As per the report, 18 million people get infected annually by cancer, and it causes 8.8 million deaths annually. So, cancer is a group of diseases causing uncontrollable 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. There are many types of cancer; some of them cause tumors, i.e., visible growth, and some don’t.
Cancer: Causes, Treatment, And Some Myths
In the human body, every cell has its own function and fixed lifespan. Also, the death of cells is a natural process called apoptosis. The newer cells replace the dead ones and can function effectively. The cancerous cells lack the function of apoptosis and instruct them to stop dividing and to die. As a result, these cells grow in the body in an uncontrollable manner, using oxygen and nutrients that would usually nourish other cells. These cancerous cells form tumors, impair the immune system and cause other changes that prevent the body from functioning regularly.
In the early stages, cancerous cells appear in one area of the body; then, they spread to the entire body via lymph nodes.
- Smoking cigarettes
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Exposed to radiations
- Poor nutrition
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive body weight
These are some causes of cancer and many of them are preventable.
When cancer begins, it produces no symptoms. The findings that result depend on the cancer’s type and location.
- Local Symptoms: ex. Tumor
- Systematic symptoms: ex. Weight loss, skin changes, muscle loss, weakness, etc.
- Metastasis: Spread of cancer to other locations of the body.
There are many different treatments based on types of cancer, stage at diagnosis, and a person’s overall health.
- Chemotherapy: Kills cancerous cells with medications.
- Hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy: Uses radiation to kill cancerous cells.
- Stem cells transplant
There are around 100 types of cancer; some of them are:
- colon and rectal
- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Myths about cancer:
- Cancer is a death sentence: Cancer is not a death sentence as many people have recovered from cancer with proper treatment and now they are as healthy as they were.
- Cancer is Contagious: Cancer is not contagious. A person with cancer cannot spread it if someone comes in contact with him.
- Cell phones cause cancer: Till now, there is no evidence saying cell phones cause cancer.
- Power lines cause cancer: The extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields produced by power lines are non-ionizing and, therefore, do not cause cancer.
- Artificial sweeteners cause cancer: Till now, there is no evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer.
- Cancer surgery causes cancer to spread: This is only a partial myth. According to the American Cancer Society, it is true that cancer surgery can cause cancer to spread, but this is rare.
- Herbal medicines can cure cancer: There is no evidence that any herbal medicines can cure or treat cancer.
- Cancer runs in the families: Although some cancers are passed on genetically through families, they are the minority of cases.
- Cancer always comes back: Fortunately for all of us, this statement is a myth and entirely not true. The current therapies for cancers are improving to the point where the cure of cancer — that is, treatments that will kill cancer completely — are improving continuously.
10. There is no cure for cancer: As we mentioned above that there are many treatments according to the type of cancer, this statement also stays false.