The top cancer scientist tells Polly Curtis about his dogged research to find out how the disease strikes - Guardian
"The Taichi Arch - Gate of Health, a large bronze by the Chinese master Ju Ming, stands outside the entrance to the newly opened Li Ka Shing Centre, home of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute on the Cambridge biomedical campus, next to Addenbrooke's Hospital. A symbol of the graceful coordination of tai chi is appropriate for the new facility, which brings together scientists and doctors from a broad spectrum of disciplines to unravel the many mysteries of how cancer kills.
Ponder, the new institute's director, is professor and head of the university's department of oncology, and co-director of two other centres on the campus - a cancer research institute and a centre for epidemiological studies of diseases. Until the new centre was ready, he moved between the different centres, at one point working from four offices. Today, he has consolidated what almost amounts to an empire. The aim is to find out how cancer works and, of course, a cure. His angle is the genetics of cancer: how we inherit a risk of developing different cancers.
Ponder's career started in medicine as a doctor, swinging from clinical work to laboratory work - unusual for the time. He had to fight for funding, as well as to be taken seriously as both a doctor and a scientist.
After general medicine and a PhD in molecular biology, he trained for a year in oncology in the US. "With cancer you have the whole spectrum of medicine," he says. "From some poor old guy with cancer of the oesophagus, who would like to die at home and how can you support him and palliate him, to cancer being the outstanding problem in biology. What cancer is, I think, is a breakdown in the way tissues are organised ... If one understood the basic biology, you might understand something about treatments.""
I believe that prevention is far, far, far more important than treatment. And since it is known that obesity is the main contributory factor in the causation of most cancers, reducing obesity and reducing the numbers of people who become obese should be the chief aims of cancer research, in my opinion. - To this end, the truth - the facts - about how obesity comes about should be told, and similarly the correct information should be given about how to reduce obesity. - It needs to be widely publicised that slimming/dieting is unnecessary, ineffective, often harmful and sometimes downright dangerous, because obesity is not caused by overeating. It is caused by fluid retention. There has never been any evidence to support the theory that overeating is the of obesity, nor to support the calorie reduction theory of how to reduce obesity. - Indeed these theories have never even been subjected to scientific test!
In children the fluid retention is usually caused by eating meals that contain too much salt/sodium. - See http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/children.html
In adults, the fluid retention - and therefore obesity - is usually caused either by pregnancy, because the rise in the levels of certain hormones causes salt sensitivity - or by taking prescription drugs too readily, and often recklessly, prescribed and inadequately monitored if at all, by doctors insufficiently aware of their potential for grave harm. - These drugs include steroids, HRT, tricyclic anti-depressants like amitriptyline and many other drugs.
Obesity can be easily and swiftly reduced by abandoning the calorie myth and instead reducing sodium intake and eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. - This, then, is the most effective, easiest, and cheapest possible way to reduce the incidence of most cancers.
It is also, clearly, vitally important that the reckless prescribing of drugs, especially in high dose, be curbed by law. Clinical freedom to ignore drug prescribing protocols is destroying the lives and health of vast numbers of innocent victims/patients.
Lose weight by eating less salt! Go on! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!
See my website www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk
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