Business of Well-being

Cancer - A Cellular Perspective

Cancer - A Cellular Perspective

Your body is made of trillions of cells. Cells make up every single organ, gland and tissue in the body. All these cells amazingly came from one cell created at conception. That single cell was formed by the union of half of your mother's DNA and half of your father's DNA. How that egg and sperm came together to join those two halves of DNA and create a brand new you is a whole other discussion, but I'm sure you get the idea!

Your parents probably have a good story regarding that particular event. At conception, that single cell was programmed to start dividing and designing you. It contained the blueprint and the energy to start multiplying until all the parts in your body were made and were functioning perfectly together. The first system that was fully functional was your circulatory system, the heart and the blood vessels.  

This was so that all those growing and dividing cells could get the nutrients they needed to survive and continue forming the end product for birth. The first system that started to take shape, however, was the nervous system. The nervous system is what coordinated those cells to take on the proper structure and function based on your genetic blueprint.

Even though it was the first one to take shape, it is the last one to become fully functional some time after birth. This is one of the reasons babies don't get up and walk right away and why their reflexes are different; it takes upwards of a year for all those nerves to become fully functional through a process called myelination. That amazing energy that was present inside that single microscopic cell at conception is still alive and well inside you today fuelling your very existence.

This inborn intelligence (that science calls Innate) allows you to live to your body's genetic potential on a daily basis. All we have to do is eat well, exercise, sleep and control our exposure as well as our response to physical, chemical and emotional stress and we'll live a healthy life each and every day for as long as possible. This is primarily accomplished through a perfectly functioning, irritation free nervous system.

The nervous system's job is to support our body's ability to interact with the environment, both internally and externally. If it's sunny, we squint. If we eat something, we digest it and absorb it. If we get overloaded with work, we can feel stressed. If we get recognised for a job well done, we celebrate and feel good about ourselves.

This interaction with the environment occurs on a positive and a negative level. Our body is designed and programmed to deal with both scenarios and a healthy amount of exposure to stress, both good and bad, will lead to a strong, coordinated and productive body. Too much of either stress, however, will create an imbalance in the body and start to cause wear and tear on the parts that need to deal with that stress.  

This occurs right down to the cellular level. If, for example, we are exposed to chemicals at work like solvents or copier toners or asbestos, the level of irritation may exceed what our bodies are able to filter and levels can build up in the body causing cellular damage. Because cells are always dividing and old cells are being replace with new ones, this can affect the health and quality of that cell regeneration.  

A good environment leads to good cell regeneration; a bad environment (physically, chemically and emotionally) can lead to bad cell regeneration. This is thought to be a probable contributor to certain kinds of cancers as well as many other health conditions. Therefore, throughout our lives, whether it is in the workplace or at home, our bodies can be exposed to conditions that challenge the cells in a way that does not allow for them to ideally take care of themselves.

This can lead to abnormal function in the cells that does not allow them to divide and regenerate like normal. This is, unfortunately, only one source of how and where the cell division can go wrong. Science continues to uncover more and more incredible features of how our cells function and interact. Much of this research is in hopes of discovering how cancers occur in the body and how to treat them when they do.  

Scientists now know that through our genetics we can be predisposed to certain cancers. By mapping our human DNA and being able to read that blueprint that creates us, we can also read that DNA to see if parts of it are similar to the DNA of those people who have health problems like certain cancers. Sure enough, complex health problems like certain cancers as well as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and many others have been shown to have a genetic component.  

Not only do environmental factors play a role in irritating our cells and causing them to multiply incorrectly, but our cells themselves may have changes to the ideal blueprint that controls them and makes them more likely to become dysfunctional. Tests are now available to help determine if someone is predisposed to certain health problems like some forms of cancer in order to help with early detection and early intervention as well as lifestyle planning.

Just because someone is predisposed, it does not mean they will develop the condition. Environmental factors still play a very large role in this respect. So what is the relevance to the workplace and the workforce? People will spend roughly a third of their day during their adult life carrying out their chosen occupation. This is a significant portion of our lives that will determine how healthy we are. And that portion will either be a positive addition to our health and our life or it will be a negative one.

Given the choice, most of us would choose to make it a positive one. As much as we'd like to rely on others to ensure that happens, in the end, as with all aspects of our health, it is up to each and every one of us to raise our level of awareness for creating a healthy and productive work experience. When it comes to cancer, we can start to become aware of certain amounts of exposure while at work.  

Think of what you might be coming into contact with physically, chemically and emotionally. Find ways to make that interaction one that does not overwhelm your body, and ideally, make it one that actually supports the body. Take the time to sit down with your coworkers, managers, supervisors and other parties to discuss the potential improvements to the work environment.

When you put things into a cellular perspective to support ideal health, work production, efficiency and proficiency will always improve as well. Nature will nurture the ideal outcomes for everyone involved.

About the Author

Time Health Management is a corporate health and wellness company operated by Dr. David Koivuranta. It is founded on over a decade's worth of experience and knowledge derived from treating employees suffering from ergonomic stress, strain and disease. It's time to manage your corporate health, visit and receive a free business evaluation.  

Learn why our workplace wellness solutions make sense. For more information email or call 416-697-7918. Ask us about our 5 minute onsite ergonomic and stress reducing system that should be found in every successful business. Visit to learn more about DNA testing.

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