What is Cancer?
'What is cancer' is one of the most common questions ever asked in medical history. Cancer is a form of abnormal cell growth in the body that may become uncontrollable if ignored for a long period. The disease may originate in almost any organs of the body and spread to other areas by the process of metastasis. Cancer usually develops in specific pattern of stages and the intensity of the disease increases as it progresses to a higher stage.
What is cancer?
Cancer cells are the abnormal cells that grow uncontrollably, function inefficiently and invade other normal cells and tissues. These malignant cells attack some of the vital tissues and restrict them from supplying the necessary resources to various different parts of the body. Due to lack of resources like oxygen and blood, the normal healthy cells become weak and inefficient to function normally and tend to join the cancerous cells.
Cancerous cells also bring about an abrupt division and growth of cells and also prevent the old cells from dying in the natural way. This leads to generation of considerable amount of excess cells in the body. The process of abnormal cell growth disturbs the coordination between various metabolic activities occurring in the body and hampers the overall development process. This forces even the normal and healthy cells and tissues to behave abnormally and spread the cancerous infection further. Such cells accumulate in a particular area to form a lump-like structure called as tumor. These tumors are primarily responsible to spread the infection rapidly to other parts of the body and increase the intensity of the disease.
Tumors can be benign or cancerous. Cancerous tumors are the ones who lead the basis for cancer by invading healthy cells and tissues. These tumors have a tendency to metastasize and can spread to other areas of the body by way of metastasis. It is difficult to eliminate cancerous tumors as they have a tendency to regenerate. They need to be controlled by some of the harshest cancer treatments like radiotherapy and chemical therapy. It is difficult to remove such tumors by surgery alone.
Benign tumors are comparatively harmless and do not affect the normal body cells and tissues. They may appear as a lump and look quite similar to cancer tumors. Thus, a thorough diagnosis is necessary to decide whether a tumor is malignant or benign. Benign tumors can be eliminated quite easily by surgical methods. They generally do not recur and refrain from causing further health complications. Benign tumors may turn cancerous if left unattended for long time and thus, should be eliminated immediately on their detection.
What is cancer origin?
Cancer can develop in any parts of the body. Prostate, breast and lung cancers are the most common forms of cancers worldwide. Lung, abdominal, prostate, breast, colon and rectum, liver and bone cancer are some of the major types of cancers. They may originate in the organ itself or may metastasize from other parts of the body through metastasis. Cancer originating in the respective organ is known as primary cancer while the one that reaches the organ by process of metastasis is called as secondary cancer. Secondary cancers cause more damage than the primary ones as they impact a large number of areas simultaneously.
What is cancer scenario today?
Prostate cancer occurs only in males and is one of the major types accounting for almost 29% of the overall cancer cases. Breast cancer is prevalent mostly in females and accounts for approximately 30% of the overall cancer cases in females. Lung and bronchus cancer is another major form accounting for around 14% cases in both males and females. Colon and rectum cancer is the fourth-most common cancer occurring in both males and females and is detected in around 6% of the overall cancer cases.
Lung and bronchus cancer is the leading cause of deaths due to cancer and accounts for approximately 28% and 26% of the overall cancer deaths in men and women respectively. Prostate cancer is responsible for 11% cancer deaths while the breast cancer accounts for around 15% cancer deaths. Colon and rectum cancer is responsible for 8% and 9% of the overall cancer deaths in men and women respectively. Other forms of cancer are not that common but may lead to many severe disorders if the cancerous tumors are allowed to grow uncontrollably. Immediate treatment has to be undertaken after detection of tumors or any other cell abnormalities in the body.
Many contemporary techniques have been developed to make cancer detection process easier and faster. Biopsy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan are some of the basic and commonly adopted techniques to detect and locate cancer tumors. Computed tomography (CT) scan, fine needle aspiration biopsy and ultrasound are some other reliable techniques to inspect the body for cancerous growth of tumors.
Cancer treatments mainly depend on when and how the cancer tumors are detected. Usually, the treatments are light if tumors are detected in the initial or developmental stages. Cancer treatment is most aggressive in the fourth stage and the main aim is to avoid further growth of cancer cells. Apart from allopathic treatments, cancer can also be controlled by some other forms of therapies like Ayurveda, homeopathy and certain home remedies.
'What is cancer' can be understood thoroughly if the major causes and symptoms of the disease are studied carefully. Smoking, drinking and tobacco chewing are some of the major causes of the disease. Presence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and other sexually transmitted disease can make a person more vulnerable to cancer infection. Difficulties in breathing, improper food digestion, abdominal pains and improper bowel movements are some of the early signs of cancer. Sudden weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss and difficulties in normal body movements should be taken seriously. All cancers are curable if a systematic pattern of treatment is followed under thorough medical supervision.