Why “Cancer Powerball?” What’s the reasoning and science behind it?

This article is part of the introductory series on Cancer Powerball.

It took six years of racking my brain and scouring the scientific literature to invent an easily understandable, science-based way to help the intelligent non-scientist understand some of the mysteries of how cancer develops.
I’ve developed this method in the context of my research on the health hazards of plastic-based chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates.
This is important to all of us because very low doses of those – and other compounds – can alter cellular processes that can cause or contribute to many life-threatening illnesses. such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, behavioral syndromes, reproductive disorders and other illnesses afflicting modern life.


Previous Efforts Were Too “Science-y, Un-intuitive

Until I developed “Cancer Powerball”  my efforts  were either too “science-y” …

… or not intuitive to enough people:

That last one, was intuitive, but only by people who had a deeper understanding of the horcrux than most Potter readers.

Almost everyone “Gets” a Lottery

By contrast, most people instantly “get” a lottery. What’s more, Powerball is among the most universal American lotteries because it offers the biggest payout from the smallest of wagers.

Likewise, Cancer Powerball deals with a massive payout – life or death – and conveys the solid reality that getting cancer is a gamble.

The analogy with a numbers-type lottery is reinforced by very solid, mainstream science that shows that there are very identifiable biological processes that are shared among stealth syndromes. As it happens, it takes 10 of them to make a cancer.

The Hallmarks of Cancer

In my introductory article on Cancer Powerball, I described a foundational 2011 scientific paper called the Hallmarks of Cancer. That paper  — and an update — describes 10 biological events that must all take place in order for cancer to develop.

There is now widespread scientific consensus that all 10 Hallmarks must be triggered for cancer to develop and spread.

What is not known is whether all 10 have to be present at the same time, or for how long.

While it’s clear is that the Hallmarks must work together to cause cancer, can some Hallmarks permanently alter a cell and make it receptive to other Hallmarks that are triggered later?

Other factors also complicate the gambling odds and probabilities of the cancer lottery. Genetics is an important one.

Some people are born with one or more of their Cancer Powerball numbers already checked. However, science points out that genetics is not destiny.

One rogue DNA sequence may trigger one or more Hallmarks. That leaves a Cancer Powerball ticket with fewer numbers to punch. That means a greater chance of getting cancer, but not a certainty.

Despite the uncertainty caused by timing, genetics, and repair mechanisms, that does not mean we can’t use the Hallmarks as a way of assessing the cancer-causing properties of a chemical. And to look at their life and death lottery odds.

Hallmarks offer solid structure and focus

Several years ago, it became apparent to me that the widespread impact of plastic-based environmental chemicals affected too many illnesses meant that I had to narrow the scope of my work to avoid being drowned by it.

In 2013, when I co-founded the Stealth Syndromes Project, the goal was to explain  — in normal, non-scientist language – how environmental chemicals affected health.Now, six years later, it is clear that studying every individual stealth syndrome in light of every environmental chemical was humanly impossible.

The Hallmarks offered a scientifically solid structure to get a solid grasp on the massive flood of scientific studies about environmental chemicals and their relationships to Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes … and other  Stealth Syndromes.

The Hallmarks provided way to organize the exploration of environmental chemicals according to a scientifically accepted set of triggers for a single stealth syndrome: cancer.

As a result, I narrowed my focus to cancer and to two closely linked and ubiquitous chemicals: BPA and phthalates . Those two are co-conspirators and very frequently found together in plastics.

What’s more, nearly all of us have those chemicals circulating in our bloodstreams. The CDC and other researchers relying on their data show that almost all Americans have these in their bodies:  93% for BPA and up to 96% for phthalates.


The Halifax Project and Causation

Very soon after the Hallmarks of Cancer were published, scientists recognized that each of the Hallmarks could be seen as a way to develop a theory of how cancer developed. Tying specific chemicals to specific Hallmarks moved the science toward causation.

That ability also made it clear why the research on the cancer-causing nature of many chemicals was so inconclusive. There are many conflicting studies which find a given chemical a carcinogen while others absolve it.

This hit-and-miss situation was addressed by the Halifax Project involving more than 350 scientists who studied chemical influences on each of the 10 Hallmarks.

The Halifax Project’s groundbreaking scientific work was published as a special issue of scientific journal Carcinogenesis and later released as an open access “Seminar in Cancer Biology” containing 13 major articles.

Halifax: Looking at chemical mixtures

One of the strengths — and shortcomings — of properly done scientific research is that the process changes ONE thing (and one thing only).

Results — and potential causation — mean that, if the experiment changes only ONE thing between the beginning conditions (called the “control”) and the “after conditions,” then there is a high probability (science is never “certain) that the ONE changed thing that was changed caused the “after” results/conditions.

