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Rapidly rising disease...CANCER

Updated on August 6, 2014

To say it is just a single and a small word "CANCER" but it is taking lives of people in a huge amount.Still doctors have no proper treatment or cure for this disease.

Cancer is also known as malignant tumor.It is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.Cancer harms the body when damaged cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in the case of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can release hormones that alter body function. Tumors that stay in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign.

More dangerous, or malignant, tumors form when two things occur:

  1. a cancerous cell manages to move throughout the body using the blood or lymph systems, destroying healthy tissue in a process called invasion
  2. that cell manages to divide and grow, making new blood vessels to feed itself in a process called angiogenesis.

When a tumor successfully spreads to other parts of the body and grows, invading and destroying other healthy tissues, it is said to have metastasized. This process itself is called metastasis, and the result is a serious condition that is very difficult to treat.

little girl suffering from cancer....
little girl suffering from cancer....

How cancer spreads?

One of the things that makes cancer so difficult to treat is the fact that it can spread around the body. Cancer cells break away from the original primary tumor and spread through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system, forming new secondary tumors in organs such as the lungs, liver or brain. Scientists call this process metastasis.

Cancer cells can spread by growing into the surrounding blood vessels or lymphatic channels and then circulating to the lymph nodes in the region or beyond to vital organs, such as the liver or lungs. Some experts have estimated that less than one cell in a million can survive long enough to help form a metastatic tumor. Cells that do survive begin the growth of another tumor. Sometimes, the tumor cells fall or move to a nearby structure. This occurs most commonly in certain abdominal cancers, such as ovarian cancer or cancer of the appendix. Cells that break off an ovarian tumor may form sheets of cells along the lining of the abdominal cavity and grow on another organ in the abdomen, such as the bladder or the outside of the colon. This process is known as seeding.

Cancer cells that detach from a tumor can also travel through the lymphatic system, a network of vessels connecting lymph nodes, small bean-shaped glands located throughout the body. Lymph nodes are often the first place to which many cancer cells travel. Because of this, during surgery to remove a primary tumor, the surgeon will often remove nearby lymph nodes. A pathologist will examine the nodes with a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present. The presence or absence of cancer in lymph nodes is a factor in determining the stage of cancer, or how advanced it is. When many cancer cells are found in one or more nearby lymph nodes, it is referred to as regional disease or stage III cancer. Cancer cells can also travel to lymph nodes far from the primary tumor or to other organs or tissues in the body, where they collect to form a metastatic tumor. This is sometimes referred to as distant disease or stage IV cancer.

Cancer cells shed directly from the original cancer or from metastases growing in the lymph nodes and enter the body’s main bloodstream, which means that cells can be taken anywhere in the body. However, in order to grow, these cells must be able to lodge in a new tissue, overcome the local defenses and acquire their own blood supply and nutrients. This blood supply is created when tumor cells release substances that attract vascular cells, or cells that form new blood vessels. The formation of a blood supply within the tumor, known as angiogenesis, not only offers a way for cancer cells to travel to the body’s main bloodstream but it also enables the tumor to grow more quickly. This is why some treatment approaches are designed to attract the tumor’s blood supply so it will starve.

Not all cancers spread, but any cancer can spread to any other part of the body. When it does take hold in an organ, it can grow in a disorderly fashion and interfere with the normal function of that organ. When cancer does spread, it more commonly metastasizes to vital organs such as the lungs, liver, bone, and brain. It may take months or even years for a microscopic metastasis to grow large enough to be seen on x-ray images or to cause symptoms. Also, some cancers that spread affect a particular organ or tissue more commonly than others. The cells of a metastatic tumor are derived from those originating in the primary tumor. For example, if colorectal cancer metastasizes to the liver, the tumor in the liver is made up of colorectal cancer cells, not liver cancer cells. This is how a pathologist can identify a tumor as metastatic cancer. Knowing whether a cancer is a metastatic tumor is important because treatment is based on the type of cancer.

