What is Cancer?

Cancer cells
source: Fibladi.dz

What cancer is not

Most people think every tumor is a kind of cancer because most cancers form a lump called tumor. But it is important to understand that it’s not true.

So, before you panic and start to lose your nerves, go to a doctor. He will take out a piece of your tumor to find out if it’s cancer.

Cancerous tumors are called malignant tumors and those that are not are called benign tumors.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a large family of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.

Our body follows a proper method for cells to form and to replace. The body forms new cells when we need them and replaces those that die. But this mechanism is not always proper.

Cancer cells
source: Basin.ybu

When the cell growth goes out of control, it forms cancer. This means that when our body creates new cells even when we don’t need them, and old cells don’t die, this error in formation and death of cells causes cancer.

These extra cells form neoplasm or tumors. To be more precise, malignant tumors. These tumors have a tendency to affect nearby tissues and the tragic part is that they are distributed diffusely.

Till date, more than 100 types of cancers have been found. Some of the most common ones are breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, leukemia.

Why me?

The people who suffer often ask, why me? What did I do wrong? Medical science is not that sure but it gives two causes:

One is the environmental factor and other is inherited genetics.

Stats tell us that 90-95% cases of cancer are due to the environmental factors and remaining is because of inherited genetics.

Environmental factors, according to researchers, are not only pollution. It’s anything that is not inherited genetically. For example, lifestyle, economic, and behavioral factors.

Common environmental factors include tobacco, diet and obesity, infections, radiation (both ionizing and non-ionizing), stress, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollutants.

What stage is it?

Knowing the stage of cancer is very crucial. Staging is a way to know how vastly the infected cells have spread and have they affected other tissues. It is very important for doctors to know about these parameters so that they can be more accurate about which treatment to use.

We have two main type of staging systems: TNM and number system.

TNM system:

TNM stands for Tumor, Node, Metastasis. This system describes the size of initial cancer (the primary tumor), whether it has spread to the lymph nodes, or to a different part of the body (metastasis). The system uses numbers to describe cancer.

  • T refers to the size of tumor and how far it has spread into nearby tissue – it can be 1, 2, 3 or 4, with 1 being small and 4 large.
  • N refers to whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes – it can be between 0 (no lymph nodes containing cancer cells) and 3 (lots of lymph nodes containing cancer cells).
  • M refers to whether cancer has spread to another part of the body – it can either be 0 (cancer hasn’t spread) or 1 (cancer has spread).

Number staging system:

This system is more commonly used. It starts from stage 1 and ends at stage 4.

  • Stage I: the cancer is relatively small.
  • Stage II: the cancerous cells haven’t started to spread. But the tumor is larger than stage I.
  • Stage III: the infected cells may have started spreading to surrounding tissues.
  • Stage IV: this means that the infected cells have spread from where they started to another body organ.
cancer cells formation
source: cancerresearchuk

Conclusion :

Many people think of this disease as an end. But it doesn’t have to be an end. Cancer researchers have spent years into figuring out the possible cures for cancer. We have seen a lot of cases where treatments work wonders.

“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities.
But it can not touch my mind, it can not touch my heart, it can not touch my soul.”

-Jim Valvano.

Devanshu Shrivastava

Born In July Of 1998. I am an Ex-student of MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research. Studied Astrophysics & Astronomy. With The Love For Science And Hobby of Writing, I Am Trying To Create Awareness Of Every Possible Health Issue.

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