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WHAT IS CANCER? – by Gahana Belludi


A disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. It causes cells to divide uncontrollably. This can result in tumors, damage to the immune system, and other impairment that can be fatal.

Globally, it’s estimated that 100 million people across the world had any of the forms of cancer in 2017. This number has more than doubled since 1990 when as estimated 45million had cancer. 

Progress against many other causes of deaths and demographic drivers of increasing population size, life expectancy and particularly in higher –income countries –aging populations mean that the total number of cancer deaths continues to increase. This is a very personal topic to many: nearly everyone knows or has lost someone dear to them from this collection of diseases.


Cancer is a broad term. It describes the disease that results when cellular changes cause the uncontrolled growth and division of cells. 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, 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 instructions them to stop dividing and to die. As result, they build up in the body, using oxygen and nutrients that would usually nourish other cells.

Cancerous cells can form tumors, impair the immune system and cause other changes that prevent the body from functioning regularly. Cancerous cells may appear in one area, then spread via the lymph nodes. These are clusters of immune cells located throughout the body.

Causes of cancer:

These are many causes of cancer and some are preventable Eg, over 480,000 people die in U.S each year from smoking cigarettes, according to data reported in 2014

In addition to smoking, risk factors for cancer include:
• Heavy alcohol consumption
• Excess body weight
• Physical inactivity
• Poor nutrition
Other causes of cancer are not preventable. Currently, the most significant unpreventable risk factor is age. 

Treatments of Cancer:

There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer ypou have and how advanced it is.
• Surgery
• Radiation therapy
• Chemotherapy
• Immunotherapy to treat cancer
• Targeted therapy
• Hormone therapy
• Stem cell transplant
• Precision Medicine

Is Cancer genetic?

Genetic factors can contribute to the development of cancer. A person’s genetic code tells their cells when to divide and expire. Changes in the genes can lead to faulty instructions, and cancer can result.

Some genetic changes occur after birth, and factors such as smoking and sun exposure can increase the risk .other changes that can result in cancer take place in chemical signals that determine how the body deploys, or “expresses” specific genes. Inherited genetic mutations significantly contribute to the development of 5-10% of cancer cases.


What do you think?

Written by Gahana Belludi


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