Cancer is a term used for a disease in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.
The body is made up of many types of cells, grouped together to form tissues and organs such as muscles and bones, the lungs and the liver. These cells grow and divide in a controlled way to produce more cells, to keep the body healthy. Genes inside each cell order it to grow, work, reproduce and die.When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells.
Sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. Cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. Causing the cells to form lumps or tumours, or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start – for example, cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer; cancer that begins in breast cells is called breast cancer. Some cancers do not form tumors. For example, leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood.
Not all tumors are cancerous; tumors can be benign or malignant.
- Benign tumors aren’t cancerous. They can often be removed, and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.
- Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cells in these tumors can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The spread of cancer from one part of the body to another is called metastasis. The first sign that a malignant tumour has spread (metastasized) is often swelling of nearby lymph nodes, but cancer can metastasize to almost any part of the body. It is important to find malignant tumours as early as possible.
Cancers are classified by the type of cell that the tumor resembles and is therefore presumed to be the origin of the tumor. These types include:
- Carcinoma: Cancer derived from epithelial cells. This group includes many of the most common cancers, including those of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
- Sarcoma: Cancer derived from connective tissue, or mesenchymal cells.
- Leukemia – cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.
- Lymphoma and myeloma – cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.
- Germ cell tumor: Cancer derived from pluripotent cells. In adults these are most often found in the testicle and ovary, but are more common in babies and young children.
- Blastoma: Cancer derived from immature “precursor” or embryonic tissue. These are also commonest in children.
- Central nervous system cancers – cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.
Cancers are usually named using -carcinoma, -sarcoma or -blastoma as a suffix, For example, a cancer of the liver is called hepatocarcinoma; a cancer of fat cells is called a liposarcoma. For some common cancers, the English organ name is used. For example, the most common type of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma of the breast. Here, the adjective ductal refers to the appearance of the cancer under the microscope, which suggests that it has originated in the milk ducts.
Benign tumors (which are not cancers) are named using -oma as a suffix with the organ name as the root. For example, a benign tumor of smooth muscle cells is called a leiomyoma (the common name of this frequently occurring benign tumor in the uterus is fibroid). Confusingly, some types of cancer also use the -oma suffix, examples including melanoma and seminoma.
Cancer symptoms can be divided into three groups:
- Local symptoms: are restricted to the site of the primary cancer. They can include lumps or swelling (tumor), hemorrhage (bleeding from the skin, mouth or anus), ulceration and pain. Although local pain commonly occurs in advanced cancer, the initial swelling is often painless.
- Metastatic symptoms: are due to the spread of cancer to other locations in the body. They can include enlarged lymph nodes (which can be felt or sometimes seen under the skin), hepatomegaly (enlarged liver) or splenomegaly (enlarged spleen) which can be felt in the abdomen, pain or fracture of affected bones, and neurological symptoms.
- Systemic symptoms: occur due to distant effects of the cancer that are not related to direct or metastatic spread. Some of these effects can include weight loss (poor appetite and cachexia), fatigue, excessive sweating (especially night sweats), anemia (low red blood cell count) and other specific conditions termed paraneoplastic phenomena. These may be mediated by immunological or hormonal signals from the cancer cells.
None of these are diagnostic, as many of these symptoms commonly occur in patients who do not have cancer.
Cancers are primarily a disease with 90-95% of cases attributed to environmental factors and 5-10% due to genetics. Common environmental factors that contribute to cancer death include: tobacco (25-30%), diet and obesity (30-35%), infections (15-20%), radiation (both ionizing and non ionizing, up to 10%), stress, lack of physical activity, and environmental pollutants.
Some hormones factor in the development of cancer by promoting cell proliferation. Hormones are important agents in sex-related cancers such as cancer of the breast, endometrium, prostate, ovary, and testis, and also of thyroid cancer and bone cancer.
An individual’s hormone levels are mostly determined genetically, so this may at least partly explains the presence of some cancers that run in families that do not seem to have any cancer-causing genes. For example, the daughters of women who have breast cancer have significantly higher levels of estrogen and progesterone than the daughters of women without breast cancer. These higher hormone levels may explain why these women have higher risk of breast cancer, even in the absence of a breast-cancer gene. Similarly, men of African ancestry have significantly higher levels of testosterone than men of European ancestry, and have a correspondingly much higher level of prostate cancer. Men of Asian ancestry, with the lowest levels of testosterone-activating androstanediol glucuronide, have the lowest levels of prostate cancer.
