Cancer is a generic term for a disease that can affect any part of the human body. Other terms are also used for cancer: malignant tumours and neoplasms. A distinguishing feature of cancer is the rapid production of abnormal cells that can grow beyond limits and then invade adjacent parts of the body and spread to other parts. This latter process is known as metastasis. Generalized metastases are the leading cause of cancer death.
What Is Cancer
Our body is made up of trillion cells that normally grow over a lifetime and it divides as needed. When cells are abnormal or get old, they usually die. Cancer begins when a problem occurs in the process, cells continue to make new cells and abnormal or old cells do not die when needed. When cancer cells grow out of control, they can replace normal cells. This makes it difficult for the human body to function properly.
There are several types of cancer. Carcinoma is cancer that begins in the tissue that covers the skin or internal organs. Sarcoma cancer occurs in the bone, cartilage, fat, muscles, blood vessels or other connective tissue. There is also one type of cancer- Leukemia is a type of cancer that begins in hematopoietic tissue such as bone marrow. Lymphoma and myeloma are rare cancer that starts in the cells of the immune system. The central nervous system is cancer that starts in the tissue of the brain and spinal cord also called malignancy.
What Is a Tumor
It is a lump or growth. Some lumps may be cancer some may not.
- Benign: Lumps that are not cancer known as Benign.
- Malignant: Lumps that are cancer known as Malignant.
What Are The Causes Of Cancer
Cancer is caused by changes in the genes of DNA which is located inside the cells. There are some genes which control the life cycle like growth, function, division and death. When these genes deteriorate the balance between the growth of normal cells and death is lost. Thus cancer is caused by DNA damage and uncontrollable cell growth.
These are some factors which are known for damaging DNA and increasing the risk of cancer:
A genetic mutation can cause cancer. A genetic mutation can instruct a cell to grow and divide more rapidly. This produces new cells that all have the same mutation. The mutation of genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 inhibits the body’s ability to safeguard and repair DNA. Copies of these mutated genes can pass to future generations and increase the risk of cancer. Normal cells know when to stop growing but a mutation in a tumour suppressor gene allows the cancer cells to continue growing and accumulating.
Environmental exposure is one of the causes of cancer in humans. Ultraviolet radiation coming from the sunlight can cause cancer.
Some microbes are also known for increasing the risk of cancer. The bacteria like H. pylori causes stomach ulcer and are linked to gastric cancer. Some viral infections like Epstein Barr, HPV and hepatitis B & C have also been linked to cancer.
Poor lifestyles & Diet:
Our lifestyles and diet are also responsible for cancer. Consuming a poor diet, inactivity, obesity, consumption of heavy alcohol, tobacco including smoking and exposure to chemicals and toxins all are responsible for a great risk of cancer.
What Are the Types Of Cancer
There are many types of cancer that occur in a human and their name are kept where cancer from. For example, lung cancer starts in the lungs and breast cancer will be in the breast. Following are the categories of cancer when cancer starts in cells:
It is the most common type of cancer that occurs in the epithelial cells. Epithelial cells cover the internal and external surfaces of the body. Usually, it has column-shaped and covers the surface of the body. Different epithelial cells have different carcinoma whose names are:
Adenocarcinoma: It is a cancer that forms in epithelial cells and produces fluids and mucus. The tissue which has this type of epithelial cell is called glandular tissue. Some examples of adenocarcinoma cancer are breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type of cancer begins in the lower layers of the epidermis which is the outer layer of the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma: This cancer occurs in the squamous cells, which are epithelial cells and lie just beneath the outer surface of the skin. Squamous cells line the various organ such as the stomach, and intestine. lungs, bladder and kidneys. This type of cancer is also known as epidermoid carcinomas.
Sarcoma cancer begins in the bone and soft tissue. It also includes fat, muscles and fibrous tissue i.e tendons and ligament. There are many types of sarcoma cancer leiomyosarcoma, Kaposi sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, liposarcoma and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.
This type of cancer starts in the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow. There are four common types of leukaemia.
Cancer starts in the lymphocytes ( T lymphocytes and B Lymphocytes). These are white blood cells that fight against the disease. In this type of cancer abnormal lymphocytes build up in the lymph nodes and lymph vessels as well as in other organs of the body.
There are two types of lymphoma:
Hodgkin Lymphoma: This disease has abnormal lymphocytes and is known as Reed-Sternberg cells.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: It starts in the lymphoma and grows quickly and slowly and forms from T cells or B cells.
Melanin starts in the melanocytes, it is a specialized cell that makes melanin pigment which is responsible for the colour of the skin.
It begins in the plasma cells, it is one type of immune cell. The abnormal plasma cell is known as myeloma cells and is made in the bone marrow and forms tumours in the bone all through the body. Multiple myeloma is also called Plasma cell myeloma and Kahler disease.
Brain & Spinal Cord Tumor:
There are many types of brain and spinal cord and their names are kept where they formed and where the first tumour formed in the central nervous system. For e.g, a tumour which formed in the star-shaped brain astrocytes is called an astrocytic tumour. A brain tumour can be benign (not cancer ) or malignant (cancer).
Frequently Asked Question
Que: How does cancer spread?
Ans: All cells in the body continue to proliferate throughout life. Normal proliferate under control. Cancer cells lose this control and begin to grow more than necessary. It can damage the organ where the cell proliferation occurs and spread to other parts of the body.
Que: What are some common risk factors of cancer?
Ans: There are some common risk factors for cancer:
Smoking- Cigarette, Bidi, Cigar, Hukka.
Non-smoking- Zarda, Ghutkha, Khaini etc.
Que: What are the signs & symptoms of cancer?
Ans: Lump or swelling
Changes in bladder or bowel habits
A sore throat does not heal
Unusual bleeding or discharge
Que: Can cancer be cured?
Ans: Yes cancer be cured if detected at an early stage and treated promptly.
Que: Which cancer is known as a “silent killer”?
Ans: Pancreatic cancer is known as the silent killer because most patients don’t experience symptoms until the cancer is big or complicated.
Cancer screening and treatment planning is an important part of a comprehensive cancer management strategy. The main goal of cancer is to cure or significantly prolong the lives of cancer patients to achieve a better quality of life. For diagnostic and treatment programmes to be effective, they should not be developed in isolation.
Disclaimer: All the content of this article is for information purposes only.