Simply put cancer is a collection of related diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue, or a malignant growth or tumor that comes from the division of abnormal cells.All types of cancer share the similarity that some of the body’s cells divide without stopping and spread into other areas in the human body. It is evil, destructive and hard to contain or eradicate.
Cancer does not discriminate, it can start virtually anywhere in the human body, as it is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When the cells grow old or become damaged they die off and new cells take their place.
However when cancer is present this process is disrupted and as cells become more and more abnormal, old damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form where they are not needed. Those extra cells divide without stopping and may form tumors.
Many cancers form solid tumors. Blood cancers however, such as leukemia, generally do not form solid tumors. Cancerous tumors are malignant, which in a nutshell means they take on a life of their own and spread into or invade nearby areas. Some tumors as they are growing have cancer cells break off and travel through the blood or lymph system and form new tumors in other areas of the body not connected to the original growth.
There are also tumors in the benign cancer classification that do not spread to or invade other areas of the body, they can however grow quite large. But once removed it is not normal for them to grow back whereas malignant tumors often rear their ugly heads repeatedly. Unlike other places in the body if a person gets a benign brain tumor it is life threatening.
So before you can win a war you must know your opponent. Cancer like most diseases is cunning and baffling and takes on many forms. There are over a hundred different variations of cancer.
The 3 most common types of cancer are:
1) Breast Cancer. Breast cancer is a cancer that forms in the cells of the breast.
2) Prostate Cancer. A cancer in a man’s prostate, the small walnut shaped gland that produces semen.
3) Basal cell cancer. A type of skin cancer that starts in the basal cells.
Other common cancers are:
4) Melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer.
5) Colon Cancer. A cancer of the colon or rectum, located at the digestive tract’s lower end.
6) Lung Cancer. A cancer that begins in the lungs and most often occurs in people who smoke.
7) Leukemia. A cancer of blood forming tissues, hindering the bodies ability to fight infection.
8) Lymphoma. A cancer of the lymphatic system.
The type of cancer I have been diagnosed with is Multiple Myeloma. Multiple Myeloma is a cancer that starts in the plasma cells. The abnormal plasma cells called myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in the bone and all throughout the body.
The first thing to beating cancer is understanding it. There are so many variations it can all be confusing and mind boggling and stressful. Beings that stress is almost as offensive to our system as resentment and bitterness it is important to educate yourself. It is always best to know what you are dealing with no matter how ugly. If you know the facts you can better choose what the best plan of action is for you. If you are educated on a subject you are normally more confident and able to proceed with hope instead of reacting in fear.
Cancer cells are different than normal cells in numerous ways, these differences allow them to grow out of control and they become invasive. Cancer cells are not specialized like normal cells. Normal cells become very distinct as they mature and have very specific functions whereas cancer cells do not thus they continue to divide without stopping They are able to ignore the signals the body sends telling the cells to stop dividing or to begin the process known as apoptosis, which is what the body does to get rid of unneeded cells.
The cancer cells influence the normal cells and molecules as well as the blood vessels that surround and feed the tumor, they can cause the nearby normal cells to form blood vessels that supply tumors with oxygen and nutrients that they need to grow. They also serve as a filter that removes the waste product from tumors.
Cancer cells are able to evade the body’s natural immune system, the network of organs, tissues and specialized cells that protect the body from infections. The immune system is what usually removes damaged and abnormal cells from the body but the cancer cells are able to cloak themselves and become invisible to the immune system therefore being able to hide. Tumors also use the immune system to stay alive and grow. Cancer cells actually keep the immune system from killing the cancer cells.
Cancer is genetic. It is caused by changes to genes that control the way that our cells operate. Especially the way that they grow and divide. This can be inherited from our parents. It can also happen during your life journey as a result of errors that arise as our cells divide and it damages our DNA due to certain environmental exposures such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, radiation, ultra violet rays from the sun and so on.
Every case has a unique combination of genetic changes that occur, as the cancer continues to grow additional changes happen. Sometimes within the same tumor, different cells may have different genetic changes occur. In general cancer cells have more genetic changes and mutations in our DNA than normal cells do. Some of these changes may not have a thing to do with the cancer rather they are a result of the cancer not the cause of the cancer.