14 February, 2019

Cancer: A collection of related diseases

“Cancer” is the name given to a group of related diseases.

In every type of cancer, some of the human cells begin to multiply massively and spread into surrounding health tissues. The human body consists of an uncountable number of cells and cancer can grow at almost all the parts of it. When cells grow old and get damaged, new cells grow and divide to form new ones in order for the human organism to function properly. However, when cancer starts developing this orderly process breaks down. The cell activity starts to disrupt and the human body starts to create new cancer cells when they are not needed. These extra cells divide without stopping and this is how a tumor is developed.

Solid tumors are called the masses of tissue formed. As these tumors grow, sometimes cancer cells break off and move to distant places in the body through bloodstream or the lymph system and they form new tumors far from the original tumor. This is called a cancer metastasis.

Cancer cells differ from the normal human cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. One important difference is that the cancer cells are less “specialized” than the normal ones. Each type of normal cell has very specific functions, though cancer cells have not. In addition, cancer cells ignore the signals that normally stop the production of new cells when they are not needed and begin the process known as programmed cell death (apoptosis) that the body uses to get rid of unneeded cells.

Cancer cells are able to influence the normal cells, molecules and blood vessels. Often, they are also capable of evading the human immune system.

How Cancer Arises?

Cancer is a genetic disease, caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our relatives. They can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures (such as substances, tobacco smoke, chemicals, radiation, ultraviolet rays etc.)

Each person’s cancer has a unique combination of genetic changes. As the cancer continues to grow, more and more changes tend to occur. In general, tumors’ cells tend to have more genetic changes such as DNA mutations than normal cells.

Tissue Changes Are Not Always Cancer!

Not every change in the human body’s tissues is cancer. Although, some tissue changes may develop into cancer if they are not monitored or treated. Cancer is not a death sentence. Prevention and personalized monitoring and treatment are the most important weapons to the fight of it.