cancer-striking disease affecting people of all age
All living things are made up of cells. They are the smallest things that are capable of basic life-they take in nutrients when needed, they put out waste and they reproduce. Cells divide (reproduce) at least once during their life, sometimes dozens of times. Organisms rely on this, this is how they grow or repair themselves when they are damaged. A normal body has around 30 trillion cells. Cancer is a disease where cells multiply without control and destroy healthy tissue.Itcan endanger life and is the leading cause of death in many countries. About 100 kinds of cancer affect human beings. With other kinds affecting plants and animals. It occurs in both Male and Female.
· Cancer can start anywhere in the body and spread.
· The most common parts where cancer occurs are the skin, the digestive organs, the lungs, the cervix (neck of the womb) and the female breasts.
· Things that incite cancer are the tar in tobacco, and some of the other chemicals in cigarettes, and certain kinds of radiation.
· Today about half the cancer patients survive at least five years after treatment.
· Cancer develops as a result of abnormal cell reproduction.
· The genes in cancer cells don't respond to the growth regulating signals and as a result the cells just keep multiplying and eventually after a mass of cells join together a tumor or neoplasm appear.
· Some tumors are noncancerous or benign.
· Benign tumors do not spread to healthy tissue or other body parts.
· Cancer produces malignant tumors, which invade, compress and eventually destroy healthy tissue.
· A huge danger is that cells can break away from the malignant tumor and move to other parts of the body and form other tumors.
· This process is called metastasis.
Permanent gene mutations are what cause cells to malfunction. When this happens several times to the same cell it can become cancerous. This can take many years in some cases. A cancerous cell reproduces at different rates, but eventually they overcrowd the normal cells and turn into a tumor.
There are two types of tumors, benign and malignant. A benign tumor does not spread to other parts of the body, it stays in one place. Benign tumors are not dangerous and do not need to be removed, but if you would like to have it removed for appearance purposes or if it is uncomfortable it can be surgically removed very easily. A malignant tumor is a tumor that can spread to other parts of the body which makes them very dangerous.
There are many different kinds of cancer and they all react differently to different types of treatments. Cancer cells can break away from a tumor and spread to other parts of the body. They usually spread through the blood or lymph systems. When this happens it is called metastasis.
Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, arises in the lining of the large intestine and rectum.' The colon and rectum are apart of the digestive system. Their main function is to remove wastes from the body and absorb water and other types of nutrients. There are four layers of the colorectal wall. These layers are the Mucosa, the Submucosa, the Muscularis Propria, and the Serosa. It is important to know these layers because the staging of colorectal cancer relates to the degree of penetration of the tumor through the bowel wall.'
Colon cancer patients have a great survival and recovery rate if the cancer is detected early. Often, colon cancer does not give any signs at all until the late stages of the disease. Symptoms of colon cancer include rectal bleeding, dark stools called melena, iron loss, frequent bowel movements, mucus discharge from the rectum, gas pains, and hemorrhoids.' As the tumor in the colon grows, it blocks the bowel which leads to later infections or bleeding in the abdominal cavity. As the tumor spreads, it can cause other types of problems in the body such as liver pains, loss of appetite, or other cancer of the organs.
Colon cancer can be diagnosed in many different ways. Unfortunately, not many are getting tested for the disease until it is too late. Screening for blood in stool is recommended for people over the age of fifty even if they have no risk factors. If there is suspicion of possible colon cancer, there are other more thorough ways to test. One way it can be tested is by having a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a procedure in which doctors can look into the entire colon and collect tissue through the scope.' Another way is an endoscopy. That is where a small tube is used to take a sample of tissue without making an incision, and the tissue is examined for cancer under a microscope.'
After detection of the cancer is made, the cancer is categorized into stages of development. The treatment of the cancer depends on the stage that it is in and the general health of the patient. If cancer is in stage I the cancer is very curable. The reason is because the tumor has not grown beyond the innermost layer of the colon wall and has not begun to spread. In stage II of colon cancer, the cancer starts to spread toward nearby tissue which become a problem if it enters into stage III. The reason is because in stage III, the cancer starts to spread to nearby lymph nodes.
The worse and harder to treat is after stage III. At stage IV, the cancer is completely spreading to other parts of the body.
Based on the stages of the cancer, the treatment varies. For the least severe colon cancer, stage I, removal of the tumor by surgery is preferred. As the cancer progresses though into stages II, III, and IV, there are other treatments offered along with surgery. Such treatments are chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy. Hopefully, if people get tested early enough, they will not have to result to other treatments besides surgery. As the cancer progresses past stage II, the chances for recovery become slim. After treatment, patients are monitored closely to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.' If all goes well the cancer will not reappear. Colon cancer usually does not grow rapidly. Recurrences can happen several years later.'
There are many ways to prevent colon cancer. Research findings show that eating a high-fiber diet can help prevent this disease.' The best way though to prevent death from this disease is by detecting it in its early stages of development. Starting at age 40, people should have yearly digital rectal exams and stool testing for occult blood.' More frequent or earlier screening may be needed for people who have a family history of this cancer.
In a recent article in Reuter's Health, researchers have found a protein,p110gamma, that blocks the development of colon cancer.' Basically, this new drug tells the cancer to stop growing. This scientific breakthrough gives hope to colon cancer patients that are suffering from the disease.
Colon cancer is a serious disease that afflicts many Americans each year. There are many ways to prevent the disease, so that people can save their lives. If people get regular check ups and lead a well balanced diet, they can prevent the disease before it is too late. Since the symptoms of colon cancer usually appear when the cancer is in its later stages, doing all those things can save lives. Now with the new drug out, colon cancer can hopefully be prevented and curable even in the later stages.