Biology

Cancer

Cancer is diseases that impacts any part of the human body. It is a disease whose formation takes place due to uncontrollable growth of certain body cells.

In relation to this disease, the use of other terms takes place like neoplasms and malignant tumours. This disease is feared all over the world as it can prove to be extremely deadly if left untreated.

One defining characteristic of cancer disease is the rapid creation of abnormal cells whose growth takes place beyond their usual boundaries. Invasion of adjoining parts of the body takes place by these abnormal cells. It may then spread to other types of tissues or organs. Every year, this disease proves fatal to millions of people. For example, during the year 2020, more than 10 million succumbed to this disease.

cancer

                                                                                                                

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease whose formation takes place due to the uncontrollable growth of certain body cells. With this uncontrollable growth, the cells can grow to the various parts of the body.

The formation of this disease can happen anywhere in the human body. Under normal conditions, the growth and multiplication of cells happen due to cell division. This way, the formation of necessary new cells takes place in the body.

Sometimes this orderly process can become faulty and break down. Therefore, the growth of damaged or abnormal cells begins. Furthermore, this abnormal growth is what leads to the formation of tumours or cancers.

Tumors can either be non-risky non-cancerous or harmful can cancerous (benign). When cancerous tumors spread, they attack or invade nearby tissues or organs.

Furthermore, it is possible for cancerous cells to travel to distant places in the body.  Consequently, this leads to the formation of new tumors. Moreover, this formation happens due to the metastasis process.

Cancerous tumors are also called by experts as malignant tumors. Many cancers lead to the formation of solid tumors. However, this is not the case with blood cancers like leukemia.

Why Cancer Forms?

Cancer disease arises due to the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells. Furthermore, this process happens in a multi-stage process. The cell generally progresses to form a malignant tumour.

These changes are due to the interaction that takes place between a person’s genetic factors and external agents. Identification of these external agents and genetic factors could be helpful in prevention.

There are three categories of these external agents-  physical carcinogens, chemical carcinogens, and biological carcinogens.

Physical carcinogens consist of ionizing radiation and ultraviolet. Furthermore, chemical carcinogens include arsenic, asbestos, aflatoxin, and tobacco smoke components. Also, biological carcinogens refer to infections due to disease-causing microorganisms like parasites, bacteria, and viruses.

General Signs of Cancer

Signs and symptoms caused by cancer disease are dependent on the impacted body part. Some general signs and symptoms associated with this deadly disease include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lump or thickening of the area that you experience under the skin.
  • Fluctuations of weight changes, like significant weight loss or weight gain.
  • Difficulty in swallowing food
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Skin changes, such as reddening or darkening, or yellowing of the skin
  • Changes in bowel normal functioning
  • Continuous indigestion or discomfort after eating
  • Persistent cough
  • Bleeding or bruising that cannot be explained
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Persistent muscle or joint pain that is unexplained
  • Persistent fevers or night sweats that are unexplainable

How Can Cancer Be Prevented

You must always prioritize cancer prevention over cancer treatment. Below are the various cancer preventive measures  that medical experts advise with:

Stop smoking: You must immediately quit smoking:  If you don’t smoke, then continue this way and never start. According to experts, there is a link of smoking to several types of cancer besides just lung cancer.

Avoid sun exposure excessively: The ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun can cause a lot of damage. These rays are a big cause of skin cancer. So, you must reduce your exposure to the sun by taking necessary means like using sunscreen, wearing long clothes, etc.

Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich that is rich in nutrients is useful for cancer prevention. Focus on meals rich in lean proteins and whole grains. Reduce your intake of processed meats.

Exercise regularly: There is a clear-cut linkage between regular exercising and lowering the risk of this disease. So, make it a habit to work out at least half an hour a day for most days of the week.

Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is linked to a higher risk of this disease. So strive to maintain healthy weight by indulging in proper work-out or dieting.

Avoid or Reduce alcohol: You must reduce alcohol intake as much as possible. The best measure would be to avoid it completely. This is because alcohol may increase the risk of this disease.

Diagnosis of Cancer

Timely diagnosis of this disease is crucial in cancer prevention. Your doctor may use the following approaches to diagnose this disease:

Physical exam: Here, the doctor physically examines your body. This way, the doctor tries to feel lumps or any thickening in the external body. The doctor also tries to notice any abnormalities like changes, enlargement, etc.

Laboratory tests: Laboratory tests can be recommended by your specialist. Popular laboratory tests are blood tests and urine tests.

Imaging tests: Imaging tests make possible the examination of internal organs and bones. Furthermore, this takes place by the doctor in a non-invasive way. Moreover, examples of imaging tests are bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, ultrasound, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Biopsy: During a biopsy, a sample of cells is collected by the medical expert for testing in the laboratory. Furthermore, there are several ways for conducting a biopsy.

Treatment of Cancer

Doctors have many tools for the purpose of treatment. Such treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Immunotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted drug therapy

FAQs on Cancer

Question 1: Are there any complications of cancer treatment?

Answer 1: There can be an association of several complications with treatment. Such complications are: fatigue, pain, weight loss, diarrhea, nausea, breathing difficulty, etc.

Question 2: Can cancer spread to other parts of the body?

Answer 2: A cancer forms in a particular of the body. Sometimes, it can spread to other parts of the body from the place of origin. Such types of cancer are called metastatic.

Question 3: What is meant by cancer stages?

Answer 3: Cancer disease forms in the body in stages. The indication of the stage of cancer takes place by the numbers 0 to 4. These numbers of stages are written as Roman numerals 0 to IV.

The higher the stage, the more difficult it will become to cure. Higher numbers indicate that this disease is more advanced and is more difficult to cure. Most noteworthy, usually, stage 4 cancers are almost incurable or untreatable.

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