Cancer is really a scary term and no one wants any of her/his family members or friends suffer from cancer. Cancer is defined as an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells and tissues in the body. In medical terms cancer is defined as Malignant Neoplasm or Carcinoma. Generally the cancer cells grow rapidly and may even proliferate to other organs of the body mainly through blood circulation or lymphatic circulation. Cancer can affect any part of the body, it may be in blood (Blood Cancer) , Lung Cancer , Liver Cancer, Rectal Cancer etc and can be multiform depending on location.
Types of Cancer:
Over 200 different types of cancer types have been documented in various studies and journals. These can affect blood, liver, brain , lungs , skin , intestine, ovaries or lymph nodes. Uterus cancer appears in women and can be treated with various advance cancer treatment medications. The causes of cancers may be different in different cases. These may be complex and unknown in few cases. Cancers are classified based on the type of cell that the tumor cells resemble and are related to its origin. These are:
- Blastoma : Blastomas mainly occur in children and is caused due to immature precursor cells or embryonic tissues.
- Leukemia and Lymphoma : Leukemia is most common type of cancer affecting children very early in their life. Leukemia is also known as blood cancer as they arise from hemopoietic tissues in bone marrow and then they proliferate lymphatic system and cause lymphoma.
- Germ Cell Tumor: These tumors affect body organs responsible or associated with germ cells productions like egg and sperms. e.g Ovarian Cancer, Prostrate Cancer and Testicles cancer.
- Carcinoma : These are the most common type of cancers affecting mainly middle and elderly aged people. Here epithelial cells are involved in development and spread of cancers.
- Sarcoma: Sarcoma is associated with cancer of connective tissues. Mesenchymal cells outside the bone marrow start growing rapidly and dvelop cancer in bones , nerves and cartilages.
Causes of Cancers : Causes of cancer may be a very broad topic but here we would try to grasp the extract of various studies where common and unique kinds of cancers and their occurrence has been described. Any factor which has the ability to cause cancer or trigger abnormal growth of cells in the body is knows as carcinogenic. These carcinogenic factors my simple and common like surrounding ourselves which include chemical pollutants in air or water , UV rays from sun , alcohol consumption , smoking, lead particles from vehicles etc. These environmental factors contribute to maximum incidences of cancer and few reports suggest 80-90% of cancer occurs due to environmental factors. However, few others like genetic triggers have also been recognized where few genes are responsible for causing cancer in humans. Only 5-10% cancer cases reported are attributed to genes. These carcinogens directly affect the DNA and lead to gene mutations which are passed over to next generation. These carcinogens capable of gene mutations are known as mutagens. DNA mutants carrying cancer genes may precipitate itself in the carrier at any stage of life.
Life style related incidences are also becoming prominent these days like tobacco chewing causes cancer in mouth, larynx and neck while smoking causes lung cancer and alcohol consumption causes liver, kidney and intestinal cancer. Tobacco contributes to highest number of cancer deaths all over the world as 20% of cancers are attributed to tobacco related cancers. Obesity and sedentary life style is also associated with high percentage of deaths due cancer.
Few hormones are also responsible for cancers especially sex-related cancers like breast cancer, ovary cancer , endometrial carcinoma and cancer in testis, prostrate glands. There are few medicines causing cancer as well e.g. metronidaole. But these side effects of medicines causing cancer are precipitated only during long term usage of particular medicine.
Few decades ago cancer was considered to be a fatal because of high mortality associated with cancers all over the world. But with continuous research in cancer field has lead to development of advancement in cancer treatment.
Cancer treatment Options: Continuous research in cancer has provided the world a whole range of options to treat cancer of any stage and any kind. Cancer treatment options are basically opted as per the kind of cancer, its location and its grade. Various options of cancer treatments are:
- Chemotherapy: This includes various medications given over a period of few weeks to months in scheduled cycles? Few of these chemotherapy agents include Rituximab, Gemcitabime , etc.
- Radiotherapy: In this option tumors or cancerous cells are exposed to ultra radiations of various wavelengths.
- Surgery: Surgery in cancer is well accepted especially to remove tumors and prevent it to proliferate to neighboring tissues or organs.
Most of the researches and studies have documented the usage of combination of any of the above two options to better control and treat cancers of any type or origin. Surgery is considered to safer as chemotherapy and radiotherapy may have few associated side effects. Patients generally complain about the side effects of chemotherapy. Success of these therapies and interventional approach depends upon on Grade of cancer, age, location of cancer and compliance of treatment.