Cancer – An Umbrella Term
Cancer refers to a collection of diseases. The disease can affect any organ of one’s body. The cancer is named after the primary site of its onset. For example, breast cancer is what originates in the breasts’ tissue, lung cancer starts in lungs and so on.
All cancers have one feature in common – some cells in the patient’s body start behaving abnormally through uncontrollable division. These cells, if not killed, quickly affect surrounding tissues and distant organs by travelling through blood capillaries and lymphatic system.
Normally, human cells undergo the process of division. Once they grow old, they die a natural death and get replaced by new cells. When cancer develops, this natural process of cells growth, division and death is disrupted. As a part of their abnormal behaviour, the cancer cells don’t die and instead, go on dividing. The new cells follow the footprints of their parent cells and as a result, we have a large group of afflicted cells that do no good to the body.
Most cancer cells are solid tumours. However, leukemia or blood cancer does not form masses of tissues or solid tumours. Cancerous cells, also called malignant cells, break off from their original site of formation and travel to other parts of the body, a process known as metastases in medical jargon.
Solid tumours are of two types – Benign and Malignant. Benign tumours, whether small or large, don’t invade the other organs. If removed, they don’t come back. When it comes to malignant tumours or cells, recurrence happens in some cases ever after successful removal of the tumours.Causes of Cancer
Cancer is a disease caused by genetic changes. Genes control the behavioural pattern of the cells – growth, division and death. These genetic changes can also flow from parents to children. They may also happen during a person’s lifetime due to erroneous cell division or DNA damages triggered by certain environmental exposures.
Each person’s cancer is formed and fuelled by a unique combination of genetic alteration. Additional changes occur with continuous growth of cancer. Even the same tumour may manifest a heterogenetic character, which means different cells may show different genetic changes or mutations.Final Words
Success of cancer treatment largely depends on early diagnosis. Undergo regular check-ups at a reputed Kolkata research centre. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, learn the cancer symptoms and consult an oncologist if you see or experience anything suspicious.