12-Year-Old Decides To Research Cancer For His Science Fair Project, Has Amazing Breakthrough That Professionals Can’t Believe!
This 12-year-old boy from Georgia has won various science fair awards in the state after creating a science fair project about cancer. Inspired by his friends’ mothers who were diagnosed with breast cancer, Stephen Litt made a project that examined the antioxidant properties in green tea that could help in preventing breast cancer.
This project has earned Stephen an invitation to visit the research lab at Tufts University during the spring break.
Stephen says that he had never actually been to a professional lab before. He said that being in the lab and looking at the various experiments was the coolest part. As per the professor at Tufts University who had helped in arranging Stephen’s visit to the college, Stephen’s project was quite remarkable and advanced for his age.
The director of Tufts University, Michael Levin, said “The work is very interesting and has the potential to advance not only cancer research but regenerative medicine as well,”
Stephen had actually started to research Malaria for his science project, but after being told by his dad that his plan was not realistic, he shifted his focus to doing research on cancer.
His father says that Stephen did a lot of research on green tea, and found out that the antioxidants present in green tea can actually help in killing the breast cancer cells. He said that some of his family friends had breast cancer and that had inspired Stephen to do more research on it.
Stephen’s proud father says that his son loves to read. He didn’t even realize that the son was actually reading into a lot of stuff on cancer! They both found lots of material on the internet and this led them to set up a research station at home. Making use of 100 planaria, Stephen divided them into four groups.
Over a course of a month, he used each group to do his experiments. By exposing each group to epigallocatechin-3-gallate, the phytochemical that is present in green tea, and for different time periods, Stephen discovered that the planaria that were more exposed to EGCG had no tumours.
Stephen used the microscope that was gifted to him by his grandparents to do his research work.
Levin says that, “By establishing a model of cancer in planaria, Stephen is getting closer to one of the biggest secrets of life, about how cells cooperate to build and repair bodies (regeneration) and how that process can fail (resulting in cancer). I was most struck by his mature view of the problem, his creative thought about experiments to do and his methodical approach to answering the question.”
Stephen won six state awards for his science fair project in Georgia. He also got a chance to compete in the national science and engineering competition.
As Stephen got the awards on April 1, most of his friends did not believe him, thinking he was fooling them.
Stephen has big hopes for this year’s science fair project of eighth grade. He plans to find out how EGCG can prevent tumors from developing. He might also plan to do more research on other advanced organisms.
Stephen is ecstatic about the whole thing. He loves doing his research and knows that he is doing something very important. He believes that his scientific research might actually help people.
It’s more common than you think – surprising facts about breast cancer
Breast Cancer is one of the most commonly occurring forms of cancer among American women.
As per the statistics and estimates from American Cancer Society in the USA for 2017:
There are chances that the invasive breast cancer might have more than 252,000 new cases this year.
The cases for Carcinoma in Situ, or CIS, might go up by 63400. CIS is a non-invasive procedure, and is one of the earliest forms of breast cancer.
The number of women dying from breast cancer may be around 40610.
Incidence of breast cancer – Trends
In the most recent times the rate of incidence of breast cancer has been quite similar for African and white American women. In fact, the chances of these people suffering from breast cancer is higher than the women from other races and ethnicities.
Deaths due to Breast cancer
Death due to breast cancer stands second in women dying from cancer. The leading cause of cancer death is the lung cancer. Chances of a woman dying due to breast cancer is around 1 in 37 women, which is almost 2.7%.
In recent times the death rates due to breast cancer has dropped considerably. The death rate is constant in women who are younger than 50 years old, but the rate has been declining in older women.
This decline in trend is due to the early detection of breast cancer with the help of screening and increase in awareness. Better treatments are also a major cause of this.
Survivors of Breast Cancer
Currently, there are over 3.1 million survivors of breast cancer in United States alone.
Breast Cancer – What are the signs and symptoms?
If there is a new mass or lump on the breasts then it is a clear sign of breast cancer. There can be other symptoms as well. It is good to have your breasts checked regularly by a doctor if you are not sure what cancer could look like for you.
Prevention of breast cancer
Though, there is no way of completely preventing breast cancer there are a few certain things that can help in lowering your risk of developing. The way to do this to to change some of the risk factors that are mentioned below.
Risk factors are those factors which can affect your chance of contracting diseases like cancer. But just because you have a risk factor does not imply that you will for sure get the disease. Though it might not be easy to change some of the risk factors for developing cancer, such as aging or family history, there are other risk factors that can definitely be controlled.
Detect cancer early to better treat it
In case of any symptoms, it is advisable to get a screening done. There are certain imaging tests that are conducted to diagnose breast cancer. There are breast MRIs, mammograms, and ultrasounds, that can be done to detect the actual stage of the cancer. And, if all these tests fail, a biopsy can be done which gives more of an accurate picture. This can be useful to figure out the suitable treatments.
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