However, non-genetic factors are also relevant: obese people have higher levels of some hormones associated with cancer and a higher rate of those cancers. Women who take hormone replacement therapy have a higher risk of developing cancers associated with those hormones. On the other hand, people who exercise far more than average have lower levels of these hormones, and lower risk of cancer.may be promoted by growth hormones. Some treatments and prevention approaches leverage this cause by artificially reducing hormone levels, and thus discouraging hormone-sensitive cancers.
Many management options for cancer exist including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, immunotherapy, monoclonal antibody therapy and other methods. Which treatments are used depends upon the type of cancer, the location and grade of the tumor, and the stage of the disease, as well as the general state of a person’s health.
Complete removal of the cancer without damage to the rest of the body is the goal of treatment for most cancers. Sometimes this can be accomplished by surgery, but the propensity of cancers to invade adjacent tissue or to spread to distant sites by microscopic metastasis often limits its effectiveness. Surgery often required the removal of a wide surgical margin or a free margin. The width of the free margin depends on the type of the cancer, the method of removal (CCPDMA, Mohs surgery, POMA, etc.). The margin can be as little as 1 mm for basal cell cancer using CCPDMA or Mohs surgery, to several centimeters for aggressive cancers. The effectiveness of chemotherapy is often limited by toxicity to other tissues in the body. Radiation can also cause damage to normal tissue.
Because cancer is a class of diseases, it is unlikely that there will ever be a single “cure for cancer” any more than there will be a single treatment for all infectious diseases.Angiogenesis inhibitors were once thought to have potential as a “silver bullet” treatment applicable to many types of cancer, but this has not been the case in practice.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new ways to prevent, detect, treat or manage cancer or other diseases. Clinical trials provide information about the safety and effectiveness of new approaches to see if they should become widely available. Most of the standard cancer treatments used today were first shown to be effective through clinical trials. they have being studied to see whether they work. They may be entirely new treatments, or they may be treatments that have been used successfully in one type of cancer, and are now being tested to see whether they are effective in another type.
Participation in a clinical trial may be an option for a person with cancer or someone at risk for developing cancer. People decide for themselves whether or not they want to participate in a clinical trial.
“When I had breast cancer, I was ask to be part of a study in Canada, with a new chemotherapy drug called Pertuzamab.
(This drug puts a fly on your cancer cells telling your immune system to send some fighters on it; because cancer is very deceptive, it grows in your system making sure your immune system doesn’t recognize it. So, with that new drug, the tumour will shrink and die.)
It was scary, because I was the first women in Canada to sign up for it. I did it and it worked for me. I cannot say it works with everybody who signs up for it, but the research was making progress and I had nothing to loss.”
Alternative cancer treatments are treatments used by alternative medicine practitioners. These include mind–body interventions, herbal preparations, massage, electrical devices, and strict dietary regimens. Alternative cancer treatments are ineffective at killing cancer cells. Some are dangerous, but more are harmless or provide the patient with a degree of physical or emotional comfort. Alternative cancer treatment has also been a fertile field for hoaxes aimed at stripping desperate patients of their money.
Prevention Each cancer has his own prevention; but all of them can be prevent, can be reduced, can be totally gone; by practicing healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, not smoking, no drugs and any excess of alcohol or any natural drug. Also, the sooner a cancer is found and treatment begins, the better the chances are that the treatment will be successful.
So if you don’t feel good go to your family Doctor and if you are not satisfied with the results and your still in pain, ask for a second opinion from another Doctor. A lot bad stories have come out of doctors who are too busy taking on too many patients, who misread the test results; or just hand out pills instead of sending their patients for tests. Look at my story, after having a mammogram every two years and in the last 4 months before the diagnose, twice they missed a tumor of 3.5cm long. They told me I had it for 5 to 7 years so how could they miss it? My family doctor who did my PAP test every year, or the technician at the lab all missed it the last 4 times i had gotten tested/ It could have even been the machine at the lab, many are too old and useless in some cases.
by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D.
He posted this list of 20 Anticancer Rules on The Huffington Post.
1. Go retro: Your main course should be 80 percent vegetables, 20 percent animal protein, like it was in the old days. Opt for the opposite of the quarter pounder topped with a token leaf of iceberg lettuce and an anemic tomato slice. Meat should be used sparingly for taste, as when it used to be scarce, and should not be the focus of the meal.
