About Cancer

One of the direst diseases which is responsible for about 9.5 million lakh deaths in 2018, according to WHO, is cancer. Cancer is a term used to describe a large group of diseases that are characterised by a cellular malfunction. 

Cancer is the deregulation of cell growth. In medical terms, cancer is known as malignant neoplasm; a broad group of diseases involving unregulated cell growth, thus unregulated cell growth forms "tumour". Cancer can start anywhere in any human body which is made up of a trillion cells.  When cells become old or damaged they die and new cells take their place but when cancer develops, this orderly process breaks down. 

Old and damaged cells survive when they should die and new cells form when they are not needed these extra cells can divide without stopping and may form tumours. 

How  Cancer Arises? 

Cancer is caused by certain changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Mutation in genes can be caused by accelerating the cell division rates or inhabiting normal control. Sometimes the genes inherited from our parents can cause cancer. 

Types of Cancer 

There are more than a hundred types of cancer. They are usually named for the organs or tissue where the cancer forms. Here are some categories of Cancer.

A. Carcinoma 

Formed by epithelial cells, cells that cover the inside and outside surface of the body. Carcinoma in different epithelial cells has different names.

B. Sarcoma 

These are the types of cancer that form in bone and soft tissues including muscles, fat, lymph, cells and fibrous tissue. 

C. Melanoma 

Melanoma is cancer that begins in the cell that begins melanocytes. It is the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma occurs when the pigments cells that give coloured skin become cancerous.

Causes of Cancer 

Carcinogens like chemical, tobacco, alcohol, radiations such as ultraviolet coming from the sun are considered the lead causes of cancer.

Diagnosis of Cancer 

The earlier stage of diagnosis in cancer provides the best chance for cure. Doctors may use one or more approaches to diagnose cancer.

  1. Biopsy 

  2. Radiography technique 

  3. Computed tomography 

  4. Magnetic resonance imaging 

  5. Molecular biology techniques 

  6. Laboratory test 

  7. Physical exam 

Treatment of Cancer 

Types of treatment depend on the type of cancer and how advanced it is. Depending on the cancer patient can have a combination of treatment such as 

  1. Surgery 

  2. Chemotherapy 

  3. Radiation therapy 

  4. Immunotherapy 

  5. Targeted therapy 

Many drugs have side effects in cancer patients like hair loss. So interferons are injected into cancer patients to develop immunity against these side effects. 

Types of Tumour 

Based on their ability to undergoes metastasis, tumours can either be cancerous or non-cancerous and are classified into three types:

A. Benign Tumour

This type of tumour is localized to a particular location in the body. Because of this, it doesn't spread to the other body parts and due to this reason, it is not that much harmful. This tumour occurs in the region like the brain and sometimes they turn fatal also. Surgery is one of the most common because we can remove benign tumours. 

B. Malignant Tumour

Malignant tumours are known to be cancerous which shows that it has a tendency to grow quickly to other tissues of the body. As it has its high metastasis property, and it grows frequently into the bloodstream and there they form secondary tumours across different sites in the body part. 

C. Premalignant Tumors

This tumour is a kind of benign tumour but shows features of malignant tumours. This tumour has an increased risk of becoming cancer. Benign tumours become premalignant and eventually, malignant.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What are the methods of Cancer Detection? Describe the approaches for the Treatment of Cancer?

Ans. The methods of cancer detection and diagnosis are as follows. 

  • Physical exam (your doctor may feel the area of the body) 

  • Laboratory test (It helps the doctor to examine your bones and organs in a non-invasive way) 

  • Techniques like radiography, computed tomography molecular biology techniques and MRI (magnetic radiation imaging) 

The common approaches for the treatment of cancer are surgical - removal of tumours, immunotherapy using interferons to boost cancer cell killing. 

Q2. Define the term Metastasis?

Ans. The spreading of cancer cells from the site of origin to other parts of the body is termed metastasis. This process mainly occurs in lymph or the bloodstream. During metastasis growth of cells occurs rapidly and it damages the normal tissues surrounding the cancerous cells.