Cancer Explained - What is Cancer, the Causes, and Treatment of Cancer
Hello, Happy weekend, and Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you had a great week. In today's post, I will be writing on cancer. There are over 100 types of cancer, ranging from Breast cancer, Lung cancer, Prostate cancer, Colorectal cancer, Melanoma (skin cancer), Leukemia (Blood cancer), Lymphoma, Ovarian cancer, Cervical cancer, Thyroid cancer, and many more. In this post, our subject of focus would be everything Cancer but first, what is cancer?
According to this journal, about 40% of men and women in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer at one point in time in their lives or the other, but it is very disturbing how a lot of people do not even have an idea of what cancer is or what can cause it. If I am to give a simple definition of cancer, I will refer to it as a condition where some cells in the body stop following the rules of reproduction, and death as other cells in the body. There are over 10 trillion cells in the body, and you can imagine what it looks like to have the cells in the body start to misbehave, not following the rules other cells are following in a normal condition. It is referred to as Neoplasia meaning new, uncontrolled, uncoordinated growth that isn't under physiological control (the case of the rough cell). Cancers are malignant growths that can spread and hinder normal physiology in the area where they grow.
As I said above, there are numerous cancer types in our world and these cancers have different epidemiological statistics. Prostrate Cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men, with about 1.4 million diagnoses worldwide in 2020. breast Cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among females, with 30% (or 1 in 3 women) suffering from breast cancer yearly. Lung and Bronchus cancer is the second most common type of cancer holding 12.4% of the total new cancer cases. Other major cancers are Colon and rectum cancer, Urinary bladder cancer (males), uterine corpus cancer (females), Thyroid cancer, Melanoma of the skin, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Kidney and Renal Pelvis cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Leukemia, Oral Cavity and Pharyngeal cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Cancer of the Bile-duct, Brain Cancer, and so on. Cancer can occur anywhere in the body because there are cells in all parts of our body. A combination of Cancerous cells is known as a Tumor. Cancer requires multiple mutations and divisions of the cells to develop. So cancer is either a result of an increase in the growth rate of the cells, or decreased apoptosis, and it can be both.
Tumors can be Benign or Malignant. Benign tumors are well different, they stay in their primary location and do not invade other parts of the body. They grow slowly and may perform normal tissue functions. They are surrounded by fibrous capsule, and like I previously mentioned, they do not invade, metastasize, or infiltrate but they can damage nearby organs by compressing them. The Ideal time to treat a cancerous cell is when it is still in situ.
Malignant tumors are cells that have lost their differentiation, and proliferation. They can grow uncontrollably with the absence of growth factor, and invade other places in the body. Malignant tissues do not perform normal tissue cells, but they can secrete different types of toxins, enzymes, and signals. They can continue to mutate and autonomously proliferate in a rapid way. They lack capsules, they surround and destroy surrounding tissues. Malignant tumors can be solid, which are usually confined to a specific tissue or organ, before metastesizing, and there are Hematologic cancers which are found in the blood, lymph, and they are found in liquid aspect of the body.
Malignant Neoplasms are generally unstable, their growth are not regulated, and mutate while going through cell cycles but do not get to G0 phase where they do not grow again.
Naming tumors have to do with the tissue they invade (parenchymal). While naming Benign tumor, the tissue name and the surfix -Oma help name it, while malignant tumors are regarded as cancer. In cases where the malignant tumors have to do with epithelial tissues, they will be referred to as the tissue name, with the surfix -carcinoma. If the malignant tumor is affecting a glandular tissue (responsible for producing and secreting substances), they are named the tissue name, and the surfix -adenocarcinoma. If the tumor is from the melanocyte, they are referred to as Melanoma. When the tumor grows in the Mesenchymal tissue (connective tissues or soft tisues), they are regarded as Tissue Name and the surfix Sarcoma.
When the diagnosis of a cancer is made, it is important to know the location of the cancer, and how it may have spread. Cancer can be treated via three ways which are surgery, tradition, and chemo therapy. Cancer has to do with directly removing the tumor, radiation has to do using xrays to kill individual tumor cells, an chemotherapy has to do with the use of chemicals to kill the individual cell. There can be side effects to treating cancer cells, as oncologist have to optimize the use of treatment to kill tumor cells without causing any damage or minimizing the amount of damage that can be caused to normal cells while treating the patient. After treating the cancer, it is important to treat the pain, the fatigue, the anxiety and depression that comes with when the patient was diagnosed of cancer. Cancer treatments are still ongoing, and more research are going, on how to attack the single cancerous cells without attacking the surrounding healthy cells.
National Library of Medicine - Cancer Epidemiology: A Survey of Modifiable Risk Factors for Prevention and Survivorship
EAU - EPIDEMIOLOGY AND AETIOLOGY
American Cancer Society - Key Statistics for Breast Cancer
National Library of Medicine - Lung Cancer: Epidemiology, Etiology, and Prevention
National Cancer Institute - What Is Cancer?
Journal of American Medical Association - Benign vs Malignant Tumors
National Library of Medicine - The Development and Causes of Cancer
Pathologia - Neoplasia – definition, nomenclature and spread
National Library of Medicine - Cancer Classification at the Crossroads
I am still patiently waiting for the day the cure for cancer will be discovered
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