Symptoms of Cancer

Signs and symptoms are both signals of injury, illness, disease, or that something is not right in the body.When cancer begins, it invariably produces no symptoms. Signs and symptoms only appear as the mass continues to grow or ulcerates. The findings that result depend on the type and location of the cancer. Few symptoms are specific, with many of them also frequently occurring in individuals who have other conditions. Cancer is the new "great imitator". Thus it is not uncommon for people diagnosed with cancer to have been treated for other diseases to which it was assumed their symptoms were due.Local symptoms may occur due to the mass of the tumor or its ulceration.General symptoms occur due to distant effects of the cancer that are not related to direct or metastatic spread

. These may include: unintentional weight loss, fever, being excessively tired, and changes to the skin. Hodgkin disease, leukemias, and cancers of the liver or kidney can cause a persistent fever of unknown origin.

Some cancers may cause specific groups of systemic symptoms, termed paraneoplastic phenomena. Examples include the appearance of myasthenia gravis in thymoma and clubbing in lung cancer.

The American Cancer Society uses the word C-A-U-T-I-O-N to help recognize the seven early signs of cancer:

Change in bowel or bladder habits

A sore that does not heal

Unusual bleeding or discharge

Thickening or lump in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere

Indigestion or difficulty swallowing

Obvious change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore

Nagging cough or hoarseness

The following symptoms may also signal the presence of some types of cancer:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Unexplained loss of weight or loss of appetite
  • Chronic pain in bones or any other areas of the body
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Persistent low-grade fever, either constant or intermittent
  • Repeated infection

How are signs and symptoms helpful?

Treatment works best when cancer is found early—while it’s still small and is less likely to have spread to other parts of the body. This often means a better chance for a cure, especially if the cancer can be removed with surgery.

A good example of the importance of finding cancer early is melanoma skin cancer. It can be easy to remove if it has not grown deep into the skin. The 5-year survival rate (percentage of people who live at least 5 years after diagnosis) at this stage is around 97%. Once melanoma has spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate drops below 20%.

Sometimes people ignore symptoms. Maybe they don’t know that the symptoms could mean something is wrong. Or they might be frightened by what the symptoms could mean and don’t want to get or can’t afford to get medical help. Some symptoms, such as tiredness or coughing, are more likely caused by something other than cancer. Symptoms can seem unimportant, especially if there’s an obvious cause or the problem only lasts a short time. In the same way, a person may reason that a symptom like a breast lump is probably a cyst that will go away by itself. But no symptom should be ignored or overlooked, especially if it has lasted a long time or is getting worse.

Most likely, any symptoms you may have will not be caused by cancer, but it’s important to have them checked out, just in case. If cancer is not the cause, a doctor can help figure out what is and treat it, if needed.Sometimes, it’s possible to find cancer before you have symtoms,but this happens very often.

Types of Cancer

There are over 200 types of cancers,

  • Adrenal Cancer
  • Anal Cancer
  • Bile Duct Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Bone Cancer
  • Brain/CNS Tumors In Adults
  • Brain/CNS Tumors In Children
  • Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer In Men
  • Cancer in Adolescents
  • Cancer in Children
  • Cancer in Young Adults
  • Cancer of Unknown Primary
  • Castleman Disease
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Colon/Rectum Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Esophagus Cancer
  • Ewing Family Of Tumors
  • Eye Cancer
  • Gallbladder Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST)
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease
  • Hodgkin Disease
  • Kaposi Sarcoma
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Leukemia - Acute Lymphocytic (ALL) in Adults
  • Leukemia - Acute Myeloid (AML)
  • Leukemia - Chronic Lymphocytic (CLL)
  • Leukemia - Chronic Myeloid (CML)
  • Leukemia - Chronic Myelomonocytic (CMML)
  • Leukemia in Children
  • Liver Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell
  • Lung Cancer - Small Cell
  • Lung Carcinoid Tumor
  • Lymphoma
  • Lymphoma of the Skin
  • Malignant Mesothelioma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome
  • Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal Cancer
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma In Children
  • Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Penile Cancer
  • Pituitary Tumors
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Salivary Gland Cancer
  • Sarcoma - Adult Soft Tissue Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Skin Cancer - Basal and Squamous Cell
  • Skin Cancer - Melanoma
  • Skin Cancer - Merkel Cell
  • Small Intestine Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thymus Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Uterine Sarcoma
  • Vaginal Cancer
  • Vulvar Cancer
  • Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia
  • Wilms Tumor

Among them skin cancer,breast cancer,lung cancer and colon cancer are the most common ones.

