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Cancer: The Deadly Disease of the Planet

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In our surrounding along with many deadly diseases, cancer is the most dangerous disease. There are more than 100 different types. The disease can affect almost any body organ. The most common cancers are lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

Categories of Cancer

 There are 6 main categories:

  1. Carcinomas

Carcinomas are tumors that originate in the outer lining or inner internal organs (called epithelial tissue) and on the outer surface of the body.

  1. Leukemia

Leukemia is the constituent elements of the blood.

  1. Lymphomas

Lymphomas are tumors that form in the lymphatic system.

  1. Melanomas

Melanomas are cancers that start in cells that give pigmentation to the skin.

  1. Sarcomas

Sarcomas are tumors that originate in the connective tissue, such as muscles, bones, and cartilage.

  1. Mixed Types

Mixed types of cancers with have the characteristics of more than one category.

Causes of Cancer

CancerThe exact cause of this deadly disease is unknown, but different factors may play a role in this process. Although genetic factors have been associated with some forms of cancer, less than 10% of cancers are hereditary. Less than 10% of breast cancers are associated with mutated genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2. These two hereditary genes are responsible for about 50% of hereditary forms of breast cancer.

Most forms of this deadly disease are caused by genetic mutations in cells that occur during a person’s life, influenced by environmental factors such as smoking or exposure to radiation.

 Here are the environmental factors that can cause cancer:

  • Smoking

Smoking causes lung cancer; it is also associated with a higher risk of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, and cervix.

  • Chemical Substances

Chemical substances – exposure to industrial dyes, asbestos and benzene is associated with cancer.

  • Ionization Radiation

Ionizing radiation – the link between ionizing radiation and cancer has already been established, but it is unknown how much radiation could increase the risk.

  • A Virus

Some viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, which causes AIDS), are associated with a higher risk of liver, lymphoma, and sarcoma. The human papillomavirus (HPV, which causes condyloma acuminata) is associated with an increased risk of the mouth, anus, and cervix.

  • Sunlight

 Prolonged exposure to the sun (tanning) causes skin lesions and may cause skin cancer.

Symptoms and Complications

It can cause many different symptoms, depending on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Cancer cells that crush or invade neighboring cells can cause severe pain. Organs (such as the liver or pancreas) that are invaded by this deadly disease can no longer function properly.

Some cancer complications can be life-threatening. For example, because of this deadly disease, the membranes surrounding the heart or lungs can be filled with fluid, making breathing very difficult. It can block veins that bring blood from the upper organs to the heart. It can also put pressure on the spine or the connected nerves, causing pain or loss of nerve function.

Diagnostic

At the time of diagnosis, determining the stage of this deadly disease helps define the prognosis and type of treatment a patient will receive. Doctors simply use a cancer classification system, called the TNM system, which describes the size of the tumor and its degree of spread in the body. The choice of treatment depends largely on the stage of cancer.

Treatment and Prevention

Some types of cancer can be prevented through lifestyle changes: this is what is meant by primary prevention of this deadly disease. Tobacco-related cancers (lung cancer) account for almost one-third of all forms of fatal cancer. Therefore, quitting smoking would be an essential step to prevent that.

Here you can explore some effective treatments:

  • By avoiding exposure to the sun and by limiting the duration of exposure as well as using adequate protection (lotions and sunscreen with SPF) when the sun is, we can reduce the risk of skin cancer.
  • Food is another important factor in the prevention of cancer: a high-fat diet is associated with a higher risk of certain cancers (such as breast cancer and prostate cancer).
  • To treat cancer, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and, for certain forms of cancer, hormones or drugs that block the secretion of hormones are used. Cancer treatment aims to kill cancer cells by avoiding, as much as possible, destroying healthy cells.
  • Surgery removes the cancer cells that are grouped together. Many cancers are treated by surgery. Surgeons also remove the normal cells surrounding the cancer cells or the tumor to determine whether it has spread or not. When cancer has already spread, it is very difficult to remove the cancer cells using surgery.
  • Radiotherapy can treat localized cancers. Radiation therapy can take different forms. A beam of radiation can be directed at the skin near the cancer site. Radiation kills cancer cells but, unfortunately, it also destroys healthy cells. Recently designed devices can better focus the radiation on cancer cells and avoid healthy cells.
  • In chemotherapy, anticancer drugs are used. It is frequently used when it has spread too many areas of the body. For many cancers, a combination of drugs is used because the results are better than with a single drug.
  • Nowadays, genetic engineering can intervene at the level of genes that trigger or slow down cancer growth and regulate enzymes that maintain the division and growth of cancer cells.

Final Verdict

More than any other disease, cancer is scary. However, today many types of the cancers can be treated and put into remission. This means that the treatment removes all traces of cancer in the body. For example, people with cancer of the prostate, bladder, skin, uterus or breast may have at least 80% chance of living without cancer 5 years after diagnosis, provided that cancer is detected and processed from the beginning.

Along with all modern techniques and adoption, a good, active and healthy lifestyle can also keep you away from this deadly disease.

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