What is cancer?/ Cancer Meaning

Subarna Debbarma (BPT, DNHE)

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells. In a healthy body, cells grow, divide, and die in a controlled manner. However, cancer disrupts this orderly process, leading to the formation of a mass or lump of tissue called a tumor. Not all tumors are cancerous; benign tumors do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body, while malignant tumors are cancerous and can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system, a process known as metastasis.

World Cancer day Observed on every Year 4 February

Key features of cancer include:

1. Uncontrolled Cell Growth: Cancer results from mutations in the genes that regulate cell growth and division. These mutations can cause cells to grow and divide uncontrollably, forming a tumor.

2. Invasion and Metastasis: Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and organs, compromising their normal functions. Additionally, cancer cells can break away from the primary tumor, enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system, and form new tumors in distant parts of the body.

3. Different Types: There are many types of cancer, each originating in specific types of cells. Common types include breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and leukemia, among others.

4. Causes: The causes of cancer are complex and often multifactorial. Factors that may contribute to the development of cancer include genetic predisposition, exposure to carcinogens (substances that can cause cancer), lifestyle choices (such as smoking and diet), and certain infections.

5. Symptoms: The symptoms of cancer vary depending on the type and stage of the disease but may include unexplained weight loss, fatigue, pain, changes in the skin, and persistent cough or difficulty swallowing.

6. Diagnosis and Treatment: Diagnosis typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, imaging tests, and laboratory tests. Treatment options for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, and stem cell transplant, depending on the type and stage of the cancer.

Cancer is a major global health concern, and efforts in prevention, early detection, and treatment are ongoing to improve outcomes for individuals affected by this complex set of diseases. Regular screenings, lifestyle modifications, and advances in medical research contribute to the ongoing battle against cancer.

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