What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells divide uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body and kills healthy tissues. As a natural process bodily cells divide to generate new cells to replace old or damaged cells. New cells form fast in cancer even when they are not required. Tumors form as a result of their growth. As these new cells divide at an unstoppable rate some cancer cells break off and migrate through the blood (or lymph) to other parts of the body, where they form new tumors.
What are the different types of cancer?
This list has been enlarged below to include more particular types of cancers occurring in each major category; it is not exhaustive, and the cancers given in quotes are the common names for some cancers:
Skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic, and ovarian cancers, epithelial, squamous, and basal cell carcinomas, melanomas, papillomas, and adenomas are all examples of carcinoma.
“Bone soft tissue cancers,” osteosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, liposarcoma, angiosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and fibrosarcoma are all cancers that start in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.
What is Leukemia?
Lymphocytic leukemias (ALL and CLL), myelogenous leukemia (AML and CML), T-cell leukemia, and hairy-cell leukemia are all cancers that develop in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and cause vast numbers of aberrant blood cells to be formed and enter the bloodstream.
Lymphoma and myeloma are cancers that start in immune system cells — “lymphoma” T-cell lymphomas, B-cell lymphomas, Hodgkin lymphomas, non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and lymphoproliferative lymphomas are some examples.
Gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, primary CNS lymphomas, and primitive neuroectodermal tumors are all cancers that start in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord — “brain and spinal cord tumors,” gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, vestibular schwannomas, primary CNS lymphomas, and primitive neurotic
What are the causes of Cancer?
Although the specific causation of cancer is unknown several variables are thought to be involved. Although certain types of cancer have been related to hereditary causes only about 5% of malignancies are tied to known inherited gene mutations. Cancer can be caused by exposure to the following environmental factors:
Smoking causes lung cancer and it is linked to an increased risk of malignancies of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, and cervix (oral cancers).
Chemicals- Industrial dyes, asbestos, and benzene have all been linked to cancer.
Ionizing radiation- Although a link has been shown between ionizing radiation and cancer. The specific amount of radiation that increases the risk of cancer remains unknown.
Viruses- Some viruses including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, which causes AIDS) have been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer, lymphomas and sarcomas. The venereal wart-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) is linked to an elevated risk of oral, anal, and cervical cancer.
Sunlight- Prolonged exposure to the sun (e.g., sun tanning) damages the skin and can lead to skin cancer.
What are the signs and symptoms of cancer?
Depending on the type of cancer and its stage cancer can produce a wide range of symptoms. Cancer cells pressing against or invading nearby cells can produce excruciating discomfort. Organs that have been infiltrated by cancer (such as the liver or pancreas) are unable to function correctly. Some symptoms known as paraneoplastic syndromes are caused by chemicals or hormones released by the tumor rather than the tumor itself. Chemicals and hormones have the potential to trigger an autoimmune reaction in which the body generates antibodies against itself. They can also interfere with organ function or even kill healthy cells.
Deciding on a Diagnosis
Oncologists or cancer specialists will assess symptoms conduct a physical examination and prescribe blood tests and X-rays. However taking a tissue sample often known as a biopsy. It is the only way to know for sure whether cells are malignant. A microscope is used to examine the cells. On the basis of the biopsy sample doctors can determine the type and stage of cancer.
Staging the cancer is done at the time of diagnosis to help determine the prognosis and type of treatment a patient should receive. The “TNM system” which defines the size of the tumor and the amount of disease dissemination is used by doctors to classify cancer. Treatment options will be largely determined by cancer’s stage.
Prevention and Treatment
Primary cancer prevention is the process of preventing certain types of malignancies by altering one’s lifestyle. Tobacco-related cancers (such as lung cancer) account for over one-third of all cancer deaths; thus, quitting smoking is critical for avoiding cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and lungs. Skin cancer risk is reduced by avoiding and limiting sun exposure and wearing sufficient protection (SPF lotions and sunscreens) while in the sun. Another key aspect of cancer prevention is diet. A high-fat diet has long been linked to an increased risk of some malignancies (such as breast and prostate cancer), but a high-fiber diet has been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer.
Cancer is treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and in some cases, hormones or hormone-blocking drugs. The goal of cancer treatment is to destroy malignant cells while causing the least amount of harm to healthy cells.
Cancer cells that are clumped together are removed through surgery. Surgery is used to treat a variety of malignancies. Normal cells around the abnormal cells or tumor will be removed by surgeons to see if cancer has spread. It’s exceedingly tough to remove cancer cells with surgery if the malignancy has spread.