Cancer is known as the deadliest disease that has no cure. If it’s caught in the early stages, you have a chance of preventing it from becoming deadly. However, if it’s caught in the last stages, then stopping it is futile, it becomes fatal.
So, let’s understand what Cancer really is.
Cancer is a disease that can develop in any part of the body. In this, the cells of the body start growing uncontrollably and slowly start spreading throughout the body. This disease starts almost anywhere in the body.
Normally, cells grow and multiply with the process called cell division and form new cells as the old ones die. This way, the new cells take the place of old cells that have died. However, when it comes to Cancer, this systematic process of cell division gets interrupted, and abnormal and damaged cells start to grow in the body when they should not.
These cells form tumors that are sometimes cancerous and sometimes benign (not cancerous). If they are cancerous, then they start spreading and before long invade all the nearby tissues and organs and form new tumors.
Cancerous tumors are called malignant tumors. Benign tumors are not cancerous. They do not spread or invade other tissues.
How does it develop?
Cells are the basic, structural, and functional units of the body. They grow and multiply according to the needs of the body. As mentioned before, when the cells become old, they die and new cells replace them.
Cancer develops when genetic changes intervene in the systematic order. The cells start growing uncontrollably and start forming tumors. The genetic changes that are the cause of Cancer are:
⦁ It can be because of errors that occur when cells multiply
⦁ Damage to the DNA that can be caused due to harmful substances in the environment, like chemicals and ultraviolet rays.
⦁ Some can be transferred through parents by inheritance.
The body is programmed to naturally eliminate any damaged cells that have corrupted DNA. However, the body’s ability to get rid of these cells weakens with age, therefore, you have a higher chance of accumulating Cancer in old age.
The Different Types of Cancer
Doctors and scientists have divided Cancer into different types based on the location it accumulates, the four main types that are known till now are:
Cancer that begins in the tissue that covers the surface of internal glands or organs or accumulates in the skin is called Carcinomas. This type usually forms solid tumors and is the most common type of cancer.
Examples of carcinomas include lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, and Breast Cancer.
The Cancer accumulated in tissues that connect and support the body is called sarcoma. The different types of sarcoma cancers develop in nerves, muscles, fat, tendons, blood vessels, cartilage, joints, bone, and lymph vessels.
Sarcoma Cancer is more common among childhood cancers than in adults. It is a soft tissue Cancer, therefore it can develop in any part of the body.
Have you heard about blood Cancer? Well, it’s called leukemia in scientific terms. Leukemia starts out with healthy blood cells that grow uncontrollably. Leukemia is further divided into four different types:
⦁ Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
⦁ Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
⦁ Acute Myeloid Leukemia
⦁ Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
Cancer that begins in the lymphatic system is known as Lymphomas. The lymphatic system is a network of glands and vessels that help by fighting any sort of infection that attacks the body. Lymphomas Cancer is also divided into two main types called Hodgkin Lymphoma and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
A Cancer usually starts in one part of the body and then gradually moves and spreads to other parts of the body. This type of cancer is called metastatic cancer and the process by which the cancer cells spread throughout the body is called metastasis.
Metastasis Cancer gets the same name as the place it originated from no matter where it spreads or moves to. So if a breast Cancer forms a metastatic tumor in the lungs, it is still going to be called metastatic breast cancer.
When observed under the microscope, metastatic cancer cells look the same as ordinary Cancer cells. Moreover, the metastatic cancer cells and original Cancer cells have similar molecular features like the presence of specific chromosomal changes.
Some treatments help in prolonging the lives of people with metastatic cancer, but the main goal of any cancer treatment is to stop or control the growth of all the excessive cells or to relieve the symptoms or pain that they are causing.
However, metastatic cancers can cause a lot of damage and inhibit many body functions, this is why most deaths are caused by metastatic cancer.
It is a lot better when Cancer is diagnosed and treated in its early stages because then, you have a chance of curing it. Some cancers like skin, mouth, rectum, prostate, breast, and testicles can be diagnosed or detected through routinely self-exams or other screening measures before they can take a turn for the worst.
Most cancers are diagnosed when a tumor is felt or some other symptoms develop. In some cases, cancers are diagnosed during the evaluation of other medical treatments.
The proper Cancer diagnosis starts with a thorough medical exam that includes a physical test and complete medical history. Laboratory tests are conducted that take your blood, stool, and urine to detect any sort of abnormalities that may indicate cancer.
If a tumor is suspected, imaging tests like CT scans, MRIs, and x-Rays are conducted to finalize the diagnosis. After that treatments are started.
If the test comes out positive, and a Cancer is indeed present, then further testing is conducted to gather specific information about the Cancer you might have. This way, it is much better that cancers should be detected in the earlier stages, or treatment sometimes appears to be futile.