What is Cancer

What Is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which some of the cells in the body grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer can start in any part of the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and multiply (through a process called cell division) to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

Cancer begins when this orderly process is interfered with. Cells start to grow uncontrollably. These cells may form a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not spread.

What Is The Difference Between Normal And Malignant Cells?

Normal cells grow in a well regulated pattern. When cancer sets in, a group of cells suddenly starts multiplying in a haphazard and uncontrolled way, forming lumps or tumors. a malignant tumor never stops growing and can spread to other parts of the body.

How Does Cancer Develop?

Cancer is a genetic disease, that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide.

Cancer causing genetic changes can happen because

  • Of any errors that occur as cells divide.
  • Of DNA damage caused by harmful substances in the environment, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke and UV rays from the sun.
  • They were inherited from our parents.

Normally our body eliminates cells with damaged DNA before they turn cancerous. But the ability of our body to do so goes down as we age. This is a probable reason why there is a higher risk of cancer in old age.

Every person’s cancer has a unique combination of genetic changes. As the cancer continues to grow, additional changes will occur. Even within the same tumor, different cells may have different genetic changes.

What Are Types Of Cancer?

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and brain cancer starts in the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell.

Carcinomas : These begin in the skin or the tissue that covers the surface of internal organs and glands. Carcinomas usually form solid tumors. They are the most common type of cancer. Examples include breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer.

Sarcomas : This begins in the tissues that support and connect the body. A sarcoma can develop in fat, muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, blood vessels, lymph vessels, cartilage, or bone. Osteosarcoma is the most common cancer of bone. The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma are leiomyosarcoma, Kaposi sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, liposarcoma, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

Leukemias : This is blood cancer. Leukemia begins when healthy blood cells change and grow uncontrollably. The are 4 main types of leukemia ALL( acute lymphocytic leukemia), CLL( chronic lymphocytic leukemia), Acute myeloid leukemia(AML), CML( chronic myeloid leukemia)

Lymphomas : Lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and glands that help fight infection. There are 2 main types of lymphomas: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Other types of tumors include Germ cell tumors, neuroendocrine tumors, and carcinoid tumors.

How Does Cancer Spread?

As a cancerous tumor grows, the bloodstream or lymphatic system may carry cancer cells to other parts of the body. During this process, the cancer cells grow and may develop into new tumors. This is known as metastasis.

One of the first places where cancer often spreads is to the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection. They are located in clusters in different parts of the body, such as the neck, groin area, and under the arms.

Cancer may also spread through the bloodstream to distant parts of the body. These parts may include the bones, liver, lungs, or brain. Even if the cancer spreads, it is still named for the area where it began. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lungs, it is called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer.

Diagnosing Cancer

Often, a diagnosis of cancer will begin when a person visits a doctor about an unusual symptom. Based on the symptoms and medical history various tests would be needed to find the underlying cause of the symptoms and to confirm the diagnosis. Many people with cancer might not have any symptoms. For these people, cancer is diagnosed during a medical test for another issue or condition.

Some spices like cinnamon and curcumin may have anti-cancer properties and prevent cancer cells from spreading.