Cancer – Everything You Should Know
Cancer occurs due to uncontrolled cell division and the spread of the abnormal cells to different parts of the body. This large group of diseases has become one of the leading causes of death.
A healthy body has trillions of cells that grow and divide because the body needs it to function. These healthy cells have a finite life cycle, reproduction, and apoptosis or death according to the cell type. New cells replace damaged cells or old cells as they die. In the case of Cancer, the finite process is disrupted, leading to abnormal growth in cells. Such disruptions are caused due to mutations in DNA i.e., a sudden change in the DNA.
Every cell has genes that contain DNA. DNA has instructions that direct the cell to perform its specific function alongside its growth and division. There are frequent mutations in DNA, but usually, cells correct such mistakes. However, when errors are not fixed, the cells might become cancerous.
Mutations might promote the survival of cells that need to be replaced, hence uncontrollable divisions that cause tumors or abnormal cells. Tumors can be benign and malignant. Benign tumors are non-cancerous tumors and do not spread, whereas malignant tumors metastasize.
Types of Cancer
Cancers are classified as per the type of cell and the area where their growth begins. Therefore, there are several types of Cancer, such as:
Carcinoma – Cancer starting in the skin cells or tissues that line other organs.
Leukemia – Bone marrow (creates blood cells) Cancer
Sarcoma – Connective tissues (muscles, bone, blood vessels, and cartilage) cancer
Myeloma and Lymphoma- Cancers of the immune system
The direct cause of Cancer is DNA mutations, and these genetic mutations can be inherited. Some of the environmental factors causing Cancer are:
- Exposure radiation
- UV radiation
- Chemical Carcinogens
- Diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle choices
Cancer risks increase with increasing age and some existing conditions causing inflammation also increases the risk factor.
The best ways to prevent Cancer are as follows:
- Eating a balanced and healthy diet, avoiding alcohol, considering “Mediterranean diet”, and limiting the intake of processed meats.
- Staying protected from the sun by using sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, and staying in the shade while you are outside.
- Keeping a healthy weight and staying weight by doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity.
- Avoid secondhand smoke and preventing the use of tobacco.
- Practicing safe sex and prevent the sharing of needles.
- Seeing the doctor regularly to screen different types of Cancer.
The objectives of cancer treatment are as follows:
- Trying to find a cure for cancer.
- Providing primary treatment can kill cancer cells in the body.
- Providing adjuvant therapy to kill remaining cancer cells after immediate treatment.
- Providing palliative treatment to relieve health symptoms such as pain and trouble breathing, associated with Cancer.
The most common treatment types are:
- Surgery removes a significant part of the tumor.
- Chemotherapy uses toxic medications for the rapid killing of cells.
- Radiation Therapy uses focused beams of radiation to kill cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy uses antibodies to help the immune system recognize cancer.
- Hormone therapy to prevent cancer growth by removing or blocking hormones that fuel cancer.
- Stem cell transplant repairs infected bone marrow cells with healthy ones.
- Targeted Drug therapy uses drugs to interfere with molecules that assist the growth of Cancer.
- Clinical treatments for investigating new methods to treat Cancer.
Alternative medicines include massage, yoga, acupuncture, hypnosis, meditation, and relaxation techniques.