Cancer is a disease of inflammation. An environment of inflammation is required by cancer cells because in this way, the cancer cells are able to develop and grow into tumours. In fact, cancer cells propagate inflammation locally because this allows them to increase the susceptibility of the surrounding tissue for invasion. Without this inflammatory process cancer cells remain dormant and cannot develop beyond micro tumours.
Injury That Doesn’t Heal
The role of inflammation is so ingrained in the formation and spread of cancer that some have suggested that cancer originates from wounds that don’t heal. This explains the multiple origins of cancer that includes toxins, viruses, stress and poor nutrition. Associations between the location of previous injuries and cancers have been reported, suggesting that the inflammation resulting from the injury was propagated and resulted in the formation of cancer.
Inflammation And Cancer Survival
The role of inflammation in cancer development is also highlighted by the association between a patient’s inflammatory status and their survival expectations from cancer. High concentrations of C-reactive protein (a marker of systemic inflammation) in cancer patients blood is associated with a low survival chance, whereas low concentrations of C-reactive protein are associated with a high survival chance.
Nuclear Factor-Kappa Beta
The inflammation created by cancer cells to allow their development and metastasis is reliant to a large extent on the production and release of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, nuclear factor kappa beta (NFκβ). Most treatments that are effective against cancer are able to inhibit nuclear factor-kappa beta and in this way limit the development and spread of cancer. In particular, two natural substances known for their anticancer effects are nuclear factor-kappa beta inhibitors.
Catechins And Resveratrol
Catechins and resveratrol are known nuclear factor-kappa beta inhibitors. They can inhibit the inflammation produced by cancer cells and limit their progression and promotion. Both catechins and resveratrol are polyphenols that are found in commonly eaten foods. Catechins are found in high concentrations in green tea, with lower amounts in Darjeeling tea and apples. Resveratrol is a component of red wine, which is the only rich source of the polyphenol.
Red Wine And Green Tea
Both red wine and green tea are associated with protection from cancer. In particular the drinks appear to be particularly effective against cancers of the gut. This may relate to their ability to inhibit inflammation of the gut and thus prevent the development of tumours past their initial micro tumour stage. Drinking both red wine and green tea is highly recommended as their health effects are now well established in the nutritional literature.