All you need to know to about Cancer
Table of Contents
About 10 million people die from cancer every year which makes it the second leading cause of death worldwide. Cancer is a group of diseases that particularly involve the uncontrolled division of cells. When cells grow and multiply beyond the limits set by nature, they can become cancerous. Cancer can start in almost any tissue in the body, but it most often starts in the cells that line our organs. There are different types of Cancer, let’s learn more!
Types of Cancer
The types of Cancer revolve around where it was initiated and how much it had progressed. The most common types of cancer are lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancer. There are also other less common types of Cancer such as brain, pancreatic, ovarian, and cervical cancer. Some forms of cancer can be cured with early detection, while others are incurable.
How Cancer Develops
In our body, normal cells display a feature called contact inhibition due to which cell growth and division are highly controlled and moderated. In cancer cells, there is a breakdown in these control methods. Due to this, cells continue to divide causing a mass of cells called tumors.
Tumors can either be benign or malignant.
A benign tumor is a lump of cells that does not proliferate to other parts of the body.
A malignant tumor can invade other parts of the body due to the ability of cancer cells to migrate and reach distant sites through blood. A new tumor is initiated at the place where they collect. This is known as metastasis which is the most dreaded feature of malignant tumors.
Cancer is a disease that has no one cause. It is strongly linked to genetic factors, but environment and lifestyle also play a big role. Around one-third of all cancers are caused by environmental factors, such as tobacco and ultraviolet radiations.
Conversion of normal cells into cancer cells may happen due to physical, chemical, or biological factors called carcinogens. Around two-thirds of cancers are caused by genetic changes called mutations in cells that become cancerous. Various genes have been discovered in normal cells which could lead to their conversion into cancer cells. These genes are known as oncogenes. Genetic changes are passed from parents to children through genes, which is why we refer to the cause of cancer as a genetic “predisposition” rather than a “preventable” condition.
Symptoms of Cancer are particularly dependent on its type. The most common symptoms of cancer are:
- Persistent feeling of pain or pressure in the breast, thigh, or under the arm
- Persistent coughing
- Bleeding from the gums, nose, or rectum
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent fatigue.
Some are types of cancer obvious and can be detected early, while others are sneaky and develop over time. Cancer screening involves a series of tests that look for signs of cancer at the early stages when treatment options are better.
The most common of these are:
- X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans – take pictures of internal organs.
- Blood tests – provide information on the levels of specific substances in the blood
- Biopsies – involve removing a small amount of tissue to examine it.
Since cancer is a complex disease, there is no established treatment that is efficacious for everyone. Instead, treatments are personalised to meet the needs of the individual patients.
The first step in cancer treatment is to figure out as much information as possible about cancer – the histology, the cellularity, the mutation, and the genetic background. Apart from the stage and type of cancer at the time of diagnosis, cancer survival is largely dependent on the patient’s age, general health, and medical history.
There is no cure for Cancer, but more than 80% of people with cancer live longer than expected if the disease had been detected and treated at an earlier stage.
Can we prevent Cancer?
Even though Cancer is a disease that can strike anyone, there are ways to help prevent it. One of the best ways to help prevent cancer is to get plenty of physical activity. Some studies have found that active people have a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, such as lung, breast, and colon cancer.
Staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest, all help your body fight disease. In addition to these healthy behaviours, there are a few other things you can do to help your body fight cancer. A diet rich in antioxidant-rich foods can help reduce the risk of some cancers, including prostate, colon, and skin cancers.
Thank you for reading.
Concerned more about your health? Read- Mechanism of Immune Response – My Biology Dictionary