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Trying To Understand Cancer

Updated on March 4, 2014

Cancer is one thing that means a lot of things

Imagine this scenario: a pair of identical twins both get eye cancer. It would be very rare indeed. Now imagine a pair of identical twin bot get eye cancer in the same eye in the same place. It would be even rarer.

Now realise that just because two identical people get the same kind of cancer in the same place, they both will have two completely different types of cancer. It's a hard idea to wrap your head around, but cancer comes in so many shapes and forms that it can be hard to understand.

From head to toe, cancer has to be dealt with on an individual basis and treated on a patient to patient basis. This hub will help break down the key points of why cancer is such a common, yet individual disease and just what is needed to fight it off.

Cancer Facts

The statistics around cancer can be and are a cause for concern. It seems like the number related to cancer facts are always on the rise in a negative way, especially when you consider some of these figures compiled by Cancer Research UK:

  • There are over 200 types of cancer. There isn't one common cause.
  • Cancer is much more prevalent with age. Over a third of those diagnosed are aged above 75.
  • Cancer diagnoses have risen by a third since the 1970s. Almost 1000 people are diagnosed every day.
  • Over 40% of cancers are linked to lifestyle choices.
  • Almost 4% of cancers are linked specifically to someone's profession.

How Do People Get Cancer?

Which do you think has a greater influence on cancer?

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There are differing opinions about cancer

It's hard to judge just how people get cancer. While there are some very obvious reasons as to how people get it e.g. smoking causing lung cancer, the major contributing factors can differ greatly.

The easiest pathways for tracking diagnosis fall in to two main categories: lifestyle and genetics. Certain cancer types fit nicely in to these categories. Breast cancer is seen as a cancer with a high risk of family genetics being a cause and is a reason why any female getting it is a cause for the rest of the family to get checked out.

On the other side, skin cancer has links with long exposure to UV rays. While this can be caused from not looking after skin when you're somewhere hot and clear,it could also be from too much time spend on sunbeds.

For most cancers though, its a guessing game as to just how they come to be.

Smoking is the most common link to finding a cause of cancer.
Smoking is the most common link to finding a cause of cancer.

Worldwide Cancer Facts

  • It was estimated that 14.1 million people worldwide were diagnosed in 2011
  • Cancer in developing countries is on the rise
  • Lung cancer causes the most deaths worldwide

Why A Cure Isn't Easy

There is a very simple reason why there isn't a cure for cancer: no one really has a proper grasp or knows how it works. Cancer doesn't act in the same way other diseases or ailments would work. It works in its own way to mutate and attack other cells that it sees fit too. Cancer doesn't follow a path so much as scatter itself.

Because every mutation is different, every treatment needs to be too. If a cancer cell was the same no matter where it occurred in the body, then fighting it would be much easier. Instead any cancer diagnosis comes with a higher level of regard for other parts of the body and the need to see treatment as a risk assessment instead of simply getting a scalpel and cutting the bad stuff out.

A person's DNA can also play a big part. Everyone's DNA is different. Cancer works on such a small level that it alters your DNA ever so slightly. It essentially creates an infinite number of ways to attack your body.

Cancer Survival Rates

Diagnosis Per Year
Survival Rate

Cancer Cells

Cancer cells always mutate in an unpredictable way. Its why one of the best ways of treating cancer is to contain it before it mutates out of control. This video helps explain just how cancer cells work in a coherent manner.

Breast Cancer Cell
Breast Cancer Cell

Understanding How It Works

The easiest way to comprehend how cancer works is this:

It's a disease that attacks the body and changes it for the worse without revealing much.

Everyone at some point in their life will either know someone who has cancer, or get it. By understanding that its a disease specific to just you, you'll be able to better understand that fighting it and treating it is hard work.


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      Rebecca Jones 4 years ago from Florida

      Great hub, cancer is something more and more people have to face, yet so little is known about it, the only thing I can say is a universal is that when someone who has cancer says the word everyone around them becomes uncomfortable and don't know what to say.

      Another interesting fact is that primary brain cancer patients will never be declared "Cancer free" yet they are also not listed as "Active Cancer" altering the numbers yet further.