However, life is an experiment with too many constantly changing conditions especially because we are constantly immersed in a pool of chemicals – mixtures, not one chemical at a time.

As a result, trying to establish whether BPA “causes” cancer is a problem because it is is simply one chemical found in the company of hundreds of other compounds used to make various plastics.

Cancer’s “Gang Attack” and the Powerball approach

Trying to establish the cancer-causing “guilt” of a single chemical is a lot like a crime lab figuring out who the murderer is when a victim is attacked by a gang.

Think of cancer as a lethal gang fight where 10 thugs attack a single victim who is found injured or dead.

Investigators for the prosecution have tens of thousands of suspects who have left fingerprints in other crimes.

Most of those are survivable offenses that fall short of murder. Some might even be burglary, counterfeiting, or a shoplifter who manages to flee from police.

Even if prosecutors manage to arrest 10 probable suspects, the investigators conclude that no single suspect committed the crime that — all by itself — killed our hapless victim. So they all go free.

U.S. regulation of chemicals prohibits testing of the same sorts of chemical mixtures we are exposed to daily. That makes it nrearly impossible to state – unequivocally — that a given chemical “causes” one if those syndromes.

Ironically, one of the foundations of scientific research is responsible for this shortcoming.

For example, let’s look at one familiar process: inflammation.

Solid scientific research focuses on one narrow part of a problem at a time: Take one chemical like BPA, explore its effect on one health problem — like inflammation.

But even that is too broad. So, a study will test BPA against one of several specific biological markers of inflammation: IL-6.

While many studies prove that BPA increases IL-6 levels they do not — and cannot – say with certainty that increasing that level causes cancer or other stealth syndromes.

To be regulated as hazardous, only single chemicals are tested. Plus those are tested only in high concentrations to see what level actually kills the test animals.

The tests do not take into account low concentrations that can interfere with hormones.

The science-based logic for personal and clinical precaution and avoidance – Part 1

What this means is — just because BPA can actually trigger all 10 Hallmarks – that does not prove that your consumption of BPA — alone or in mixtures — will give you cancer.

What the Halifax Project did was use the Hallmarks of Cancer to create a basic framework for assessing the cancer-causing ability of individual chemicals — and mixtures. If there are 10 triggers, then which triggers get pulled? 1 or 3 or all 10?

If one chemical triggers just one Hallmark,  — #6 — that could bring an “innocent” verdict on felony murder while being released on parole for a misdemeanor for causing inflammation.

This raises the issue of a “partial carcinogen” – chemicals that cannot kill on their own, but must have help from co-conspirators. Those are nor regulated as carcinogens.

The “Cancer Gang” Murder

Let’s consider each Hallmark as a weapon used by thugs in a gang attack on an innocent cell.

Attacker One starts the assault,  triggers #6

That may start an attack by other gang members where Attacker Two triggers 2 and 7.

Attacker Three triggers 9 and 10,

Attacker Four triggers 1, 3 and 4 — and,

Attacker Five triggers 5, and 8

At that point, the Gang has hit the poor, hapless cell with 10 weapons. Some wounds are more serious than others but none is fatal all by itself. Together, that makes for a complete set of Hallmarks – and a verified chem-killing.

It’s also important that  — in order for as murder to happen — the number of attackers  in the gang could be smaller because radiation, genetics and other factors mean that the victim may have shown up at the attack already “wounded.”

Investigating all possible suspects is impossible

At any given time the investigators start with 84,000 chemical suspects. Many are innocent and have not inflicted any of the “Hallmark Attacks.. But which ones?

That means that possible 10-member gang suspects equal a number that is 4.8 followed by 48 zeros.


That means that it is impossible to assess all 84,000 chemicals on ten-point Hallmarks/Halifax measures.

What can YOU do? Play the odds with Cancer Powerball with us

The government doesn’t have the data. Your doctor doesn’t have the data.

What can you do? You can play the lottery along with us.

You can follow the odds to see how many Cancer Powerball numbers you can avoid.

Our continued Cancer Powerball series will look at the most common chemicals that the CDC says are likely to be in American bodies.

From that list, we’ll search the scientific literature.

We will search each chemical at least 11 times: once for “cancer” and 10 more times for each of the Hallmark/Cancer Powerball numbers

Next, we’ll download the papers and evaluate for Hallmark triggers

If we find them, then at that point a Cancer Powerball ticket gets punched.

Rinse and repeat.

It’s significant that BPA can trigger all 10 Cancer Powerball numbers. We do not anticipate that being the case with other common chemicals. We could be wrong.

You’ll have to stay tuned to keep up on the results of your personal Cancer Powerball. Round-up and its known ingredients — Glyphosate in a mixture of other  chemical mixtures —  will be evaluated in the near future.




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