2. Mix and match your vegetables: Vary the vegetables you eat from one meal to the next, or mix them together — broccoli is an effective anticancer food, and is even more effective when combined with tomato sauce, onions or garlic. Get in the habit of adding onions, garlic or leeks to all your dishes as you cook.
3. Go organic: Choose organic foods whenever possible, but remember it’s always better to eat broccoli that’s been exposed to pesticide than to not eat broccoli at all (the same applies to any other anticancer vegetable).
4. Spice it up: Add turmeric (with black pepper) when cooking (delicious in salad dressings!). This yellow spice is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent. Remember to add Mediterranean herbs to your food: thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, mint, etc. They don’t just add flavor, they can also help reduce the growth of cancer cells.
5. Skip the potato: Potatoes raise blood sugar, which can feed inflammation and cancer growth. They also contain high levels of pesticide residue (to the point that most potato farmers I know don’t eat their own grown potatoes).
6. Go fish: Eat fish two or three times a week – sardines, mackerel, and anchovies have less mercury and PCBs than bigger fish like tuna. Avoid swordfish and shark, which the FDA says pregnant women should not eat because they contain a high concentration of contaminants.
7. Remember not all eggs are created equal: Choose only omega-3 eggs, or don’t eat the yolks. Hens are now fed on mostly corn and soybeans, and their eggs contain 20 times more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than cell-growth regulating omega-3s.
8. Change your oil: Use only olive and canola oil in cooking and salad dressings. Go through your kitchen cabinets and throw out your soybean, corn and sunflower oils. (And no, you can’t give them to your neighbors or your relatives… They’re much too rich in omega-6 fatty acids!)
9. Say “Brown is beautiful”: Eat your grains whole and mixed (wheat with oats, barley, spelt, flax, etc.) and favor organic whole grains when possible since pesticides tend to accumulate on whole grains. Avoid refined, white flour (used in bagels, muffins, sandwich bread, buns, etc.) whenever possible, and eat white pasta only al dente.
10. Keep sweets down to fruits: Cut down on sugar by avoiding sweetened sodas and fruit juices, and skipping dessert or replacing it with fruit (especially stone fruits and berries) after most meals. Read the labels carefully, and steer clear of products that list any type of sugar (including brown sugar, corn syrup, etc.) in the first three ingredients. If you have an incorrigible sweet tooth, try a few squares of dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa.
11. Go green: Instead of coffee or black tea, drink three cups of green tea per day. Use decaffeinated green tea if it gets you too wired.
Regular consumption of green tea has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk for developing cancer.
12. Make room for exceptions. What matters is what you do on a daily basis, not the occasional treat.
NON FOOD RULES
1. Get physical: Make time to exercise, be it walking, dancing or running. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week. This can be as easy as just walking part of the way to the office, or the grocery store. A dog is often a better walking partner than an exercise buddy. Choose an activity you enjoy; if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to stick with it.
2. Let the sun shine in: Try to get at least 20 minutes of daily sun exposure (torso, arms and legs) without sunscreen, preferably at noon in the summer (but take care to avoid sunburns!). This will boost your body’s natural production of Vitamin D. As an alternative: discuss the option of taking a Vitamin D3 supplement with your doctor.
3. Banish bad chemicals: Avoid exposure to common household contaminants. You should air our your dry-cleaning for two hours before storing or wearing it; use organic cleaning products (or wear gloves); don’t heat liquids or food in hard plastics; avoid cosmetics with parabens and phthalates; don’t use chemical pesticides in your house or garden; replace your scratched Teflon pans; filter your tap water (or used bottled water) if you live in a contaminated area; don’t keep your cell phone close to you when it is turned on.
4. Reach out (and touch someone!): Reach out to at least two friends for support (logistical and emotional) during times of stress, even if it’s through the internet. But if they’re within arms reach, go ahead and hug them, often!
5. Remember to breathe: Learn a basic breathing relaxation technique to let out some steam whenever you start to feel stressed.
6. Get involved: Find out how you can best give something back to your local community, then give it.
7. Cultivate happiness like a garden: Make sure you do one thing you love for yourself on most days (it doesn’t have to take long!).
More information on every type of cancer and treatment go to:
From: Canadian Cancer Society
From: National Cancer Institute