly listening to the sounds around him for an explanation why his mother and little sister are dead.

He will find an explanation. He must find an explanation, so that his mother and little sister would not have died in vain. In his confused little mind, he lies quietly listening to men talking. If he connects America, or an European country to the death of his loved ones, the anger and hatred in his little brain will begin to produce poisonous juices to water the seed of revenge in his little heart.

As days go by, he will wake up every morning and perform his duties, and watch his arms and legs grow bigger and stronger. One day he will wake up and stretch his arms and legs and feel power in them. They will enable him to jump higher and run faster, and the seed of revenge in his heart now a fireball will eventually burst into flames.

He is now a fanatic, listening not to reasoning or logic, and tasting only blood in his mouth. He will stripe a bomb on his body, stand on a street in an American or European city and detonate the bomb, and take down with him as many people as the molten fingers of the flaming revenge in his heart can touch.

On the other hand, if our diplomats succeed in relearning the art of negotiations, and bombs do not fall from the skies, that same little boy will wake up one morning, as he has done in the past. He will hear his mother talking to his little sister; he will catch a waft of the delicious scent of breakfast being cooked. He will stretch his little arms and legs, and jump off his wooden bed. His feet will land on the warm floor and he will go to the kitchen for breakfast.

He will tease his little sister that she moves too slow, she will not be happy to hear that, and will take a wooden spoon and warn him not to say that again. He will say it again, and she will playfully attempt to hit him with the wooden spoon. He will jump off the kitchen chair and run out into the sunlight.

Oh, he forgot his rubber ball. He will look if his little sister has put down the wooden spoon, and with soft steps sneak into the living room, take his rubber ball, and once again dash out into the open air. He will put the rubber ball on the ground and kick it around until he runs into other neighborhood little boys kicking their own rubber balls around the place.

The days will go by. His arms and legs will grow bigger and stronger, and one day he wake up in the morning and feel power in them. He will become a street peddler like his uncle, or become a shoemaker like his father, or a taxi driver like his friend's father. He will dream of earning enough money to take care of his mother now that she's old, and help with supporting his sister's children.

While all this dreaming is going on, the teachers of darkness will one day tell him to stripe a bomb on his body and go to a city in America, or an European city. He will ask why. They will tell him America has done terrible things to his people. He will argue that America has done nothing to him. They will tell him America did it to people who are already dead. He will tell them he will do nothing bad to America because America has done nothing bad to him. They will call him a coward, a nobody, and threaten to ostracize him.

So shall it be known that the human body has an overwhelming and unshakable desire to preserve itself. Until something drastic, something traumatic, or something transformational happens to it, it will resist all inducement to destroy itself.

The little boy now a man, refusing to destroy himself will find a way to get a visa to come to an European country or America with no bomb striped to his body. The friends and relatives he meets overseas will help him find a job in a restaurant, or in a factory. He will work hard each day, and once a month send some money to his mother and sister back in the old country. He will meet and marry a young lady from his ethnic background and work toward legalizing his stay in America.

He will have children. Protected by the equal opportunity laws of America, they will go to school and avail themselves of all opportunities for growth and education. They will enter the great universities in America and study hard. They will be among very few individuals who succeed in passing the grueling examinations to become doctors and scientists.

Evidence of this is all around us. In all the prestigious teaching hospitals around the country, a significant proportion of the doctors are of middle eastern and far eastern origins. They are fighting cancer on the operating tables in our great hospitals, and coming up with new drugs in pharmaceutical companies to find and kill cancer cells wherever they are in our bodies.

All these good things will happen because bombs did not fall from the skies, as our diplomats would have figured out and applied four principles in the art of negotiations.

1. Never use negotiation as a trigger for war. For example, don't tell you opponent do this, or else this or that will happen to you.

2. There should be mutual respect going into a negotiation; recognizing that all men and women want the same basic things for their families.

3. Always leave something on the table for your opponent. Don't take everything and walk away.

4. Bend over backward to ensure that your opponent is genuinely satisfied with what he gets from the negotiation. He should not feel that he has been hoodwinked, browbeaten or arm twisted into accepting what is not good for him and his family.

All the stars would be lined up in favor of our diplomats succeeding in bringing peace where wars now ravage the people and their resources, pharmaceutical companies would produce more drugs to find and kill cancer cells, and fewer smart bombs made to kill human beings.

But, once again we will run into the tragedy of human nature; where all the facts are before us, yet we will manage to make the wrong decision. We will not heed the advice of General Sherman that "war is hell". That when a war ends both the victor and the vanquished fall from a higher level of grace to some lower level.

Does it mean we should never go to war? No. Some wars are necessary and unavoidable. These wars are called "justifiable wars". Volumes upon volumes have been written on them to guide our politicians to distinguish between a specious war and a justifiable war.

If, however, we manage to make the wrong decision we will do so not unaided. It is more exciting and more news worthy to chase terrorists across the middle east than to chase cancer cells in the human body. If nothing stops us; if the hand of Providence does not turn us in a different direction, we will devote more resources to war and the art of making war, and less resources to fighting the terrorist within our bodies.

The cancer cell will upgrade itself and defeat every attempt we make to find and kill it, not because we don't have the technology, but because the technology is poorly funded. The cancer cell will kill us one person at a time, then a time will come, in a single giant wave it will wipe out the entire human race.

Like the dinosaur we will become extinct, but unlike the dinosaur there will be a decisive explanation for why we got extinct. On every pile of human bones that dots the face of the earth, standing at the top will be a sign that reads: CANCER.

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