The Cause of Cancer


I believe there is too much specialization today. For today’s scientists, the goal is always to find the difference and disregard the similarity. For example, if skin cancer cells and throat cancer cells looked the same, scientists would put them under a microscope and magnify and magnify until that speck of uniqueness is found. This is considered progress. Scientists then give this speck a 7-syllable name and receive a 7-digit research grant in return. That is why today, cancers at different parts of the body are considered to be extremely unique from each other and have their own specialized researchers and doctors. This has led many people to say cancer cannot have a single cause or cure. My thought process often goes the opposite direction (i.e. inductive reasoning).

You may be begging to tell me that the cause of cancer is already known. Indeed, if you search online, it appears the cause is well-known. Case closed! Wrong. Many people today don’t really understand the definition of causation. According to many, the cause of cancer is when cells do not experience programmatic death, or apoptosis, and instead continue to grow and divide, which leads to a mass of abnormal cells growing out of control. Do you see what’s wrong? This is not causation but rather a description of cancer at the microscopic level. With a causation that makes sense, you can perform an experiment whereby you introduce the purported cause to produce the expected effect.


I hypothesize that cancer is caused by exposing a body part to an external source of heat for an extended period of time. So, two things: heat—it should be hot enough to create discomfort yet not hot enough to burn; time—exposure to heat must occur often and for a long time. In other words, cancer is the result of tolerating an uncomfortable heat for many years. Now, I wish it was this simple but there’s one more thing: certain tissues of the body are more prone to cancer than others. The most heat-tolerant tissues are probably skin, fat, muscle, and joints. The least tolerant, and thus most prone to cancer, would be organs, such as the mouth, esophagus, lungs, etc.

What’s the “External Heat”?

It is well-established that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of lung cancer. The external heat here is tobacco smoke, which comes in contact with the surface of the lungs for many years. But wait—everyone says smoking is dangerous because of the chemicals in cigarettes, like acetaldehyde and N-nitrosodimethylamine. Well, a “meta-analysis” by Lee on North American and Scandinavian studies published after 1990 found that chewing tobacco does not increase the risk of mouth cancer. So chewing tobacco is safe but smoking it is not. Since it’s not the chemicals that make the act of smoking cigarettes dangerous, it’s reasonable to conclude that it’s the heat.

For digestive-system cancers, the external source of heat comes from the food and drinks we consume. A study by Malekzadeh in 2009 found that the hotter a person preferred their tea, the more likely that person would develop esophageal cancer. The external heat here is hot tea that frequently comes in contact with the surface of the esophagus. It’s not just the temperature of the food or drink that’s carcinogenic, however. It’s also the spiciness (i.e. capsaicin), alcohol content, and, possibly, acidity. These are defined as irritants because they give an uncomfortable burning sensation—heat. Studies have found that long-term use of mouthwash, which contains ethyl alcohol, is correlated with oral cancer. Also, if you look at the incidence of stomach cancer by country, you’ll see that stomach cancer is strongly correlated to the spiciness of the typical diet of the country. Out of all countries, Korea has the highest incidence of stomach cancer. This comes as no surprise to me because Koreans typically eat very spicy foods like kimchi.

Perhaps the best evidence for my “external heat” hypothesis is skin cancer. Everyone knows that skin cancer is caused by being out in the sun too long. More specifically, today’s scientists say it’s the UVA and UVB rays from sunlight, just as they say it’s the acetaldehyde, N-nitrosodimethylamine, etc. from tobacco that cause lung cancer. Please understand that specific terms like these do not disprove my hypothesis that cancer is caused by external heat in general. To me, these specifics are the means through which heat is carried to biological tissue. UVA carries heat to the skin. Acetaldehyde is a vessel for heat to reach the lungs.

Prostate and testicular cancer are a bit tricky to explain because, here, the external heat isn’t exactly external. The heat originates from physical activity of the thighs and then propagates (via underwear) to the prostate and/or testicles. Thus, the heat is foreign from the perspective of these organs. Insulating undergarments are the vessel for heat to travel and are to blame for these cancers. In general, heat produced by physical activity often gets trapped by layers of clothing and transferred to heat-sensitive organs. It’s the same situation with breast cancer: women exercise the midsection and chest muscles while wearing a bra and layers of clothing. Body heat can get trapped under the bra and heat up the heat-sensitive lactiferous ducts.

What other sources of external heat are we exposed to? Hot water is one. Shower water temperature is personal preference and, for most people, it’s nothing to worry about. However, some people like their water extremely hot and this may lead to brain tumors and breast cancer. The variables involved would be temperature of the water, duration of the shower, number of showers taken, person’s height relative to the showerhead, and direction they face relative to the showerhead. Hair dryers are another source of external heat. I believe brain tumor growth would be compounded by blow drying hair (for many years).

Closing Thoughts

If the cause of cancer was really this simple then scientists would have discovered it already. Right? I don’t think so. Look at the direction of scientific studies. They’ve gotten more and more specific: 20 years ago, lung cancer was caused by smoking tobacco; 10 years ago, lung cancer was caused by 10 specific chemicals in tobacco; today, lung cancer is caused by 50 specific chemicals in tobacco. I’ve gone the opposite direction: I generalized. I looked for the commonality among cancer studies that limited themselves to a certain type of cancer. I think it’s highly unlikely that today’s cancer researcher, deep in his or her specialized field, such as studying the effect of N-nitrosodimethylamine on the DNA nucleotides of lung cells in naked mole rats, is going to take a thousand steps back in specificity and scope. They see it as an undoing of their progress.

A new article is published every day telling us that researchers have discovered new genes linked to cancer. These findings are based on weak correlations. It is extremely deterministic to think that something coded in a person at birth is responsible for a disease that emerges 65 years later (on average). The problem is temporal: 65 years of free will and environmental influence separate the genes inherited at birth and the onset of cancer. Thus, genes and cancer will forever remain a weak correlation. Furthermore, a genetic correlation does not disprove my hypothesis. My hypothesis is on the direct cause: “if X then Y,” where X is long-term exposure to external heat and Y is cancer. The way genes fit into the picture is: if Gene A, then increased likelihood for behavior B, then increased likelihood for body type C, then increased likelihood for behavior D… then increased likelihood for X, then Y. I believe today’s society is attributing way too many diseases/conditions to genes. To say “genes caused it” is a cop-out. It’s not much different than saying “God made it so.”

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