What Do You Want to Know About Cancer?
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Cancer is an umbrella term for a large group of diseases caused when abnormal cells divide rapidly and spread to other tissue and organs. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world.
Cancer Growth and Metastasis
In a healthy body, the billions of cells that compose it grow and divide because the body needs it to function daily. Healthy cells have a specific life cycle, reproducing and extinguishing in a way determined by the type of cell. New cells replace old or damaged cells when they die. Cancer interrupts this process and leads to abnormal cell growth. It is caused by changes or mutations in the DNA.
DNA exists in the individual genes of each cell. It contains instructions that tell the cell what functions to perform and how to expand and divide. Mutations occur frequently in DNA, but it is generally cells that correct these errors. When an error is not corrected, a cell can become cancerous.
Mutations can cause cells that need to be replaced to survive instead of dying and new cells form when they are not needed. These additional cells can divide without control, causing the formation of tumors called tumours. Tumours can cause several health problems, depending on where they develop in the body.
But not all tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors are not cancerous and do not spread to nearby tissues. Sometimes they can get fat and cause problems when they press against nearby organs and tissues. Malignant tumors are cancerous and can invade other parts of the body.
Some cancer cells can also migrate to the blood or lymphatic system to distant parts of the body. This process is called methastasis. Metastatic cancers are considered more advanced than those not. Metastatic cancers tend to be more difficult to treat and more fatal.
Types of Cancer
Cancers are named after the region in which they begin and the type of cell from which they are made, even if they spread to other parts of the body. For example, a cancer that begins in the lungs and spreads to the liver is still called lung cancer. There are also several clinical terms used for some general types of cancer:
Carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the skin or tissues that line the other organs.
Sarcoma is a cancer of connective tissues such as bones, muscles, cartilage and blood vessels.
Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow, which creates blood cells.
Lymphoma and myeloma are cancers of the immune system.
Types of Cancer
Eliminate as much cancer as possible.
Use toxic drugs for cells to kill rapidly dividing cancer cells.
Use strong and concentrated radiation beams inside (brachytherapy) or outside (external radiation) of your body to kill cancer cells.
Stem cell transplant (bone marrow)
Repair broken bone marrow with healthy stem cells. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can have several functions. These transplants allow doctors to use higher doses of chemotherapy to treat cancer.
Immunotherapy (biological therapy)
Use antibodies to help your body’s immune system recognize cancer so it can fight it.
Eliminates or blocks hormones that feed certain types of cancer to prevent the growth of cancer cells.
Targeted Drug Therapy
Use medications to interfere with certain molecules that help cancer cells grow and survive.
Study new ways to treat cancer.
It is used to reduce cancer symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea, fatigue and pain. Alternative medicine includes:
- relaxation techniques
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