About cancer, part one…

Cancer causes cells to divide uncontrollably. This can result in tumors, damage to the immune system, and other impairment that can be fatal.

Cancer cells do not die at the natural point in a cell’s life cycle. Some types of cancer cause rapid cell growth, while others cause cells to grow and divide at a slower rate. Certain forms of cancer result in visible growths called tumors, while others, such as leukemia, do not.

Most of the body’s cells have specific functions and fixed lifespans. While it may sound like a bad thing, cell death is part of a natural and beneficial phenomenon called apoptosis.

A cell receives instructions to die so that the body can replace it with a newer cell that functions better. Cancerous cells lack the components that instruct them to stop dividing and to die.

Cancerous cells may appear in one area, then spread through the lymph nodes. These are clusters of immune cells located throughout the body. People often feel their lymph nodes on the sides of their neck when you’re starting to get sick, as they are working and fighting  your germs.

In addition to smoking, risk factors include:

heavy alcohol consumption, excess body weight, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, genetic factors, and also age increases risk.

Innovative research has fueled the development of new medications and treatment technologies. Types of cancer: bladder, colon and rectal, endometrial kidney, leukemia, liver, melanoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreaticz, thyroid, Other forms are less common. When cancerous cells spread to other parts of the body it is called metastasis.

Improvements in cancer detection, increased awareness of the risks of smoking, and a drop in tobacco use have all   decreased the number of cancer diagnoses and deaths.

When a person has cancer, the outlook will depend on whether the disease has spread and on its type, severity, and location. Cancer causes cells to divide uncontrollably. It also prevents them from dying at the natural point in their life cycle.

Genetic factors and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, can contribute to the development of the disease. Several elements affect the ways that DNA communicates with cells and directs their division and death.

Breast cancer is a most common type. However, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death.

Treatments are constantly improving. Examples of current methods include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Some people benefit from newer options, such as stem cell transplantation and precision medicine.

Some cancers cause early symptoms, but others do not exhibit symptoms until they are more advanced.

The best way to identify cancer early is to report any unusual, persistent symptoms to your doctor so they can advise you on any further testing that may be needed.

Yamini Ranchod, PhD, MS