Introduction to Cancer


 Cancer is one of the causes of deaths among adults and even children worldwide. There are about 4 million cases of this disease as of 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Moreover, there are hundreds of cancer types, and these exist through various causes such as genetics, carcinogens in the environment, tobacco smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet. Read along to gain important facts about this disease and what you can do to avoid it.

How It Starts and Develops

Once affected cells begin to divide in an uncomtrollable manner, tumors or tissue masses soon develop. These abnormal growths may continue to develop over time and interfere with various functions of your body such as your digestion and blood circulation. Furthermore, hormones are released by these tumors, and impacting negatively different body systems. There are instances, though, when some tumors remain in one location and do not grow further. In this case, this type of growth is regarded as benign or non-malignant tumor.

cancer cellIt is important to note that dangerous tumors can form in different ways. For instance, angiogenesis may occur, which is a process involving cells. These cells divide faster and grow bigger, and they feed on new blood vessels created in the body. Another means of tumor formation is once the cancerous cell “invade” various areas in your body. This takes place as the cells circulate as they pass through the lymphatic systems or the bloodstream. Along the way, healthy cells are destroyed until the body gets weaker and unable to function.

Treating the disease becomes difficult and takes time once metastasis has occured. This refers to the spread of the tumor to several body parts. Malignant tumors invade the body and cause serious damages to healthy tissues and cells.

Facts about Cancer

Children and adults may suffer from this disease, specifically those who are high-risk individuals with other family members who have acquired cancer. Others develop the disease due to a stressful lifestyle, along with harmful chemicals or carcinogens in the environment. Based on researchers, the disease has hundreds of types and can affect various body parts such as the colon, bladder, lungs, kidneys, cervix, breast, bones, liver, thyroid, prostate, pancreas, ovaries and stomach. The most vulnerable part of the body is initially affected until the disease spreads all over through the blood.

Cancer woman having supportIn the United States, more than 500,000 individuals die every year because of this disease. Over twice this number includes people who are diagnosed with this fatal disease, although at least 50 percent of them do not survive. Thus, the disease is among the leading causes of mortality all over the world. It also impacts people’s financial situation as the cost of treating cancer is very expensive. At least $200 billion goes to medication, treatment and hospitalization bills. Patients lose productivity and source of income as the disease takes over their life and makes it impossible for them to work.

There are numerous reasons why people may suffer from this debilitating disease. Among the common risk factors are tobacco, alcohol, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, too much sun exposure, radiation and genetics. However, it is still possible to treat the disease through early detection. Screening may be done to determine if one is suffering from abnormal growths or potentially dangerous tumors. There are also some vaccines that prevent a few types of cancers occuring in the oral cavity, vagina or cervix.

Understanding Causes

There are cases when the disease is inherited by patients from their family members. Some people may be born with a particular fault in their gene, thus contributing to genetic mutations. Their chances of developing the disease is even higher when they steer clear from a healthier lifestyle as they get older.

Other patients are discovered to have developed cancer because of carcinogens that damage the DNA and make them more prone to this disease. Common carcinogens include arsenic, asbestos, x-rays, gamma, tobacco and carbon monoxide. Free radicals form in the body upon constant exposure to these substances. Eventually, cells are damaged and body functions are interefered.

Aging may be another factor attributed to this disease since mutations in the DNA, which are cancer-causing, tend to exist. There are also viruses that have been associated with this fatal disease such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr, and HIV. Any virus that negatively impacts the immune system and interferes the body’s natural ability to resist infections can result to cancer.

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