Causes of Cancer

Cancer is ultimately the result of cells that uncontrollably grow and do not die. Normal cells in the body follow an orderly path of growth, division, and death. Programmed cell death is called apoptosis, and when this process breaks down, cancer begins to form. Unlike regular cells, cancer cells do not experience programmatic death and instead continue to grow and divide. This leads to a mass of abnormal cells that grows out of control.

Treatment of Cancer

Cancer treatment depends on the cancer type, where it began, and whether it's spread (plus general health and personal choices).The following are different types of treatment of cancer;

Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplantation

Stem cell transplantation is a procedure that is most often recommended as a treatment option for people with leukemia, multiple myeloma, and some types of lymphoma. It may also be used to treat some genetic diseases that involve the blood. This section provides information on stem cell transplantation and its side effects.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. However, when most people use the word chemotherapy they are referring specifically to drug treatments for cancer that destroy cancer cells by stopping their ability to grow and divide. This section includes information about chemotherapy, its side effects, and what to expect when undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Clinical Trials

Information on clinical trials and patient safety, steps involved in the research process, questions to ask the research team, and links to find cancer clinical trials.

Immunotherapy and Vaccines

Immunotherapy and vaccines are types of cancer treatments that use the body's immune system to fight cancer.

Personalized and Targeted Therapies

Personalized or targeted therapies are types of treatment that targets a cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells. The articles in this section describe radiation therapy, what to expect when receiving radiation therapy, and side effects of radiation therapy.

Surgery

Surgery (the removal of cancerous tissue from the body) is the oldest type of cancer therapy. The articles in this section describe surgery, what to expect when undergoing, and side effects of surgery.

When to Call the Doctor During Cancer Treatment

Cancer and cancer treatments may cause side effects that require the immediate attention of your doctor and health care team. In this article, learn about the signs and symptoms of infections, deep vein thrombosis (a potentially life-threatening blood clot), and tumor lysis syndrome (a condition that can cause organ failure)—all of which require an immediate call to your doctor.

Caring for the Symptoms of Cancer and its Treatment

This article explains the importance of relieving the symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment, an approach called palliative care.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Information on the safety and effectiveness of CAM, including questions to ask your doctor when considering CAM, risks and potential benefits of CAM, facts about supplements, and how to find reliable CAM resources.

When the First Treatment Doesn't Work

When a person is diagnosed with cancer, the oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating people with cancer) recommends a treatment plan that is most likely to have the greatest benefits and the fewest risks or side effects. That initial treatment—called first-line treatment or first-line therapy—is usually chosen because it has proven to be effective for similar patients who have the same type and stage of cancer.

Drug Information Resources

Through ongoing research, the medications used to treat cancer are constantly being evaluated in different combinations and to treat different cancers. Talking with your doctor is often the best way to learn about the medications you've been prescribed, their purpose, and their potential side effects or interactions.

Doctors say that,an aspirin a day could dramatically cut people's chances of getting and dying from common cancers, according to the most detailed review yet of the cheap drug's ability to stem disease.

More than 130,000 deaths would be avoided over a 20-year period if Britain's 50- to 64-year-olds took a daily aspirin for 10 years, because the beneficial effects continue even when the aspirin is stopped, the authors say.

A research team led by Professor Jack Cuzick, head of the centre for cancer prevention at Queen Mary University of London, concluded that people between 50 and 65 should consider regularly taking the 75 mg low-dosage tablets.

Cuzick said that taking aspirin "looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement".

In a briefing to journalists, the scientist added that he had been dosing himself for the last four years, keeping the tablets beside his bed. "I take aspirin as part of a bedtime ritual every day and I can achieve that quite easily," he said.

Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, eating less meat and refined carbohydrates, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, minimizing sunlight exposure, and being vaccinated against certain infectious diseases. Early detection through screening is useful for cervical and colorectal cancer. The benefits of screening in breast cancer are controversial. Cancer is often treated with some combination of radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Pain and symptom management are an important part of care. Palliative care is particularly important in those with advanced disease. The chance of survival depends on the type of cancer and extent of disease at the start of treatment. In children under 15 at diagnosis the five year survival rate in the developed world is on average 80%. For cancer in the United States the average five year survival rate is 66%.

Life is a beautiful gift,so please don`t make it worse.Take care of yourself and your loved ones and be happy and healthy.

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