Fighting or killing cancer is of interest to many. Cancer, along with heart disease, are the two leading forms of death in the United States. Death by cancer comes in as #2. Where did the name cancer come from? The ancients thought that tumors looked like crabs, and the word for crab in latin is cancer.
There are different types of cancer. Some affect various bodily organs by creating tumors. Other types of cancer, such as leukemia, do not form tumors. Problems occur when the out of control cells affect normal bodily functions. For example, cancer may make it hard to swall, breathe, or digest food normally.
How Does Cancer Kill?
Cancer is formed by a disruption to the normal cell cycle. Every human body is composed of trillions of cells. Each of these cells has a normal life span. Each cell is created, lives out its life cycle, and then die in an orderly fashion, meanwhile being replaced by a new cell. For a cancer to be formed, the cell has to go through an abnormal change.
In the case of cancer, this normal lifestyle is disrupted. When this disease is present, cells divide and multiply and keep dividing and multiplying. They spread into surrounding tissue. Instead of dying normally, the cells survive their expected life cycle. New cells are created when not needed. All these cells form growths called tumors. These tumors can invade and block the normal function of nearby tissue. Sometimes the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. This is done via the blood or lymph system.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a form of cancer that is different. In this case, tumors are not formed. In leukemia, extra white blood cells are created. These crowd out normal blood cells in the bone marrow.
Differences between Cancer Cells and Normal Cells
Normal cells are specialized cells. For example, an eye cell is very different from a bone cell. Cancer cells, on the other hand, are not very specialized. This is one reason they can continue to divide. Since they are not becoming part of a specialized structure, but are a more general type of cell, they continue to divide without stopping. Cancer cells ignore the signals that tell them to stop dividing.
A regular cell has a normal life cycle. It is created. It goes through a life where it performs its normal functions in the body. Then it dies. There is a signal that tell the cell it is time for it to end and go through cell death. Thus the body gets rid of unneeded cells. With cancer, the cell is unresponsive to that signal.
How Cancer Cells Resist Death
There are several ways cancer cells can resist death. One way is to convince nearby cells to feed them with nutrients and oxygent to keep them alive. Or, cancer cells may hid within the immune system. Normally, the immune system fights predator cells. In the case of cancer, the cancer cells may convince the immune system to not kill cancerous cells.
Another way cancer cells resist death is by the use of genes. Genes program cells and tell cells what to do. Genes are the brains of the individual cells. Genes tell the cells how to grow and divide. Changes to the genes can come from environment. This includes things like radiation, ultraviolet light, or chemicals. When the genes are affected, then how the cells grow and divide is affected. And while bad genes can be inherited, the bigger problem is environmental factors, which includes lifestyle. Long term, killing cancer involves changing lifestyles.
As an example, most people are aware of the link between smoking and lung cancer. The good news is that a person can stop smoking. The bad news is that if he or she does not want to make the effort, that may be detrimental in terms of killing cancer. Two other factors that are known to increase cancer risk are obesity and alcohol consumption. Foods that kill cancer have been proposed to help reduce cancer risks, but there is not conclusive evidence of what they actually do. Making lifestyle changes to decrease cancer risk is definitely a wise idea.
Some genes, called DNA repair genes, affect other genes. Initial changes in the genes can lead to larger changes in the genes. Think of genes like roadways. If there is road work, there needs to be a detour, which can affect the subsequent journey. Similarly, if these genes cannot repair genes properly, they set up a chain reaction, like a line of dominoes falling. So all sorts of different genes may be affected. Furthermore, they are affected, as there are more than 100 types of cancer.
How to Beat Cancer
Depending on the patient, treatment can take a variety of forms. Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and hormonal therapy are some of the means of treatment. Dietary recommendations have been proposed to fight cancer. While there is no conclusive evidence, folk medicine and individuals have experienced beneficial results with some recipes and anti cancer herbs and natural remedies to kill cancer cells. It is worth checking out.
Killing cancer and the treatment that is finally used depends on several factors. There is, of course, the professional recommendation. Also, the age of the patient, the overall health of the patient, the type of cancer, and the location of the cancer are all part of the picture. Survival depends on the age, health, cancer type and also the patient’s overall state of being. A depressed patient may not do as well as someone who takes every means available to fight the cancer.